Drawing a Day – Suzy in my Home office

I used to use this space as a motivation to do more drawing. At first I was trying out the iPhone app Brushes, and would do drawings on my iPhone whenever I had the chance. About two years ago, I made a new years resolution to do a pen and ink drawing a day. I kept it up mostly for all of 2018, and have since continued it. I don’t draw every day, but have drawn more in the last two years than I had in the decade before.

So, I am going to try to get back to sharing things here on my public blog site. Up to now, I only share these drawings on my instagram page. That page is private so really only a handful of people ever see them. Still, that’s more than ever read this blog.

The above drawing was done from a photo I took of my cat Suzy, snuggled up in the cat bed I set up in my home office. Neither of my cats had been using it in the months since I put it in the office, so that morning, I had rearranged how it sat on the box you see in the drawing. Just like that, Suzy came in and apparently approved of the update. This drawing is just pen and ink in an 8×5 sketchbook I carry around. I didn’t scan it in for the image, so you get to see my thumb on the left side of the paper, holding the book open.

Hopefully more drawings to come!

My beautiful outside stray cat

Last summer, a fluffy orange cat showed up in our flower beds where she made herself comfortable and stayed. I previously wrote about her here.

With much love and understanding on the part of my husband and kids, I set up a shelter complete with heated pad and heated water bowl on our front porch as a home for KeeKee to weather through our winter. Luckily, the winter here in Ohio wasn’t really a very bad one. There were nights that got near zero air temperatures and some where the wind chill dipped it below zero. We did get some snow but not nearly as much as we’ve gotten in winters gone by. Whether or not this was due to global warming, I am happy that we had an easy time of it for my outdoor girl, KeeKee.

We don’t know how old she is, but the veterinarian I took her to puts her as geriatric. She’s got a heart murmur, is missing two teeth, and isn’t the most spry of cats.  Not knowing her story or how old she is or what she’s been through before showing up at our house, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of ailments.

I did think that she would spend whatever was left of her twilight years in safety and comfort in a shelter with a nice warm bed.

I wanted her to feel as though she was loved and she mattered to a family. I do not know where she came from or who her family was. It’s obvious she had one at some point because she’s spayed and declawed. Either she escaped from them and got lost or, more likely, she was set free last summer in the country to fend for herself.

She’s done a great job of fending for herself, as well as allowing me to gain her trust and take care of her. Every morning and every night, I put out stinky wet food for her to enjoy. Every morning and night she gives me her silent meow and some head butts to let me know that she appreciates it. She is the most mellow cat I’ve ever had the pleasure to be around. There is nothing aggressive about this little lady. She never hisses or trying to bite either myself or my children.

Her health has taken a turn in the last month, and I believe I’ve diagnosed it. Because of this failing health, I am doing a lot of soul searching about what to do. I do not want her to suffer. I want her to go out enjoying the sunshine patches and relaxing on our porch. I do not want her to hurt or to feel terrible.

She’s blind. It happened quickly, but given the symptoms I noticed at the beginning of the year, it’s not that sudden.  The blindness, according to my internet research,  is most likely feline hypertension related. That, in turn, is most commonly due to kidney failure or hyperthyroidism. Either of those diseases have treatment options, but they include lots of medicine, blood tests, and visits to the vet. I do not want to subject her to any of those.

I do not know what the progression of this set of symptoms are if left untreated. I do not know if she will just go to sleep one night, not to awake in the morning or if she will suffer. She’s never been inside our home, and now that she’s blind, bringing her indoors with our other indoor cat isn’t an option. She’d never be able to find her way around, and could me at a disadvantage with our other cat.

I owe her peace if that is what she wants. And even though I have known her less than a year, I will miss her. This will be hard.

I am, at my heart, a cat owner. The word owner is insufficient to describe the relationship, though. I love cats. They seem to return the feelings. It has meant the world to me to be able to help this regal lady in her final years or months. Letting her go will be very very hard.


Three Little Kittens

It all started when I went out to feed our outdoor cat, KeeKee, yesterday morning.

For some background, we were adopted this summer by an old lady cat, and I’ve made her a nice heated outdoor home on our porch so she can weather this winter. Since she arrived, she’s back to her healthy weight, and while she used to just sit in our bushes all day long over the summer, now she spends all day off in the woods doing her thing, and only comes back for meals and to sleep in her shelter overnight.

It’s a good life and I am happy I can provide it for her. If someone is going to dump a sweet cat in the country, the least I can do is make her a nice home to compensate.

Back to yesterday morning.

When I was feeding KeeKee, I heard the faintest of mews coming from under the porch. It was so faint, in fact, that I thought I was hearing wrong and that I had mistaken a creak for a mew. Until it mewed again. Yup, that sure sounded like a kitten. So, I walked down the steps and what should poke it’s head out from under them but a tiny black and white kitten.

He was adorable.

We already have one cat inside, and one cat outside. My husband is indulgent but only so far. There is no way I am bringing another kitten inside. So I put out more food. Gave it some hugs (it let me pick it up), and continued with the morning routine of getting the kids ready for school. It was a huge feet of deception that I was able to get them past the meowing kitty at the door and convince them that it was just the old outdoor cat.

I worried about this little kitten all day at work. How was I going to take care of it and keep it from the kids. As anyone who knows me will attest, I am horrible at lying. I knew that was out of the question. My decision was made. I’d tell the kids when we got home, then I’d walk to the neighbors houses to see if anyone lost a kitten. Perhaps this little guy was an escapee and his children were looking for him/her.

As soon as the kids saw the kitten, my son fell in love and my daughter freaked. My son is just like me and if everything were up to us, our house would be full of cats. My daughter is a bit reserved when it comes to animals and she has to warm up to them as much as they have to warm up to her.

I went around to the neighbors houses who were home and none of them claimed this little kitten, although all of them thought he/she was adorable. How can you not? It is a fundamental fact that kittens are cute. It is natures way of protecting them. Having no luck, I returned home, put out more food for the kitten and KeeKee, and fed my kids dinner.

After dinner, then insisted on coming with me to the last house I had not yet knocked on. We brought the kitten with us and it meowed and meowed. We’d just started up our neighbors driveway when a meow answered back and out from the bushes another identical black and white kitten dashed toward us.

Now there were two little kittens.

We made our way up the neighbor’s driveway with two little kittens and two very excited children, only to find them still not home. So we returned to our home. Setting down the two kittens now with KeeKee (who gave me a look that can only say “seriously?!”), we went inside to finish up the kids homework. When asked if they could go back outside to see the kittens again, I said they had to finish their homework first.

In what was a record for them, they finished their homework, got on their pajamas, put away their toys, and got coats, slippers, and mittens on to go back outside. The kitten motivation sure is something.

As my son opened the door he said “Mom, you have to see this. Now there are three kittens.”

“What? Three kittens?” what my incredulous reply.

“Yup. Three kittens.” he answers.

And there were. A third little black and white but fluffy kitten had joined the first two short haired black and white kittens. It was obvious that these three are siblings from the way they wrestle and play together. I set out more food and the kids and I spent about a half hour in the cold playing with the kittens on the porch. Setting out a box, blanket and more food, we told them goodnight and that we’d see them in the morning.

Although KeeKee the outdoor old lady cat has a heated shelter, she didn’t invite the kittens in to stay with her. I am just happy that aside from a hiss or two, she’s been fairly “whatever” about the arrival of these interlopers. She’s not pleased that they are eating out of her foodbowl, but she’s not doing anything to stop them.

The kittens were still there this morning, waiting for more food and playtime from my kids. The weather is going to get up to the 50s today, so they will be ok, but it’s going to be frigid by the end of the week. The countdown begins. Time to find these babies a home.

My son wishes it could be with us, but even I can’t get my husband to accept three more cats.

Wish us luck!