Man Becomes Devoted Cat Dad After Saving Kitten

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on February 7, 2020

Some folks don’t realize they are cat lovers until a kitty is firmly settled in their arms and in their hearts. These non-cat people think themselves immune to twitchy whiskers and jellybean toes. They don’t think anything of sweet purrs and leg twining. And why? Because they simply haven’t been claimed by a cat yet.

Los Angeles Photographer Josh Separzadeh is one such person. While he loved animals, he never dreamed he’d be crazy for a cat, but after Smokey Mezcal padded into his life, he was a cat dad for life.

And how could Josh resist? According to his Instagram bio, Smokey Mezcal is “Just the cutest widdle orphaned kitty the world has ever seen. No big deal.”

Oh, but what an adorably big deal the grey tabby kitten really is…


Above, we see Smokey not long after coming home with Josh. Below is a more recent shot, showing what a fine, young gentleman Smokey has grown into…


A Chance Meeting Leads to Love

Smokey and Josh first met out of necessity. As a kitten fresh to life, Smokey was all alone outside Josh’s grandma’s shed, his mother nowhere to be seen.

Worried about the kitten, Josh and his aunt took him in, but then learned the mother might come back for the kitten. So beer in hand and kitten tucked in a box, Josh waited. But there was no sign of the mother’s return.


He learned later, the mother would not emerge with watchful eyes upon her.

So, savvy with cameras, he set up one up to watch for a reunion. Josh even sprinkled baking soda around the box to see kitty prints if she came. But, she didn’t.

And Josh was left with a choice.


A Cat Dad is Born

At this point, Josh found himself stuck with the kitten. But the fuzzy kitty angel was already wriggling into his heart.

Then and Now – @SmokeyMezcal/Instagram

Everyone on social media encouraged, “You gotta foster this cat.”

And he did.

At the suggestion of cat lover friends, Josh and the tabby kitten made a trip to The Pasadena Humane Society. While there, Josh learned how to care for the little one and the PHS “supplied food, supplies, shots and surgeries as part of their Foster program,” according to Smokey’s website.


Josh and Smokey returned home where Josh tended the baby with feedings every three hours as well as lots of attention. The guy who didn’t think he’d have a cat was suddenly whiskers deep.


He said, “This was something bigger than myself.”

The vet warned Josh not to get attached, nature could be cruel even if he did everything right. But, Smokey’s rescuers just couldn’t accept that. Every time they fed the tiny kitten, their “hearts would be just be like, please.”


Smokey grew stronger and chubbier every day and after two weeks, people started telling him about homes they knew of looking to adopt a kitten. Josh told them no way, Smokey was his kitty boy.


Before he knew it, Josh had become a Cat Dad to adorable Smokey Mezcal. He wasn’t alone in his care of the new baby though, Smokey had a gained a Cat Mama in Nicole Leal.

Together, husband and wife are raising the tabby boy with love and purpose. Josh said, “I never thought I was a cat person, that’s for sure.”



Turns out he was more than that…he was a Cad Dad in waiting. He’s also become an advocate of bettering cat’s lives, feeling if you can help a cat out, you definitely should. We agree!

Feature Image: @SmokeyMezcal/Instagram