Hamlet is acting so much like a regular cat that sometimes he actually forgets he’s supposed to be feral.
Hamlet just discovered this counter right inside the kitchen doorway. He spent several days stretched out in all sorts of positions there. Each time I went through the doorway I had to touch him. I have to go light with that, but when I do he loves it, so that’s my reward. Here, I am at my desk, and Hamlet just realized there was a room behind him. He’s not sure what to think. Giuseppe is in the background, keeping watch.
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Photos from previous years
Kitty Things, 2017
I took this photo at the Pet Memorial Sunday event two weeks ago. Deb is stocked with pet-themed things for her display. I like to photograph things like these wherever I find them, and share them here when I remember. These bookends have such purrsonality, though—the kitty looks like she’s hiding and the dog looks like he’s trying to peek into where she is. But what really clinched it for me was the angry kitty shadow looming out of the lower corner. That’s a wire holder for a flower pot, and Deb has both a cat and a dog of those as well. Just as I took one photo the sun peeked through the leaves and cast the shadow of the wire kitty. It was too good to pass up.
Sometimes these photos are for inspiration, like the kitty rock below, which is also one of Deb’s memorial items. I had begun painting these years ago from rocks I found in my outdoor travels, but stopped because they are, I’ll say, a little inconvenient: heavy to pack and carry, and most people want their own kitty on the rock. But I think I like the idea and, of course, I’ve been collecting rocks just in case…but then, I always return from my outdoor adventures with a rock or two. Really, I do. They usually end up in gardens or plants, but we’ll see how this goes. At the end of this post is one of the things I sell that was inspired by one of those kitty things I photographed and pondered for a while.
And speaking of outdoor adventures, a local customer has commissioned me to do a portrait of herself and her dog playing in Robinson Run, the stream that runs along the Panhandle Trail that I’ve painted and photographed often. She liked my paintings from the Panhandle Trail show last year and purchased a few canvas prints. Recently she’s been thinking of Baylee, a Great Dane who is six years old and her best friend, and how she’d like to hold onto the memory of their daily trips to the trail and the stream and how they play. So even though it will be months before I get to it we wanted to capture this season right now, and on Monday we met there and I photographed the two of them having a great time.
I am sharing those photos with her so we can choose what the portrait will look like, and I will share those later. In the meantime I gave her my phone to take a photo of me standing in the water because I never have photos of me “in action”. Today when I shared one of the photos I’d taken of just the stream several people asked me if I got into the water and shared how they love to do that. You can’t keep me out of it. It’s still pretty hot here right now, and this is looking pretty good.
Adding a few last-minute “free black cat hairs” to a couple of orders.
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Photos from previous years
How to Take a Really Good Nap, 2014
Smokie thinks his fur sister has been getting a little too much attention lately, and decided to take control of the situation. First, the totally relaxed nap, above, which any living human would find irresistible. I did, anyway, judging by the number of photos I took of him. He quietly took it all in stride, knowing he’s a star, as well as the cutest kitten on earth. He may get that idea from what I’ve been telling him since he came here, but I also think it’s a cat thing.
Then, just as I thought the cuteness couldn’t get any more intense, he rolled over on his back to show me…his gray bits. Yes, this is why his name is Smokie! It’s a little difficult to see on a daily basis because his coat isn’t nearly filled out yet, but he has irresistible silvery gray fuzzy areas around his neck, in his armpits and on his lower belly that will develop into distinct feathers when he’s an adult. Who could resist? He is going to be one handsome mancat, and I think he’s been learning form Giuseppe the art of the kitty centerfold photo. You can also see he’s not a frightened unadoptable kitten anymore.
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Wordless Wednesday: Fore and Aft, the Secret Meeting
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Once Upon a Time on a Rocker, My Have We Grown
This is the mess in my office, with cats. This is where and how I store my merchandise right now, and it serves the kitties just fine—always something new! Boxes to smell and climb on and rub on and scratch, and most important, nap on.
Here I’d shuffled things around so the seat of the rocker was exposed, and I got down to the level with the cloud bed they’d grown tired of. Cloud bed went on the rocker seat, really just temporary, but they found it immediately and have exposed me to two full days or rigorous torture as they arrange and rearrange their sweet selves all over the bed in twos and threes and, finally, in fours. This is behind me; each time I turned around it was another case of sweetness.
In fact, I took photos of them and began this post, then stopped to take more when Mimi joined them, then more when all four finally found a way to share the rocker. They are still there, as you see them at the top of this post.
Below is what they looked like in November 2007 at four months, a slightly different rocker and the throw that’s always on it underneath, and below that, a photo of the four today in their first attempt to curl up together until the ones on the end kept falling off.
Below is a slideshow of the whole event…and later on, a sketch.
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What’s Cookin’?, 2012
Giuseppe and Mr. Sunshine are always hopeful, but it’s not looking too promising with the parsley, though it was good when they tasted it.
On the other hand, sitting on the cookbook, basically just stacks of paper when it’s open, is such a cat thing, the boys could stay there all day. In fact, they did, even when I wasn’t there. On a cool day that turned rainy, a simmering pot of soup kept the kitchen warm and comfortable. I enjoyed the company.
And don’t tell the boys the cookbook was just being used as a feline containment and management device so they wouldn’t get mixed up in my chopping of vegetables and such…
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Can You Turn Down These Lights? 2011
“I’m trying to take a nap here,” Giuseppe says.
“I’m trying to work here,” I respond.
“But it’s so nice and toasty warm here,” he replies.
“It won’t be if I turn off the lights,” I tell him.
“I need my beauty rest. Mlle. Daisy may contact me at any moment and I need to look perfect,” he insists.
“Mlle. Daisy can’t see you,” I inform him.
“But I can see her! Of course she can see me!” he seems upset. I let it go. “Mlle. Daisy loves you no matter what you do, she tells you that all the time,” I say.
“But I can never be too sure, I did hear there is at least one other black cat who visits her door, I need to be very careful,” Giuseppe says.
“If you like to eat, you might consider moving to a more comfortable spot to get your beauty rest than lazing all over my desk so that I might get some work done,” I remark.
“But I have to he right here if Mlle. sends a message, and I have to be perfect!” he protests.
“Giuseppe, the two of you don’t have Skype or anything, she can’t see you when she sends you a message,” I tell him again.
“She can’t?” he asks.
“No, baby, she can’t see you. Can you see her when you send a message?” I ask.
“Not when I send a message, but I just always thought she could see me,” Giuseppe says, confused.
“It’s just words right now, Big Guy, you don’t need to comb your ear hair and shine your whiskers,” I tell him.
“I’m so disappointed…” he trails off.
“Perhaps you could go and sleep on the bed with your brothers,” I suggest, trying not to be too obvious. “They will help you feel better.”
“Can we send Mlle. a message right now?” he asks.
“Sure we can,” I reply. “What would you like me to type?”
“Mlle. Daisy, mon cherie, I love you with all my heart and every piece of fur on my body!” he says. I type this.
“And, and…I have a gift for you! It will be a surprise,” he continues.
“That’s very sweet, Giuseppe. Anything else?” I ask.
“Love and kisses, nuzzles and purrs, your love, Giuseppe,” he finishes.
Some things never change.
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Two Torties on One Lap, 2010
One for each leg! And they are touching each other! I am sitting with my legs crossed on my desk chair to accommodate them.
Cookie and Kelly have always more than tolerated each other, unlike the typical tortie story, but even these two don’t curl up together with anyone but me. However, if both of them want my lap badly enough they have no problem actually touching each other. It’s a little awkward to get work done with a lap literally full of cat and not being able to roll in under my keyboard shelf. I actually tried working by balancing the keyboard on top of the two of them, to no avail. I just reached a little farther during their nap time.
Seems like yesterday.
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Hamlet and his sister Ophelia were rather feral kittens, did not socialize to fosters, and were placed in a barn to live as feral cats. That didn’t suit them either, so they came to me. It took a while for them to find their socialized selves, and I am more than happy to have gotten to know them and help them to realize humans were nice things, and to be able to have them as my muses and models for a couple of years. Hamlet was meant to inhabit the magic yellow basket. I featured this photo on Black Cat Appreciation Day in 2016. 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!