Stanley is letting me know that it’s time to come in and sit down so he can sleep on my lap, right after he has a few bites from a little can of something really tasty along with a few pieces of real baked chicken thigh. That’s how it was at this point at his great age of 24. He called the shots, and I did what he said.
He’s blinking his eyes at the sunlight, and his hips are sagging a little, but for his age he looks great.
Photos from the Archives Shared in Previous years
The Garden Party, April 2009
Over a decade ago five-year-old Mimi and 17-year-old Cookie enjoyed the warm spring sun as they sat in our indoor garden, wordlessly conversing as cats do. Cookie told Mimi how she, too, had kept a distance, feeling sure she was going to end up back outside, the same as Mimi felt. That wasn’t at all what happened, and, in fact, Cookie could see Mimi’s destiny as the lead feline in the household and keeper of the human.
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, and I treasure this photo, Cookie at 17 and Mimi a mere 5 years old. At that time, Mimi was still a little distant, as if she expected to be put back outside at some point, deferring to the cuteness of her young adult children. I like to think that Cookie was not only giving Mimi some reassurance that she was not going anywhere, but that Cookie herself was passing along sage advice to Mimi about being the lead feline in the household.
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.
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 as soon as she entered the house, but 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.
Read more about Cookie, and why she’d be the one to pass the wand along to Mimi.
From the Archives: Tortie Camouflage, 2010
Tortoiseshell cats can be camouflaged against many backgrounds with all their irregular speckles and dots. This photo of Cookie taken in the spring of 2010 truly shows her ability to blend into her background as her orange and tan blend with last year’s leaves and her green eyes blend with the spring’s new growth. I could not love her more.
I didn’t find the photo of Cookie, above, until 2013—I guess I found it when I needed to. Truly she is camouflaged! The photo is actually from March 22, 2010, and here’s what I had to say that day, interestingly very much like the day Mimi and I had out in the yard on Saturday:
And it’s also been unusually cold in the past few weeks, and where I usually have peas, lettuce and potatoes planted—and I’ve often been eating meals outdoors—my soil is still frozen. Heading out in the yard in the spring has always been a celebration with whichever kitties were headed out there with me, and I’ve also included some photos from the same day outdoors.
Cookie inspects my lettuce planting. Apparently it was done properly because for once she did not see the need to walk over the soil.
“Don’t tell me I’m too old to be walking on the deck railing!” Cookie gives me a little sass—a lot of sass—about whether or not she should be walking on a narrow piece of wood about ten feet above the ground. She always had good sense, and when she became a little steady in her last year she quit prancing on the catwalk.
Just a nice photo of Cookie looking out into the yard with the daffodils just about to bloom in the background. Yes, daffodils are among plants toxic to cats, and I always worked to lure Cookie away from them lest she bite their fronds.
“Put the camera down and come and eat lunch.” Cookie waits on the picnic table next to my soup and salad while I’m still wandering around the yard photographing…things. It was an overcast day, but there was so much to see out there. Yet Cookie was always looking out for what was best for me, and trying to keep me in line.
Cookie and Namir and Me, 2009
Cookie and Namir and I share some time at the picnic table on April 24, 2009. I was having lunch so I know it was a weekday, they were enjoying the outdoors. I took this photo with my little digital point and shoot in three parts and stitched them together—an early selfie. It’s one of the photos I recall each time Mimi and I are at the picnic table. Below are a few photos of each of them from that afternoon, and at the end is a photo of both of them completely sacked out on lap when I went back in to work on the computer.
Cookie has it made in the shade.
Namir is on the other bench.
He found he had to inspect the lettuce seedlings. Really, he loved to balance along the bricks. Notice his right leg has a shaved patch. He’d been in the emergency/specialty clinic for a little tune-up a few days before, and for the first time in all the years had been diagnosed with HCM the medications and treatments didn’t remove the fluids from around his heart overnight and he had to stay for an extra day. That didn’t stop him from enjoying out time outdoors.
Does that mean we have to go in?
Later, both of them were totally sacked out back to back on my lap as I tried my best to work on my computer. I didn’t mind them, I loved the moment.
From the Archives in Previous years
Mark and Cookie, April 2010
I treasure these photos of my brother with Cookie from 2010. Ostensibly, they are both helping me in the garden on an April afternoon, but this is usually how it worked out. Cookie’s conquest actually happened in several steps and I have four of them here.
My brother loved landscaping and often picked up jobs with landscapers. After his accident, when he went to the community college for job training, he trained in landscaping and janitorial services. He couldn’t do anything heavy but he could get some work done. He would stop over a few times a week to help in my garden, but he always needed supervision, and frequent breaks. In truth, he never got much done, but he felt good about it, and I liked to see him get out of his apartment and visit. We always had a meal too. But by 2010, a decade after his accident, he was seriously slowing down.
Cookie was always aware of how people felt. She left supervising me and went to sit with her back to Mark because she knew it would get his attention. It did; he started petting her immediately.
She turned around to enjoy the petting.
And this is my favorite photo, and this is where it falls in the series. It just said so much about each of them, Cookie always friendly and confident, my brother gentle and affectionate. I love the moment when Cookie lifts a paw to step on his lap and he is just about to gently pet her with that big beefy hand.
And of course, Cookie gets his lap.
. . . . . . .
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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One of my favorite photos of Stanley from August 2006, it was his last summer with me, he was about 24 years old, needing a little supportive care but still enjoying his time outdoors with me and every moment of every day besides that. Read more and order a print or a greeting card.
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!