A Little Friendly Bath: 2011

two black cats bathing each other

Friendly Bath

Giuseppe and Mewsette enjoy the warm sunny landing by bathing each other, taking turns, then bathing together.

Often enough, these mutual bathing sessions turn into little scuffles as one suddenly decides they’ve had enough, or perhaps words are exchanged that I don’t understand, but they certainly do. The silent staring contests are full of drama. In any case, I know that as much conversation happens between cats during one of these little sessions as between any two people sitting down for coffee.

two black cats staring at each other

Friendly Fire

______________________________

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.


Mimi This Morning

black cat on table

Mimi This Morning

Last year on this day, I fell in love. Or I realized I had fallen in love long before. Surely, when kittens are tiny, momcat doesn’t mind if her babies get the spotlight, a friend was interested in adopting Mimi when the kittens were weaned, and I think Mimi was not of the mind to have her heart broken again by a human. When Mimi arrived with her babies on July 29, 2007 we had a history, and weren’t sure we had a future. But we looked at each other that morning and realized we had forever.

It’s not any special day, just a nice sunny morning on a day I get to stay home all day to work.

Mimi follows me all around the first floor of my house, up and down the steps a few times, then settles into the bathroom as I take my shower and get ready for the day, talking to me in her little “eep!” and “meee…” noises. Mimi is petite and beautiful, but her voice is kind of an afterthought.

Sometimes you just love a kitty at first sight, but sometimes it sneaks up on you later. That would be Mimi and me.

At every opportunity, I reach out to pet her, pull playfully on the end of her tail, answer her comments and invite her to come along with me in what I’m doing. She hardly needs the invitation as she stops to wrap herself around my legs, jumps up on a counter and reaches out to touch me, give me head butts me wherever she can and rubs her face on me, making full, extended, direct eye contact whenever possible. Later she settles on my keyboard shelf nestling her little bottom against my right wrist, stubbornly refusing to adjust her position for my typing comfort, meaning that half of what I type must be deleted and retyped.

Prior to her coming to my house she and I had actually had a few conflicts as she constantly hunted in my back yard to take live kill to her endless kittens, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Mimi came to me with her babies, and I admit I gave nearly all my attention to them—and who wouldn’t, seeing four perfect little black kittens…especially after having recently lost one of her other perfect black kittens?

But though I interacted with the kittens more often than Mimi, I didn’t insist that she stay with her babies and let her wander the house at will. She quietly and carefully explored, having no conflict with my other four cats, settling on the floor by the front door where it was cooler that August to rest her belly after nursing. Then she’d gracefully jump onto the end of my desk and tiptoe to the center where I was, carefully walking among Namir, Cookie, Peaches and Kelly, and finding a tiny spot for herself, rolling herself into a compact black ball, not to sleep, but to spend time with us as I worked.

What a nice kitty, I remember thinking, though she rarely interacted with me directly. Her former owner had told me she had been kind of distant, and this is what I saw of her. A friend was interested in adopting her when the kittens were weaned so I kept note of her personality to tell her future person, and not to be concerned if she wasn’t a lap cat.

As time has passed, I guess Mimi had the same realization as Cookie years ago, that she wasn’t going to be tossed back out, that she actually belonged here, and she began spending more time with me, and I continued to admire her petite figure and natural grace and encouraged her to join me. Then she began to seriously play and also assist me in daily tasks, following me, talking to me, and now and then sitting on my lap, though with three senior kitties those opportunities were few and far between. After raising six litters of kittens, Mimi is nothing if not patient.

When Peaches was still here, Mimi joined the senior girls to eat and hang out, though she’s hardly a senior with the need of extra meals, but to let me know she was “special”. She became one of my ladies in waiting along with Cookie and Kelly, and always sleeps next to me on the bed every night. She’s had time and space to develop her personality, learn to be a fun kitty, and trust a human, and though she’s still petite and quiet, she’s hardly the kitty who came in the box with her babies.

I have found homes for dozens of kittens and cats over the years. After a certain period of time, over a year perhaps, foster kitties stop being foster kitties for me and end up being permanent kitties unless I am keeping them for someone, as I did in keeping Dickie for my niece for a year. I love and care for them before that, but end up falling in love with all my kitties at some point, fosters or not.

So Mimi and I decided this is a serious thing, and that we really more than like each other. I know that kitty look that says, “thank you,” and the one that says, “I love you.” Does it balance out the losses suffered from living with so many cats? Perhaps, but it also adds another unique gem on the strand of the feline loves in my life.

Love at first sight is sweet, but sometimes realizing a perfect love has been there all along is much sweeter and long-lasting. This morning, Mimi sits on my keyboard shelf with her little fanny on my right wrist making it difficult to type well, but this is our thing. You know how it is when you’re in love.

—————————————-

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.


Mewsette the Big Little Sister: 2011

two cats at the top of the stairs

Cookie and Mewsette

A sweet one from last year…

Mewsette always makes these little overtures to Cookie, and you can see by Cookie’s reaction that it’s not well-received. You can also see that Mewsette is easily twice as big as Cookie and can take a beating from a sometimes fussy senior tortie girl. Mewsette apparently loves her little big sister, and perhaps some day Cookie will learn to appreciate her big little sister.

Cookie doesn’t know, but Mewsette curls up next to her on the bed after Cookie has fallen asleep, and Cookie certainly appreciates Mewsette’s warmth, even if she’s not awake to know it.

Here are a few images of Mewsette keeping watch over Cookie as she slept: Big and Little Sisters and Copy Cats, and cuddling with her when she wasn’t feeling well: A Loyal Sister and Cookie Says Thank You. Cookie did grow to appreciate big, warm, soft Mewsette, as seen in Cookie’s Blessing.

______________________________

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.


The Unintended Gift: My first cat, and how cats became my muse

a photo of Bootsie, the gray and white cat I had growing up

My first cat, Bootsie

Yes, I really did get a kitten in a box under the Christmas tree when I was a child. The story is not glowingly happy and, in fact, includes a few losses, but led me to the cat who eventually became my “first” kitty, and the rest is history. It’s my pleasure to share it on Christmas, the day it all came together for me, my love of cats, learning to care for them and finding in their grace and beauty to muse that would lead me to painting, writing, photography and my life as an artist.

When I was nine years old, I remember telling my parents and my older sister what kind of animals I liked. I don’t know if this was in response to a question, but I do know I explained completely and with enthusiasm, telling every last detail of what I liked about birds and squirrels and cats and dogs and horses and rabbits, all the animals I had encountered in my early 1960s suburban development childhood.

I remember telling my sister that I liked cats best because they were easier to take care of than dogs, and if I had to choose I’d choose a cat. I don’t know how I knew this except that in those days people didn’t get their animals neutered and, except for hunting dogs in their cages, all animals were allowed to roam. Dogs were loud and seemed to get into more trouble with fights and biting people as some roaming dogs will do, and I had my share of small bites from trying to pet dogs who weren’t interested. And then there was the clean-up issue in everyone’s yards, even yards of people who didn’t have a dog.

Cats, on the other hand, were uniformly small and seemed to be very quiet and gentle and neat, and this appealed to me. I was shy, I was dreamy, I didn’t like loud noises, I was most comfortable in the company of animals, even wild animals, because they didn’t find me odd and weren’t bothered by my silences as humans were, and they didn’t mind when I stared at them without explanation; in fact, they encountered me in much the same way. As an “artist in training” I was a focused observer even at that age. I was outdoors quite a bit roaming the old pasture that was all that was left of the farm our houses had been built on and exploring the woods and waterways of every ravine and hillside, so a dog might have seemed a likely companion for me. But I pictured myself curling up with an animal to read, and that would be more likely one of the nice kitties I had met around the neighborhood.

Every time I learned there was a litter of kittens in the neighborhood, and there always seemed to be one or two litters, I was an annoyance to the owner wanting to see the kittens, and an annoyance to my family wanting to bring a kitten home. Once I helped a neighbor catch two small kittens that had been born and raised in their yard to a mother who had disappeared, and I took them home hoping to keep them, but they only stayed overnight and likely went to a shelter, though that might have been a foretelling of rescues to come.

So the dream came true that Christmas when I was nine and there was an orange kitten in a box under the tree, a tiny six-week-old fuzzball ready for play when let loose from the cardboard carrier. I know little Rusty got no respite from me crawling around on the floor after her, and I was thrilled when, exhausted with batting walnut shells and chasing ribbon, she curled up in my convenient lap, a warm, pliable, purring bundle.
Keep reading…


Today It’s Stacked Black Cats

two black cats

Mewsette and Mimi cuddle on my lap.

I can only think there’s some sort of competition happening after the reports of “stacked torties girls” from yesterday. Now, that may be true of Mimi—she tends to show up in any of Kelly’s or Cookie’s favorite spots, looking innocent—but Mewsette has no guile whatsoever, and she was the first on my lap this morning.

two black cats

Mewsette bathing Mimi. Happy.

Happily purring and big enough that I have to bend my elbows around her to get my hands to the keyboard, she apparently didn’t mind when her mom came along and first and walked all over her, then cuddled down in front.

This activated Mewsette’s bath gene and she immediately began bathing Mimi, who quietly enjoyed it.

A little later, they left for other activities and Giuseppe settled his large, heavy self across my lap, trying to expand himself so that I had to push away from the keyboard. Eventually Mr. Sunshine came along, thought we looked cozy and decided there was enough room for him, especially if he simply laid down on top of his brother. Giuseppe shuffled a little and this set off Mr. Sunshine’s bath gene and Giuseppe was treated to somewhat of a bath around his ears—after all, they couldn’t move too much or one or both would go tumbling off my lap.

two black cats on lap

Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine.

“What?” Too bad Giuseppe began to turn his face! I’m not sure what he was doing, but it made me reach for the mouse to make sure it didn’t end up on the floor.

two black cats on lap

What are you lookin' at?

Again, the only thing I got done was to take a lot of shaky photos.

—————————————

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.


Back on the Butterfly, Reprise

four cats in front of furnace vent

Back on the Butterfly

The other day when I ran the first image of my cats sleeping on the butterfly rug in front of the heater vent, I was remembering this image from this day last year, October 6, 2010. There you see three of the black cats with little, little Peaches, Giuseppe to the left, Jelly Bean to the right and Mr. Sunshine next to him. They LOVED their little big sister in a way I was glad for since I think it added to Peaches’ last years, but Giuseppe especially escorted Peaches around the house, the two of them so sweet in their May-December relationship, he 3 and she 20.

The furnace came on the first time this season on Sunday night, and Peaches wandered into my office and sat in front of the furnace vent at the foot of the stairs, her favorite sleeping spot. In honor of the occasion I unpacked the cleaned and rested butterfly rug for her comfort.

Just as if the heating season had never ended last spring, the boys all gravitated toward it and joined Peaches while she tucked herself in between them. Giuseppe and Jelly Bean gave her a few licks and purred, but mostly they just transferred warmth and youthful energy. I swear it’s what keeps her going so well.

I just have to leap over them to get to the steps, but what’s a little inconvenience for the comfort of up to six cats?

One caution if your cats sleep around heating sources such as furnace vents, wood stoves or cooking stoves—make sure they don’t press against any heat-producing source. Cats are heat seekers, but they can easily burn through their fur down to their skin if they curl up against a standard furnace vent, the legs or other parts of some wood stoves, especially older ones, fireplace apparatus like screens or andirons while the fire is burning, some radiators or even an old-fashioned gas stove top with the pilot underneath. You’d think they’d know they were burning themselves, but haven’t you ever burned yourself on the stove or on a grill and not immediately known it?

This vent is intended for high-traffic areas and is an alloy coated with Teflon. It doesn’t hold enough heat to burn skin or fur while the furnace is blowing hot air unless the furnace goes above 85 degrees (mine never sees 70). I tested it with my own hand.

I have all my other vents, which are basic painted metal and can’t be replaced because of their size and placement, surrounded with a wire cage—nothing fancy, I made it out of vinyl-coated fencing held far enough away from the vent that the wire or vinyl can’t build up enough heat on the outside of the cage. Most newer wood stoves or other burners have protective barriers on legs and parts around the bottom, but the fireplace and stove are still an issue requiring care. I actually had a cat who slept on the stove top over the pilot, and I had to layer cookie sheets over it so he wasn’t directly in contact with the hot metal where he repeatedly re-burned his front leg.

Happy cuddle season!

—————————————

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.


A Package to Colborne

black cat on box

Giuseppe insists upon traveling with the Colborne package.

Giuseppe demands to be shipped with the package to Colborne.

One of the things Miss Daisy’s mom and I were discussing was a piece of artwork and a couple of copies of Great Rescues which have been on the easel waiting to be packed until I could determine the best method of shipment.

Yesterday was the day for the package to be packed and on its way and I had to sneak it past Giuseppe, who was still waiting for his letter from his love.

But he caught up with me when the package was completely closed and he sat on it, insisting to be allowed inside! I tried to tell him that he couldn’t go running off to see a lady he’d only met on the internet, he knew very little about her, he had no passport to get into Canada and, besides that, he’d never traveled!

two black cats on table

Giuseppe is comforted by his mom.

I simply had to distract him with other thoughts until he took a nap with his mom. I hurriedly printed out the labels, put them in the international plastic sleeve and slipped out to my car. Like magic, when I came back, there was the letter, and the rest is history…

But Giuseppe and I have an idea, now that we’ve seen Miss Daisy and understand that Colborne has no stores to supply kitties with toys. He’s talked to his siblings, his mom and the tortie girls, and all agree that they have plenty enough toys to share. He’ll spend a few days selecting a few toys to send—he’d send the moon if he could, but his mom advises him that a lady likes to be courted, and sending several packages is better than sending one—and his brothers and sisters have agreed they’ll help him choose.

Shhhh! Don’t let Miss Daisy know!

___________________________________________________________

Read the first three stories:

Giuseppe’s Secret Admirer

The Mystery Deepens: A Photo of Daisy Marguerite

The Envelope, Please?