Saturday, December 26, 2009
Smokey Joe Trouble
About fifteen years ago, my husband began talking about getting a cat. Now, I am not (or make that “was” not) a cat person. They are just a tad aloof for my taste, but since Alex wanted one so badly, I conceded that if our landlord gave us permission, he could go ahead. (Of course, all this was with the assurances of “You’ll never have to clean the cat box, I promise” and “I’ll feed it and do everything for it, I promise.” Uh huh. Well, that’s another story.
Alex went to the shelter and got a cat while I was at work. I had images of a tiny white bundle of fur we could name “Snowflake” or “Sweetums.” I got a call at the office saying our new cat had been adopted. “Wonderful,” I replied. “Tell me everything.”
Well, he’s about five months old (what? not a little kitty), and he’s black tabby. (Snowflake? I think not.) Fine, whatever made Alex happy made me happy. When I got home I was somewhat surprised to see a cat with canine teeth like a saber-toothed tiger (which actually showed even when his mouth was closed) and a torn ear and what can only be deemed a unique sense of humor. My husband had christened him “Smokey Joe” and Smokey had attitude to spare. He did not particularly like to be petted; he got a lot of pleasure out of yowling and jumping on our heads at 3:00 a.m., and best of all, scaring our visitors.
An unsuspecting guest would go in to use our guest bathroom, (but there was a little space at the bottom of the door). We could count to ten and wait for the scream. Smokey would stick his long furry black arm under the door and bat and/or claw the guest’s foot and leg while they were on the commode. He thought he was a pretty funny guy!
When my dear mother would come to stay, he would torment her by catching her hair sprayed coif in his claw every time she walked down the stairs.
We took Smokey to the vet to get his teeth cleaned (who would have “thunk” it?) and his teeth were pretty bad for a young cat. They had to remove about half of them, including the saber teeth that I had actually gotten quite used to and become fond of. The removal of teeth did nothing to remove his sense of humor!
A couple of years ago, now that Smokey is an older cat, we noticed some changes in him. For one thing, he began singing opera (Chinese or Indonesian maybe) in the middle of the night. This vocalization would continue for three or four hours. Smoke would also come in and awaken us in the night because he was hungry. Something wasn’t right.
We took Smokey to the vet and her diagnosis was that Smokey had a hyper-active thyroid condition. He would need treatment by a specialist. She gave us the name of a specialist and we hurried home to contact the Feline oncologist who would be treating Smokey. We were told that Smokey would have a treatment that would in essence kill off his thyroid gland and this treatment would take two weeks of hospitalization and cost about $3000. Oh Lord! How soon can we get him in? We made the appointment for the next week and I tried to do every bit of research I could about hyperthyroid cats.
We sent Smokey’s favorite ratty blanket to the hospital with him. My husband took Smokey to the hospital because I couldn’t take such an emotional situation. Alex said when he took Smokey into the hospital, all the mostly pedigree hospitalized cats looked and him and sort of jeered, “Why fix you? You’re ugly.”
The doctor called me after a few days to say that Smokey had not come out from under his blanket once since he’d been admitted. I begged to come and get him and bring him on home, but they insisted that my radio-active cat remain hospitalized for the full two weeks. They did drag Smokey out and give him IV fluids but other than that, he played the cat who wasn’t there.
I’m glad to say he’s home, healthy and fine for a toothless, torn-eared cat, and he still has his attitude. Thank God some things never change!