Word and Image

Posts tagged “Cat


I said a black cat is hard to photograph. I have few good pics of my black dog, Reggie. Maybe, I wasn’t very good. Interestingly, if you are too good, you can see the dust in Tillie’s hair. Or, dandruff, whatever! But I get it. Eyes, it’s all in the eyes. You get the eyes and the picture pops. Black, against a white background, helps in this instance. This time around I think I am up for a challenge.

Out for a stroll

We let the new kittens out of the bathroom for a stroll in the big house. They found our bed – perhaps our smell – and made themselves comfortable. The lighting is good. I need a reflection in their eyes and the big window gives great indirect light. I bet you don’t care. Peas is not a pretty cat. At least that’s my opinion. Colleen has seen many more cats and I am overruled. My first naming was Butt – as in butt ugly. Don’t laugh; it’s part of the reason I ignored her in the pet store. But Peas has the sweetest personality. She is the quintessential embodiment that beauty is skin (fur) deep. When I first picked her up, it was about a second later, she melted my heart.


I belong to Feather. It started in the pet store when her paw snaked out and grabbed me as we walked past. She was going home with me and was simply being emphatic about it. Since then, she hangs out with me wherever I am in the house. She follows me to be sure of where I am. She will come and snuggle up on me when I nap. Clearly, I belong to her. I am her human. It’s important to belong. I belong to her. Ha ha. Confused? That is Colleen hugging Feather’s twin, Spice.


Cut flowers have no chance in our house. The cats like flowers – to eat! Yes, laugh. The oddity extends to the artificial flowers too! Yes, they eat plastic. Taste? I don’t know why in the world, but they eat the flowers. And, they like it. Look closely. The petals nearest Nutley are gone. There goes the idea of gifting this plant.


Today (not really “today” I made this post months ago) – my house. You can’t throw a stone around here without hitting a cat. (Ha ha. I don’t throw stones.) But you get my drift. The cats – we have six – provide ready subjects. I just have to get them to pose. Oh! I just have to be ready when they are doing – something. After that it’s a piece of cake. I suppose I could do pet photography. But everyone has an iPhone and they think they are more than adequate photographers. So, I would starve waiting to shoot pets. Ok ok, not shoot, photograph. Meanwhile, we have a lot of nice cat pictures. I could do flowers, but, Barb cut down my plants. (Hey hey! It’s an inside joke.)

A year ago

3/11/21 – this year, designated the “one year anniversary”

57 million vaccinated – have had one shot or more

Vaccine – an actual one was developed in less than a year

Speech – a national address by our (real) leader on the 1st anniversary. trump???? who????

Covid relief American rescue package – it passed. Not a single republican voted for it. Traitors.

Eve of 2nd shot – I got mine the next day.

“If somebody said ‘N95’ to you one year ago, you’d think they were a bingo caller.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

They talk about a year ago. 3/11/20. Anniversary of corona. Where were you? Memorable? No, it just came and went as an ordinary day. I can note it/did note it, because I have a photo diary. The news and late night shows were full of the “anniversary.” The “event” (last year) was marked by the shutdown of Delaware by the governor. For us it was the evening/night of 3/16/20. All business was shut. A year later, the library opened for the first time. We did a little victory dance. Anniversary Day +1 is my second shot. I’m old. For most the first shot is months away. For others, they will be foolish, ignore the science, and decline the vaccine. What a world? What a time? The “former guy” is out of office. Sanity, truth, and science have returned. If you commit a crime, you do not get a free pass – see Gov Cuomo. Yeah, it’s been a hell of a f’n year!

What were/where were you? We learned to make Nantucket baskets and ate Thai as they announced all business was closed. The flowers were in bloom. (Not yet this year.) I was in my fake flowers/vases phase. Colleen made a “Giovanni” burger for me. The groceries were suddenly without TP! Toilet paper!?!? Patch was sleeping soundly through it all on our bed. It’s not an anniversary. That would impart more of a celebration. This was more like – “yeah, I was there. Ain’t it amazing when you look back?” Life, as we knew it, changed right afterward.


Hey! It’s my choice. Editing? Some images stand out. Others cry for a story. Cats? I take good pictures of cats now. Or, are the cats just cute? Do they do goofy things and I am there with a camera? Do you puzzle? We have – during the pandemic. How about a 1000-piece puzzle that is missing one piece? If only they had just said 999-piece puzzle? The cat got one (piece)? The ceramic? Emma sent it. It had toilet paper sticking out the back. Ha ha. No, it was not a …. It’s an incense burner. Oh! In this very long run on paragraph, the prize is the picture of the dawn. Straight out of the camera. No Photoshop. I have a double pane window. It is reflections superimposed. Yes, I could’ve done better. You can always do better. Am I good? Or, am I good because I am in the right place at the right time (dawn)? Could I be better with a bit more effort? Ha, we will not know the answer to that. And, I shall just run on….

Cheer at the bird feeder

Pine siskin, pine warbler, and house finch are in the neighborhood. Hey! It’s neat to see birds we don’t see every day. In fact, I did not know they were natives around here. Ha ha. They have been here longer than I have. Colleen looked them up in our trusty bird guide. We matched the pictures to the names. That’s our story and we are stickin’ with it. Nutley, though he would like, does not get to romp with the birds.

Forgotten kitty

Elle is a single, an only. She’s not a twin. She arrived as a runaway having escaped a harsh life. Rescued, she has never forgotten her origin. She’s skittish. She doesn’t trust. Other times she sleeps upon the bed and can’t be moved. I have a lot of sympathy for her. She’s undoubtedly had a hard life. I am as good to her as I can be. When Elle and I first met, the sight of my camera pointed in her direction was enough to make her run. Now, she poses for me – reluctantly or resigned? She has unconditional love here – from me. I hope (wish) she knows it.

Apropos to nothing

I take pictures everyday. I edit infrequently. I edit to cull best shots. I edit to keep the database up to date. On January 28, three pics popped up. They are unrelated except to document the day. Blue Willow plate – English – it’s a divided plate that conjures past memory like Proust’s madeleine. Colleen recalled fond memories when none of her food was allowed to touch each other on her plate. She was indulged by Mother and served on this divided dish. Well, not this dish, but it was one similar. And I indulged her and bought one for her. Ah, the things one does for love. We were in the market and a package of sausage meat germinated the idea to make sausage cake, a British concoction. Colleen says it is akin to plum pudding. It’s a spice cake with walnuts… Good? It’s an acquired taste, I think. And on the same morning, my death-defying cat, Ray, climbed the rail and casually nipped at the planter. He jumps. He is our climbing cat (see climbing the bookcase) and he constantly scares Colleen. She would definitely miss him if he fell. Until recently I could say, “No problem, I have seven cats.” It’s no longer true and I never believed it anyway.

Angel light

Colleen was not familiar with the term – “angel light.” It’s easy enough to see once you see the picture and imagine the rays of light shining through the clouds. I’m not religious. I would like to think of a higher spirit and that Patch is with the angels. We don’t see this lighting often. It is light that is special because it is so fleeting. It brings a smile with the memory that Colleen and I remember Patch when we see angel light.

Bird TV returns

I have nothing against squirrels. They gotta eat too. I was tired of the fact that the squirrels were a bit piggish about hogging all the bird food. Colleen was brilliant. Move the feeders. Duh! They are on the front balcony. They squirrels can’t climb there. Bird TV returns!


Chances are that you are reading this blog for the pictures. The technical aspects are merely curiosities and my diatribes on photo technique are too much; just get to the picture. After all my photo magazine subscriptions ended, I began reading online. Here is a recent article right up my alley:

1. Covid and all those unscanned slides? Sure! Go ahead and scan your old slides.

2. Software – The Nikon scanner software just disappeared. Vuescan or Silverfast. Silverfast is clunky hard to use. Aha! Right!

Honest! I didn’t do this. My cat jumped into the basket and fit himself into the cramped space. He was perfectly content to nestle in and just stare back at me. Don’t ask me which twin this would be. Whatever I say would be trouble for me. Colleen will correct me and I always listen to her. Always….

Victor 6… and Feather

Fun with a tripod. I bet it’s easy to do with an iPhone…  Every tool is specific for its job. When I play with group shots there is planning involved. But as you can readily see, I am fast! Zzzzzt…. I simply raced around the table to snap the picture all the while leaving the shutter open. Superhero, Superman fast? No, I’m not. I simply had a little help from myself. After all, who would cooperate with me better than myself? There are those of you who will believe I did this in one sitting (with or without pun?). Indeed! I did. My beloved wife laughs. She thinks I’m a nut. Would that be in a social context or medical diagnosis? Two computers, different models; one cat, my beloved favorite (cat). This time herding cats was not needed. Call me anything you like, but, never call me late for dinner.

Art? Rockwell? Or fun with cats?

It’s near April and I’m still on Xmas. We grabbed the nearest cats for a selfie. They did not volunteer. And when you aren’t looking, they wander into the picture.

If you’ve been our house you know there is no space – nada, none! – for another loom. Ray (the cat):  Oh! A little loom. Action? (See the paper being tossed by Colleen.) The cats love the boxes Amazon delivers. And they love the tissue paper. It’s their best treat ever. Sweet. Everyone goes away happy. Now, to round up all the other stray kitties….

I made this

Ha ha. We are in a puzzle stage. Puzzle? Yes, we are making puzzles to pass the time. And after the last one – not pictured – (ha ha) I decided to design one myself. Online, they do everything. I found a website. They made a picture into a puzzle. It worked out as well as any other puzzle we have. Yes, it’s a flock of yellow sheep. We came across this group while traveling in Scotland. I’m not name dropping or bragging. It’s just: this is not something you see every day. In the background (did you peek?) there’s my nutty cat. He climbed to the top of the bookcase and leaped down. Ha ha, I made you peek.


Completely unrelated to the pictures in the post and the fact that it is April Fool’s Day, I write about back-up errors. My many images are backed up redundantly on multiple hard drives. I download my memory card directly to each drive. Needless to say, I am almost OCD about the process. Really! So, there are errors. There always are. The maddening part is that you just don’t know where the errors are located. I randomly hit on an image in the Lightroom catalog. The dialog said the file could not be found, locate it. Ok. I went to the external drive and the entire folder of images was empty. The other three back-up drives all showed an empty folder. My database said I had 111 images downloaded to that folder. The catalog showed the file images that were supposed to be there and were now missing. Mystery?! In my OCD ways, I never throw anything out. Similarly, I don’t wipe my memory cards. I just store them away. Ha ha. Nuts! After about an hour, I found the memory card and the files. All four current backup drives are updated. Life goes on. Truth! Back up your stuff. There are always errors. I refuse to lose sleep over it. But rest assured, there are errors.

The post? It is April Fool’s Day. Ray is up in the window. He got there climbing the bookcase. How? I haven’t a clue.


One day later…. I mean, the very next day… I went back to the pet store to return the carrier we took Tillie home in. The very nice ladies came from behind the counter and exclaimed, “We did not realize that the cat in the crate above is Tillie’s sister. They (the sisters) came in and Tillie was gone with you before we could put the sisters together.” Right, I see a “con” job coming from a mile off. Get out of town! Colleen swooned, “We can’t separate sisters. That would be so mean!” We returned the next day and Peas was sitting there all perky and cute. She had on her best “take me home” look. And, it was instant. Colleen was not putting her down. And, I got another cat in the bargain. “Peas?” It is – may I have another please? – from “Oliver” or “Animal House.” Either way, Peas it is.

Hug a cat

It’s Friday, two days after inauguration day (Wow, that was so long ago… who?), and the foul stench of trump is beginning to wear off. I’m reflecting. I’m melancholy. It’s so very nice to be able to reach out and hug a cat. No, it’s not as satisfying as hugging my wife. But…

Willow and I have a relationship wherein I don’t hug him and he won’t object. Yes, his paw shoots out into my face when I draw him close. Each cat behaves differently each according to their personalities.  Someone is always at hand to hug. It’s a very good thing. Indeed!

Cat TV

There is dynamic interaction between my cats, the birds, and a family of squirrels. I feed the birds. Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too! So they do – the squirrels are all over the bird feeders. Everyone eats. I favor the birds. The cats enjoy the show. They are participating too. Nutley will go out on command and vainly chase after the squirrels. He returns when I call him back. Me? I photograph. I have to say that the darn Sony RR100 VI has a lens that is as good a telephoto as I would want in such a compact camera. Voila! Instant story!

Problem solving

Ray Ray is a very curious cat. He’s fearless. I saw him at the top of the bookcase. It was about 8 foot up. How did he get there? I waited to see how he’d extract himself. He climbed to the ledge of the window, onto the tall clock, and then down to the sewing machine. Neat trick. Nutley bangs the kitchen cabinet doors open with his paw and sits in the back in the dark. It’s not nearly so picturesque. All I’m sayin’ is that this cat is resourceful and quite the risk taker. … kinda like the guy who feeds him. Proud!? Nah!


I must have thousands of images of Patch. Of course! Find one. That’s not so easy. I cannot show you how he liked his “treats.” But, I can show you his favorite basket. He liked his comforts – nestling on the down quilt on our bed. Colleen adopted him before we met again. And though he was her cat, he was our cat. We remember him with smiling, in all the little unspoken wonky habits he kept.

The quintessential image? Patch had a look. He had a partially lidded look. He never seemed to look me straight in the eye. There are people I know whom I look in their eyes and there is deeper thought behind their eyes than what they reveal to the world. Patch had that look. You will see what I mean when tomorrow’s post is published; my other cats engage my look so differently.

Symbolism. Lisa once commented that religion and church were for the symbolism of birth, death, and marriage. Without faith, one gives up symbolism that drives much of the ceremonies of life. (We {Lisa} were married by a judge on a house boat.) On the day Patch died, I saw symbolism in the snow geese at hand. It was a stark cold rainy day. The rain was angel tears? Today the sun finally rose, a promising cold crisp winter morning. It is the third day. I want to believe in a higher spirit. It lifts my heart to know someone I loved is at peace. And, I’m hugging Colleen extra tight today.

The raw emotion I am feeling is not usually on display. I prefer a more irreverent bit of wonky humor on the world around me. The rest is private and only comes out rarely. The last time, was when I connected and wooed Colleen after five decades of separation. Indeed, I am holding tight to her, and more so with appreciation that she is my “one and only.”

Fly away, home

Patch was down with a fatal illness. The other cats seemed to understand. They all gathered in solidarity on the bed with him. Empathic? I don’t know. We have three sets of identical twin cats. They are identical enough that face on, I cannot tell who’s who.

It was a stark cold winter morning when Patchie passed away. It was wet rainy – angel tears. This is the basket he loved to sleep in for the greater part of every day. His twin, Willow, said good-bye. Afterward Patch lay in his basket as though he were asleep. And indeed, he was, now, truly at peace and not suffering. A field of snow geese were feeding in the field next to the vet’s office. Rest in Peace, Patch. Fly with the snow geese. You are free. We loved and love you.


How often do you go in for a teeth cleaning and come away with a diagnosis of metastatic lung cancer? It’s a pretty sobering hit in the head. Patch had been down on his appetite and in our last visit to the vet, they thought he was due for a teeth cleaning. We scheduled but their schedule was full for a few weeks. When they weighed him again before the cleaning Patch had lost more weight. This was not a good sign and more tests were run instead of the cleaning. As someone said, we all have an expiration date. But when you know yours is close at hand…. This has cast a pall over the entire house. We have Patch on steroids and a high calorie diet to provide some support and palliative care. As a physician I have dealt with end of life. It doesn’t matter. It’s always personal. My only hope is to be sure he is comfortable to the end. He’s getting a lot of hugs from us and lots of support from his twin and our other cats.

Three weeks later… Patchie passed away peacefully yesterday morning. He didn’t suffer. I/we tried to make sure he was comfortable to the last. He couldn’t speak to me. But, I think he had the best quality to the end. In the last day he suddenly deteriorated. We/he knew it was time. It was very sad. We will miss him. We will not forget him.