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animal inhabitants & visitors to our gardens



This is Grace - click to see larger picture This is Smoke.

We adopted Smoke from the Animal Welfare in Chicago Ridge, IL in 2002. He was the teeniest little thing with a little stump of a tail.

Smoke has long, very soft hair, that has an amazing variety of colors. He has every color of hair from white to orange in his body. He has large green eyes, feet that seem way too big for his body, and the puffiest tail.

We think that Smoke is a Maine Coon Cat. He meets many of the characteristics, including the fact that he doesn't meow. No matter how he tries, the best he can do is a kind of squeaky sound. Very funny for a cat as large as he is.

Smoke is not very graceful. He makes a lie out of the myth that cats are graceful and always land on their feet. When we hear crashes and bumps from a vacant room of the house, we know that Smokey is falling off of something.

When he was about 6 months old, Smoke fell off the kitchen table and dislocated his jaw. If he tried to close his mouth, the two large fangs on the right side would cross and prevent his mouth from closing. He looked comical but we could tell he was very uncomfortable. I took him to the vet, who suggested taking Smoke to an oral surgeon with an estimate of several hundred dollars to realign Smokey's jaw. There in the vet's office, with Smoke on the exam table, I leaned my body over Smoke's to hold him down, grasped his top teeth with one hand, his bottom teeth with the other, gently moved them, and they snapped back into place. The vet charged $150.00 for the office visit!

Smoke loves rubber bands. We can't keep a rubber band in the house that he doesn't find. He carries them around, tosses them it the air, bites them, and chews on them. There's little pieces of wormy looking rubber all over the place.

Smoke also absolutely adores "fuzzies." They're colored furry cat toys that look like they're made out of rabbit fur. When Smoke gets a new fuzzy, he carries it around: to the food dish, the water dishes, to the front door, into our bed, to all Smoke's favorite places. He sings to them as he carries them around. We have a second floor balcony on our house that is Smoke's favorite hangout in the summer. He likes to sit out there and watch the birds and squirrels. Some days he hangs over the edge as if to see if he could jump and make it to the ground safely. Several fuzzies have been dropped from that balcony. Maybe Smoke is testing to see if they can survive the fall. Fuzzies usually disappear after a few days. We don't know where they are, but found a whole herd of fuzzies under the refrigerator once. A fuzzy bonanza! Smoke was in heaven - eight fuzzies at one time!

He loves to be outside in the summer. He sits on the edge of the pond and watches the koi swim around. The koi come up to the top to see him and he sticks his paw in the water to pat them. Smoke loves to play fetch! The little boy from next door throws a ball, Smoke runs after it and brings it back to him. We've never seen a cat do that before.

Smoke, I regret to say, is a very good hunter. He has caught chipmunks, moles, mice, and baby birds. He brings them to me as a gift but usually not until after he has played them to death. His goal is to get a squirrel. Hasn't even come close! The squirrels tease him mercilessly by sitting in a tree, just out of reach, and chattering at him.

Smokey is a wonderful, gentle, affectionate and humorous companion.

animal inhabitants & visitors


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