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From the Archives: My First Photo of Basil, August 27, 2014

long-haired black kitten
This was my first look at Smokie.

On August 27, 2014 the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society (now Humane Animal Rescue) sent out a request to the Homeless Cat Management Team for anyone who could foster a 14-week-old kitten who was so frightened he couldn’t be examined, was held for assessment and considered unadoptable because of his behavior. The fate of kittens and cats like this one, considered unadoptable, at the end of August when the shelter receives as many as 100 animals each day and has been at capacity for months, is usually euthanasia. But WPHS had decided to work with rescues for all their animals and give them another option for life.

This kitten had until the end of the day for someone to speak up for him and give him a chance to socialize to humans, or if not, eventually find a place for him in a sanctuary or managed feral colony. At least that way, he would get to live. I had recently lost Kennedy and, happy with just my five wonderful black cats, was helping with transporting rescued cats wherever they needed to go, and holding feral cats overnight in my bathroom and releasing them to their colonies. I had no idea what the kitten looked or acted like, but trusted the person we worked with at WPHS that fostering was appropriate for him, and my inner voice said to take him in. Another rescuer who worked near the shelter, “Aunt Mary” who visits here now and then, brought him to me that evening.

The kitten was Basil. The day he arrived his name was “Smokie” and the photo above is what he looked like that first day, and for the next day as well. He’d been picked up and surrendered by an individual as a stray with his brother at five weeks, gone into a foster home for the intervening nine weeks, and come back to be neutered, get his shots and be placed for adoption. His brother had no such issues, had been vetted and was up for adoption already. No one could determine his fear or trauma, but even after I settled him in the bathroom he was frozen in place on that blanket in the back of his carrier until the next day.

Last year, when Basil turned five years old, I wrote up a rescue story about his socialization, meeting and bonding with Bella, and integrating into our house as a foster, then as permanent kitties. Read that story in Rescue Story: Five Years for Basil.

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Surprise! Feline Photo Card
Surprise! Feline Photo Card

Basil must have thought the yellow basket was a gift for him because he owned it from the day it came into the house, which was the day I was running errands and saw it…atop someone’s trash pile. I sprayed it down and rinsed it in the basement and let it air dry, then brought it up to the magic basket spot, and Basil was immediately IN THE BASKET, looking totally cute, big, long, white whisker and all. Read more, and purchase.


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!





From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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