Happy 8th Birthday to Kizmet, an Extraordinary Cat!

Happy Birthday to a very special and extraordinary cat.

I’m nearly 60 years old and cats have been a part of my life all of those years, probably totaling at least a couple dozen during that timeframe. And I love them all – past and present – each with their wonderfully unique personalities. I won’t say I have favorites, that’s not my style, but I can say every once in a while, one of them really stands out, having an extraordinarily special nature. Kizmet is one of those cats. He’s a cat in which the earth revolves on a very special axis – one that is exceptionally kind, tolerant, intuitive, loving, patient, and accepting. In other words, he’s what’s good and pure about this world and a cat we could learn from.

Today is Kizmet’s 8th birthday. I adopted him in November of 2012, unplanned when I went to Pet Supermarket one day intending to buy cat food. Instead, I saw a tiny kitten in the store’s adoption cage, bringing me to tears, the bond I felt toward him so powerful. He was a kitten, but his eyes were wise, that of an old soul and I had an overwhelming sensation our meeting was destined. It didn’t make sense, of course. We were already a seven-cat household. I wasn’t looking for another cat, but I was hopeless to fate. We were meant to be, and he came home with me.

Those eyes…how could I have resisted him?

Kizmet was different from the beginning. We didn’t know his history, other than he was found abandoned on the side of a road. We christened his birthday July 4, based on a best-guess age assumption after taking him to our vet for a check-up as well as thinking like the birthday of America, he was cause for celebration. Receiving his clean bill of health, I planned on slowly easing his introduction with our other cats over the course of a month or so, keeping him safely tucked away in our guest bedroom.

He felt otherwise and insisted he leave his room, bolting out like a streak of lightning, about a week after I brought him home. He showed no concern over the mob scene of angry felines and hisses that greeted him when he nonchalantly joined them for dinner in the kitchen, taking them completely by surprise. Quickly after that, he took matters into his own paws and made it known he was not going back into sequester. He integrated himself with the others without an agenda, taking the animosity from his cat mates in stride, eventually winning them over with his good-natured ways.

Kizmet meets Rolz and lets him know from the start the only path they would share, would be one of friendship.

About a year after joining our family, his senior cat mate, my beloved Ragdoll, Jazz, began his decline and end of life journey and my world was immersed with a vigorous dedication to prolonging the inevitable. It was a difficult road, emotional, each day filled with the dread of knowing no matter how hard I tried, how many trips to the vet, how many different foods, medicines, desperate prayers, and more, my beautiful 15-year-old boy, Jazz, was dying.

On the morning of August 28, 2013, Dan and I made the painful decision the kindest gift we could give Jazz was the dignity of letting him go and I spent my last precious hours with him in the guest bedroom that was once Kizmet’s sequester room. I laid down next to him on the bed with a blanket wrapped around me, gently petting his head and whispering soothing words of love to him. Sensing the finality of the moment, Kizmet, and his cat buddy, kind-hearted Harley, lay at my feet and we spent the entire morning with Jazz, not moving an inch until it was time for Dan and me to bring him to the vet to help him ease into his afterlife journey.

Kizmet and Harley were vigilant, staying by my side as we said our goodbye’s to Jazz.

When we rather unexpectedly (again), found ourselves several months later adopting another rescue kitten – a beautiful ginger diva that Dan and I happened upon while attending Global Pet Expo, it was Kizmet who steered the ship. I was still raw from losing Jazz and not sure I was emotionally equipped to bring another cat into my heart and home and I didn’t think our current gang would be too thrilled with another cat so soon after Kizmet, either. But I saw how the kitten lit up Dan’s face and she was melting my heart, too, so we brought her home, praying our very established multicat household could adapt to yet another disruption to the already delicate equilibrium they shared.

As per my usual, I planned on slowly easing our newcomer into the household. But I forgot to factor in the force that is Kizmet. Our little orange fireball had barely been with us for a few hours before Kizmet had somehow gotten himself into her sequester room. Worried for the worst, that the fur would fly, Dan and I marveled at what happened next. Little orange kitty was sitting on the windowsill, surprised to see she suddenly had company. Her little body reacted – a picture-perfect arched back accompanied by as terrifying a hiss a tiny kitten could muster, but rather than get combative and react, Kizmet settled on the floor in front of her in a reclined position, keeping his body posture fully relaxed and non-threatening.

The moment Kizmet met Jazmine he became her friend and helped ease her into the household with the other cats.

She continued her tirade a bit longer and he remained calm, assuring her with his gentle demeanor and a slow blink of the eye, a gesture of trust, that he was her friend and there was no need to be defensive. She was wary, but after a few tenuous moments, you could see she understood she had found a trusted friend. It was then, as I watched them interact, that I remembered Kizmet staying with me during my last hours with Jazz, in the same room our newest feline family member was staying and the name came to me just like that – Jazmine. I found it fitting, too, that Kizmet was there to say goodbye to Jazz, and then to say hello to Jazmine.

That’s just Kizmet. Always sweet, gracious, and good-natured. And so in tune with me, too. When my sweet Harley had a very unexpected seizure on June 28, 2014, resulting in her death a few short hours later at the vet’s office, I was devastated and emotionally crippled.  Kizmet, bless his precious soul, seemed to understand my pain and for several days after her death, he laid on the rug in my office,  only a few feet from where Harley had her seizure as if to help support me and pay respect to his lost friend.

Even more incredible was his outward concern for me. I remember lying on the couch, nearly catatonic, my grief still so raw, and he bounded up to me where I was lying on my side with my head on a pillow. He pressed his nose firmly into mine as if to let me know he was there for me and he understood my grief. He then tucked himself into the bend of my belly as closely as he could and I cradled him, absorbing the beauty, love, and intention of the moment.

The love is strong and the human-feline bond is real.

Even now, years later, he makes sure to let me know every night that I’m loved by him. When I finally close down for the day to relax on the couch he comes and lies on the rest behind me, gently placing his head on mine like a pillow, draping his paw around my neck. Words can’t adequately translate the poignancy of the moment and it’s a gift I don’t take lightly.

Does he have his quirks? Sure. He’s possessive with the kitchen counter, swatting anyone who dares to walk past it while he’s on it. It’s where he eats his dinner, politely, away from the disruption of his other loud and unruly cat mates who have no mealtime etiquette so it’s easy enough to understand his rationale. He eats three small meals a day, but he’s completely unmotivated by food, unlike the others who are raving lunatics when it comes to mealtime – swatting, counter jumping, leg weaving, loud meowing – every single feeding is like going to battle in a warzone. With Kizmet, sometimes I literally have to search to find him and then scoop up his squirming body to bring him to the counter to eat. And while he’ll eat treats, he doesn’t beg for them, he doesn’t sit by the treat pantry hoping they magically appear, they don’t drive him to come when he’s called, or to do tricks or anything else for that matter.

It’s pretty simple logic. Don’t bother him when he’s on his counter and he won’t bother you.

He’s also got the sweetest, softest, chirp of a meow for a cat that’s relatively large in size. Every morning when I go into my office to prepare for the day, I’ll hear his love song, asking if he can please come into the room to either lie on top of my keyboard or wedge himself behind my back while I sit at my chair. He loves physical contact and the closer he is to me, the happier it makes him.

Working with Kizmet’s help can be challenging – the closer to me and my keyboard, the happier he is.

When I say Kizmet likes to sit behind me to be close to me, I mean it very literally. I can’t imagine how this is comfortable, but he loves it.

And most recently, he’s the one (the only one) who’s welcomed our newest rescue, black cat Shadow, into the household. Shadow came to us last November and his acclimation continues to be the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. Jazmine, despite once being in his very paws,  can’t wrap her head around his existence and is continuously growling at him, even when he’s doing nothing more than innocently sitting on the floor. Her emotions and his presence have exacerbated tensions with others, so we’ve had heightened issues of territorial spraying, combative fighting, and fur flying battles. Kizmet? He doesn’t growl, he doesn’t instigate, he doesn’t spray, he doesn’t fight, and unlike any of the others, he’s okay with letting Shadow sleep next to him on the couch in my office.

Shadow has his paw on Kizmet’s tail – a very strong sign of trust and acceptance of one another.

Happy Birthday my one-of-a-kind, sweet, and compassionate love. Kizmet means fate and you were always meant to be with us. We love you so much and wish you many more happy birthdays.

Happy Birthday Kizmet and Happy Birthday America!

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  1. Happy birthday Kizmet! His is a lovely story.

  2. Ingrid King says:

    Happy Birthday, Kismet! I can’t believe he’s 8! He’s clearly one of your soul cats. These relationships are so precious.

  3. Patricia A Holland says:

    What a beautiful story, Happy Birthday Kismet

  4. Chirpy Cats says:

    Happy Birthday Kizmet! I so enjoyed reading this story, he reminds me of our Mr. Jack, the peacekeeper and social facilitator of the Chirpies. He’s always there to break up a scuffle, to groom everyone and to offer his purr therapy. Kizmet surely has a beautiful bond with you and I’m sure you treasure it everyday. What a blessing! I pray you have many more beautiful years with your dear furry soul. xx

  5. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet boy, Kizmet. Happy 8th birthday to him and many more. I can relate to everything you wrote. There are certain cats that are meant for us and, although all cats are special in their own ways, some, like Kizmet, stand out for their lovable and gentle natures. You are both blessed to have one another.

  6. Brian Frum says:

    Such a special guy you are Kizmet. Happy Birthday from all of us and Happy Independence Day too.

  7. Happy Birthday Kizmet! You are one extraordinary cat and a beautiful kitty too!

  8. Kizmet definitely has some Maine Coon blood; look at that majesty!
    Happy Birthday, handsome, and Happy Independence Day!

  9. Vicat says:

    Happiest of Birthdays, gorgeous Kizmet!

  10. caren says:

    Happy Happy Birthday Kizmet!! Wishing you many, many more. I remember when your Mama adopted you. Yes you ARE truly extraordinary! Much love xoxo

  11. jmuhj says:

    Happy, happy PURRthday, Kizmet! Enjoy this one and many, many more in safety, good health, comfort, best of care, and love!
    Kizmet’s personality is quite similar to my Tarifa’s. Tar is 17 now and slowing down. Her appetite is lagging. Elvis’ world revolves around this tiny torti, as does mine. She’s never met a soul she hasn’t loved, I don’t think — she is friend to all cats and all the humans she’s met.

  12. Mary McNeil says:

    Happy Purrthday dear Kismet ! And many more !

  13. Happy Birthday, Kizmet!

  14. Ellen Pilch says:

    Happy Birthday Kizmet! And Happy 4th to you and your family!

  15. Sir, yoo r da king ov kool, happy birthday

  16. Edith Chase says:

    Happy Birthday Kizmet!!! 💕

  17. It feels like yesterday that Kismet was a kitten and now he’s a senior boy! Happy birthday to the sweet mama’s boy xo

  18. meowmeowmans says:

    Happy birthday, Kizmet! And happy Independence Day, too!

  19. Happy Purrs Day Kizmet! You knew just whose heart strings to pull!

  20. da tabbies o trout towne says:

    dood…..we iz late for de partee, but we all wayz R seemz like….any way, we hope yur birthday total
    lee rocked, ya had a grate day, cauzed 900 kindz oh soundz like swell…. & heerz two a yeer a head
    filled with happeez N healtheez ♥♥♥ 🙂