Word and Image

Posts tagged “Cat


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.


Better? Colleen’s cousin got a Macbook. She upgraded from her Windows laptop? It’s a big paperweight that looks good. (She’s not using it.) She did not want to give up her mouse. I found Colleen’s Bluetooth mouse. We loaned it out. And she (cousin, name withheld to protect the innocent) wants to use her Window’s external drive to link photos for her scrapbooking. They (cousin and husband) could not get the hang of a formatted ‘fat’ drive that sees jpeg on Windows and Mac simultaneously. Yes, a big fat paperweight. I have offered help. Sometimes it takes time. Meanwhile I have cannibalized the TV as a monitor for my image catalog. I can view more images on a screen. Editing is a little easier. It brings me to the observation that things are not really faster. Transferring files from memory cards to external drives still takes a lot of time. My very first Mac desktop was so slow… you could go have coffee and a refill till it did…. Well, I still wait. It’s just different. I’ve had a laptop as my computer for a long time. This upgrade was necessary/justified because the hardware changed and I could not personally install a bigger hard drive. Solution: new laptop/bigger drive. Yeah, it’s not too bright. And the speed? I still sit and wait. At least it (laptop) looks good sitting there. I could talk about a Lamborghini in my driveway….


My cat Nutley is so named because he’s … nuts! He can open the cabinets and thus was snug up behind the corner lazy Susan. Yeah, nuts! Adorable, but nuts. Ray, his brother, was tucked up snoozing beneath a chair. We named him after Colleen’s cousin, so he (the cousin, Ray!) would not mind so much coming to feed all the (seven) cats when we were away. Cute! There’s no use in chasing Nutley. He comes out when he wants. I cannot believe he didn’t break anything. Yeah, yeah, there’s a lot of gluten free underneath.

How many?

Thousands upon…. how many cat pics do I have? It’s especially hard to get a picture of Willow. He doesn’t cooperate. And he’s white. Contrary to what I tell you, he does not pose on demand. So, in this rare instance… I got a great portrait of my cat. Ha ha, I consider him Colleen’s cat. He only likes me when it’s time for me to feed them. Whatever! This was a good one. A “keeper!”

Hard to get… two ways

It’s hard to get me a present. By this point in life I am fortunate to be pretty content and, stuff, I got. Colleen tried. She giggled and held her breath till it came. Yes, it’s my first – a front pocket wallet. Who thinks of these things? Colleen! I’m impressed. I have never seen nor thought of one. Hard? I just got done scanning 80k+ thousands of slides. The left screen shows ducks walking in the street. Thanks to Feather – the cat – I am reminded of it. Now, find it. Okay, here’s my logical thinking. Go to the image info – metadata. Get the time this image was shot. Go to my slides scanned and find the scan time (when it was scanned). Voila! Not so hard after all. Ha ha, I’m not going to go looking.


Curiosity or death wish? Ray is so curious. Anything new? He will poke his head in and try to see what’s going on. Ya gotta love him! Cute? You bet! Am I cat proud? He has been in and out up and down. I fear he will come to harm. Meanwhile, he is still there poking his head in where no cat has gone…. Splat? That is a very heavy cabinet full of drawers.

Contagious? Hey, what’s all the fuss about?


Our cats consider us “staff.” We made another basket. Yes, we take classes. I have my kids guess which of us made which basket. Hint: Colleen hates red. The shapes and sizes vary by the weaver. Ha ha! I think Colleen’s shape is better/nicer. For sure! After all that, Nutley hopped right in and went to sleep. Who’s basket is he in? Ha ha!


Ooops. I’m late. Merry Christmas! I did not notice I lacked a post until now. Have I told you this is the tallest tree we ever got? Well, at least it is for me. Colleen has had tall one and the muddy pants to prove it….  My mantle, her collection of Santas is a story for another day. Suffice to say she/we collected them together. She has an eye! Ray the cat – see him below the tree – loves the tree – to eat the lights. Ppzzzzzt, as in electrocuted cat, so I/she chases him from beneath. This year we did instant Xmas. We got the tree and decorated everywhere. It turns out we were not alone. Everyone got a tree early. We are home alone but have spread cheer with family and friends. I have posted a picture a day of our decoration efforts to them. Today will be the mantle panorama. Cheer! All the best to you and yours!


The cats like to be cozy. They climb into baskets and shipping boxes all the time. I was amazed that Willow squeezed himself into a basket the size of a bread box. No problem. Amusing? You bet. He didn’t stay long. I got my pictures. He left.

Hard to do

The conditions need to be just so in order to photograph a spider web. The camera does not want to focus on the tiny strands. I did it… yay… but it’s not particularly inspiring. I will wait another day. Meanwhile, it’s not easy posing your cats. And for that matter it’s hard to photograph a strawberry… without eating it first. That happened to the blackberry (no pic available).       

At a loss for words

Nature is cruel, survival, and all of that. Feather found a tomato worm. She worried the thing across the deck, pawing, and toying with it. She licked it – taste test. Then, she bit it and swallowed it. I was a bit shocked. Not surprised. Just amazed that her base instinct took over. Gone. Hardly a meal, a mere snack. Done.


Feather has talent. She’s done it since she was a wee kitten. – open doors. She can jump and pull the handle down. Next door the lawn service came. The cats do not like the sound of the mower. Feather and Nutley headed straight for the door and opened it tout suite! Yeah, talent. Willpower!

Deck time

I’m too far ahead. We are in July as I write and it’s November as I publish. Too many good images, too little time. I should have made a cat blog. Have I said that before? They (the cats) like to look out through the rail. What? I don’t know. Longing? The photo below is not a selfie. It’s my attempt to shoot a view of the flower that is on a plant 6ft tall overlooking the rail. It’s a reverse view (like a dive with a full twist in pike position…). Forget it. I got a bee! That was a bonus. I did not intend to see myself. That was an unforced error. My cats? They are still wondering what’s outside the rails. …not me.

Good – Bad

The upper right and left are examples (i.e. poor exposure, composition) of pics placed in a newsletter posted by “cat proud” weavers who can’t take proper pics of their beloved cat. I laughed at Colleen. She contends they are sound (cute) photos. I disagree, of course. There’s no excuse for accepting a bad photo.

iPhone or camera? Jules makes a cogent argument for using her iPhone nearly exclusively. It’s always at hand. She will concede a camera is better. But iPhone is right handy. Me? Obviously, I’m all about the camera. (She shot with my camera.) Ha!


No, not the genetic debate. (Shhh… there really isn’t any debate.) …It’s the change occurring in my photography as a result of change in my cameras. It has caused my technique to evolve. Evolution is slow and the change that results is subtle until it isn’t. I found the DSLR viewfinder of my Nikon D610 to be restricting. I got (am now) used to a movable LCD screen that allowed me to get down to eye level with my cats. This translated to: getting down to eye level with the flowers in my garden. There are a lot of moving variables to consider: shutter, composition, focus…. I get it that iPhone users just want to click and forget. All around me, family has little or no interest and they are quite content to have iPhone as their primary camera. That little tiny lens… Yes, a screw driver is a hammer in a pinch. But, the converse is untrue.

The toddler or the cat

The day after our visit with our granddaughter these thoughts come to mind. The granddaughter is heavier. Both are squirmy. Both communicate – just differently. I can hold both. My cat is better at close quarter hugs – so far. The granddaughter is more expressive. In a pinch a cat will do if you don’t have a granddaughter to hug. We almost kidnapped that kid when we left for home. I should’ve! I’m hugging that cat right now. Bittersweet, but, I think she knows I love her. (pronoun? specific?!) Okay!! She’s melted my heart.

Shaken not stirred

Afterward, I took immediate comfort in hugging my cat. It was that bad. I could not verbalize what I had just watched. I couldn’t’ speak/tell Colleen – who did not watch. It was like watching a train wreck. Takeaway – an autocratic bully unfit to be president – a loser who demonstrated more than ever how unfit he is – what kind of shit was that? I am not proud to have seen the “Office of the Presidency” treated with so little respect. But, then again, we knew – know – even he knows – he was always a PRETENDER! They gave the “RUMP” the wrong mood altering drug. With each new lie, revelation, and stupid act, I take comfort that this clown is nearly done. Clown? No, orange buffoon! He would give a clown a bad name. Say it like it is: This emperor has no clothes.


We all have our favorite’s. I belong to Feather. As a result, Colleen thinks I favor her most, like a favorite child we all secretly have. Ha!

I once operated upon a “confused” man with a brain tumor who had seven daughters. Before the surgery I asked him which daughter was his favorite. They all leaned in closely as he said, “Jennifer.”

“Humpf!” the oldest said, “He hasn’t got a daughter named Jennifer.”

Feather jumps on my lap for love and hugs. I oblige. But when I hug her she gets wary. Close is too close. For all of my most excellent cat portraits, the look of “wary” is rather unique. You know the look and its meaning without a word being spoken. How’s that for communicating? If asked to illustrate “wary” this would be the picture.

Empty nest

Sad! We had a sparrow nesting outside our window. The cats saw it. We kept the shade drawn after that. And one day… the nest was empty. Crows are in the neighborhood. I have seen them chased aggressively by red winged blackbirds. Evidently, they found mother sparrow and took her four eggs. Not even a shell was left. I don’t suppose mom will start over again. I am indeed sad. We were all anticipating the arrival of the new babies. Nope. We’re all sad around here.


I did a search on the hard drive for a picture. These images all carried the number “IMG_0771.” The image number(s) recycles. It is the nature of digital cameras. Fish in the Red Sea. Cat in Delaware.

I was surprised by the images that had the same number spanning many years. The image of Jules, around 2007, and Colleen 2014. Jules – Maine or Vermont. Colleen NYC.

I was blown away by the mask and the drawn face. It was a bit of shock. I have no recollection of that joke, date and place, unknown. And then, there’s a cerebellar tumor, Jeddah circa 2013? As I recall we successfully removed that tumor and it’s recurrence. IMG_0771, this image, has been an interesting historical journey touching significant things in my life.

Flowers… and a cat

Some of the flowers lend themselves to closeups. It’s like cats… too numerous to count. Every day is a new opportunity. Take it.

Coming going


I don’t often have cooperation from my cats. This one time they stayed put till I got around to the front of the window. Elle, Ray, and Nutley are an unlikely trio to sit in the window together. Just trust me on this point. And, to find her in the middle is actually quite brave of her. I feel like thanking them for posing. Crazy! Yes!