The Chipmunk Drama

three black cats looking out window

The drama begins with intent stares and lashing tails.

An exciting moment in the lives of three black cats.

Mimi was already at the window, Mr. Sunshine joined her and Giuseppe leaped off my lap when she sent out the wordless, soundless signal that only cats can understand that something was outside on the porch that needed to be stared at.

two cats and chipmunk

A chipmunk!

It’s a chipmunk! Those sleek little critters with their racing stripes and remote-control antenna tails straight up in the air when they run inhabit my yard and have tortured generations of cats with their darting about in plain sight.

two cats and chipmunk

Mimi and Mr. Sunshine focus in.

Mimi thinks to herself, I raised all my babies on chipmunks except these four. Maybe they’ll have to have a little taste…if I could only get out there…

black cat with chipmunk

Mimi remembers feeding her babies chipmunks...

Meanwhile, the chipmunk is stuffing his cheeks with fallen maple tree seed clusters, totally unconcerned about what is happening around him, and probably enjoying the fact that three cats are staring at him but can’t get to him.

chipmunk

The little guy has no idea the thoughts being had about him by three intent cats.

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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.


Mother and Daughter

two black cats

Mimi and Mewsette have found a happy place.

Put a plastic “in” bin on top of a box and place a wool felted purse into the bin. See how long it takes before there is a cat in it, or two cats, three if they could fit (Giuseppe tried). I actually didn’t want them napping on the purse, it’s handmade and somewhat fragile, but as I was changing things from one purse to another I set it down and immediately Mimi was on it. Mewsette quickly joined her.

The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree with some kitty families, especially around the eyes. In this photo their eyes are nearly identical. But some apples are much larger than their mother apples. Mewsette does not weigh terribly much, but she is large and then she is quite plushy. Mimi is just a bit of thing with sleek fur.

They may look severe, but they just want their privacy and I’m getting that “get that thing out of our faces” look. But they looked so nice together, and we have an agreement that they need to do their part in earning our living here, sitting still for the camera now and then is not such a big deal, is it? Too bad, I get my way in that, though not in many other things. It took a while to get my purse back and hanging in a place away from happily kneading kitty paws.

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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.


I’ll Give You Three Seconds to Get Your Paw Off of Me…

two black cats

Get your filthy paw off of me.

“I’ll give you three seconds to get your filthy paw off of me.”

“Oh, come on, little brother, I don’t mean anything by it. Ha, ha, ha.”

“ONE.”

“You’re so touchy, you need to chill, lil’ bubba.”

“TWO.”

“So what are you going to do to me little guy? You can’t take me down…”

“THREE!”

two black cats wrestling

A wrestling match.

“You keep your dirty paws off me!”

“You’re cute when you’re mad!”

“Look out you big showoff! I’m taking you down!”

It didn’t turn out well for JB.

A few other posts showing the boys at their stuff: Two Cats Wrestling. And for more elucidation into what I think my cats are thinking when I see they are conversing with each other, read through the Cat Conversations.

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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.


Keeping Our Tails Crossed

two black cats eating with tails crossed.

We're keeping our tails crossed.

Mewsette and brother Mr. Sunshine aren’t taking any chances. Their tails are crossed.

For what—just in case a black cat crosses their path? to be certain they’ll always get a good meal? to seal a deal between the two of them?

I never know quite what to think when I see these crossed tails, but so far everything has been good.

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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.


Pumpkin Pete Needs a New Human

photo of orange cat outdoors

Pumpkin Pete being his friendly self.

How can people do this?

orange cat

Pumpkin Pete wondering if you'd like him.

This poor guy (NEUTERED) was left behind by a sub-human when they moved away ! (people can be so mean) He has been living OUTSIDE for months, but remains extra-special friendly! He waits for me each day for his food & water.  He really-really-really NEEDS a person to call his own! 

I’ve named him Pumpkin Pete and he actually comes to the name! 🙂  He knows my car and comes running for his pets, hugs, belly rubs and food  LOL

 Does ANYONE out there have room in there heart/home for Pumpkin Pete ?

Pumpkin Pete lives in a parking lot near Pittsburgh, PA. You’d make an orange boy who is neutered and friendly very, very happy if you could take him in! Send an e-mail to the person who is caring for him.

orange cat

Pumpkin Pete getting ready for belly rubs.

Often, pets left behind, especially cats, become part of a stray and feral colony, and in fact that is often how some colonies seem to form. I know that many of the cats I’ve taken in from my neighborhood over the years were left behind by people who rented in residential homes turned into apartments on the street next to me. Often this was not intentional as I’ve returned cats who escaped during moving to their people, but there have also been the cats that people hadn’t wanted in the first place, like Sasha, a cat I took in then returned to his owner but should have known better, especially when she called to say she’d moved and left him on her front porch…

And with the housing crisis, the economy, jobs, income, sometimes people need to give up their pets to someone who may not be as committed as they were and the cat ends up outside; unfortunately, sometimes people just abandon them because they don’t know what else to do. We know better, but this is often how they end up.

Anybody out there for Pumpkin Pete? Send an e-mail to the person who is caring for him.

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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.


Mewsette in Profile

black cat in profile

Mewsette in profile.

Mewsette gazes dreamily out the window as the spring sun highlights each whisker and hair.

Did you ever notice how, in certain lights, whiskers have an iridescent glow? Both white and black do as well as the dark gray, but it’s most noticeable on black whiskers.

You can see a bit of Mewsette’s eye in profile. Looking at a cat’s eye from the side you see the clear area is very deep from front to back while the iris is a flat area behind this. I have read this was why cat’s eye marbles were named such even though the color swirls around in side them, because they mimic this clear area in the cat’s eye.

Mewsette has a somewhat rounded nose with just a little bit of a regal bump and very little chin. It’s part of her soft roundness.

Love all of that fur.

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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.


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.


Lassie

portrait of collie in park

Lassie, pastel, 23" x 16" © B.E. Kazmarski

I was working on Lassie’s portrait when I initiated The Creative Cat, so she was the very first I featured just about three years ago today.

detail of collie portrait

Detail of Lassie's face.

Lassie was with her mom for 15 years and had just passed when her mom first called me. She was in nursing school and would graduate in the spring, and would like Lassie’s portrait for her graduation when family would be in town. A very special collie I could see by her photos, the two of them side by side into the college years and a new city.

Details like Lassie’s head tilt were very important. This face is the expressive, intelligent face her mom always remembered, when Lassie knew just what she was thinking. I just wish I’d had a slightly better digital camera then to show more of the detail here.

Lassie’s mom decided she wanted to remember Lassie in the outdoors so the portrait would have a scenic background, and its final shape would be determined by the scene. She didn’t have a photo of a favorite place, but they  both enjoyed visiting parks and trails, and I have plenty of photos of places like that I began designing with autumn backgrounds; colorful and familiar, they are very popular in canine portraits and I’ve added my autumn scenes to several other dog portraits.

idea for portrait

One of the autumn ideas.

However, Lassie kept blending into the background colors because her fur is primarily amber to brown, the same as the leaves we see, so I chose a late summer background of a rocky little stream and a row of trees in the background. The deep green of late summer grass shows off her fur to perfection and the glow of evening sun warms the scene. There was originally a tree in the near background, but I needed to get a little more detail on Lassie before I could find the best placement for the it so it won’t be distracting, and in the end we decided to leave it out.

Painting portraits of animals is plenty fulfilling and enjoyable, but I also love to paint my local landscapes so here was a painting that would be exciting in both respects, a landscape, and an animal. Not only have I worked for years to learn my palette and techniques for fur and wet noses, but also for landscapes. Here is a detail of the strip of woods from the top of the painting.

detail of portrait

Detail of edge of woods.

I thought I’d include a progress photo where the background is half done, moving from left to right, and Lassie will need her last details done, but that will be after the background is completed. Working in pastel, the colors dust over each other, especially with heavy coverage like this background and the contrasting colors.

Lassie's portrait, second proof

detail of painting

The rocks in the stream on the left.

In addition, here are two detail areas that I particularly like, the rocks on the left, and the rocks and grass on the right.

While the original portrait may look completely detailed in Lassie and in the landscape, a close-up look shows that many of the details are literally sketchy, just soft indications of light and shadow that when viewed together appear as they should.

Again, I wish I’d had a better digital camera then! I like to show these details not only for your enjoyment, but for those who have told me you are learning from these portraits as well.

detail of portrait

Detail of rocks and grass at right.

Reading things like this, in books and magazines in my day, and I still have many, was largely how I learned to do some of the things I do. I’m glad to pass it along.

Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraitsportrait of black cat in wicker chair Commissioned Dog Portraitspastel portrait of dogs

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.

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.


A Quick Rescue Story With a Happy Ending

photo of dog on couch

Who could throw this dog from a car? Photo provided by the rescuer.

So quick that before I had a chance to write it up, the rescue found a home!

And this one was not a cat but a dog rescue. Not that I have anything against dogs, but there is only so much time and space to share stories, and I figure you are reading The Creative Cat because you like cats  so I generally stick with cats, though I know many people have both cats and dogs. But a good story is a good story, and that’s that. I had to share this one just to give us all a smile and to publicly thank someone who went out of their way to help an animal. Besides that, when I first looked at his photo I laughed because he looks like a Beagle with the wind blowing through his ears!

I’m sure all of us animal lovers receive e-mails all the time including the stories of rescued animals who need homes, and I received one yesterday with the story of this dog, plus the story of the person who rescued him.

On Sunday morning as I was heading to work, I saw a car slowing down and literally throw a dog from their door. They had slowed down considerably but the poor thing laid there. I did a u turn and went back because I wasn’t sure what it was. My first thought was a cat. I believe that the breathe had been knocked out of him because he didn’t move for a few seconds. After I realized he was alive, I convinced him to come to me with a sandwich that I had packed for lunch. He was filthy dirty and limped on his right leg.

I took him home and bathed him. Treated him for fleas and heartworms with the Revolution product. He actually didn’t appear to have any fleas on him. He was so loving and playful. He was no longer limping and was in our yard romping around like a young dog would do. I am guessing his age at maybe 6 months. At night time, we debated about where to put him but he jumped up on our loveseat and fell right to sleep. He laid on his back with his paws in the air. Very sweet. He did not mess in the house one time and actually a couple of times has scratched at the door to go out.

He has a very sweet personality. You can tell he is young, he jumps and plays with lots of enthusiasm. He loves tennis balls and ropes. I wish I could keep him but I currently have 4 cats and 1 dog. Two of my cats have gone into hiding! 

I decided I’d post him here anyway because I wanted to share her story. I e-mailed the author for more details on how he did with the cats since that’s something I usually check with dogs for adoption, and by the time she replied he had a home already!

Don’t we wish they would all end that way! Of course, someday people will no longer throw dogs and cats out of cars, and there won’t be any more homeless pets.

Photo provided by the rescuer.

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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.


Who Was That Namir, Anyway?

cat sleeping

A Blissful Namir.

Who was Kelly’s soul-mate, this cat named “Namir” who she met and still remembers?

I’m certain Namir had a pretty frightening kittenhood, but the wonderful woman who rescued both him and Kelly related it to me in such a humorous way it actually seemed fun, and it is all I know about his rescue.

A little gray and white kitten visited the house where she lived while in college and she realized after watching him that he seemed to live at the fraternity down the street. Not certain if he had just wandered there to hang out with the guys or if they had actually adopted him, she started feeding the kitten when he visited because, as she said, she was “sure they were feeding him mashed potatoes and beer.”

photo of Namir

Namir, photo © B.E.Kazmarski

She’d only lived with dogs before but came to adore the friendly and affectionate little kitten. Christmas break came and she offered to take care of the kitten while they were away and…just never managed to give him back. And possibly because he was suddenly neutered he really didn’t care for that carefree lifestyle anymore. Oh, and the food, that was definitely a plus over the bachelor diet of mashed potatoes and beer.

He wasn’t very cat-like at the time, no playing, no bathing, but she’d never owned a cat so she didn’t notice because he was really friendly and affectionate, enjoying brushings and being carried around. But he also had some specifically cat-like traits such as removing the screens from windows, opening locked doors and finding any other means of escape. He just needed a way to find a small rodent to sacrifice and bring its head to his human as proof of his gratitude for rescuing him, or perhaps as a threat to what might befall her should she fall from grace, she was never certain which it might be.

When she graduated and began working, her friends convinced her that Namir needed a buddy rather than staying home alone, so she went to the shelters and asked for “the next cat in line for euthanasia,” and that was how Kelly came to be a part of their lives.

Namir’s angry reaction to coming here and to me was a big surprise considering how friendly he’d always been with everyone in every situation, but I understood that he growled at me because I was the one who had taken away his mom, and he was one deeply devoted cat. How to explain the situation to him? His heart was broken by this abandonment and betrayal, and only time would help him heal, as I knew myself after losing Kublai, the black cat who I always call the love of my life, the year before, and still felt the twinges of his loss.

namir's bedroom eyes

Namir's "bedroom eyes".

Months passed, he and Kelly finally began exploring the upstairs and then the downstairs and for a while he treated guests with more affection than he treated me. But a heart as loving as Namir’s can’t hold out forever and one day he gave me one of his affectionate swats on the elbow as I walked past him, gave me his squinty look that was a mock dare, and we were buddies.

And as for that name…she had explained that a friend had suggested it to her because it meant “swift cat”, referring to the grace of his movements. I have found that it does mean “swift cat” in Persian languages, not Hebrew as she thought, but in Hebrew it seems to mean “leopard” or “spotted”.

gray and white cat in the sun

Sunwashed Namir

Well, he may have been gray and white on the outside, but I knew that underneath that common coat was a long feline heritage of Oriental influence. I always said he was a prince who had been painted at birth, seeing the long legs with oval paws, muscular torso and rising curved back, the long sweeping tail with the slight angled kink at the end that showed when he was curious, the large upright cupped ears. And he often sat or stood with his right paw lifted and crossed over his left leg, which I thought was simply cute until I did a portrait of two Abyssinian cats and learned that is a particular trait of Abys.

As I’ve mentioned, Namir was the inspiration for beginning this blog, and is the kitty in the header. He had a long list of medical conditions by that time, idiopathic cystitis, herpes in his bladder, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, I told him he just liked to use big words, and while nothing slowed him down his care was constant and complicated. At the beginning, being new to blogging, I didn’t feel that writing about his many conditions and his care was appropriate. By the time I finally felt comfortable he was at his end and I didn’t have the time to share him while he was alive, or to relate his illness and care in a way that would benefit others.

watercolor of a cat in kitchen

Darling Clementine, watercolor © B.E. Kazmarski

During my period of grieving him, I decided what I would do with this venue and my cats within it and began posting articles more and more frequently, and introducing my cats. When Peaches was diagnosed the following spring with chronic renal failure I began immediately to write about the disease, her treatment, and our experience from that point, through the course of the illness to her death that autumn.

I still miss that goofball, but he left behind so much of himself in what I’m doing today that I remember him with fondness every time I open The Creative Cat. And of course he was a great friend to Cookie as they became my most recent feline garden sprites.

I wrote a remembrance of him on my website after he died, My Good Friend, Namir. I also post an article about him each year around his birthday, Not a Bad Deal on a Pre-owned Cat, and he inspired what I feel is one of my best articles, the first I wrote with the intent of what to do with this new blog, Perhaps the Storm is Finally Over.

And we haven’t hear—or seen—the last of him!

Read other rescue stories and stories of my cats featured here on The Creative Cat.

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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.