Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Milan and Felix, Two Happy Rescues

portrait of two cats
“Milan and Felix”, pastel, 22″ x 15″, 2005 © B.E. Kazmarski

I received word last week from one of my portrait families that they had lost Milan in his years-long battle with diabetes. I’m always honored to be included on the list of those who receive the news, and I often hear how glad the family is that they have their portrait. Whether you have a portrait or a favorite photo, whatever image you use to share with the world to remember your animal companion, it is as I always say about my images of my cats, giving them that edge of immortality, to be remembered as they were in life though they are no longer with us.

How sweet are these two buddies?

After his owner went into a nursing home Milan found himself at Animal Friends in Pittsburgh. His mom, who volunteered there, noticed the shy tabby and white cat and took him home for a cage break. He blossomed and she and her husband fell in love with his big personality; cage break was over as he became permanent. Felix was found wandering in the neighborhood between Christmas and New Years about a year later with no collar and no microchip; neighbors agreed that he had just appeared about a week before. His people took him in and got him on the wait list for Animal Friends. Three weeks later when Animal Friends called and said there was room for him at the shelter he had already worked his way into their hearts and made best friends with Milan—no shelter for Felix! He had chosen the right home to wander by; cats always know.

This is Milan and Felix’s story in Great Rescues.

two cats on deck
Milan and Felix enjoy the deck in June 2011.

Some time after the two cats had come together in the house, their mom noticed Milan wasn’t walking quite right, especially in using his hind legs. Milan was diagnosed with diabetes so she gave him insulin shots and he was fine with it—no one would ever know. Diabetes is not difficult to treat but can be a challenge because of testing and needles. This didn’t bother their mom, so Milan certainly chose the best people to impress! He survived eight years with a great quality of life.

About Milan and Felix and their people

Their rescuers, Missy and Vic, won a portrait certificate in the Animal Friends benefit auction. They’d won a portrait from another artist a few years before and had two other cats done, and it was actually Milan’s diabetes diagnosis that gave them the idea to have a portrait done of the two of them in 2005. I remember looking at photos and planning the composition to show the best angles of their faces and all the best markings on each of them, Milan’s distinctive white areas and Felix’s many bracelets and necklaces.

detail of portrait
Detail of Felix’s face.

And I was fascinated with what Missy did with her purses and quilts; you can read more about Missy and Vic in Creating With Cats: Quilted Kitties for Fun and Charity.

I loved this portrait of Milan and Felix because the two of them, with their everyday markings and casual postures, could be any two cats in any household, a couple of rescued cats enjoying their day.

detail of portrait
Detail of Felix’s face.

This was one of the portraits I had to re-photograph when I discovered my image from a few years before wasn’t up to current reproduction standards, but no matter, I enjoyed meeting the two and their mom again, and their doggy sister Murphy as well. Unfortunately, the details aren’t quite what they could be.

So we’ll remember Milan and send healing thoughts to Missy, Vic, Felix and Murphy.



Take a look at other portraits and read other stories

Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.

Read about how I create commissioned portraits.

Commissioned Cat Portraits

portrait of black cat on wicker chair
Samantha, pastel, 1994 © B.E. Kazmarski
Commissioned Dog Portraits

portrait of two dogs
Sophie and Ellie, pastel, 2009 © B.E. Kazmarski
Portraits of
My Cats

pastel painting of cat on table
After Dinner Nap, pastel, 1996 © B.E. Kazmarski

Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.

Download a Brochure

cover of brochure
My Portraits Brochure

My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.


Purchase a Gift Certificate

sample portrait certificate
Sample Commissioned Portrait Certificate

I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.

The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.

I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.

Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.

Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.

You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.

Enter the recipient’s name
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You only need to enter an address if it is different from the address I’ll receive through PayPal. These are often surprise gifts and need to be shipped away from the home address to make sure they are a surprise.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


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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