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From the Archives: Quizzical Tabby, 2010

tabby cat on windowsill
He always had the cutest head tilt.

I find cats who use their natural ability to tilt their head to fullest manipulative effect irresistible. Dickie always knew when to turn that on, and exactly what it did to me, so he pulled it all the time.

I fostered him for one of my nieces for a year, and after some initial timidity, surprising because he is a really big cat, he fell right in with The Four Housecats of the Apocalypse. He was about their age, at that time about three years old, and he was so good-natured everyone got along fine. “Everyone” included Mimi as well as Peaches, Cookie, Kelly and Namir, so it was quite a full house.

tabby cat on windowsill
Dickie straightens it up.

It’s funny, because just before she asked me if I could foster him, I had been thinking how nice it would be if a big tabby cat came along as a foster. I was missing Stanley, and Moses was a tabby too though she was gray, but I loved the patterns and the way the stripes and darks and lights outlined their features. And here came this big friendly guy. How did his head tilt affect me? I took about 20 photos of him on this windowsill, just looking at me, looking around, being a really sweet cat.

He was feeling a little giddy because there was snow outside the window!

tabby cat on windowsill


Photos from the archives in previous years

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.

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Artwork from Portraits of Animals!

“Stripes”, pencil, 8″ x 5″, 2002 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Stripes”, pencil, 8″ x 5″, 2002 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This is a daily sketch from many years ago, at another time when I did daily sketches. Stanley settled on the pillow on the recamier for his after-breakfast nap and I simply grabbed my pencil and sketchbook and swung around in my desk chair and got it down on paper. Read more and order.


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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Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

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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.

One thought on “From the Archives: Quizzical Tabby, 2010

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