THE BEST CONVERSATIONS OF SMOKEY AND TIMOTHY
Conversations between Smokey, an elderly former stray cat, and Timothy, a little black kitten, were by far the most popular regular features in the early days of Cats Confidential.
This feature was included by a Belgian author in a new book she was writing and has drawn compliments from around the world.
Cats Confidential has compiled many of these conversations in a new book entitled “How to Be A Cat,” and will be carrying selected reprints of some of thse articles within our new online format.
A WAY TO LIVE FOREVER
It was a hot, steamy summer day, and Smokey was investigating a spot under a pair of very old Virginia short-leaf pines as a potentially cool place for his afternoon nap. The ground was covered with pine needles and shaded not only by a huge rhodedendron so big it overlapped the porch at the Grey Rocks Cat Santuary, but also by a large mountain Laurel.
He was preparing to settle into this spot when little Timothy appeared. The two sniffed noses, and Smokey knew something was troubling the black kitten.
Timothy curled up close to Smokey, “I just found out Aunt Fluffy died. It’s so sad.”
Smokey rolled gently on his back, adjusting the pine needle bed to his proportions. “I know, buddy. We’ll miss the old girl. But she had sixteen good years, and that’s a lot for a pretty tortoiseshell who spent most of her time outdoors.”
Timothy looked at him solemnly. “Uncle Smokey, where do we go when we die? Mama used to tell us there was a cat heaven, and that if we were good we’d all go there and meet all of our cat friends and even see our favorite humans again. Is that true?
Smokey adjusted himself in a cool, stretched-out position. “Nobody knows, Tim. Sounds kinda nice, though. And a lot of humans believe it too. But they don’t know any more than we do. We’ve got to accept the fact that there are other possibilities. Maybe when we die it’s just—well, it’s just all over. Or maybe we start over again.”
Timothy’s eyes grew large and question. “Start over?”
“Sure. In nature everything works in cycles. Days, years, seasons. Dyin’ may be just one more stage in the cycle of life. A lot of humans believe they’ll come back and live another life. Kind of an interestin’ theory. But there ain’t no way to prove it.”
Timothy realized and rolled over on his side. “Well, I know we can’t live forever.”
Smokey sat up and scratched a flea and then began licking his paws and rubbing them across his face. “Well, actually, Tim, there is a way we can live forever. I’ll give you an example. Back years ago when I first came here to the Sanctuary, there was an orange long-haired tabby named Napoleon. Our human just loved him better than anything, and he loved them, too. And they still talk about him, what a wonderful cat he was. How he’d always come when they called him. How gentle he was with the other cats. How loyal he was. They’ll always remember him. He died of cancer, but in an way he’s still alive, because our humans will never forget him. I guess you’d say ol’ Napoleon will live in their hearts as a long as they live, and that’s kinda like livin’ forever.”
Timothy looked up at Smokey.
“That’s a nice way to think about it, Uncle Smokey. That memory is a kind of magic that makes the little kitties you love live forever. Do you suppose Napoleon knows it?”
Smokey settled back into a crouch. “Maybe he does. And ol’ Nap sure knew what a cat’s philosophy should always be. That for all we know, this life may be all there is, and so we need to make the most of it. Enjoy it, dont’ worry about the future and dont’ ever forget the humans who’ve been so kind to us. Keep showin’ ’em how much we love ’em.”
Timothy curled up , ready for his nap. “Thanks, Uncle Smokey. I feel better now. I know our humans loved Aunt Fluffy, and that she’ll keep on living in their memories. I hope that someday I will, too. .”
Smokey yawned. “Me, too, buddy. Me, too.”