Remembering Smudge

It was July 16, 1991.  After YEARS of begging for a kitty, my brother’s and my quest was finally complete.


“We want that one!” we shouted, pointing to the runt of the litter who had just stumbled into the water dish.  Smudge Tret was so dubbed on the ride home.  He quickly won us over, despite his less-than-winsome personality.  We blame his anger issues on my mother, who used to tease him endlessly until he would attack her, all claws and teeth.  I can’t even tell you how many times my hands ended up looking like shredded ribbons.


Smudge had many foes and few friends.  But he was the smartest cat I ever met.  He took commands.  “Night night,” we’d say, and he would trot down to the basement for the evening (or hide under the kitchen table until we got close enough to swat him out from under—he always thought he was pretty tricky with that one).  “Get down,” and he would jump off the counter, chair, or whatever other elevated area he wasn’t supposed to be on.  “No, Smudge” said in the right tone caused him to pause whatever he was doing, utter a low growl, but then obey.  Mom even trained him not to go on the new couch these past few years.  And the time or two she did catch him on it—boy, did he have a guilty look!


Smudge had to be put down this morning.  I called my mom on her lunch break, and she was sobbing.  He had begun to leave drool spots when he would lie somewhere just last week, and then last night he started bleeding from the mouth.  A visit to the vet this morning brought the sad news that he had a large internal tumor under his jaw and there wasn’t much they could do.


I’d like to end with some pleasant (and some humorous, but not so pleasant) memories of my kitty:


  • He was so small when he came home with us that he could go into a Kleenex box and hide around the corner, completely unseen.
  • He used to attack the backs of our knees as we walked away.
  • He had a favorite spot on the back of Mom’s recliner.  He ruined the back of two recliners with his fatness and fur.
  • He also loved to sit on the back of the piano while I practiced (see photo).
  • I crocheted a harness for him when I was about 12, and we used to try to take him for walks.  Most cats don’t like walks; Smudge was no exception.
  • We tied him to our front fence once with that harness, and he jumped off the edge and hung himself.  Thankfully Mom was on hand to rescue him.
  • He hated going to the vet.  Whenever he would get put in his carrier and loaded into the car, that little guy would try everything he could to escape.  Mom said even today he tried to, though he was feeling so crummy.
  • He would wait on a little ledge by the door until we came in, and then expect some love.  Usually within a minute or two, he would get angry and bite.
  • Though he was neutered, we caught him time after time making nice with an afghan.  And then with a different one.  Gross.  I guess all those lessons about chastity and faithfulness didn’t take.
  • He tried to squeeze into any sort of box that was available.  We derived immense pleasure out of putting smaller and smaller boxes in front of him to tempt him.  The smallest I remember him trying was a VHS tape box.  He obviously didn’t quite fit.
  • When we would leave our coats on the floor, he would crawl in and “wear” them (see photo).  To see his little head poking out the hole was quite funny.  One time he got his body stuck in the sleeve of my letterman’s jacket with his face poking out the arm hole.  “Cat”erpillar…that’s what he looked like.
  • We did complete dissection of cats in my Senior Biology class, and my friends named their cat after Smudge.  I was mad, but it was illustrative of his reputation.
  • Even though he was de-clawed in the front, he once caught a bird.  He came trotting over to the front of the house to show it off, and it flew out of his mouth.
  • My grandmother hated Smudge most of his days, but in the past few years they became “buddies.”  He was the only cat she liked.
  • Same with Dad…he and Smudge were mostly enemies (though you could tell Smudge feared/respected my dad), but when Dad got sick and spent a lot of time laying down, Smudge was always there to be a comforter.


Ah, Smudge…mean and quirky as you were, you will be missed.


12 thoughts on “Remembering Smudge

  1. Aww Heidi, I am so sorry. Smudge seems to have had a wonderful personality. Our Ruvy is much like him when it comes to looking for love and leaving it fast. With nips and swats on the way out because it makes her look tougher! Good luck to your mom in her healing from the loss. A lot of non pet owners dont get the attachment.

    I am a cat lover (as you have seen from my blog), and have many fond memories of all the cats I have had in my lifetime (I am old ya know! 37 in 3 months… oy)… Molly(d), Shammus(d), Dylan(d), Taz(d), Jasmine(d), Wylie(d), Nook (d), Max (d), Chemo (moms cat, we got him when she died. He had liver cancer 😦 (d), Buddy (my friend Brenda has him because he made nice with Ruvy and it t’wasnt pretty), Ruvy and Toby (we have now). Of course because he would be sad, our dog Daschel loves the kitties!

    So why are so many gone? We got many of them from the pound as adults, so they were already aged.

  2. Oh Heidi,

    I am so incredibly sorry about your loss. I noticed that you put this post under the title of “mothering” so I know that you considered Smudge to be one of your babies, furry or otherwise.

    Being an animal person, I understand the depth of which our furry and feathery family members can make their imprints onto our hearts. Today must have been a very, very difficult day for you, as I am sure the coming days and even weeks will be. Having to say good-bye to a pet is never easy, so please give yourself time to grieve. Your grief isn’t silly or out of proportion, your grief is very, very real, and very, very valid.

    I recently wrote a post about a gift that my husband presented me with last year. It was called, What Love Looks Like. I wrote about two kittens that my husband gave me for Chanukah, a few months after the death of my 21 year old kitty, Chloe. My heart still aches when I think about her, as she started out as a cranky, feral kitten and turned out to be one of the very best cats that I have ever owned. If you get a moment, you might want to read the post. Getting new cats, did not in any way replace Chloe, but they brought laughter and new love into my life, something I desperately needed at the time.

    Take your time. Respect the feelings that come up. Give yourself room to cry. I am one of those people who believes that every furry or feathery family member we have ever had, is waiting for us in “heaven”. I find great comfort in that.

    Once again, I am so sorry about the loss of Smudge.

    With healing hugs,

  3. Though he was my arch nemesis for awhile, I’m sad to hear that Smudge is gone. For me, at least, he will live on in the sense that I am permanently nervous around cats! I was pretty convinced that he was possessed.

    I’m exaggerating – he was entertaining. Even more so because of his evilness.

    On a side note… who’s monkey toes are those in the second picture?

  4. I actually thought about you, Char, last night as I was typing this. I thought, will Charlie be happy or sad? Sorry he gave you a bad impression of all cats–there really are some nice ones out there.

    Side note = Sarah D. She considered those toes a talent.

  5. I’m scanning through all of the Sarah D.’s that I know and what each of their toes looked like.

    Did you actually think I’d be happy that your pet died?? I see I’ve given you the right impression of me. :oP

    It’s not Smudge’s fault that I’m not crazy about cats. I blame my allergies, and their HAIR!

  6. Found you through Scarlett. So sorry to hear about Smudge, sounds like he had character to boot.

    I have 3 fanatic felines, and they all love to do a flying leap through the air and miss their destination point by say.. oh.. a good 3 feet. Claws out, superman style, and they bite it. EvERY. TIME. I love cats!

  7. Aww, many huge Texas ((((((((hugs)))))))), Heidi! I’m so sorry. My mom has a cat that sounds similar … the surprise attacks, where you never even see the cat, you just look down and there’s scratches all over your feet; hiding in really strange places; and I swear my mom has that thing semi-trained. Until it gets mad at her, stops loving her, and attacks her shins. Bun then they’re usually friends in about 5 minutes.

    It’s not easy to lose a long-time pet, especially one you got as a baby!! So, again, many (((hugs))).

    ~Brea, the tinymama

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