Oh, that goddess. I thought you meant me. That is my sister-goddess Anuket, Egyptian goddess of “de-Nile”, or the Nile, and nourisher of the fields, so that I, Bastet, may enjoy my pursuits as goddess of the hunt—for fish and mousies and such—and patron of cats in a society that worships cats. As it should be. Even the goddesses worship me.
What’s that you say Anuket? I’m getting a little above myself? Well, you are a painted ceramic statue with a fish stuck to your hip and I am a sleek and beautiful goddess-cat capable of getting up and going where I please.
A girl cat can play make-believe, can’t she?
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Others’ Fine Felines: 320 Cat
A couple of years ago when I walked to and from my shop in Carnegie Antiques I’d often get into trouble with my camera, and simple errands that should take 15 minutes would take two hours, and sometimes I would come home with an extra kitty, find out who the kitty belonged to, and meet the neighbor.
On this particular day in late September 2011 I just took photos of kitties, all the neighbor kitties, as I walked up my hill and down the other side. This porch is actually several sets of steps above the sidewalk, but I could see just the tips of his fur and knew a kitty was sleeping in front of the door. I took a few steps up and that was when I met 320 Cat, who I’d never seen anywhere in the neighborhood, and I wondered if he belonged in the house where he was sleeping. No one appeared to be home, and I didn’t know this neighbor, but I knew they had a few dogs.
He awoke when he saw me and seemed startled and I thought he’d run, but instead he stretched and came straight toward me, talking. Then I could see his tail was missing most of its fur, he had patches missing here and there and when I petted him he felt scabby, likely a flea bit dermatitis, poor guy. His face and demeanor reminded me of Mr. Sunshine though his eyes were a lovely dark green. I petted him and we talked for a while.
I was just a few houses from home, but on the opposite side of the street, and I told him I needed to leave but he dutifully followed me and this is always the hard part. I couldn’t take him home, though I’d keep an eye out for him in case he really was a stray who just adopted that house. I really didn’t want him to follow me because I don’t want him to cross the street. I turned and told him, “No! Go back to your porch,” then turned my back on him and did my best not to look back, trying to sense where he was. At two houses away, just before I crossed the street, I turned to see him walking back up the steps to the porch at 320. I’m not convinced he belongs there or anywhere. At the rate rentals turn over in my neighborhood, I often see those left behind and often take them in and find new homes—in fact, many of my rescue stories were told about cats in my neighborhood. I decided I’d talk to the kids the next day because they knew everybody’s pets.
The kids didn’t know him, and I didn’t see him again until the following April when he showed up on my porch, gazingly adoringly at Mewsette as her brothers teased and wrestled with her.
He returned one more time that April, much to a big-eyed Mewsette’s consternation and I followed him back to 320 and met his person. It turns out his name was Gossamer after a character in a Loony Tunes cartoon, and he was 18 years old! The house was a medium-size old Victorian and somehow he’d been escaping now and then—who knew, maybe one of the dogs had dug through to the outside. She did indeed have a few dogs, and in fact had a fledgling pet sitting business for a while and boarded dogs now and then, but Gossamer was never bothered by them, as I could see as she and I talked.
He escaped one more time last autumn as I found when my neighbor’s children from across the street came over to ask for some cat food because they’d found a cat and were trying to hide him in their basement. Their father was not an animal person, but I had the chance to have a conversation with and explain a few things to the two kids, who had grown up petting my cats but did not have any pets of their own. As I carried him back up the street I could see he was deteriorating, dehydrated, thin, confused. She shook her head at his ability to escape when he could hardly walk, especially since she knew he didn’t have much time left. She lost him over the winter, at 20 years old. I’m so glad I decided to walk that day, and got to know the old man just a little bit.
And when I posted the top photo—in fact, when I took the top photo—I thought about what nice painting it would be. Guess we’ll see!
(I did! Daily Sketch: 320 Cat)
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Wordless Wednesday: Mirror Image, 2012
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Mr. Sunshine and The Basket, 2012
This is a very large, sturdy flat basket that I use at shows and festivals, and in between to move things around in my studio when I need to clear a workspace, except that it most often has a cat in it, or several cats as the case may be. Mr. Sunshine discovered it on the table and, seeing he had it all to himself decided to make a good time of it.
Above, I simply desaturated to make the image black and white.
Here, I desaturated everything but his eyes, then added a 10% deep yellow filter back into it when it looked too stark. I also shot it on an angle intentionally because it takes a pretty static, common composition and literally puts it a little off-kilter, and makes you wonder what the black cat is up to, especially with one paw on the edge of the basket, and one claw showing.
You’ve seen enough of my studio to know it’s always got stuff stacked everywhere since I always have projects going and the room will never be big enough. So seeing Mr. Sunshine happily settling in and exploring the space within the basket I tossed a piece of neutral-colored mat board up against the pile of stuff always at the end of my work table so he’d have a solid, light-colored background that wouldn’t interfere with the light and color metering in my camera.
Sleepy kitty in basket! I desaturated and gave it a sepia filter just to warm it up.
I did get a number of nice photos, of which these are my favorites. Wasn’t it nice not to be distracted by all my stuff in the background for once?
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A Rainy Day Together, 2011
From 2011, a photo and a link to a video! But today was rainy and lazy and this is pretty much what they ended up doing.
Here’s what we’ve decided to do today, especially since mom is playing around with her computer again.
There’s nothing we enjoy more than being together anyway. Every morning after breakfast and litterbox duty and a little play, we meet at our favorite window to have a communal bath, watch the birds for a little bit and then nap in preparation for the day.
For some reason mom pays lots of attention to us when we do this. You’d think she’d want to leave us alone while we’re napping, but she walks around with her black thing on her face and talks to us. Usually when she talks to us we’ll hurry over to her and give her some love since that seems to be what she wants, but when we are together like this, it’s just the four of us. Mom doesn’t seem to mind.
They really do this nearly every single morning. This is the window in my office, adjacent to my desk which is a corner desk angled in the corner of the room so I can’t miss them—especially when they jump up onto the other end of the desk, parade along the catwalk from that end, in front of me and my computer, and continue around the bend to their favorite spot, this window. For as often as I’ve seen it and photographed it, I can’t stop myself from doing it again, nearly every day.
Today really is very dim and rainy, the big four are dark already and when photographed all together look pretty much like a blob of dark fur with heads though they don’t look like that in real life. I had to adjust the photo an incredible amount to be able to see the detail I actually saw in their fur and faces which does interesting things to the native color in the photo, hence the desaturation and color filter. This is an interpretation of what I see when I look at them.
AND IN 2012, it’s still the same.
And the video…
Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette bathe themselves, each other and their brother, Giuseppe, who lazily sleeps between them while the rain falls softly outside and the birds visit the feeder. See if your cats react to the bird sounds! Giuseppe and Jelly Bean were trying to act as if they were just walking around the monitor but I could tell they were looking for the birds!
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Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Breakdance, 2010
Even though it was a chill morning, I still opened the basement door briefly once the sun rose so we could listen to the birds chattering outside, watch the chipmunks scurry past the door and enjoy our sun and fresh air first thing. Mewsette wiggles and rolls and flings her paws around in the feline breakdance.
I usually spend some time on my exercise bicycle, and it’s all a big imaginary outdoor experience for all of us. I can’t be trusted to ride my real bicycle or even take a walk because I’ll take my camera and not return until noon.
Sorry for the sad pun on the song, but I’ve thought this for years as generations of cats writhed around in the sun on the basement floor. I know the sun makes them feel good but they don’t do quite the performance anywhere else in the house. Perhaps the concrete gives a good back rub!
Browse some rescued cats and kittens—browse here or visit PittsburghCAT!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop 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!