From the Archives: On the Table With Flowers, 2006

cat on table with flowers
Sophie on the table with flowers.

No, I don’t let my cats on the table.

You can see that Sophie is pretty comfortable here, like she does this on a regular basis. Well…it’s my table. I just loved to find her like this, wearing her babushka. She made a little noise that sounded like “hmmph”, and she acted it out, too, I’d see her lift a little bit as if she had to force it out, this little sound that was intended to be a meow but didn’t quite make it. She’d probably just done that here. Even though she’s been gone 15 years I feel like I could look around the corner into the kitchen and she’d be there, on that table, which is out on the deck in storage, but no matter, and she’d make that noise when she saw me. Finding those photos 15 years later always bring up emotions, but I am rarely sad to see my kitties again.

The flowers were from my 2006 poetry reading less the red roses (pictured with Lucy here), which hadn’t aged well, but I remember how much I liked the white theme, with the pitcher, recently used with my forsythia, and the table and chairs, and Sophie who looks black and white. Just as a hint, I had planned another feline painting for the month of March to use as my April featured artwork, and this was one of my ideas. What’s one painting in a whole month? Well, this month was unusually busy in some ways and I never had the chance to settle down and focus long enough. That’s okay. You may see this one, or another pose from the group of photos, soon enough, but I stared at these photos so much working out my idea I thought I’d at least share one.

I took several photos with the Olympus digital, which didn’t do dark very well. They were oversaturated with a deep red tone that I couldn’t entirely filter out. I can usually touch up and modify a photo to shift or loosen colors, but photos from that Olympus were impossible to budge sometimes. It’s much lighter, but I lost most of the natural color and it has a red tinge. But when I do that painting, I can fix all that.

 

Photos from the Archives Shared in Previous years

The photo of Sophie is actually from March 2006, because I missed all of March in archival photos this year. Those shared in previous years are also from March. I’ll catch up with April next week.

From the Archives: Girl Talk, Cookie and Mimi, 2011

"Girl Talk"
“Girl Talk”

Now what do you suppose they’re saying?

I hardly think they’re sharing typical “girl talk” about cute guys and new clothes, not these two “experienced” girl cats. Besides that, they’re fixed and I presume they’re happy with their natural attire.

Is Cookie imparting some sage advice to Mimi as the older kitty to the next generation? Are they sharing stories of life on the streets?

Are they plotting a takeover of the kitchen and all the food within it? Should I worry?

Do you suppose I ever reclaimed my cookbook? Yes, I did, and we even managed to make an apple crisp that day, with Cookie’s assistance, as you can see below.

This photo is sweeter to me now than it was when I took it, and it was darned sweet then; it’s one of the photos I took of Cookie mentoring Mimi during her last year. Mimi is clearly intent on taking in everything Cookie has to impart to her.

Mimi assumed the role with grace and confidence, but even until we lost Cookie in February 2012 I had no idea which kitty, if any, would step up and manage my life as Cookie had for nearly 20 years. And while Mimi is now familiar as my closest feline companion out of all in my household at this moment, in 2011 when I took this photo she was still reticent, staying in the background of her children and her elders, not wanting any special attention. Little did I know that she and Cookie had been meeting regularly and I need not have spent a moment wondering.

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

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.

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.

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 whenever she could as soon as she entered the house, but never wanted to interfere in any way with Cookie’s relationship with me. 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.

. . . . . . .

Cookie’s Ready to Start Baking, 2011

 

tortoiseshell cat on cookbook
Cookie’s ready to start baking!

Well, look at those bright eyes! I remember this day, a wonderful winter Sunday afternoon with, of course, Cookie in the kitchen as well as everyone else.

Good, let her peel those apples and pears!

Cookie continues her kitchen exploits as I get things ready to make an apple and pear crisp this morning.

Cookie did what most cats do when they want to be a part of something you’re doing—she sat on the nearest piece of reading material, in this case the big old binder of copied and handwritten recipes I keep. I know she’s unaware she’s hanging off the counter, but I don’t think she really cares, she’s ready for action! I could just picture the fruit and enamel pan suddenly flying into the air as Cookie and the cookbook headed for the floor. Didn’t stop me from grabbing my camera first, though.

tortoiseshell cat sleeping on cookbook
Cookie naps on the cookbook.

She fell asleep long before the crisp was done, though, enjoying a nice nap in the warm sunny kitchen. I didn’t need the recipe, I know it by heart. Heaven forbid I move her when she’s settled.

She set a bad example for all the others, though, as they all gathered around the cabinet where I work; Kelly is on the refrigerator and Mewsette is on one of the cabinets. I also ended up working on a very small space next to my sink since every time I turned around there was a different arrangement of cats on the cabinet and table and I felt black cat hairs wouldn’t take the place of the raisins I thought I had. Cookie, though blurry, looks a little annoyed at the others taking a part of her turf.

five cats in kitchen
Five cats just hanging around.

Actually, we all had a lovely morning in the kitchen as I made the crisp and finished putting things away into the new cabinet I’d moved in the night before. There’s something about a weekend morning kitchen that’s welcoming and comforting with a warm oven, fresh baked goods, watching the birds outside, just spending some relaxed time. I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen as working with my hands is usually a prelude to creative work, and I’ve always noticed that whenever I spend time cooking or baking, listening to a recorded book or singing along with the radio all the cats have always joined me. It’s a wonderful memory.

Later I had a nice warm piece of the crisp and Kelly shared my vanilla ice cream.

Click here to pull together other posts featuring In the Kitchen with Cookie.

Kelly in Garden Corner, March 15, 2003

tortoiseshell cat on windowsill
Kelly peeking at me around the corner.

Kelly enjoyed this windowsill from the very beginning of her time outside the foster room. I featured a vintage photo of her birdwatching at this window from around that time earlier this year, and have many others as well, including one from another year below.

tortoiseshell cat on windowsill
How about a little relaxed cheek rub?

She was pretty confident by this time and I love her relaxed expression peeking around the corner at me, creating the purrfect composition of shape and colors.

tortoiseshell cat on windowsill
Look at those ears!

Kelly played along with me as I walked around her on the landing, taking yet more photos!

tortoiseshell cat on windowsill
Little Kelly in the corner.

I loved having my garden of houseplants on top of the wardrobe, and they could still sleep among them. They loved the garden too.

tortoiseshell cat on windowsill
Peeking around the philodendron.

 

. . . . . . .

Cookie, Namir, Lucy, Peaches, 2007

Namir, Cookie and Lucy enjoying the window while I enjoy them.
Namir, Cookie and Lucy enjoying the window while I enjoy them.

It’s not the clearest photo because that Olympus digital was ready to give it up, but I know I loved the color and the atmosphere of these three on the table by the window. My jade and begonias and croton added color along with the bird feeder outside the window, and it looks so warm and pretty.

When I scrolled past it on the way to something else recently I decided I had to feature it, along with a number of other photos from the same day, March 13, 2007, and another day is below. I do this now, just carry the camera around and take photos, then when I go back to look at them it’s like a time capsule. At this time in 2007, we had just lost Stanley at age 25, and before him Sophie, Cream and Moses; with Mr. Peach (below), there were six cats in the house. A very rough time was about to come, and these beautiful days were like magic.

Cookie camouflaged between the deck rails, or so she thinks.

Cookie camouflaged.
Cookie camouflaged.

Peaches and Namir looking out the door at us. Peaches wanted me to come back in and give her a snack, then sit down so she could curl up on my lap. Namir may have been outdoors with us earlier, I’m not sure why he was indoors, but he looks okay with that.

When are you coming in so I can nap on your lap?
When are you coming in so I can nap on your lap?

Mr. Peach, who I fostered for a friend for several months so her husband could see if his sinus issues were a cat allergy—they would take Mr. Peach back one way or the other, and they did, but his absence didn’t have any impact on the sinus issues. It was nice to have a big orange boy in the house for a while.

Mr. Peach, who I fostered for a friend.
Mr. Peach, who I fostered for a friend.

Namir having a bath on the table. I think I’d wanted to get a bigger shot of this, possibly for a painting, but the zoom would sometimes get stuck on that camera. It resulted in an interesting shot, though.

Namir having a bath on the table.
Namir having a bath on the table.

And a bonus shot of Namir’s nose. He had to sniff the camera lens as often as possible. I have a lot of Namir noses.

Namir's nose.
Namir’s nose.

Below is another time capsule from the same year…

From the Archives: A Sunny Morning, March 25, 2007

Lucy, Peaches and Namir on the table, another view.
Lucy, Peaches and Namir on the table, another view.

Lucy, Namir and Peaches had their sites staked out on the kitchen table on this bright and sunny March morning, but the fun continued upstairs on the landing. Here, aside from me standing in front of her, Lucy is watching birds out the dining room window. Namir is facing out the front door which is in the next room. Peaches is sitting near the stove and counter from whence the food arrives. Breakfast is over, but she also knows she might get an extra little serving because she’s a little old lady, and I love her to pieces.

A little later Namir and Lucy follow me upstairs, or probably Namir follows me and Lucy follows Namir, but in any case we join Cookie upstairs on the sunny landing. They are nearly camouflaged in the way the sunlight falls and then breaks up in random patterns and I know that’s why I took this photo, because they are there, and not there. Cookie is on the left, Namir is in the top center looking at Lucy in the bottom right.

Cookie, Lucy and Namir on the landing.
Cookie, Lucy and Namir on the landing.

And on the windowsill a moment later was Kelly, to round out the full complement of cats in my house at that time.

Kelly on the windowsill
Kelly on the windowsill

Most of the time I’ve lived with cats I’ve had nine cats, which always seemed to be my magic number, but really I rarely had fewer than seven. The previous year at this time I’d had eight, but then I’d lost Moses and Cream and Sophie and Stanley, and gained Lucy, who joined Cookie and Kelly and Namir and Peaches. After all the losses in the previous year I was getting used to the smaller size of my household, resting after all that had happened, knowing the universe would bring me more cats if I was meant to have them, as I always said. And we were simply enjoying a sunny morning in March, they enjoying the sun, and I enjoying capturing their images.

The old Olympus point and shoot digital was good for its day but never my favorite, not handling color well and especially not contrasts, a think a totally loved in my photos, so shadows are filled with no detail and highlights are overexposed with no detail, but the essence is there. I took a number of close up photos and caught Namir and Cookie, dozing in the warm sunshine through the tall casement at the top of the stairs, warming the wood boards of the floor, possibly the coziest spot in the entire house.

Namir
Namir

I adore Cookie’s little nose and all her freckles.

Cookie's profile.
Cookie’s profile.

And a sweet photo of Lucy with a very mature feline expression, “Yes?” Such a little girl, she was just about to turn one year old. Our time had gone so fast and much was taken by all our recent losses, but a sunny morning was a sunny morning to enjoy.

Yes?
Yes?

Of course, less than a month later, Lucy would be diagnosed with FIP, and while it took me completely by surprise, having seen no symptoms of anything until she began showing lethargy after her surgery, I can see in photos like this one and others from this time that she wasn’t quite the same energetic kitten she had been, for instance, in January in the photo “Lucy’s Garden” just two months before. She wasn’t as active, her eyes weren’t as round, she didn’t look as robust as she had. All my other cats at the time were old, and all the caretaking had make me forget what kittens were like and that at the great age of one they should still be flying about with toys and annoying their elder brothers. I thought Lucy was just maturing.

Noticing wouldn’t have made any difference anyway, so I could just love her as the new life of my household. We had our time together to work and bond even after her diagnosis, and she and the universe did bring me the cats I needed later that year, in late July.

Kitty Visitors to the Deck, 2005

cat inside watching cat outside
Look at the top of the steps between the flower pots.

Wait, look a little closer over the top step, between the flower pots. Cookie has her eyes on this kitty! From March 17, 2005.

Mid-March 2005 was apparently a good time to visit our deck! I remember a few more than these, and not just that year, but I actually got photos of these kitties. I pretty much knew where they came from, or at least why they were there, and spring was always the big time for them to show up. The kitty above is Moon, who lived in the same house as Mimi. She had one or two litters of two kittens each year, and at some point quit giving birth in the house as in the summer she moved in under my deck and I socialized Thistle and Sputnik and surrendered them to Animal Friends. I was working with her people…patiently, and at least they gave me the kittens so that I could rehome them or surrender them safely to the Humane Society. So Cookie actually knew Moon because she stopped over now and then and, like Mimi, Cookie and others would have seen her outside the basement door too.

cat inside watching cat outside
Moses is keeping watch on this guy.

Now this guy! Moses has her eyes on him because she wanted to go outside, even though it was still cool on March 14, 2005. The sun was bright and she was ready for her sunbath, but she was also 18 years old and the arthritis in her hips and hind legs really hobbled her so encountering another cat, especially an intact male on the prowl for a good time, was not something she needed to engage in.

male tuxedo cat
He’s looking for action.

I remember seeing him around, and the kittens he begat. That build and face mask were easy to identify as I picked up litters of kittens, and may have been the father of some of Mimi’s kittens, or grandfather. There’s something about him that’s always made me think of Jelly Bean, those wide-set ears and shorter legs, and the genetics of black fur and his white patches would have produced a black kitten with white spots.

He might have been visiting because Moon was also showing up around that time. He was quite the cat around town for a couple of years, and then he disappeared. I didn’t have a trap on hand to be able to take action when he showed up, and by the time I borrowed one from Agway he was gone. And I couldn’t feed around my house because Stanley…peed on all the doors and everything around them whenever he saw another cat outside, even out in the yard. So I couldn’t lure the guy here, either. I just hope either his people finally got him neutered, or someone at least TNRd him.

Photos From the Archives are digital photos taken before I began blogging, and Vintage Photos are from my film archives back to 1983 when I purchased my Pentax K-1000 camera.


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painting of cat behind flowers
The Purrfect Camouflage, 11 x 16, pastel © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I still remember deciding to photograph the flowers for just that reason, and looking at them, then surprised to see Sophie looking back at me when she sat up a little taller. Of course, the subject of the proposed painting changed from the flowers to Sophie. Read more and purchase.


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Bernadette

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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