Friday, June 18, 2004

Smokey The Cat

I am worried and upset about Smokey.

He is also our special needs child. He is definitely not the brightest of the animals. I have vivid memories of him jumping at a squirrel outside only to smack, like a cartoon cat, into the glass of the screen door. Smokey is one stubborn SOB. Sometimes he will decide that my dinner should be his. So he will move towards the plate in a cautious, watchful manner—a cat stalking his meal. Except that I am sitting right in front of him, eating. So I see everything he does. There is nothing subtle about it from my viewpoint. I take a folded over section of the paper and very lightly whack him on the head—I’m not trying to hurt him, I just want him to abandon his quest for my meal. Smokey will lower his ears and crouch down looking very annoyed, but still try to sneak forward to the plate even as I am whapping him with the paper. Never say die that is Smokey’s motto. He never gives up.

In some ways this is an admirable trait. He frequently gets what he wants through simple patient determination. He’s gotten to go out in front of the house because he just keeps trying, on and on. He gets to sit on the kitchen counter despite my desire for a clean, antiseptic food preparation area simply because he keeps doing it until I give up. My wife is smarter than I, she turns it over to a Higher Power and lets him do what he wants and just tries to protect him and keep him safe. Me, I’m the dummy suffering from the obsession that some day, somehow, I will be able to control and enjoy Smokey the cat.

Like all of our pets, Smokey is a pound kitty. I was adopted myself and while I was too young at the time to appreciate what was going on, I do (rationally or not) identify with people and animals who are unwanted. I want to be like my adoptive parents, glad to have taken on the responsibility for a life. I suspect Smokey is a little inbred. Smokey can be a very loving animal, on his own terms. He loves laying on the laptop and being petted. The laptop is warm and he gets lots of attention there. If you are reading a book on the bed, forget it. Smokey sits on the book and purrs while he is petted. While perhaps Smokey is not analytically smart, he is emotionally pretty bright. Lisa points out that he is the one who comes to comfort her when she is upset.

Despite, or even perhaps because of his annoying traits, I love Smokey the cat. He’s about ten and a half years old and I am worried he won’t live to see eleven. He’s always had health issues, but lately he has been sick all of the time, not eating. He’s not a fat cat (Thelma is fat enough for both of the cats) and now he looks emaciated. I’m feeling guilty because I had forgotten his flea medication and he is very sensitive to flea bites—I think that is contributing to his decline. We finally got him eating soft foods just last night so we shall see. He can sense that we have a little extra money right now and has therefore managed to arrange a vet visit to remove the extra money. Smokey does that on a regular basis now.

See, I owe Smokey. For the first seven years he lived with us, I was an active alcoholic. He was there for the insanity and my amends to him (to the whole family really) is to give him as quiet and loving a life as I possibly can. I am not yet ready to stop doing that. I want Smokey there, ready to lie on top of whatever book I am trying to read. I suspect that I don’t have a lot of time to enjoy that any more.

One of the reasons I practice a Pagan spirituality is its sense of interconnectedness. Some faiths have this god who is absent from the world, you have to die and go somewhere else to experience god, and heaven is a remote promise far away from here. In my beliefs the Earth and everything on it are manifestations of the Goddess, of the Lord and Lady. She is not separated from Her creations, She is a part of them. Some faiths wonder if animals are in heaven. I don’t call it heaven, but I think animals are a part of it, and if not, I’m pretty sure I don’t want anything to do with it. I love the Celtic Blessing song:

By the Air that is Her breath,
By the Fire of Her bright spirit,
By the Waters of Her Womb,
And the Earth that is Her body

Our circle is open,
Yet unbroken,
May the peace/love/joy
Of the Goddess be ever in our hearts

Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again!

Smokey is a part of the great eternal stream of life, of creation and I pray for acceptance to let him return to it when the time comes. I am grateful for the time I have with him.

Good Morning Goddess Brigit! My name is Andy and I am an alcoholic. I have been kept sober since Imbolc, 2001 by Your grace and Your grace alone. I’d like to take this moment to thank You, my Higher Power, for this, my daily reprieve. Today is a good day to be SOBER.

Please, Great Goddess, be with me today, all through the day and help me to stay sober all day long. Show me Your will for me and grant me the power to carry that out. Thy will, not mine be done. Inspire me to act and create in Your name. Be welcome in me and to me, body, heart, mind and soul.

Adjuva Brigittia! Thank You! Blessed Be!