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Smoggy was a vicious female brown tabby (maybe). Despite her viciousness, we all miss her and love her. Here is her story:
Many years later I had a kind of 'Groundhog Day' experience when I came home from school one evening - box on table, faint miaowing and a knowing look on parent's faces. If anything the miaowing was even stronger than before and this time I approached the box with some expectation. Remembering Puss-Puss's arrival, I opened the box and peered in. Well there was an almighty screech from the 'prisoner' inside and like a real prisoner this one wore stripes. The two wild eyes looked up at me and I'm sure I heard her bellow "Come on! Get me out of this box.". As I lifted her out, she lashed out with her claws and scratched me, drwaing a little rivullet of blood on the back of my hand. When I put her down she looked up crossly and everyone in the kitchen that evening knew she said "Well what's keeping you? Where's the milk? . . . and it had better be chilled!"
Dad had picked a horse that day called "Smoggy Spray" which had romped home and won him a tidy sum. He began referring to our latest four-legged friend as Smoggy Spray. The name stuck and was shortened to Smoggy. Smoggy's coat was a mixture of stripes and mottling which gave her a vague resemblence to a tiger. Whatever about her appearance, her nature was definitely that of a tiger. She was absolutely wicked and loved nothing more than to fight with anyone brave enough to put their hand or fingers within her reach. She was lightening fast and often the first you would know of her claws was the red stripes on your skin. Another aspect of her athleticism was her uncanny ability as a 'goal-keeper'. If you tossed a little ball of paper in her direction, she would leap up, strike out with her paw and bat the ball straight back to you. In spite of her somewhat abrasive nature, we grew fond of Smoggy and she lived as a fully paid-up family-member for a long time.
For a while of course both Smoggy and Puss-Puss shared the house. At the time of Smoggy's arrival, Puss-Puss had become a genteel old Lady. In spite of this she took it upon herself to instruct Smoggy in the basics of cat-life in a family home. Invariably, when Puss-Puss wanted to snooze, Smoggy wanted to play and selflessly enough, Puss-Puss would dangle her tail and flick it around so that Smoggy could practice her stalking and pouncing. To get from the house to the country-side a great leap was required from the yard to the top of a high wall. Smoggy was shown this route and, encouraged by Puss-Puss, eventually made a successful leap to the top of the wall. This was all very fine and everyone was delighted. However, in order to get back into the house, the cats needed to jump from the top of the wall back down into the yard below. Again Puss-Puss gave a demonstration. Over to the top of the wall, get the back legs on to the edge, slowly move the front legs down the face of the wall and then, with a kind of vertical running movement, slide down the wall and at the last moment, strike out and get the four legs ready to act as shock-absorbers for the final landing on the ground. This was repeated a few times and Smoggy seemed to be getting the message. She moved over to the top of the wall, placed her back legs on the edge, looked down the precipice into the yard below and . . . she bottled it. She tried a couple of more times at different places along the wall and even with Puss-Puss's encouragement, Smoggy couldn't bring herself to make the great leap. It was the plaintive and hungry crying that alerted Mum to the situation and she tried to encourage Smoggy to descend the wall. She called her, cajouled her and even held up tasty morcels of food for her but alas, without intervention, Smoggy was destined to remain an out door cat for good. Eventually Mum relented and went and opened an upstairs window. Smoggy trotted in and with an uncharacteristic show of rubbing, purring and affection made her way to the ground floor by means of the stairs. So it was for the rest of her days. She never mastered the art of jumping even though Puss-Puss, many years her senior, continued to do so for the rest of her days. And another one to continue jumping through hoops was my mother who spent years traipsing up and down the stairs every time her ladyship beckoned her!
The big Jump!
One day, my son and I went down to "Granny's" as we call Mum's house. Smoggy was not to be found anywhere so we proceeded with normal activities (My son ate some chocolate from Mum's shop and I chatted to her). After the chocolate was eaten, we decided it was time to go home, when we suddenly heard this mewing noise! It seemed to be coming from the yard. Mum, Michael (my son) and I went out and lo and behold there was Smoggy on top of the wall! I knew she was thinking "Oh, how do I do this again? I remember Puss-Puss told me one time!". Eventually she took her chances and ran down the wall. There was lots of purring and petting and then Michael and I went home.