On the last day of July in 2015 a friend transported a litter of three former feral kittens to me who were apparently intent on remaining feral. She’d had them for a month and made little progress, but she also had many fosters and decided these three needed some intensive work. Their mother had been wildly feral which meant they had that tendency in their nature, despite any nurturing.
I had rescued Charm and her kittens in May, but all five kittens had been adopted in May and June, though Charm still remained looking for her forever home so my fostering bathroom was open for business. I fostered far fewer than my friend so I could focus on these kittens. Then likely they’d be in the capable paws of not only Mimi and her adult kittens who I had discovered were formerly feral socialization experts, but also young Basil and Bella, still actually up for adoption but ready to help guide uncertain kittens to their future.
The first thing Alvin (later Alvina), Simon and Theodore, fluffy-tailed all but not singing squirrels, did was hide behind the toilet. But beginning with sweet gray boy Theodore, the first to emerge and interact with me, they developed over the next months to surprisingly social and affectionate little fluffies. And as they grew and their coats developed, they began to mature into the most gorgeous longhaired litter of one gray and two black cats I could imagine. Theodore was so fluffy and cuddly with a plushy face and huge paws I had begun calling him Teddy Bear.
While they could be adopted through Pittsburgh CAT I quickly developed a deep affection for the three of them, individually and as a group, and I was going to work very hard to see that they would be adopted by either friends or adopters who would keep in touch with me so I could continue to adore them.
A few weeks after they had emerged from the bathroom foster room and successfully integrated into the household my niece and her kids came up on a visit from Savannah GA and visited here, in mid-September, almost exactly eight years ago. I remember thinking to myself wouldn’t it be amazing if they adopted these kittens? I always send out my hopes and intentions, it doesn’t hurt, but I seriously doubted that would happen. My niece had enough on her hands as a single mom with three teenagers and two cats and a dog already and a job to hold down.
They love animals and were very attracted to all the cats, but after they met the Four Housecats of the Apocalypse in their famous group greeting, the next ones they reached for were the kittens, especially Simon and Theo, who were eager to meet them.
Before I knew it, one human brother, Kyler, was holding one feline brother, Theo, like a baby and smiling. Soon enough the other human brother, Kaden, was holding the other feline brother, Simon. Talk of adoption, but no decisions yet, and I didn’t get my hopes up.
A few weeks later, after the kids had apparently put a spell on their mother, she let me know that they really did want to adopt the boys! I was in heaven! We had to figure out how to get them there so until then I would continue working with them, trimming claws and grooming those long coats, but I could just love on them instead of worrying about adoptions. I have a friend who lives in North Carolina but frequently visits her family here and made arrangements for the following January to ride to North Carolina with her, then meet my niece over the line in Georgia and take them home.
I saw them settled in and had a great visit, and of course I got regular updates and got to see them again when I went to visit a couple of years later. They were in the house until the boys graduated and went off to apartments. Kaden graduated first and once he got a good apartment and could afford it, he took Simon with him.
Later Kyler moved out and in time he took Theo to be with him. But even before they moved out Kyler and Theo were absolute best friends. Theo spent all his time with Kyler when he was home, and Kyler even got a special stool to have next to him as he sat gaming at his desk. This continued after he moved out. Theo woke him up by getting in his face and meowing each day and was quite a vocalist otherwise. Theo’s coat fully developed into an amazing gray aura of fur and he was truly a gorgeous cat.
Love and loss
Especially considering the life they would have had had they not been rescued from a filthy and endangered colony in a rundown area, I’m happy when my former fosters have blissful lives with humans who adore them. We never know how long that will be. I’m actually writing this today because we lost Theo on Saturday night to a saddle thrombus. I had been off at a photo shoot of urns at Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation all day and finally got home at 11:00 pm to see a text from my niece about Theo from just a few minutes earlier. I knew what had happened and called as she was meeting Kyler at the vet. From what she described I knew there weren’t too many possibilities for what it could be, I explained the condition to her to prepare her for the shock of it and so she could better support Kyler because they’d likely be making a decision to put Theo to sleep when just a couple of hours ago he’d been fine. And he still looked as beautiful as ever. But he had no pulse or reaction in his hind legs and a serious heart murmur.
A saddle thrombus is always a shock, even if a veterinarian may tell you it could happen to your cat, in fact that could happen to Mr. Sunshine and could have happened to Namir with their heart disease. but it happens out of the blue with only warnings immediately before and the damage is done so quickly that even treatment is rarely successful, and then it’s highly likely it would happen again within months. I feel worst for Kyler. The shock alone is painful, but losing his best friend for a lot of important years in his life is crushing. Send him some purrs.
Below I’ve included the adoption post I wrote that includes several of my favorite early photos of Theo and Simon, and one of my favorites at the top of this post. You can find more photos and stories about Theo in the categories Theo, Theodore and Teddy Bear.
Brothers Adopted By Brothers, Teddy Bear and Simon! 2015
Simon and Teddy Bear have been adopted! And the best thing is they are going together to the same house, and they were adopted by brothers too—my great-nephews! And they’ll be meowing with a little bit of a drawl purr-haps as they’ll be moving all the way to Savannah, GA!
I’d posted photos the day my niece and her kids had come here to visit of Kyler with Teddy Bear…
And Kaden with Simon.
Instantly there was talk of adopting, but I thought it was more along the lines of when I wanted to adopt every animal I met growing up. Their household already has two cats and a dog and a few other more exotic pets. But one of the cats is really my niece’s kitty and the other is the youngest, Cassidy’s kitty, and the boys wanted an affectionate kitty of their own too.
I know Teddy Bear and Simon are friendly, but they went right to the boys when they came in, and then a couple of days later when they came to visit again it was the same scenario.
The talk was mostly about Teddy Bear and Kyler at first, but then it turned to Kaden and Simon. What a wonderful thing—the brother cats could always have each other and be less likely to terrorize the older cats and the dog, and then they could also have their humans.
So they talked about it and we waited. The boys are teenagers and will soon enough head off for their adult lives, and Jennifer considered that she’d be taking care of the cats for a while but hopefully they would move off with their respective boys at some point. She also talked to them about the responsibility, litterboxes, feeding, veterinary care and such and they agreed to it. Cassidy already did it, why not?
Soon enough I’ll be arranging transport for them since I don’t think I can or should drive them down there myself, though I hope to see Savannah one of these days!
Originally I’d been pairing off Simon and Alvina who will look very much alike as adults and are a wonderful couple of brother-sister cats, but I knew that just as frequently Simon and Teddy Bear paired off, as you see here.
Teddy Bear’s name is actually Theodore, but once his gray coat began filling out and he looked so velvety and soft, and such a rounded and sweet face, I simply began calling him Teddy Bear. I will update on the activity, and of course you’ll see more photos.
If you ever doubt that socializing frightened feral kittens is possible and worthwhile, remember that this is what they looked like the day they arrived two months ago.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book
Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
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.
Subscribe to my e-newsletter
Subscribe to The Creative Cat Preview E-newsletter.
Weekly schedule of features:
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Thursday: New Merchandise
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!