Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Smoke - as a kitten with paws five sizes too big for him, the then generation of local kids saying "Oo! Look! A kitten" as he bounced around on the living-room window-sill. Growing into a big tough cat whose paws did fit - and was determined to mark the world (and the house) as his territory, leading to an almost lifetime ban from upstairs. As top predator in the neighbourhood, the cat who slept out in the middle of the lawn in warm weather, while the others sunned themselves in more sheltered spots.

Even just this autumn, in old age, when a strange cat made the mistake of wandering into the garden, all the others stayed about 10 feet away, looking, while he just strolled out, gaunt as he was, not puffing himself up, just keeping on approaching until the intruder started the ultra-slow-motion retreat that cats do when wishing to disengage without being set upon.

LATER: Friends reminded us of their first meeting with Smoke as a new kitten, who went out into the garden and promptly got stuck up a tree. So I had to get a ladder up to try and detach him, all the while being “assisted” by Shen, our then current Burmese, who was climbing up down and around, as if to try to show the n00b how you did trees.

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