Daily Sketch: Through the Curtains

ink sketch of cat looking through curtain

Peeking Through the Curtains, ink marker © B.E. Kazmarski

Mewsette sits on the shelf in front of the window, curtains pushed aside so she can see the neighborhood. She’s a little extra puffy, and likely she spies another cat out there, somewhere.

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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.


Having a Good Scratch

black cat scratching on deck rail

Mimi having a good scratch!

I’m not getting in Mimi’s way, that’s for sure, ears pinned back and all of her claws bared, all 6.5 lbs. of her ready for action! She’s been ripping into the deck railings from the first time I took her outside; I think they missed a kitty messing with them.

My cats have always preferred different materials for scratching, and even years ago before we had fancy things like scratching posts (or I could afford one in college), my cats scratched on one of the bracing slats on my first wooden drafting table, just a narrow 1″ x 3″ but they really went to town on it. I still have it in the basement and that slat is nearly worn through—they didn’t stop once they got other things to scratch.

I also have a section of a tree trunk that Mimi has always liked, even now that she has worn most of the bark from it, but she still likes just the bare wood of the tree that was under the bark even though it’s smooth. Now outside she works her way around the railings and down the steps, even testing a few of the deck boards. This should keep her busy for quite some time.

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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.


On the Prowl: From A Year Ago

cat with toy in bathtub

Stalking the wild crackle ball.

Mewsette is just waiting for that sparkly crackle ball to make one false move and it’s curtains! You can tell by the curl in her tail that it’s a tense moment.

Nearly everyone took some time to play a little tub hockey with the crackle ball which suddenly showed up out of nowhere after being AWOL for a few months. They like just about any ball, especially in the tub, but the crackle ball makes a really satisfying noise whenever it moves and even when they pick it up.

It also fits perfectly in the tub drain with just enough protruding to pull it back out and start all over again. Mewsette’s game of tub hockey turned into miniature golf as she scored several holes in one, and holes in several.

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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.


Pawprints and Raindrops

photo of cat on drawing table

Cookie on my art table

This post is really not about the gratuitous photo of Cookie reclining on my art table out on the deck one fine summer afternoon a few years ago, though I do fondly remember how often she accompanied me—no, she supervised me—wherever I was, demanding to be outside with me and promising to be good. This photo was with the original post in 2010.

In addition to Cookie, this post was one I published two years ago on this day and it includes a poem I’d written and read that year at my annual poetry reading at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall entitled “Pawprints and Raindrops” and it actually features my other tortoiseshell kitty, Kelly.

This poem went on to be published in a variety of sites on the internet, and it also won both a Certificate of Excellence and Muse Medallion for poetry from the Cat Writer’s Association in 2010. Since I’m on a roll with practicing the recording of readings, I thought I’d record this one along with a slideshow of images. A link is after the poem, below.

Coming Spring poetry reading, 2010.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 was the date for “Coming Spring”, my fourth annual poetry reading and art exhibit at Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall in Carnegie, my home town. I featured 10 new poems and and the fourth and final painting of my “Art of the Watershed” series, “Spring Morning at a Bend in the Creek”, plus a display of favorite originals, prints and notecards; you can see the painting and read more about this event on my “What’s New?” blog.

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

Looking at my body of work, this, of course, includes my cats, and my cats are vitally involved in the paintings and photos I create; even if they aren’t the subject, they are somehow physically involved with their creation by sitting on my lap, rolling pastels off my table, drinking watercolor rinse water and so on.

Most visitors to The Creative Cat are familiar with my feline paintings, but I haven’t published too much of my feline poetry. I read this poem at my reading this year, and sometime soon I’ll feature other poems as well, some of which have photos, paintings or illustrations to accompany.

About this poem…have you ever partly awakened and combined your sleepy thoughts with the reality of your surroundings? So I did one rainy morning in summer. As at least one of my kitties is always vigilant about me, my little tortoiseshell kitty Kelly realized that I was nearing waking probably before I did and came over to greet me, and with her help I slipped off into an illusion of dreamy contentment.

PAWPRINTS AND RAINDROPS

I am not awake but aware
of the sound of raindrops
whispering in the leaves and tapping on the roof
in the early morning, still dark
and little Kelly, sensing my awareness
hurries over and steps on my back;
I feel her tiny cold paws dimpling the surface of my skin
as I drift off in the murmur of her purr and the rain
I think of raindrops on water,
I am the water, my skin the surface
and I can look up and in the increasing daylight
see the circular ripples of contentment
mingling on my own surface.

poem © 2010 B. E. Kazmarski

Now you can listen to the poem too

I’ve recorded it with a slideshow of images and uploaded it to YouTube, but you can click the embedded video below and watch it right here.

And visit yesterday’s poem too, Things I Found in the Woods.

Other places it was published

I am grateful to the websites who published this poem and led to my winning the Certificate and Medallion. Pawprints and Raindrops and my painting “Sunday Morning” were featured on the award-winning The Daily Tail blog (now Taildom)! Please visit to read and enjoy, and also to read wide-ranging daily stories and images about cats, dogs, cows, birds, deer and just about anything else with fur or feathers…or scales…or…

This poem was also featured in Catnip Chronicles in April 2010, and this was the reference for which I won the award, so click over there to read it and then subscribe to this monthly online journal of all things cat!

I’ll have one more cat poem from 2010 tomorrow, but I’m not sure what I’ll use for the slideshow…

About my poetry and poetry readings

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. ACFL&MH invited me to perform a poetry reading and to display the artwork that inspired those poems.

After each show I’ve built a web page with the poetry and art I featured. Please visit, read my poetry and view my artwork. My prior readings have been:

paths i have walked poetry book

"Paths I Have Walked", book of poetry.

“Paths I Have Walked”in 2007, featuring “Dusk in the Woods”;

“Winter Twilight” in 2008, featuring “Summer Morning on the Creek”;

“Change of Season” in 2009, featuring “Autumn Comes to the Valley”;

“Coming Spring” in 2010, featuring “Spring Comes to a Bend in the Creek”

In 2011 I published a small book of my poetry from these four readings entitled Paths I Have Walked. Right now it’s still available in print—read more about it on my Portraits of Animals Marketplace blog or order it from my website—but one of the reasons I keep reading these poems is to practice reading them for the audio version of this book. I am also preparing it for various e-readers.

I’ll have one more poem from this year tomorrow.

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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.


Mimi Says, “I Love Being Spayed.”

close up photo of a black cat

Mimi tells her story

Mimi, supermom of at least six litters, is now a happy housecat extolling the virtues of spayed bliss.

“I used to love my assignations in the neighbor’s driveway, then feeling my kittens grow and giving birth and nurturing them, it was all so easy,” Mimi says. “But when I realized I wasn’t the only one giving birth to a dozen kittens each year, and what happened to many of them and their mothers…I’m embarrassed at my behavior and sad for cats who lost their lives because of me.”

“You know, I was totally powerless against my hormones, and I needed a human to get me spayed or I’d still be out there producing kittens,” she continues.

If you won’t listen to a person about spaying your cat, listen to the cat herself. Mimi gives us 30 good reasons to spay your cat and hopes that you’ll celebrate Spay Day USA on February 28 by either getting your cat spayed or convincing someone else to get their cat spayed.

Mimi’s 30 Reasons to Spay Your Cat

1. Eventually, she will outsmart you and get out the door.

2. Your kittens are no cuter than any other kittens in the world.

3. About 3,000 kittens and puppies are born every hour in the United States.

4. If you want your kids to see the miracle of life, have your own babies.

5. It’s not good for a cat to have a litter before she’s spayed, in fact, it’s bad for her health.

[You may already know these things.]

6. Having your cat spayed after she is one year or after having kittens puts her at highest risk of developing breast cancer later in life.

7. Having  a cat spayed before her first heat reduces her chances of developing breast cancer later in life to almost nothing.

8. Nearly every city has a low-cost spay/neuter clinic or program that works on a sliding fee scale.

9. An unspayed female cat is more likely to do two of the things humans don’t like cats to do—scratch furniture and spray, and, yes, females do spray.

10. A spayed female outlives an unspayed female for an average of two years, and without the health problems associated with reproductive cancers.

[Apparently, many people do not.]

11. An unspayed cat can have an average of three litters per year.

12. Cats have litters of four to six kittens.

13. Kittens can go into their first heat as young as 4 months.

14. No, it’s not incest when brother and sister cats or mother and son cats have sex.

15. In two years, I produced 24 kittens, and have no idea what my children did once they were out of my care.

[Find some of these people and give them this list.]

16. At least 70% of all cats entering shelters in the United States are euthanized because there are no homes for them.

17. It costs a city more in taxpayer dollars to round up, house, euthanize and dispose of a homeless cat than it does to spay it.

18. Every shelter in the United States is overrun with kittens every summer necessitating the euthanasia of otherwise healthy cats—and dogs—to care for and place the kittens.

19. At least three million animals are killed in shelters every year because there are no homes for them and no space in shelters.

20. Someone has to decide who dies, and someone has to kill them, letting your cat have a litter of kittens forces a person to make this decision.

[All of this information is available from your local shelter and on the internet.]

21. A cat is “polyestrous” and can go into heat—and conceive—the day after giving birth to a litter of kittens; nursing does not prevent or delay her heat cycle.

22. All kittens are cute, and the world already has enough of them.

23. Cats respond hormonally to day length and can go into heat as early as Valentine’s Day.

24. Momcats and kittens don’t get along well on their own outside, so don’t dump them in the woods instead of taking them to a shelter.

25. Spaying your cat will not make her fat. Feeding her too much will make her fat.

[Let’s make 2012 the year we eliminate “kitten season”.]

26. Cats don’t have heat “cycles”, so once they go into heat, unless they find a male and mate, they can be in heat constantly, forever (or so it seems), in the least it is pretty unpredictable.

27. Spayed cats have absolutely no chance of developing uterine or ovarian cancer because those parts are removed.

28. Spayed cats can’t develop pyometra, a critical and common uterine infection, because they have no uterus.

29. You can safely spay a cat who is pregnant up to a certain point rather than contribute to overpopulation.

30. The male cats coming to court your unspayed female will seriously mess up your storm door, and probably each other fighting for dominance.

photo of black cat in the sun on a wooden floor

Time for a nap in the sun.

[I only stopped at 30 because…*yawn*…I need to take a nap.]

Also read “Help to Avoid Feline Breast Cancer by Spaying Early“, inspired by and featuring me for more information on feline breast cancer and other reproductive illnesses plus links to spay/neuter clinics in Pittsburgh and around the country. And, featuring one of my former suitors, I also remind you that The Boys Don’t Get Off the Hook.

Find a low-cost clinic near you, have your cat spayed, encourage someone else to, spay and neuter a few stray or feral cats, or support a local clinic

Also look in the menu on this blog under “Assistance” for links to local shelters and spay/neuter clinics plus a searchable database to find the clinic nearest you anywhere in the United States and parts of Canada.

LOW COST SPAY/NEUTER INFORMATION FOR THE PITTSBURGH AREA AND BEYOND.

Referenced in various articles that encourage spay and neuter for pets, includes the lowest-cost spay and neuter in the city, a link to stray/feral cat clinics and searchable databases of spay/neuter clinics all over the country.

You can also do a search on “Spay Day USA” or any topic in this list and find plenty of information on the internet.

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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.