Sunday, May 20, 2012

How DID this tale end? An update on Kingsford – now a truly unique black cat

Handsome, isn't he?

We'd like to ask a favor for when you meet Kingsford.  Tell him how becoming his new, fashionably short tail is.  We almost have him convinced.

This is not a lie:  just foretelling the future.  Right now, he is - okay, unique looking.  His tail is about 5 inches long, with a cluster of stiff sutures at the end.  The tail itself is completely shaved, as is a perfect circle around the base of the tail, as are both his wrists.   Kingsford is starting into the third week of 24/7 in the undignified e-collar (or cone), and still has about 10 days to go in it.    But this still outgoing and happy cat WILL be a handsome charmer again when the sutures come out, the e-collar comes off, and his tail regains its glossy black fur.

We have a couple of additional favors to ask as well.
First, Kingsford’s medical expenses, especially the cost of amputation surgery, have now hit the PAAW budget, less what we were able to cover. PAAW funds are used to feed, lodge, and especially provide medical care for stray, often injured cats.  If you can please donate $10 or $15 or more to the cause, they’ll be able to step up and help the next cat that shows up singed or broken or painted, or (don’t ask).  For more information on how to do this, please read to the end.
Long long long naps while healing.

Second, Kingsford deserves a really good home, foster or permanent.   The space we were able to carve out for him here is not great, and is certainly pretty disruptive for us and our own cat family.    And, of course, this can only be temporary, while his tail heals.  This exceptionally cuddly and playful cat is almost ready to be the perfect companion for someone. He seems to tolerate other cats well, and they him.   We can attest that  he and Lew are compatible, although, full disclosure here, Shasta does NOT approve – of Lew OR Kingsford. (another story altogether).
If you can think of someone ready to grow their cat family, please refer them to, or have them contact us or leave a comment on my blog. 

And, if you are willing/able to help financially – for those with a PayPal account, it’s easiest to click here to go to and  then click on the DONATE button.      Otherwise, send a check made out  to P.A.A.W.  to us – we’ll get it to the right place - , or directly to  :   PO Box 1573,    Warren,     MI 48090

(unlike some organizations that shall remain nameless here, PAAW will not spend this money flooding your mailbox with  cr** … pardon me,  I mean useless stuff)

Oh please don't take my picture again.
Thanks so much for caring. This unexpected challenge and responsibility has been more difficult than we were prepared for, but knowing that others care so much too has been great support!

Friday, May 11, 2012

How will this TALE end? (or "not EVERYTHING is about ART")

How will this tale end?
A  month ago, we started seeing a big black cat, nearly daily, strolling through our yard and down the driveway.  He was cause for a double take, looking so much like our new family member, Lew, that we had to check to be sure Lew had not gotten outside.    Often he came by the back door, and “talked” to Lew through the glass.     If we waved to the Visitor from inside the house, he’d stop, turn toward us, and start talking busily.  By now we were wondering if he was lost or strayed.
A week ago, the Visitor stopped outside our sunroom and, turning his face up to where we sat, started to speak to us. As he did, we noticed that he had a bad wound on his tail.  I decided to look more closely.  When I went out to the driveway, the Visitor came over quickly.   His tail wound was awful: maybe an animal had grabbed him? Or maybe some kind of awful trap.  I sat on the driveway and he climbed right into my lap and proceeded to tell me the whole story.  Unfortunately, as  I don’t speak Cat, I still don’t know what it was.  But I did find out that he was not only wounded but also declawed. This was a cat who should NOT have been out and alone.  
We decided we needed to find out if this cat was chipped (had a identifying chip implant) so we could get him home.  We hustled him easily into a carrier and took him to Luv’n’Care, the vet that PAAW uses (Pet Adoption Alternative of Warren).  They determined that he did NOT have a chip, and that the tail wound was already infected.   He needed two different antibiotics, he needed the wound cleaned three times a day, and he needed to wear an e-collar (cone) to keep him from licking the wound.  He needed this for two weeks, or he would probably lose the tail.  Or die of the infection.   Well, now we were in it up to our elbows. What else could we do?
We brought the Visitor home and set him up in my art studio, the only place we could isolate him.  With permission, we retrieved one of PAAW’s pet enclosures from its storage at Petco and brought that home.  The poor cat was now terrified: strange house, strange room, cone head colliding with the bars of his enclosure at every move, meds being given by strangers -  he cried most of the first night (in the room right below our bedroom), so we took turns through the night going down to let him out of the enclosure, sitting with him to keep him quiet.
The second night he only cried for a few hours.    How do parents of babies deal with sleep deprivation for weeks/months?   Kudos to you all.
A Complication of Cats - Now we were dividing our time between THREE cats, residing in separate areas of  our not so big house  – our two resident cats, not yet reconciled to each other’s existence even after six months, and the Visitor, not yet cleared as disease-free, so having to be sequestered. All of them needing and demanding attention and love.   
We were doing as well as could be expected, for four or five days, and the tail seemed to be healing up.  Then, disaster.  I’d been spending hours in my studio (door closed of course), with the Visitor running free within that one room. I left him to go get some lunch.  When I got back only 20 minutes later,  he’d managed to stretch out far enough past his plastic cone to chew the wound.  Bloody and awful. OH so awful.  First I cried for a while.  And then took him back to the vet.  Now there’s no skin left, and it’s worse than it was to begin with.  Unable to make an unacceptable decision by myself, I got the Visitor a reprieve -  we’re trying for another week of salve and antibiotic to get the skin to regrow.     The vet says it’s unlikely, and the tail will probably have to be amputated, leaving about 4 inches.  If we have no more disasters, we’ll find out this coming Thursday.  I was told he would heal from the amputation fairly quickly and easily, so we’ve committed to caring for him through this trial and convalescence.
Meanwhile, our friends  at PAAW are working on finding a longer term foster home for the boy, on the assumption that we won’t find his rightful family in spite of signs everywhere and online postings on lost pet sites.  Because we fostered him first, we’ve had the privilege of naming him, and I chose my favorite black-cat name:  Kingsford – you know, like the charcoal?  (special thanks and credit to Cathy B from whom I first heard the name).      
Kingsford is a lovely, friendly, playful, purring, loving lap cat, even while suffering through  the torture we’ve had to inflict on him for his own good.  If you have ever thought of adding a cat to your family, Kingsford would be an excellent choice.  If you know someone who is thinking about it, please forward this to them. 
 Now we wait to see how the tale (tail) will end.  Will he keep his tail?  Will he find a good new home? Will his new family love him and keep him SAFELY INSIDE?  Will it be you? 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Finally, a painting from my Kanuga Workshop

I did 90% of the work on this AFTER I got home, due to the amount of time I spent in Judy Morris's workshop making color studies and value studies before starting to paint.  I'm very happy with the results of this effort, as it used nearly all of the processes I learned from Judy while at Kanuga. Please forgive the poor photography, I was too excited about getting it done and posted to set up my normal "art photography" studio.

The edges are "deckled" with torn artists tape.  The flower pot is a salt texture.  The washes are EVER so carefully done, and pretty good (for me).  The shadow was painted separately instead of being a wash over the previous color of the cloth.  The minimal pattern on the table cloth is script, saying 'primrose'.  I used a jury-rigged light box to paint that so that I didn't have pencil marks everywhere.  I used a 'stencil' of clear contact paper to lift some of the blossom colors when they got too dark.      And, what made me the happiest, was the pallette I used for this. It was a triad I worked out that gave me the colors I wanted to see.  This painting is done with just alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, and quinacridone burnt orange. Yes, even the greens.