Thursday, May 23, 2024
cat photographsdaily photofrom the archivesgiuseppekittensmr. sunshinemy household of felines

From The Archives: How Have I Ever Managed to Get Work Done?

Two black kittens on desk
How have I ever managed to get work done?

Giuseppe is being a patient brother with Mr. Sunshine who does like to sleep on his back, and also likes to turn things into wrestling matches. They were about seven months old here and just about to be neutered; five months was the earliest I could get cat surgeries at that time, I used a voucher program and things slowed down with them around the holidays. Now it would feel like an emergency to me! The date was February 1, 2008. I had intended to share this at the beginning of the month but we were down here most of that time, but I still wanted to share this.

It was hard enough when I had Cookie and the crew and six or more would settle all over my desk. Then add some kittens who tended to move in packs and settle right in front of me on top of the papers I was working with and I was done for. It wasn’t so much trying to work around them, it has always been trying not to photograph every cute move they make!


From the Archives in Previous Years

Four Tails in the Tub, February 17, 2008

four black cats in tub
Four for a drink, and their tails.

The Fantastic Four spent their kitten months in my old bathroom, where all the faucets leaked. I had water bowls in there, of course, but what’s a kitten to think when the most easily accessible water is also fun to play with? Those little drips fall from the tap all day and all night. You can drink them, and you can play with them! Win-win!

They were almost exactly 7 months old here, and had just been spayed and neutered.

Even after I had the bathroom remodeled the following year, the four of them still reported to the sink and tub daily waiting to find the drips they loved so much. I entertained them with turning on the faucet for a bit of time, but then turned it off and showed them the water bowl in the bathroom. They also had bowls in each other room or area. But still…

I really wanted to share this photo not only for the tub faucet drinking, but for the tails. I always mention how seeing these little silhouettes running around the house, especially in a little clowder of four as all four ran together constantly. But, oddly to me, one of the most exciting things about the silhouettes was their tails, especially when they were all together and overlapping and so clear against a background like the tub. I still have the same reaction today when they do something together and all their tails are gathered together.


From the Archives in Previous Years

Little Beanie Boy Strolls, Valentine’s Day, 2008

black kitten at window
Jelly Bean!

Long-legged Jelly Bean strolls my sunny bedroom windowsill on Valentine’s Day in 2008. He was the “runt” of the litter, built more like his petite mom and noticeably smaller than his husky siblings, but already the purr machine he is today, affectionate, and totally radiating happiness. He was famous for running alongside me, then hopping up on the nearest surface, in this case the bed, to get closer to me and get his dose of affection and attention. I walked around the bed to get the photos of him strolling along the windowsill before he got his love.

By Valentine’s Day in 2008 Mimi’s kittens were just approaching seven months old, everyone had been freshly spayed and neutered and had all tests and vaccines. I had begun calling Bean “Little Guy” and shortened that to “Guy” for months while they were kittens and I really like it as a name, but Jelly Bean stuck.

black kitten at window
He’s coming for me!

They were all a little smaller than usual at seven weeks when they had their first visit from our veterinarian and that was a concern considering the appearance of FIP in Lucy, but my veterinarian said, “Well, their mom is small,” and told me they were otherwise healthy and just to treat them like regular kittens. At about 12 weeks they really started to stretch and grow and it was clear that Bean had his mother’s build compared to Mewsette, who was the largest and heaviest at that time, and Mr. Sunshine and Giuseppe, who were just about average boys. That was about the time I began calling “Rodolfo” (see the story of their names) “Jelly Bean” because his precious little nose looked just like a black jelly bean.

black kitten at window
The whole Bean!

I was still carefully observing them for any signs of anything, and especially in these two weeks. It was just days after Lucy was spayed that I noticed the first signs of lethargy in her, and my intuitive senses told me something was wrong. Two weeks after her spay she was in respiratory distress from fluid in her chest and she was diagnosed with FIP. I did my best to not let that influence my thoughts when these four kittens, and Mimi, had their surgeries and in the weeks after. None of them, not even petite Bean, showed any signs of anything, then or at any other time since.

black kitten at window
Something’s out in the tree!


Also from the archives on or about this date…

Peaches and Kelly and other Senior Torties Keeping Warm, 2009-2011

Peaches and Kelly cuddle in front of the furnace vent on a cold February night.
Peaches and Kelly cuddle in front of the furnace vent on a cold February night.

Hi girls! It’s sweet to see you together again!

On this date back in 2009, Peaches uses Kelly as a pillow as the two bask before the furnace vent on the fleece blankets everyone still loves so much. Peaches was 19, Kelly was 16, and I often found these two cuddling together, often with Peaches on the receiving end of a vigorous bath by Kelly. Kelly loved Peaches, and Peaches loved everyone, but was always glad for Kelly’s attentions. Peaches has her tail “up” and her hind legs stretched because I’d just reached down to pet her and ran my hand down her back. She always put her tail up when even when I just reached toward her. Despite the cattitude typical of calicoes and tortoiseshells, Peaches and Kelly were as sweet as they look. So nice to see them looking up at me again. And they give us just a little break from the “all black cats all the time” look. The photo was grainy enough it was difficult to see details, so I touched it up with the “dry brush” filter in Photoshop.

This is in my studio before I “remodeled” it, just cleaning it up, painting the walls and putting down the finished plywood flooring that’s there now. You’ve seen plenty of other cats sharing this spot in photos from the past few years, from Cookie to the amazing cat piles of the Fantastic Four and Five—this spot has been a favorite from the day I moved in here!

From looking at the other photos from this day, all the rest of the household, Cookie, Namir, Mimi and the Fantastic Four at 18 months old, were in the “really remodeled” bathroom, newly sporting its mint green and white and not even finished yet.


Winter Reflections, 2011

Naptime for Cookie.
Naptime for Cookie.

Every 18-year-old kitty deserves to nap in the sun on the table curled into an old flannel bathrobe.

Why do I have a bathrobe on my kitchen table? Doesn’t every cat owner have some sort of feline comfort area on their table? It was warm in the kitchen when the sun was shining so I took it off and laid it on the table to grab when I went upstairs; instead, Cookie settled on it. How dare I consider moving it? And what a wonderful reflection, both literally and figuratively.


Cookie Al Fresco, 2011

Cookie tells me to get a move on during an unusually warm, windy afternoon.
Cookie tells me to get a move on during an unusually warm, windy afternoon.

It’s a warm afternoon, just like 2011.

tortoiseshell cat with weatherfish
Cookie communes once again with the weatherfish and pokes her nose on dry grass.

We’ve been going outside every day all winter long, but Cookie found the snow and ice just weren’t fun anymore on her 19-year-old paws, so we mostly stayed on the deck. But today we explored the yard in all its winter tatters.

Cookie knows I prefer her to wait for me to come with her into the yard, so she pauses at the top of the steps—but her expression is, “As soon as you turn around, I’m going to run down these steps.” She did. I followed. Sometimes my position of authority means nothing.

But after a little sojourn of the weatherfish, under the deck, the fallen branch, picnic table and park bench, our favorite thing is just to sit together.

Cookie sits on my lap as we take a break on the steps.
Cookie sits on my lap as we take a break on the steps.

I’m so glad Cookie and I can share this time—it’s nice to have a buddy to walk around the yard with. She and I also remember other friends who used to share our time in the backyard.

Plus it’s only February and the tomorrow weather will change and I know it will be a while before we get a day this nice again.

While Cookie and I were sitting on the steps, we were being very still so we could count the birds in our yard for the Great Backyard Bird Count, February 18, through Monday, February 22 (2011).

tortoiseshell cat scratching wooden shelf
Kelly gives the shelf a good scratch.

Meanwhile, back in the house, Kelly was showing the wooden shelf in front of the window a thing or two! My cats have always enjoyed clawing wood, from my very first drafting table supports to this shelf that gets their butts up off my desk surface and gives them a better view out the window. Kelly is no different, and after getting a nose full of the sweet spring-like air she had a good energetic scratch all over the shelf.

What Mimi and the Fantastic Four were doing that day I don’t know—there were no photos of them! Likely they were all piled up on the bed napping, lazy bums.


Just a few days later…

Cuddling, 2011

Cookie and Kelly cuddling.two tortoiseshell cats
Cookie and Kelly cuddling.

The weather is unpredictable, and my tortie girls were glad I tossed the old flannel bathrobe back on the table for them to cuddle into as the sleet clicks against the windows.

My senior girls aren’t terribly close but they certainly don’t mind each others’ company when the weather turns bad!

Photos From the Archives and Vintage Photos

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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inkand watercolor sketch of two cats
“Magic Carpet”, ink and watercolor, 6″ x 9″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Giuseppe gives Mr. Sunshine a brotherly bath in a warm and cozy bathroom. Click here to read more and purchase.


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