Submitted February 24, 2018
This is Miss Kensington – “Kensie” for short. How Kensie came to me begins as a rather sad story, but ends quite happily. I left the Navy nine years ago and found the transition to civilian life difficult and lonely. I needed a companion so I started perusing the adoption sites until I eventually stumbled onto something I couldn’t believe. Southern Hope Humane Society was fostering a litter of four snowshoe kittens. I was bewildered when I found out how that came to be. They had been dropped off at a high kill shelter!
As I flipped disbelievingly through the pictures, I couldn’t help but to keep looking at one in particular. She was a seal point; wide eyed and gorgeous. Before I knew it, I was filling out the application and 48 hours later, “Suzume” was home. For nine wonderful years she followed me everywhere, constantly chatting, hunting toy mice and bringing them to me, and snuggling contently at my side. In those 9 years, she was never once ill. All of her vet visits were routine annuals. That changed right after Christmas. It started with an unkempt coat followed by loss of appetite and then the chatting stopped.
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) – I’d never heard of it and when the word “fatal” was uttered, I was shattered. Saying goodbye to her was one of the hardest things I’d ever had to do and so I swore I’d never adopt another animal. It didn’t take me long to realize, however, that I needed someone to follow me around. I needed the chatter. I needed someone to bring me polyester mice!
I didn’t jump wholeheartedly into a search. I looked through the rescue sites here and there, but just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to go through another adoption. I have two other cats – domestic shorthairs that I rescued from shelters and I worried they might not accept a kitten anyway. I talked about Suzume often, describing her quirks and personality and how I missed her constant shadowing. A couple of people, including my husband, suggested looking into ragdoll cats stating that their personalities and characteristics might be to my liking.
The research alone was thoroughly enjoyable. I loved the stories, pictures, and videos and firmly came to the decision that a ragdoll would be a wonderful addition to the family. The search was on, but it didn’t last long. On a cold drizzly day in January, I decided to stay home as I was feeling under the weather. This was the day I first saw my sweet Kensie. I’d sifted through quite a few breeder pages, but that day I found myself on a particularly “loud” page featuring several adorable kittens. As was the case with Suzume, however, one managed to steal my heart instantly – a tiny ball of white fluff with the most gorgeous blue eyes I’d ever seen.
I contacted the breeder right away (Cats by Francy, and yes I recommend!) and learned that she was having an open house to meet the kittens, sires and dames on Friday, so that night I informed my hubby that we’d be taking the 1.5 hour drive on Friday. Fate can be a great friend sometimes, but also a terrible adversary. I woke up on Tuesday morning feeling terrible and was diagnosed with flu that afternoon.
Luckily, I have a fantastic hubby. On Friday morning, he made the drive. When he arrived to Francy’s, he turned on Facetime so I could see all the cats and kittens. They were all so beautiful and the breeder kept an immaculate and fun facility. I laughed as I watched the kittens play. I could have watched all day, but then one sweet face popped up in the frame. It was the kitten I’d seen online. “That’s her” I exclaimed. “You got it” replied my husband. Two hours later, Kensie was curled up comfortably on my lap. She was so beautiful that she didn’t seem real to me. I couldn’t take my eyes off her and a month later I still can’t!
While no one will ever replace my Suzume, Kensie’s arrival was the perfect patch for a broken heart. She follows me to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to the bedroom. I think she’d follow me around the world if I decided to take the hike. She brings me her polyester “kills”. She chats with me and even jumps in the shower with me on occasion. It took me all of one day to teach her to play fetch; my friends are absolutely amazed by that.
The question I get asked most often is how I came up with her name. That story begins last summer. I was in London and decided to take a stroll through Kensington, a posh neighborhood near West End. Many of the houses in Kensington have large bay windows jutting from brick walls and it seems that the entire pet population of Kensington lives in those very windows. As I watched Kensie on her first night home, I couldn’t help but think of some of the fancy long-haired cats that lazed in the bay windows of Kensington homes. Miss Kensington seemed quite a suitable name for my own floppy fancy girl.
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