Kitties are expurrts at not only catching a sunbeam, but making art out of it too. The year is fading, the sun’s angle makes its appearance on the deck all the more brief each day, and Moses has it all timed out, wanting out the door at just the moment the sun hits the wooden deck boards. Look at her sense of composition here, all those diagonal lines converging at her, and her cat shadow silhouette on the deck in the big trapezoid of sunlight.
Moses was 18 years old here, enjoying her last autumn. She had had two presumed strokes earlier that spring and seemed to have lost her eyesight, but recovered. I had been giving her fluids now and then, but her kidneys were beginning to fail. All the more important that she have her sunny nap and time outdoors every day. We would lose Moses in late February 2006, and I tried to make sure that every day was filled with the simple things she loved. She was a nearly starved feral kitten from the days before I knew feral cats existed and just wanted the basics: a safe place to live, food, and a sunpuddle always available. She got much more than that, including all the love my heart could hold for her.
Yesterday Mimi and Mewsette and I went out onto the deck at the same time, they to capture that same sunbeam at that same angle. I look at this photo now and see that not much has changed—the ceramic pot with parsley at the top of the steps, the wood milking stool at the corner that Mimi scratches on each day, the piece of latticework that I use as a gate on that side of the deck, and how much I’ve found all the cats who’ve come to me to be such an inspiration, and how I’ve loved and still love every one of them for the same simple reasons, and no reason at all.
In the first photo Moses allows the sun on her back, and in the second, she turns to face it and create a totally different shadow, and warm up her other side. I want to reach down and sift my fingers through Moses’ plushy fur, warmed by the sun.
Photos From the Archives Shared in Previous years
Kelly and Peaches, Late-night Nap, November 13, 2007
So, let’s try this daily blogging thing again…last week turned out to be unusually busy with deadlines, but I think I have some space to start posting again. I have so many things to share! Patience, patience…
Peaches and Kelly settle down on the soft throw on the rocker, one of their favorite places to nap in those days. They could keep an eye on the room and on me, and be up off the sometimes drafty floor. Though these photos are dated November 13, they were taken between midnight and 2:00 a.m. that day; later that day the kittens invaded for their afternoon outing. Here’s what the whole scene looked like, and I love to remember it.
The rocker, the throw, the braided rug and the footstool, the books… Apparently, I was having a late night working at my computer in my office. I have the feeling by these and other photos the day before that I had been away for a good bit of the day tending to doctor appointments with my mother. The work still had to be done for the next day, so I was up until it was done, and all the older kitties were my supervisors while The Four Housecats of the Apocalypse were upstairs in my bedroom so the adults had some peace and quiet and I wasn’t distracted by them. Those late nights, when I’d been gone all day, working with doctors, nurses, my mother’s personal care home and doing a little shopping with her along with her doctor appointment, worried about deadlines and other work, getting paid on time and paying the bills, those late nights with my cats were precious. I missed them, I missed my work, I missed my house, and just being back in my happy place and looking around to see them could often keep me going late into the night.
I know that my late night habits could often disturb them. They rarely had the comfort of a regular schedule with me. But I also knew they felt better when I was home, and would rest happily while watching to see that I didn’t go running out the door again. But sometimes they dozed off in their vigilance…
Somehow, Peaches ended up with the whole rocker seat, and it was a big seat! Kelly landed on the footstool and wasn’t sure what to do. She was 14 and Peaches was 17, and they were snuggle buddies. Kelly loved taking care of Peaches, keeping her warm and giving her comforting baths. I really think it was part of the secret to Peaches’ longevity. Sorry for the blur, the photos are so precious I just had to use them.
Kelly was such a polite kitty, but she didn’t think about it too long before she got back up on the rocker and curled up against Peaches, who probably didn’t even wake up but conformed to Kelly’s shape.
That decade (plus) of managing the care for my mother and brother could be difficult to manage along with my business, which has always been widely varied with seasonal fluctuations, but no matter how late I was out taking care of things, sitting in the hospital with one of them, or just taking care of grocery shopping late at night wen the stores were empty and it took less time, I could always come home to my cats and slip back into the comfort of my friendships with each of them.
Mimi and the Kids Occupy the Desk, 2007
Mimi makes an appearance with her kids on my desk, and you can see how small she is in comparison to them—at only 12 weeks! I think her expression is trying to tell me to remove them so she can have her nap on my desk, which she had started to do now and then. These photos were taken on November 1, 2007.
By this time daily visits from the Curious Quartet were daily for about an hour, then they went back upstairs so we could all get some work or napping done. Even then they played and explored, then came over to the human and wanted to be part of what I was doing. It’s about this time that they started bewitching me with these silhouettes of ears and sleek curled bodies…
Mimi kept going back in and out of heat and hadn’t been thriving and I was trying to keep her apart from the kittens but still give everyone normal socialization. She is actually wearing a little bell collar because I was concerned she’d slip out the door. She usually stayed away when I brought the kittens down, but she hopped up onto the desk and started bathing their faces; unfortunately all those photos are blurry.
About this time she began to feel better, gained a little weight, and enjoyed time with Cookie and Kelly and Namir and Peaches, and with me too. She had begun having kittens so young that she missed out on a normal in-home relationship with humans and I always felt she thought she was just going to end up back outside so she didn’t want to get attached to any of us. Time helped to heal that one, and I know Cookie had a little talk with her too.
Photos pulled “From the Archives” were taken by one or another digital camera of mine between 2002 and, well, yesterday, but usually they are older than that, and I had never had the chance to feature them. Vintage Photos are from my film archives back to 1983 when I purchased my Pentax K-1000 camera. They’re a fun way to “introduce” other members of my feline family who came and went before I began blogging, and to illustrate my feline family in general from days gone by.
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Animal Sympathy Cards from Portraits of Animals
This was one of the first sympathy cards I designed in the original set. The deceptive simplicity was a gentle message. Read more and order a print or a greeting card.
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!