Amber Midnight Needs a Home

black cat

Amber Midnight needs a home soon!

We love all kitty brands and flavors here at The Creative Cat, but we’ve always felt black cats were very special. Mimi and her children, and even the tortie girls who remember the first black cat, feel a special responsibility for black cats in need.

Meet Amber Midnight

This handsome black kitty has apparently chosen the back porch of a woman named Shirley, but Shirley already has a kitty and the retirement community where she lives does not allow pets kept outside or stray animals.

I am trying to find a warm and loving home for a Black Short Haired Cat that has wondered into the complex where I live several months ago.  I have named this cat Amber Midnight because it has Amber Eyes and is as Black as Midnight.  It is soooo friendly and I am guessing it is approximately 3-5 years old.  I do not know if it is male or female.

I have been feeding it and setting up a card board box for it to sleep in on these cold damp nights on my porch.  I cannot take this little guy/girl in because I already have a very jealous cat, Molly who would never permit this without a fight.

Please, please if you would like to adopt this friendly cat or know of someone who needs the companionship of a loving animal please let me know.  The weather is getting nasty out there and will only get worse.  This cat likes to be able to go outside and then returns home so it will need a home where the community permits pets to be outside.  The community I reside in does not permit this at all.  I have attached a picture of it for you to view.  It is not a very good one as he/she would not lay still long enough for a photo session.  Let me know if you or someone you know would be interested.

Is your home in need of a big friendly black cat with amber eyes?

Amber Midnight lives near me in Carnegie, near Pittsburgh, PA. Please contact me by commenting on this blog and I will get the message to Shirley. Amber Midnight looks like an exceptional kitty and would make a wonderful companion.

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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.


An Angel Named Penny

calico cat in carrier

Here's Penny, image provided by WPHS.

In mid-October I received an e-mail from someone in the community next to mine that a stray cat had come to visit her porch. If you’d like to adopt an angel cat, Penny is waiting for you at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society. Her story is so special I have to share it.

A pretty kitty needs a home

“I have followed the articles written over the years in the local paper about you and I know that you are a cat lover,” the e-mail read from a person I did not know. Busted! This sometimes happens, and it usually leads to a new friendship. I read on to see where this would lead.

“A small Calico Cat has taken up at my house. It is homeless and I wanted to know if you knew of someone that would like to have it or could foster it until it finds a home? It is a beautiful cat with black, gold, tan spots with a white belly. I think it is young because it looks very dainty and it has yellow/green eyes,” she continued.

I was so touched by her detailed and tender description. Obviously she had not simply looked out her window and seen a cat and e-mailed me, she was observant and had studied the cat and found adjectives like “small”, “beautiful” and “dainty” to describe her, which gave me hints about her feelings for animals and even about her as I began to assess the situation. These observations also told me a few things about the kitty, that she made direct eye contact and wasn’t timid, that she was probably affectionate, likely was not feral and could have been a lost pet.

She described the kitty as “very sweet and friendly” and guessed that someone had dropped it in the neighborhood. She went on to say she had she posted listings for an apparently lost kitty on Pet Finders and craigslist but no one had called to claim her, and that she couldn’t keep the kitty herself.

“I need to find it a home before it gets cold and now I am feeding it and it has a bed on my back porch. If I can’t find someone to take it I will have to take it to a shelter. I have neighbors that are not being kind to it now,” she explained.

Yes, the coming winter was a concern, as were the neighbors; we who rescue cats know how that can be. I was also concerned that the kitty might not be spayed—who knew what her health history was? The last thing we needed was an autumn litter of kittens. I was organizing my concerns to reply to her, lists of resources she could use, and of course I was going to try to convince her to foster or even adopt the kitty until I read the next line.

“My Old English Sheepdog died in early September so I am not ready for a pet now.”

I understood. There may have been other reasons I could work around, but this was one I would not work around in any way. Grief must take its time, and even the presence of another animal after a loss can be painful just as it can be comforting.

What to offer as help?

I also knew that I could not take the kitty, that every other rescuer and foster organization I knew of was full, and there weren’t many options for the calico but a shelter. I would advise to get her on a waiting list at Animal Friends, Pittsburgh’s no-kill shelter, but that might take more time than she had.

I know she was concerned of the kitty being euthanized at another shelter, as many people have the perception that most animals don’t survive the shelter experience and hesitate to surrender animals there.

Open Door Shelters

However, through the years I’ve sent or taken plenty of cats to Pittsburgh’s two open-door shelters, the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society and the Animal Rescue League of Western Pennsylvania, who’ve gone on to happy homes from the shelter or from one of their offsite adoption opportunities at PetSmart, Petco, or one of the many events they sponsor. Timing is the important element. In mid-summer at the height of kitten season it’s not a good idea in any city anywhere as shelters work with the overflow of kittens and mother cats, but fostering for a while until the overcrowding decreases helps reduce the burden of overcrowding, kitty stays socialized by living in a home and you can vouch for kitty’s personality with a potential adopter, increasing kitty’s chances of being adopted.

I’ve also known both of these shelters to be honest about an animal’s chances of being adopted when people take them for surrender during one of these overcrowded times, asking the reason for surrender and offering guidance if it’s for a behavior problem in hopes they can keep the animal in its home permanently—and often they do—and if cages are full asking if the owners can keep the animal for a while until there’s a little more space.

I e-mailed my contact at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society because it was the closest to both this person and me, and found that things were slowing down after some pretty high numbers in August. “Of course we can take care of her, it’s why we are an Open Door Shelter,” she said.

So I e-mailed back to kitty’s person that I could not take her, and I understood her feelings so soon after losing her dog that she could not keep her.

Making arrangements

“I am concerned for two things in addition to the weather: the neighbors, and the fact that she is young and may not be spayed, and may be expecting a litter of kittens and has chosen your porch because it is safe. This is not unusual, and it’s often difficult to tell if a cat is pregnant until pretty far along if she’s been outdoors and hasn’t had a regular diet,” I told her.

I explained that in this case it was most important to get her to a safer place as soon as possible. I told her about the fluctuation in intake at shelters and that they all do everything they can to find homes, and that I’ve taken cats to the shelters myself with confidence. They’d even give her shelter number to watch her progress on the shelter’s website. Calico cats, especially friendly ones, are VERY popular, and kitty would probably find a home quickly. She’d be spayed and get all her shots and be microchipped at the shelter, and a donation would be very much appreciated. She would be in no danger.

“You know how I feel about cats but I would do this myself, and I would have all confidence that she would not be euthanized, that she would get good care, and that she would find a home quickly,” I added.

This was agreeable to her and she said she’d arrange to take the kitty that weekend.

“It is the most sweet cat and deserves a good home. I just don’t know why someone would let a nice cat like that go unless it truly is lost. I will miss it when it is gone but it deserves better and a good home. I call it Kitty and I will miss it,” she said.

In successive e-mails I explained about the calico coat pattern and that she was probably a girl. And thinking of her recent loss I also shared with her that it had been a year to the day since I’d lost my Peaches and sent her a link my anniversary post about Peaches, and mentioned that sometimes animals show up at our door for a reason.

She read the article and replied she had had Snoopy, her sheepdog, for 13 years and the last month was the hardest.

“She went to the vets because of a urinary tract infection and they gave her a penicillin shot then 2 days later her hind legs were paralyzed,” she said. The vet thought it had something to do with her spine, and this often happens with older large breed dogs. “She got so sick the last 2 weeks and I was off on family leave for my Mom so I was able to take care of her every day. Up until the day she died, she barked for the mailman like she did every day and she always really loved to eat so at the end I gave her dog food pouches and the last two times she ate, she licked my hands and I think that was to tell me thank you and she knew she was going,” she continued.

“Sometimes I think that the Calico cat was sent by Snoopy. It stretches its legs in the front and then the back and Snoopy did this too. It even gave us her paw,” she said. “One day she sat on the steps with me and looked up at me with her eyes as if she was trying to tell me something. …I would like to keep her but I don’t have the room and my Mom is 81 and I am afraid she would fall over her.”

She thanked me, I wished her luck and waited to hear news of the kitty’s shelter number.

Is no news good news?

But time passed, and no news. Over Thanksgiving weekend I was planning to contact her, almost afraid in case something had happened but hoping that she had decided to keep the kitty.

The Monday following I received an e-mail from her that she had taken the kitty to WPHS the previous day. She had indeed tried to keep her but found she couldn’t.

Kitty was even a good girl in the car. “She sat in a box in the car and meowed a few times and that was only the second time since she was with me that she meowed,” she reported.

They told her at WPHS she was about a year old. “She has such a nice disposition and is so beautiful – she has a heart shape right below the back of her neck. I hope she gets a really nice home. When I put her in the carrier she never caused any trouble,” she continued.

“I hated to take her but at least she is safe and warm now. She had a bed on my porch with covers and I gave her a hot water bottle to keep her warm,” she described. “She loved to sit on the porch and look out at everything. She liked to look at the birds and I think try to catch them.

“I called her Kitty but my Mom named her Penny yesterday which was a good name because I once got a poem from someone that said every time you see a penny on the ground it is an angel from Heaven and to say a prayer. I am going to start volunteering at the shelter so maybe I will see her again,” she ended.

She added later that she was really missing them both, that Penny “really changed us all for the better. She was a little gift from God.”

Do you need an angel?

I will try to be as persuasive as possible in convincing someone to adopt an animal, especially a homeless cat—and I can be extremely persuasive, conniving, coercive and gently arm-twisting—but if their honest assessment of their situation is that they can’t adopt I am not the person to question their judgment, and I will do my best to help them and to find the animal a permanent home.

A quote, proverb, saying, aphorism that I’ve heard passed around for years though I’ve never found its origin—and it’s even turned up recently in Harry Potter—that when you save a life, you are then in some way responsible for it. Perhaps in this way I feel responsible for Penny, so I’m going to spread the word of her good deed and do my best to help her find a good home. When I get a chance to visit the WPHS I’ll find her and take a few photos, but I honestly hope that even if I get there tomorrow she’ll already be adopted and be hard at work as an angel in some other needy human’s life.

western pennsylvania humane society logo

WPHS logo

If you are interested in Penny, click here for her information. She can be found on the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society’s website adoption page. On the left choose  “cats” and “North Side Shelter”. Penny is number A150628. Adoption fee is $30; read more here.

Please share, because I’m sure someone somewhere needs an angel!

And if not Penny, there are many more kitties who have stories as well. Adopt if you can, foster if not, or donate to your local shelter in time, goods or money this holiday season.

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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.


Postprandial Tabby Nap

tabby cat sleeping on windowsill

Tabby Nap

I wonder if my neighbor’s kitty had a turkey dinner and is now surrendering to the unavoidable nap as the sun sets, leaving his windowsill in shadow. He just looks so contented and he’s usually very shy and leaves the window when I look at him.

I also like the details of the peeling paint and the nearly monochromatic theme.

I’m thankful he has a happy home, and I’m sure he is too.

I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving, and if it’s not a holiday where you are, I hope you simply had a beautiful day!

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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.


Amber Buttercup Says Good Morning

orange cat on windowsill

Amber Buttercup in the morning.

My ginger friend from around the corner was enjoying the early morning sun when this fool with the camera showed up again. I didn’t trouble her for too long, but she is too pretty to pass up.

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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.


Simon Says…

cat with three legs

Simon Says...

One day after mom had been gone all day she came home with pictures and stories about a kitty who looked like Namir but who didn’t have a leg! We weren’t so sure about that at first because we are all so perfect, but after we saw the photos and she explained that he’s really over the fact that he is missing a hind leg, we thought we’d like to meet him. He’s a hero cat! And his people hardly notice it anymore either. Anyone who would think that a cat missing a limb might take too much care or might not live as long or any other reason there might be to not adopt really needs to read about Simon and his people. ~the Fantastic Four 

What are you looking at?

Simon is another incredible rescue I’ve met recently. He lives with the family of Cooper, one of the portrait subjects featured in Great Rescues, who have been rescuing cats for years.

cat with three legs

Simon waves his tail.

Animals are amazingly adaptive when it comes to changes in their bodies. Simon was a stray being fed outside by this couple who live in a rural area next to a farm as they tried to determine if he belonged to someone. Unfortunately he came back one day dragging a trap on his leg.

“We were actually away at the time,” said Simon’s dad. “Our neighbor found him and ran him to our vet, figuring that’s what we’d want—he was right—but he would have done that for any animal, and we’re so glad he did.”

Simon spent a month in the veterinary hospital while the veterinarian valiantly tried to save the leg, but it just kept breaking again and again.

“Simon was in so much pain, though he never acted mean in any way, but we could tell, the last time the leg broke again, he was done with it,” his people agreed. “The veterinarian removed his leg the next day and Simon was awake and alert, eating and social just hours afterward. We could tell he was thanking us!”

He came home the day after the amputation surgery and walked around as if nothing had happened except that he now had a slightly altered gait. He also had no problem being an indoor cat after that experience.

“We don’t know where Simon came from,” his mom said. “He just showed up and was eating with the outdoor cats. We were trying to track down an owner if there was one before we decided we’d get him neutered, then this happened. I think he was meant to be ours anyway.”

No one knows where Simon came from, and it’s sad to think what would have happened to him had he not felt comfortable enough with the couple giving him food and shelter outdoors to drag himself back. But he’s got a loving home now and a long life ahead of him.

For Simon, missing a leg does not mean missing a heart—he is still loving and playful and even has a snit now and then while you’re petting him, just like any other cat. If you see a kitty in a shelter who’s had a little accident, don’t pass them by.

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.


The Working Cats at Agway

Who Really Runs the Store Here?

Guess who really runs the store?

Guess who really runs the store?

Just as at home, if there’s a cat at a business, she’s the boss.

Miko (mee-ko), a very outgoing tan and white three-year-old, apparently makes the rules about cash register use at the H.J. Paul and Sons Agway on Glass Road in Robinson Township. It may be that humans can’t be trusted with money, but most likely she wanted to be the center of attention, and indeed she was. And she loves to be photographed.

Read more about Miko, and scroll down for a few more links to stories about the working cats at one of my favorite places.

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I Dare You

tabby cat in doorway

Don't even think of trying to get past me.

Ever see a guard cat? Meet Gambit. He’s got an opening large enough to drive a truck through—literally—to keep free from intruders. Visitors from small animals to large people think twice before trying to walk past him at the Agway.

Of course, once you get to know him, you know his affection for everyone is as big is he is, him and his polydactyl paws. Well, maybe not so much with the small animals.

I love how some of these dark tabbies have that wonderful bloom of orange and red on their muzzle and on their nose.

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Gambit and Tabatha

two cats

Gambit and Tabatha nap in the shade.

I stopped at the Agway yesterday and had the pleasure of visiting with two of the cats in their permanent collection as well as the last two kittens to be adopted.

Gambit and Tabatha probably know me as the lady who always chases them with a camera. Here they are in a cool spot on the concrete under the racks that hold plants for sale.

They have a total of three cats in residence, and I often see Gambit and Tabatha together while the other cat was one of the feral mothers they had taken in and had spayed, but who has never fully integrated into the group. I’ll get a photo of her some time while she’s out in the warehouse.

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He Got the Good Nap Spot

cat on shelf and cat in box

Tabatha tries to move Gambit with her tortitude.

An expression like Tabatha’s should be able to knock Gambit out of the box of peat pellets, but he seems immune to Tabatha’s tortitude.

The striped object laid across the top of the box is Gambit, who is one very big tabby cat. These two working cats are doing their best to imitate seasonal gardening supplies on the empty shelves, due to be filled in just a month or two.

The two live at the Agway where I buy plant seeds, bird seed and cat food, and also dehydrated peat pellets for starting seeds. I’m sure the box full makes a nice bed. They also sell my feline, flower and nature greeting cards so I’m there pretty frequently with all that. I’m always sure to check in on these two who now have a sort of grumpy old cat relationship instead of the torrid affair they’d been carrying on before they were both trapped and fixed.


Fromage Being Cute

black kitten under chair

Fromage Under the Chair

Yesterday I visited with my niece-kitty Fromage, my little neonatal bottle baby from two years ago. Here she is, all grown up and acting as cute as a self-centered little black kitty can be. For some reason she chose to settle on her back under the wicker chair like this, just watching to see if anyone noticed. We did! Who could resist?

Actually, I visited Fromage’s mom, but a visit to a home where I have a relationship with the kitty also constitutes a kitty visit.

I wrote about Fromage’s rescue and subsequent bottle feeding and raising up right. Actually, she was right on the ball with a lot of things. Click here to read the articles and see the photos of her for the two months she was with me.

A Little Baby Foster Kitten

A Little Life Saved

An Update on Fromage, My Little Foster Kitty

This photo gave me an idea to play around too–after a little modification to the contrast ranges in the photo, I used the “cutout” filter to create this quick design. Neat block print or screen print!

posterized image of black cat under chair

Fromage illustration.

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. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Big Kitty Love

portrait of Maine Coon cat named Felix

Felix, pastel, 2004, 16" x 23" © B.E. Kazmarski

This magnificent cat was rescued and originally placed with someone who unfortunately not only let him out, but literally kicked him out, causing a permanent injury. Felix found himself back with his original rescuers who kept a registered rescue for cats in their home.

His forever family had recently lost one of their three Persian cats, long-haired of course, and with tabby markings. Waiting a respectful time after the loss, a friend at work told the story of Felix, the big, gentle long-haired tabby who truly resembled a Maine Coon cat; one day soon after there was a photo of him left on the desk. The gentle hints were well-timed and effective and soon they traveled to meet him, won over the skeptical rescuer, and brought him home.

This is Felix’s story in Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book

About Felix’s mom and dad, serial adopters and rescuers

portrait of gray persian cat

Flint, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Both Felix’s mom and dad had grown up with pets but those animals had always gone outdoors and as a young married couple living in an apartment they were sure a pet wouldn’t be happy. A friend had Persian cats and in visits they were so impressed with the cats’ looks and personality that they adopted, over time, three of them.

painting of white persian cat

Cameo, pastel, © B.E. Kazmarski

I first met them years later after they had lost that first Persian kitty, Flint, and he became one of the first portraits I painted the year I began this business in 1993. I also met Scout and Cameo and painted their portraits in time as well; Scout is the tabby Persian kitty mentioned in Felix’s story, above.

painting of tabby persian cat

Scout, pastel © B. E. Kazmarski

Felix was their first mixed-breed rescue cat. They had been so impressed by the Persian cats they met and lived with, and while they moved from an apartment to a home and didn’t need to be concerned about space, they also each worked long hours and traveled frequently. The Persian cats they adopted from their breeder fit well into their lifestyle and they weren’t sure about taking on a shelter or rescued cat whose needs they might not be able to meet. Until Felix, that is.

four cats outdoors

Liam, Ceili, Julia and Amy

Since Felix they’ve adopted several rescued cats in about the same way as Felix—photos passed around the office, or a flyer, or an e-mail with a story. In addition, they’ve rescued a few of their own from the outdoors, taking them in, getting veterinary care and finding homes for them, and also feeding, spaying and neutering a parade of outdoor cats.

When I visited there were two rescues lounging indoors and four cats who they fed outside the door on the patio who had been spayed and neutered through the Homeless Cat Management Team, a TNR program based in Pittsburgh. I was not surprised to see there was even a water bowl that could be heated for winter use. After a recent visit to them I wrote about their little outdoor family.

closeup of cat's face

Felix, detail of his face.

About Felix

Felix was a natural model, a big, confident cat who knew just how to pose. I took a number of reference photos when I visited to be used for details, but this portrait was modeled after one shot I particularly liked for the lighting and the minimal details in the background.

It is not unheard of to find a breed cat living on the streets, but most often the ones who appear to be a breed simply have a majority of breed traits pulled up from their genetic history. Maine Coon cats are very popular for their mellow personality, and aside from being very large they don’t look exotic as many other breed cats do. I’ve seen people call nearly any long-haired tabby cat, or just a big tabby cat, a Maine Coon cat. Yet he did have many features and the demeanor of a Maine Coon cat, and I believe a friend of his peoples’ who was a breeder looked him over and said he certainly looked like one. There’s no way to tell without genetics, but when I met him, I certainly sensed the traits I associated with Maine Coon cats—not just a big cat, but a big presence, and even with the gentle demeanor, a sense of the wild in them. I loved watching Felix walk on those huge feet padded with so much fur.

Unfortunately, Felix didn’t live too long past the portrait, and they only had six years to enjoy his company, but after his horrible beginnings—no one knew how such a nice and handsome cat ended up on the streets—at least he spent his last few years with two of the best people any cat could hope to find.

Here is Felix’s page in Great Rescues:

page in great rescues calendar and gift book

Read other stories about cats and their rescuers from Great Rescues.

There Was Just No Other Kitty After Samantha

The Cat of a Lifetime

A Bridge Between the Ages

I’ll Be Seeing You

Simon Says…

Irina and Isis, Saved from the Flood

Four Ferals

Riley

Milan and Felix

Learn more about Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book

Visit the Great Rescues website


My Neighbor’s Orange Cat

orange cat in window

My Neighbor's Orange Cat

My neighbor’s orange cat suns herself now and then in this side window of her home, but I get the idea she’s behind that blind a little more often than she is on the windowsill, judging by her modifications to the blind.

She is an orange girl (or ginger as some nations refer to this color, I kind of like that), though statistically most orange or orange and white cats are male; that’s actually because a percentage of those orange girls turn out to be calico or tortie girls. She even nicely matches the bricks! I have one photo of her that includes the entire window, which has a nice stained glass insert at the top, and orange bricks all around…yes, it sounds like another painting…

Nice to see a good collar and nice clear tag on an indoor cat; I have blurred her tag so that her address and owner’s name can’t be seen, but I will tell you that her name is Amber Buttercup. What an absolutely lovely name—no one gives their cat a name like that without a lot of love behind it.

In any case, she wasn’t too happy with my invasion of her privacy and the ruination of her sunbath by my pointing a camera at her.  I love her expressions and the very deliberate way she lets me know exactly what she’s thinking. She gave me one last chance to disappear. I didn’t. Enjoy the slideshow below.


And the Affaire Continues

black cat with card

Giuseppe shows off his card and message from Mlle Daisy Marguerite.

Giuseppe received a card from Mlle Daisy Marguerite with another photo and a personal note!

The last letter was addressed to me and actually contained some correspondence for me, but this one…this one was address to Giuseppe from Daisy and was all about the two of them.

I showed Giuseppe the envelope and read the addresses to him. He deeply breathed in the scent.

cat with envelope

Giuseppe inhales deeply of the envelope.

When he was done inhaling the essence of Daisy Marguerite, he asked if we could open it.

black cat with envelope

"Can we open it now?"

The card was humorous—a large black cat propped up in bed surrounded by books.

Giuseppe, perhaps she’s telling you what kind of gentlecat she’d like to spend her time with You don’t read yet, do you, Giuseppe?

I’m only four. Did you read when you were four?

I think your playboy days may be over Giuseppe. Somebody needs to settle down.

cat with card

Giuseppe admires his card with a nose tap on the corner.

There she is, isn’t she beautiful?

black cat on bed

Mlle Daisy Marguerite on her antique wedding ring quilt. Is that a hint?

And she wrote on the back of her card.

To Giuseppe,

purrrrrrrs

Daisy

xo

Read the continuing love affair between young Giuseppe and his Canadian love.

Giuseppe Mewses About Mlle Marguerite

Giuseppe’s Secret Admirer

The Mystery Deepens: A Photo of Daisy Marguerite

The Envelope, Please?

A Package to Colborne