Having more than one cat is hogwash. Get too many cats, and you’re a crazy cat lady. At least, that’s what I thought for many a year. I relished living with one kitty for 10 years. She moved with me from my apartment to my first home. I’d moved up the ladder, and was a bit full of myself, being a general manager of a weekly newspaper chain. She was a perfect companion.
I’d hear people talk about multipet households, and I’d think to myself — that’s stupid. Why would anyone have more than one cat or dog? One’s plenty. They have a good life. No one harasses them. They have sunny windows all to themselves. They have the food bowl all to themselves. As it turns out, I was headed for a change.
I had no intention of adding to my feline family. I was gone quite a lot, working long hours, traveling from one end of New Hampshire to the other. One cat, Victory, (who I met outside a bar) was all I could deal with. After all, the house was quite small, ample for two of us, but no more.
Victory, or Vic, became quite spoiled. I left the air conditioner on for her so she’d stay comfortable during those hot summer days in southern New Hampshire. She’d get some tuna treats from friends when they came over for a few nips after a long week at work.
In the spring of 1989, my life dramatically changed. My grandmother died. She’d been like a mother to me and our entire family. Gram lived with us — or, I should say, we lived with her on the family farm. She was quite a matriarch. She ruled the roost, and when she died it left quite a hole for all of us.
My dad, who was now retired, had been taking care of her. After a few months, he started thinking about getting a new kitten. While my parents had a calico cat, Sam, they thought a kitten would be a delight. Sam was a bit skittish and removed. A kitten might be more attentive and fill some of the void.
Because we didn’t know of anyone having a kitten to give away, I suggested we go to the local animal shelter in search of a new feline for dad. It was Columbus Day weekend.
I’d never been into an animal shelter. I’d heard about them, but never entered this world before. It was indeed sad to see all these cats in cages. There were rows and rows of cages in this one big room. You could walk up and down isles with cats on both sides of you. There were howling dogs in the nearby kennel. It was hard to think.
Mom and Dad went looking for their kitten. I hung back to check out the cats. I was meandering up and down the isles casually looking at them. Too bad they had been left at the shelter, I thought. Too bad they didn’t have good loving homes. Every once in a while one would start meowing and swishing their tale to get my attention.
There was this one kitty who was going out of her way to get my attention. She was hooking her paw outside the cage, meowing in a rather high-pitched manner. I stopped to pet her. She kept hooking me, as if to grab my hand. She’d put her chin against the cage, hoping I’d rub her chin.
She was stunning, steel gray with a touch of brown sprinkled in her glossy coat. She had bright green eyes, and big ears. She couldn’t be very old. She was determined to get my attention, and keep it. She kept pawing at my hand, nuzzling her chin against it. She was becoming very excited with my attention.
I thought, "Oh crap …" This was one nice cat. I didn’t expect this. She’d be ideal, but I couldn’t do it to Victory. Maybe Mom and Dad could keep her for a while. She’d be a fantastic playmate for the new kitten. After all, she was barely more than a kitten herself.
Mom and Dad did find a white, long-haired kitten with dark gray patches. She was about three months old, all kitten, feisty and playful. They made out the adoption papers, only they couldn’t take her home till the next day.
I knew I really wanted this cat, and that scared me. I decided to sleep on it, because with time I knew I could usually talk myself out of buying things that I didn’t need. Would it be a good decision to get a second cat? I did not need one. But, deep inside, I knew I really wanted her. Blue had put a paw print on my heart, and coaxed me into wanting to make her a part of my life.
The next day, we went to pick up the kitten, and my decision was made. I just had to have Blue. I had fallen for her, and she for me. There was no turning back. I filled out the paperwork. The next day, I returned to the shelter and picked her up.
Everything was great about Blue, except the name. It was not fitting. She really did resemble a Russian Blue, but all I could think of was some old codger named Blue I’d known as a kid. She was much more dignified and refined. Could she be a Smokey? That didn’t fit either. She became Smokey Blue.
She was no ordinary cat. She chirped like a bird, and became snuggle city. She’d crawl into your lap and just die to be petted. She wasn’t obnoxious about it. She would take no for an answer, but not till after a very persistent effort to gain my undivided attention. From the first encounter at the shelter, she was a true love. If I was on the phone, she’d start chirping for attention. Then, she’d start biting and playing with the chord. She wanted my attention, and didn’t want me giving it to that phone.
We decided Smokey Blue would stay temporarily with my parents. She’d play with the kitten, Snag. They had free reign throughout the house. One day, Dad decided to close off some unused rooms. They managed to get the door ajar, and literally chewed and clawed their way through. That would teach Dad they weren’t going to be barred from their fun playrooms.
We had become quite a family, and the kitties, including Smokey Blue, Snag, and Sam, became a huge reason to make the trek to visit my parents — and bring Victory along, as well.