Another cat to come our way was Smokey. Smokey was so called because, as a kitten his coat, rather than being jet black, was slightly grey. We always assumed that his colour would darken but it never did, which is just as well I suppose, otherwise we might have ahd to change his name. Smokey came from a farmer up the hill in county Cork called Cronin. As he supplied us with cats, my father used to refer to him as "Cat-Crónán", Crónán being the Irish for Cronin, and "An Cat Crónán" being Irish for "The Cat Purring".
The Partner in Crime
Clint Eastwood once made a film called "Smokey and the Bandit". Our Smokey also had a partner in crime, although his name was Felix, not Bandit. He might as well have been called Bandit because he was the greatest rascal of a cat ever to wag a tail. He lived in the house next door. Our neighbours never had cats and usually ended up feeding ours. They must have thought that if they couldn't beat them, they might as well join them and they acquired their cat Felix at about the same time as 'Cat-Crónán' delivered Smokey to our house. Smokey was a very curious and boisterous male kitten, into everything and up on every place he could climb. Felix on the other hand was wild. He couldn't be domesticated. I remember days spent trying to entice him out of the roof space in the old bakery at the back of our house. He had run there when he first arrived and couldn't be got out. Hours of "pish-wishing" couldn't persuade him to come out. Eventually hunger got to him, and the trail of food that Mick had laid out for him led him back to captivity. He had many more escapades and always remained just that little bit on the wild-side. Smokey probably had a stabilising effect on Felix and the two were quite good friends. In fact Smokey continued the tradition of going next door for some extra rations. Brown bread and milk was the fare dished out next door and Smokey lapped it up. This was strange because, at home he would only eat corned-beef. I don't know how the neighbours felt about the situation where they were now feeding two cats and still didn't have one to curl up in front of the fire in the evenings.
Smokey lived a long and happy life with us, before departing for the great cattery in the sky.