Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kitties I have known - 5 - Mala

20x30 Acrylic on stretched canvas Mala was a mixed Russian Blue who lived with us long ago when we lived in Manhattan Beach, CA. She was the ultimate hunter. After the neighbor complained that she was killing the birds at her birdfeeder, we put a powerful bell on her collar. Didn't work. The neighbor grudgingly became a fan, admiring how she could stalk without ringing that bell and her skill at stalking a bird all the way across the street (never noticing the occasional car that had to swerve around her). Her favorite sport (after stalking birds) was to climb a tree, jump to the roof, climb to the highest peak and jump off. When she hit the ground you could hear a loud ooff as the ground forced all the air out of her. But for just a second there, she could fly! After one of the other cats we had at the time was killed by a car, I decided to bring them all in the house for good. But Mala, I realized, could never be happy in a house, so we gave her to Rich's brother who lived up in the hills above San Francisco. I still see her in my mind's eye jumping from branch to branch in the highest tree around.

Kitties I have known - 4 - Spenser

24x24 Acrylic on stretched canvas This is Spenser. The first cat we got after Bastet died. He was Rich's cat, sat on his lap while Rich typed. Slept at his feet. A Devon Rex, he had a beautiful chocolate brown coat that never came in quite right, giving him a strange, exotic look. Pigeons used to line up outside the window to stare at him. He, in turn loved to watch birds (never hunt!) so much that we bought him a membership in the Audubon society. We got him when we were in Boston, and he came with us in the big truck all the way to California, walking on his leash, sitting on the passenger's lap, looking out the window at the wonders passing by. He was the embodiment of love, sitting quietly for hours at our side if one of us was sick. He did his best for Charlotte, calming her and soothing her temper. It wasn't until after he died that she became the complete crabby cat. Because he was so pure, so beautiful, we both envision him now sitting, watching his beloved birds, at a Ramakrishna temple on a hill.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Kitties I have known 3 - LiPo

16 x 20 Acrylic on stretched canvas

 LiPo is Chee's brother, but where Chee learned early that sometimes people fed you and sometimes they were nice to you, LiPo knows full well that nice people are few and far between. He's lived with us for eight years but I don't think I've ever seen him fully relaxed, ever seen him at ease. He's slowly getting less skittish around us, actually letting me do things to him like clip his claws or clean something out of the corner of his eye. He's actually affectionate to Rich, asking for tummy rubs and purring. But we know better than to push it. He's tolerating us and that toleration is going to go only so far. He is 25 pounds also, but unlike Chee, that's 25 pounds of pure muscle, claws and teeth. I do not want to be the one who crosses him! This is his den, behind the boxes in the closet. He comes out once in a while and gives us a glimpse of him. I love him dearly but I don't think I'll ever know him.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Kitties I have known - 2, Charlotte

24 x 24 Acrylic on stretched canvas Charlotte was a Cornish Rex, tiny (5 pounds) long, lean and all angles and elbows. The first day I met her, at the home of the person who bred her. She was 3 days old. The woman picked her out of the pile with her mother and put her on my hand. She opened those beautiful, icy blue eyes and hissed at me. I loved her immediately. All her life, she was the crabbiest, grumpiest, most angry cat I've ever met. I don't know why. The woman who bred her was gentle and kind and treated her cats with great affection and care. From the moment she came to live in our house, she was pampered and loved (maybe just a bit too spoiled?) And at 5 pounds against the other cats we had who were 25 pounds, it was amazing how she ruled, terrorized and dominated them. Charlotte was a force, a powerful personality and I loved her dearly, even though she treated me with the same contempt she showed the other cats. Oh, well. She was something!

Kitties I have known - 1, Chee

16 x 20 Acrylic on stretched canvas

Chee was born a dumpster diver, a homeless kitten in what must have been a very bad place. He still wears some of the scars. A golden tabby, probably one of the most common types of cats in the world, he has developed his own special identity. He's a true teddy bear. There must have been one person who was kind to him, he is afraid but still likes to be with people. Obviously raised by dogs, he even follows me around like a puppy, comes when I call him and begs for attention. He's 25 pounds, all squishy and fat, not at all athletic like his brother. He's nothing like the lean, mean, Siamese cats I've always loved, but he's my favorite of them all. He's soft and lumpy and ill-defined and ordinary but sweet and gentle and loving.