Sophie first, special kittens later! It all happened in that order on the same day, May 17, 2006.
I came home from an errand, put down the box of printed materials and the bag of small frames, and Sophie hopped up on the box and settled down as if she’d been there all day. I left the photo at an angle because I wanted to preserve the room as it was at that time with all the art on the walls, those early cat paintings, some of which have been sold, and some other sample portraits, the pussy willow in the vase, the cat book library on the old triple dresser behind Sophie, even the plants in the kitchen by the window—and Namir’s ears at the bottom of the photo. What a snapshot of a day at that time.
Sophie pointedly ignored me as I know I repeatedly called her name to get her to look at me, but she would not, keeping her nose tucked into her tail. Eventually she lifted a paw and stretched it, and looked at me from there. “What do you want?”
She had no idea what I was about to do as soon as I got things in the office settled…
But the other important thing that happened later that day was the arrival of a certain litter of kittens, and one kitten in particular—Lucy! The photos are really bad because the light in the studio, where I’d placed them in a cage, was blocked by so many things stacked in there, but Lucy was in part the cause of the bad photos because she would not stop running around in the cage so my camera would not focus. I did my best, but ironically, she was not in any of the five bad photos I took. We made up for that later. Here are her three siblings, who became Angus, Donal and Charlotte. She was actually to the right of them at one moment which is why they are cut off on the left, but by the time the camera snapped the photo she was off somewhere else in the cage.
This text is adapted from an article I share around Mother’s Day, narrated by Mimi:
I’d like to tell you about the kittens I gave birth to in April 2006 including Lucy, Charlotte, Angus and Donal because Bernadette came to get them as she did with most of my kittens. It was nothing dramatic except that they were being typical kittens and racing each in different directions. She had her carrier and methodically caught each one and simply took them away. I was always glad to see her and never got in her way when she wanted my kittens, only sat in a corner and watched. It was comforting to know, when I went outdoors and into her garden across the street from my house, that my babies were in her house; I could smell them, though I couldn’t see them. I never thought that would happen for me, though…
But of that April litter, of course Lucy stayed with Bernadette, and is gone but never forgotten. Charlotte was adopted by one family, Angus and Donal by another, and I am always happy to hear news of them because they are in excellent, loving homes. Bernadette kept in touch with the people who adopted them because they are friends of hers. I like that about her, as much as I like the fact that she took me to be spayed. I see by reading Bernadette’s e-mails that these three also regularly wish me a happy Mother’s Day and send greetings at other times and even happy photos of them come over.
This litter was special because one of the kittens was not black—in fact, she was a crazy calico! Her father happened to be an unneutered gray and white male living in the household with us who had been the kitten to yet another unspayed dilute calico female…yes, you read that right, we had a big problem over there, but it was “fixed” years ago, with Bernadette’s help. And I like to keep things neat, anyway, and back in the day, when I was ready, I would call the big unneutered black males from Fifth Avenue who would come running…that’s all in my past, though I see those two in my kittens’ faces. But I digress…
Charlotte the crazy calico
Anyway, this litter had three typically perfect black kittens, two boys and one girl, and then a kitten who was fully half black if you put all her black parts together, then half…orange tabby? Where the heck did that come from? That dilute calico grandma, I guess. Aren’t genetics amazing? And isn’t she lovely? When you look at her from the front she looks like two cats were put together, but maybe weren’t happy about it.
When my human mom sent out the e-mail to friends that kittens were available, one of her customers (Bernadette is self-employed and apparently all her customers are cat lovers) who we know as Uncle Howard immediately said he’d like to adopt the calico girl for his son who had one cat and traveled while he and his wife checked on the cat. His big cat, Joey, needed some feline company while his cat daddy was away, and a playful kitten would be the best.
Her name became Charlotte before she even left the house and she went off to spend the night with her new human grandparents. She proceeded to run behind and underneath the gas stove necessitating a delicate shutoff of the gas, disconnect and moving of the stove, at which point she ran into the basement and was lost for hours. She appeared in the middle of the family room later bouncing on her toes and covered with cobwebs to be installed in the bathroom until morning. From what I hear Bernadette warned them, and this is what happens to people who do not listen to her.
Charlotte went from there on to her forever home and immediately dominated the placid and sleepy Joey, a nice orange boy who got his exercise by watching her bounce off the walls. Her cat daddy has added a few more felines to his household along with a human female and two smaller humans, and Uncle Howard and his lady human still stop over, but there’s not much traveling. Charlotte has become a little shy with all the extra activity, but still bounces off the walls when a chance presents itself. Calicoes are like that.
Angus and Donal
Yes, they are little Scotscats, so don’t worry, the name is spelled correctly. Mama Bernadette has many, many friends who love kitties as well, including people who have adopted from her in the past. The couple who adopted the two boys had, years ago, adopted two other boys born to a momcat she had taken in and they adopted the momcat as well from her first litter, and a few other kitties in between.
This time they called Bernadette, each on a separate phone extension in the house, and said they’d like to adopt two kittens, especially two brothers, because they had several older female cats and the kittens could torture each other while they enjoyed watching kittens grow up. They thought the two kittens could keep each other company through the years as adults too. Seeing how the little black girl was a wild woman and rarely stayed with the other three except to sleep, and the other two black kittens were very close, the decision was easy, and brothers it was.
Angus and Donal’s names harken back to their human mom’s Scots heritage, but that doesn’t help in telling them apart! These two apparently had a good bit of my looks and apparently one of the black studs was father to both because they are very, very similar—I even had trouble telling them apart, but Bernadette and I agree they look like two Mr. Sunshines and that means trouble.
Now, as adults, slight differences in eye color and hair coverage in the ears as well as their vocabulary and singing style (remember, I have opera singing in my heritage) are a few quick ways to distinguish one from the other. Of course, like all kitties, they have distinctive habits, like where on their human they sleep. As a last resort, you can upend them and check for the small gathering of white hairs near the bottom of Angus’ belly, which he apparently got from me.
They have also learned a few fun tricks from the resident felines, particularly one big sister who taught them to chase the occasional squirrel that invades the attic. We have mousies and voles here, but never a squirrel!
So that is the story of how those kittens—and many others— came to be here, where they went, and eventually how I came to be here with my four wonderful children.
Note from Mama Bernadette:
This was first published as “Mimi’s 2006 Children: Lucy, Charlotte, Angus and Donal” as Mimi discussed, in a three-part series, the relative joys of Mother’s Day from the perspective of a spayed and happy housecat and introduced two of her litters of kittens.
I look in litters from other cats in that household as well, and eventually did get all the cats fixed, and even helped to find a home for several adults. Mimi was the last unspayed girlie from there, and her kittens the last as well.
I will also point out in the two photos of the kittens in the cage, that the bed they are in is the mint green/turquoise bed that cradled so many other kitties through the years. And what phenomenally bad photos! Of all the litters to not have good photos, but three were adopted quickly enough I didn’t need them, and I did take plenty of photos of Lucy, thinking I’d find a home for her as well.
Photos pulled “From the Archives” were taken by one or another digital camera of mine between 2002 and, well, yesterday, but usually they are older than that, and I had never had the chance to feature them. Vintage Photos are from my film archives back to 1983 when I purchased my Pentax K-1000 camera. They’re a fun way to “introduce” other members of my feline family who came and went before I began blogging, and to illustrate my feline family in general from days gone by.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
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.
Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Animal Sympathy Cards from Portraits of Animals!
Lucy graces two of the cards in my Animal Sympathy Cards collection, not because I had lost her by the time I designed them, but because I needed a black kitty, and I wanted to encourage memories of a youthful cat in grieving a cat of any age, and I also wanted a photo that was just interesting to look at, and the one on “Lucy’s beach towel” fits that description. You can find the whole set and single cards too in Portraits of Aniamls.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!