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Rescue Stories: A Trio of Decisions

watercolor of three kittens on feed sacks
“A Nap on the Feed Sacks”, watercolor, 5″ x 7″, 1994 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

We all start somewhere with cat rescue, and because there is so much to learn we usually move from that starting place through the lessons we learn from one rescue to the next. I think of my earliest rescues as the greatest learning lessons in part because, though I had compassion and motivation, I didn’t know the scope of the issues, nor the best means of actually getting the cat to a safe place, and often the people too, and there weren’t all the resources we have today.

A problem can be solved, but a predicament can only be resolved by change. A predicament wherein the essential needs of cats and possibly people are not being met can’t be turned back to a point where their needs were being met, they need to be moved forward to a point where they are and can continue to be met. Each of these three stories, which took place in the early 90s, presented a predicament, and working through to its resolution caused me to change my response to the needs I found in rescue, and taught me foundational lessons that I used from then on to make decisions as each rescue presented to me.

A Long-ago Foster

Russell, left, and Frederico
Russell, left, and Frederico

AS WE ENCOUNTER cats who need homes, we find some of them only need a little help—or, technically, their human does. People’s lives change, sometimes beyond their control, and sometimes the only solution available to them is to give up those cats forever, when the best resolution is to lend them a hand through a difficult time and help them find their own stability without permanently losing the animal companions to whom they promised a lifetime of care. A number of the cats I’ve fostered were really not rescues at all, but cats I took in temporarily for friends or others whose life was in transition in some way.

Read “A Long-ago Foster”


A Sweet Ginger Cast-off, Sun-Ra


SOMETIMES YOU KNOW someone isn’t being truthful when they present a cat who needs to be “rescued”. The story keeps changing, it’s missing facts, and you can plainly see they’re making it up, and possibly even enjoying the process. But is the important point getting down to the bottom of their fallacy and giving them a piece of your mind by telling them you’re onto what they’re doing, or just recognizing that the cat needs help and focusing on giving it?

Read “A Sweet Ginger Cast-off, Sun-Ra”


Cast Away

fournd black kitten sign
The sign I made for the lost kitten (from 1997).

THIS LITTLE GUY was full of lessons and not just for me, but for the people who abandoned him as well as the people who adopted him. His is the story of the unwanted kitten given away as a Christmas gift to someone who didn’t want him. For the rest of us it is the story of our own expectations, and trying to find in him what we were looking for and not what he needed, and ultimately giving in to what we knew was right for him, for our households of cats, and for all of us. Animals often join our lives to move us along in some area where we may be stagnating or to introduce something new to our lives aside from themselves. In rescuing animals, there is always more to learn.

Read “Cast Away”


Why we rescue

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.

Help me illustrate, anthologize and publish my poetry, rescue stories and essays.

As I mentioned above, when I wrote this story in 2013 I had planned to expand the story to its natural length and include a set of illustrations done as linoleum block prints. I created one marker sketch in a style I’d use for the prints, but cutting and printing them is a time-consuming labor of love. Finishing this story and illustrating it is on my list of Patreon projects because it would take place over time, and support through Patreon would help to support me while I worked. You can read about it here or visit my Patreon page.

Read more in this article on The Creative Cat and Visit my PATREON page.


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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© 2022 | | 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.

4 thoughts on “Rescue Stories: A Trio of Decisions

  • 15andmeowing

    Beautiful art. Every cat has something to teach us. XO

  • Rescue is really tough but we’re most thankful for all of the heroes who do it!

    • I don’t know about you over all these years, but if I had known all I’d have to learn about cat rescue to get to today, I’d feel pretty overwhelmed! Even though things were more difficult back then, I’m so glad we did the work we did.


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