Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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From the Archives: Moses, Sophie, Cookie and A 2006 Litter of Kittens

gray tabby cat on deck
Moses in an afternoon nap on the deck.

My deck today is a little more crowded and full of stuff than when Moses napped here 20 years ago, but it’s such a tradition for all my garden cats from the time I moved in. Moses was a longtime garden kitty with me, visiting the garden, especially the brick patio outside the basement door, from some time in the mid 1990s, and in all seasons. If I wasn’t heading down to the garden she was just as happy on the deck outside the back door as long as there was sun.

Moses had been a feral kitten before I knew there was such a thing as a feral. She adapted well for my ignorance. She had always had an issue with her hips and hind legs that caused some mobility issues with her, incomplete joints one veterinarian found after imaging, and developed osteoarthritis early. Whether from her feral background or the healing heat of the sun, she needed that time outdoors just about every day. She had been in the sun here but it moved as the afternoon progressed.

Moses was 17 here and we’d actually lose her the following February, but she continued her visits at least to the deck or outside the basement door as long as she could. When I see this photo it’s as if we were out there yesterday as I prepared to plant things.

In the upper left of the photo is the corner of my porch swing, still there, as is the table with the white legs on the right. The latticework is my folding screens for my vendor display. I used them to block the side steps on the deck, just in case Moses decided to get adventurous.

You can read more about Moses in “My Favorite Feral, and My Enlightenment” and see many more photos and artwork of Moses under the category “Moses.” And her sunny naps out on the deck are such a memory, I used one of my black and white photos of her from November that year on one of my first designed sympathy cards in 2009, and it’s quietly a favorite—scroll down to the bottom to see it as the featured item in this post.

 

Photos from Previous Years

The Arrival of a Special Litter of Kittens, May 17, 2006

Hi kittens!
Hi kittens!

Actually the date was May 17, but May 15 is close enough, and the year was 2006. The arrival of a litter of kittens to foster from a neighbor whose cats regularly produced, though I worked on them, slowly but surely, was not at all surprising in mid-May. I would work to spay this mother cat, if I could, around care for the household of seniors, several of whom I would lose in the next few months, managing care for my mother and brother, and managing my business, as well as other feline rescues that always arose during kitten season.

I would foster the little ones until I was certain of their personality, though they were always nice, socialized, playful and affectionate kittens, and until space opened up in the shelter for them to go in, get the works, and get adopted. Often I would adopt out one or two to friends or friends of friends who I’d checked out or who other rescuers I worked with had checked out, many of whom had adopted from me in the past.

What made this litter special was that their mother was none other than Mimi, and the litter of kittens included one kitten in particular—Lucy! This was the moment when this part of the story of the housepanthers began, when Lucy joined our household.

The photos are really bad because the light in the studio, where I’d placed them in a crate, was blocked by so many things stacked in there, but Lucy was in part the cause of the bad photos because she would not stop running around in the crate so my camera would not focus. I did my best, but ironically, she was not in any of the five bad photos I took. We made up for that later. Here are her three siblings, who became Angus, Donal and Charlotte. She was actually to the right of them at one moment which is why they are cut off on the left, but by the time the camera snapped the photo she was off somewhere else in the crate.

Read the rest of their story, as told by Mimi! The Arrival of a Special Litter of Kittens

Photos from Previous Years

~~~

Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things, May 4, 2005

"Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things", from back when I first took the photo!
“Sophie Keeps an Eye on Things”, from back when I first took the photo!

The forget-me-nots are blooming in the pots in the windowbox under my dining room window. Each year when I transplant them from the yard and put the pots in place I remember Sophie and this particularly beautiful moment in 2005—May 4, 2005 to be exact. It was Sophie’s year to pose in forget-me-nots and I have so many from the first two weeks of May, but of all of them, this is my favorite.

And it’s not just a favorite of that series of Sophie in the forget-me-nots, but of all my photos to date, and a treasured memory.

Sophie always watched me leave the house, and in the evenings I closed my curtains before I left. She also like to play around with the curtain—often I had to inspect the lace to see her white fur through the mesh, or she dramatically appeared from between the panels, around the edge or underneath, but she was always there with her big round eyes.

On this day, in the late afternoon, the warm spring sun angled into the window imparting a creamy tone to the lace, and the forget-me-nots I’d planted in pots in the windowbox were in full flower. Before I left I closed the curtains because I’d be gone after dark, and Sophie began her little game while I was still indoors, so I stopped and captured a few images of her silhouetted and peering through the curtain at me.

And a bonus photo From the Archives

cat in flowers
Sophie in forget-me-nots.

We’ve had everyone else in the forget-me-nots, why not Sophie?

My garden consists of a number of raised beds and wide raised rows and I move things around each year, and at least one bed gets left out just to take a rest until later in spring so everything that wants to grow can grow there, and this is where Sophie is sitting. Did she know she’d be so pretty?

Sophie didn’t go outside very often at all, unlike her soul sister Cookie, who went out in the yard with me all the time. Cookie was very practical and in-the-moment, but Sophie was a deep thinker, sometimes so deep she would simply sit down and think for a while, and not do anything else, and she typically seemed to have very little sense of her physical self. When faced with the overwhelming new sensations of being outdoors, she would find a spot and sit and think, which is what she’s doing here. I understand that. When I walk into a room full of people, or a place that’s filled with a lot of visual detail or noise or sounds or all of the above, I have to stop and let my senses adjust so that I can focus on what I’m there for. I think it’s one of the reasons cats and I get along so well, and probably one of the reasons I understand why and how they are frightened in certain situations.

In any case, Sophie apparently moved from the forget-me-nots before I had a chance to get better photos with my film camera, at least not that I’ve found while digging through the “vintage” years, but I still enjoy this image of Sophie.

So in photographing your cats, let that be a lesson to you! Do your best with what you have, and don’t hesitate, just take the photo. If you don’t capture the shot you wanted you may get something else entirely, and you may come up with something fantastic.

Photos from Previous Years

~~~

From the Archives: Tortie Camouflage, 2010

Tortoiseshell Camouflage
Tortoiseshell Camouflage

Tortoishell cats can be camouflaged against many backgrounds with all their irregular speckles and dots. This photo of Cookie taken in the spring of 2010 truly shows her ability to blend into her background as her orange and tan blend with last year’s leaves and her green eyes blend with the spring’s new growth. I could not love her more.

I recently found the photo of Cookie, above, and wanted to share it—truly she is camouflaged! And it’s also been unusually cold in the past few weeks, and where I usually have peas, lettuce and potatoes planted—and I’ve often been eating meals outdoors—my soil is still frozen. Heading out in the yard in the spring has always been a celebration with whichever kitties were headed out there with me, and I’ve also included some photos from the same day outdoors.

Cookie inspects my lettuce planting. Apparently it was done properly because for once she did not see the need to walk over the soil.

Cookie inspects my lettuce seedlings

“Don’t tell me I’m too old to be walking on the deck railing!” Cookie gives me a little sass—a lot of sass—about whether or not she should be walking on a narrow piece of wood about ten feet above the ground. She always had good sense, and when she became a little steady in her last year she quit prancing on the catwalk.

tortoiseshell cat on deck railing
I’m fine up here! Don’t tell me what to do!

Just a nice photo of Cookie looking out into the yard with the daffodils just about to bloom in the background. Yes, daffodils are among plants toxic to cats, and I always worked to lure Cookie away from them lest she bite their fronds.

Cookie with Daffodils.
Cookie with Daffodils.

“Put the camera down and come and eat lunch.” Cookie waits on the picnic table next to my soup and salad while I’m still wandering around the yard photographing…things. It was an overcast day, but there was so much to see out there. Yet Cookie was always looking out for what was best for me, and trying to keep me in line.

tortoiseshell cat on picnic table with food
“It’s time for lunch.”

~~~

From the Archives: The Garden Party, 2009

tortoiseshell cat and black cat
Cookie and Mimi enjoy an afternoon in the “garden”.

Ten years ago five-year-old Mimi and 17-year-old Cookie enjoyed the warm spring sun as they sat in our indoor garden, wordlessly conversing as cats do. Cookie told Mimi how she, too, had kept a distance, feeling sure she was going to end up back outside, the same as Mimi felt. That wasn’t at all what happened, and, in fact, Cookie could see Mimi’s destiny as the lead feline in the household and keeper of the human.

I have no idea what the conversation was about that I interrupted, but I noticed them deep in some communication, facing each other and slowly blinking their eyes and shifting a bit now and then. I tried to photograph them in the act, but they turned to look at me and the spell was broken. They looked lovely nonetheless, two lady friends enjoying a pleasant afternoon, and I treasure this photo, Cookie at 17 and Mimi a mere 5 years old. At that time, Mimi was still a little distant, as if she expected to be put back outside at some point, deferring to the cuteness of her young adult children. I like to think that Cookie was not only giving Mimi some reassurance that she was not going anywhere, but that Cookie herself was passing along sage advice to Mimi about being the lead feline in the household.

Cookie and Mimi were probably just enjoying the sun on this day in 2009, but I also appreciated them keeping others’ prying paws from my precious tomato seedlings reaching for the sun on the table by this window.

Cookie always liked my little indoor “garden” on this table and regularly sat sunning herself, nibbling grass and just hanging out all the years she was here. Mimi began hanging with Cookie as soon as she entered the house, but in the spring of 2009, Mimi’s job of raising the Four pretty well done, she apparently wanted some adult company. What a wonderful friendship these two had, and I think of it each time Mimi sits on my lap and looks up at me and know that this was the plan from the beginning.

Read more about Cookie, and why she’d be the one to pass the wand along to Mimi.

~~~

From the Archives: The Old Man in the Garden, April 30, 2006

 "My old man", Stanley, dozing in my garden while I work.
“My old man”, Stanley, dozing in my garden while I work.

My “old man”, Stanley, at the age of about 24, enjoying the warm bricks and sun in the garden on April 30, 2006.

Saturday this year was a day much like this one in the photo with Stanley among the forget-me-nots. My garden needs so much grooming to get back to this point, but I was remembering him all afternoon as I cleaned up the overgrowth from the last few years, and spent time with Mimi on a beautiful, warm, breezy day.

And as always, spending more and more time in my garden in spring, a bright and warm day much like the one you see here and my garden pretty much the same as well, I’ve been remembering the parade of my garden sprites. I love my garden nearly as much as I love my cats, and putting the two together made the whole experience a joy for me.

Stanley is supervising my planting of tomatoes while much of the garden is still filled with clumps of forget-me-nots between the beds and around the edges, his nose to the spring breeze. He was with me for 21 years, passing in January 2007. He was not at all a juvenile when he came to me so he was at least three years old, likely a little older. In his last year he was still vital though relatively thin, and I had given him occasional therapeutic doses of subcutaneous fluids for his chronic renal failure since his diagnosis in February 2004, but he had no problems walking or getting around. His eyes were cloudy with cataracts and his hearing wasn’t the best, but his sense of smell was unparalleled as he had made his way around the yard downloading his pee-mail and uploading responses, then decided to settle on the bricks, warm from a long sunny afternoon, to doze and watch me. His best buddy, and my other long-time garden sprite, Moses, had passed earlier that year, in February, and I know his backyard sojourns were never as enjoyable as when quiet gray Moses was there to share them with him. I know my place, I am not as good as another cat, but I will do in a pinch.

The image below shows more of the whole scene, looking very much like recent days except that Mimi was strolling down the brick path while I was turning soil in that spot; in the background you can see a little strip of salad greens and beyond that some tulips and lunaria blooming. Some things never change. Read more about Stanley.

tabby cat in garden
The whole picture, looking very much like yesterday except that Mimi was strolling down the brick path.

. . . . . . .

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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4 thoughts on “From the Archives: Moses, Sophie, Cookie and A 2006 Litter of Kittens

  • Brian's Home ~ Forever

    Those are wonderful flashbacks. We used to have an orange kitty names Moses.

    Reply
    • It just turns out that the ones around this date are all real favorites! I’m surprised I’d never used that photo of Moses before. I think everyone with cats has had a cat named Moses! But my Moses was a girl. She was so emaciated it was hard to tell what she was, but she got tangled in some long wet grass by a puddle so, what else could I name her?

      Reply
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