For many years Moses was my backyard cat. Even in winter she would insist on going out on the deck on sunny mornings, and as soon as snow or ice cleared she liked to take a little walk. I knew her arthritis was painful and she wouldn’t tolerate supplements; beyond that there wasn’t much pain relief available for her. But her daily thermonuclear treatments really did help her, and she thoroughly enjoyed them. The gentle walks around the yard, up and down the steps to the deck, helped to exercise her joints.
This would be Moses’ last spring, though I didn’t know it at the time. She was 18 years old, and unless you saw her somewhat hobbled gait you’d never know she was that old. She was a little dehydrated, indicated by her slightly clumpy fur, and I was giving her occasional doses of subcutaneous fluids. Her weight was good, her appetite was excellent, and she managed her day for her comfort.
I enjoyed our alone time, and this special time she and I shared outside each morning and sometimes afternoon. The more I was learning about feline behavior and about feral cats the more I understood this gentle quiet cat I’d lived with for those 18 years, but not known some of the basics of her behavior. I had always simply considered her a quiet cat, not realizing that feral cats didn’t meow and were often very hard to read, not communicating in the same way as my socialized cats.
But I had come to learn Moses’ signs of happiness: closing her eyes then looking at me and blinking, emitting a soft, breathy purr while breathing a little more rapidly than usual, and swishing her tail back and forth. Here she sat on the bottom step, the sun on her back and hips, slowing closing and opening her eyes and purring, and there was that tail. It looks like a pleasant morning, not unlike today when I was outside with Mimi, except it’s a lot neater in the photo and Mimi and I will get to that. I stood off to the side and took a photo of Moses every so often as we simply, quietly, enjoyed it.
Earlier I had taken photos of her sleeping on the mat outside the back door, in the sun on the deck, something she loved to do first thing in the morning. One of the ways I know these photos were taken at about this time were the forsythia, the first forget-me-nots seen in the bottom of the photo above, and the fact I also took a digital photo of her on the mat on this same day, seen in yesterday’s “from the archive” post. I guess I couldn’t stop photographing her.
Vintage photos from other years
Those Were the Days, 1998
Sophie is comfortably perched on the computer monitor watching me work from a convenient vantage point. Loafing with her paws tucked under, nice and cozy on one of those old heat-producing monitors, she could stay there all day, or all night as it were at this time in my career because I was still working my day job at this point so I was likely working on a freelance project. At least she was polite enough to keep her big fluffy tail out of the way. Pretty Sophie, she was always near me, and that meant that Cookie was probably there too, probably on my desk, because at this point Sophie and Cookie were a team, keeping the human at work.
Those were the days of gearing up for leaving the day job, and I had about as much work freelance as I did at my day job. That was quite a schedule to keep up with, and I was always glad for my feline supervisors all over my desk or drafting table as I worked my way to my freedom from a day job.
Remember those big old clunky computer monitors that were about 21″ deep front to back? And, the household felines would remind you, nice and warm? They were the purrfect spot for the snoopervisor to observe the human’s production, even better than today because kitty could look down on the human. Yessss.
And the artwork on the walls—there is “Sleeping Beauty” above and to the right, where she had been from the time I moved into this house. Below and to the right is the edge of “Sunbath”, and it’s still in that spot today. The other paintings are ones I sold not long after, one a polar bear and one some flowers.
Other April Vintage Photos Shared
My Studio Window, Spring 1995
My first black cat, Kublai, sits on the windowsill in the sun in my studio, watching me work, sometime in March or April 1995.
Seeing my cats on the windowsill of the room I designated as my studio has been a view I’ve enjoyed since I moved in here. It’s my spare bedroom, and though it hasn’t always been completely an art studio as it is now for all that time, it was always my room for creative work. And my cats have always been available for supervisory duties. And as we know, seeing my cats in the sun has also inspired a lot of artwork.
It’s also one of the sunniest rooms in the house, especially when I first moved in and hadn’t planted my river birches near the corner of the house to give light shade to the room. My spruce, just outside, was then, as now, an avian high-rise, but was young enough to have green branches all around where now a good bit of the shaded sides are bare of needles.
But watching my cats sunbathe was always one of my favorite things to see, as I looked up from whatever I was doing to see one or more on the windowsill. I have very few photos of Kublai because he was usually riding around on my shoulders or he sat next to me in whatever I was doing, so these good photos are precious. And on this date not only did I have my heart cat there to observe, but in the photo above you’ll see there is another cat to the right of him.
Never far from me then or any time later in all the 20 years she was with me, Cookie, likely learning from Kublai as the one to grow into his spot as my best friend a year or so after he left us, and always near. And both still near, in my heart.
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.
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My garden kitty, Moses, enjoys her morning nap on the bricks in the shade of the beans, mid-morning in September. 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!