“We were worried. We thought we might have to feed ourselves this morning.”
Two formerly feral cats patiently waiting for breakfast. Don’t worry, babies, that’s one thing you’ll never have to worry about ever again.
From around this date in past years
Bella in Green, 2019
Bella’s inky black silhouette at the upstairs window…She loves to drape herself off the edges of things, and she’s on the wardrobe by that window. Outside, the trees are fully leafed and very dense, as it will be until autumn.
A Few Ferals Waiting for Food
I’m helping feed a friend’s feral colony while she’s on vacation, and I get the evening shift. And, of course, any cat who I feed has to work for its meal—by being a model! I don’t think they mind at all, except Spider, seen above and also below. He’s a tall and gangly, slender tabby as befits his name. I could pet Spider this year, and it’s never a surprise to see how feral cats will warm up to people after they’ve been spayed and neutered. He escorted me around and kept an eye on my activities. Here he is below, saying, “Hey lady, can you just put that thing away and feed us our dinner?” Love his spots!
I hadn’t planned to photograph them, but they were so beautiful as they all gathered for dinner. I find any cats hard to resist photographing, no matter where I see them, but this was just too much. I used my cell phone the first and second night to send a report back to their person, and after visualizing all the really nice photos I could get, I gave in and brought my DLSR the next night. I showed up a little early hoping they’d be hanging out when the light was better, and hopefully the evening storm would be late. But they fooled me, no one was there! I fed her inside cats first and cleaned the boxes, and by then they were starting to collect. I went outside to pick up their dishes and snapped them as I went.
We began TNRing these cats in 2015 and through 2016 all were done but a few stragglers. There were a few moms who would not be trapped, but we trapped them after they had their kittens who were fostered and adopted, and a few others were too friendly to be returned, or were sick and were friendly in treatment, so they were also adopted out. We’ve picked off a few new ones as they show up, and most are returned to live outside. Chessie, below, was being fed about a block away and when the person moved we all urged him over to this colony to ensure he’d be fed.
I fed them last year too, and they weren’t too happy with me or the other person who was feeding them, and went off to eat at other feeders’ stations. Several people feed daily on the hill, and others put out food when a cat shows up. Makes trapping really tricky, but at least they are all well fed and supervised by several people. The other feeder and I agree they are much friendlier this year and we both got to pet a few of them.
Not all are feral, but we don’t always know their stories. Beautiful Smokey is VERY well fed, but covered with mats. With all that fur we can’t tell if this cat is male or female, but we’ve never seen any kittens or male cat activity, so we figured this cat is fixed and call Smokey a he. But he is, as usual, saying, “My bowl…is…empty.”
MooMoo thinks I’m stalking him.
There are many more, and it’s my goal to get them all!
Do they look any different from cats who live indoors with us? No. It just so happens they didn’t grow up with humans and aren’t used to our weird ways. But inside they are the same domestic cat as any other. And just as inspiring.
Photos from years past.
At the Window, 2018
What could I do with such a sight but take as many photos as I could get? Hamlet’s beautiful profile, then looking as if he’s sitting on a could of his own fur, the warm sun in the background. Of the four photos, this one took my breath away. I was about to only use this one, but I liked each of the others, and how could I deprive you of the pleasure of enjoying such beauty?
Hamlet and Sienna sharing a sun puddle. They are the youngest and are good friends, but act like they’re not when someone is looking. I snuck up on them.
A Rollicking Weekend in the Studio
“I thought I might work here today. Guess I’ll have to find something else to do.”
The party began on Thursday when I needed to begin touching up, creating, tagging, labeling, packing and otherwise working with the merchandise for Sunday’s event. It really doesn’t surprise me any more when I set up my display and items have no price tags or information, so I aspire to go through everything each time, at least for these first few events of the year.
But you can see I likely didn’t get too far with that exercise, except for things I could do without the table, which was to check over items in plastic bins and hold the ones that needed some work.
To say I love it when my cats share my studio with me is an understatement. From the very first, decades ago, I know they sensed my joy in what I was doing in my studio and joined me in whatever way they were comfortable, sometimes sitting on the windowsill or a chair and watching me, sometimes getting paws in the action if it was safe, and sometimes observing from a safe distance, just being in the milieu of happy energy. For all the cats I’ve rescued, fostered and socialized, I will always believe that their joy in sharing my joy in the studio was an important part of socializing and integrating everyone into a family of felines, my “creative cats”.
The very next day I really had to use the table to touch up the finishes on a few keepsake boxes and add labels to a few others, and pack some prints.
“We’re not sure why we’re here, we just heard we were needed in the studio.”
All 8 are in here. I always knew my cats liked to be with me when I was happy in my studio. Just wish they’d leave room for me. (This means it’s playtime, then boxes on the floor for naps.)
And that’s just what I ended up doing—playing with them to lure them off the table, then placing boxes around on the floor for them to tuck themselves into, which did actually work. Because I had to print a very special item…
“Ah, my order of tote bags is in and ready for printing! My supurrvisory staff have permitted me a small space on my worktable and are prepared for duty. Mimi’s like, ‘I’m not going to have to stay up all night again, am I?’ “
Mimi found a solution to that, however.
“Mimi has decided to make a nest in the shipping box with leftover packing peanuts and have a nap instead. It’s purrfectly Mimi-sized.”
And then on Saturday morning when I wanted to continue tagging and packing things…
“We’re all ready!
This morning. “
I ran some errands and came back to it later.
“A friend gave me this tee about 25 years ago. Sometimes when I go to clean up at the bathroom sink I look at myself in the mirror and see that I’ve been literally immersing myself in my work. Mimi insisted upon adding a little fur to it too. “
Finally, getting to the fun part.
“Sewing buttons on each bag while Mimi gives herself a luxury bath on the rest of the bag and she will.not.be.moved. I’m honored she wants to be close to me, I guess.”
I enjoyed all the moral support, and I did manage to get everything ready!
What was I working on in some of these photos? See below!
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Other Photos Posted On or Around This Date…
Must be good days for working in the studio.
Warm and Cool, 2016
So how many colors are in a black cat? I see many colors in Giuseppe, especially the warm sunlight flowing in the window and the cool blue light reflected from the sky right next to it, along with all his wonderful mahogany and burgundy and even green and purple tones in his fur. Black, like white, contains many colors. But I don’t think Giuseppe cares at all about what colors are in his fur. I think he’s thinking about Mlle. Daisy Emerald Marguerite on the beginning of this Memorial Day weekend.
Not at all like Mewsette, below, from 2014.
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Other Photos Posted On or Around This Date…
Wordless Wednesday: Surprise, 2014
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Studio Cats, 2012
Sorry to bore you, Jelly Bean, as I earn your daily bread!
Mimi sits over on the windowsill looking dazed and confused.
Am I the only one around here having a productive day?
But then, what is a productive day for a cat?
Actually, both of them are miffed at me because I wouldn’t let them on my work table. Sorry, black cats, other people don’t find your fur charming when it’s framed into their pictures. You only want to be on the table when I’m using it, otherwise you have no interest.
You know I eventually lost this argument, as you can see below when Mr. Sunshine took over my framing tools.
My mom thinks I’m helping her work, but I’m actually doing a lot of the work myself. Look how well I’m handling both the spool of that really fun plastic-coated wire—and you know how I love my plastic—at the same time as I am tasting one of those long metal things. I can do this! Just lay everything out in front of me and I’ll take care of things.
Everything must be tasted; mom laughs and says I relate the the world by chewing on it. I don’t know what that means because how else could I determine anything about an object I’ve never seen? Or one I have seen but haven’t seen in a while? Or one I see all the time but just feel like I have to bite it?
I even let mom use my tools as long as I’m not using them already.
Here I am when the work is all done. I’m very proud of my work.
Feline logic, it just can’t be argued with.
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Though these photos may look antique and sepia-toned, they are neither. My cats are perfect models and knew to pose in the bright yellow morning sun in front of my round antique mirror and the narrow casement window with the lace curtain. Read more and purchase.
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!
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