The autumn sun comes into the window to create a nice cozy spot on the cabinet there. I had noticed Hamlet settling there for a few days but not curling up for a nap, and I thought adding a little bed or piece of fleece there would be nice for him. He wasn’t confident about what the fleece was for, but Basil found it right away, and then Bean too. The two of them have been trading naps in that spot as well as napping together for the past few days.
The photos above and below are from two days ago, before the rain. No problem, we like the rain too, especially since it hadn’t rained here in over two weeks. But the sun was oh, so nice.
From Instagram today, though it was cloudy there was a bright patch of sun in the late afternoon. Basil had been napping there and Bean joined him when the sun came out, getting in a quick and satisfying nap.
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A Simple Composition, 2014
All that geometry, and Giuseppe in the middle washing his paw making a nice series of swirls and curves , the paw, the tail, his hips, accented by the multi-colored highlights in his fur. You really never know when you’ll encounter something that is almost abstract, right when you’re walking up the basement steps heading for the kitchen.
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Birdwatching and Baths, 2014
Little birds came to visit the bathroom window just for Smokie and Bella! Smokie is on the left and Bella on the right, and you can see they are totally focused on something to the right of Bella—a juvenile cardinal with just enough red to tell it from the sparrows happily hopping through the pear tree, pussy willow and grapevines snacking on grapes and bugs. (Remember that Smokie’s name is Basil now).
Well, probably they came to visit for the little purple grapes hanging just outside the window but Smokie and Bella were sure they had come for their environmental enrichment. Below the two stare in stereo in another direction at a sparrow at the same activities.
“Don’t feel bad little Smokie, the birdie had to go off and do other things. And why are kittens so dirty and need to be washed all the time?!” says Bella as she licks Smokie’s face.
I have to admit, this is from last week, and I’m having trouble keeping up with photos. I have so many nice ones! You don’t get much done with kittens around, though!
In fact, today I was downstairs with a customer when I heard shuffling and rattling of the bathroom door, not unusual when big cats try the door regularly trying to get to kitten food and little cats try the door trying to get out. But this time, when I got upstairs, the bathroom door was open and the room was full of adult cats, all five, who had eaten all the kitten food. Kittens were frolicking in my studio.
Tonight the little ones have roam of upstairs and downstairs, but basement is blocked. It’s being thoroughly explored. Mimi is at the top of the steps telling kittens not to pass so that they spend more time downstairs, Jelly Bean is giving encouraging chirps to run and play and Giuseppe is playing with toys with both. Mr. Sunshine swatted a catnip carrot to Bella. Mewsette and Sunshine asked to go into the basement, though, since there was a mouse down there. Later, they asked to come up so I opened the door and Mr. Sunshine hopped up carrying the mouse. Smokie was sure he was seeing things! I put Mr. Sunshine back in the basement with the mouse. They aren’t ready for that yet.
This is what Smokie thinks! olkkkkkkkkkkkkk896
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What other photos did I post on or around this date?
Rescued Kittens, 2013
“Humans are okay.”
A whole bunch of hands were in the rescue of two tiny black kittens today, including the sleepy kitten above. Their sleek and slender black mama cat had taken up residence in a person’s back yard and given birth to four kittens. The person convinced them to move into her screened porch, had the momcat spayed and began to socialize the kittens. I picked up the kittens today to deliver to the person who would foster them, but another cat had apparently stolen two of the kittens. When they show up again, I hope I’ll get the chance to pick them up and deliver them to the foster home also.
“Still not sure about humans.”
The kittens were decidedly unwilling to be caught in the screened porch, but the kitten at the top was far easier than this kitten, above. A little hissy and swatty, and quite wily in eluding me around the chairs and tables and boxes, I slowly built a fort of a wooden shelter and boxes around this kitten until it couldn’t escape. Lots of hisses and flailing and only one bite of many that connected with my finger, soon enough both were in the upended carrier with the door slammed shut. Their mom watched it all from a distance.
Their foster person, Jennifer, is a veterinary technician at The Cat Clinic in Pittsburgh, and has been fostering for a long time. Who better than someone who has specialized in cats for the past six years? She had them out of the carrier, cuddling the friendlier one then handing that kitten to her husband Jeremy who also cuddled the kitten and had the kitten up on his shoulder and walking down his back in no time, while Jennifer wrapped the hissy kitten in the towel that was in the carrier as a restraint and the kitten relaxed a bit.
The friendlier kitten is going to be a real star. Adapting immediately from roughing it in a screened porch to settling right onto everyone’s shoulders, this kitten already knows how to deliver the cute kitten head tilt that melts humans on the spot. They are four to five weeks old and it will be a while until they are ready for adoption. It’s so good to know that a bunch of people could work together to make sure they don’t have to live their lives outdoors, and I hope we can pull in the other two kittens some time soon. Thanks to the Homeless Cat Management Team and the Pittsburgh Feral Cat Movement kittens are rescued every day to foster homes, socialized, spayed or neutered and given a great start in life as we look for homes. Nearly all the cats I feature here were rescued in this same way.
These two kittens grew up to be Magic and Raven and they were each adopted in April!
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Mimi’s Morning, 2013
Mimi has a quiet moment in the dewy grass during her exploration of the back yard.
Mimi isn’t still for too long when we’re out in the yard—she has quite a lot to accomplish, and she’s never entirely sure how long we’ll be out there. Typically I put on her harness and leash, but for our quick visits out to fill the bird feeders and bird baths, and for me to snap a few early morning photos, she just wears her little bell collar so I can find her—she’s so tiny! The small grassy part of my yard is a meadow habitat which I only mow three or four times a year and the grass grows a little taller and wildflowers and native plants grow freely; in the foreground are violets and buttercups, around Mimi are next year’s forget-me-nots, and behind her are compound leaves of Virginia creeper which will soon turn a brilliant scarlet.
We step out onto the deck and while I fill the birdbath and feeders around the railings Mimi explores the deck and waits at the top of the steps until I’m done. When I’m ready, I say, “Okay, let’s go!” and she flies down the steps and leaps across the yard in huge bounds—for a cat Mimi’s size—and over to the picnic table, up on the bench to have a good scratch in one direction, then the other, then back again, her little bell happily jingling; I think it’s her happiest moment of each day. By that time I’ve walked out to the table and she greets me with meows and purrs and her little Mimi dance. It’s something only she and I share, and I know it’s her way, each day, of thanking me for rescuing her. This yard was her food supply but it was not her home, now it all belongs to her.
Then we each do our thing and keep an eye on each other; sometimes I’ll see her heading for the neighbor’s yard where they sometimes let their dog out without her chain and I’ll bring Mimi back, and then other times she’ll come looking for me as I’m crouching down behind a tomato plant with my camera trying to get a good angle on some asters. Our early morning visit is never very long, not long enough for either of us, as we go back inside, but Mimi and I have had our special time together.
It’s also surprising how little the routine has varied from one cat to the next through the years as we’ve headed out the same door to the same deck and yard, even when both Cookie and Namir came outdoors with me, they did the same waiting on the deck for me, then accompanying me around the yard. I guess the members of my feline family have passed it down the generations.
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Overtaken By Beauty, 2012
As I posted on Facebook earlier today: I had other plans, but I was just overtaken by a combination of two black cats, green apples, a cobalt blue glass pitcher, and angled autumn sunshine. If I recover from this any time soon, I will post photos. This happens when the sun shines in one of the windows and the cats find it. So I did spend some time sorting photos from this despite other things I had wanted to accomplish today. Above is the one that, at least at the moment, is my favorite of the group. Below is a slideshow of a sampling of all my favorite photos from this session.
I have to say that my cats really are natural models, especially Jelly Bean who moved around here and there and turned his head just so; he’s done this before. Mimi really just wanted to photobomb, as she is so famous for doing, and when I posed on the windowsill with the apples, but not for long enough for me to focus my camera, I kept picking her up and putting her back where I wanted her, with the same result. I rarely try to make them do something though I will encourage them to go to a certain spot and do their thing, and I didn’t want to upset Mimi by making her feel as if she had to do this, but each time I picked her up she was purring harder. She apparently found it a really good time.
These add a complication to a project I’m working on right now, my Black Cat Calendar…I have had a problem narrowing down the photos I’d use, and now this.
This reminds me of a photo shoot I did of Kelly in the spring over several days in approximately the same place, Kelly with Apples and Scale, Kelly with Grapes and Apple, and Kelly with Squashes, and I also did a sketch of Kelly from this time, Kelly with Squashes.
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Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals!
I’d always wanted to paint this photo of my orange boy, Allegro. I took the photo in 1993 or 1994, and it’s been on my mind all this time.
I wanted not so much to paint a portrait of Allegro as I wanted to capture that moment that was so much Allegro in his quiet, understated self, having wandered around and found a warm spot in the sun, decided to drop everything and enjoy the sun while it lasted. He sat down between the window and the plant on a cold late winter afternoon and had a nap. I worked it loosely with lots of extra colors to capture the feeling of streaming sunlight. I initially cropped it much tighter, focusing on him, but then I lost the light, the reflections on the window, the sun on the plant, and all the things in addition to Allegro that I loved about the scene.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
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Tuesday: Rescue Stories
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Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
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