Even decades later, some rescues I simply could not forget. Humorous, sad, complicated, I remembered the cats, the images, the seasons, weather and times of day as if they’d been recent, and let the story run in my imagination with words and pictures as if it was a narrated slideshow.
As I rummaged through my 30-year archives of photo prints I remembered even more, rescues I’d forgotten, cats I suddenly remembered catching by the tail, holding, healing, and finding the perfect person for them to spend the rest of their lives with.
As I’d mentioned in my fifth anniversary article, my series of rescue stories formally began with Cookie reminiscing in 2010 about her own rescue as we celebrated Peaches’ 100th birthday. We had told Peaches’ story too, along with her sister Cream, a week earlier to introduce the 100th birthday theme, and we celebrated the long lives of senior kitties. Then I posted Cookie’s story on her Homecoming Day in December, and I had also added four a few more photos and added details to my own story, “The Unintended Gift”, about the kitten under the Christmas tree.
Until then, I had kept these stories for my own. I had no place to tell them, and really just liked to share them with other rescuers I knew. But so many people responded here and privately with their own stories and to thank me for reminding them of their own histories with welcoming cats into their lives and their own rescues that I knew I had found the place to share these stories. Not so much for me to tell my stories, but to give a voice to the thousands of others who’ve done just the same thing I did, quietly captured, loved, healed and rehomed thousands of cats in thousands of ways, all over the world.
Then there were the other stories I’d been carrying around for years—from all the portraits I’d painted of rescued cats, commissioned by the people who loved them, and who had also rescued other cats and other animals. Every time I exhibited my portraits in any way I had to tell the story of the subjects of the portraits to anyone who would listen, and listen they did. For years even before blogging or working full-time at home, I’d had the idea for a picture book sharing the art and the stories of these rescued cats and the people who loved them so much they paid me to paint their portrait. Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book and ultimately Great Rescues Day Book finally came to fruition after those first few rescue stories published here told me that, not only were people interested, but there were ever more stories to publish.
Then, from the joy of finally telling these stories and their reception here I continued telling the rescue stories of many of the cats who lived with me for most of their lives as well as the ones I’d rescued and found loving homes for. I forgot about telling their stories in any kind of order, instead choosing by anniversaries and important dates and seasons of the year that reminded me of the rescue, as well as finding the photos in my archives that were critical to the story, or illustrating where I didn’t have a photo.
I still have my own stories to tell—rescues of cats that I’d only assisted with, and I’m still finding cats I’d nearly forgotten! And I have stories I will tell someday under some disguise, or never tell at all for the safety or privacy of all concerned, of cats fostered under some distress, for the women who had to flee an abusive relationship with their children, or lost their home in a divorce, the family who moved into public housing, the daughter of a friend who periodically visited a mental institution.
It was really hearing the stories from today, though, from the people who are still out on the streets rescuing cats that encouraged me to continue telling my own stories. They don’t have the time to write their stories for sitting out in the snow in sub-zero temperatures or getting into an abandoned building to trap a cat or a dozen cats or more and bring them in for spay/neuter, veterinary care and possibly socialization and rehoming, but my stories were much like theirs and they could identify.
I will continue with my own stories, and in addition to those published here I will be organizing them into print and electronic books, some just text, some illustrated story books, some with my own narration included, beginning with Love’s Shining Circle, Kelly’s story adapted from the five-part series I wrote about her rescue and life with me “A Little Bit About Kelly” and Meet Lucy! based on Lucy’s antics as a kitten.
But I also want to note the amazing things rescuers have done, give them credit for all the time and money, putting themselves at risk, giving their hearts to cats because they care so much they just can’t stop, and in doing so changing the individual lives of so many cats and slowly changing the tide of sentiment about cats in general. Soon I’ll also be publishing current stories of rescued cats from the people I know locally, as well as historic stories from people who rescued alongside me all those years ago.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
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 using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile 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.
Do you appreciate the stories and images we offer you each day?
© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
We domesticated cats and dogs and other animals who closely share our lives. There is a deep bond that has tied us for millennia, even to animals who we have not domesticated but who have nonetheless shared our existence for all our lives on earth. We call nature “red in tooth and claw”, but our compassion for animals and all living things is part of what keeps us human, that we can transcend our natural urge for self-protection and yet put ourselves in danger to rescue a member of another species. Someday, hopefully, there won’t be as much need for rescue because cats and other domestic and wild animals will live in a humane world more sensitive to their needs. For now, I celebrate rescue as a way to achieve that goal.