Sketch the cat’s portrait by Pamela Slaton

Following up Pamela Slaton’s lovely portrait of Max the cat is the one of Sketch, my kitty who passed away a year ago. Look at his furry face emerging from the paper! She is truly an amazing artist.


To see more of Pamela Slaton’s work, check out her Facebook.


Max the cat’s portrait by Pamela Slaton

Leap Year 2020 will mark four years since we lost Max, our beloved cat of fifteen years. Max was the cat who graced our wedding program, as he invited guests to the marriage of his two people.

I recently received in the mail a lifelike portrait I commissioned of Max…

Drawing of Max the cat

Max the cat

The artist is Pamela Slaton, a talented artist I have known for decades. Check out her other work, it is amazing

Our screens are laser pointers

For the first time in my life, tonight, I used a laser pointer to “play” with a cat. You see, a neighbor left a few days ago and I’m visiting her cat twice a day to feed and play with him. I’ve been trying for days to get him excited about a feather thing on a string stick. Today I saw the laser pointer on the table and decided to try it with the cat. He WENT NUTS. After a few minutes of watching him frantically try to get his paws on the little red light dot, I realized I had an analogy for our screen-addicted culture.

Whenever you ignore the book or toy next to you in favor of the virtual entertainment that your smart phone, laptop, iPad or TV represents, you are basically chasing a laser pointer.

I told the cat, “laser pointers are for suckers! You can’t even sink your teeth into it or touch it with your actual paws!” He had no reply.

If only I could admit that I am more enlightened than a laser-pointer-loving cat. But I can’t. I’m here now looking at my computer screen, my phone at my side. When I am done posting this I will check the phone and ignore the knitting, the books, the sketchbook. Tomorrow while I am waiting for the car at the shop, I will attempt to resist the urge to play with games on the phone, to focus on the knitting, the book, and the sketchbook. I will succeed for a few moments here and there.

If I were to spend more time in the “real” world, I would make more hats, scarfs, mittens, paintings and stories. Would that help the world more? Or are these just useless artifacts that I hope to generate in a vain attempt to “live on through my creative works after I die”?

I have no answer. What about you?


Goodbye Sketch

Sketch at his finest

A few years ago I remember saying that if my cat ever dies, my life will change drastically. I’m about to find out how.

Sketch went the way of his ancestors this evening after more than fifteen and a half years of life. Never let it be said that we didn’t try hard enough to help this guy keep going. To sum:

–In 2014 he was diagnosed with diabetes type 2, necessitating twice daily (or more) blood glucose checks and twice daily insulin shots. It became very difficult to go on date nights or family outings. At the age of ten, our daughter had to learn how to give the cat a shot. I organized my life around the cat’s care schedule.

–In 2015 after several months of remission from diabetes, it came back along with pancreatitis and diabetic ketoacidosis. After three nights in the vet hospital (which included some sort of issues with his heart) and a huge vet bill, we brought him home with multiple medications. We had to force feed him for days. Somehow, he got better, but was back on insulin.

–In 2018 we had chronic kidney failure to add to the list of woes, followed by high blood pressure and medication for it.

–Around December 30, 2018, we noticed Sketch wasn’t really eating much at all. Then we saw he wasn’t drinking either. That was ominous, because this cat always loved water and no glass was safe from his muzzle.

–January 11, 2019 we were told he had tongue cancer. The horror! The cat couldn’t use his tongue, and so he couldn’t groom himself. He’d drink by sticking his muzzle in a cup of water and just open his mouth. He’d eat by sloppily attacking food with his face, and half of it would fall to the ground, glued to the carpet or bowl by this sticky, gelatinous gunk that kept leaking out of his mouth. We started him on bupenorphine, a heavy duty pain killer, and for a while he seemed like he was improving. But no.

–January 21 I took a photo of him, below. I’ve taken a lot of photos of this cat over the years. I had to confess he looked very unhappy. I felt almost selfish trying to keep him going. I looked up a feline pain scale online and he was at a 3 out of 5, on bupenorphine.


Sad cat

–January 22 he was in bed beside us and kept opening and closing his mouth all night long. Even through earplugs I could hear the sticky saliva gunk he was struggling with.

–This morning he seemed truly miserable, and we saw blood in the drool. At least 4 out of 5 on the feline pain scale. We looked in his mouth and saw that a large part of his tongue had been overrun with this white mass that was claiming his tongue for itself.

Enough is enough, we said.

So now Sketch, the well-loved, super pampered cat is no longer feeling any pain and is buried next to his “friend” and former “cat roommate,” Max.

Eventually, I will stop seeing pieces of cat food and glitter puffs around the house and get used to a catless home. But for now it’s weird. I deleted all the timers on my phone reminding me to check the cat’s blood glucose and give him insulin. Tomorrow I don’t need to clean the catbox, rub high blood pressure medicine in his ear, get my husband’s help to administer bupenorphine, pick up half a dozen bowls of mostly untouched food and replace them with a smorgasbord of foods that would have likely remained untouched.

I’d like to think Sketch is prostrating to Vajrasattva in this one. He has spent more time on my meditation cushion than I have.

What will I do with the free time? Maybe I can finally meditate in the early morning? Do my physical therapy exercises? Get my brain organized to actually take vitamins and supplements regularly instead of haphazardly? All of the above? Perhaps I won’t have to run the dishwasher every day to clean all the bowls of cat food. Maybe I can take up knitting again, since having a chronic case of Lap Cat has made yarn play very difficult. Maybe I could actually see friends again on occasion? Do I have any left?

Japan was amazing: 4: Capsule Vending Machines

I could say some stuff about the machines which dispense drinks, but this post is specific to the bonanza of capsule vending machines I found at the Narita airport, dispensing little round plastic balls filled with goodies.

They had dozens of these.


This is just one row!


You could find all sorts of amazing things. Check it out:


Bonsai tree

Ham is apparently short for hamster, for those who don’t know what ham actually means in English I guess.

“The Dog face pouch” WTF?

Appears to be plastic hedgehogs crawling into different receptacles.

Champagne Tower, because why the heck not? Might go well in a dollhouse.

Ham ice cream delicacies, because…

Cat torture devices

Cat’s View of His Person Taking a Trip

I’m heading to Indonesia tomorrow and here’s what my cat thinks about that.


“I bring you a sacrificial glitter puff direct to your sleeping space, which I will keep warm in your absence.”


“I will meditate in your place while you are gone and paw-ray for your swift return.”


“I will sleep in your chair and half way through the day wonder why you are not here to wake me up, prick my ear and give me a treat.”

Shaving the Cat…so to speak

Every spring we get our cat “shaved.” This is the fifth year running, and the second year we’ve enlisted the services of Better Kitty.

First, you might ask, “why remove the bulk of the cat’s fur?” Well part of it is because it’s cooler for summer. But a bigger part is that our old guy has lost so many teeth that he can’t groom himself properly and gets matted. And occasionally I’ve caught him choking on his own fur that is still attached to his body. I’ve asked him, “How did you kind survive in the wild with no humans?” He had no answer.

So here’s a little glimpse into the world of getting a “lion cut” for the summer:

After the cut, Sketch got a rinse in the bathtub and then got wrapped in a burrito. This is adorable:

Cute flippy tail:


Sketch with his Lion Cut, 2017