“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
– Charles Dickens
In September I wrote a post about Smitty the cat. Yesterday my friend Paul came by for a visit in Tucson and told me in November Smitty went into the woods one day and never came back. At seventeen years old he’d been getting frail and we think he went off to die. “He had a good run,” I said.
But now in the darkness of the early morning I know when I go back to the Northwest and Smitty isn’t there to greet me I will cry. I’m crying as I write this now. Over the years I’d go out to my little green cabin at dawn to work on my memoir and Smitty followed. Part of the reason I actually finished my book was because Smitty was asleep on my lap and I didn’t want to disturb him by getting up.
Smitty lived life on his own terms – independently. He outlived the threat of eagles circling above, coyotes in the woods, and families of raccoons in yard. He was never sick and never wanted to be an indoor cat – although he came to love the snuggles we had on my bed where he drooled relentlessly to show his pleasure. If Cradoc was in bed also Smitty made sure one part of him touched both of us so we felt loved equally. He wasn’t always a mellow cat. He had the devil in him also. He’d dig his claws into the blankets if he wasn’t ready to get up yet – but he never dug them into me. He used to sneak into cars and trucks where he fell asleep and wound up in some crazy places because of it.
Smitty gave me so much love over the years how can that not be missed. I will miss his crazy antics that made me laugh from deep in my soul. And I’ll miss his pacing near the bed reminding me to rest so he could curl up beside me.
This was the last photo I took of Smitty – watching us from the driveway as we loaded the car in October for our trip south. He didn’t hide in our car – but as it turned out he hitched a ride to someplace where he could curl up and fall asleep undisturbed forever.
Rest in peace dear Smitty.