Those bristly whiskers and gaunt face, copper eyes with a cataract, bent legs, stiff spine, who could forget any of Kennedy’s battle scars? But mostly, who could forget the part that was just him: happy, full of love and friendship, despite his pain and his past as you clearly see in his eyes?
Having been found with seizures in the street on a hot June afternoon, picked up by Margo and Tarra and taken the the vet, then brought here, Kennedy didn’t need a time to adjust or learn to trust again. He looked at me with that same trusting expression from the first time to the last. And as he recovered and gained strength, a special glow filled those copper eyes. No experience would stop him from believing in love, that unconditional love that is the special gift from our animal companions.
I had been trying to get this photo of this expression from practically the beginning of his time here. It was his last day, I had only hours. He was difficult to photograph because he didn’t stop moving, and always walked toward me when I looked at him, and I had to get him where the light fell across his face, difficult especially in the bathroom where he was. I ended up stepping into the tub, he couldn’t walk any closer to me and actually had to stop moving forward, as a bonus the light was falling across his face from the window and reflecting off the tub, and I finally got the photo I always wanted to remember.
That was a year ago today, August 6. Even with a parade of kittens through there since he left, when the light turns a certain way in the quiet of a summer morning on the floor in that room, even with kittens in there, I remember him. Likely I always will.
You can read about Kennedy in this archive of articles, photos and sketches of him.
A Remembrance in a Sympathy Card
I had designed sympathy cards for my other two hospice rescues, Lakota and Emeraude, because it felt right to share the lessons they taught. I wanted to do the same for Kennedy but there was more to him and his time here, all those injuries, the violence of his seizures, and he was not elderly, barely past middle age, there was so much to say. But his appearance was one that might be upsetting on a sympathy card without knowing his story.
Then this week, while thinking about and writing the tributes to three well-loved and remembered rescues, Gracen, Oreo and Crystal, I realized those were the people for whom a card with Kennedy’s image would be instantly recognized—rescuers who’ve known and loved and lost a cat just like him.
And the best photo would be one of the very last I took of him while he still lived, the one I called “Unforgettable”, taken on the morning of the day I had him put to sleep, looking at me with trust and love and knowledge and all that experience written all over his face.
I think if I saw this photo I would recognize the cat as one who’d been through some life-changing experiences, like so many I’ve known.
On the back is the tribute I wrote for him for Pet Memorial Sunday:
If only for your last weeks, with all your battle scars, so glad I could provide you with a loving home and a feline family who saw you as a brother. Wherever you came from, my handsome rover, you have our love and blessings, and many others’ too, wherever you’ve gone from here.
I take the use of an animal’s image seriously, especially with my sympathy cards, never presuming they want to represent what I have to say; for that reason I always feel most comfortable using the images of animals I know well, mostly those who’ve lived with me.
My sympathy cards have a theme of happy memories, and in the end this is what I hope we all remember about our animal companions, the joy they brought to our lives, and the beautiful things we shared. Like my other hospice fosters, Kennedy spent just a short time as part of our feline family, but we will surely never forget him.
And I will never forget all the love sent to him from all of you, and I’m sure he remembers too.
You can find this card in my Etsy shop.
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Make a Donation With Every Purchase
If it hadn’t been for an organized group of rescuers Kennedy would never have found his way to my home. He would never have been rescued, and I would never have known him and been able to share him with you. I created this sketch in July 2014 to auction off as a way to help pay Kennedy’s medical bills. The sketch went off to Australia, and I offered prints of the sketch and your opportunity to make a donation of $5.00 with each print purchased to the cat rescue I work with, Pittsburgh CAT, or to the Homeless Cat Management Team to help spay and neuter more cats so there won’t be so many to rescue. Both organizations are responsible for the rescue and care of Kennedy and so many others like him.
I’m sure Kennedy is familiar to you now if you’ve been reading The Creative Cat, but if not you can read about this sketch when I first posted it, and the auction of the sketch to raise donations for his care, and read all the articles about Kennedy from when he arrived on June 16, 2014.
You can find this print for sale in my Etsy shop.
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.