Suddenly Spring: 2011

tortie cat in greens

Cookie is in the green.

Last year, April 23 was a rainy day just like today, but the forget-me-nots were just getting started. I’ve been looking forward to this picture of Cookie, along with the Queen Bee, below, on the picnic table.

Cookie sits amid the sprouting grass and forget-me-nots, deciding where in the yard to explore first.

Just a week ago Cookie’s speckled tortie coat still blended into the background of dormant grass, leaves and twigs and I would often lose track of her when she stood still. Now I have no problem at all as everything has greened up in just the past week and her camouflage has lost its effectiveness.

We’ve been checking the progress on what we planted in the garden last month, and this week the peas finally began sprouting, and while the spinach and lettuce had sent up a few scouts earlier they sprouted in earnest this week and began to grow. The asparagus sent up some spears and the violets, along with the forget-me-nots, added some color to the greenery. Cookie and I are glad our back yard is finally starting to look familiar, and it’s warm enough to take our walk!

And Cookie got to take a little rest on our picnic table, one of her favorite spots. Now it’s in dappled sun but when the trees leaf out it’s pretty much in shade. We took a little time to remember Namir; the three of us spent quite a few mornings and afternoons out there, and the picnic table was always a favorite spot for observation.

And with that, it’s officially the outdoor season.

tortie cat on picnic table

Cookie is ready to supervise my work.

________________________________

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.


How Peaches Stole My Heart

two calico cats at a window

Peaches and Cream at their first home

I’ve mentioned Peaches frequently, the little kitty who arrived at age 15 and lived to be 20, and who had a profound effect on my household and on my portfolio of sketches, paintings and photos, including a favorite, Peaches and Peonies. It’s just two years ago that Peaches was diagnosed with chronic renal failure and I began writing about her condition. Readers still discover those articles and find them helpful when their cats have been diagnosed and are being treated for the condition, often largely receiving fluid therapy at home. I’m going to repost those articles from two years ago as they come up.

Here is the first, an introduction to Rosebud and Angel, who became Peaches and Cream, and above is the very first photo I saw of them, the one given to me by the person caring for them as described below to convince me I needed to help rescue them. Who could resist? And, yes, it is on my list of images that I love; read more at the bottom.

I saw a friend and animal lover catch sight of me from across the room, give a big wave and make a beeline for me, weaving through the crowd at the gathering we were both attending while digging in her purse.

“I know of two cats who desperately need a home,” Betsy said before she even reached me, waving a photo. “They’re going to be put to sleep if someone doesn’t take them!”

Now, among those of us who are known for rescuing cats and dogs and other things, how many times have we heard that?

I will always listen to the story, though. This woman was, first, an animal lover but not a cat person and not one of those constantly sending communiqués about cats about to be euthanized, and was also, though retired, a former architect and respected board member and support of various organizations I also supported, and not the type to make idle threats. I decided whatever story she had to tell was probably completely accurate down to the last fact, and there was a reason in addition to the two homeless cats that she was desperate to find a home.

And then she showed me the photo, above, which is lovely in its own right, but I also knew those two gorgeous calico cats were looking at someone they loved very much and waited to hear more.

Left behind when an owner died, a common story

As it turned out, her good friend and neighbor had died, leaving behind her two 15-year-old cats with no instructions for care. Betsy was distraught at losing her friend and neighbor of many years. Because the woman had no family in town, only a son in Chicago who could only stop by infrequently, she had undertaken to clean out the woman’s house and care for her cats as a last act of friendship and respect for the things her friend had loved so much. She had dogs and couldn’t take the cats but was in the house frequently enough to be able to feed and water and look after them until she could figure out what to do.

two calico cats on chair in sun

The other photo Betsy showed me of Peaches and Cream.

She and the son had initially discussed a few options, and he had decided to take them to their veterinarian to see what he thought and to likely have them put to sleep. He couldn’t take them and the last thing he wanted to wanted to do with his mother’s beloved cats was to take them to a shelter and drop them off, knowing what is usually the fate of old cats in a shelter.

Apparently the veterinarian told him they were healthy and friendly and advised him, if they had someone to care for them in place, to just hold onto them until they needed to leave the house. A little more time wouldn’t hurt.

So back they went, and for about two months Betsy kept an eye on them while she visited the house daily and cleaned and sorted and organized things for the estate sale and realtor visits. When the house was up for sale, the realtor advised to remove the cats, and that’s when Betsy magically saw me, knowing she could appeal to me.

I already had four senior cats

At that time I had seven cats, including four in their teens, Stanley over 20 and in chronic renal failure, and I was determined not to add to the household knowing somehow the senior health issues would be mounting. I loved each of these cats intensely, and I really wasn’t interested in taking in two 15-year-old cats, no matter how nice they were.

Sometimes I can steel myself against the knowledge that a cat who needs a home may not meet a good end if someone doesn’t help it along somehow with a temporary home. Although I normally had about nine cats, with the extra care for senior cats seven was about my limit and that usually reinforced my decision to not take more cats into my home, when Betsy called and said they had to leave the house and were bound for a shelter, I knew she was serious…and something told me to give them a chance.

Back up to nine cats, my magic number.

But I had always had some luck placing cats, even adults, so I planned on fostering until I could find a home.

two cats on steps

Peaches and Cream with a friend

Their own little marketing campaign

My little June kitties came in with different names; Peaches was “Rosebud” and Cream was “Angel”. Cream was mostly white with a few clear black or orange spots, one resembling the AC Delco logo on her shoulder blades, interchangeable orange ears and a detachable black tail—this last a reference I always made to cats whose extremities were colored as if intentionally setting them off. Peaches was petite and looked as if someone had laid large sections of peach and gray fur across her the top of her as her chest, belly and legs were all creamy white.

I know Betsy would have been diligent in feeding and providing water, but possibly they didn’t care for the food and water provided in the self-feeding and self-watering containers because they were both a little dehydrated and had a few bowel issues when they arrived. I was already dosing Stanley with sub-Q fluids and watching for other symptoms of renal failure, so I just added them to the list. Peaches responded right away, brightening up, but Creamy needed fluids every few weeks and then more often and always seemed to be a little tired no matter what I did for her.

Well, I’ve been in advertising and marketing long enough to know that I needed a really catchy name to get attention for two 15-year-olds who should be kept together, and “Peaches and Cream” came to mind and stayed there.

cat with little girl

Now there's a portrait! Cream with my great-niece Cassidy.

Both were nice cats, very friendly and social and actually mingling pretty well with my household, though Creamy decided right away she owned me and chased everyone away, which didn’t do well when I had to keep an eye on my two oldest, Stanley and Moses. So Peaches and Cream had the run of the house during the day, but stayed in the spare cat room overnight.

Cream was so friendly that I began taking her to the personal care home where my mother lived to visit the ladies there who had lost their kitties when they entered personal care. I would visit my mother in the evening, and Cream would wander around the living room, choosing one woman and then another to rub her face against and curl upon and purr.

I also had a little retail space at the time and had an open house so people could meet them, and I wrote about them on my website (no blog yet) and contacted everyone I knew who might possibly be interested in the two, or even one of them.

The biggest objection

The biggest objection to adoption of either one or both was, very simplified, “they are old, they’ll die soon, and that will hurt.”

I could hardly argue with that. We can never know how long they’ll be with us, and it hurts no matter. That didn’t change the fact that, for however long they were alive, they needed a home, and perhaps one where they’d get more attention than in mine.

two calico cats in a box

Not the best photo, but a favorite

And we did lose Creamy the following March to kidney failure. She was trying to hold on, even to the point where her skin would leak from previous treatments when I gave her a dose of fluids; she was holding on for her person who I’m sure she always thought would come back. I remember her looking at me with determination in those last few days, knowing she had no intention of giving me the sign she was ready to go, and having a very hard time balancing between my logical understanding of a cat who had reduced from ten pounds to four, who was not eating or drinking and was in fact subsisting on subcutaneous fluids and hope, and her clear desire to maintain.

Oddly enough it was trying to decide what to do with her remains after she died, knowing she wouldn’t be happy in my yard with the cremains of my others, that helped me and her make the decision. Deb Chebatoris of Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation suggested I find her person’s grave and scatter her ashes there. I was immediately put at ease with the thought, told it to Creamy and she did accept, relaxing and letting go over the next few hours, and I had her put to sleep the next day.

I had lost my 19-year-old Moses just a month before; Creamy was the second older cat of the four I lost in the space of one year. In addition, the August after they arrived, Namir went into congestive heart failure for the first time and she will always be a part of the beginning of these events, inextricably interwoven into my household.

catphoto-peaches

Peaches, Feline Photographer

Peaches goes on

Peaches, on the other hand, seemed to find a new youth, and five years later still  looked like a young cat, her 5.5 pound figure unchanged, her clearly patched peach and gray and white fur soft and shiny, green eyes clear and round, and very little unsteadiness to her gait. When people came to visit she was one of the favorites with her petite good looks, quiet friendly face rub and round-eyed welcoming  expression, and her curiosity never ceased to surprise me when she went exploring a bag or a box or the newly-renovated bathroom.

In retrospect, it’s hard to believe Peaches was only with me for five years, and came to me at age 15—it seems as if she was always been with me. I had the feeling that Cream, much bigger and bolder, had always dominated tiny submissive Peaches from what Betsy had told me and from what I saw.

One morning I opened the door to the spare cat room and Peaches purposefully walked out as if she’d been waiting. I intuitively closed the door behind her. Peaches looked around the landing and into the two other rooms, then looked directly up at me and I could tell that was the moment she accepted the loss of her other person, decided she was staying here and accepted me as her new person, even though it meant leaving Cream behind.

We packed a lifetime into those years, beginning on that day as a senior foster when she decided to start a new life and became, from what I hear, a completely different kitty from the timid and elusive kitty she had been.

tortoiseshell cat bathing calico cat

Kelly gives Peaches a sisterly bath on the butterfly rug.

My household changed over constantly from the moment she arrived, and she went along with all of it, letting others have the attention when they needed it. She didn’t let four boisterous kittens bother her, and in fact they loved their older sister very much. She found them very useful in the winter when she could snuggle in among them.

While she was friendly with every cat she encountered, she found a sweet friend in Kelly who absolutely adored her; Kelly had grown up the youngest and has always seemed most comfortable with older cats, and took to Peaches right away.

Not only did she settle firmly in the household, but she also settled firmly on the internet! She corresponded with others through our blog and on Facebook, and she even applied for a job as an office assistant finding a best friend, Eva, and regularly corresponded with her!

And it never even occurred to her I might not love her to pieces, which I do. Her little silent meows, hopeful looks, prompts for dinner and slight weight sleeping on me when I awaken all became a part of my life. I guess it’s really not hard to fit another cat into the household or into your heart; you’d think I already knew this.

pastel painting of a cat on a table with peonies

Peaches and Peonies, pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

Where would my portfolio be without her?

I’ve always painted and photographed my cats, but nearly as soon as Peaches entered my house she became one of my most regular subjects. Perhaps because I’d been working with the others for so long and she was new and very different from all the others, but she continued to be one of my favorite subjects, and still is.

I painted “Peaches and Peonies” in 2008 from photos I’d taken in 2007. Some cats have to wait a lifetime before their portrait gets done, and I still have a few waiting!

Too bad for those who wouldn’t adopt her

So even though Peaches has gone into memory, I still celebrate her every day. I’m glad she ended up staying with me for all she gave to me and all I could give to her. Anyone who chose not to adopt her lost out on a great kitty with just a few little issues.

Don’t let fear of loss stop you from adopting

photo of calico cat on wooden floor

Precious Peaches

But I hope this is a lesson for anyone uncertain about adopting an older or senior cat. Even though they don’t have a full lifetime with you, you never really know how long a lifetime will be. Right after I lost my fourth senior cat in that awful year, my Stanley at about 25, I lost a kitten I’d adopted, my Lucy, to FIP at 15 months.

Still, in Lucy’s 15 months, and Stanley’s 25 years and Peaches’ five with me, we’d shared enough to last a lifetime. The moment you love, it’s forever.

Calico and tortoiseshell cats seem to be the beauty queens (99% of the time, anyway) of the feline image world. I always say it’s because the human eye loves pattern and color, and these cats certainly deliver! The first photo of Peaches and Cream in the window has long been an image I’ve wanted to work with, but I have so many ideas and I’ve been undecided in what seemed best. I don’t want to over use it in whatever I choose, a greeting card or painting or decorative item. It also works equally well as a photo as it would as a painting, and often that is my deciding point in creating a painting—much as I love to paint, if it’s a good photo and I can’t add anything to it by creating a painting I’ll stay with it. Still, my fingers itch to study and render their faces and spots as well as the delicate shadings on the window frame and the reflections of the trees in the glass. So I remain undecided!

________________________________

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.


Cuddling: From A Year Ago

two tortoiseshell cats cuddling on plaid

Cuddling

The weather is unpredictable, and my tortie girls were glad I tossed the old flannel bathrobe back on the table for them to cuddle into as the sleet clicks against the windows.

My senior girls aren’t terribly close but they certainly don’t mind each others’ company when the weather turns bad!

________________________________

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.


Cookie Checks the Cookie Jar

cat looking into flower pot

Cookie checks the "cookie jar", an old canister I used for outdoor plants this year.

I’ll plant flowers and vegetables in anything—with Cookie’s supervision, of course! Occasionally I go around to yard sales and buy some cheap ceramic items and use them for flower pots, in this case a canister set that had mostly broken lids so each pot was maybe a dime.

This one in particular held a pepper plant, not a cookie tree, but even though Cookie has been interacting with this pot nearly every day since last spring, checking it every morning, sitting by it in shade and sun, drinking from it and lately eating her snow cone from it, I never noticed it said “Cookies” until today. Guess that might have been why she’s been so fond of it.

Once she was done inspecting the inside for cookies, she decided to do the typical cat thing with the stem—run her nose along it, then gnaw on it for a bit.

tortie cat with twig

Getting some mileage out of the twig.

We are winning little battles, but we are slowly losing the war. Her hyperothyroidism along with the renal issues have been causing her heart to enlarge and it’s beginning to impede her circulation and breathing; she is frequently short of breath and her hind legs are typically weak. I carry her around though she doesn’t like it, but I can’t see her straining on steps and possibly falling.

Kelly has calmed down and attempts some comfort for Cookie, cuddling with her and giving her a pretty complete bath now and then.

Mimi sits with her by the kitchen furnace vent which is under a chair, forming a barrier so the heat will stay underneath and keep Cookie warm, and gives her very practical momcat baths.

The Fantastic Four keep an eye on her, and I’ll see one or another moving toward the top of the steps if she’s headed in that direction, Giuseppe keeps an eye on her on the cabinet in the kitchen, Mewsette cuddles with her, and Jelly Bean sits next to her and purrs fervently.

One evening as I was checking her temperature and heart rate behind the closed bathroom door, much to her objection, I could hear shuffling outside the door and knew the Four were out there, probably waiting to see if any food would come their way. Then Mr. Sunshine’s favorite wooden clothespin emerged little by little under the door right next to us, followed by a black paw giving it one final shove. I thought that was darned nice of Mr. Sunshine to give us his best clothespin, knowing it would make us as happy as it made him.

________________________________

To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images and text used in this article 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 Little Bit of Sunshine

tortoiseshell cat on wood

Cookie soaks in the sun.

After a series of rainy mornings we had a lovely sunny morning Sunday, and the day remained sunny from beginning to end.

tortoiseshell cat eating snow

Another snow cone!

For the first time in days, Cookie had a little time outdoors on the deck and she and I enjoyed the breeze that felt oddly warm after days of frigid weather.

And for the first time in days Cookie was more active, walking around, visiting me at my desk, ate more and more easily, and just had a more relaxed look about her. Normally she and I will go outside when I feed the birds every morning, and sometimes later in the day as well. But with temperatures well below freezing I haven’t wanted to risk Cookie’s depressed body temperature and apparently neither did she, so even though she sat at the door and wanted to go, when I opened it she wouldn’t go out. Eventually she quit asking, just went to sit in front of the furnace vent in the kitchen with Mimi.

rabbit tracks in snow

The bunny tracks.

But on Sunday morning, in all that sunshine, I picked her up and carried her outside, and together we looked out at the bunny tracks in the snow and felt the sun warm us. I took her in but soon she was back at the door soaking in the sunshine. As the temperature rose we went back outside, she stepped out onto the deck herself and walked around exploring, stepped down to the flower pot that still held a cap of snow and licked some of it, then explored the deck some more, walking better all the time.

Back inside, she ate some more, walked around the house looking out the windows and generally being her congenial little self before I settled her and Kelly into the bathroom where it’s warm and cozy from the sun for their senior special lunch and naptime.

Still, I found myself once again hovering around her, trying not to actively worry (ha), to remain calm and relaxed so that I didn’t upset her but I knew I’d spend all day checking on Cookie and wondering what else I could do for her. I had planned on printing more cards and working on artwork and writing a few articles, the busy creative schedule that I’ve looked forward to in the new year, yet every day lately this has been the pattern as I plan my day then abandon a good portion of it for concern over Cookie. I don’t mind.

pastel painting of stream in snow

Unnamed Tributary, pastel © B. E. Kazmarski

On Sunday I knew I’d never focus on what I had planned and decided I had to just leave the house for a while, break the spell, do something that both carried me away, relaxed me and filled me with inner strength to work with Cookie and accomplish all the rest I plan for my days and give poor Cookie a break. The sun shone on the snow and I wanted to be out there somewhere walking in it, feeling the stillness of a winter day, indulging in a little painting to free my mind from my thoughts and worries. I got in touch with a friend and we met at a local trail, went for coffee afterward and I returned with a painting and a lot of photos and a renewed spirit.

I’ve not doubt Cookie felt better as much for my absence as for my renewal by nature.

tortoiseshell cat on deck

Cookie observes her yard.

Cookie’s condition has improved since Christmas Eve when she suddenly couldn’t walk in the morning, her body temperature was low and she would not eat. She had compensated for so long but suddenly had to lower her standards. Intensive fluid therapy, vitamins and supplements and she’s more comfortable, eating well enough and walking better but I think we both know she’s losing a little each day in her battle with renal failure. Her hind legs, never strong to begin with, are still wobbly and sometimes just collapse; her right in particular just seems to have a mind of its own carrying little weight and slipping out to the side when she sits. A few days ago she could still get herself up onto the table and cabinet in the kitchen, but on Monday simply could not get up from the chair to the table. She’s been eating less and responding less, even to me.

Aside from all the supportive care, subcutaneous fluids and supplements there’s not much I can do, and where I have a day of work and projects planned I find myself unexpectedly spending more time, most of a day, checking on Cookie, trying to sense what she needs in this moment, trying one thing and another in addition to the regular treatments and just sitting with her on my lap trying to impart what energy and absorb what discomfort I can, finding myself exhausted in the effort, and we both sleep.

tortoiseshell cat looking out door

Cookie watches a bird on the deck.

This is what Cookie has done for me all these years, just being at my side, quietly vigilant, the only living being who understood what I was going through with my brother’s injury and my mother’s illnesses and their effects on my life and my business, all my worries and my struggles with my creative self, our losses of other feline members of our household, Cookie has simply taken it all in and given me only her expression, “I am devoted to you.”

It is a year ago on Wednesday that my mother passed away. I know the memory of that time and the thought of loss is heavy on my mind as I remember my sister, brother and I keeping a vigil in our mother’s room for nearly two days. She had been in hospital and been hospitalized before that more and more frequently; I knew intuitively her death was imminent but didn’t know when and really struggled with it for a couple of months before it happened.

It was also the first time Cookie ever showed physical distress through her support for me. I remember calling my veterinarian saying I didn’t know what was wrong with her but she was lethargic and had no appetite, I gave her fluids though she wasn’t necessarily dehydrated, her temperature was normal and no infections, and my veterinarian reminded me that I was under a lot of stress and Cookie always took that in from me. All these years of absorbing my angst, but at turning 19 it was almost more than she could take, though she would never consider turning away from me, not doing what she felt was her job, taking care of mom.

two cats at door

Cookie and Mimi enjoy the last of the sunshine.

She recovered as I started rebuilding my days and my business, but in May I could see she was losing ground again, and it wasn’t necessarily from my influence. Her June exam showed her thyroid had finally kicked into overdrive but her kidneys were slowing down. All this year we’ve done our best to balance this, and while she’s gone through all the days with me, following me upstairs and down, out into the yard and even to my shop a few times, I could see it was with diminished vitality though not diminished enthusiasm.

two tortoiseshell cats

Where's lunch?

Poor little Kelly is pretty upset, both at Cookie’s condition and my worry but calming essences and supplements have slowly restored her balance, at least where Cookie is concerned. She is still afraid of all the black cats though they never threaten her; Cookie is the last of the cats she came to know and be comfortable with, and I don’t know how she will react when Cookie isn’t there for her anymore.

With a few changes I’ve made to Cookie’s diet and a few new supplements and reiki sessions I may be able to help her restore a little, and she may surprise us all and take that little restoration and turn it into a big one. It’s all up to Cookie, and I will do my best to keep my worry at bay so that I don’t upset her needlessly and impede her wellness. But I think I’m not facing this very well, in fact I’m not accepting it at all at the moment. While writing this I had Jelly Bean curled tightly in my lap, purring heartily his healing purr for me, and Mewsette quietly near me as Cookie rested in the next room; I didn’t want to transfer my anxiety to her as I wrote, she should rest and let the young ones take care of me for the moment. She has instructed them well.

cat sitting by back door

Still my little sunflower.

This morning Cookie was sleeping in the bathroom where she stays overnight with Kelly, did not get up when I went in and could not control her hind legs when I picked her up and set her down to see how she was managing; that is not unusual the past few days and it only takes a few minutes to get warmed up and get a little more control. She dragged herself into the litterbox, then got out and walked to the landing on wobbly but working legs. I carried her downstairs and let her walk a few steps, the carried her to the cabinet for her breakfast, which she did not eat, only sat and purred loudly.

No sun this morning; it is overcast but not freezing. I picked her up and carried her outside, held her against my chest as we looked into our muddy back yard until I felt her gathering strength, set her down and let her walk around, unsteady but purposeful. She sat on the top step, I sat next to her and she looked up at me for the first time this morning, then gently put one paw on my lap followed by the other and pulled herself up. Curling on her side she faced the yard and purred, and we enjoyed a few minutes of the morning. Later I offered her breakfast again and she ate happily; daylight, fresh air, her deck, my lap, medicine for both our weary bodies. She and I will take it, for now, this comfort of each other and try to do a step or two better, just day by day.

All images used in this article 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.


Kitties And Cream

two cats eating whipped cream

Kitties and Cream

From last year on Christmas morning, Cookie and Kelly enjoy their treat!

The girls get their Christmas morning breakfast treat—a dollop of whipped cream on a fancy dish! A little bit can’t hurt, and Kelly asked so nicely I could hardly refuse. Besides, I had some in my coffee and it just wouldn’t be polite not to share.

________________________________

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.


Who’ll Stop the Rain?

tortie cat on picnic table

Cookie's out in the early morning rain.

This walking in the rain stuff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The ground is all wet, the leaves are slippery, and there isn’t a spot of sun to sit in. But have you ever seen the rain comin’ down on a sunny day?

tortie cat steps up on the bench

Walking in the rain is no fun.

I stepped up on my log and onto the picnic table bench and all the way up on the table, and it’s just wet everywhere. Really, I just can’t stand the rain. Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head, and it’s so dark, it’s just like a rainy night in Georgia. If the rain was purple, or if there was some fire to go with the rain, that might be kind of cool.

But this has to clear up, nothing last forever, even cold November rain.

All I want is to sit on my picnic table and look at the yard, and I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll stop the rain? Not my mom. And I honestly think she’s putting words in my head because she’s singing in the rain and I just wish she’d stop! Now I’ll have these songs in my head all day!

tortie cat looking angry

Stop it with the songs AND the rain!

 

 

—————————————

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.


Beyond Food and Water, Loving Care for Your Senior Cat, part 2

tortoiseshell cat napping in the sun

Naptime for Cookie

I’m proud to say that part two of this series won a Muse Medallion in the Cat Writers’ Association’s 2007 Communications Contest and the Hartz Mountain Everyday Chewable Vitamin Award for the best article on senior cat care in the same contest. That’s when I joined the Cat Writers’ Association and it’s been one of the best associations I’ve made in my career for both writing and learning.

Right now, your kitty is still pretty much at the top of his scratching post. He’s got the benefit of a good diet, lots of exercise with all his toys, and the knowledge that his little world really does revolve around him.

photo of a cat on refrigerator

Kelly can still make it to the top of the refrigerator at 16

Many cats will go on like this well into their teens, still spry and playful with a good appetite and a good attitude, perhaps just sleeping a little more and losing a little muscle mass even with regular exercise. But just like humans, other cats will begin to deteriorate at a younger age, or will develop chronic or terminal illnesses. And because many of us have rescued our companions from a life on the streets, many will bear the marks of that early deprivation, well enough when young, but with increasing difficulty as they age.

Read the rest of this entry »


Loving Care for Your Senior Cat, Part 1

photo of cat on table with flowers

I treated Stanley for kidney failure for four years; he lived into his twenties.

How old would you guess Stanley is in the photo above? If you know senior cats you may guess, but have a unique way of hiding aging from even the most attentive owners. Once cats reach three to four years of age they can go well into their teens before they show signs of physical weakness, arthritis, failing eyesight and hearing and other common ailments of an aging body of any species.

And even then they can often get along just fine with a good diet, lots of love, and a little something extra from their people. Just like senior humans have special needs befitting the physical age of their bodies, our cats will benefit from an appropriate diet and exercise, regular health checks and even some palliative care you may not give to a younger cat.

This was taken during Stanley’s last summer in 2006 when he was, by my best guess 24 years old, having appeared on my porch as an adult in 1986 with a body development that indicated a cat three to five years old.

Read the rest of this entry »


Area Senior Cat Finds Muse in Photography

Peaches with camera

Here I am ready to take a photo.

If cats can paint, why can’t they photograph, too? Peaches Kazmarski has been looking for a creative outlet all her life, and finally found it one day when her person left her camera unattended.

“It was just too convenient,” Peaches remarks. “She walked away from one of her ridiculous projects, leaving the camera on the tripod and a convenient stool next to it and stuff all around. I couldn’t resist giving it a try, seeing that it was all set up and ready to go. I didn’t even have to turn the camera on.”

Read the rest of this entry »