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Remembering Kayla on the 30th Anniversary of Her Birth

When we got Kayla in January 1992, she was 15 months old. She was a purebred–and she had "papers"…so her birth date was documented: October 4, 1990.

While she was never a showcat, or anything of the sort to me, to the family…it was always cool (to me) that we had an exact date of birth for her. An actual bonafide birtrhday, and so we knew her exact age all her life.

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We lost her in May 2010…on mothers’ day. She was just over 19 1/2…we’d had her over 18 of those years.

Today–October 4, 2020–is 30 years since this kitty joined the world. And having that exact birthdate makes it that much easier to celebrate that, than to "observe" the anniversary of her loss. And certainly NOT to at all trivialize what she means to me–what she was, how she was, the part of my life she played for nearly half my life–making it to 19 1/2, it wasn’t such a shock to me losing her. But I don’t really wanna get into that here, now, on a post celebrating her life.

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She was always such a curious cat. You couldn’t put a paper bag or a box anywhere without her checking it out. Even if she’d been asleep…it was like she had a homing beacon for boxes…she’d wake up and go right TO a new-to-her box to check it out. And even if it wasn’t new, she’d often be found on or in a box.

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I always remember going through my comic boxes the one time and I heard a certain noise and looked over to find her hunkered down, madly pawing at a bunch of comics…a box whose lid I’d left off. It was adorable, and I rushed to get my camera to get a photo of her going at ’em…never occurred to me her damaging them.

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This is one of my favorite photos of her…it was in the kitchen at the old house, a case of water bottles on top of another box. It was her pedestal/throne. I wish the camera had been higher quality…but such is the changes in technology over the years!

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Here she is curled up on an ottoman we used to have. I remember taking this photo because of the added cuteness of her being curled up as she is, on the round ottoman!

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Here’s an even rarer photo…where I’m actually IN the photo with Kayla, holding her. Unlike all the other cats we’ve had…she was always so mellow AND enjoyed being held. I could simply pick her up–even cradling her onto her back like a baby like this–and she’d just chill in my arms. Christy never tolerated that, and Ziggy never cared for it, and Sarah doesn’t. Chloe sorta puts up with it briefly, but never the way Kayla did!

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Another photo I remember the moment of taking (if not the date now)…It was hilarious to me at the time cuz I was trying to get a pic of her sitting there but she walked up and swiped at the camera–my face!

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Queen Kayla on her throne! I forgot that we’d had that chair this long…still have it, though it’s nearing the end of its time.

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Typical "weird-kitty" pose…

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Comfortable kitty sprawled on a sheet…

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This was a pic of Kayla with a frame of photos I’d put together after we lost Christy. This would be from sometime in 2009…we lost Christy in September 2008.

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Kayla chilling by her feeding station–in front of the pantry to the right of the fridge, against a chair-slash-stepladder thing we used to have.

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One of the few photos I have of Kayla "sitting pretty" and catching a lot of the blue to her eyes!

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Here’s Kayla with the ceramic bowl that her original owners gave us when we got her. I think there’d been two, but we’d wound up being down to the one, and eventually something happened to it or it got put away or such.

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Kayla on a toweled corner of the large rectangular ottoman we’d wound up with; that was more "coffee table" than ottoman.

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Another rare photo with me actually in it with Kayla. This is a cropped photo from Christmas Day 2007; that’s Dad with me; Mom and my sister are also in the original photo.

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After we lost Christy, I found this poem–Weep Not For Me–by Constance Jenkins, and it REALLY hit me…and along with Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, helped me process my grief after losing Christy. And it has been something I’ve tried to have with Kayla, and with Ziggy.


This past spring marked 10 years she’s been gone. She’s far from forgotten, though. Even my parents still sometimes slip and say "Kayla" when referring to Chloe or Daisey. And I still think of her, miss her, and so on.

And I’m ever so glad for the 18 years I got to spend with her a part of my life–from middle school into high school, through college, through grad school, and deep into my longest-held job. She was part of my life through some of my most formative years.

So…30 years now since she was born…

Happy birthday, little cat…

Thank you for all your years of love. And someday I’ll see you over the bridge.

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It Was 29 Years Ago Today…

Thanks to some tech issues and timing, this post is hitting almost at the end of the day…but I couldn’t bring myself to consciously, knowingly let the day pass without posting as I’ve done at least most years since she’s been gone.

Today, Kayla would have been 29. It’s been 29 years since she was born.

Though it was 15 months later that she came into MY life.

She’s been gone nearly 9 1/2 years now.

And while these photos are almost certainly duplicates that I’ve posted in previous years…unfortunately, I just don’t have that many of her, or of good quality.

But these are some "key" photos I (as such) often think of with her, and cherish all of them…and the little over 18 1/4 years I had with her!

Miss Kayla Krystal…Kayla Kneeland.

My first kitty.

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I took this photo of her in October 2008 or 2009. I was digging through all my comic boxes at my parents’ house at the time for my various Deadpool and related comics. Kayla joined me, and had quite the adventure with me moving all these BOXES around!

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This photo is Kayla looking up from her bowl. The photo makes her eyes look brown (if not outright kitty-laser-eyes), but in the right light, her eyes were brilliantly blue!

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Kayla napping, curled up as cats do…

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While a bit blurry, I love this photo. Every time I see it, I remember that moment…I was TRYING to get a particular pic of her, and Kayla walked up and started swatting at the camera!

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Another pic of her sleeping. She loved that couch, and laying ON stuff–such as that sheet. More than any other cat I’ve had, she would seek out paper, plastic, cardboard, books, comics, magazines, sheets, anything loose on top of some other firm surface.

And her adventures getting into bags and boxes…all these years later and I still "expect" to be able to put a box down for my other kitties and find at least one in it. But Ziggy never did, and Chloe and Sarah have never matched Kayla’s love of boxes.

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Kayla looked so regal to me in this one. Just her in the middle of the recliner, surveying her kingdom…

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One of her nap-time stretches. A bit awkward in pose, but comfy in the chair!

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And finally, a photo from Christmas Day 2007, me holding this precious kitty even as she squirmed to get down.

Usually such a "ragdoll" in being picked up and held, but trying to pose with her rarely worked, for me.


Happy birthday, Kayla! Little poof, nightkitten, Pretty Kitty…

Until we’re reunited at the bridge…

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Remembering Kayla on the 28th Anniversary of Her Birth

28 years ago–October 4, 1990–Miss Kayla Crystal came into this world. At least, that’s what information my family was given when we responded to a classified ad for this 15-month-old female sealpoint Himalayan in early January 1992.

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Kayla was part of my life from an evening in January 1992 until the morning of May 9th, 2010. Just over 18 years.

As we knew her exact birthdate, I’ve always observed it.

And though she’s been gone over 8 years now, she’s not forgotten, even as I’ve continued to grieve as I have over Ziggy these past 10 months, who I had a scant 7 years with where I expected at least as many more. (and it feels odd in a way to mention them together, as they never met, and my time with each of them is separated by months).

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Happy birthday, Kayla.

Night Kitten, Pretty Kitty. Babycat. Kayla-kitty. I miss you. Perhaps you and Christy have met Ziggy at the rainbow bridge, and I’ll see you all waiting happily together when my time, too, comes…

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Remembering Kayla on the 27th Anniversary of Her Birth

kayla_cornerSometimes it seems like Kayla’s still just around some corner somewhere.

But as in years past, I’m taking a moment to publically remember my little cat.

Today–October 4th–is the anniversary of her birth, back in 1990.

It’s hard to believe that now, in 2017, it’s been nearly 7 1/2 years since losing her, back in May of 2010.

She’s the only cat I’ve had or ever known where there was a definite date of birth…Kayla was a "purebred," that Dad found in a classified ad when we started looking to get a cat, back in 1992. He’d been a fan of the Himalayan breed, and though I wanted a kitten, he followed up on an ad, and we wound up bringing Miss Kayla Krystal home one January Thursday. As a purebred, she came with "papers" detailing the date of birth, and so on.

Said "papers" got stowed in a compartment on the plastic "pet taxi" vet-carrier and somewhere along the years disappeared. Because we didn’t care about ’em.

Kayla was instantly a part of the family, and other than as a clinical "fact," her being a "purebred" never mattered.

Even now, all these years later…I’ve yet to be able to string together a lengthy post about her. So many memories, across nearly 18 1/2 years…and for all the writing I do, have done, will do…there’s no doing justice to what this little cat meant to me.

To date, she remains one of THE primary "constants" in my life, a presence far longer than anyone other than immediate family.

She’ll always be here, until no one remembers. Always here, always part of my heart such a precious part of my life.

Below: several times Kayla was the focus of a "cover" in my The Life of Walt series of photo pieces.

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Remembering a Kitty

Kayla had a documented birthday, and the novelty of that and the impact it made on me (barely 11 at the time) stuck with me, cementing the date in my memory. October 4th, 1990. She was basically 15 months old when we got her in January of 1992.

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We had to say goodbye to her in early May 2010. While I’d known we didn’t have much time left with her, the exact timing still came as a shock, and crushed me. She’s still with me, often in thought, often in memories. One of extremely few constants in my years of life.


But it’s not the loss I’m noting here…it’s her life. Though I have far too few photos of her, those I do have are too many for a post like this. I’ve selected a quick few to share. I’ve probably shared at least some of these previously, but I do so in the moment today without regard for prior sharing.

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In one of my "go through a bunch of longboxes" projects in October 2009, Kayla joined me, curious about all the activity (if not just seeking attention/company…we were the only two living soul in that house at the time). I had the boxes piled around, and she seemed to have a great time climbing around, checking them out. Kayla rarely would allow any box (or bag or other container that she could get into) last long without her getting into it or on it (or both).

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At one point, I’d left a longbox open without a lid, and she found it, and loved the texture of the comics–she hunkered down and pawed madly at ’em. Some folks might’ve been horrified at the cat doing that to their comics…but me? I grabbed the camera and caught her in the act, comics be darned. My kitty was engaging with the comics.

kayla_pooped_on_wolverine_01Now, back in the early 1990s, there were a bunch of "local one-day events" for comics, including a "First Thursday of the Month" recurring event, held at a local hotel. I’d convinced Dad to take me several times, and one of those times, I found what was at the time a true treasure for me–a $6 copy of Wolverine #1.

Turned out it was a bit water damaged, hence the price at the time. Still, I had Wolverine #1!

HAD.

Kayla did not approve, and one day, I found the issue laying out on my bedroom floor.

Kayla had pooped on it.

Even though it was in a bag/board…I threw it out. I’d not been happy with the waterlogged nature of the thing anyway, so she did me the favor of providing an excellent excuse to trash the thing. (I later obtained a much better-condition copy for a whopping 25 cents!).

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Here she is kinda looking up at me taking the photo.

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And here she’s simply settled in by her ‘feeding area’…in the later years, she’d sometimes sleep here…it was an out of the way corner where she wouldn’t be bothered; she had the cool floor and often a sunbeam…and she was already by the food and water.

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I really like this photo of her in a recliner. Big ol’ chair, small little cat. Like a throne. And she was definite royalty, at least to me.

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This one’s not the greatest photo of either of us…not my best, and she’s turning to squirm away from being held as the photo was taken. But it’s one of extremely few photos that I have where I am actually in the photo WITH her, as I’m 99.9+ percent of the time the one doing the photography with cats…

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This one’s also less than wonderful of me, but has me holding Kayla. She was a ‘purebred’ Himalayan…but I’d swear she was part ‘Ragdoll’ the way she’d let me pick her up and she’d just go with it, totally chill. (By contrast, present-day, I pick Ziggy up and he squirms almost immediately to be put back down).

I could pick Kayla up randomly, and she’d just settle into my arms–even when I’d pick her up and hold her like this on her back.

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Miss Kayla Krystal. October 4, 1990 – May 10, 2010.

Today is the 26th anniversary of her birth. And as far as I can tell, and as far as I did my best in my part to do so, she had a great life…19 1/2 years, just over 18 of which she was part of my life.

Happy Birthday, Little Cat…

25 years ago today, Miss Kayla Crystal was born…a purebred Himalayan. At 15 months, she joined our family–I was 11 at the time. She was just Kayla to us–our cat, a part of our family. Being a Himalayan was incidental to the fact of her place with us.

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Though she left this world in May 2010–nearly 5 1/2 years ago (preceded in September 2008 by our younger cat Christy), her memory is still there, is still here, is still part of me, she is still in my heart and memory and mind and…there just aren’t words for this feeling.

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One of my favorite memories of her, from 2009…I was searching comic boxes, and curious as ever, she joined me, and seemed to really enjoy climbing on the boxes, pawing at them, and even at one point found one I left a lid off and I caught her pawing madly at the tops of some comics. Where some might’ve been horrified…I just wanted the photo of her doing that.

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I miss you, Kayla…

Another year

My Kayla would have been 23 today…

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She would have been 20 today

When we got her, she came with “papers.” She was a “purebred” seal-point Himalayan. She was 15 months old, and her full registered name was “Miss Kayla Krystal.”

But we didn’t get her for show, or for breeding. She was our family pet. And while she started out as “the cat,” she quickly became a part of the family. She wasn’t JUST some cat. Not to us. Not to me.

And we were blessed to have her as part of this family for a little over 18 years. She was there when I went off to high school, when I moved out for college. She saw me go through grad school, and beyond.

And that little cat, who meant so much–whose loss still stings, and may always sting (18 years isn’t just some walk in the park)….

She would have been 20 today.

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