In the spirit of Whisker Hump Wednesday (so appropriate!!), I wanted to tell you my side of Kismet's story. I love all of my pets, but Kismet was the first cat who was ever my very own, and I told him often that he was my cat soulmate and the cat love of my life. I really think we were meant to be together.
I first saw the big man cat in a cage at an adoption event at PetCo in Union Square, New York City. I had just moved to New York and left two cats behind - before I moved to the city, I was living at home in Wisconsin with my dad and two wonderful cats - and was missing them terribly, so I dragged my boyfriend to the pet store so we could at least look at other cats. And there was Kismet, all square-faced and huge man parts, in a cage, paws crossed, looking completely unimpressed. I remember the look he gave me through the bars of that cage, like, "Seriously? This is where they put me?"
I just loved him instantly. I asked the adoption rep if I could hold him, but he told me that they try not to let people hold the cats unless they are seriously thinking of adopting. My boyfriend and I were subletting a tiny apartment for the summer, a deal that included sitting for the resident cat, so adopting wasn't an option for me at the time. But I decided to start volunteering with the cat rescue organization (KittyKind), so that I could at least put in some face-time with cats while I waited to get a place of my own.
When I started volunteering, I looked for Kismet every day, but he was gone. I asked a few people what had happened to him but no one seemed to know, so I just assumed he'd been adopted. Then, a few months later, I got an email from a KittyKind rep, asking if anyone remembered a cat named Kismet. He'd been in foster care (the adoption fair situation did not WORK for Kismet; he ended up getting a urinary tract blockage from the stress), but was ready to be adopted. The rep wanted to know if we knew anyone who might want him, as they didn't want to send him back to the adoption fair situation that had stressed him out in the first place.
I IMMEDIATELY replied and said, I want him! (I remember typing and sending that email super-fast because I was sure there was a long line of people waiting for Kismet, and I wanted to be first.) A few days later I headed to his foster home to do a meet and greet. He was pretty uninterested in me, if I remember correctly, but he was just so HUGE and I knew I wanted him. I took him home shortly thereafter, and thus began our life together.
It's hard to explain Kismet to people who have never met him. He was the most vocal cat I've ever met. He ALWAYS had something to tell me, something to complain about, something to say, an opinion about EVERYTHING. Coming home at night was always fun because as soon as I put my key in the lock I could hear him run to the door, already mraw-mrawing about everything that had happened to him that day. He was hungry all. the. time. In the early years, he would wake me up by mrawing and then knocking my belongings off various tables, then running to the kitchen when I finally got out of bed. More recently, his favorite thing to do was sit by my face and wake me up by tapping my mouth with his paw. I'd open my eyes and see him sitting there, looking at me intently, like he truly couldn't figure out what was taking so long because GOOD LORD, WOMAN, IT'S BEEN EIGHT HOURS SINCE I ATE AND THAT FRISKIES CAN IS NOT GOING TO OPEN ITSELF.
He liked new people, but he liked to be introduced to them in a very specific way - he wanted to sniff your hand first, then rub on your legs, and THEN, and ONLY THEN, could you pet him. And, naturally, he would be talking to you the whole time. I think this is why a lot of people in my life thought he wasn't friendly, which wasn't true - he just wanted you to do things his way, and he wanted to talk to you about his feelings ALL THE TIME, and most people didn't get that. I didn't care. Because I got it.
He humped blankets from the minute I brought him home, and he liked to climb under the covers, but only if you didn't seem like you really WANTED him to.
He let me touch and play with his paws as much as I wanted to (which was a lot).
He would sit on the side of the tub when I showered and would guard the door whenever I washed my face and brushed my teeth. He stole food - would steal it right off your plate, no manners at all - and he loved to escape, to explore, to see what was outside and around the corner. He was fearless and he was interested in everything.
He let me spoon with him. He had the best and most delicious cat smell in the world.
I don't know the beginning of Kismet's story, and his adoption rep (who I've kept in touch with) doesn't remember exactly either. He thinks someone just left him at the pet store, but that never seemed right to me, so I just decided that he used to roam the streets of New York with a gang of chihuahuas before I met him. I don't know why he picked me, I just know that because he did, I'm the luckiest girl in the world.
I wish he'd had a big strong heart to match all of his personality. Our original deal was that he had to outlive me, but after he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, our new deal was that he just had to let me know when it was time. We made a handful of emergency vet trips where I left him in oxygen overnight and I told him, every time, that it was okay if he wanted to go, that he just had to let me know. I want to think that this - the way he left me, inches from my pillow on a Saturday morning - was just him letting me know. I worry, a lot, that he spent all night struggling to breathe and I just didn't know it. I hope he knows that if I had known, I would have had him in an oxygen tent in minutes. I hope I didn't fail him when he needed me. Most of all, I hope he knows how loved he was, but I don't worry about that one too much. There was no way for him not to know. I told him all the time.
Thank you all again so, so much for following Kismet's life with me. I don't know what will happen to the blog (I'll leave it up, always, but I don't know if I will update), but I do receive the comment notification emails, so please feel free to check in any time. If you would like to do something to honor his memory, please think about donating in his name to KittyKind. I am forever grateful to them for rescuing my big man cat, and for getting him the expensive urinary tract surgery he needed, and for providing me with the amazing Stephen, our adoption rep, who gave me advice and comfort during every single one of Kismet's medical scares, and now his passing.
Most of all, please remember Kismet. He was the most special cat I've ever known and the hole he left behind is enormous.