We received a donation "In Memory of Smokey Bear Cat, Rescued March 31, 2005 Died December 30, 2016" and the following letter:
She was a six-year old Russian Blue cat with yellow eyes and a long tail, and she lived in the cattery at Dr. Bolt's clinic in Abilene, Texas. Her owner died, and the surviving children brought her to Rescue the Animals because they could not care for her. Before then, she had been declawed and put outside. When we first say Smokey, she was curled up with her back against prying eyes and grieving for her owner.
We stopped by Dr. Bolt's clinic to look for a companion for our Rescue cat, Niko Eleanor Valentine, who we had adopted in 2002. Since moving from Abilene to Wimberley, she had become very lonely and often cried at night, so we thought that an adopted kitten would help her. We looked at all of the kittens, and then I spied Smokey and asked the aide to take her out of the cage. When he put her on the floor, a little kitten spat at her, and she put her face into the corner and began to purr. At that moment in time, I knew that Smokey would come home with us. The aide advised, "She needs someone who understands cats," and I thought that we could probably fulfill the requirement.
After all of her losses, I didn't feel that we should change her name, so we added the "Bear" and later the "Cat," so her full name was Smokey Bear Cat. She rode with us to the Hill Country, and as soon as we pulled into the driveway of our house, she slipped underneath the driver's seat. I remember hanging upside-down and looking at her underneath the seat with an opened can of tuna, waving it close to her nose. Finally, she came out, and I washed tuna fish out of my hair that night. We introduced her to Niko, showed her the litter bos, food and water dishes, and to our dismay, watched her disappear underneath the bed. Niko and I spent many days lying on the floor and talking to Smokey, but she wouldn't get near enough for me to touch her. She left evidence at night, though, so I thought she was getting to know Niko when we were asleep. Immediately, they became friends. Gradually, she moved closer to the edge of the bed frame, so I could pet her when I talked to her. One day we were sitting in the living room, and she strolled casually across the floor to the food dish and then sat down with her front feet together. She walked elegantly and seemed to be wearing high heels from the back.
After two years, she suddenly decided that she loved my husband, Jack, and from that time on, she spent many hours with him in his recliner. She showed interest in me only when I played the piano, and I though the sound of the piano might be familiar to her. When I tried to kiss her head, she immediately pummeled my head, like a drum, so I never tried that technique again. But she allowed me to hold her (for a second or two) and love on her. The last year of her life, she would curl up against me when I read my book or Bible in bed. She purred so loudly, you could hear her across the room.
In 2014, Niko died. By then we had acquired two additional rescue cats: Simon, a Main Coon, and Koshka, a little solid black juvenile delinquent. Both cats knew who ran the household: Niko, then Smokey.
We noticed that one side of her face looked fuller than the other side, an din 2016, she was diagnosed with cancer, which affected her eye and sinus cavity. When she lost half of her weight, her sense of smell, and stopped grooming, we knew that it was time to help her leave this earthly world. Smokey Bear Cat died on Friday, December 30,2016, at the age of 17 years old, and my husband and I cried like babies. In my mind, she reunited with her beloved first owner.
She had a good, long life. We loved her, comforted her, gave her space and time to be a cat, and in return, she was a sweet, loyal, beautiful, loving animal. In life, sometimes, you get lucky; we were lucky to have this pet, Smokey Bear Cat.