Willow never looks at me. The “twins” will/do. But, Willow, he’s a different cat. He never looks at me. We communicate. He gets what he wants. I know what he wants. We just never quite make eye contact. It’s subtle enough to have eluded me for so long. I realize now. Knowing is helpful. It’s like hugging without kissing. There is just something different. And, it’s different, (looking elsewhere). If you don’t know what I mean, then you don’t know. But, I get it, now.
Yeah, yeah, seven pictures. But the last picture (Nutley) illustrates emotion. Colleen swears the cats can “express.” Nutley just got “wopped” by Spice. He has the look of “what?” He (Nutley) is bewildered and subservient to her (Spice’s) aggression. Can you see that? Six cats. I roam the house and shoot the cats. Ha! It’s not “hunting.” But periodically the cats settle into their morning routine. At that point I can get a shot. Cute!
Real life and a puzzle got juxtaposed as a edited this morning. There’s a cat sitting in the puzzle and there’s another sitting on our table. Amusing. The puzzle did not have a picture of the finished puzzle. And so, we were not certain there was a cat until it showed up, in the puzzle.
I often wonder what thoughts go around in my cats’ heads. If a picture is a thousand words, then there is plenty to say. Otherwise, they are content to sleep as much as sixteen hours a day. At that rate, I am fortunate to get pictures when they are awake.
It was just a joke in the beginning. Back in 2015, I did a Photoshop mash-up of our three cats. Crude, would be too kind a criticism. But then again, it was an “in your face” mash-up. The sisters arrived in January, 2017 and the twins came in July, 2018. Sometime in July 2018 we did a family portrait. And, in December, 2019 we followed up once more – a picture, not more cats.
In November, 2020 we did two takes on the same day. The ladies at CVS were amazed when (with a straight face) I told them that all my seven cats just lined up on the table upon my command to do this group shot.
Confused? It feels like a history test on which general won what battle on which date? Yeah! I went back to find dates. My vaunted file system failed until it was successful in tracking down the photo shoots and their dates. There was no group shot in 2016 or 2017. I don’t suppose you care too much for the dates or my search of a catalog holding hundreds of thousands of images. Our family continues to expand and contract. I will be more diligent of keeping track of family groupings. But, as of this post we are up to date. Alas, Patch passed away in February. That will change my next shot.
Make no mistake, you don’t simply go out and replace a pet. Patch’s recent death has left a hole in our hearts. And, you may continue to shake your head and think we are nuts. Somehow the chaos of cats all about is an acquired taste. And, I didn’t do it correctly – see – two new kittens, not one, Tillie & Peas (in 2021). Patch fly with the snow geese; we miss you.
I was keeping to posting one picture a day. Now, I cheat. I can get around my own rule by making a collage layout. Hey! I have too many images and so little time! The bird feeder is shared by one and all. The birds, a few, eat. The cats have Cat TV. The squirrels disrupt the whole show. (Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too.) My cat Nutley has now been trained (by me!) to go chase the squirrel and then return to the home so I don’t have to get cold on the deck. Ha! (I have to chase Nutley inside, instead.) And, the bonus, I get to take pictures of the proceedings. Colleen has to cajole me daily to go feed the birds. Who knew this could be so much work (fun?)?
As they said in the movie “Jaws,” We’re gonna need a bigger (boat) table.” Ha ha. After Patch passed away in February, it just wasn’t quite as chaotic as we are used to at feeding time. We held tryouts. It wasn’t that hard. Cat’s just gotta snuggle in your arms and dig her claws in – she’s going home with you! Tillie (black cat) is on double secret probation – ala “Animal House.” She snarled and growled at me. Me? Have you ever played, ‘spin the cat?’ Ha ha. I think Tillie has an opinion. Meanwhile, Dave said, “No more cats!” What can I say? Tillie and Peas are sisters – from different mothers? And, the pet store ladies laugh when they see me come in. They even asked if I wanted another, “Please?” when we came in today for more food. Colleen does higher math: that would be 3 1/2 sets of twins and a single (Elle).
Some days I wander around camera in hand and shoot the cats. After breakfast they settle into familiar spots. The trick is to get them to look at you. The way to go (secret) is to point the camera lens into their eyes. Amazingly, they are looking at you. Voila! Easy! My problem is that the twins are look-alike. So, when I download the images, it’s a mean feat to distinguish which cat is which. ?? Well, I judge from where they are in the picture. Each cat has a favorite perch. Mostly. Otherwise, since I can’t tell, you don’t have a chance. So, I am showing two pair of twins. Care to dispute my claim?
I’m getting a lot of mileage out of these images. But, I gotta acknowledge certain things – like remember our/my anniversary. Yup, two years, we’ve been together six going on seven (years). Happily married – an oxymoron? Not this time around! Come to think of it (truly), we have five kids and six grand kids between us. So seven cats is a natural follow up to the sequence. “On my way to St. Ives, I saw a man with seven wives…”
Story or illustration? The bottom two pics are to melt your heart – if you are a cat lover (or not). The rest illustrate the story. One good image would do. But I’m lazy and didn’t try to narrow it down. A new box is always certain “cat” entertainment. Everyone (cat) has a go. Climb in and claim your spot. There is no pecking order. First in…. Ok there is an occasional territorial dispute. In a pinch, a bag will do as a cat container. And the wrapping tissue, this was a whole new experience. The paper was a hit. They tossed it around all day … till it was shredded. Yes, a box, send more boxes!
I don’t know who is happier when Amazon delivers. I get the contents I needed. The cats have a new home/play thing. They nest, rest, wrestle and make it their home. Heaven forbid that I should recycle any box before its time. Cute?! The boxes get in the way till I remove them. Not a word is said. The cats are stoic – and then another package arrives.
Colleen made me a BLT for breakfast. Yeah, yeah, don’t laugh. And don’t tell me bacon is bad for you. I know this. And my cats consider themselves 10%ers. That is to say whatever I eat… they are entitled to 10%. It’s an immutable rule. Don’t blink or they will lick your food. Yuck, ugh, ewwww! I fight them for my spot at the table. Don’t be late!
…were harmed in the making of these photos? The process? You see a good shot, you have to have a caption/punchline to go with it. A worthy photo? It must be standout beautiful or have a goofy story…. Cats develop crazy habit, hence, the name Nutley. Yup, that’s him, Buddha pose. Ray likes to sleep underfoot. ??? dunno. I will frequently bump him when I don’t realize he’s under my foot. Sorry. He likes to be close… or he likes the smell of feet… with or without socks.
If you have more than one cat… well, it’s feeding time. The cats have trained me. They try all manner of coaxing to get me to come to the kitchen. Mostly, they know when it’s time to eat. As soon as I get to the kitchen they gather and jockey for position as though I might ever forget one. Heaven forbid! The can is not open yet but once open, Willow licks the sauce off the lid. The twins eat in the bedroom lest they cruise everyone else’s dish. All the cats have their spot to eat. Nutley is always done first and opens the bedroom door putting his paw beneath the door and prying it open. He then nudges the nearest cat out of the way to finish up their dish. I must have been late this morning. They were all over the closed can. Feed me!!
No, probably not…. Hey! It’s my blog. Ha ha! So, there was glitch in the Nikon scanner. Long story short, you wouldn’t likely care for the details, it needed a couple replacement motors. I just love it when they give me the parts they removed. It’s a nice touch. Now, I have something more – to never throw away.It works again. Dust! Cat hair! They are the bane of clean scanning. You don’t want it in your scanned image. Nope! Not! Ha ha! Try and avoid it. I have an overhead ceiling fan. Ray, the cat, stepped on the remote and turned it one. In a testament to my cleaning skill, the room looked like snow was falling, a blizzard!! It was cat hair and dust from the blades, The visual alone is worth a laugh. I was shocked; Colleen giggled.
I might be pushing the joke but…. I had the pictures developed/printed at CVS – online. It was simple – upload and print. They would email me when the order was ready – 50% off sale – how good is that! The poor clerks could not find them. Drat and double drat! I put the order in again. Yup, printed/requested a new set. CVS! Of course!! They printed both orders and were ready for pickup. This time the very nice clerk nudged her buddy and said, “This is the guy with the cats!” “Oh yeah”, I replied, “Yes they all jumped on the table and posed upon my command/request!” They were completely straight faced and believed me even commenting to another customer to whom I told the exact same story. Colleen giggled all the way to our next stop. Yup, it’s gonna be a better year!
Subtlety. Hmmmm… not me. I like things larger than life. Since covid we have been watching the background on TV behind the guests. Some guests have gone as far as placing books and such products to promote their own works. My background? It got busy, not so much by design but because I was more too lazy to bother to stage things more thoroughly. I surmise last year’s picture was taken in the summer. The crowded background makes things more cozy? Some folks prefer minimalist. I am helpless. We live with things and our lives are full. And, I must admit, it’s a nice life.
It’s the annual Christmas picture. And I am even posting at an apropos time. Colleen casually drops – “Do you know what? …. We should do….” And then it’s about …. hours, days of work for me. Yeah, I try to ignore her. Dammit! I get sucked in. The cats suffer. We all have to sacrifice…. First I round them up (each cat). They pose only very reluctantly. Seven cats!! Sure, I could just pose one twin twice three times …. no cheating! And then we have to take a shower – hair’s gotta be right! Note: no pants were worn for this photoshoot – by animal or human. (Ha ha) And then it’s hours in photoshop. Yup, it takes time. I’m ok, not great. But the effect…. Hey! Add some text, like merry and happy. Never ever listen – “Do you know what?” …
YES!!! They all just jumped up at once and let me take their picture…. really!! Honest! Truth!
…says it all. Peace on earth, good will toward men. All the best from us to you and yours.
A special moment can pass before you realize. Still, in that time, I think we appreciated how fortunate we were to have respite from chaos all around us. We sat. We smiled. The sun would set. The moon rose. The cats were at peace. It’s now a treasured memory, fleeting, but dearly appreciated.
Jen’s garden philosophy is “sparse” but “showy.” Her specimens cry out of a garden catalog unlike the chaos that reigned in my garden. Each flower occupies a center of attention while it blooms akin to Japanese zen. Same picture, four times, different flower, one handed – I had the beer in the other hand.
And once more (twice now), seven cats, three sets of twins and Elle. I made up for it with two shots of Elle. I like even numbers. It wasn’t roll call. Can you even tell them (twins) apart? Same photographed cat twice? I have seven dishes to feed them wet food. And there is a cat for each bowl. The twins eat isolated in the bedroom to prevent them cruising the other bowls. The vet observed Nutley was a little too plush/f’ass (fat ass). F’ass? Balme Covid, everybody – you know who (shhhh) – gained weight? (I’ll pay for that last statement.) No names, please!! I’ve been done in by most excellent cheesecake. And yes, it was contagious – the darn cheesecake, no matter how small the slice.
We, that is I and the cats, were out on the deck. Some noise? A stampede. They all charged to the door. Ok! Colleen opened the door and in! they went. Hey! I herded cats! It’s something that we all learned together. I can round them up. Really!
Tolerant. They (cats) just pose nonplussed as I click away. No, they do not pose on demand. Even loud strange noises do not get them to look in my direction. In spite of it all, I plod onward. Elle hides at the bottom of the bed where the covers provide her a tunnel of safety. …like an infant who hides their eyes and presumes you cannot see them. Feather does not often – but, occasionally, will stalk a mouse. Nutley looks forlorn. Nope, he’s just planning his next misbehavior. Elle is not in mid-stalk. She’s backing up to sit down. Spice inhabits an Amazon box. Every cat has been in and out of that poor box for months. They don’t tire of it though it has nearly fallen apart. All of these shots occurred while I walked around the house with the camera in one single day. Yeah! Easy!
I could never be a pet photographer. Sure, I get great cat pics. There’s no pressure on me. If I get a good shot, I got one. Otherwise, send me on a mission for money… I have three sets of twins and one orphan. Right! I can’t tell them apart. Oh sure, there are some markings that tip you off. But on average I can tell which set of twins are which and not much more in a single glance. Seven cats. I ran around for a few minutes trying to photograph each in turn. If I showed you the same cat twice… Every once in a while, I set myself to see if I can get a shot of all seven within a single shoot. Ha ha!
One more comment: there are seven cats and eight pictures but nine cats in all the pictures. Need a pet portrait? ..willing to work for food.