I miss my tortie girls every day, even if I know they’d sometimes be annoyed with what I was doing.
Cookie and Kelly decidedly do not look at me when I take their photo. I should be feeding them lunch, not fooling around with that thing I put in front of my face which they are so tired of—and at their ages, 18 and 19, they have every right to be very, very tired of me and that thing. Meals have been held for far too many photos.
Plus, I’m acting like a fool, waving my hands and yelling at them as if they don’t know I’m there when they surely do. I have some stupid thing made of shiny strips that I’m waving above my head. They don’t care. They’ve seen it all. They are intentionally ignoring me to make the point that photos are not important. Lunch is important. Now.
They should know after all these years that if they just look at me, just once, I’ll stop fooling around and feed them.
They did. I got my photo, they got their lunch. Compromise. It works every time, especially if the light is good.
But aren’t they the very image of feline tolerance of human foolishness?
Cookie and Kelly got their Senior Tortie Lunch Special in my studio where they could eat in peace without five younger cats wondering why they weren’t getting lunch as well. While no one would have even considered trying to steal Cookie’s food—she apparently sent out some signal that I couldn’t see which caused a great amount of respect to be given to her—Kelly was and still is an easy target, and if one of the others would walk near her or look at her, she would feel uncomfortable and even stop eating, which meant that someone else would get her lunch.
But I could spend some quiet time with just the two of them, the studio was cooler and quieter, and at this time I was still arranging it and we had a nice time each lunchtime.
And while Cookie and Kelly are both tortoiseshell cats, they are quite different in personality and build and markings, but here you can see the one similarity between the two—their front paws. Their left paws are nearly solid black with just a few speckles, while their right paws are nearly solid black except the first toe on the inside, pretty much the same color of caramel. Of all the photos I made them wait for their meals for me to shoot, I made them wait until I got the photo I wanted of their paws all lined up, but I never got it. The photo was either blurry or badly lit or someone’s tail landed on top of their paws. No wonder I got such tortitude when I tried to get this photo!
. . . . . . .
The Water Bowl
One holdout from the days of the tortie girls spending time in my brand-new renovated studio was the little tan and blue ceramic water bowl. At that time I had a water bowl in every room of the house, sometimes two, for all the geriatric cats who’d paraded through the household in the years just previous, and Cookie in particular liked to have a water bowl near. If you look closely in the photo at the top, you’ll see the edge of it to the right of Cookie’s back. It seems a little small for feline comfort, but that’s never stopped these girls or any of the others.
One of my first daily sketches was one of Cookie having a drink from it when it was still on the floor. Her shape on the floor happily drinking was so familiar after 20 years.
The following summer I did a sketch of Kelly drinking from the bowl when it was up on the table, and similarly I had loved to watch Kelly drink at any water bowl in the house, those long legs and her back arched making her look like a Giacometti sculpture, her hind legs shuffling a bit every few seconds as she continually adjusted her stance. I finally caught this scene, and this was actually the last sketch I had the chance to do of Kelly, so both sketches of the girls drinking are dear to me.
No one else pays much attention to it in here, but Mimi considers it her special water bowl and expects it to be filled with fresh water each time we work in here if she is going to be supervising me. I didn’t have any photos of her drinking from it because she usually drinks from the angle in the photo above, with her butt toward me, but just as I was thinking I’d forget about the photo of her drinking, she went to the bowl from a different angle and had a nice drink. My work lights look a little harsh, but there she is. It’s nice to have a kitty around who reads your mind.
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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!