Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Vintage Photo: That Certain Black Cat, c. 1993

black cat rolling on floor
Kublai being silly on the landing.

I turned around to see three black cats lazing about in the sun on the landing, and came around to a memory of another black cat in the sun on that landing, more than 20 years ago. I pulled out the envelope of photos I’d collected of Kublai for his portrait and there he was, once again, his mahogany highlights bright, his fur shining, his silly activities a joy, but his attention often focused on me so that I always remember his face, though it’s hard to see here. I don’t have too many photos of him because he was usually draped around my shoulders or relaxed in my arms, and I was glad to have caught his little performance in the sun on this particular day.

He unrolled himself to fill the sunny area and looked full at me. Was I paying attention to what a fine performance he was giving? Of course, I could hardly take my eyes off him.

black cat on landing
Kublai stretches out to see if I’m watching; on the steps, you can see Stanley.

In the background, on the steps, you see Stanley lurking, uncertain if he should approach the master and interfere in this moment. Funny to think of Stanley as being barely in double digits in age at that time, still a little fearful though he observed Kublai all the time and eventually had the moment of confidence he dreamed of.

I got up, probably nudged my toes into Kublai’s belly, and went into the bathroom to take some more photos because that is what is next on the roll of film. And those photos became this.

portrait of black cat on floor
Are You Looking At Me? pastel, 17″ x 22″, 2005 © B.E. Kazmarski

I know one of the reasons I thought of the photos out of the blue was that the light on the landing was very much the same, and there were black cats sitting in it. It was also because I lost Kublai on September 19, I was sitting in the studio practically in the spot where I’d said goodbye to him, and the light always brings that morning back, and that is okay. His loss changed me in so many ways, most of them good ways. The time is always too short, the confusion from the lack of his diagnosis was painful, but he knew that he had done his work with me, and so did I.

He led me to save the lives of many other cats of all colors and patterns, to a body of work that focuses on what cats are and what they bring to our lives, and eventually to the family of black cats who share my life today.

black cats in sunlight
Black cats in the light.


Thirty-three years ago Kublai rescued me and has always been an inspiration. His portrait never fails to capture people whenever I have it on display at an event.

See more Vintage Photos, scanned from prints on film through the years.

Also see more paintings of my cats.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens—browse here or visit PittsburghCAT!

cats and kittens
Gallery view of Pittsburgh CAT cats for adoption.

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 using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop 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.

© 2014 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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!




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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