Photo Comments Sex: Male Weight: 20 lbs.
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Smokes, Holy Smokes
Smokey was the biggest cat at the shelter. He was spilling out of his cage, with his luxurient silky fur. As we passed his cage, he swiped us with his paw. He went home with us the next day. This was late 1992.
We had Smokey for 15 years, which was not nearly enough. We cherished every minute of our life with him. Smokey was a big guy! At his biggest he weighed 21 pounds. We were once asked if he was a cat (as opposed to a lynx?). He was a character! He was sweet and gentle, and yet he was an ornery individual, who ruled over the household with an iron paw. He was completely fearless. He would get in the middle of a fight (and sometimes instigate one) between two dogs 10 times his size. He was also very independent and a free spirit. All of our cats are indoor cats, and Smokey was the only one, who never fully came to grips with his confinement. We guarded the front door zealously, but he did get out a few times. He didn't go far: he would hang out in the neighbor's yard smelling tulips. He looked beautiful, an enourmous charcoal cat against a backdrop of bright red tulips.
Smokey had his pet peeves: nothing upright or hanging. For the 15 years that we had Smokey we could never have a plant, a flower vase, or a Christmas tree. Anything hanging, such as a garment on the back of a chair or a towel, would be pulled down and used to sweep the floors. Despite his size and weight, Smokey was very swift in dealing with the hanging items. Smokey loved food. He would demand it in the middle of the night by switching the lights on in the bedroom (that got us to feed him!).
In early 2008 Smokey fell ill. His front paw swell to twice its normal size. We took him immediately to College Park Animal Hospital in our area, which was our family vet at the time. In order to find the source of the swelling one of the hospital doctors took an X-ray of Smokey's chest, which did not help diagnose the swelling. As was determined later, however, this X-ray contained evidence of a severe congestive heart failure, which the vet who took the X-ray, and later another hospital vet, paid no attention to, despite the fact that Smokey was losing his appetite, wasting away, gurgling upon breathing, showed reluctance to lie down and lethargy (all symptoms consistent with congestive heart failure). As a result, Smokey went without treatment for the congestive heart failure for close to three weeks.
Alarmed by the symptoms, I rushed him to the ER, where he died after being sedated for another X-ray. The second X-ray showed that in the three weeks since the first X-ray, Smokeys heart disease had progressed to what appeared to be pericardial effusion. And yet congestive heart failure is often treated successfully with beta blockers and diuretics. Smokey's congestive heart failure was diagnosed on the first X-ray (taken at College Park Animal Hospital) by two vets at the ER and later by a Tufts University vet. Yet, when I confronted the owner (and head vet) of College Park Animal Hospital about his two staff vets missing the congestive heart failure on the X-ray that one of them took, he stated to me that this disease cannot be seen on an X-ray and that it cannot be recognized by anyone other than a veterinary cardiologist.
Smokey's family is now active in a nation-wide movement for accountability for negligent vets, a fitting legacy to Smokey's feisty spirit and fearless character.
rest in peace
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I've Been On Catster Since:
|December 14th 2008
||More than 5 years!
Rosette, Star and Special Gift History
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