Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving at the Shady Rest

Most people will spend tomorrow dealing with a 14-pound bird; I'll spend it dealing with a 14-pound cat.

Two days ago, as the temperature plunged, Tom and I went to check on Smokey, my cat who adopts elderly people. Smokey has been living 7 blocks north of us, in the greenhouse of an elderly Norwegian woman, for the past three years. We went up last month to make sure the barn heater we'd installed for him two years ago was plugged in, and we found Smokey terribly thin and frail. As was the little old lady. She was confused; the cat was unhappy.

Her son was in the process of moving in to the house to take care of her, and we impressed on him the important of taking care of Smokey -- he'd apparently never had a cat before. The cat has since regained the weight he'd lost.

The woman and her son were pleased to see us Tuesday and they seemed relieved that we were going to take the cat to spend a couple of days in a warm TV room. The reason they don't let the cat inside is that she has severe osteoporosis and has, over the past few years, broken several bones -- including her hip. If she trips over Smokey, she's done for.

Smokey's getting on in years, and less able to survive extreme cold in the greenhouse with just the heated pad in his box. So we brought him home, and he's in the TV room, having a ball with lots of cat food, water, and petting (in the greenhouse, his food is often grabbed by raccoons and other cats). To our delight, the Bombay, Mabel, was very welcoming to Smokey and they get along as if they'd known each other for years. Upstairs, the tabbies are pretending nothing is going on, and Sheba, the deaf cat, could care less.

When it warms up tomorrow, Smokey goes back to the greenhouse -- along with an apple pie for the woman and her son.

I talked with our vet today -- and followup call about Sheba -- and told him the latest in the Smokey saga. I bring Smokey in every year for shots and flea meds, so the vet knows the back story. He predicts that some day Smokey will decide to live with us again.

His first winter in the greenhouse, Smokey walked 7 blocks home every night to sleep in our basement, returning to the greenhouse at 6 in the morning. We're pretty sure he still knows the way home.

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