Happy New Year with Sparklies: From A Year Ago

black cat with fuzzy crocheted collar

A sparkly new year's wish for everyone!

Because we’ve been preoccupied with Cookie, we couldn’t create a new year wish for you, but Mewsette was so beautiful in her photo shoot last year she deserves another year of greeting our readers!

On behalf of my household of kitties, Mewsette wishes you and yours a happy new year!

black cat with crocheted collar

Faraway Expression (I'd rather be birdwatching than wearing this thing around my neck).

She’s modeling my latest crochet scarf with vintage pin, and the little sparks of color and the shape of the pin brought to mind fireworks. She has the greenest eyes of the group, too, and I wanted to highlight that with the background.

black cat with crocheted collar and vintage pin

Mewsette Coquette (are you actually going to give me that treat or just wave it so I'll look at it?)

I’ve never been one to dress up my cats, but I’ve been handling Mewsette and her brothers since they were three days old and somehow decorating this family of nearly solid black cats seems like the natural thing to do.

This extemporaneous photo shoot developed after I tried to photograph the scarf but certain kitties decided it was meant to be a toy—I have to admit they have a few toys that resemble this—and in the ensuing activity someone ended up wearing it.

And they tolerate it, in part because they inherited their mom’s sweet personality and are the nicest family of kitties I’ve ever known (in a lifetime of kitties), and perhaps also because I’ve been handling them all their lives. They put up with a lot of stuff from me, but of course, the benefits are many.

black cat with crocheted collar and vintage pin

Dignified (I'm just letting you know that I'd done with this thing around my neck now).

They are now three years old, so it’s time to put them to work!

I think Mewsette has a true career as a model—I’ve included a few more shots from this session along with Mewsette’s comments.

Her brothers were spared the indignity of having to wear this thing, but their day will come.

It’s a little difficult to tell, but I’ve included the extra space on the right of this last photo so you might see how l-o-o-n-n-g Mewsette’s whiskers are.

I hope your 2011 begins on a bright note with colors, smiles, purrs and happiness, and continues to become more beautiful every day!

———————————

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


I’m One Tough Cookie

tortoiseshell cat on log

Cookie the Lioness.

Someone’s feeling better!

Cookie the Lioness is on her log in the wilderness and all is right with the world.

It’s just a short step up but considering she could barely walk the other day, this is an accomplishment. Cookie is surprised anyone would expect less. I wish I could have caught the full indignation of her green eyes, but it was so dark outside all day I just couldn’t focus before she looked down.

tortoiseshell cat looking out door

Cookie dreams of her back yard.

But we want to thank everyone for the good wishes since she’s been ill. We visited another veterinarian (my regular vet is out of town for the holiday) and had an exam and blood tests and have some new directions to take with her treatment. She’s responding well already and we haven’t even begun some of them.

The staff remarked how good she looked for 19. “I don’t know what a 19-year-old cat is supposed to look like, but I am not just any 19-year-old cat,” Cookie says. But even I had noticed I don’t see the somewhat milky, bluish dilated pupils and extreme striations in her eyes or the gaunt face I’ve seen on other cats her age. “I am a goddess, you remember,” she responds. Immortal, you mean? Sometimes Cookie just gets full of herself.

And even when we are back inside, dry and warmed up, we sit at the door and dream about being in the back yard.

Being slightly indisposed, Cookie apparently told Mewsette, her understudy, it was time to get to work and start monitoring me, and since yesterday morning Mewsette has been with me non-stop, very comforting and affectionate and purring, and all the black cats have been attentive as well.

But someone slipped up in my supervision and I had another little gall bladder attack yesterday…I was more concerned I might not be able to take care of Cookie! But I also didn’t get the chance to update on Cookie’s progress yesterday and we hope no one was worried.

———————————

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Sweetly Sleeping: From A Year Ago

tortie cat sleeping

Sweetly Sleeping

Another post from the archives, one of my favorites of Cookie, sleeping with her head on my arm so I can’t move.

I’ve been looking at Cookie sleep for 19 years, but I could look at a face like this, nestled in the ruffles on my sweater, all the rest of the evening. I certainly didn’t move my hand too much until she awoke! I know Cookie waited all her life to have the seniority for first dibs on me, and I don’t take a minute from her.

———————————

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Muted Colors: From A Year Ago

tortoiseshell cat on afghan

Muted Colors

Cookie is holding her own, getting a slow start today and somewhat declined from yesterday; still, we’re not on our way out. Thanks to everyone for the love and good wishes. They sustain us both.

One of my favorite photos, ever. Was, and still is, scheduled to become a watercolor; held off for Cookie’s condition.

Well, not from a year ago today exactly, but December 3, 2010…when I felt I’d lose my mother, who made the afghan, soon enough, and Cookie, as always, provided support for me. Life is an amazing tangled web.

———————————

Cookie naps in the afternoon on the old wool afghan on my bed, my old cat on the old afghan in the stark winter light.

The cool light from the window washes the color from the scene, but Cookie, at 18, enjoys her long afternoon snooze on the warm afghan, though even her bright orange is subdued in the winter light.

The afghan is older too, made by my mother many years ago from scraps of wool yarn in the familiar church window granny square pattern: four rows of color surrounded by black, which makes the colors seem even more brilliant.

But while I had my mother’s things in storage after I sold her house the storage unit flooded, and the afghan was unfortunately in a bag near the floor and was just wet enough for just long enough for the colors to soften, fade, and blend together. The happy bright colors I remembered as a child were muted by the black yarn fading into the colored yarns.

But the afghan itself was still warm and soft and I like its new look, so I rinsed it and dried it in the sun and continue to use it. Cats love crocheted things, and wool crocheted things are immediate cat beds. Cookie was the first back on the bed today, but the others joined her eventually. There isn’t much I love more than simply seeing my cats curled up in happy little balls in a warm, comfortable place.

———————————

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Cookie’s Biggest Fan: From A Year Ago Today

tortoiseshell and black cat

Mewsette Guards Cookie

Yes, the “big little sister” began her guardianship of Cookie last year and still takes care of her.

Has Mewsette adopted Cookie?

I’ve often noticed Mewsette being near Cookie, sitting, sleeping, bathing, sometimes trying to do a gentle nuzzle or head-butt which is summarily rebuffed by Cookie. However, I’ve lately seen Mousse cuddling with or near Cookie—after she’s fallen asleep, of course!

Perhaps like Giuseppe in the way he adopted Peaches years ago, cuddling, keeping her warm, giving her his youthful energy, Mewsette will finally have her way with Cookie. Cookie couldn’t ask for a nicer understudy in Mewsette, big, strong, quiet and sweet.

———————————

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Can’t You Fix This?: From A Year Ago Today

cat in snow on deck

Can't You Fix This?

A year ago yesterday, Cookie sets off through last year’s “light dusting”.

Cookie is losing her patience with this winter thing. It used to be okay, she used to enjoy plowing through snow and getting it all over her fur, but her 18-year-old paws are in no mood for ice and snow this year. She is disappointed daily by finding that the cold temperatures and snow remain, not only on the deck and in the back yard, but on the front porch and front yard as well. Can’t this useless human just make one of them a little warmer?

———————————

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Just a Dusting

cat in back yard with dusting of snow

Just a dusting of snow for Cookie's visit to the back yard.

No big snows here, we just got a dusting in our back yard and Cookie is glad not to have to plow through snow to get to her favorite sunny spot, winter or summer.

Despite our visit to the back yard this morning, Cookie is not well today, but that’s one of the reasons it was so important.

Cookie turned 19 last summer and after her difficult kittenhood and some early health issues and physical limitations I’m a little surprised that she has gotten to be 19 without any problems. She’s never had a lot of strength or flexibility in her hips and hind legs, never been able to run and leap but she’s always happily improvised in every way she can find.

I’ve been watching her slow decline for most of this year, most intensively since mid-summer, struggling with renal failure along with general geriatric issues, sleeping more and more and eating a little less, but for the most part acting well. After all these years and all these cats, I know when it’s an act, and I also knew Cookie would happily act every day until one day she couldn’t pull it off any more, and her end would likely come quickly. Well, who wouldn’t want it that way? Remember determinate little Peaches last October?

On Christmas Eve morning I found her limp and lethargic in front of a heater vent; later that day I saw the abscess developing in her chin again. I increased her occasional fluids from supportive to therapeutic and began antibiotics. The abscess ruptured (yuck!) by Sunday night and though she never lost her appetite she had lost more strength and balance. But she did get back to many of her daily habits as you probably noticed in my daily photos and sketches. Well, I probably featured her a little more often, and have for the past month or so, just to bring loving attention to her, knowing what is coming.

I’ve brought her back to general wellness a few times before, but I  think I may not be able to turn her around this time. She had a long-distance reiki session earlier today with Ingrid King, whose abilities I thoroughly trust and whose comments have given me guidance through the past year, and where Cookie has just had a low spot prior to now this time it’s more serious.

So Cookie had her morning session outdoors, then a late-afternoon session as well, which we’ve been doing for the past month, an important part of her wellness plan. Right now she is curled on my lap, a little more limp than usual, sleeping and purring. But I know that tonight and tomorrow will be pivotal—if I can turn this around she will have a few more weeks or even months, but if not, she will continue to decline and we will have at best days. Much of it will depend on Cookie, who survived her early experiences because she has a strong will to live, and that has never faded. In either case, I feel I’ll know by tomorrow morning. I’ve already called to make my “arrangements” just in case.

And after all these losses, 13 so far, I’d be a fool to not begin preparing myself for this final walk together and life without Cookie. Little Kelly will be lost.

Just last week I walked into my house and was greeted by all five black cats and as much as I love their rambunctious greeting I also thought that someday, perhaps soon, this greeting will be the way it is, just five black cats, no tortie girls.

But not just for the sake of our 19 years together, Cookie has been my guardian kitty, my best friend, always sharing my ups and my downs, sometimes to her detriment, and my life will be less without her in it.

And we thank you in advance for the love and strength you wonderful people who love animals and their people will automatically send our way. Depending on what happens, I may be absent for a while, and please understand if I don’t respond to comments right away.

———————————

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Daily Sketch: Blue Cat, Green Cat

watercolor of two cats

Blue Cat, Green Cat, watercolor © B.E. Kazmarski

This is the other sketch from yesterday, a pencil with watercolor, following the color cues from yesterday’s colored pencil sketch with Mr. Sunshine in blue and Giuseppe in green as per their “kitten colors”. I find I still have to rely on a pencil sketch underneath a watercolor after I had sat there with a brush loaded with blue paint and just couldn’t touch it to the paper, in part because they never really quit moving until they are fast asleep. So I rinsed the brush and did a sketch, then worked the watercolor into it.

It’s just the  boys hanging out together in my studio, plushy Mr. Sunshine curled pensively and pear-shaped Giuseppe curiously stretching to see something that was far up the wall.

You may see an odd blue glow around the figures and my signature, and also a bluish tone in Giuseppe’s lighter areas. Yesterday, my scanner didn’t capture this painting, neither did my camera. Watercolors are difficult because the color is transparent and a lens can actually focus right through it to the paper, as the scanner did, and even with my work lights in my studio the photo was too dark to lighten up and the colors were incorrect. A flash does not work for the same reason the scanner doesn’t—it shines right through the paint and I lose lighter areas and details in fine pencil lines. I needed nice, cool daylight—which was in sadly short supply today as it was dark and rainy all day. Still, aside from the bluish cast, the photo caught the details.

________________________

Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.

And read about purchasing them and requesting them as a donation item for your shelter or rescue group in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches for Sale and Donation.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


He’ll Never Know What Hit Him…

two black cats

I'll just sit here really quietly then suddenly leap...

Somehow I don’t think Jelly Bean is thinking about how much he loves his brother Mr. Sunshine. I think he sees a target drawn right on the back of Mr. Sunshine’s head.

This is how it begins, the daily wrestling match, it’s all Jelly Bean’s doing as he sits on his table by the window waiting for one of his brothers to innocently happen on by. Usually it’s Giuseppe, but now and then Mr. Sunshine walks into the trap.

________________________________

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Give Back With Imperial Cat

scratch pads from Imperial Cat

Scratch pads from Imperial Cat.

A reader of Shop for Your Shelter This Holiday Season passed along this donation opportunity that is too good not to share.

Looking for an easy way to support the thousands of kitties awaiting forever homes at animal shelters nationwide? Imperial Cat will ship a case of 20 Adopt-a-Cat Scratchers to the shelter of your choice for only $25 with free shipping! via Adopt – A – Cat Scratchers.

They also offer other low-cost donation opportunities on their website in +Give Back.

And they look like a wonderful company too! If anyone decides to take them up on their offer, let us know!