The August Kitten

tabby and white kitten
Augie, the August kitten.

Many years ago a couple decided they needed at least one animal companion to share their lives. Both S., the woman, and M., the man, worked, often long hours, and traveled, so they decided they would adopt at least one cat, preferably two, to share their lives.

They headed for the Animal Rescue League in Pittsburgh and happily browsed the cats and kittens for adoption, M. finding the elegant long-haired calico Percy and the S., seeing that all Ebi’s siblings had been adopted but not her, decided to adopt the short-haired calico, and the two calicos and two people lived happily for several years.

But in the middle of the night during a July thunderstorm a few years later they awoke to hear what sounded like a baby crying outside, Percy and Ebi on the windowsill apparently watching something. They knew it had to be a cat, but on investigation outdoors that night and the next morning, no cat was found.

A week later on August 1, M., working outside in the summer afternoon, suddenly ran inside yelling, “There’s a kitten out here!”

The kitten, frightened, had run up into a neighbor’s truck and they and the neighbor tried all they could think of to lure her out, and then to gently prod her from her hiding place. Eventually it took a golf club to push her out of her spot and she jumped out, to be caught by M. and S. and quickly taken to their home.

“She was so thin, and tiny, very tiny,” S. said, “I thought she was maybe six weeks old, and she was covered with fleas.” The new kitten was bathed and fed and coddled, but went into a kennel in a separate room until she had an appointment for the veterinarian. Somehow, in that time, she went from a fostered rescued kitten to a member of the household. Rescued kittens have a way of doing that.

“The vet asked me what I was going to do with her and I said, ‘I’m keeping her!’, like, are you kidding?” S. said. “I just loved her from the beginning.”

And also somewhere in that time their little August 1 surprise acquired the name of Augie.

Augie remained tiny but was a whirlwind of play and affection, and she got along fine with her feline sisters, Percy and Ebi. And Augie not only loved her feline sisters and her humans, she loved everyone who visited, and they all loved her. She sat on everyone’s lap, and purred in complete happiness.

“She was feisty—the Christmas tree was apparently set up for her!” Augie’s mom said. “Needless to say, we left the decorations off that first year.” Nobody minded—the tree had a very special decoration.

But underlying Augie’s small size was a serious heart condition no one had suspected. “The only sign I saw, in hindsight, was that sometimes after running up the steps her breathing would be labored,” said S., “but then she would be okay. And she was so active all the time and otherwise showed no symptoms at all.”

Unfortunately, while they were at work during the day, Augie suffered a blood clot that paralyzed her hind legs and left her in horrible pain.

“We ran her to the vet, but there was nothing they could do and she was in such pain…” she trailed off.

“We left for Mexico the next day,” she added, leaving unspoken the implications of what might have happened if they had been away with a pet sitter caring for the cats when it happened. “And a bird at the resort was screaming, I still remember that,” she finished.

Augie was only about two years old.

I had done this portrait for her in 2002 shortly after she had lost Augie, but when she recounted that time again years later I could see the grief was still with her.

We talked about how sometimes, cats who need to be rescued choose the right people to find them, and those who end up having a very short life seem to make the most of the brief time they have. And they leave so much of themselves behind, all the love and memories. Certainly Augie did.

I’ll soon feature the portrait and talk about all three of the cats, and choosing a very special pose for Augie. Here is Percy, Ebi and Augie’s page in 2010-2011 Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, soon to be released as a day book and journal to be enjoyed at any time.

page in great rescues calendar and gift book and portrait of three cats
Percy, Augie & Ebi in Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats.

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11 thoughts on “The August Kitten

  • August 23, 2012 at 12:23 am
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    Bernadette this is so heart felt and sad. It hits way to close to home for me. Augie needed someone to love an Augie’s family needed this little bundle of joy to fill a place in their lives. Beautiful

    Reply
    • August 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm
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      Bernie, sometimes I think I should add a warning at the beginning, but even when I do it doesn’t help. I thought of Augie when you told us about Steeler, and if you remember I mentioned that often kitties come not only to the people who need them, but to the people they need themselves when they know they don’t have long, this is the kitty I meant. The loss never stops hurting, but it’s somehow an honor to be chosen.

      Reply
  • Pingback:The Creative Cat - Percy, Ebi and Augie, a Portrait of Calico Cats

    • August 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm
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      Susan, thanks. I always hesitate with the sad ones, but I also want to share them to make sure they’re never forgotten.

      Reply
    • August 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm
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      Texas, thanks, a little difficult with a recent loss, but I just imagine what if Augie hadn’t been rescued.

      Reply
  • August 21, 2012 at 8:26 pm
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    Such a poignant story, Bernadette. I’m glad Augie spent her short life surrounded by love.

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    • August 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm
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      Chris, it was truly magic. Augie came out of nowhere, just appeared, and made the most of what she had. I love these people.

      Reply
    • August 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm
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      Connie, thank you! I never met Augie and I feel so sad for S., but I’m glad Augie chose the right people.

      Reply

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