Cat Conversations with Smokey and Timothy

WHERE DID CATS COME FROM?

It was a pleasant summer evening, and Smokey and little Timothy were sitting on the hillside patio overlooking the main yard of the Grey Rocks Cat Sanctuary, watching several of the other cats come and go along the driveway.

His eyes wide with youthful curiosity, Timothy turned to look at his large gray/black friend. “Where did we come from, Uncle Smokey?” You and I and all the rest of the cats in the world?”

Smokey settled into a crouch and half closed his eyes. “Good question, boy. I don’t know and neither do the humans. ‘Course, some of ’em think they do, and they’re the ones who keep the others all confused. My Mama used to tell me that way back a long time ago, Father Cat — kind of a huge old Maine Coon, I think, with a long, fluffy tail— decided there needed to be more cats on earth, and he just created a couple of ’em out of nothing. They looked just like him. Well, they multiplied like rabbits, and so here we are.”

Timothy’s eyes grew even larger. “Really?”

Smokey yawned. “Well, it’s a little far-fetched, I admit, and Mama did say a lot of cats believe it ain’t true. They think we evolved from things like the big ol’ sabor-toothed tigers. But, then, that raises the question of who created the big ol’ saber-toothed tigers. Ain’t no real good answer, son. But what I’ve come to believe is, what the heck difference does it make?”

Timothy was puzzled. “What do you mean?”

I mean we’re here, and we got this great gift called life, and if we sit around worryin’ about stuff like that, life’s gonna be over before we get a chance to enjoy it. We’ll get hit by a garbage truck or et up by a coyote or just get some cat disease, and we’ll all be gone. Shoot, I got better things to do than worry about where I came from.”

Timothy licked a paw and rubbed it across his face. “Well, however I got here, I’m mighty glad I’m here. And if Father Cat created me, then I sure appreciate it.”

Smokey half closed his eyes. “Good attitude, buddy. Good attitude. If humans would just do like us cats and enjoy what they’ve got, the world would be a better place.”

Timothy stood up and looked down at his brothers romping about on the lawn. “Well, I’m going to go down and join the fun. I think the world is a wonderful place!”

Smokey suddenly felt very good about life in general. “Me too, Tim. Me too.”

Cat Conversations with Smokey and Timothy

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.”

Cat Conversations with Skye and His Friends

It was the first day of spring. The sun was finally shining after a long spell of cold wather. And both Abraham and Teddy bear were sitting in the front hall windows of the Grey Rocks Cat Sanctuary itching to go outside.

Suddenly Teddy Bear changed his mind.

“There he is again. The neighbor’s big black dog stealing our food. I hate that dog. I just hate him.”

Skye jumped up in the window and saw the dog, too, finishing off what had been a big bowl of cat food. He shook his head and hopped down.

“He sure is stealing it, boys” he told the two young cats. “But don’t say you ‘hate’ him. First off, you don’t know him. But more importantly, maybe they don’t give him enough to eat at home. It’s the way dogs are. They see a bowl of food, they’ll eat it. But don’t say you hate them.”

Abraham was curious. “Why not, Uncle Skye?”

Skye sat down in the middle of the front hall and prepared to deliver a lecture.

“Boys, the Cat Commandments say clearly, ‘you shall not hate.’ It’s as simple as that. Cats just don’t hate. We may not like something or what somebody is doing. But we don’t’ hate. We just usually try to get away. Go somewhere else. But hate is a pretty strong word. Humans shouldn’t use it either.”

Abraham wanted to know about the Cat Commandments.

Sky scratched behind an ear. “Boys a long time ago, the story goes, God and his cat, Talulah, got to talking one day about the Ten Commandments that the humans have that were supposed to guide them as to what to do . How to live their lives. God really wasn’t happy with those commandments because the humans kept arguing about what they meant, and kept breaking them or else didn’t pay any attention to them. “Well, boys, Skye told Abe and Teddy,” Talulah, who was a pretty smart cat, thought there should be a new set of commandments in a very simple form which would apply to both humans and cats.

“Let’s call them the Cat Commandments,” she said, and God agreed. “But they should be worded to cover what the humans do as well as what cats do, and as I recall, Commandment Number 4 is ‘you shall not hate.’”

God thought this was a good idea, and together he and Talulah worked out ten things that would guide both humans and cats as to how to get along in the world.

“Every cat should know these by heart,” Skye declared. “Your mothers probably would have told you about them, but you two weren’t able to spend much time with your mothers. Anyway, here’s what they are:

I. You shall respect and obey the laws of nature.

II. You shall cherish the gift of life above all else and live life fully and joyfully.

III. You shall use wisely and with humility the unique abilities you have been given by the power that created you.

IV. You shall not hate.

V. You shall forgive, knowing that humans are only human and from time to time will make mistakes.

VI. You shall love those who deserve your love and be loyal to them always.

VII. You shall be honest in all undertakings and shall not complain about things that are insignificant.

VIII. You shall maintain an independent spirit and a spirit of freedom, but not let them interfere with the independence and freedom of others.

IX. You shall strive to live in peace with all creatures, humans included.

X. You shall accept with serenity the conclusion of life when it comes and trust in nature and in the power that created you instead of worrying about what may lie ahead.

“So don’t hate that poor old dog,” Skye concluded. Losing a little cat food is no big deal and maybe his owner will do something about it. But don’t say you ‘hate’ him.”

Abraham had a question. “But we sure don’t have to love him, do we Uncle Skye?”

“Not unless he deserves it,” Sky replied. “The commandments cover that, too. Just remember, God doesn’t want cats hating cats any more than he wants humans to hate humans. The Cat Commandments contain some good lessons for everybody.”