Feline Stress Relief

two black cats on lap

Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine on a day when I apparently need a little more stress relief.

Giuseppe took a beating from me yesterday, picked up and squeezed, flipped over and pummeled, his skin pulled and kneaded in great handfuls, even his ears and tail and legs pulled and stretched in different directions.

But he’s a big sturdy kitty and can take this sort of treatment, understanding that this is sometimes the consequence of being on mom’s lap near the end of an overloaded week on a somewhat stressful day—for her at least. He actually enjoyed it, purring heartily all the while and sitting up expectantly on my lap, waiting for the next round of manipulations.

three cats on lap

Cookie, Kelly and Mimi make the day easier.

I often say I’m grateful for sharing my life with animals and with cats especially, and with these cats in particular, and this is one reason why—they understand what I’m doing and I think they even show up just when I need them to.

After more than 30 years of typing, first on typewriters, then as a typesetter on a computer keyboard beginning in the early 80s, I have no small amount of twinges and stiffness and minor damage to the muscles, nerves and tendons in my hands. Add to this the art and craft, painting, framing, crocheting and even gardening and home repairs, and my hands take quite a beating. I am as careful as possible never to push them beyond limits I recognize. What would I do without my hands?

When I’m feeling the effects of overuse in my hands, what better to do than pet a cat? Stretching my fingers and palms and stroking soft fur is soothing to both my hands and my self, their energy seeping up into my palms and fingers, mine released and dissipated into their fur as their warmth eases tired, cramped muscles, especially when simply I tuck my hands completely underneath them, and they begin to purrrrrr…………..

two black cats on lap

Giuseppe and Mewsette provide double the relaxing purrs.

And on a day in a short week where two large projects have overlapped, several jobs need to meet deadlines and situations arise and things aren’t getting done and there’s an issue with another project and the phone is ringing off the hook and there just isn’t enough time for it all, Giuseppe has stretched himself across my lap and I am using the loose skin along his back and neck as a living stress ball, kneading him as if he is bread dough, folding sections of skin against the palm of my left hand and then my right in turn, much the same way he kneads me when he is so inclined.

I talk to a customer, enforcing the schedule for printing and that we can’t wait until next week to finish something, it has to be today, holding the phone with my left hand and calmly talking while I gently pull on the tips Giuseppe’s long pointed ears with my right, first one ear, then the other; he pushes himself up on his elbows and tilts his head in anticipation, kneading my skirt vigorously with his front paws, squinting and purring.

Then I practice my drumming on his abdomen while I think through a design problem while the customer is waiting for the proof and I can’t come up with an idea, keeping time and beating out patterns with my fingertips and the day is flying by while Giuseppe air kneads.

photo of peaches on my lap

Peaches guarding mom's lap.

Several things completed in short order, calls to printers to check scheduling, calls from customers who will be off for Good Friday, all resolved for the moment, I sit back as Giuseppe has rolled over onto his back with my occasional drumming so I can drum on his belly and chest, but I stop drumming and shove my hands underneath him, enjoying the warmth and rumble of his purr on my hands and wrists and wiggle my fingers underneath him, causing him to wriggle in joy and wave his legs around in the air.

Then I slide my arms under him and pick him up and squeeze him against me, kissing him on the cheek and forehead and making questionable noises into his chest and belly. He licks my face and gets his paws tangled in my hair. I set him down and begin kneading again and tell him it’s time to get the heck away from this computer for a while. I know he understands me, whether it’s because this particular phrase is always followed by me standing up and heading for the kitchen or somewhere else that is not my desk or he truly understands me when I’m speaking which I don’t doubt, but he is up on my desk waving his tail happily, reaching a paw for me and ready for the next activity, whatever that may be. He is energized by this, knowing he’s played an important role in my day and helped me in a way only he can. Giuseppe is very pleased with himself.

holding two black cats on lap

Petting two black cats at once on a very busy day.

The day is not over, nor is it the first or last day of this nature, and I freely admit that I enjoy the excitement of it all, most of the time. It’s what I accepted along with choosing to work at home in this field. I am truly grateful to the generations of understanding cats who feel it’s part of their life’s mission to help mom get through the day and who enjoy it as much as me.

Here are a few other posts including cats on my lap—that one-handed photography is a real trick!

And when they can’t fit on my lap or I move around too much they provide stress relief right on my desk, like Giuseppe’s performance the other day!

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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.


Cookie Says, “Thank You!”

tortoiseshell cat at window

Someone has to keep an eye on things out there.

“All your good thoughts made their way to me and I feel much better. I’m back to keeping an eye on the neighborhood.”

It has to be that, I only changed a few things for her and today she is stronger and more interactive, still a little unsteady but definitely a different cat from yesterday. I might fool myself to think it might be a bit of a turnaround, but I just don’t get the feeling Cookie is ready to give in.

She got up on the shelf on her own but climbing up my camera bag and purse to my lap, to the keyboard tray to my desk to the shelf in front of the window. She’s gotten up and down the steps, and up on the kitchen table to get to the cabinet, which she couldn’t do for a few days.

And Kelly is feeling a little better, no longer spending the day in Narnia in the back of the closet, so today I had the pleasure of two tortie cats on my lap again as I worked at my computer.

two tortoiseshell cats on lap

Cookie and Kelly settle on my lap again.

Mewsette takes her responsibility seriously and tries to fit on my lap with the girls; she thinks she is tortie-sized, but she is easily twice tortie-sized. Initially, Mimi was balanced on my knee cap, and Mewsette was trying to settle, four cats on my lap. My lap is really not that big.

black cats and two tortoiseshell cats

Mewsette tries to figure out where she fits.

Persistent Mewsette finds a way to nuzzle and give a few licks to her little big sisters. Here is Cookie from the front and Kelly’s rear, and you can see the white inside of Mewsette’s ear just above Cookie’s ear.

black cat washing two tortie cats

Mewsette takes care of her little tortoiseshell big sisters.

I am just a big warm cat bed.

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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.


Stacked and Mixed, A Lap Full!

three cats on lap

Kelly shows a little tortitude.

So first Kelly was happily cuddled on my lap after a good thorough bath. Then Mimi finished observing the neighborhood from the shelf at the front window and stepped down from the desk onto my knee, settling down, overlapping Kelly. Kelly was okay with this.

Then Cookie hopped up on my lap and discovered she had no place to go! She ended up walking on both Kelly and Mimi…well, she is the queen of the household but there was a little grumbling. Then she just grew tired of trying to figure it out and decided to simply settle down on both of them. At that point Kelly showed about as much tortitude as she ever does, sitting up indignantly and growling for about four seconds, glaring at Cookie’s tail. I am just a prop in the great drama of laptime.

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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.


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.

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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.


Two Sleepy Torties

two tortoiseshell cats on lap

Two Sleepy Torties

My tortie girls, my sweet seniors Cookie, 18, and Kelly, 16, curl comfortably on my lap after dinner. Well, comfortable for them, but I do have to turn sideways so they can fit without spilling onto my keyboard, and still Cookie uses my hand for a pillow so I can’t be mousing around too boisterously. I catch myself rolling the mouse around in unique patterns and typing with one hand so I don’t disturb Cookie, and holding my legs at the right angle so Kelly won’t slip off. I am a little less productive in my work, but fully utilized as a cat bed.

Giuseppe and Jelly Bean especially sleep on the desk and check now and then to see if my lap is open. My evening is pre-planned.

I had to hold my big DSLR camera above my head with my right hand AND click the shutter without being able to see the image to take this photo. Needless to say, it took a few tries.