So a Cat Walks Into a Meeting…

black and white cat

Henry on his first night in my basement.

It’s not a joke, Henry really did walk into a meeting I was attending and proceeded to get himself rescued and subsequently adopted.

On a mild and misty spring evening, May 8, 2008 to be exact, I met with the board of a community conservation organization to review the illustrations for an interpretive sign we were creating for one of their conservation areas. The meeting was held in the municipal building, a small newer brick building that also housed their public library. This was among a group of buildings that included their local Post Office and public works buildings, and all were situated in a small parking lot along a winding country road.

Not terribly remote, there were houses on the hills around and along the road as well as industrial and small manufacturing businesses in an area that was slowly converting from a rural and agricultural character to a more residential area.

That early in the year the air conditioning was not yet in use and the room had grown stuffy so we opened the door to let the cool evening air fill the room.

I sat with my illustrations and designs awaiting my turn on the agenda. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a cat walk in the door. I accepted this apparition without question since I seem to see cats everywhere, yet the shape or color or pattern usually turns out to be leaves or a shadow or someone’s shoes that my searching visualization turns into something familiar and recognizable.

However, the logical remembrance of a very rectangular metal doorway and door painted a neutral tan with gray concrete on the outside and tan carpeting on the inside and a gray and quiet evening without caused me in the same moment to reconsider the appearance of a large rounded black shape with white spots moving through the doorway.

I quickly turned around to see that it was not the mechanizations of my visual acuity, it really was a large black and white cat walking very purposefully through the doorway and into the room, looking curiously up at the humans around the table as he stepped off the plastic runner and decisively turned into the first room on the left as if he belonged in that room.

Others also looked at him, but no one reacted, so I thought he really did belong in there. I turned around but kept alert for movement in that area.

A few minutes later the cat came out of the room, looked at us again, went down the hall and explored other open offices and areas and came back, all as if he was completely familiar with the space, all while the meeting proceeded. When we moved into that first room on the left, a small conference room where we could spread out the drawings for the sign, the cat joined us and I asked if, perhaps, he lived in the municipal building. No one recognized him. We petted him and talked to him as we discussed the illustrations, and with that attention he stayed with us in the room.

The meeting over, a few of us discussed the sign and also the cat and what to do about him. I don’t like to just scoop up a cat from where it’s wandering if it seems safe because it’s easier found if it’s close to home. This cat wore a pretty green collar, though the collar seemed rather small, and the cat as clean as could be. Considering it was a rainy spring day and the area was either grassy or a post-winter parking lot, he, as we presumed, would be dirty if he’d been outside for any length of time. Still, cars and trucks traveled pretty quickly along the winding two-lane road and this particular clean, trusting and well-rounded kitty might not have a clue what to do when approaching.

What to do with a friendly kitty?

As we left and he followed us out I looked around at likely homes. The closest were across a little creek with somewhat muddy banks. I looked at his clean paws. He looked at me. I picked him up, a dangerous thing that I usually avoid at all costs unless I totally intend to take the cat home with me because I am lost once I touch them in any way, petting or nuzzling or even just letting them rub on my legs.

But picking them up can also help me assess more about them in temperament, health, and general outlook. This zaftig kitty settled easily into my arms and purred, looking around at the view from that height. He was not acting at all like a runaway or a confused kitty someone had tossed out. Either he was one of the most self-assured kitties I’d ever met or he was completely clueless.

black and white cat being held

Henry at the vet when he was scanned for a microchip.

A few friends from the meeting and I began to speculate and decide what to do, since none of us wanted to leave him. None of us felt we could take him for the sake of pets we already had so we decided to ask around the few people who were still there as the evening had progressed.

I walked into the library with him, a small one-room affair with a counter at the entrance, and asked if they’d ever seen this cat. The person behind the counter didn’t seem too pleased to have a cat inside and said she’d not noticed him, nor had anyone around the front of the room. Not sure what I would do with him I asked if I could post a sign with his picture on the bulletin board and got permission, saying I’d be back with it the next day.

I walked outside with him and since it was now approaching dusk, putting the cat down to see if he headed in any particular direction I asked a few people in the parking lot if they’d ever seen him, or if they could take him in to foster. It would be so much easier if he was in a home in the community rather than coming to my home, about ten miles and two communities away. Two teenagers said they’d seen him the day before behind the public works buildings, but they thought he belonged to someone near. Several people were interested in helping and one couple with children, leaving the library, discussed it at length and seemed convinced they could, but decided against it because they weren’t sure they could keep him confined from their dog and other cats.

Realizing I’d left my portfolio and backpack leaning against a bench near the entrance to the building, I decided I’d at least put those things in my car while I thought about what to do with this friendly cat. As I walked to my car he trotted alongside me, turning his big black and white face up to me as if we were buddies on an outing. When I opened the driver’s side door to reach in and unlock the back door, he hopped in and began to explore, completely unafraid of the car or what a trip in the car usually meant for cats. I placed my things in the back seat and closed that door. The cat settled into the passenger seat and began a complete bath, starting with his face. He was clearly at ease.

So I got in, closed my door, put on my seatbelt and started the car. No reaction from the cat. I reached over to pet him and he nuzzled my hand and gave it a few licks before returning to his own bath. I usually took the back way home where I could drive slowly in case he freaked on me at some point. In the deepening darkness his white patches glowed, so I’d have no problem finding him if he decided to get up and move around.

“Well, Henry,” I said, giving him the name that had been coming to mind for him, “we’re on our way.”

Guess he’s coming home with me

He was fine on the way home while I pondered what the heck I would do with him when I got there with nine cats already, Peaches, Cookie, Namir, Kelly plus Mimi and the Fantastic Four. At nearly 10 months old they were still spending overnights in the bathroom so the seniors could get a good night’s sleep, plus they were still in that observation period for their first year we had all agreed on because of the risk of FIP, and I didn’t want to expose another cat to that possibility.

The spare cat room was filled to capacity with art stuff as usual, not really even enough floor space to accommodate a litterbox plus food and water bowl, I wasn’t sure where I’d put him. He continued his bath without concern.

I got home and left him in the car (seems to be a pattern with me), fed the household their dinner, closed off the basement since there was a litter box in the bathroom, and took him in through the basement door, removed all the litterboxes and gave him a clean one. He could spend a few hours there while I rearranged the studio to fit him safely in there.

Efforts to find a home

And Henry took it all in stride, friendly and affectionate, eating happily and purring. I took a few photos of him, though he was so hungry for affection and wanting to be held it was difficult to get a good one. After the move upstairs I designed a flyer and sent out an e-mail to friends, attaching the flyer for friends who lived in the community he’d come from to print out and post. I began looking for an owner, a foster home, a clue to where this really handsome, loving, friendly cat had appeared from.

Giving him a mini exam I guessed he was in those middle years, maybe four to eight, neutered, decidedly overfed, and likely had been kept completely indoors from the looks of his perfectly pink paw pads. For some reason I pictured an older person or couple who had doted on him, fed him lots of treats, spent time with him on their lap with a lot of carrying and cuddling and affection, though I couldn’t figure out the slightly-too-small green vinyl collar. He seemed healthy so I decided to forego a veterinary appointment but instead decided to put my efforts into finding his owner through flyers and phone calls and e-mails, shelters, local police and all the other means available. A trip to a local clinic to have him scanned turned up no microchip or electronic identification of any sort.

Despite all these efforts no one turned up to claim him, and no one even seemed to recognize him.

Henry closeup

Henry, still at the vet, was pretty comfortable with people, even during an exam!

I felt so sad for Henry, not just that he had lost his person but that I had little time to spend with him for the sake of working entirely at my computer downstairs and keeping up with the young ones and the old ones in my household. Namir at that time was requiring four medications twice daily, one of them the diuretic Furosemide or Lasix, and with his bladder condition he often couldn’t make it to the litterbox in time, so I was regularly cleaning up after him. I usually keep unknown strays, no matter how nice, isolated in the spare cat room for four weeks even if I’ve had a few preliminary tests done so he was stuck in there to begin with, not to mention he stayed well clear of the door and looked at me with wide-eyed uncertainty when he heard them outside.

And ten cats was just too many. But even with that knowledge and all the other complications of my household, I had recently been thinking that black and white, tuxedo or otherwise, was one kitty flavor I’d never lived with…I have to stop having those sorts of thoughts as the universe hears me too clearly and they always lead to another rescue.

Thanks to FosterCat

I was so grateful to FosterCat for agreeing to take him in after he’d been with me for three weeks.

For all his affectionate nature he really was shy around other cats and still a quiet guy. He spent some time at PetSmart but other cats were more outgoing so he came back to his foster home. Through their website they did find a home for him with a couple who really adored him and he went on to his final home in February 2009.

Even after he’d gone to FosterCat I continued poking around to look for an owner for him, but never found a clue. With cats like Henry and Sophie and so many others who end up in odd places and ask to be rescued I never stop wondering about where they came from, who might be missing them especially since I don’t presume cats are always dumped; we all know someone whose cat got out and disappeared and was never seen again. I just hope that if an escape is the case that somehow the word gets back to wherever it needs to that the kitty was found and is safe. Perhaps I read too many fairy tails but it helps to mitigate what is often the unpleasant truth, and it doesn’t hurt to project positive thoughts.

You’ve read about FosterCat many times here on the The Creative Cat. Also visit their website and look for your next feline best friend, or consider being a foster home.

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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.


Great Rescues Book Signing at FosterCat Spaghetti Dinner

great rescues calendar and gift book

Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book

Join me for a book signing for Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book at the FosterCat annual spaghetti dinner on September 10! I’ll be there with my special pen to inscribe a dedication to your favorite rescue kitty—or kitties, no matter how many.

It’s also time to think about “back-to-school” gifts, and not to early to think of holiday gifts for the end of the year. I’ll donate 10% of all my sales that day to FosterCat, so you can increase your donation if you attend the dinner and buy a book!

I’ll be donating a few things to the Chinese auction—one copy of Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book which I’ll be happy to inscribe for the winner, a framed print of one of Peaches and Peonies, and perhaps set of crocheted pawprints or a basket of notecards as well.

The Carnegie Arts & Heritage Festival is that weekend, but I will be at the dinner for the signing and with merchandise for sale.

I hope to see you there!

FosterCat Spaghetti Dinner

Click this image, print it out and post it!

The dinner is on Saturday, September 10, 2011  from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church in Green Tree.

The menu includes spaghetti with a choice of either meat or meatless sauce, salad, rolls, beverage and dessert. Takeout orders will be available.

Helping to raise more funds in addition to the meal prices, Chinese auction items including restaurant and other gift certificates donated by local businesses will be on display, and you can also buy tickets for the 50/50 raffle. Cat toys and other items will be offered for sale at the event.

Tickets are $9 for adults and $4 for children ages 12 and under.

Click the image of the flyer at left, print it out and post it wherever you think people may be interested in attending—vets’ offices, hair salons, your local church, local businesses and gyms in the area, groomers and at your own place of business.

fostercat logo

FosterCat, Inc.

If you can’t attend but still want to help FosterCat and its network of 25 foster homes, you can always make a donation at their website, www.fostercat.org. Even if you don’t live near Pittsburgh, consider making a donation to this organization that both removes cats in peril from shelters and keeps them out of shelters in the first place, giving them a loving and comfortable foster home until a permanent home can be found.

FosterCat, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501c (3) organization formed in 1999 to provide for the temporary care and also permanent placement of homeless kittens and cats.  Through its network of 25 foster homes, FosterCat has fostered and placed over 1,050 kittens and cats for permanent adoption. There is no paid staff but everyone volunteers their professional talents as well as foster talents, and the only expense outside of direct care for cats is the cost of advertising the organization for potential homes and for foster homes.

pastel painting of a cat on a table with peonies

Peaches and Peonies, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

They were the recipient of the online auction of the print of “Peaches and Peonies” in honor of Peaches’ 100th birthday, and I regularly feature cats they have in foster in June for Adopt-a-Cat Month.

Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church is located at 1000 Green Tree Road, Pittsburgh.

For tickets, visit www.fostercat.org to purchase on line or call Carolyn Kozlowski at 412-531-4776.


FosterCat Annual Spaghetti Dinner

fostercat logo

FosterCat, Inc.

Join the board, volunteers, foster families and friends of FosterCat on Saturday, September 10, 2011  from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church in Green Tree.

The menu includes spaghetti with a choice of either meat or meatless sauce, salad, rolls, beverage and dessert. Takeout orders will be available.

Helping to raise more funds in addition to the meal prices, Chinese auction items including restaurant and other gift certificates donated by local businesses will be on display, and you can also buy tickets for the 50/50 raffle. Cat toys and other items will be offered for sale at the event.

Tickets are $9 for adults and $4 for children ages 12 and under.

I’ll be donating a few things—on copy of Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book a framed print of one of Peaches and Peonies, and perhaps set of crocheted pawprints or a basket of notecards as well.

The Carnegie Arts & Heritage Festival is that weekend, but I will be at the dinner for a while with merchandise for sale.

If you can’t attend but still want to help FosterCat and its network of 25 foster homes, you can always make a donation at their website, www.fostercat.org. Even if you don’t live near Pittsburgh, consider making a donation to this organization that both removes cats in peril from shelters and keeps them out of shelters in the first place, giving them a loving and comfortable foster home until a permanent home can be found.

FosterCat, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501c (3) organization formed in 1999 to provide for the temporary care and also permanent placement of homeless kittens and cats.  Through its network of 25 foster homes, FosterCat has fostered and placed over 1,050 kittens and cats for permanent adoption. There is no paid staff but everyone volunteers their professional talents as well as foster talents, and the only expense outside of direct care for cats is the cost of advertising the organization for potential homes and for foster homes.

pastel painting of a cat on a table with peonies

Peaches and Peonies, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

They were the recipient of the online auction of the print of “Peaches and Peonies” in honor of Peaches’ 100th birthday, and I regularly feature cats they have in foster in June for Adopt-a-Cat Month.

Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church is located at 1000 Green Tree Road, Pittsburgh.

For tickets, visit www.fostercat.org to purchase on line or call Carolyn Kozlowski at 412-531-4776.


Irina and Isis, Saved From the Flood

black and white cat in cupboard

Irina in her cabinet

Meet a couple more of the rescued kitties I’ve met in the past few weeks, these two from a house that reminded me of my own through the years!

calico cat in cabinet

Isis in her cubby.

Irina, above, and Isis, at left, had a period of homelessness in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan hit Western Pennsylvania causing catastrophic flooding in communities that hadn’t seen any in decades. Many animals were lost or displaced as the floodwaters rose in a matter of hours during the afternoon when people were away at work. In the aftermath many homes were uninhabitable and people needed to find other accommodations, either long-term temporarily or permanently, and many pets were surrendered to shelters when living arrangements didn’t allow a pet.

Here is the course of events. Irina and Isis were surrendered by their person to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society when a private assistance organization secured long-term housing for her while her home was rebuilt, but didn’t take into account her cats. FosterCat, an organization you’ve read about on this blog, took as many cats as they could find foster homes for after the flood, and placed Irina and Isis with their current mom, who was fostering for FosterCat at the time.

She had heard their story and decided they’d been through enough disruption for one lifetime and decided to keep them. This is otherwise known as a “foster failure”, but it’s not a bad test to fail since a kitty gets a home; she also kind of decided she wasn’t any good at fostering.

Lucky for Irina, named for Irina Vorobieva, Olympic Russian figure skater, and Isis, the goddess, of course, they made their way to this mom! The reason I’ve posted photos that aren’t so focused on the cat is that I wanted to show the environment—a really nice house, full of decorative things, and lots of happy spots left for the cats, Irina in her cabinet, the door always open for her, and Isis in the cubby by the front door where she quietly watches the house.

Irina is a little frightened of her doggy brothers, two harmless little Pomeranians, so she stays in the kitchen, but according to Isis’ mom she’s a bigger cat and somehow intimidating, so the dogs don’t mess with her. Could be that tri-color gene.

More rescued kitties to come from this house.


Allie Really Needs a Home!

Shelters are full of moms and kittens and FosterCat wants to help as many as possible. Allie is ready to go home and that will free up space in her foster home to help save more cats and kittens. She needs to be the only cat—do you know anyone who might be able to adopt her?

Hi. My name is Allie. I am about two-and-one-half years old, so I am still just a baby myself.

I was found in a park in McKeesport in May 2009 with my five babies. A lady took us home until she could get us into Fostercats. We went to live with another lady, who still has me. My babies have found great homes, but I am still looking for that perfect person.

I am not shy, so I am great with people, even kids who will play with me, and even a dog might be okay. I love to play with flippy toys or just run around the house like a crazy cat. When I am ready to settle down, I like to do some snuggling. I will accept little kisses on the head as only a queen can. If you have a couple of sunny windows I can perch in to watch nature, I would love that.

I am frisky, a little feisty, and have some attitude, but I also have lots of love to give—just not to other cats, and that’s been the problem with people who’d like to adopt me because they already have other cats. It’s also the problem with being in a foster home, because there are other cats here too.

I would prefer to be an only pet, as I need to be the queen of my castle. Do you think I would be the perfect fit for you?

FosterCat would love to find Allie a fur-ever home before she reaches her second year anniversary in a foster home in May 2011. Allie’s birthdate is around September 1, 2008. She is spayed, tested for feline leukemia and negative, has all her shots and everything else a kitty could need to come home with you. If you’re interested in Allie, you’ll also find her on the Adopt Me! page on the FosterCat website and scroll down to find Allie’s photo.

fostercat logo

FosterCat Inc.

Foster Cat, Inc. is all about saving lives. It’s as simple as that. We are an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to the proposition that all cats and kittens deserve safe, loving, permanent homes.

Our foster parents provide temporary care for cats and kittens in their homes until they can be placed for adoption. Their compassion provides the second chance that so many stray, abandoned or homeless kitties need, and the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped save the lives of these helpless animals.

FosterCat provides training and support, medications, food and litter as needed, and absorbs all veterinary expenses associated with the care of our kitties. If you love kitties and would like to be a part of our lifesaving team, consider opening your heart and home to cats or kittens in need. We promise you won’t regret it! If you can’t foster, you can still help save lives as a volunteer or supporting member.


Urgent: Can You Foster a Mom and Three Kittens?

mother cat and kittens

Tabby mom with tabby babies

Meet tabby Momcat and her three lovely tabby children! She’s looking for a nice foster home where she can raise her children and stay until all are adopted with assistance from FosterCat. We need to know ASAP.

Right now she’s at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, but the shelter is already full of kittens—and they are taking in 50 to 60 cats EACH DAY! Please help to take the burden off an open door shelter. See if you can fit a frightened mom and her curious kids into your home for a couple of months with the guarantee that you’d have assistance helping them find homes.

fostercat logo

FosterCat Inc.

This mom cat would be fostered through FosterCat, which would also handle all the adoptions. She and her kittens would NOT be returned to WPHS in order to allow the cage space for more needy cats.

If you can foster, call Clare Collins, (412) 352-2886 (cell number).

If you can’t foster but would like to help, make a tax-deductible donation to FosterCat, www.fostercat.org, or the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, www.wpahumane.org. This donation goes directly to helping both organizations take care of homeless cats and other animals by paying for veterinary care and food which is in urgent need right now during “kitten season”.

If you missed the chance on this mom and kittens but can foster other cats or kittens, please contact FosterCat, www.fostercat.org, the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society at visit http://www.wpahumane.org/foster.html or call Chris Whyle, 412.321.4625, x 221 or your local shelter.

And always NEUTER AND SPAY!


My Two Year Anniversary…in a Foster Home


Hi. My name is Allie. I am about two-and-one-half years old, so I am still just a baby myself.

I was found in a park in McKeesport in May 2009 with my five babies. A lady took us home until she could get us into Fostercats. We went to live with another lady, who still has me. My babies have found great homes, but I am still looking for that perfect person.

I am not shy, so I am great with people, even kids who will play with me, and even a dog might be okay. I love to play with flippy toys or just run around the house like a crazy cat. When I am ready to settle down, I like to do some snuggling. I will accept little kisses on the head as only a queen can. If you have a couple of sunny windows I can perch in to watch nature, I would love that.

I am frisky, a little feisty, and have some attitude, but I also have lots of love to give—just not to other cats, and that’s been the problem with people who’d like to adopt me because they already have other cats. It’s also the problem with being in a foster home, because there are other cats here too.

I would prefer to be an only pet, as I need to be the queen of my castle. Do you think I would be the perfect fit for you?

FosterCat would love to find Allie a fur-ever home before she reaches her second year anniversary in a foster home in May 2011. Allie’s birthdate is around September 1, 2008. She is spayed, tested for feline leukemia and negative, has all her shots and everything else a kitty could need to come home with you. If you’re interested in Allie, you’ll also find her on the Adopt Me! page on the FosterCat website and scroll down to find Allie’s photo.

fostercat logo

FosterCat Inc.

Foster Cat, Inc. is all about saving lives. It’s as simple as that. We are an all-volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to the proposition that all cats and kittens deserve safe, loving, permanent homes.

Our foster parents provide temporary care for cats and kittens in their homes until they can be placed for adoption. Their compassion provides the second chance that so many stray, abandoned or homeless kitties need, and the satisfaction of knowing that they have helped save the lives of these helpless animals.

FosterCat provides training and support, medications, food and litter as needed, and absorbs all veterinary expenses associated with the care of our kitties. If you love kitties and would like to be a part of our lifesaving team, consider opening your heart and home to cats or kittens in need. We promise you won’t regret it! If you can’t foster, you can still help save lives as a volunteer or supporting member.