Thursday, November 20, 2008

Studio Cat in Training

For the past week and a half Puck has been a Studio Cat in training and I'm happy to report that he's coming along nicely. Considering that he's been on his own for a while, I would have to say he's a very well behaved cat for the most part. The things he must learn in the studio is where he's allowed to go, and where he's not. The workbenches and the top of the kiln are off limits, but anywhere else is fine. The first day I brought him into the studio I caught him up on the far end of my workbench tickling his whiskers on some glass stringers I have in a vase, but he hopped down as soon as I scolded him. He was able to get settled in for a few days before his first day of real work. This is pretty much how this week has gone.....

Day 1

Off to a very rocky start. He didn't appreciate the sound of my vent fan and concentrator. He meowed for two hours straight and paced from one end of the studio to the other. It's not that the noise is horribly loud, because Harley and Jamaica usually nap on the cat bench right next to my concentrator. At one point he thought he could escape the madness through the window. I was in the middle of a bead when I looked up to see him standing spread eagle on the window ledge. He looked like one of those little stuffed cats that people stick to the inside of their car windows with suction cups. I tried to console him but to no avail. Finally after meowing himself into exhaustion, he retreated under the chair for a nap. Or at least I think that's what he was doing under there. Perhaps he was plotting his revenge. I worked for about 4 hours and shut down early due to a "meow induced" splitting headache. Because of Puck's pacing and going behind me where I couldn't see him, I decided to set up a visual barrier for the "No Puck Zone" with a little fence made from masking tape.

This is the "Puck Zone"

This is the "No Puck Zone"

Day 2

Started off with a few meows and then he spent the day under the chair.

Day 3

Now that his fear of the noise is gone, he's developed a real interest in the whole bead making process. Several times he would sit at the corner of my workbench, looking up at the edge like he wanted to jump up. I would tell him "NO" and he would just scowl at me like I hurt his feelings and not go away, so I had to enlist the help of my little "No Puck Zone Enforcer". A little Gothic dude, that when squeezed, makes a blood curdling scream scary enough to send a curious cat packing. I've only had to squeeze him twice so far. Now I just keep him on the edge of the bench as a subtle reminder.

The "No Puck Zone" Enforcer

Days 4 through 10
Now we're getting somewhere! No more meowing or hiding under the chair or threatening to jump on my workbench. Puck's a happy little camper just snoozing on the couch all day while I work. He's a very smart cat and I knew it would only be a matter of time before he caught on. Last night I took down the barrier and invited him over to the cat bench on my side of the room. Now he knows if he crosses over to my side of the studio he better get on that cat bench or he'll get chased back to his side of the room. Yay Puck! You're a Studio Cat Graduate now....good boy!
Oh, and don't tell him I told you this, but Puck has an appointment at the vet for "snip-snip" on December 2nd. After a few days of recovery he will be allowed supervised access to the rest of the house. As soon as I'm sure there aren't any problems between Puck and the two resident felines, Harley and Jamaica, he will have full-time home access and won't have to stay confined to the studio anymore. He's going to make a fine addition to our family and I think Harley is even looking forward to having a playmate that's closer to his own age.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In Your Face!

You know I've always said that photographing my beads for auction is my least favorite part of the business. After today's photograph session with Puck, I have to say I now have the utmost respect for Pet Photographers. They must be among the most patient people on earth.

I've also come to realize the following about photographing glass beads......

They don't wiggle and squirm so I end up with 100 blurry "action" shots.
They don't sit with their back to me.
They don't hide under the chair.
They don't lay their ears back if I make a strange sound.
They don't swat at the strap on the camera.
They don't pass gas that smells like rotten fish when I try to reposition them.
They don't whip their head around without warning to watch a bird fly by the window.
They don't wait until I'm focused and then decided to lick their privates.
They don't follow me when I back up and then sit on my feet.
They don't get IN MY FACE!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

You can call me Puck!

Great news for Straycat! His tests were neg. and he's now officially a member of the family! When we came home from the vets, I had the studio all ready for him and he came walking out of the cat carrier purring and rubbed all over me to say thank you.

Straycat is "stray" no more! His new name is Puck! I know it's kind of an odd name, but you know we usually don't call our pets by their given names anyway. I came up with Puck because he's silly, and clumsy and makes me laugh when he acts like a little clown.....but I think clowns are kind of creepy, so I opted to name him after a Jester instead. Puck is the Jester from Shakespare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream. For seven months this little cat would sit on the plant bench looking in through my studio window, and it really warms my heart to see him now in my studio looking out.

My little sweetie is sleeping on the couch in my studio in the pineapple-upside-down-cat position! He had a big day today. I was out there sorting glass earlier and he would sit at my feet and lean against my leg. He just wants to be as close to me as he possibly can. Harley and Jamaica have watched him today through the sliding doors. They seem interested, but not all that concerned. I'm making sure to show them extra attention too so they don't get jealous.

Scarface, aka Baby Blue's scratches are healing nicely. I'm going to keep putting food out for him so he doesn't have to go home. Whitey isn't showing up here very much anymore. I think he's starting to get the picture.

My funny moment for the day was when Puck went to use the litterbox in the studio for the first time. Harley and Jamaica are at the sliding door watching him with REALLY big eyes and then they both looked at each other and I swear I could hear Jamaica gasp and Harley say, "Oh no he isn't taking a dump in Mom's studio!"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Daddycat the Tent Maker

I just thought this was too cute not to share.When Brian and I got together 18 years ago, he had never known the joys of being owned by a cat. I must say that he warmed up to the idea pretty fast. It all started with our Winston, which Brian fell hopelessly in love with. I don't have any children of my own, so when I'm talking to the cats about Brian, I refer to him as Daddycat. Well, not long after we adopted Winston, Daddycat started constructing kitty tents and kitty caves all over the house for Winston to play in. He would arrange all the pillows on our bed into a kitty shelter, or drape towels across a chair for a fun tent. Of course, when Jamaica came along, and more recently Harley, he had to introduce them to the finer points of indoor cave dwelling too. Once he even constructed an elaborate kitty complex by draping a sheet over our dining room table, with seperate little rooms inside consisting of towels over the chairs. He would actually crawl inside and play with them. I have a picture of Daddycat under a kitty tent with just his feet sticking out. He got under there to play and ended up falling asleep!

So you can just imagine how this warmed my heart when I went out to the garage this morning to check on Straycat and found this.....


One day back in June as I was making beads in my studio, I noticed a little brown tabby cat on my plant stand in the back yard. When I finished the bead I was working on I went to the window to get a better look. He was so thin and emaciated and was gobbling up hard corn scraps left behind by the squirrels I had been feeding. This just made me cry. That day I started putting a bowl of kibble out for this poor little stray cat.

He would usually come around in the afternoon and eat his kibble then sit on the plant stand, looking in through the window of my studio. On many occasions I would go out and try to talk to him but he would always run away. I even tried approaching him with food in hand, but he wanted nothing to do with me. My neighbor told me he had been living under the gazebo she had in her yard. I told her that he must have been born in the wild because I’m usually very good at being able to make friends with even the most timid of cats.Every day when Straycat would show up, I could see him gradually gaining weight and looking better. Every day he would eat my offerings of kibble and then watch me through the window of my studio as if to say thank you, but I still could not get within 20 yards of him. Then one day my neighbor told me her granddaughter’s friend told her the people that owned the cat had moved out of town months before, leaving this poor kitty to fend for him self. This broke my heart even more. Just what kind of person could do something like that? Domestic cats can live in the wild if they are forced to, but it’s never pleasant for them to be undernourished, infested with parasites, exposed to the weather and at risk of being hit by a car.

Now for the last few weeks I’ve noticed that Straycat has been living in the culvert pipe than runs under my neighbor’s driveway. This way he can see me when I come to fill his bowl and he’s there every morning and afternoon, meowing a pitiful little soft meow at me from a distance. But he would never come to eat until I had gone back in the house and all was quiet.

Well a few days ago Straycat and I had an amazing breakthrough. He was crying for his breakfast and watched as I filled his bowl and then I put it on the ground. I took a few steps back from it and just stood there very still, talking to him in a sweet voice. Finally he came slinking over and very cautiously began to eat. Every time he would turn his head away I would quietly inch closer until I got to where I could squat down and stroke his fur. With the first touch, he flinched as if I had zapped him with a tazer gun. But he didn’t run. So I continued talking to him sweetly and stroking his fur. Before he was finished with his lunch, he was rubbing all over me, doing pushy pushy with his front feet and purring up a storm! Not wanting to overdo things with our first real encounter, I turned to go back in the garage and much to my surprise, he pranced in right behind me, meowing and purring and rubbing me just begging for some more loving! The power of touch is truly amazing!

For the last few days he’s been camping out in my garage. During the day I have the door lifted about 8 inches just in case he wants to go out and stretch his legs, but he’s content to lounge in the patio chair that I put an old towel on for him. He also prefers to use the litter box I’ve provided, rather than to do his business outdoors, so I’m certain he was once an indoor cat.

Brian and I have decided to try and give this sweet little Straycat the life he deserves and we’re taking steps to make him part of our family. Saturday he has an appointment at the vet’s office where he will be tested for Feline Leukemia, Feline Aids and checked for worms. If he gets a clean bill of health I will take care of his fleas and treat him for ear mites and move him indoors to my studio. My studio is attached to my house and closed off with two sets of sliding glass doors where he and my two indoor cats can get used to seeing each other. After a while I will crack the door open just enough for them to smell each other. Then, if everything is going well and it looks like this will work, he will go back to the vet’s to get neutered and have all his shots and then we can introduce him as a permanent member of the family and come up with a better name than Straycat. Meanwhile he’s more than happy to live in the garage and soak up every bit of kindness we have to offer. So here are a few pictures of what will hopefully be our new baby.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hair on Fire!

Well, not really, I just wanted it to look that way. Brian has been after me for years to do some really wild color in my hair. I figured the typical pinks, blues and purples would clash with my naturally red highlights, so I decided to try something "flamey". After all, I work at a torch every day, so why not? So what do you think? Does this say "Artsy Flameworker" or "Aged Punkrocker"? :o)