Smokey! NO!

Brother Doug and his family have a cat, Smokey:


They also used to have a dog, Nick, who Smokey loved to torment. Nick would be sound asleep on the floor and Smokey would sneak up and pounce on him. Nick knew he was not allowed to put a permanent end to the irritant but would push it as far as he dared. He would grab him by the head, with the cat’s face stuffed deep into his mouth, then shake him back and forth. The cat apparently concluded the Jonah and the whale threat was worth the amusement factor and continued to do this for years.

One time Smokey did something that got that him the simulated mauling treatment while outside with wet sticky snow on the ground. Nick flipped him back and forth over the snow long enough that the snow embedded deep into his long fur. It then packed and stuck around him until he was nothing but a snowball with a face, tail, and four paws sticking straight out to the sides. Nick left him on the ground unable to move. His legs could not be moved enough to get his feet on the ground for coordinated movement.

The family was concerned but wasn’t sure what to do. He was packed in the snow so tight with his legs spread so far apart that they weren’t sure his leg joints were even still in their sockets. They brought him indoors and rather than risk addition stress on his joints just let him melt on the floor. Smokey recovered just fine but still didn’t consider there was a long term lesson to be learned.

Nick never initiated anything but never passed up an opportunity to inflict a desired punishment upon the cat. When someone yelled at the cat about some wrongdoing, like scratching the furniture, Nick would come running and nail the cat to give it the time honored visit to the tonsils and a vigorous shaking. He could be at the opposite end of the house, apparently asleep, and the words “Smokey! No!” would get him from full slumber to full cat head gagging in under five seconds.

All this is the back story for the real story I wanted to tell.

Nick was a really smart dog. He figured out that sometimes when Doug left the house with his rifle he would return with a dead deer and that after a short while Nick got tasty deer bones to chew on. Since hunting deer with a dog is not allowed Doug had to resort to things like putting the rifle out of a window at the opposite end of the house from Nick, leave the house with Nick inside, then retrieve the gun and go off into the woods in search of deer. If Nick were to see Doug leave the house with the rifle he would make life inside the house miserable for the inhabitants until Doug returned or he were released.

One time Doug was not sufficiently sneaky with getting the rifle out the door and Nick was on the lookout for an opportunity to join the hunt. Doug was just heading over the hill behind the shop into the woods when Doug’s daughter Amy gave him that opportunity. She absentmindedly opened the door on some minor excursion and Nick bolted through the narrow crack between her legs and the door. He launched out of the house like a fighter jet off the steam catapult on an aircraft carrier. He had acquired a lock on Doug, was on full afterburners, and time to intercept was measured in a handful of seconds. Amy realized she had messed up and yelled for Nick to return. After a couple of attempts with absolutely no response other than what appeared to be an attempt to break the sound barrier she finally yelled, “Smokey! No!”.

Disregarding the inadvisability of an instantaneous transition from full afterburners to full thrust reversers Nick did just that. There was a cloud of gravel and dust in the driveway and parking area between the house and the shop as Nick went from just subsonic in one direction to nearly supersonic in the other. Amy held the door open wide and stepped aside as Nick blew past her into the house in his quest to find Smokey and make sure he got what was surely due to him.

Doug had a smart dog but he has a smarter daughter.


6 thoughts on “Smokey! NO!

  1. this is as good a post as i have read anywhere on any topic in a long time.

    i am still laughing. very well done. i can only imagine what the snow encrusted cat must have looked like. priceless.

    john jay

    p.s. in its own little way, one tough cat.

  2. The headline reminded me of the “Sharkeesha, Nooo!” Video from a few months ago. Smart dogs…sometimes tio smart fir their own good.

  3. I have two indoor cats. Neither one has ever lived with or been around dogs. I have a neighbor who has two dogs. Occasionally, he’ll walk the dogs by my window when my cats are sitting in front of it.

    The dogs will bark and bark and get terribly excited. The cats just look at them. In fact, if one cat is NOT in front of the window and hears the dogs barking, she/he will RUN to the window to see the dogs. (My one cat is terrified of men and runs away from them, yet she tolerates the guy with the dogs when he has the dogs with him.)

    All of this makes me wonder what kind of communication exists between animals. The dog guy tells me his dogs love cats and grew up around them so I guess my cats know these are friendly dogs. I dunno, but it’s fascinating to watch the interplay between all of them.

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