Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Little Visits

pastel painting of black cat rolling on floor
Are You Looking at Me? © B.E. Kazmarski

This is the third and final article in the series of articles about my cats visiting me in a spiritual sense, a collective of individual instances through the years.

Working in my office/studio one evening, I heard the door of my refrigerator open—you know how you recognize these everyday noises—and I didn’t think too much of it. Until I remembered that I lived alone and I had not opened the door myself. I slowly turned my head to look into the next room where the refrigerator was plainly in view, and the door was indeed wide open, and…Kublai was standing right in front and looking over the contents.

Kublai, my first black kitty, was a real creative thinker, and between his strength and able mimicry of my movements—opening windows and doors, pulling lids off containers—and my tiny refrigerator, he just decided he’d open it one evening and help himself to the contents.

If I’d had a video camera he surely would have won a prize for the way he’d flip open the door, stand there with all the other cats ranging behind him and “humph”, his message: “There’s nothing good in here to eat.” Well, I was a vegetarian, but he was also a feline garbage dispose-all and stopped at absolutely nothing. He’d eat cooked carrots as well as anything else.

This was cute and funny, but also a great worry since it could be fatal if the door swung shut with him or one of the others inside. A new refrigerator was out of the question because of space, so I tilted it slightly forward so the door would not swing shut if opened, and added a bungee cord wrapped around from the side to hold the door shut for, oh, at least four years. Sometimes I would forget the bungee cord, and the door would always be open the next time I entered the room.

A few months after I’d lost Kublai I finally decided to rebalance the refrigerator, replace the seal and remove the bungee cord. None of the other cats was inventive enough to try to open it. One day soon after, I returned home to a wide-open refrigerator door and laughed, the first good laugh without a twinge of sadness, simply knowing Kublai had gotten one over on me. I’d been thinking about him all day, smiling at all the incredible things he’d done.

How did I know one of the other cats hadn’t opened it, or it hadn’t simply fallen open on its own? I didn’t. I didn’t have any proof, but I trusted my intuition, which Kublai had helped me to hone.

Taking their places again

sketch of two tabby cats
They Miss You When You're Gone, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

From the time I’d moved into this house I’d had a foster cat in the spare cat room, right on the landing between the bathroom and my bedroom. I’d visit the spare cat and dole out some more food right before I went to bed, and the rest of my household caught on to this and quickly convinced me they should have a midnight snack, choosing places in a circle around me. This turned out to be a great idea because they’d all come to bed and settle down for most of the night and one of the things that brought this group of cats, and me, so close together.

I actually lost Kublai and our orange boy Allegro two weeks apart. They were nearly my first losses, I had had no idea Allegro was ill, could barely mourn Kublai who’d been like my life partner, and was totally lost. I was still doling out the nightly snack though it was a constant reminder that two of the nine were missing, and the remaining seven had begun to fill in the open spots.

A few days after Allegro passed I was getting the container of food and visualizing all nine of them on the landing, actually forgetting there were now only seven. I turned around to see they’d arranged themselves as they always had before any losses leaving Kublai’s and Allegro’s spaces open. I was surprised to see they weren’t there, then I remembered, then I smiled. “Thanks for stopping back, boys, I’m glad you’re still together,” I said.

Light as thistledown

pencil sketch of cat in bag
In the Bag, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski, inspired by Sally

Sally had pure white long hair, was genetically deaf and as free as the wind. She awoke every morning, gathered all her abundant energy and made every moment of the day the best it could possibly be, never spending time on what she didn’t have or couldn’t do. I lost her at 15 to cancer.

thistle seeds
"Let Go", photo © B.E. Kazmarski

As I got into my car after work a few days after I had had Sally put to sleep, a thistle seed borne on the wind by its long white down flew past my face, circled around in my car, then flew out the passenger window, and I had the strongest sense of Sally being near me. She was on her way to another life, still the beautiful free spirit she’d been with me, carried where life took her.

With all the time I spend on trails and outdoors I encounter more than my share of thistle seeds and usually they are just thistle seeds, but every once in a while I still enjoy a visit from Sally as she spins and whirls around my head, sometimes landing near me before again taking flight, borne on the wind.

The hummingbird

painting of cat in sun
Warm Winter Sun, oil pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

On the Wednesday afternoon one week to the approximate hour after Namir’s death, Cookie and I went out in the yard to remember him since we three had enjoyed much time together out there. I hadn’t sensed him around at all, not seen him out of the corner of my eye, not forgotten that he had died and went looking for him, all very strange for the cat with the big personality who had monopolized so much of my time.

Cookie jumped up on the picnic table before I even got down the steps from the deck. At 17 Cookie was very dignified, but not known for her speed. She knew exactly what we were doing.

As we sat there, I heard behind me familiar buzzing and slight chirping sounds, though I couldn’t place them until I turned around and saw a female hummingbird visiting the bergamot, newly blooming right next to the picnic table. I normally have groups of hummingbirds visiting my feeders and all the geraniums and other attractive flowers in my yard, but this year it was July and I hadn’t seen a single one yet.

bergamot flowers
Bergamot flowers © B.E. Kazmarski

In most cultural and spiritual traditions, the hummingbird is known to be a messenger. While it is bound to the immense needs of its body to supply enough nourishment to support its high energy activity, it still transcends this burden to find joy in each day as they always spend some time in play and even seem to play practical jokes. It has adapted to reach far into a flower to find its nourishment, and so we must learn to reach far into ourselves to fulfill our needs. These tiny birds migrate a huge distance, and so tell us that we must persevere, no matter the conditions. Their wings beat in the symbol of infinity.

I was so happy to see the little bird, admiring her olive green against the deep red of the bergamot. And I realized it was Namir visiting us, as all my other cats had done in one way or another, to let me know he was free of his limitations, that I needn’t worry about him any more. No one but me knew all the health burdens Namir carried; like the hummingbird he had transcended the weight of his body in life, and now in death.

She soon left the bergamot to hover around the yard—in all the places Namir had loved so well for observing wildlife. As I pondered the deep significance of this visit I heard a scuffle in a tree and I saw her being chased by a sparrow in the air above the yard as she had apparently annoyed it. I laughed. It truly had to be Namir. As she sped off, I whispered to the sky, “Bye, guy.”

At Twilight

pastel painting of a cat on a bed
Afternoon Nap, pastel © B. E. Kazmarski

But my favorite visit is at the end of twilight, when the sun has gone down and the only natural light is that reflected from the sky back to earth, the twi-light being the mixing of day and night together. In this half-light the human eye, strong on color, can barely distinguish shapes from the dim background and the veil between day and night seems to thin as does the veil between this world and the next.

I carefully walked through my bedroom to turn on the lamp on the other side of the room, but just as I reached for the lamp I simply felt lots of cats in the room with me. This was no surprise, I’ve always had six or more, usually nine, and they often follow me as I do things and also hang out on the bed in my room.

But I could actually see and hear the cats who’d come in the room with me, and as I glanced around the room to see what other cats were there, they shifted around and I couldn’t see a single one, though I could swear there’d been more than one on the bed…I stood there, not focusing my eyes on anything but simply sensing that I was sharing the room with a good number of my feline family, past and present, on the bed, on the windowsill, on the floor, even rubbing on my legs in the darkness near the floor.

This last light fades very quickly no matter where you are at this time of day. Full darkness came in just a minute or two, and with it all our visitors faded and left, leaving only my current family settling on the bed for a bath and acting as if nothing unusual had happened. I turned on the light and thought about the last few minutes, glad I’d been able to experience it.

And I have again a few other times through the years, always in the same conditions of deep twilight. While one might think I’d plan to be there at that magic time of day every day just to be with them again, it really doesn’t work that way; even when I’ve come a little early and realized the time was soon and I would wait, they don’t show up on a schedule.

But when I have no inkling of the desire, when I am emotionally ready, I sometimes find myself walking through the softened shadows of my room, and sense all around me my precious companions as if they’ve planned that I would appear at exactly that time, when the edges disappear, the veil thins, and in those few moments when day and night mingle, so does past and present and our loved ones can once again share an existence with us, however brief.


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.

7 thoughts on “Little Visits

  • Pingback: Taking Sally Home « The Creative Cat

  • Karen Lucas

    I cried so much during your postings about Peaches – we love them so much and their lives are so short. I love my two boys last year, suddenly, two days apart. My girl Jenny who is now going on 16 had literally never slept alone unless she wanted to from the time she came to use when she was 4 months old,and she suddenly had no one to cuddle with and to groom. We adopted a 4 year old rescue last year but she may never have had anyone to cuddle with and is afraid of Jenny who has the most gentle spirit I have ever encountered. So Jenny cuddles with her people instead although I know it is not the same and she still looks for her brothers and I can see the sadness in her eyes. I really don’t know what to do for her except to love her every day. This post was so heartening. I wonder if our kitties who are gone also visit their kitty family who are left behind?

    • Karen, I’m so sorry to year you lost two kitties two days apart. Losing them is bad enough, but without the time to grieve each one individually it always feels as if you’ve slighted one or the other. It actually took me over a year to really feel that it was okay, and in the meantime they had brought me two kitties to foster, one of who was Namir–though it was at least a year before those two actually joined my household!

      A few years ago we lost our Sophie and my Cookie was very close with her and grieved as long and hard as I did, losing weight, keeping to herself, until I realized and we both helped each other along for months afterward. My Kelly, who came in with Namir, is really struggling with all the losses and not accepting the new cats. It really takes time and it’s never really the same, but I think that those who’ve passed send another angel in their place in one way or another. Perhaps your rescue will take some time to accept her new conditions and she and Jenny can be friends, or perhaps Jenny will accept a role as lead cat and learn to be strong without her brothers.

      I’ve learned to just keep in touch with each of them and try to find a level of comfort for each, but mostly to let time pass and accept the change, no matter how much I don’t want it. When I do, it’s easier for my cats. My thoughts are with you and your kitties.

  • So beautiful, Bernadette. Wow. I was wondering if you would give me the honor of reposting the stories on The Daily Tail…

    • Daniela, I’d love to share these with your audience. Please let me know whichever ones you’d like and I would be honored to let my readers know. Thanks for reading!


    Bernadette, you’ve done it again. What a beautiful well-written post and as always, accompanied by your amazing artwork. xo

    • Thank you for reading, Tamar! I’m so glad I could share these stories, and I’ve always been a little uncertain whether people might just roll their eyes at me!


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