In 2009, the kids and I decided to get a cat. The one problem with that decision was that we didn’t tell their dad. He never wanted a cat, but we did. So we came up with a plan. A devious plan. We would hide the cat in one of the kid’s rooms, but just until it could settle. Then, we would move it outside so it could come and go around the house as it wanted.
This wasn’t a well thought out plan, but merely a spontaneous one when the kitten chose us one day. We were at the horse feed store when this little kitten jumped up on the counter demanding attention. By the time we left the store, we had a bag of horse feed and an adorable kitten that we decided to call Smokey.
The secret kitten mission was quite successful for a little over a week. But one night, their dad must have looked around and found we were all gone and quiet. He flung open the bedroom door where we were all on the floor playing with Smokey. As he playfully yelled, “What is going on here!” He realized there was a kitten in the middle of us. Unfortunately, the mastiff, Brutus, was inside at the moment as well and behind their dad. Brutus saw Smokey about the same time, so before anyone could respond, Brutus took off after Smokey and chaos ensued.
No one was injured in the great chase, but Smokey was moved out to the garage after another of week of his bedroom sequestration. He really blossomed there too. He loved to roam around the yard, sit on the four-wheeler, and lay around on his bed, which was on top of the refrigerator. He seemed to go out of his way to taunt the two mastiffs, Brutus and Buckeye, by walking on their fence. If they managed to get out of the fence, he would just go run and sit in his lofty bed while looking down on the wagging dogs. It became a humorous game they played. Smokey would also run into my car and sit in the back window during the trips to the kids schools.
Quickly, Smokey became a wonderful edition to the family.
And then, things had to change.
I was deploying to Afghanistan and there was a pending divorce. It was a lot of change at once. The plan was for Smokey to go with me (upon redeploying) and the dogs would stay. Unfortunately though, when I said goodbye to Smokey as I left for my overseas mission, it was the last time I would see him.
It seems odd that I was the one in a war zone and it was my sweet little cat who was killed. I know that is part of life, but frankly, it kind of sucked. By the time I came home, I not only lost my new kitty, I lost my dogs as well due to the divorce.
I look back at these pictures now and I think how lucky we were to have Smokey for that short time. He was full of personality and life. He brought us all together and made us laugh for a time. And, even though my ex never wanted a cat, he had him cremated because he was “the coolest cat.”