Kennedy, High King of Ireland


This is Kennedy (full name Kennedy, High King of Ireland, but also named for President John F. Kennedy). He’s on my mind a lot because he’s going through a health issue right now. He’s been peeing in the sink occasionally, always when we are standing nearby. He uses the litter box most of the time, but a couple of months ago I called the vet because of the sink peeing. At that time it was found that he had some blood in his urine, and the vet placed him on antibiotics.

He continued to pee in the sink, so yesterday I took him back to the vet. This time he had blood and bilirubin in his urine, so the vet did x-rays, and he has a small density in his bladder which we hope is a stone. I spent most of yesterday crying because Dr. G. said it’s quite unusual for cats to have bilirubinuria, and I worried about a liver problem.

Today Dr G. called with good news – Kennedy’s liver values were normal! I started him on Royal Canin Urinary SO to try to dissolve what we hope is the stone. Now I just have to watch him carefully for blockages.

Kennedy’s story is remarkable. He came to Willamette Humane Society, where I work, in late August 2016. I was in San Francisco celebrating my birthday with my sister, niece, and my husband by eating at Zuni Cafe and attending a Giants game, unaware of the fact that a 3-month-old kitten who would change my life had been brought in with catastrophic injuries after being hit by a car. A Good Samaritan found him lying on the side of the road, unable to move, and rushed him to WHS. He was taken to a clinic, where they did x-rays and found that he had a diaphragmatic hernia. Back at WHS, one of our stellar shelter vets performed life-saving surgery on the kitten, named Butler by a coworker. He wasn’t moving his hind legs much, and his intestines were in his chest, collapsing a lung. Butler survived the surgery and a few hours later was sitting up and purring madly. Clinic staff took him home over the weekend and monitored him closely. It wasn’t a guarantee that he would survive the weekend, but he did.

I met Butler upon my return and promptly fell in love. Instead of being in a kennel, he was staying in a crate in our Operations Director’s office, and he recovered rapidly, playing and purring his gratitude and love to anyone who needed it. Everyone said he bonded with me especially; while he just wanted to play with coworkers, he snuggled into my lap or chest and purred ecstatically, seemingly reluctant to leave. And his name was a sign: I attended Butler County Community College back home in Kansas!

He was just so darling that I couldn’t stand the thought of him going to another home, and I knew he had to be ours. Without even telling my husband, I put him on hold to show interest in adopting him. We had a trip to Canada planned for September 10th to visit Mujeeb’s niece and her family. I had repeatedly raved about Butler to Mujeeb, and the night before our trip, I told him that we WERE going to adopt him. Because we already had 4 cats, he put his foot down and said no. We didn’t speak the rest of the night. On the way to catch the airport shuttle the next morning, Mujeeb was solemn and I was miserable. He finally said, “We can get Butler if you promise me that in the future we will only keep 3 cats.” I readily agreed. Butler would be ours! We discussed names on the shuttle, and Mujeeb said, “What about Kennedy?” I had long considered that as a name because JFK is one of my heroes. Synchronicity!

We had a happy time in Canada with our family, and I kept showing them pictures of our kitten-to-be with great excitement. We returned to Oregon on September 14th, and the next day I went to work and did the adoption over my lunch (thank you for helping me, Rachel Levitre!) After work I took him home and set up camp in the master bathroom for him so we could segregate him from the other cats while he adjusted to being in our home. When Mujeeb came home from work and changed his clothes, he sat on the edge of the tub, and I placed Kennedy on his lap. It took Mujeeb about 1 millisecond to fall head over heels for this purring little love. Kennedy has been Mujeeb’s kitty ever since!

Kennedy is a confident little cat. He gets into EVERYTHING and makes us laugh every day. One of his favorite activities is to dive headfirst into the kitchen recycling and knock stuff out of the bags. He also enjoys sitting in boxes right after they’ve been opened, as well as chasing the other cats. Our third oldest and second-longest adopted cat, Sunny, was the alpha male, but Kennedy’s bold attitude has changed all that, and Kennedy routinely chases Sunny, much to Sunny’s dismay and confusion. Kennedy chases our 3-year-old Cookie Dough (our only “daughter,”) and she chases him, too. He also chases Salvador, our 10-year-old “lover, not a fighter,” and play fights with Morrissey, our oldest at 13.¬†Kennedy loves to be near us and can’t stand it when we are out of his sight.

It’s widely believed at WHS that Kennedy has healing powers. He seems to know when someone is having a bad day, and he lies right on their heart chakra and purrs gently, as if to soothe and heal. In bed at night, he will go back and forth between Mujeeb and me and purr on our chests. Then he decides to chase another cat or just lie at the end of the bed for the rest of the night.

Kennedy’s a wonderful ambassador for WHS and is living proof of the good that our donors can do. I am so grateful to all of the people who saved his life and made his recovery possible. I love being able to give him everything he needs to have a happy life and will be there for him through whatever medical challenges he may face in the future.

May the blessings of love be upon you
May its peace abide with you
May its essence illuminate your heart
Now and forever more…