I've read a few blog postings over the last couple of weeks discussing pets. This got me thinking about one cat in particular. The one and only, and amazingly still very much alive Smithers (Geez, I hope that doesn't jinx it).
Smithers was our pet cat in college. Imagine 10 guys and one cat living in a huge old house together. I'm not entirely sure how we ended up with Smithers, although I recall it required a house meeting or five to determine who and how we were going to take care of this cat. And there were a few idle threats about how this cat was going to end up homeless, and on the streets with a drug addiction, if we didn't step in. Even with that, looking back on it it, I'm surprised we agreed to it, considering during college most of us were barely managing to feed and take care of ourselves, yet alone taking care of a pet. The fact that we agreed to take money out of our bee....um....tuition funds for cat food and cat litter is impressive. But, it actually all worked out as Smithers became somewhat of a mascot for our house...and by mascot I mean he was pretty representative of our house, as he mostly sat around, slept, ate, bothered people at 2:oo in the morning and occasional tried to break stuff.
Smithers at his best was amazingly entertaining (Granted, we once had a cardboard box as a TV, so we were easily entertained) and at his worst shockingly dumb. Falling both into the entertaining and dumb category, Smithers had a nasty habit of climbing out the windows of the house and walking around on the roof. He once climbed out my third story (25 feet high?) bedroom window, walked around the edge of one of the eves of the roof (maybe a foot wide, and angled steeply) to the third story bathroom window. Realizing a return trip would be difficult, he sat outside the bathroom window and waited to be let in. Who knows how long he waited. But it was a bit of a surprise to encounter a cat sitting outside a closed window of the third floor.
He only ever actually fell off the roof once (that we know of). And fortunately that happened to be the roof of the front porch. One day, he went out on the porch roof and curled up in the rain gutter on the edge of the roof and went to sleep. Much to his surprise and ours, his weight caused the rain gutter to rip off the front of the house sending him falling 12 feet through a rose bush onto the ground. A few of us heard the racket and looked out the window just in time to see Smithers go falling past the window. Quite the site. He clawed the siding/window the whole way down. Amazingly he was unharmed. Which is good, because we couldn't of afforded a vet visit. A shot of whisky, maybe, but a vet visit, no.
In addition, there was the occasional report by various people of Smithers narrowly avoiding traffic on any of the numerous busy streets around our house. It's a good thing he only lived in Seattle for a couple of years. He wouldn't of survived much more.
As college ended, and each of us moved out of the house, we realized none of us was going to be able to take Smithers with us into our various new apartments or houses. The answer? The Russell Retirement Home for Lost, Confused, or Mildly Deformed Felines (No really, they have a Poloydactyl Cat.)..or in other words my parent's house. So after college, we took Smithers to Spokane (that was a long car ride) and for the last seven years, he's been well fed, comes and goes as he chooses, and is generally living the good life on an acre of land chasing mice, birds and climbing and falling out of trees. Believe it or not, every time I visit home and first see Smithers, he always acknowledges me with a meow or by running up to me. So, I guess that means he's not mad at us. And that in a nut shell is the story of Smithers, or as much as I can remember. And I can't believe I just wrote that much about a cat.