Sunday, May 15, 2016

My Animal Companion

There was a time in my life I could not care about anyone, including myself. I did not call my family. I did not have any true friends to speak of. I was surrounded by people yet always alone in my thoughts. I had many goals when I thought about quitting drugs. One of the main ones was to finally have a place where I could have a cat. Four years almost to the day, that cat became Smokey.

Smokey was a just that- a smokey tabby with some brown patches and greenish brown eyes. He started out as a rambunctious kitten that liked to play fetch or attack any toe that snuck out from under the covers. He quickly turned into something else. He became an extension of myself. He loved those in his inner circle. He hated outsiders. He would hiss at visitors to the point we mounted an "Attack Cat" warning sign for those entering our residence. He would climb up in the cabinets to surprise strangers trying to get a plate with a startling hiss. Was he feral at one point? No, we would answer. We even went so far as to go to a cat behavior class. The kind older woman in her caftan told us we had ruined him. Great, we thought. An unfriendly dude. He always made up for it in snuggles. 

When I quit heroin, I did not know if I would ever love anyone again. I just didn't. That feeling of numbness prevailed over any desire I had to be with another human being most of the time. Getting together with my husband was a happy accident. I didn't realize how much love I had to give until I met Smokey. He opened up parts of my heart that had been closed since childhood, when I believed people could be good hearted and love was real. He was there during all the major milestones of my life- a miscarriage, the death of both my parents, the difficult birth of my daughter. He just wanted to sit on my lap, to use what limited warmth he had as a heating pad. He licked my face, told me it was going to be alright, and as Eddie Griffin said best put "food in his motherfucking bowl". That was him. 

My room seems empty without him on the bed. There won't be any more brown and grey hairs on my black slacks I notice when I get to work. He won't be vomiting in my shoe anymore. I won't be getting any 5am licks for wet food. I am not going to use drugs over this. I'm not. I must acknowledge my life got a little bit duller. I have other fur babies, sure, but there will never be another Smokey. He taught this junkie to love again. I miss him.

Smokey in better times with his best friend Snowball


  1. It sounds like you taught Smokey how to love too. Take comfort in the knowledge that he knew nothing but love and happiness, during his time with you, as you remember the reciprocal feelings he gave to you and your family <3

  2. Awww I'm so sorry Tracey, I know it must be so hard to lose your companion who went through so much with you. I'm the same way with my pup, I'll never be ready for his time. I wish you well, just remember that he went a happy, loving cat, just like you loved him

  3. Losing a pet that has become part of your family is one of the more uncomfortable and painful things I can remember in life. Thanks for sharing about Smokey, he sounds rad!

    In the worst of my addiction my dog could see how bad I was and she sometimes wouldn't leave my room for days.. I'd be delirious and in and out of withdrawal. It tore me up that she wasn't disgusted by me.. But was worried and scared for me I could see it I her eyes. When I had to put her down because she couldn't walk it felt like my turn to be by her.. I remember chewing up 200mg of ms contin and railing some dilauded to muster up the sack to do it. She laid on me the whole drive and I just kept saying words I knew she knew and petting her. When they told me I didn't have to stay I knew I did. When she went I'm sure she was at peace, and I am happy for that. Not much I could do to repay her for all those awful years. She couldn't have been happier to do it for me.

  4. Sorry to hear this Tracey xoxo

  5. Huge Hugs Tracey! As I said before I have lost fur kids in the past and I'm currently losing one now. He's the last of my rag tag bunch and life with out any if them is a horrible reality I'm not ready for

  6. I know this post is a couple months old ( I'm getting caught up on your blog) but I felt compelled to say sorry. I lost my baby boy Ringo back in November. He was a little black chihuahua who helped me through some of the hardest points in my life, just like Smokey did for you. It's like losing a pice of yourself when they go, it really is.