There they are, the littles sleeping in a heap in a box, just like they do today. The event happens to be the day they had their first set of shots, and after tearing around the bathroom with the general excitement of visitors and each of them disappearing and reappearing one by one…well, they managed to get the bathroom like that several times a day. I have several photos of this because this first is a little unclear—these are on film, and the prints aren’t the best, though I have no means of scanning from the negatives at the moment.
The pattern you see in front of them all is really a window screen. The bathroom has a bifold door but I didn’t want to cut the kittens off from the rest of the house by leaving the door closed. I used two tall narrow screens from my old casement windows hinged to the doorframe and opening like shutters so that during the day the kittens could see onto the landing and interact with the rest of the house, and also be cooler since it was August and September. Mimi could easily jump the screens to get in and out so she had her breaks too.
Mr. Sunshine is hanging out of the box, here at the corner, and you can just see a light spot on his year which is his yellow paint. Giuseppe is behind him with a tiny bit of green paint visible, then Mewsette, then Jelly Bean. They are seven or eight weeks old here. In photos further down you’ll be able to see them better.
They were sleeping off their shots, so I opened the screen to see them more clearly. Lessons about photographing a bunch of black cats were just beginning as they are almost indistinguishable in the box. The little cardboard toilet paper roll and tissue box are full of toothmarks—I had forgotten how kitten chewed on everything! They had about a dozen toilet paper and paper towel rolls in there, and they and the tissue box were reduced to shreds in the time there.
This print wasn’t very well-printed, and when I lightened it it began to fall apart, but you can see their little faces in the box, Sunshine, Giuseppe, Mewsette and Jelly Bean, and you can see a bit of the white spot on his chest, and the white hairs in his ears that looked like big brushes until he grew into them.
I had always thought about one of the top two as a painting, just a silly colorful kittens’ playroom!
Reference this little heap with yesterday’s cuddle puddle on my desk.
Black cats and Friday the 13th don’t have anything to do with luck, good or bad, or I’d be in real trouble today! But it does give me another opportunity to share another photo of the Fantastic Four as little fuzzballs in order to maximize the black cat presence on the internet today. They are about three weeks old here since this was taken August 20, 2007, and they were born on July 26. I had just moved them into the room that would become their ancestral home, the bathroom, before it was made into the mint and white feline palace.
I keep referencing the colors of tempera paint I dabbed on their ears to tell them apart, and how that influenced their names and readers have asked if I can somehow show this to them. So here they are, the color-coded kittens!
You see only three colors, green, yellow and red. I had white for Jelly Bean for his white spots at neck and belly, but they were so obvious when he was that tiny, and the white hairs in his ears were like long brushes—you really can’t see in this photo, but they extend slightly beyond the edges of his ear—so I could tell who he was from front and back. He was also noticeably smaller than the others.
And I chose the colors and applied them totally arbitrarily, so I had no plan to match their names to them in any way, just grabbed a kitten and dabbed the paint. In order in this photo they are Jelly Bean, Giuseppe, Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette. It’s funny to see how striped they were at this age.
By this time they were quite active—amazing how much development happens in a week when you look at the last photo I posted when they were two weeks old. But this was why I had to move them to the bathroom; I couldn’t let them go in my “old studio” or I’d have never found them in there, and I couldn’t keep them in that cage, regardless of how big it was. They were ready to rock and roll!
I’m sure Mimi is glad when she looks at photos from this era that she no longer needs to “assume the position”, as I always joked with her when she flopped down to let them nurse, just like this, several times a day. It’s just too bad you can’t hear them all purring.
And of course, you can probably get your fill here on The Creative Cat with photos and paintings and sketches of black cats! Just click the links or choose a category from the list at right, and you can even choose their names from the category list as well if you have a personal favorite. I am organizing that list so things are easier to find, but for now they are alphabetical—not color coded, though.
Well, it’s not embarrassing, it’s really cute. They are about two weeks old here, August 10, 2007, and they were born on July 26. They’re so precious, the little fuzzballs.
I keep referencing the colors of tempera paint I dabbed on their ears to tell them apart, and how that influenced their names and readers have asked if I can somehow show this to them. I found the photo I wanted to use, then started looking at baby pictures, and…well, if you’ve ever watched a litter of kittens, or puppies or other animals or even a human grow up you know how it is when you start looking at pictures.
And then I had a difficult time deciding which one to use! So I have three, in a little series: Sleeping, Waking, and Awake. And I really can’t even tell you which is which a lot of the time unless I noted something in the file name.
Here they are yawning and stretching! You can clearly see stripes on all of them—the one in the middle has a shadow from the bar of the cage they are in because I turned on the ceiling light, but they were all fairly gray-black, lots of stripes, and lots of individual white hairs on their legs, faces and tails that disappeared in the next few weeks.
I noted a few things with this photo, but they didn’t have their permanent names yet. I do know that this kitten in front was the girl, so it is Mewsette, the first to do everything and I always remember that serious, determined expression on that tiny face! Directly behind her was Jelly Bean, and I recognize his profile, as well as some of the features of Mr. Sunshine’s face behind him. The lazy bum is Giuseppe, who always woke up last with great fanfare—unless one of the others landed on him and started wrestling!
As you can imagine, I have a zillion photos of them, but most of the good ones are on film from about a week later when I moved them into the bathroom and the light was better. But compare them to the Fantastic Four you know now.
There is a reason why this time with these kittens is very, very special. Briefly, this was an era when I was still grieving one very recent loss, and five losses in total; I had had their half-sister Lucy put to sleep for FIP on July 10, 2007, just a month earlier, and in 2006 had lost my four oldest cats, Moses, Cream, Sophie and Stanley. Before Mimi joined us with her babies, my household had suddenly gone from nine cats to four and as hard as Cookie, Kelly, Namir and Peaches worked I would say I was in shock as well as grief. But having this little pile of kittens at my disposal to hold and hug and kiss and photograph and love, as well as their mom, the gentle, understanding Mimi, helped to change that for me. I spoke about this on Pet Memorial Sunday last year, glad to share it with others deeply grieving their loss.
But this is where we all began, four demanding little black fuzzballs on the work table in my studio!