The Messy Playroom

four black kittens in a box

The Sleepy Siblings pack into the box for a nap.

There they are, the littles sleeping in a heap in a box, just like they do today. The event happens to be the day they had their first set of shots, and after tearing around the bathroom with the general excitement of visitors and each of them disappearing and reappearing one by one…well, they managed to get the bathroom like that several times a day. I have several photos of this because this first is a little unclear—these are on film, and the prints aren’t the best, though I have no means of scanning from the negatives at the moment.

The pattern you see in front of them all is really a window screen. The bathroom has a bifold door but I didn’t want to cut the kittens off from the rest of the house by leaving the door closed. I used two tall narrow screens from my old casement windows hinged to the doorframe and opening like shutters so that during the day the kittens could see onto the landing and interact with the rest of the house, and also be cooler since it was August and September.  Mimi could easily jump the screens to get in and out so she had her breaks too.

Mr. Sunshine is hanging out of the box, here at the corner, and you can just see a light spot on his year which is his yellow paint. Giuseppe is behind him with a tiny bit of green paint visible, then Mewsette, then Jelly Bean. They are seven or eight weeks old here. In photos further down you’ll be able to see them better.

four kittens in box

Their faces are a little more clear.

They were sleeping off their shots, so I opened the screen to see them more clearly. Lessons about photographing a bunch of black cats were just beginning as they are almost indistinguishable in the box. The little cardboard toilet paper roll and tissue box are full of toothmarks—I had forgotten how kitten chewed on everything! They had about a dozen toilet paper and paper towel rolls in there, and they and the tissue box were reduced to shreds in the time there.

four kittens in box

The view from above, too sweet.

This print wasn’t very well-printed, and when I lightened it it began to fall apart, but you can see their little faces in the box, Sunshine, Giuseppe, Mewsette and Jelly Bean, and you can see a bit of the white spot on his chest, and the white hairs in his ears that looked like big brushes until he grew into them.

I had always thought about one of the top two as a painting, just a silly colorful kittens’ playroom!

Reference this little heap with yesterday’s cuddle puddle on my desk.

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Unless I have linked the photo to something else, which is rare with daily photos, you can click the photo to see a larger version. I save them at 1000 pixels maximum dimension, and at that size the photos are nearly twice the dimension and you can see more detail in many of the photos I post. Please remember if you download or share, my name and the link back to the original photo should always appear with it.

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.


Wile E. Mouse

three black cats looking under book case

Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine stare under the book case where something is making scratching noises, Jelly Bean is skeptical.

I think the natural selection of capable kitties has been removing less-capable mice from the pool of genetic material that figures out how to get into my house.

We had a mouse invasion, at least one, though I never presume there is only one, and I still don’t know how they get in. With my old and handmade foundation built from spare parts there could be a space between stones or bricks anywhere in the foundation or even in the spot where the house meets the foundation, and they develop all the time. I really don’t want mice in the house, so I really do hope my hapless felines can follow their natural instincts and chase around a real mouse after all that practice with toys.

three black cats with book case

Mr. Sunshine prepares to leap behind the furniture, Giuseppe watches intently, Jelly Bean is still waiting, for something.

The mouse entered some time on Sunday morning, and the five black cats chased it around for the next 24 hours. Kelly used to sit in the basement and wait for mice, and to my dismay enjoyed long and creative torture sessions (Cookie would take the mouse from her and kill it), and a few times Kelly has fearlessly joined in with the black cats and showed them a thing or two, having earned her keep that way in younger days, but she left this one to them.

But this mouse managed to elude five cats bent on its capture. They had it cornered behind every piece of furniture in the house, and while I know they caught up with it here and there it managed to get away from them, only to run behind yet another piece of furniture and chitter at them. I went to bed and while I am accustomed to each of the five black cats taking their places around and on me, not one joined me—no Mewsette nosing under the covers next to me, Mimi’s tiny weight on my hip, the boys wrestling themselves to sleep on my legs. Some time during the night the mouse ended up in my room as they actually awakened me with chasing it, and I heard it chittering at them again.

four black cats looking out the door

Setting the mouse free on a cold rainy morning.

I did not join them in the chase because I am a human and am therefore not a good mouser. I could chase it all day and I’d never get near it. They stood a better chance, so I left it up to them.

I awoke alone, without the Torturous Tag Team of Giuseppe happily stomping all over me and tickling my face with his whiskers and Mr. Sunshine pulling the covers off me and pulling out one of my hands to gnaw on my knuckles, Mimi looking at me disapprovingly. I heard them running around on the stairs and then in my studio next door to my bedroom. I walked in to see at least four of them with a very angry mouse chittering at them from the corner behind my easel; I guess they were trying to hit with with multiple death ray stares or it was making one heck of an impassioned speech about the meaning of its own life that it had them all entranced. No one paid a bit of attention to me.

two black cats at the door

I had to convince Mewsette and Giuseppe to come upstairs to breakfast.

Eventually, the mouse made a break for it and after some chasing Jelly Bean, who had apparently been conserving his energy for the big event, caught it and ran down the stairs with all of us in pursuit, including Kelly. Where was a video camera then? I couldn’t even get any good photos, too many black cats in the dark of the early morning.

All the way to the basement where he let it go, then caught it again and I opened the basement door and held him near it, gave him a shake, he dropped the mouse and off it ran. Don’t know if the poor thing will make it, and I’m not sure I want that particular set of strong and wily genetics to be reproducing with a vengeful eye toward my household, but if it was still alive after 24 hours being chased by five cats, and maybe six if Kelly joined in at some point, it deserved release. Some cats had a hard time letting the situation go, waiting by the door as if they thought the mouse would come back to play some more.

But they spent the rest of the day sleeping off the day of activity. I’ve referred to them below as a “gob pile”, and those from coal country may recognize that term as referring to the heap of overburden and waste material separated from the coal during coal mining. So that’s what they were today, a heap of black waste material. But they’re a lot prettier than real gobs are. And I’m so glad I didn’t have to spend 24 hours chasing a mouse.

pile of black cats sleeping

The Black Cat Gob Pile.

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Unless I have linked the photo to something else, which is rare with daily photos, you can click the photo to see a larger version. I save them at 1000 pixels maximum dimension, and at that size the photos are nearly twice the dimension and you can see more detail in many of the photos I post. Please remember if you download or share, my name and the link back to the original photo should always appear with it.

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.


Puzzle Cats

four black cats on bed

Puzzle cats, because they fit together like puzzle pieces even if one is under the bedspread.

All tucked in with each other, Mimi and her children snoozed on the bed in the early afternoon. From the top at 12:00 is Mimi, at about 4:00 is Mewsette, at 6:00 is Mr. Sunshine and at about the 10:00 position is Jelly Bean. The lump under the bedspread at the very bottom is Giuseppe being used as a pillow by Mr. Sunshine.

Below…”What are you looking at? We are going to finish our nap.” The three siblings, four if you count Giuseppe under the bedspread, are never so close in personality as when they awaken from a nap together—they’ll often sit up and look at me in nearly the same position, ears and eyes and heads all angled the same, or very nearly so. Mama Mimi is not in step with her children, and that is okay for the matriarch of the family. But they did get up after this and I finally managed to make the bed.

four black cats on bed

They kind of remind me of meerkats or baby possums all lined up on their mother.

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Unless I have linked the photo to something else, which is rare with daily photos, you can click the photo to see a larger version. I save them at 1000 pixels maximum dimension, and at that size the photos are nearly twice the dimension and you can see more detail in many of the photos I post. Please remember if you download or share, my name and the link back to the original photo should always appear with it.

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.


Neatly Folded Cats: 2011

five black cats on the bed

Neatly Folded Cats

The effects of a dark, rainy morning: five black cats neatly organized in two groups to sleep on the bed.

After taking up most of the space on my desk this morning, they all disappeared upstairs and tried to get me to lie down with them when I went upstairs. Later, this is what I found, and they didn’t even open an eye or flick an ear when I got my camera and walked around the room, trying to get the best angle on a shot of them all. I turned on all the lights in the room in an effort not to use my flash.

But they did make me think of folded, sorted laundry ready to be put away.

black cats sleeping on bed

Strewn on the bed.

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Unless I have linked the photo to something else, which is rare with daily photos, you can click the photo to see a larger version. I save them at 1000 pixels maximum dimension, and at that size the photos are nearly twice the dimension and you can see more detail in many of the photos I post. Please remember if you download or share, my name and the link back to the original photo should always appear with it.

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.


5 Black Cats + Friday 13 = 18…Somethings

black cat nursing black kittens

Mimi nursing the color-coded Fantastic Four.

Black cats and Friday the 13th don’t have anything to do with luck, good or bad, or I’d be in real trouble today! But it does give me another opportunity to share another photo of the Fantastic Four as little fuzzballs in order to maximize the black cat presence on the internet today. They are about three weeks old here since this was taken August 20, 2007, and they were born on July 26. I had just moved them into the room that would become their ancestral home, the bathroom, before it was made into the mint and white feline palace.

I keep referencing the colors of tempera paint I dabbed on their ears to tell them apart, and how that influenced their names and readers have asked if I can somehow show this to them. So here they are, the color-coded kittens!

You see only three colors, green, yellow and red. I had white for Jelly Bean for his white spots at neck and belly, but they were so obvious when he was that tiny, and the white hairs in his ears were like long brushes—you really can’t see in this photo, but they extend slightly beyond the edges of his ear—so I could tell who he was from front and back. He was also noticeably smaller than the others.

And I chose the colors and applied them totally arbitrarily, so I had no plan to match their names to them in any way, just grabbed a kitten and dabbed the paint. In order in this photo they are Jelly Bean, Giuseppe, Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette. It’s funny to see how striped they were at this age.

By this time they were quite active—amazing how much development happens in a week when you look at the last photo I posted when they were two weeks old. But this was why I had to move them to the bathroom; I couldn’t let them go in my “old studio” or I’d have never found them in there, and I couldn’t keep them in that cage, regardless of how big it was. They were ready to rock and roll!

I’m sure Mimi is glad when she looks at photos from this era that she no longer needs to “assume the position”, as I always joked with her when she flopped down to let them nurse, just like this, several times a day. It’s just too bad you can’t hear them all purring.

And of course, you can probably get your fill here on The Creative Cat with photos and paintings and sketches of black cats! Just click the links or choose a category from the list at right, and you can even choose their names from the category list as well if you have a personal favorite. I am organizing that list so things are easier to find, but for now they are alphabetical—not color coded, though.

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Unless I have linked the photo to something else, which is rare with daily photos, you can click the photo to see a larger version. I save them at 1000 pixels maximum dimension, and at that size the photos are nearly twice the dimension and you can see more detail in many of the photos I post. Please remember if you download or share, my name and the link back to the original photo should always appear with it.

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.


Toward More Colorful Cats

    The Fantastic Four and Mimi in their new colors.

The Fantastic Four and Mimi in their new colors.

I love black cats, I’m sure no one would dispute that, and it’s fun and inspiring to watch all those silhouettes around the house.

But for someone who loves color as much as me, it can get dull. And I am so accustomed to each cat in the house being colored and marked completely differently that I decided I needed a change.

What the heck, I thought, I’m an artist, I paint cats all the time.

So I painted the Fantastic Four and Mimi in their perceptive colors. What do you think?

I may try a different color on Jelly Bean, though. He’s a green kitty, but too difficult to distinguish him from Giuseppe.

April Fool! I only painted them in PhotoShop. I’m sure you weren’t fooled though—I backed off the truly realistic colorization. Before you are totally horrified at the thought I’d actually paint cats or dye them or give anyone the idea it could be in any way okay to do that, I’m just having fun on my computer while they roll their eyes and go for a nap. You may recognize this as the daily photo from March 15, 2012, “Five at the Window”.

five black cats looking out window

Five at the Window © B.E. Kazmarski

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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.


Embarassing Baby Pictures

four black kittens

The Fantastic Four...at two weeks old.

Well, it’s not embarrassing, it’s really cute. They are about two weeks old here, August 10, 2007, and they were born on July 26. They’re so precious, the little fuzzballs.

I keep referencing the colors of tempera paint I dabbed on their ears to tell them apart, and how that influenced their names and readers have asked if I can somehow show this to them. I found the photo I wanted to use, then started looking at baby pictures, and…well, if you’ve ever watched a litter of kittens, or puppies or other animals or even a human grow up you know how it is when you start looking at pictures.

And then I had a difficult time deciding which one to use! So I have three, in a little series: Sleeping, Waking, and Awake. And I really can’t even tell you which is which a lot of the time unless I noted something in the file name.

four black kittens

Waking up, yawning and stretching!

Here they are yawning and stretching! You can clearly see stripes on all of them—the one in the middle has a shadow from the bar of the cage they are in because I turned on the ceiling light, but they were all fairly gray-black, lots of stripes, and lots of individual white hairs on their legs, faces and tails that disappeared in the next few weeks.

four black kittens

Awake and ready for action!

I noted a few things with this photo, but they didn’t have their permanent names yet. I do know that this kitten in front was the girl, so it is Mewsette, the first to do everything and I always remember that serious, determined expression on that tiny face! Directly behind her was Jelly Bean, and I recognize his profile, as well as some of the features of Mr. Sunshine’s face behind him. The lazy bum is Giuseppe, who always woke up last with great fanfare—unless one of the others landed on him and started wrestling!

As you can imagine, I have a zillion photos of them, but most of the good ones are on film from about a week later when I moved them into the bathroom and the light was better. But compare them to the Fantastic Four you know now.

There is a reason why this time with these kittens is very, very special. Briefly, this was an era when I was still grieving one very recent loss, and five losses in total; I had had their half-sister Lucy put to sleep for FIP on July 10, 2007, just a month earlier, and in 2006 had lost my four oldest cats, Moses, Cream, Sophie and Stanley. Before Mimi joined us with her babies, my household had suddenly gone from nine cats to four and as hard as Cookie, Kelly, Namir and Peaches worked I would say I was in shock as well as grief. But having this little pile of kittens at my disposal to hold and hug and kiss and photograph and love, as well as their mom, the gentle, understanding Mimi, helped to change that for me. I spoke about this on Pet Memorial Sunday last year, glad to share it with others deeply grieving their loss.

But this is where we all began, four demanding little black fuzzballs on the work table in my studio!

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Unless I have linked the photo to something else, which is rare with daily photos, you can click the photo to see a larger version. I save them at 1000 pixels maximum dimension, and at that size the photos are nearly twice the dimension and you can see more detail in many of the photos I post. Please remember if you download or share, my name and the link back to the original photo should always appear with it.

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.