Happy Independence Day! Mimi, this morning, age 15. Whenever I ask her to pose she always makes me take a bunch of bad photos and threatens to leave first, then she finds her own poses and I get a bunch of better photos. We both enjoy our independence. Below are a few others I took at the same time, and some I shared on Instagram, and below that—what we did when the real feel temperature was 105! (I’m working on catching up, just a few days behind.)
Napping with frozen soup
July 4 was the 6th day in a row of temperatures 93 degrees and above, and the temperature that day was 95. I don’t complain about the weather, I’m pretty much game for whatever happens unless it’s destructive. Excessive heat is annoying, but around here it usually only lasts two or three days. I started out working outdoors each morning, then coming in to shower and cool off, but by the end of six days with nighttime temperatures in the upper 70s I just couldn’t cool off anymore.
But I was more worried about my cats. The real feel for temperatures in weather like that are usually +10 degrees. 105 degrees with fur is unbearable, and I started to see the effects of heat stress in nearly all of them by then, a little panting, some pacing, Mimi was again insistent to go out. The rest were enjoying the cool basement, but I have no idea why Mimi, Sienna and Giuseppe needed to be in the kitchen. All three would pant for a few seconds, squirm around and look apparently uncomfortable. To cool them down you can use some rubbing alcohol on their paws, and you can also put something cool near or against their abdomen, the warmest part of the body. Usually this is frozen water bottles that you can like along their torso, but I didn’t have any frozen ones on hand. I did, however, have quarts of soup that I had in the freezer, so I set one near each kitty’s belly to radiate cool while they were lying down. Giuseppe got an extra pint because he’s extra large. It seemed to work! Sienna decidedly relaxed, and Mimi had a nap. Giuseppe had a rest.
Independence Day Through the Years
Bonne Fêtes Nationales, 2013
Of course the holiday wouldn’t be complete without the cross-border lovers and their international roles in memory of Mlle. They so enjoyed writing florid Victorian-style letters to each other, sometimes the poets, sometimes the artists, sometimes the bonneted Mlle. Daisy Emerald and the beplumed Giuseppe Verdi in their Revolutionary roles. Mlle. Daisy’s mama and I imagined them as two lovers living far apart, divided by a country’s border, a revolution, and the fact that neither of them has a passport.
She also told us Mlle. looked much like Mewsette, so Mewsette was a stand-in model for my digital illustration of the two of them in period clothing, the bonneted, beautiful and brave Mlle. and the dashing, daring Giuseppe in a beret with white plume (though I dare say Mlle. would be the braver in battle, since G. disappears when a loud vehicle goes down the street). I pulled the fireworks from my photos of our local events, and the chapeaux from my photos of various reenactors, and layered and blended and applied a painterly and a canvas texture filter in Photoshop.
For the fête nationale of both countries in 2013 Mlle. Daisy Emerald and her mama had just moved and there was a new kitty in the mix, Theophile, another house panther who was making fast friends with Mr. Sunshine as the two chatted about managing their households and being natural born engineers with a love of tools.
But Mlle.’s mama and I still envisioned the feline lovers as hero and heroine in any number of historic or operatic scenarios, and with both national celebrations so close together the two become stand-ins for historic characters.
Giuseppe & Mr. Sunshine,
Mlle and Theophile have asked me to send this message to Mlle’s Giuseppe and Theophile’s new pal Mr. Sunshine…. Happy 4th of July to you both and to your Mama Mimi, your brother Jelly Bean and sister Mewsette. And special wishes to your lovely Mama Bernadette and the Seniors, Lakota and JoJo.
Mlle and Theophile would have sent messages in their own words but they have found the excitement of hearing about the Water Street Bunnies exhausting and have fallen asleep on the sofa after a fine summer chicken dinner.
Their Mama is waiting for Papa to finish preparing salads and bowls of berries for the old folks’ evening meal.
In slumber, love from Mlle Daisy Emerald & Theophile. purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr xo.
Read about Mlle. Daisy Emerald and the long-distance affaire between the mature French-Canadian feline lady and the young American opera star.
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Independence Day with Stanley, 2006
Stanley is a little sleepy but we wanted to send you wishes for a nice Independence Day, even if you’re not American! We hope everyone manages to get through the official and unofficial fireworks displays, keeps out of grills and doesn’t eat too much of anything they aren’t supposed to.
I am thankful to the people who risked their lives and fought the Revolution and on this day declared our independence from the influences of Great Britain and Europe declaring that in this new land we would do things a little differently, and that about 100 years ago my grandparents, all four of them, found a way to get to this country and make new and better lives for themselves so that on a quiet morning in July 2006 I could sit on the deck of my house and take photos of my cat in peace and freedom.
You’ve seen photos similar to this one, and indeed I took a number of photos of Stanley that morning intending to do something with them some day. I took this one intentionally so the flag would be part of the photo but Stanley wasn’t sitting any taller than this no matter how I tried to cajole him to pose sitting up with the flag behind him—he was about 24 years old.
And you may have also seen the sketch, “Stanley With Geraniums”, which was one of the pieces of artwork I’d planned on creating from the photos I’d taken that day. This was the featured artwork and desktop calendar for July 2013 and yesterday’s daily sketch, based on this photo.
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Celebrating Independence Day With Cookie, 2009
And a few years later, 2009 to be exact, I had a different table on that corner of the deck, and Cookie was supervising me.
Above is how I typically spend my Independence Day—not that I don’t enjoy picnics and fireworks and all the usual celebratory things, but it’s all about independence, right? So I and my cats do as we please, and for me that usually entails working on a creative project (even if it’s technically work), listening to music or a recorded story or something engrossing on the radio, and spending time with my cats, who also enjoy as much independence as they want every day of the year.
I am “technically” working today as well, on a number of creative projects, but today I am inside and Mimi is watching over me.
Happy Independence Day to all our American cats, and have a nice day to everyone else!
Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals!
It’s one of our backyard bunnies. I’d been watching them since early morning in my yard and the neighbor’s, the grass bright green and the sun shining warm through their tall ears, and decided I’d eventually do a sketch of them, too, back in the days of my daily cat sketches. Maybe I’ll even sketch that pesky squirrel too… 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!