Namir turns his gaze up to me, enchanting me with his “bedroom eyes” as we spend a morning in the garden.
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Namir trots in anticipation down the length of my desk because a car has pulled up in front of my home and studio. He leans far off the edge and looks out the door at our guest, who is now approaching. Oh, the hopeful expression with ears cupped forward and whiskers at attention, practically on his toes and his tail waving, looking straight up into our visitor’s eyes.
To heck with me, I just do business and live here, but he always got the first greeting, “Hi Namir, how’s my boy?” accompanied by pets and more talk.
Once he is sure he has our visitor under his spell he turns on those famous bedroom eyes, narrowing them just enough so they looked mysteriously slanted and angling up a tourmaline glance, as if sharing a secret, looking totally exotic (he thinks), purring joyfully, certain our visitor belongs to him completely.
Everyone had to greet Namir, no matter their original intention, and no one ever seemed to mind. Those who did not got a swat on the elbow or a tug on the sleeve or other increasingly desperate attempts to make eye contact and return the focus to Namir. Those who sat down got Namir draped over a leg with his chin on their knee, even if he did not match their clothing.
Other cats might have tried to get their time with visitors, too, or visitors might actually try to pet another cat after petting Namir, but while Namir might let them stray he always managed to bring them back, sometimes with charm and sometimes with a shove to Cookie or Peaches to mind their own business.
And somehow he knew when a car outside was visiting us or not because he had no response to cars whose contents did not come to our door. But on days when no one came to visit, he would doggedly go to the end of the desk just in case someone might happen by, crouch like a cricket and wait.
I never minded that it seemed I was not enough for him because there were never enough people for him to love. When he wasn’t greeting people at the door he was on my lap giving me the same bedroom eyes, or sleeping in some contorted curled ball on the desk at my elbow, or balanced on the back of my office chair, purring against my upper back. Wherever I went in the house, so did he, following me at his own deliberate pace, that particular “click” of the one front claw that didn’t retract all the way, but I always knew that he would join me, because I couldn’t be trusted to remember important things like dinner and providing a lap.
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Today I remember Namir, who finally gave in to his five-year battle with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure on July 1, 2009. He gave it a run for its money for certain, and didn’t agree to leave until he had done everything he wanted to do, and lived every moment to its fullest. We spent our last morning out in the back yard with Cookie and our last day together on on June 30. The photo above was taken May 22, 2009.
A decade later, I still have a good cry when I remember those days.
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Namir’s passing inspired many things related to this blog and my career:
- He is the subject in the header image because he was so inspiring and his heart condition and related conditions gave me reasons to study and write, and set up this blog to publish those things.
- I wrote one of my first and best essays about the span of his illness in the context of the rest of my household and world events, “Perhaps the Storm is Finally Over”.
- In his memory, I finally decided to design the Animal Sympathy Cards I’d been thinking about for so many years. His death was too close when I designed that first dozen, but finally, in 2015, I designed one for him.
Browse the archives for images and stories about Namir.
Photos From the Archives and Vintage Photos
On “Throw Back Thursday” I feature older photos of my feline household.
Photos pulled From the Archives were taken by one or another digital camera of mine between 2002 and, well, yesterday, but usually they are older than that, and I had never had the chance to feature them.
Vintage Photos of my household of cats from days gone by were taken on film with my Pentax K-1000.
They’re a fun way to “introduce” other members of my feline family who came and went before I began blogging, and to illustrate my feline family from about 1983 when I purchased my camera.
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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!