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Catnip Morning


black cat in catnip
Giuseppe enjoys a catnip morning.

It was a sunny morning, it was a warm morning, it was a quiet morning, it was a sweet morning, and for Giuseppe in particular it was a catnip morning, September 30, 2023.

During work on the roof I had collected all my loose plants in pots and tucked them under the lawn chairs on the patio outside the basement door, the safest place to put them so nothing would land on them. Later, as Mimi, Sunshine, Giuseppe and I visited the back yard each morning, I pulled the plants out from underneath the chairs so they could enjoy sunshine until I got the chance to plant them (which I never got).

That whole month of September Giuseppe investigated every underneath and around and through in the back yard, from the compost bin to under the deck, finding all the edges and sometimes stepping over into a neighbor’s yard. In the process he’d also found some really favorite spots and one of them was on the two old lawn chairs I had outside the basement door, the kind with mesh webbing that we had in the 60s and 70s, that are still the most comfortable, the easiest to fold, and the lightest to carry, with a nice little bit of give when you sit on them, or recline, like a proper kitty. All the cats who’ve been outside with me enjoyed those chairs almost as much as the wicker, but Giuseppe especially loved the green webbed one because he was partially hidden but had a view of most of the yard from there and the deck. After he’d gone prowling around under forsythias and among roses of sharon and over the dirt pile and into the virginia creeper he came back to his lawn chair for a nap. After indulging in the catnip on the other chair.

I love that slanty-eyed expression of his. It’s his happy face.

Last autumn was a gift that I will always cherish.

black cat on lawn chair
Giuseppe chills on his favorite lawn chair.

I brought Giuseppe’s cremains home from Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation on Friday. I intentionally wait a while to bring them home, so that I can welcome them without deep sadness. I’ve been seeing a black cat shape in my peripheral vision in the bathroom, where he loved to nap on the new fluffy bed and fluffy bathmat, and I sense him in other places.

Sometimes Mr. Sunshine wants to go out on the deck just to go and sit at the top of the steps and look out at the back yard.

black cat looking outside
Sunshine on the deck.

Giuseppe was ready for this.

It’s been five weeks and I’ve been finding a lot of wonderful memories after working hard to understand the trajectory of his condition and accept it. I was surprised, though, when Deb handed me the beautiful cloth bag that held his cremains, the weight of it, the feel of it, I immediately began to cry and couldn’t talk at all for a couple of minutes. Not that I thought it was bad, but I really thought I was past that, and I didn’t want to add that sadness to his homecoming. I continued crying now and then as she and I talked, and then I was okay, and still am.

I never added Mewsette and Jelly Bean to the soil under the sleeping kitty statue, and I know in part I kept putting it off because I had the feeling we were going to lose another of our household. So maybe adding all three together was kind of intended by all the events that happened in the past year. It actually feels much better than each of them individually. They did everything together. Mr. Sunshine and Mimi and I can visit there.

Our little memorial garden got overgrown last year with the work on the house and things all over the yard over the summer, then at about the time in autumn I had planned to start working outside when the kitties went back inside each day and clean that up, I felt the need to start keeping a closer eye on Giuseppe. In spring I was watching Mewsette, then Jelly Bean in summer, construction before and after, then my art exhibit at Rock the Quarry, then Pet Memorial Sunday, then back to the farmers markets, and suddenly it was the end of September. Though it’s been warm the soil is still a little frozen along with being muddy where it’s thawed, working it now would make clumps that would be difficult to break up later, making planting anything difficult, and I do intend to add some new plants to that area this year. I find that early spring is a good time to work out in the yard, before things start filling in, and it’s easier to keep up with as spring and summer come in. Often that starts in February, and I’m looking forward to it. At some point I have to work through my visions of Giuseppe out there with us through the coming spring.


Just a side note: I’ve been working on designing a book a friend wrote regarding my local library. She was a board member for over a decade during the really lean years when we almost lost that wonderful place. She was a strong voice and her determination helped to keep it going until a few others joined in the late 90s, and all the restoration that’s happened over the past 25 years.

I know her well—she’s the woman who brought me Peaches and Cream way back in 2005, and she loves the natural world and has not my paintings but my products with wildflowers and woods. An architect educated at Wellesley and Carnegie Mellon University, in business with her architect husband as they raised four children, she is clear and logical and fearless.

She is 98 years old. A few years ago, when she was only 92, she decided she would write a book about the first 100 years of the library’s existence using board meeting notes and news articles and her own experience. We were working on it last year until she had some health setbacks and I’d been waiting for the last edits from her. She’s actually gone to a care facility and moved to hospice care.

Along with my friend Maggie, who just retired from being the executive director of the library and leading those years of restoration there, we decided I’d give the book the proofreading and editing it needed and just get it finished, with approval from her family. I felt a real urgency with this and decided to just work the proof and edit until it was finished, which took from Friday until today, when Maggie and I discussed the next moves. I won’t need large unbroken chunks of time after this so I can get back to posting, and even some of the art and merchandise I’ve been ready to finish and start. But this book is at the top of my list each day.

Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals


Fine ArtPhotographyGiftsGreeting CardsBooksCommissioned Portraits & Artwork

“Rolling Around” framed.

Giuseppe was having a really good roll around on the floor, for no apparent reason except that it made him happy. I think we should all do that each day! Read more and order.


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.

6 thoughts on “Catnip Morning

  • mochasmysteriesandmeows

    The summer before I lost one of my childhood cats, Sebastian, a major road project took place on my street. Every single morning he set up camp by the front door and watched all the action. I was always so happy he had that time he seemed to enjoy so much at the end. Your Giuseppe was such a beauty.

    • When they can still enjoy their regular habits and seem happy, it’s really special. Giuseppe never went outdoors until the beginning of September last year so this was all new. I’m sooooo glad he and Mr. Sunshine decided to give it a try!

      Thanks for visiting. I still can’t get your blog posts in email. I’ve just decided to visit as many as I can each day.

  • A most wonderful tribute to a special mancat. So precious.

    Thank you for joining the Awww Mondays Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Awww Monday and week. ♥

  • Brian's Home Blog

    Such a wonderful photo of you and a great way to start the day by seeing you!

    • It’s a wonderful memory, and nice to think it wasn’t that long ago. Miss him every day. Thanks for visiting!


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