A Little Bit About Kelly

tortoiseshell cat

Mysterious Kelly

I’m not certain how I came to be where I was, and I didn’t know how to get away from it because everything else was much more frightening than the dark and dirty basement where I found myself.

tortoiseshell cat with green eyes

Kelly in Motion

I was very young and had gone from being a kitten with my mom and siblings to being with a bunch of people somewhere, all I remember was legs, they were so tall and loud and frightened me with big loud feet so close, so I ran one day for where it was quiet and peaceful, and then I couldn’t find my way back. I looked and looked and found nothing familiar so I just started trotting around the streets, crouching behind bushes, under cars, I had no idea where I was or what I was looking for. I was so hungry and realized the food that had always been available had come from those people, and the water in nice bowls like I was used to…what had I done?

Just desperately trotting, I had no idea how long or how far I wandered, but the day grew dark and more quiet, then became light again and noisy. There was just house after house, and cars parked and moving down streets, even at night, and those long-legged people who terrified me more and more.

Other cats were on porches and in yards and I thought they might help me, just answer a question, but they clearly told me to keep out, even the one who looked like my mom and I thought she might understand when I tried to explain, but she yowled some feline profanity my young ears had never heard and slapped me across the face.

tortoisesehell cat outdoors

Kelly outdoors (modern day, of course).

My chest tight with fear and sadness, I ran and ran and ran until I was so tired and hungry and thirsty I thought I just might die, but I smelled and sensed other cats again and I was so desperate for just the presence of others like me that I slowed down and stopped, quickly washing my face, swiveling my ears and bobbing my nose to catch the little threads of sound and smell…yes, cats, many cats, and I even smelled the deep birth smell there, the first smell I remember ever, even before the smell of my mom.

And I smelled food. It seemed to be coming from a building across the street, and then I saw an orange cat come out from under the porch, and in the darkness under there I could see other cats too.

I slowly approached, and if it had not been for the enticing smell of food I would have been much more polite and even waited until after they had gone to move forward but my stomach was already gurgling, ready for food and in a daze I started to talk about food and how hungry I was and I walked across the street and into the yard and through the brambles around the porch and the little opening in the criss-cross wood behind it.

The smell was intoxicating. I saw a bunch of cats of all types gathered around a big bag of food, ripped open and the dry bits falling all over and still mumbling to myself I hurried forward in a daze grabbing several pieces from the dirt with my mouth and barely chewing before swallowing, getting a sharp swat from one of the cats already at the bag.

Without any awareness of danger or proper feline etiquette, I shouldered in, under and between two cats and got my face in that pile of food talking vigorously through mouths full of dry crunchy wonderfulness, getting more swats and shoves and jostles and warning sounds through their mouths full of food, but I think they were just as hungry as me, and for the first time since I’d nursed with my siblings from our mother I felt the comfort and warmth and smell and sound of another cat, and for that moment reveled in the community I’d found.


This is the fictional portion of little Kelly’s rescue story, the part no one really knows but her. I’ve pieced it together from observing the arrivals of many other young kitties who have found themselves a member of a stray and feral cat colony in an urban setting, and included as much of Kelly’s innate personality as I guess would have influenced her activities.

slender cat

Kelly talking to me.

On that note, I make reference to Kelly talking and mumbling and explaining. It is one of the most endearing things about Kelly, for all her timid and cautious nature she is one of the most talkative cats I’ve ever known. She always has something to say, either simple remark or a complete sentence. She’s quite the storyteller, and talks not only to me but to herself as she goes about her daily activities.

It’s about time we told little Kelly’s story! She’s been a part of this home since 1997, joining us along with Namir as fosters from a person who was traveling to California for graduate studies and hoped to take them at some point but never found stable enough housing before we decided they belonged here.

Pieced together from long-ago records, we do know what Kelly was found with a stray and feral colony in an abandoned building in Oakland, near Pittsburgh, in the midst of several colleges and universities, so it was assumed she’d been adopted by a college student and either escaped or been abandoned.

tortoiseshell cat curled sleeping

Kelly Really Sleeping

Kelly has been the sweet, quiet presence you don’t see as often as her more outgoing housemates. I’ve long tried to condense her story, but decided that didn’t do justice to a kitty who’s been through a lot. Because her story is long and involves details of the story of a stray and feral colony along with Kelly’s own long path toward learning to trust humans, I’ll be telling it in several parts over the next few weeks for my Tuesday rescue feature. She has traveled a great emotional and spiritual distance to be the kitty you see today, and who is right now curled in a happy purring ball on my lap, head turned upside down and hugging all her legs together.

Read the rest of the story:

Part 2: The Rescue

Part 3: Saved at the Last Minute

A magical kitty like Kelly in touch with a deep contemplative side, and I treasure the poem of that nature she inspired, “Pawprints and Raindrops”, which I featured yesterday.

And you can find Kelly in photos and sketches and stories all over The Creative Cat.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

21 Comments on “A Little Bit About Kelly”

  1. […] Read Kelly’s story in five parts: A Little Bit About Kelly. […]

  2. […] Read Kelly’s story in five parts: A Little Bit About Kelly. […]

  3. […] When she graduated and began working, her friends convinced her that Namir needed a buddy rather than staying home alone, so she went to the shelters and asked for “the next cat in line for euthanasia,” and that was how Kelly came to be a part of their lives. […]

  4. […] this is the photo I came to identify with A Little Bit About Kelly, little Kelly’s rescue story. It was taken only last year, yet Kelly is ageless in her petite […]

  5. […] is the same shy Kelly I mentioned this morning in A Little Bit About Kelly, but it’s Kelly under the influence, about to do a somersault on top of the catnip toy. […]

  6. […] yes, this is the same timid little Kelly I’ve been writing about in A Little Bit About Kelly—what a difference a decade […]

  7. […] by your readership, comments and suggestions. For instance, Kelly’s recent rescue story “A Little Bit About Kelly” has inspired several people to ask if it will be become a book with illustrations, and really, you […]

  8. Michelle says:

    This is so well done – I love the way the story of Kelly’s experiences are so real – I feel as though I am there with her!

    • animalartist says:

      Michelle, thanks, I’m so happy to know that. I just finished part 3 of Kelly’s story and I’ve really tried so hard to be in her head and looking out her eyes while imagining what she’s lived through. She is always on my lap when I write her stories, as if she knows, and I’m sure part of her feeling is in here too.

  9. […] Read the first chapter of Kelly’s story: A Little Bit About Kelly […]

  10. CATachresis says:

    Am awaiting the rest of this captivating story 🙂

  11. Wazeau says:

    Looking forward to the rest of her story.

  12. Kimberly Helgeson says:

    Beautiful Green Eyes!

  13. Ingrid King says:

    I love the first photo in this post! How nice, if bittersweet, that Kelly gets the tortie spotlight now.

    • animalartist says:

      Ingrid, that is Kelly, truly Kelly, as much as a much earlier one from when she was quite young. Kelly has a difficult story and I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to tell, but we don’t have to tell every detail. The world needs to know Kelly as she is.

  14. how utterly lovely and sad and yet happy in the end (thank goodness).. you capture the confusion and fear. Helen, Darcy and Bingley xxx

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