Cat Conversations with Smokey and Timothy


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.”


How To Be A Cat

How To Be A Cat

How To Be A Cat

How does a kitten become a cat?

It learns from its mother. It learns from experience (often the hard way). It learns from humans. And sometimes, though very, very rarely, it learns from an older cat friend.

Timothy, a solid black kitten, was one of four siblings in his mother’s third and final litter. Timothy’s mother, after doing a good job or raising the kittens in her previous litters, disappeared. So did Timothy’s three siblings. And so Timothy was pretty much on his own while he was  a kitten.

But he found a friend. An elderly dark gray cat named Smokey, who himself had come to the Grey Rocks Cat Santuary as a young cat barely out of kittenhood.

Remarkably he formed a real attachment for Timothy, the little black kitten who wanted so badly to be his friend. The two were always together, and we know they were communicating about the subject of how to be a cat.

We reported their conversations in every issue of our newsletter, and so popular were these features that we have had many requests to compile them into a book.

Now we have done so.

Regular price, $9.50, marked down to $7.50 during the Summer Book Sale!

Cat Conversations with 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.


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.”