Friday, December 1, 2023
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From the Archives: Unforgettable

The full design.
The full design.

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

A sympathy card for rescuers featuring Kennedy.
A sympathy card for rescuers featuring Kennedy.

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.

. . . . . . .

Make a Donation With Every Purchase

sketch of black cat
“Kennedy”, white and black charcoal on gray toned paper, 5″ x 8″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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.

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.

Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.


© 2015 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
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.

17 thoughts on “From the Archives: Unforgettable

  • manxmnews2014

    You probably know from my other comments about Kennedy that he touched my heart and soul so completely. I miss him so very much and cried so deeply when he left. I am so grateful he had you in his last days to have his faith in humans redeemed to see him through when he gained his wings.

  • therz a hole bunch oh uz that lovez ewe dood…..all wayz haz, all wayz will..therez a hole bunch oh uz that will never for get ewe….ever ~~~~~ ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  • That is the wonderful thing about cats, in that they give their unconditional love. That is one thing nice about having so many cats here, I sure get a lot of love.Bernadette, I love that painting of Kennedy. And that last picture of his wonderful eyes is just terrific.Great post.

  • Beautifully told.

    Bernadette, you and Kennedy were bold and courageous in your time together. I admire your friendship. It was short when measured in earth days, but deep in its understanding.

    • Meg, he led the way. I was surprised at how ready he was to just be part of our lives.

  • bluemoonalone

    How could I ever forget such a sweet guy….I can look at his picture on my wall whenever I want…I’m so glad he was with you til the end…

    • Bluemoonalone, he’s a reminder you really can just let things go and have a different life!

  • Kennedy was beautiful.

    • Pilch92, his beauty was in his love, that makes everyone beautiful.

  • That picture breaks my heart. Such love indeed!

    • Carolyn, I’m sure it was his loving heart that got him through the difficult times.

  • I always loved that sketch of Kennedy – absolutely beautiful. I’m so glad his journey brought him to you so he would leave this life knowing he was loved.

    • Me too, Chris, and he could meet his virtual brothers and sister, who all acted as if they knew him already.

  • mochasmysteriesandmeows

    This is so, so beautiful. Bless you for loving this special angel in his final days.

    • He was an angel, Melissa, and I’m so glad he came to me.

  • Diane Gritton

    Kennedy was a special cat. His unconditional love made his final days the best of his life.

    • Diane, indeed, that was what helped him to survive all he endured.


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