Yes, before my studio was filled with housepanthers, it was managed by two tortie girls. I “reclaimed” it in 2011 as my studio since it had become a repository for boxes of paperwork and things I had no space for. I cleaned out everything that had been in there, some since I’d moved in here, covered the random wood floor with heavier flooring, painted the walls, and moved in the tables and shelves and storage cabinets that got me started in there, and it’s been my studio ever since.
That was the last summer for both Cookie and Kelly, and both were feeling their ages, 19 and 18, respectively, to a certain extent. Because the rest of the house had gotten so crowded with boxes of paperwork (medical, insurance and legal for both my mother and my brother along with my own business papers), they needed a quiet place to spend a part of each day so I encouraged them to join me in there, and fed them their “senior lunch special” of raw food in the room. Both of them seemed to appreciate the time away from the “kids”, at that time just Mimi and the Four. I loved being able to spend that quiet time with them too. We had no idea what the future would bring, but we enjoyed all we could and kept them as healthy as possible.
Here is what I said in 2011:
My studio supervisors arrive at work before me! I’m working on starting the day in my studio when my eyes are rested and I have daylight to work with instead of ending it there and working too late into the night.
My tortie girls agree! They’ve been staying up all night with me for more years than they want to remember—after all, they have to supervise me or how could I get any artwork done? The most important role they serve is sleeping on my lap or next to my feet as I stand at my worktable so that I need to stay put and therefore get work done. One would never get up or move while a cat is sleeping.
The younger ones have something to learn from keeping me under control, perhaps someday one of them will show some potential.
Cookie has had a lifelong role in what I do, and this will clarify what she does: I Will Never Get to Retire.
As for that line about one of the younger ones showing potential, I think Mimi has more than fulfilled the role of keeping me under control.
A Day in the Lives, August 22, 2005
A Saturday like today, and not much unusual about it. The light and temperature reminded me of mornings like this one as I looked out onto the deck and saw the yellow sun angled in that special way, quiet, pleasant, sweet. I’ve featured the first few photos of Moses and Stanley on the deck in another post, but when I looked through my digital files I realized we had quite a day of happy cat activities, just like a Caturday should be.
Above, Moses and Stanley at ages 19 and 23 started us off after breakfast. Normally it was only Moses, but Stanley wanted out too, and both waited at the door until I could go out with them. Moses would sit there and look determinedly at the door and the sun just outside that she’d like to nap in until I got with the program and opened the door, and we went outside. Moses had quite a bit of arthritis, and so conserved her movements and also looked forward to her daily thermonuclear treatment out in the fresh air. Not so much Stanley, who paced.
Moses greets Stanley with an expression of sisterly concern. Stanley was wandering around the deck, Moses just wanted him to settle down so she could have her thermonuclear treatment and nap. But he was wandering toward her and sometimes she could settle him down.
Moses was 19 and the gentlest former feral I’ve ever known, Stanley was 23 and sometimes a little anxious. They were out on the deck on an August morning enjoying the warm sunshine, letting it warm up their old bones, and getting some fresh air and exercise. The sun shone right into the deck on a summer morning, warming the wood and the air, and a kitty could get really comfortable.
Stanley didn’t want to be out for too long, so he headed back to the door to stand and wait for it to magically open. Sophie was sitting inside watching me and likely a bird on the deck, and talking about it. Moses is just waiting for some peace and quiet to have her nap.
Then, all other cats indoors and just Moses and me outdoors, she finishes her nap, though she wishes I’d quit pointing that thing at her.
Back inside and Stanley is already sacked out on his pillow on the recamier. I had to be careful to watch he didn’t slide off headfirst because he often settled down right where he’d jumped up there, and as he relaxed he’d start to slide over the rounded edge. He really looked like the old man with wrinkled pajamas when he slept like this. (Yes, I really needed to clean the furs off the pillow too!)
I still spent time at my computer, even on a Saturday, because I often had to catch up with work if needs for my mother and brother had taken a good bit of time during the week. Of course, I had to have at least one feline to keep at least one eye on me, one of the reasons I always loved the big corner desk. I had no problem (have no problem) covering it with papers and stuff, but for most of the time I’ve had it (25 years), it’s amply accommodated my big household of cats. If you look behind Sophie, you’ll see I even had photos of them on my desk.
And sometimes those days were very, very long. Later….much later, like 4:18 a.m. Sunday, I’m just about ready to finish working. but two of my steadfast felines are still with me, Namir and Cookie. I never took them for granted, but I never really thought about what those long days and nights would be like without a feline to share the time. I would have been very lonely, I’m sure. No doubt they recognized that.
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.
Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
My Tortie Girls Block Prints from Portraits of Animals!
These two tortoiseshell cats are Cookie and Kelly, both rescued and fostered, but who ended up staying with me for most of their long lives. They were both inspirations for many works through the years, but this set of linoleum block prints is actually my favorite depiction of them. 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!