Politicians and their pets: Christine Grahame and Mr Smokey
Deputy presiding officer Christine Grahame introduces her feline friend Mr Smokey
Mr Smokey. It’s not a good picture as taking a selfie with a reluctant cat took many attempts. This was the last and you can tell he is wondering how he ended up with me.
How did he end up with you?
Well, he ended up with me after the death of my two elderly cats when I swore “no more pets and heartache”, but I missed the patter of tiny paws, the ripping of the rugs, the plaintive meows and the retching, meaning something or nothing deposited, so when I saw him at the SSPCA rescue centre at Balerno, I was a goner.
What special talents does he have?
Every rescue animal must learn to stand out from the feline crowd and he knew how to do it. While others stood on hind legs and meowed for attention, he sat composed and frankly, eerily confident. Then he raised one paw, dog-like and he knew he had me just where he wanted. Really, that’s where it has been ever since.
What’s the worst thing he’s ever done?
I had a scare when, a few weeks after he came home and I was out of town overnight, he disappeared and left my sister, who had been cat-sitting, distraught. Three days passed, I wept tears, had images of him dying in a hedgerow, felt guilt, removed his cushion from his seat in the conservatory. Then in the early hours of the fourth morning, there was a squawk (yes, cats can squawk) and there he was on my bed, bright and bushy tailed, where he now sleeps when the fancy takes him.
He’s not the first cat you’ve had, is he?
He succeeds Arthur (ginger tom, who shared my home and a happy relationship with Roostie, my only dog and a glamorous Irish Setter), siblings Cap and Harry (found on my doorstep, Harry died young of ingesting rat poison – I hope, accidentally), Mottie (killed on the road outside), siblings Newton and Boswell (lived to the ripe old age of 18 and died within a week of each other). Is he the last? Probably, only as he could outlive me.
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