Thursday, February 29, 2024
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A New Sympathy Card

sympathy card with siamese cat Never enough time but time enough to love.
A new sympathy card, dedicated to Lakota.

As I’d planned, I’ve designed and dedicated a new animal sympathy card to the memory of Lakota. For all that he meant to so many people, I am glad to be able to share him with the world and give others the chance to share him and his message as well.

I take the use of an animal’s image seriously, especially with my sympathy cards, never presuming they want to represent what I have to say; for that reason I always feel most comfortable using the images of animals I know well, mostly those who’ve lived with me.

Lakota and I both knew he was on borrowed time from the day he came here and I knew our journey would be brief. It was, in fact, longer than I thought it would be. I knew when I took this series of photos that they were special, and as it turns out, they were the last good photos I managed to get of the big guy. Trying to capture his friendly and engaging nature and that big fuzzy teddy bear physique I knew these images would become other works, a painting someday, and also a sympathy card.

Use this card to celebrate the adoption of senior cats

I use my sympathy cards, as do others, for intents other than the passing of an animal companion. They are used for human sympathy cards as well as friendship and thinking-of-you cards for people who love cats and other animals. Those of you who knew Lakota will recognize the reference to time, that he was 20 and only lived with me for six weeks, but more than enough time to become a part of my life. Lakota’s card is also dedicated to the importance of adopting senior cats, knowing they deserve a loving home as well as any kitten and perhaps more considering their needs, and when adopting or fostering we should all consider these senior cats, experienced at love and life, for the treasures they hold in their golden years, months, or days.

I hope that Lakota’s card can also be used to let others know you’ve made the commitment to adopt or foster a senior cat, or to congratulate someone who has done so, because even though we may never feel it’s enough time, there is always time enough to love. You can find Lakota’s card on Portraits of Animals.

About my sympathy cards

animal sympathy cards
The set of sympathy cards.

As an artist I turn my emotions into creative output. Thus it is with the grief I’ve felt at the losses of my cats through the years. After receiving many sympathy cards I realized that not too many are focused on the loss of an animal companion, and I vowed to create a line of sympathy cards drawn on my own experiences that would feature photos and paintings of my cats and others’ animal companions as well as artwork and photos not focused on any species.

It wasn’t until after I’d lost Namir in July 2009 that I was suddenly moved to start designing, and when the task was done I had a dozen different sympathy cards. Each of the cats depicted was or is one of mine and the dog, Tika, I came to know through a friend and her animal memorial project.

Lakota’s card is the first new one since that year. I’ve also found that other cards outside this series are also used for sympathy cards, and as I mentioned above these sympathy cards are used for other greeting purposes. I’m so pleased to serve six veterinary hospitals around the country, four of them cat-specific, with wholesale orders of my sympathy cards. It also brings me joy to know the cats I loved are still out there doing their magic on others.

You can read more about my sympathy cards, see all the designs and purchase the original set of a dozen sympathy cards on Portraits of Animals.


The photo from “I Will Always Walk With You”.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Marketplace is a feature on The Creative Cat to share the latest coming out of my studio with my readers. Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.

Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.

Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.

It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


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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 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

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!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

19 thoughts on “A New Sympathy Card

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  • Each day is a blessing. I look at the “elder girls” in wonder. MacKenzie, now 18, has come SO FAR from that “very frightened cat” at Animal Friends so many, many years ago. Molly, 17, doesn’t let being blind and deaf stand in her way of ruling her realm (or enjoying her food). They won’t be here forever, but in a way they will…. They have left their pawprints on my soul.

    • As my cats aged, all my old friends, I remember looking at them and thinking that I knew them longer than I’d known most of the people in my life. And for the rest of my life, I have a fondness for cats who look like them because I loved them so much.

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    mom B….lakota is bee yond happee ewe haz done this for him…..heez braggin ta R pal “frank” rite now bout hiz card…


    sauce of fishbone RB cloud 777315
    dude K RB cloud 777313

    • Tabbies, I’m sure the guys are having a party up there right now.

  • We love Lakota’s card. How many times Maxie tucks his head in exactly the same way! That telegraphs just how content he was in those last six weeks. It’s such a gift to channelgrif in a way that helps others’ grief too. Purrs…

    • I’m so glad I could do provide that happy place for him, and I hope others find consolation in that happy moment. Designing these cards is therapy for me too…

  • Glad you are memorializing him in this way, Bernadette. I enjoyed reading about him and I think the caption is perfect.

    • Sued, thanks so much, especially on the caption. What I started out with was soooo long, as always, and I let tried out abbreviated versions one after the other, but I never really know if it works until I get it out there.

  • Lakota was a gorgeous kitty. That would have broken Mom’s heart to have made him a part of her family just to have him leave in six weeks later. Mom needs lots of sympathy cards. In her age group, friends are passing all the time. Thanks for creating these. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

    • Kitties Blue, I know that even Emeraude won’t be with me a lifetime, but that’s one of the reasons I took them in. Loss is painful and frightening, but all my other kitties have taught me not to fear it.

  • It is a wonderful card, Bernadette, and a fitting tribute to a fine old gentleman cat.

    • Tammy, he was one of those cats with a huge purrsonality, and anyone could see it right away.

  • I had looked through your Etsy shop and somehow overlooked your sympathy cards before. I wish I had seen them earlier, since I wandered around a lot of stores recently looking for cat sympathy cards and ended up purchasing one I wasn’t happy with. I was resigned to making my own so I would have some on hand for the inevitable next time, but this is so much better! Thank you, Bernadette.


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