Above, Mewsette has escaped the foster room upstairs and raced down the steps to hop into the box that she somehow knew was there, giving me a rather defiant look and swishing her tail. She was very pleased with herself. The date was December 21, 2007, and she was just about to turn five months old.
Where the boys pretty much followed the rules of staying upstairs when I had to get work done downstairs, Mewsette always had other ideas and figured out how to slip past me and escape. She was always setting out on her own where her brothers would hang together. And one of the places she wanted to be was with me.
I’ve put together a small gallery of photos from her first few months, mostly featuring just her. I felt a special bond with her from the beginning in part because I could relate with her as an individual and she chose individual time with me, and I don’t remember bonding with the boys in the same way. They tended to come to me as a group, which was sweet, but it was clear they had each other and that was fine too.
Early on, telling them apart was difficult until their faces began developing, but in this photo where they are 13 days old, they are just awakening from a nap and I’m there with my camera to greet them. Mewsette is in the front looking right at me. The crate is on my worktable in my studio, and purrhaps that’s where Mewsette got her start enjoying hanging around with me in the studio.
At three weeks old I moved them from the crate into the bathroom, which is honestly not too much bigger than a crate in floor space. Mimi had been stressed by being in the crate with them even though I let her out through the day and let her back in when she asked. Mimi was tiny and despite loads of kitten food seemed to be losing some weight. The move into the bathroom was the solution, because they all had the space they needed and she was only confined with them overnight. Mimi could come and go over the window screen shutters I installed across the bottom of the door, and they could see out and experience the rest of the upstairs without actually being in it. The kittens embraced it and loved to race around and climb on the extra toys I could include and I started to offer them formula in a dish and then wet food.
Mewsette and Mr. Sunshine were always close, even when the four were together in their kitten heap. In this photo soon after they moved in the bathroom they are all in the cuddle cup that had been Moses’ and then Stanley’s, so it held their fostering magic. You can see some swatches of color on ears, and over on the left you can see a little row of paint jars—the tempera paints I used to mark their ears at two weeks, when I could really begin to tell them apart. Mewsette is at the top hugging Mr. Sunshine who is fast asleep, the green paint is on Giuseppe’s ear, and Jelly Bean is looking up with the white brushes in his ears at the bottom.
As the weeks passed they grew quickly and all of them were ready for play with a human from the first time I came into the room in the morning until I had my shower at night. It was hard for me to stay out of there, but after all the losses just before they came every moment with them was healing, and fun.
Stepping into the bathroom, everyone runs for my foot but the boys end up wrestling while Mewsette wraps herself around my ankle and watches them—note the red paint on her ear, which was how I identified her for sure when they were still tiny beans. She always spent some time with just me. I loved it from her.
The next day she met a lion on my skirt!
The kittens were in the bathroom full time through August and September. At the beginning of October when they were two months old I let them begin to explore the second floor landing for a few minutes each day and slowly opened space into my bedroom, to have a little more space to play.
And it was somewhere in this time that her name, originally Musetta from a character in the opera La Boheme, to Mewsetta because her face was so cute. Over the next few months I would move between those two names, but it was when I called her Mewsette that she really responded to me, and always did after that. Going by how I named my photo folders and photos, that was finalized sometime the following May.
So here she is, October 10 at the side window watching the bird feeder while her brothers explore my desk as a group.
Such cuteness, but such focus from such a little bean!
Gotta get em!
She loved that window, and it was her first stop each day when I let them down. The boys were grouping together on my desk and on the floor while Mewsette was chasing birds. They were all getting to know Cookie, Peaches, Namir and Kelly too. After an hour or so when they exhausted themselves and slept in a heap in the middle of the floor or on the rocker, she was sure to join them in the heap, after which they’d race upstairs to get back to their food. A week later when I brought in the geraniums and my house plants from outdoors inside it was like a wonderland.
From December 28, Musetta/Mewsetta/Mewsette looked pretty much like she did as an adult, still setting her own path, here watching the birds from under the rocker while the boys were dancing around on the footstool and other chairs.
I wanted to feature these young photos with her in them because I remember feeling a deep bond with her even then. Her little independent spirit and willingness to explore and try new things was exciting, and I could play with just her. But at the same time she seemed a little distant, not as connected as the boys were because she spent more time on her own. I had decided I’d keep one kitten from this litter in memory of Lucy and very early I decided that kitten would be Mewsette in part because I thought she might seem too distant as a kitten to anyone who wouldn’t understand her need for space and time to perceive and process the world around her. But there was a bond there from the very beginning.
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 not vintage by any regular definition but are from my film archives back to 1983 when I purchased my Pentax K-1000 camera. Sharing these decades-old photos are 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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A quick little oil pastel of Mewsette having a morning bath in the kitchen from 10 years ago, a sweet memory. The original is still available and I’ll soon have all my oil pastels in a set of smaller note cards. Read more or purchase.
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:
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Thursday: New Merchandise
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!