Chamomile Memorial Monday Meows Part 2

Continuing my long photo tribute to the fabulous and much missed Chamomile Kitty, AKA the Snorflepuss, the Snuggler, and so many other names. Part one is here.

She could be VERY demanding about getting her proper amount snuggling.

With a little help from her friends.

And the longer version of that same shot to point up just how ridiculous her position is.

You wouldn’t take my box from me, would you?

Hanging with me in my studio.

Posing on the library ladder.

Did I mention that she was a snot fountain? Because this was not an uncommon sight.

Lying down was always an exercise in risking your ability to ever be allowed to get up again.

She quite liked the cat tower my mom gave us, both inside…

And out.

Though, she wasn’t entirely sure about sharing.

She made friends easily, and concrete cat was there for her day…

And night.

Why you wake me up, thumb-monkey.

Extreme sleeping.

Here she is asleep on the mailbox.

This was taken outside by the fire table and she was super happy.

Apparently juggling balls make great pillows.

Here she is doing important committee work with the Committee for Feline Domination.

Sleepy baby.

This is her “Come over here so I can climb on your shoulder!” face.

I believe she was rubbing her nose on my eyelashes here.

She always loved it when I hold still for movies or games.

Such a sweet face.

This would be helping me pack.

Snuffle the eyelashes.

Excuse me, good sir, but why are we awake?

Shoulder cat.

Laying on my chest and utterly content. (both of us)

Getting in a last nap before the sun sets.

Excuse me, good sir, but might you have a cat treat about you?

Hoping for treats.

Waiting to be let out on the screen porch and baffled that it hasn’t happened yet.

Book ends and I love that they both have completely dorky expressions here.

That face.

She was pretty much the only cat I would let climb onto my bare chest like this (I was fresh out of the hot tub). She was always so gentle with her claws.

She loved to help Laura with puzzles.

Again, it’s the expression that makes me love this shot.

So dedicated to sleep.

That’s it for today. I’ll probably do one more.

Chamomile Memorial Monday Meows Part 1

As many of you know, my much beloved companion cat Chamomile succumbed to cancer this summer. For newer readers she’s the cream and white tuxedo. I’ve been putting off writing her a memorial post because I really didn’t want to say my final goodbyes. I’ve had a lot of cats and dogs in my life and I have loved them all, but some were extra special and Chamomile was one of those> Like Nutmeg and Isabelle and Moonshadow before her, she was MY cat and spent much of her life curled up on or near me as I worked on one book or project after another.

She came into our life because our vet and her techs practically insisted we adopt her both for our benefit and hers. She was a special needs cat, with structural sinus issues that made her a virtual snot fountain who sounded a bit like a sleepy Tasmanian Devil (the Warner Brothers kind) and total hearing loss. She also had bad teeth and a half melted ear. She was also the happiest cat I’ve ever met and she absolutely adored people and being held. She might have needed extra care and cleanup, but the rewards of having her around were amazing and I miss her dearly.

So, without further introduction, allow me to share some of my favorite pictures of a marvelous cat. There are a lot of them, because she was with us for years plus Cat Blogging. These are in loosely chronological order.

This is my very first picture of her in the window of the guest room while she was in kitty quarantine soaking up the sun which she loved.

I love her expression in this one. That’s the look she always got before running around like a squirrel in nut season.

And here she is hanging out on me, which was pretty much her main pastime after sleeping.

Here she is meeting my Isabelle cat who I will also miss forever. The kitty litter buckets are holding a screen door in place so that kitty quarantine cat and the others can get used to each other without being able to reach each other. It’s been a really good way to introduce new cats.

Miss Chamomile hanging out with some friends.

She was an absolute CHAMPION sleeper. Anytime. Anywhere.

Maniac eyes and shoulder cat. A twofer!

Doesn’t that look comfortable?

So many shoulder cat moments!

The face of a cat about to sneeze on you.

Competition sleeping.

I am a total sucker for kitties covering their eyes.

Early detente with Isabelle.

Bad teeth made her a blep queen

Sooooo dedicated to sleep.

Manic activity in 3.2.1…

All the blep!

Those eyes!

Snuggling with Laura and the late and much loved Ms. Ashbless.

This is the morning after we had to put Isabelle down. Things to know. 1) Isabelle loved to curl up in my arms when I was sleeping and did so regularly for 15 years. 2) Chamomile basically never slept in my arms before or after the few days after Isabelle died. I can’t look at this one without tears.

A queen of being comfortable in ridiculous poses and places.

Sleeping champion!

Our cats are not generally allowed outside. But occasional exceptions were made on the caveat that said cat stayed firmly on a lap. She loved to do this.

I really like the composition of this shot. It shows off her coloring so well.

This is from shortly after we lost Ashbless and adopted Bodi.

Chamomile with her favorite toy and exhibiting her unfailing dignity.

Feed me, Thumb-Monkey!

Purring face.

Helping me pick the right card.

Play face.

Dis my box.

Right after we adopted Jeeves and Wooster.

I paused for a moment while toweling off and someone jumped up.

Team sleeping. Also very popular here at Chez McCullough.

With Laura. I just love this.

She and the boys got on great, though her relationship with Bodi was somewhat more strained.

This makes me happy.

Queen of sleep. I love how this looks like an action shot in the midst of a high dive…or maybe that’s just me.

Waiting to ambush Jeeves, I think.

In Memoriam Birkie

This is late because 2020. My friends Matt and Mandy lost their elder cat Birkie along about the beginning of November. He was a dear old thing and I frequently did kitty sitting for him. I assembled the pictures for this right away, but didn’t have the heart to put it fully together in the first few days and then the steamroller of 2020 pushed it off my plate for a bit. Now, as I’m trying to catch up on all the things, I want to take a moment to remember an old friend.

This is my first picture of him from July 2011.

He was bold and friendly and always vaguely disapproving.

I love his expression.

We bonded early.

He was pretty good at posing, if he was in the mood.

This is how I will mostly remember him, demanding my attention.

With his longtime buddy, Pippen, who is also gone.

I love this shot because of the Matt photobomb.

He spent a lot of time on my shoulder when I visited.

Or my chest.

Man did he do the We Do Not Approve look well.

Climbing me again.

Run like the wind monkey steed!

Another shot with Pippen. I love the layers of shadow here.

Mmm, tuna juice…

He had a habit of blurring my shots. Lots of movement.

I love this.

Have I mentioned that disapproving look

One of my clearest shots of him in his later years.

But this is how I will remember him the most.

So long, Birkie, I’m going to miss you.














Coconut Cat RIP

We have reached the end of an era with the passing of Coconut, the last of the cats of Castle Gaiman. Back in 2010, when I first became friends with Neil, I absolutely fell in love with the menagerie that lived at his house and spent many hours walking borrowed dogs, petting the resident cats, or simply writing in corners with feline companionship. Portions of ten novels were written in the castle, and whenever I worked there Coconut always found me and curled up on or near me. He was an incredibly social and loving cat; I am going to miss him enormously. He was a frequent guest on Friday Cat Blogging and I ended up with a lot of pictures of him over the years. As is my tradition when I lose a pet friend, I’m going to share a portion of them as a farewell.

My last shot of him. Old and thin but still himself to the end

And, this was my first.

Sitting with me while I was writing last fall.

Cuddling with Laura back around 2012.

He was often waiting at the door when I showed up.

Writing in the tower.

And in the kitchen.

He could be a goof.

Or the picture of dignity.

He kept the magnificent Princess close company in her final days.

Here they are sometime in that first year I made friends with them.

He was a but dubious about this interloper.

But he really loved people.

With Laura last winter.

And me that fall.

Here he is helping me with another book in the library.

My most common view was of him waiting for me to put the laptop down.

I just love this.

A champion sleeper.

Even when balancing precariously.

This is not a trap. He liked belly rubs.

And sun.

So much sun.

If I didn’t pick him up fast enough he got quite demanding.

Verbally too.

This is usually how he said goodbye.

He liked drinking from the sink while Princess was alive.

But mostly he liked people.

Damn, but I am going to miss this little guy.

Such a charmer.

And so sweet.

I’m going to end with this shot because I find it haunting.


Friday Cat Blogging Farewell to Ash Part 2

Laura’s tribute to our much missed Ash plus more pictures below.

Ashbless, my gray girl

Ashbless was the last of our kitty quartet. We had had all four since 2003 or so. When we got her she was a tiny gray cat, and she came home in the same carrier as Nutmeg. Ash never liked to be held, but over her years with us she learned to live with it. She was our writher, flopping down next to a person and rolling about in abandon. Couches were her places. Downstairs she had her preferred couch, but any person on any couch MUST be sitting there to pet her. Upstairs she had her place between Kelly and me on the TV couch. She could get pets from both of us there. Sitting on people wasn’t her thing; she always preferred to be next to someone.

She was the one who got to clean out my cereal bowl every morning. Dairy milk was best, but she accepted soy milk and almond milk. Cashew milk made her turn away. She also got to clean out my other bowls and plates. Never had any food issues, never was trouble.

Ashbless was the lowest cat in rank, beaten up by everyone else. Whenever a rare cat fight broke out, she ran TOWARDS the altercation, because this was her only chance to get in a few hits. She’d swat someone a few times then run away. We built her a little shelf so she could eat up away from the other cats. If there was anyone near, she would insist on getting pets before eating—a sort of petting jump-start. Each morning she would stand on the ledge next to me as I brushed my teeth, asking for pets before eating.

Her face was beautiful, hinting at Russian Blue heritage. Her ears were enormous; I called them her big bat ears. She had prominent fangs until she strangely ejected them—some cats do this though why is a mystery. Until she lost her fangs, she was our best hunter. Bats, mice, moths. One time a bat was flying around in circles in the media room and the other cats were popping up and down like popcorn trying to get it. She simply climbed the cat tower, watched as the bat circled twice, leaped, grabbed it, broke its neck, landed. Then she gave the other cats a look as though to say “you guys are an embarrassment!”

My gray girl had resting anxious face. She always looked nervous, even when writhing in happiness. She had pink jellybean toes and a little pink spot on her gray nose. She loved belly rubs and after not too much petting she would get over-stimulated and start writhing even more, sometimes with a poofy tail. Her sleeping positions were adorable, either curled into a ball or with some legs straight out as if diving. Most of our pictures of her show her on her side on a couch.

Her last twelve hours were very hard. About 9 pm we realized we hadn’t seen her in a while. We searched the house thoroughly, finally locating her in the far corner under the guest bed. I called to her, and she stumbled towards me. When she came out from the bed, she could barely walk or hold herself up. She also could no longer see. An after-hours vet visit meant she got some steroids, which can sometimes help in the case of a stroke.

We brought her home to see how the steroids would do, but she was very upset. If we weren’t touching her, she would freak out and try to run. She ran into a few doors and walls before we figured out we had to keep touching her. So I spent the night on a few cushions, with her curled up in a warm down blanket next to me. Kelly piled pillows against every corner or hard edge in the room. I kept one or the other hand on her all night. When she tried to move, I would either restrain her or help her stand. But she would always fall over again. She ate a little come morning, and drank a little. But there was no real improvement and it was time to let her go.

Having lost two cats quickly and two slowly (all in 19 months) Kelly and I agree it’s easier to lose them quickly. But it’s very hard even so.
I miss her when I sit on the couch upstairs. I miss her when I finish a bowl of food and set it down. When I see her special feeding ledge. When I see a dark kitty walk past me and it’s not her. I miss her when I brush my teeth in the morning. I miss her when I tidy up her couch. Oh, how I miss her.

Fresh from finishing Laura’s cereal milk.
I love this shot of Ash and Isabelle sharing the cat chair.
Is MY sock, MINE!
I think I tied my legs in a knot, a little help here?
The kind of concentration only a chipmunk can generate.
This is such a perfect cat’s cat shot. All poise and dignity.
Not that she couldn’t be undignified.
I put a spell on you, and now you’re mine.
On her favorite chair on the porch with all the pink jellybean toes.
On her couch looking perfectly poised in front of her kitty quilt.
As the only one of our cats spry enough to there quickly she he loved the
counter and the opportunities it brough to spend time with her people.
She delighted in eating cobwebs even if they did muss her whiskers.
She never did learn to operate the remote.
More pink jellybean toes.
I love the way the sun lights her eyes here. She was so beatiful.
Here she is with Laura’s glasses and a bit of resting anxious face.
More anxious face, though I don’t have a picture of her at her most concerned.
She loved the spot on the media room couch lying between us.
She was highly tolerant of the occasional visitor.
She never really got the hang of the cat pod, though it matched her fur.
Here she is claiming an extension cord for her very own.
And again on the couch between us.
In her last months she came to love the heated cat bed.
This is the face of cat who totally didn’t lick that powdered doughnut.

And I’ll end with Ash and  her favorite person in the whole world.


Friday Cat Blogging Farewell to Ash Part 1

I still don’t really have the heart for this post, but if I waited until I stopped hurting it would never get done. On May 12 we lost our beloved Ashbless kitty, better know as Ash or our gray beauty. She was mostly Russian Blue, though, like all our rescue kitties, a bit of a mutt and a mystery. She adored people and was a favorite with visitors as she was born without the aloof gene and would treat anyone who sat down on one of our couches as her very own personal thumb-monkey. She had resting anxious face, and everyone always wanted to make her feel better. When we first got her she didn’t like to be picked up or to sit on a person, but in the last year of her life she became a regular part of my catvest, going so far as to sleep on my chest for long periods. We loved her completely and miss her so much. I’m sure Laura will have more to say on that when her heart is a bit less broken.

This our first picture of her from 15 years ago.

Here she is with our beloved Meglet.

They came into our house together and they are both gone now.

Here she is on HER couch. Anyone who sat there belonged to her.

In her younger days she was an amazing hunter of bats and mice, but it

got harder when she lost her fangs. Here she is one fanged.

She could be amazingly beautiful and dignified.

She could also be quite tolerant. That’s totally not the expression of a cat

plotting to murder anyone.

Here she is on her favorite of Laura’s sweaters. She adored it so much

that Laura eventually gave it to her for her very own.

On cold winter mornings she was always part of the radiator gang.

They’re all gone now and it’s so hard.

Quick, throw in the all time goofiest Ash shot to turn tears to laughter!

Derposaurus Ashblessus.

Pretty sure I should follow that with her plotting her revenge for it.

“But, what makes you think I’m a revenge-minded kitty?”

She did a great sleeping dragon pose.

She could be clingy.

She spent some years as a professional dream high diver.

We built her this shelf so she could have her own food bowl up high.

The other cats picked on her sometimes and we wanted her to feel safe.

I miss this face so much.

Did I mention tolerant?

When you gave her really good skritches she went all poofy-tailed.

I was okay in a pinch but Laura was HER person.

“Can I really have this mousie for my very own?”

Another shot of our girls together as they so often were.

I’ll close with this. She could be mysterious.

But she was always reaching for the sun.