Category Archives: Cats

Saturday Snapshot

Some time ago I posted a photo of Heidi in her little tepee. She still likes to sleep in it but she has other favourite places to nod off, one of which is our settee, so we cover the seat with a towel as she’s not very good at wiping her wet feet!

The other day we found her like this:

Heidi asleep P1090353
Fast asleep

She didn’t even move when David leant over towards her:

Cat napping

For more Saturday Snapshots see Melinda’s blog West Metro Mommy Reads.

Saturday Snapshots

Autumn in the garden:

Jap Maple Nov 2013 P1090302

The leaves are falling from some of the trees now, but our little Japanese Maple is still bearing its flame-coloured leaves.

Autumn trees Nov 2013 P1090305The Wych Elm leaves are a glorious golden colour.

Autumn leaves Nov 2013 P1090313And in our little wood the ground is now a carpet of rustling brown leaves.

D up ladder P1090314

Finally, here’s D up a ladder doing repairs to the roof – I had to watch because falling leaves are one thing …

For more Saturday Snapshots see Melinda’s blog West Metro Mommy Writes.

Saturday Snapshot: Heidi doesn’t like the snow

We’ve had snow and more snow, our garden and the surrounding fields are all white, but the main roads are clear, and we haven’t had the snow that’s brought some parts of the UK to a standstill.

This morning the sun is shining, and the snow is sparkling in the sunlight.

Snow P1080401

The paw prints in the snow shows that Heidi has been across it, but she’s not keen. This morning she wanted to go out through the patio door:

Snow Heidi 26 Jan 13

but she didn’t want to get her feet cold and wet:

Snow Heidi (2) 26 Jan 13

So she came in and tried the back door, but that was no better:Snow Heidi (3) 26 Jan 13

She stayed away from the snow and soon came back inside the house.

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home with Books.

Books for Cat Lovers

I loved both these books by Denis O’Connor:

Paw Tracks in the Moonlight and Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage.

Denis O’Connor trained as a psychologist and teacher. Throughout his career he taught in schools and lectured in colleges and universities. He holds a doctorate in education and psychology and is now retired, living with his wife Catherine and his two Maine Coon cats in a remote country cottage in Northumberland.

Paw Tracks in the Moonlight tells the story of how he rescued a kitten during a snowstorm and how kitten survived, despite the vet’s prediction that he wouldn’t. O’Connor lived at Owl Cottage and as he was out at work all day he put the kitten in a jug to keep him safe and named him Toby Jug. This memoir covers the first year of Toby Jug’s life and it’s a remarkable story because this is no ordinary cat (if such a creature exists, that is). He is a Maine Coon cross. He learns to walk on a lead and even goes on a camping trip on horseback during the summer in the Cheviot Hills with O’Connor.

Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage chronicles O’Connor’s experiences with four more cats, all Maine Coons. He had moved from Owl Cottage, unable to face living there after Toby Jug died in 1978, but years later, when he took early retirement, Owl Cottage came up for sale – and he and his wife bought it. it’s a wonderful place for cats and they acquired four – Pablo, Carlos, Luis and Max. The book is divided into sections describing each cat and there are also reminisces of Toby Jug, with more stories of their lives together.

Both contain beautiful descriptions of the Northumberland countryside, most of which I’m familiar with, which made the books even more special for me. Inevitably the death of Toby Jug filled me with sadness, but both books are full of the cats’ personalities and the joy they brought to O’Connor and his wife. They demonstrate the close bonds that are possible between people and cats:

I tell them [his friends who are astonished at the close bonds]  I believe that any animal, be it a horse, dog, cat, parrot or budgerigar, will always respond to kindly attention and caring affection, and that I know this because I’ve made good friendships with them all.

But to return to how I am with our cats, I can honestly state that quite apart from loving them deeply and being loved in return, I know them inside their minds and they know me; we are linked on a mental plane of mutual affection and understanding. (page 222 of Paw Tracks at Owl Cottage)

Definitely books for cat lovers!

Denis O’Connor has written a third book (which I haven’t read) – Paw Tracks: a Childhood Memoir, described on Amazon as ‘a searingly honest account of how the power of nature can lift the human spirit and overcome the most unloving of childhoods.’

Saturday Snapshots: Cats again

Sometimes I think I should call my blog CatsPlease as well as BooksPlease because of the number of cat photos I post. Today’s photos are of a called called George. He came to live with us when D’s mother moved into an apartment on the third floor. He was quite a character and liked to sit on/in things. He was also quite vocal!

One day out in the garden I heard him miaowing:

George in the compost heap

He was sitting on top of the compost:

It was just the same inside. He liked sitting on tables:

And he especially liked sitting in the laundry basket on top of the clean clothes waiting to be ironed:

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home With Books.

Cats: Drawing and Painting

I drew this last week, copied from a card, using pencils and pens. It’s made me keen to try painting/sketching our cat Heidi. She’s white so I’ll have to use coloured paper, or a coloured background.

I looked for help in this beautiful book:

 Cats: Drawing and Painting in Watercolour by Lesley Fotherby. This is what she has to say about drawing white cats on white paper:

You can’t paint the cat in white, so you have to paint the background and leave the cat to show up against it, ie look at the negative shape, paint that in and the positive image will appear. (page 96)

I’ve tried negative painting before and didn’t find it easy. She also suggests using pencil and paint and to illustrate the technique shows this painting:

There is so much in this book, from using different materials, paper and techniques  to showing how to depict movement and markings and composition. I’m going to study it and have a go.

Previously when I’ve posted photos of my sketches some people have commented that they wish they could draw. I can only endorse what Lesley Fotherby writes in this book:

Many people feel that being able to draw is a gift and that either you can draw or you can’t. It is true that some will find it easier than others, but in fact drawing is a skill which can be learnt like any other. As with other skills, it can only improve with practice, so do not be discouraged if your first efforts are unsatisfactory. …

Learning to draw is a bit like learning to swim: you can stand on the side of the pool and listen to a lecture, or you can jump in, wearing your lifejacket of course, and feel the element around you. Then you understand what they are all talking about. (page 8)