Thursday, July 18, 2024
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From The Archives: Namir in January Light, January 11, 2007

gray and white cat with household items
Namir in January Light

He has his toys there, the sisal mouse and a milk bottle ring, and he is ready for his closeup, but as animals, and humans, do when they meet up with the relaxing effect of warm winter sun, a contemplative stillness falls, and perhaps a nap ensues, and I’d better hurry and get the shot.

Namir was so graceful and dignified and obviously knew how to strike a pose, even though he was a total goof and in another moment could be on his back with his legs impossibly twisted, or toss that mouse up in the air and do a back flip right after it. I love his pose, and also the little touches of home, my home, the canning jars, honey jar, oatmeal container; perhaps I only love it so much because it was one of those complete moments that we all experience now and then, where every familiar thing is in its place and all is warm and safe and filled with love.

I will point out one thing to you that you  might now be able to see, but I know it’s there from other photos in this same moment—look at his neck, on the right side, in the white area. You see a square outline in his fur, and looking a little closer you will see that he is shaved there. Namir was the cat with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and who occasionally slipped into congestive heart failure (CHF). He saw a cardiologist once or twice a year and no matter the medications or treatments he also slipped into congestive heart failure once or twice a year, for the entire five years he lived after his first trip to the emergency clinic. He had apparently been in for a tune-up, either planned or emergency within the month previous to this photo. But Namir didn’t care that, because of his condition, his life could end suddenly in four or five different ways, none of them very pleasant. He made the best use of every moment, including striking a dramatic pose in morning sunlight. He knew exactly what he wanted this shot to look like.

This is one of the photos I considered for my painting “Darling Clementine“. Is Namir posing, or what? He had complete physical awareness. I am convinced he was a great stage actor in one of his incarnations. He certainly played the part here.

Namir was 13 here. He lived every moment to its complete fullness until he was 15.

And in the same week, you can see his friendship with Lucy as a kitten. She adored him, he knew that, and adored her too, and was very serious about mentoring this kitten in a house full of teenage cats. Someone had to teach her how to be a cat.

From the Archives in Previous Years

Almost Synchronized, January 17, 2007

two cats bathing
Sort of synchronized.

Namir thought he was having an after-dinner bath, but he was in fact performing the important work of mentoring a kitten. Working in my office that evening I looked down from my computer to see Namir having a very thorough bath with Lucy carefully watching his technique. Darned digital camera from that era didn’t focus on every other photo I took, but I can tell you she was serious in this endeavor. Lucy adored her mentor and soon began her own thorough toilette, glancing at Namir every so often to match his posture.

Below, each works out a variation on the curl.

to cats bathing
Two variations on the curl.

I moved around the room, filing papers and sorting items, organizing boxes of customer’s printed orders and planning the next day’s work. No matter where I walked around them, neither of them paid me any attention at all. It was a good lesson.

two cats bathing
Lucy adds an extra touch.

Life could be fraught in those days. Just two days before, we had said goodbye to Stanley at age 25. My mother had been in the hospital with pneumonia after the holidays, which meant that she was in ICU on life support for a few days. My brother was feeling isolated in his apartment with the agency. The previous autumn the mortgage company had foreclosed on me after months of accusations they hadn’t received my payments, a charge that would be proved fabricated, and in two weeks I would proceed with filing for personal bankruptcy to stop the proceeding, a situation that is resolved but affects my life to this day. But on that night in the office, two beloved cats could do their thing on the braided rug and completely distract me from everything. What a miracle that is.

The Cats in the Hat, 2010

These aren’t really “from the archives”, but I don’t have any from the archives in previous years to add. So I thought I’d choose these photos of Kelly and Cookie from January 2010, because they are real favorites.

Kelly subjects the crocheted hat to the sleepability test.

Every crochet item I make must be tested by at least one kitty, especially Kelly, my Lead Crochet Tester. This means it must be subject to the following activities as appropriate with the shape and size of the item: walked on, kneaded, climbed into, climbed underneath, smelled, tasted, slept on, slept in, carried off or fought over.

Kelly generally tests items for sleepability, and this alone involves most of the items above. She did try to fit herself into it in various ways, but only succeeded in getting all four legs in it and crouching in it. The hat flunked Kelly’s sleeping test, though it was fun to sniff and walk on.

Cookie was actually the first one to step into the hat, but she was distracted by the crochet bag. Not to be outdone by Kelly, when Kelly was done with her testing Cookie got back into the hat. Cookie usually tests for bathability, how comfortable the item is for having a good bath. Again, the hat flunked Cookie’s bathing test.

Perhaps this means I get the hat all to myself? Only if I hide it or hang it where no one can get into it!

Cookie subjects the crocheted hat to the bathability test.

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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watercolor of cat in kitchen
“Darling Clementine”, watercolor, 12″ x 9″ © B.E. Kazmarski

January light is so beautiful, the sun still at a low angle streaming into windows and doors, the days often overcast and the brilliant warm yellow sunlight a respite, and this is what has Namir transfixed in the stream of sun that washes in the back door in winter—and probably a few birds bobbing about on the deck chasing stray bird seed. Click here to read more and 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:

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!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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