Who Saved Who? Kingsley's Legacy
Who rescued who? It's a question anyone who has adopted asks themselves, and BARCS foster/volunteer Lindsey M. was no exception. Recently, Lindsey's best friend, Kingsley, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Read in her own words how Kingsley changed her life...
There is no question that fate brought Kingsley and I together. I was looking for a younger, healthy female cat the day I was walking through the cat rooms at BARCS. I wasn’t even planning on adopting a cat that day; I was waiting until I moved into my apartment. But when Kingsley, who was 3.5, saw me walk into the room, he came right up to the front of his cage.
As soon as I saw him, I knew that he was the one.
Kingsley and I moved into my apartment soon after. I had almost no furniture at that point, but Kingsley made it clear that he was thrilled to call the place his new home. He pranced around so regally—that’s when I decided to name him Kingsley.
A couple of weeks later, Kingsley started getting sick... all over my brand new apartment. I was a first time cat owner, and I had no idea what was wrong. After several vet visits and lots of tests, Kingsley was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Chronic Bladder Inflammation, and later, a handful of food allergies/intolerances. Since I have my own fair share of health issues, this only made me feel closer to Kingsley, and I was happy to do whatever was needed to help him feel better. With some very expensive cat food and medication, Kingsley was back to his sweet, affectionate self.
Kingsley was far from a normal cat, and that was clear to me from the very beginning. He ran to the door to greet me when I came home from work everyday. He wanted to befriend every human that he met, and though my parents have never been “cat people,” he very quickly won over their hearts. He had no interest in toys, but faux fur blankets were his favorite thing in the world. A couple of weeks after I adopted him, I decided to try putting him on a leash and harness. He walked on a leash like a dog, and he rode in my car in a pet car seat instead of a cat carrier. Kingsley loved going for walks around the neighborhood and sitting outside with me for brunch at my favorite bakery. He especially loved walking around the yard at my parents’ house, which we referred to as his “country vacation home.”
About a year and a half ago, Kingsley was diagnosed with kidney disease and severe arthritis. At that point, the vet realized that, while he had the teeth of a much younger cat, the rest of his body told a different story. It turns out that Kingsley was much older than anyone initially thought—like 5-8 years older.
Though Kingsley and I were only together for three years, he was by my side during some of my most difficult days. He laid next to me and comforted me while I was upset, in pain, and recovering from surgeries and procedures. He was a therapy animal to me in every way. Somehow, Kingsley could tell when I was in pain, and he used to lay down on top of me to tell me to rest. He was never upset if I wasn’t feeling well and was late giving him breakfast or dinner. He was happy to just lay down next to me, on one of his furry blankets of course, whenever I was having a bad day and needed him by my side.
Two months ago, I took Kingsley to the vet when he wasn’t acting like himself. His kidney levels were through the roof, and he spent four days there getting fluids and treatment. When his next set of labs came back even worse, I decided to take him home, hoping that I would have at least a few more days with him. Much to everyone’s surprise, Kingsley started eating again and acting like himself. We even got to celebrate his third gotcha day with a picnic at the gardens in our local park. But soon after, he stopped eating and started going downhill.
During Kingsley’s final weeks, I wondered how I would ever be ready to bring another cat home. I questioned how long it would take for my broken heart to heal.
But while I was laying next to Kingsley during his last few hours, I realized that my heart will never heal. There will always be a Kingsley shaped hole in my heart. As I spent my final moments with him, I remembered how excited he was when I first brought him home. At that moment, it occurred to me that the very best way to honor Kingsley would be to give another homeless cat a home—more specifically, a cat who was facing the same challenges with kidney disease that Kingsley had faced.
Almost a month ago, a sweet, senior cat with kidney disease named Rutherford arrived at BARCS in pretty bad shape. Every time that I was at the shelter, I would visit him in his cage. Each time that he leaned into me when I kissed him on his forehead, I thought about how it could have been Kingsley in that cage, spending the end of his life at a shelter.
Just like I was really never “ready” to say goodbye to Kingsley, I will never really feel “ready” to bring home another cat. However, BARCS was overflowing with cats who needed homes.
That’s why I officially adopted Rutherford. He will be spending however much time he has left with plenty of soft beds for him to lay on, lots of furry blankets for him to snuggle up with, tons of toys to for him to play with, and endless love for him to feel.
Of course, the past few days have been completely emotionally exhausting. I keep finding things in my apartment that remind me of Kingsley, and it’s so tough. But today, Rutherford pranced around my apartment looking so excited to have a home, just like Kingsley did when I first brought him home. Rutherford purred non-stop today for the first hour after we got to my apartment.
As I was getting ready for Rosh Hashanah dinner, I noticed him staring up at me with his big green eyes like this. Rutherford is starting off this Jewish New Year with a place to call his own, and I hope Kingsley is starting off this Jewish New Year with new friends up in heaven.
I know that Kingsley will be watching over us, and I know that he will be happy that I am helping another cat like him.
Kingsley, you will always be mommy’s best boy. I know that you are up there now with Pinky, and I hope that the two of you will watch over me together. With you, the saying “who rescued who” always had and always will have an answer: you rescued me. I love you so much, my sweet Kingsley boy. Until we meet again.