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 Smokey J

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Smokey J

  • Birth unknown New Zealand
  • Death 19 May 2013 Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Burial Cremated, Other, Specifically: Ashes shared by two loving families.
  • Memorial ID 110792468

She was sweet, snuggly, adventuresome, outgoing, and all her long life -perhaps 18 years- she maintained the appearance of a kitten. Smokey's story is doubtless better than I can be expected to tell it. We all wish she could have told it, but for now we have only pieces of her puzzle.

Smokey was seen around the neighborhood a lot in Newlands, Wellington, New Zealand and seemed streetwise yet very friendly. By 2006, if not earlier, Smokey had made a friend of my sister in law, and began stopping by the family's apartment. Thus began the evolution of occasional visits to regular visiting, to feeding, to sleeping by the heater, and to much love on both sides. Smokey had my sister and brother in law, as well as their son all enchanted. My nephew would be escorted to his school bus stop, and was graced by her presence on his bed at night.

Having grown to adore her, the family became concerned she could be picked up by the pound, so they got her a collar bearing their address and phone number. Some time later, they got an indignant call that she belonged to this other family that was calling. It seems Smokey's earlier life had been as part of a family that was rather careless about her. She loved being out and about in the neighborhood, but it is probable too that she was always adventuring because there was not much for her at home with a family unversed in (or perhaps uncaring about) a cat's needs. For example: this family would go away on vacation, and make no provision for Smokey. Perhaps they naively believed she could hunt, kill and regularly feed herself, but that's not possible for any domestic cat, especially not in a major city.

In fact, it later came out, this family who claimed she was theirs was not Smokey's first family either. They had found her with a collar too, proclaiming her name was Kibble. Just how many families had known this cat?

Perhaps Smokey's experiences with her early families had taught her not to put all her proverbial eggs in one basket. Maybe that is why she reached out to my relatives. She didn't stop there. In addition to my sister in law's family, Smokey quietly made friends with another family as well. This next family called her Tigger, and in the cat's mind, may have been her backup plan in the event of another family failure. Smokey's plan proved unnecessary, but you must give her credit for formulating a good survival strategy. She now had two good adoptive families looking out for her, and for a while, each thought they were her only family until finally they learned about one another.

In any case, the last two of Smokey's families became friendly, one alerting the other when they would be away, and both very enamored of this lively, resourceful, lovely cat. She could visit, sleep and eat where she chose.

In November 2012, Smokey was making her neighborhood rounds when she was hit by a car resulting in a broken leg. She limped to the family's home and waited by the door until my sister in law came home, and then spent the night there. As a courtesy, the next morning Smokey's previous family was called, and they washed their hands of her, saying she was no longer their responsibility. Smokey's two new loving families were then free to do the best they could for her.

As a result, the families agreed that Smokey would stay at her newest family's home (where someone was nearly always home) and an open-door visitation grew between them. My sister in law credits that wonderful family with doing everything possible to make Smokey's life comfortable after her accident, including visits to the vet, an electric blanket to keep her warm, getting her a cage during the sensitive recovery period, securing a special fresh water fountain to encourage drinking, and of course, the daily duties of litter and food. In particular, she was awed by the husband's tender patience while giving Smokey her tablets, and notes that the children doted on the kitty as well.

Sadly though, after the surgery to put a pin in Smokey's leg, the passage of time made her future sadly clear: the leg was not healing. The vet was talking about possible amputation. The healing process, because of the pin, required antibiotics, which gave Smokey ulcers, and she lost her appetite as a result, growing thin. On top of this, the vet advised that Smokey had kidney failure, sadly common in older cats. She stopped drinking, and got fluid drips to rehydrate her, but nothing was going to make her better.

Smokey's two families worked together for her good, in the hopes that love, rest and veterinary attention might get her back on all four feet, but it was not to be. The friendly cat who spent much of her life out and about visiting was mired at home, unable to move about easily, not eating well, not healing, and facing the looming prospect of suffering further from kidney disease. The appetite stimulants barely got her to eat a quarter of a serving of food, and she was not drinking. Her options might have been summarized as starvation, dehydration, amputation, infection. No matter how one looked at it, she was already leaving, and it was a matter only of when and how. Thus, the two families who loved Smokey had to discuss the difficult question of potentially allowing her to leave us before her suffering became any greater than it had already become. There are varying philosophies of allowing a spirit to go naturally versus sparing suffering through euthanasia, and there are many people torn between them. No matter what one believes, seeing suffering and resignation is not easy. Finally the decision regretfully was made to help Smokey move on.

No one can say with certainty where loving cats go when they leave us. There's the old Rainbow Bridge story of course. It's easier though, to think of Smokey in her new place, free and safe to move about again, being social and making lots of new friends once more. May God bless, Smokey... you were beautiful, unique, comforting, smart and a true friend to many.


Sincere thanks to Nancy Murray for her kind sponsorship of Smokey's memorial. Nancy, never have I seen any memorial be so quickly sponsored, and you chose a deserving beautiful spirit.


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  • Created by: sr/ks
  • Added: 18 May 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 110792468
  • nancy murray
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Smokey J (unknown–19 May 2013), Find A Grave Memorial no. 110792468, ; Maintained by sr/ks (contributor 46847659) Cremated, Other, who reports a Ashes shared by two loving families..