When the Cat’s Away…

Cats, can anyone truly resist them? At the very least, even if you are not a ‘cat lover’, surely you must have moments of awe when you watch how easily a cat can change their mood from aloof to comical in the blink of an eye.  I’ve lived with a cat as a companion since I was 3-years-old, so it was no surprise to me when my husband asked me to marry him the first words I uttered were “Marry me, marry my cat.”  It took no time at all to turn my husband into a full blown cat lover and that was nearly 35-years ago…needless to say we’ve not been without at least two feline children since then!

Furred and feathered creatures have always been a source of inspiration for me and you’ll find them scattered throughout my selection of published work.  It seems my camera has an auto-pilot to seek, locate and shoot animals. So I thought I’d introduce you to a few feline muses both past and present; and with my two darling boys flanking my computer as I write this, they suggest I throw in a few fun facts and nonsensical chatter to lighten the mood – so here we go…

This is my sweet baby Bartholomew James. It’s a very early piece and if created today would be much improved, but as a framed limited edition print it sold in galleries for years and has remained a customer favorite online. It also won the Animal Portrait of the Year from the Photographic Society of America in 2002…so even though it may not be my best work, why change it?

Did you know that in America, it’s estimated that the cat population enjoys about 200 million kitty yawns per hour and a whopping 425 million catnaps each day?

Our precious Oliver and his brother James were feral kitten rescues.  Young boys told a neighbor, who volunteers for the Animal Shelter, they heard kittens in an abandoned house down the street.  She rescued the litter and cared for them over a week before the boys were knocking on her door once again informing her they still heard the sound of a kitten in that house.  Sure enough she managed to trap one last little kitten that had turned quite wild being left to fend for himself.  After three days of failed attempts on her part to calm this little straggler and reintroduce him to his family, she decided to take a different route.  Grabbing the largest of the male kittens previously rescued, she tossed him in to the room where this wild little beast was living and as she watched through a crack in the door, hearing those horrible spits and growls only ticked off cats can make, she cringed as she watched this brave kitten stride up to his spitting sibling ready to take him on. She burst out laughing when the wild little brat was swatted to the ground with one paw swipe and forced to surrender to a bath by who will forever after be considered his big brother.

That was ten-years ago and those two kittens are our guys.  Oliver is the big brother who James has and always will look up to.  Separating them never entered our mind and they have been an inseparable pair ever since.  James is the sweetest, gentlest cat I’ve ever had the honor of knowing, and Oliver?  Well he’s the man of house; a loving, social, mama’s boy and yet has an air about him that can send the poor dog to her room with just the right look…if he’s feeling a bit catty.  Those are my boys and I couldn’t live without them!

Oli on the left, James on the right

Whether you look like something the Cat Dragged In or like the Cat’s Pajamas, you can’t help but purr after reading these fun tidbits…

  • Did you know that the nose ridges of a cat are in a pattern that is as unique to the cat as our fingerprints are to us?
  • Those of us who have ‘talkers’ know that a cat will almost never “meow” at another cat; this sound is reserved for humans (and sometimes the dog).
  • Did you know that the Giraffe, Camel and Cat are the ONLY animals that walk by moving BOTH their left feet, then BOTH their right feet, when walking. This ensures speed, agility and silence.
  • Watch your cat when it plays or offers a paw. 60% of cats are either a “righty” or a “lefty” rather than ambidextrous.

Okay…grab a Catnip Martini and enjoy meeting some of my feline muses from past and present. Some I’ve loved and lost, others were just a chance meeting, but all will be remembered.

Before I go…I can’t speak of cats without mentioning the dire need for all of us to adopt a homeless pet when we wish to expand our family and to support your local Humane Society/Animal Shelters by donating pet food, toys, beds, blankets, collars and whenever you can, money.  Stray Muses™…A Language Unspoken is a collection of my shelter photographs accompanied by poems and quotes from famous and not-so-famous people published in book form.  Last year I expanded this collection to cards, calendars, and posters.   All  proceeds are donated to my local Humane Society.
Also visit  Stray Muses™ on Squidoo

You all are the cat’s pajamas! Our Lightning Round: KITTIES is the most successful yet!  Visit these great kitty posts from all my artist friends!


16 thoughts on “When the Cat’s Away…

  1. Lovely post! I also have been “owned” by cats since I was a child. My current “owner”, Rani, usually supervises me when I am “studying”. Her chair in my study is hers and absolutely nobody else’s!

    • They do find their own spots don’t they? James has claimed the green leather chair in my studio which is interesting because that chair belonged to my art mentor and best friend James A. Taylor who passed away the year James was born. My friend’s brother allowed me to take the chair because it reminded me so much of my friend Jim and ever since James was a kitten, that chair has been his. Kind of makes you say…hmmmm

  2. We’re also “owned” by two kitties, both of which are solid white and are also rescues. They are brothers and definitely act accordingly… they chase each other, then roll around “fighting” but at the end of the day, you can find them curled up together sleeping. We’ve had them less than a year, but couldn’t imagine our life without them! Thanks, Doreen for sharing James and Oliver’s story…very enjoyable post with some great photos of your kitties, not to mention lots of “fun facts and nonsensical chatter.” 🙂


    • Ah Robin, aren’t male cats fantastic? And having brothers is so entertaining isn’t it? I had only female cats until 1983 when I finally experienced how different a relationship with a male cat is compared to a female (there is always exceptions of course)…but since then it’s been only male cats for me 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by.

  3. I have a friendly duo as well that have both been adopted. I draw them a lot as they are constantly posing. James and Oli are prescious. Great post Doreen.

  4. I enjoyed reading about your lovable James & Oliver. My current big boy is a gray tabby just like your boys. Love the fun cat facts you posted. I never knew how unique and individual a cat’s nose ridge markings were. Robin I have to agree there is something very special about the way how a male cat bonds with you. They are the sweetest.

  5. I really loved your post – a totally heart-warming story… as someone who did “rescue” for many years, I so much appreciated your bit at the end about adopting animals. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Pingback: Lightning Round: Kitties – June 26-July 5, 2011 « GCU Community

  7. Pingback: Feline Fever | It's a Beautiful World!

  8. Pingback: Our Beautiful Gypsy kitty « I love graphic art!

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