Portrait of Mischief and Love

Where was my heart when my hand captured time in a portrait of mischief and love?

Boots, Sadie and Francie 2 cropped colored

Copyright 2013 by DM Denton

Cats Between the Lines

Cats must be there. Even as I wander long ago and faraway, they follow me, rub my legs, curl on my bed and beg my attention without disturbing it. Their purring is my mantra too, so natural and deliberate at the same time, encouraging the perfect rhythm of my heart. They are soft to the touch yet strong enough in their will. One swipes at my pen to remind me not to take it all so seriously; another paws my arm, pleading, eyes green with envy for the obsession that seems to leave him out. Oh, no. How can I tell him? With a turn and a bow and a stroke he’s reassured; with an Eskimo kiss he’s a distraction but—as one of my favorite writers, Colette, once noted—never a waste of time. Yet another stretches, slithers and yawns like a serpent enticing me to a nap. And then I realize I’m being watched, by that scamp who only sleeps to run and jump and wrestle when he’s awake, small and smart and certain I can’t grab him before he runs away again.

Cats know more than they ever say, probably for the best if progress is ever to be made. A leonine length with legs neatly crossed and head shaped for stillness sets me wondering if any activity could be better than none. Oh, I know. I must make a living, eat and drink and pretend to hunt. So I do so with their goal in mind, eyes squeezed closed and whiskers and paws and tail twitching, to savor sleep as much as success—for the dream of the mouse even more than its taste. 

Cats can be characters, as many as I’ve had there’s no end to the possibilities. I can dress them up and use them in stories that otherwise might not welcome them. I suspect they would be flattered if they knew, that they expect me to take them everywhere I go and include them in everything I do. Saying that, they realize being ignored is freedom from expectation, especially if turned into a choice. And vanishing is just another way of being found.


Note: ‘Cats Between the Lines’ was originally posted September 3, 2011. The image – the first time I have posted it –  is one I did in the mid 90’s of my then kitty family – Boots, the mother, and her two calico children, Francie and Sadie.



donatellasmallest©Artwork and writing, unless otherwise indicated, are the property of Diane M Denton. Please request permission to reproduce or post elsewhere with a link back to bardessdmdenton. Thank you.

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19 thoughts on “Portrait of Mischief and Love

  1. Hi Diane, what a lovely posting! I really love those cats of yours 🙂
    Maybe cats are what we would like to be: independend, soft, strong, witty and relaxed! xx

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  2. I recognised this straightaway Diane! I will have read it just a month into my blogging life.

    My family laugh at me when I describe my memory as my head being full of books stored on shelves from floor to ceiling. When I need to remember something tiny elf like creatures begin scurrying up and down tall ladders until they find what it is I need. Well, they didn’t even need to begin their scurrying to find this!! Lol

    Your picture of the kitties is just gorgeous, each personality being so evident on the little faces, I love it!
    ❤ Xxxxlots of lovexxxX

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    • Hi, Christine! I LOVE that description of what goes on inside your head. Glad this post didn’t make those elves work too hard! Yes, those three were quite the handful. Boots came to our backdoor just a few weeks after I returned from England. She was barely a year-old herself and heavily pregnant, and gave birth to three kittens. One unfortunately died a few days later and Boots almost did, too. Her daughters, Francie and Sadie, were lovely but a handful, always getting into trouble. Francie, especially, was very willful and Boots used to sit on her. Sadie was a little thief. Once, when my aunt was visiting, Sadie ‘borrowed’ an emerald ring my aunt had set on the dresser. (She actually accused my mom and I of taking it!) A few hours later my aunt went to put on her shoes and there it was, neatly tucked up in one of the toes. Poor Sadie left us too soon (@ 10 years old) as she developed tumors and probably had a form of leukemia. Boots was only about eleven. Francie lived to about 14 – we believed she suffered a stroke that paralyzed her back legs.

      I am certain that my Gabby is a reincarnation of her – but that is a tale for another day! 🙂 XO ♥

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  3. I adore your painting of Boots, Francie and Sadie – it makes me remember one of our special past cats, and her two kittens. Cats are definitely characters and their personality quirks provide us with endless hours of engaging interactions! Your essay has brought me a smile today! 🙂

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    • Hi, Barbara. Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed. Every day I am entertained and enlightened by my kitties. Cats are not as aloof as they are too often characterized – they love to be a part of things and really show their characters if part of a kitty family. XO ♥

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  4. Any posting about cats always gets my interest. I’ve been friends with loads of them in my time, and I always amazed at how different they can be from each other. Needless to say, the drawing is just my cup of tea

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    • Hi, Peter and thank you! So glad you have had the joy that cats can bring. Yes, they are all so very unique! We have had up to nine at one time – all females. Now we have five – all males. And have to say, they get along better and into much less trouble than the females did. Hmm… 🙂 All the best!

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  5. What a gorgeous painting, Diane, and they are so beautiful. I’ve never owned cats, although my parents had a couple before I was born. Then dogs came into our lives. My family has never had cats because my husband is very allergic. If he weren’t, then we might have gotten a cat, more independent, and Copper may not have been with us now. Well, I think you know I’m glad he is with us, but I would love a cat someday, who knows? 🙂 Lovely post and sending many hugs and blessings for a beautiful weekend. XO ♥

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    • Hi, Lauren – just saw your comment when I came back to this post because of one just made by a new blogging acquaintance. So sorry I missed it. Thank you VERY belatedly! I am so glad you have Copper – I know he is the world to you and your family. I love dogs, all animals, as you probably have gathered. Cats are not as independent as people think … perhaps more self-sufficient if they are ignored. Which mine aren’t, and so are VERY engaged in our lives. Sending hugs and hope you are enjoying a lovely autumnal weekend! XO ♥

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  6. Vanishing is just another way of being found…. I’m so intrigued by this sentiment and would love to hear more.

    This is beautiful, both the words and the picture – thanks for pointing me here! x

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