Just one woman with a pen and a sketch book who still really doesn’t have a clue how she thinks of the world. I guess that’s real honest drawing, I’ll figure it out. I always have perceived my world through these lines. Mistakes after mistakes. Processing and redrawing. I drew Bonnie after six goes, it helped me to do so.
On difficult days the only way for me to process events is to draw. A language in itself of sense.
I’m deeply grateful for all your well wishes regarding Bonnie’s passing, you’re all in it with me, some of you for ten years now. It’s not the Never Ending story though, it’s my life on concrete streets and there’s no dragons I’m afraid.
Just this cat who really is going to be the death of me. I make no apologies for the anatomical mess in this drawing, I will look like that if she gets me one day. Much love.
My blinds take a daily battering as Renee likes to “post” herself through them and then stare back at me.
I thought it appropriate to capture this athletic moment in my cat’s day.
Bob the Dog Get’s a Job by Tracey Hammet and illustrated by myself is published today!
It’s a gorgeous picture book story for young children about Bob the Dog and Pat the Cat who are the best of friends. Bob is a super busy dog, Pat is Pat, a cat, who does just that.
It’s an adventure in ice cream with all sorts of interesting people who they meet along the way.
I’ve had a great time developing the characters, I hope you enjoy it. It’s available through Graffeg or in all good independent book shops and online book sellers. If you are outside the United Kingdom, I would suggest you try Book Depository for world wide shipping.
One of Renee’s many sleeping places is a little wicker basket on the landing. She likes it here very much as she can place all her knitted kitty puffs in one basket before a days screeching (carrying them all around the house and leaving them in random places).
This was a fine plan.
Until we got Frannie.
Stair gate is up but skinny necked pilferers do find a way.
Kitty Puff numbers have declined rapidly since the introduction / invasion of this blonde, dog tornado.
Renee is not impressed.
I need to knit more.
Little short of how I draw Bob and her friend Pat the cat.*
I can’t wait for you all to see! If you’ve followed me for a while you can see that dogs and cats are a big part of my life.
I have a lot of inspiration around me that’s for sure!
Creating these two characters was a lot of fun to do. I think they will going on a lot of adventures…
*The picture book is called Bob the Dog gets a job. It’s going to be out in June through Graffeg publishing.
I’d like you to meet someone.
This is Bob.
She’s the reason I’ve been a bit quiet. She’s been very, very busy… I’ve had quite a time keeping up with her.
There’s a book coming! I hope you like ice cream…
Wet cat alert. Racing through the garden, scaling up the side of the house in sideways wind and rain and screeching at the window.
Now happily purring and drying off in a pile of clean, (was dry, is now not), laundry.
We’ve had Frannie a whole year now and only now has she realised who the boss is in this house.
It’s a small black angry creature who eats, sleeps and screams if you get in her way.
And she is very very angry that you ate one of her kitty puff babies.
Miya likes to come in through the roof window this time of year. Obviously as late as possible and normally making quite a racket as she plops onto the floor of the loft, startling Millie.
How does she climb up?
Well, she scales a stone garden wall and then leaps vertically up the side of our house to access the roof. Terrifying.
Both agree the swift show is wonderful and are very happy the sun is warmer and the clouds are bubbling high into the long, light evenings.
The cats love home learning, piles of paper and warm laptops.
Makes essay writing a challenge but I have it on good authority they have never missed an assembly.
Our lockdown restrictions are slowly starting to lift. We can stay local, schools are opening next week on a gradual slow return, more people are receiving the vaccines and Covid infections are for now, very low.
This three months of lockdown has felt an awful lot longer. Two of mine are taller, one has got into college and one dog has grown gangly legs.
Feels like spring is coming and with it, more changes.
Nearly a year in a new captivity, a new world of masks, home learning and fear of getting close.
A year of extremes.
A year that screens became the window to the world.
A year of superheroes in blue.
A year that saw my children grow out of their shoes and I didn’t need to replace them.
A year of insomnia and stars I didn’t know existed, early morning breath and bird song, dogs racing through discarded masks and gloves.
A year where the doorstep and the sky outside felt too big.
A year we are still here, lucky to continue, reluctant to move forward for fear of leaving behind that which we’ve lost.
I see where this is going and I am powerless to stop it, my jumbled corpse and broken bones while being lovingly purred at.
Pandemic didn’t cause a washing shortage that’s for sure. I’ve lost the will to live pairing socks and everyone’s got each others and is having fun negotiating them back. Don’t say I don’t make it fun.
It’s going to take time for the cats to accept this bundle of puppy energy. We’re six months in and tuna is the magic that brings these two opposing parties together.
Today was let’s eat Tuna together and not chase or swipe.
We sit on the stairs as that is neutral territory, both can retreat if it gets too much.
Frannie sits as still as she can but the tail always betrays her, the faster the swoosh, I know we have imminent chase pending and to cancel negotiations quickly…
A letter has arrived from the local council and health service reminding us to remember to stay away and stay at home. Infections here and in the surrounding areas are very, very high. Our hospitals are in danger of being overwhelmed if numbers keep rising.
The electronic bill board is still promoting Christmas deals with the odd public service information asking us to keep our 2 metre distances and stay at home whenever possible.
In other news, the cats have decided Gruff’s window is wonderful to watch the birds from and bring their muddy paws in.
It’s still raining, we may need a boat soon.
Frannie’s never been in a house before, she’s never seen a cat before. There’s lots of new things for her to adjust to.
So I have been busy convincing her cooked chicken is far tastier than chasing her sassy friends.
It’s working, there’s going to be chicken stuffed in my pockets for the next few months.
Oh and everyone gets chicken too because then every time Frannie looks at a cat, she’ll think nice thoughts and not chasy thoughts. She now sits the minute a cat enters the room already. What a clever pup.
I had some meetings on my computer today.
You know, where you link up and all talk to each other in little boxes.
Miya decided to join in. She liked seeing everyone so much she showed them her nicely healed tail and watched the little people in their boxes. No one was swiped though, (she reserves that watching wildlife on you tube).
It’s the pandemic isn’t it? Summed up in little electronic boxes. All safe until the paws hit that keyboard.
They didn’t see the cat problem coming did they now?
There’s no muting a cat or it’s tail.
Of course I’m busy, I putting the clothes away.
Ask the cat.
The kids will start a day a week at school starting next week.
They are so excited about it.
Freedom to learn is not something they will take for granted like I did.
Miya has had a course of medicine (which she gobbled whole inside a nice piece of chicken).
The nibbled tail is on the mend and is now busy parading around the house and garden with it’s usual sass straight up in the air where it belongs.
Hopefully whoever nibbled her tail has found something else tasty to eat.
Mam why is the cats tail wonky?
What do you mean wonky?
Well it’s looking weird.
OK it’s weird.
Yes it is weird.
Oh, that’s really not good.
Someone got into a fight and came off the worse…
And there it lay, cold on the ground. Like a recently deceased creature of the night, slain by the rays of the early morning sun. Glistening and motionless.
The feline gently stepped away from its creation. Denying all knowledge of its part in bringing this thing into brief being.
The humans would rise soon and would fail to see it’s beauty, its purpose to simply exist on the floor of their dwelling and would cast it with disgust, into the bin.
The biggest hairball in living history.
The cat has come in from the rain soaking wet.
I’ve dried her off.
So she’s just come back in soaking wet again.
I’m starting to sense a pattern here…
I’d like her to get off my sketchbook now too…
Where’s the cat?
What do you mean you haven’t seen her?
Walks fifty times past the studio window.
Well I’ve called her. She’s not coming, she’s probably on her rounds.
She’ll be back soon.
She is still not speaking to me.
Very exciting day today.
I vacuumed the house.
I terrorised children, I sucked up lego and the cats hate me.
How was your day?
I know a lot of parents have worried about screen use during lock-down.
It’s not been a problem.
I send the heavies in.
Nothing to see here.
Because it is impossible to garden with a cat.
Really impossible. Fusses are required every minute or I get swiped or nibbled.
I feel very bullied.
Not much weeding was done.
In other news I went to the supermarket without crying but I forgot to buy chocolate.
I still wash my hands.
There’s more sassy in that tail than I have ever seen in a cat.
This little black cat with the huge meow.
One flick and you’re dismissed for the day.
The walk was quiet tonight. My first steps outside today.
Tomorrow’s rubbish piled up outside each house. Black bags and pink plastic. Tonight’s litter dances around the empty streets in a happy scuttle, the ground is dry making for quick passage. Gloves, masks and cans of energy drinks race each other amongst the growing weeds.
The news is baffling, in England there is news of the lifting of restrictions but you’d need a code cracker to understand the words out of the Prime Ministers mouth. I don’t think anyone is the wiser right now.
Here in Wales, we are still grounded and we are still no go. There is still too much infection. The lock-down remains. We are allowed out twice a day, garden centres can re-open and fast food chains.
The shape of my cat with a squeaking mouse in her mouth can be seen leaping the walls of the back gardens in the evening sun.
That is not coming in the house.
Cats on stairs.
Cats in pairs.
They go for your toes, they go for your head.
Sneaky little murder mittens swipe-swiping through the banister.
I did wash my hands!
But there we are. I’m sweating one minute, cold the next. Throat is swollen, glands are sore and head feels full of cotton wool.
And I’m so very, very grumpy.
Just come off the phone to my elderly 90 year old neighbour.
I was asking if she needed anything from the shops as you do.
Imagine if we all did that? All of us picked one elderly neighbour who was on their own and asked if they needed anything. Because it’s going to matter a whole lot more in the next few months when they cant get to the shops because they’re too ill to or because they have no bog roll or paracetamol because someones’ bought it all.
So I’m appealing to you, the person who filled up your trolley with toilet roll and pasta in the supermarket. I want you to redeem yourself and pop round to Bob at no 42 and see if he needs anything. Take a few rolls of your precious bog roll with you and see him alright.
That is what will make a difference rather than this utter selfishness I’ve seen over the last week. Do better, please.
Been laid up ill with flu. That was fun. Somehow it’s now Christmas and I’m in headless chicken panic mode.
Cwtch is a Welsh word. It means cuddle.
And cats all over the world know exactly what it means when it’s cold and there is a warm lap waiting to sleep in.
I’m under attack from a little, black, permanently ravenous cat.
(Not that she’s been put on a diet by the vet or anything for being a bit chunky).
I think the girls out did themselves this year. Evie’s wig was spectacular and Renee worked that Halloween cat vibe like the sassy puss she is. Millie ever resplendent as a 1920’s flapper girl.
(Wondering how long that feather will last with two cats in the house though).
Angie bakes six layers of different coloured sponge cake and leaves them to cool on the kitchen counter.
Renee cat comes along and takes a nibble out of EACH layer.
A) The level of swearing from Angie at the discovery of nibbled cake.
B) The exact percentage of remaining cake.
C) The exact amount of extra buttercream needed to cover the nibbled cake.
D) The amount of tea needed to calm Angie down.
There are morning people and there are people who shouldn’t see morning at all.
It’s autumn, it’s lashing down with rain outside. Curl up with a good book and get lost somewhere.
Yes I have the knitting pattern right here. Use for your cats, use for yourself, knit millions and take over the planet with little woollen puffs. Knit kitty puffs, knit chickie puffs, knit lion puffs, raid your wool stash and get knitting.
The pattern is very easy and quick so great for beginners.
You don’t need much materials, a small amount of wool, if you have to change colour half-way through, great, your puff will look even better.
Get an old pillow and take out the stuffing, stuff with some cat-nip for very happy pusses.
Cast on 18 stitches.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4 : Purl
Rows 5-20 (repeat rows 1 and 2 8 times)
Row 21 : [K2TOG] across row – 18 stitches
Row 22 : Purl
Row 23 : [K2TOG] across row – 9 stitches
Cut your wool leaving a very long end. Thread the end into a needle and go back through the last 9 stiches left. Pull tight. Face the right sides of your puff together and sew up the seam until you reach the original cast on stitches.
Turn back out so the right sides are facing back out.
Stuff your puff.
Sew up the cast on edge with a running stitch so it creates a flat edge. You can get creative here and try and pull up little ears if you want. Doesn’t matter if your puff looks strange. You cat will still adore it.
Sew on a nose with a different colour wool and a mouth.
Sew on eyes.
Leave somewhere for your cat to stare at it for days until four am in the morning when you will hear the happy yowling of a cat with it’s puff.
Just so I’ve kept you in the loop. Renee was adopted by us last year shortly after saying goodbye to her kittens who had also gone off to loving homes.
Renee had just been spayed and was calling for her babies for a few nights before she settled down and enjoyed the life of a pampered, happy puss.
One night, we heard an almighty yowling (similar to an air raid claxon). In she marched with one of Evie’s *kitty puffs in her mouth, gently placed it on the floor and went back to find another one. At this point, we all came to the same conclusion.
We gave her all the puffs we had.
Last nights puff activity was off the chart. Howling galore from Renee. We woke to puffs outside our door, on the stairs, in the sink, in Bonnie’s crate, one even found it’s way inside a wellington boot.
Renee, is now busy sleeping off her antics ready for tonight’s mass movement of puffs.
*Kitty puffs, for your information, are little balls of knitted wool, stuffed with stuffing and have sown on eyes and a nose. They are my idea in response of Evie asking me to knit something fluffy and cute. They come in various colours (whatever is in my stash of wool) and I think I’ve knitted at least over a hundred over the years for various children as they are very cute and totally squidge-able…anyway…I’m digressing….
So Renee and Miya have decided to “allow” Bonnie upstairs.
We didn’t know this was happening as Bonnie would slink off downstairs as we were stirring.
It was a 2am trip to the toilet that they were all rumbled, happily snoozing on the landing.
So my mornings now look like this. I really don’t need an alarm clock and there’s one animal per child to wake up with purrs or licks.
…coming in from the rain and sitting on my sketchbook! Quite an authentic, collaborative drawing tonight.
I’ve knitted little round cats for my guys to play with but Renee has officially moved in and adopted them as her surrogate “kittens”. I’ve never seen a cat do this before. She’ll call to them, pick them up and distribute them randomly around the house. Some have even found their way in this fine weather, out in the garden.(But they are always brought in for night time). Her favourite is the largest, knitted with a very fluffy wool and with blue eyes.
Animals find humans who will help them. I’ve had many over the years. From a little sparrow up to a horse and her foal. (I don’t know what I’d do with anything bigger so if there are any elephants reading this, please consider, I live in quite a small house ok?)
Some I’ve saved and some have passed on.
Last night was brief and brutal.
A soggy, trembling wreck slipping away but in a terrible state.
She purred as I picked her up, warmed her up and dried her off.
She’d come to die and we knew it.
Later on the that evening, I went to bed and turned off the lights. One of my cats brushed softly against my legs at the foot of my bed. She had sneaked in (as she does most nights) so I gently laughed and asked her how she’d got in.
I switched on my light to see where she was only to find an empty room.
I think I was being thanked.
Renee figured out the cat flap today.
It’s taken her ten months.
I think she’s enjoying the garden and the sun very much.
We all get there in the end.
Our two cats are very different personalities. Miya is the younger, newer addition to our tribe and is very much the extrovert and mischief maker. Renee, however, is not one to be bottom cat in the pecking order and will make sure our new little cheeky puss has the occasional back of her paw.
When the sun returns and warms the earth, there is nothing better to do than to feel the new air move through your fur and whiskers. Both black dog and black cat know there is nothing better than sun on warm fur. The other little one is busy half way up a tree, chasing flies.
Miya was allowed out for the first time today She took approximately twenty seconds to decipher the cat flap and flew out all guns blazing.
She then flew back in again, and out again, and in again. I have been listening to the sound of my spinning cat flap all afternoon.
Big giant clucky birds are amazing, just, amazing.
Enjoy these videos, my hens were clucking so much I went out and filmed afterwards as I thought you might enjoy meeting Miya.
Oh and by the way, I’ve spoiled us and paid to remove the advertising. Enjoy.
There was room for one more and boy have we got a little spitfire for you to meet. This is beautiful Miya. She is only just one year old and has been reared from a very young age due to her leaving her mother too young.
Despite that she is a curious, beautiful cuddle monster and given time, will be bumping along with Renee and Bonnie just fine.
Until then, there’s masses of catnip around!
New cat, how will this one fare with a nice, sparkly tree?
Answers on a postcard…
Didn’t think our new kitty was a lap cat. She just decided I’d do for now until I vacated her chair.
Our new puss has quite a penchant for little toys. She has already amassed an impressive collection of little fabric mice, stars and patchwork, catnip hearts.
They are stored in a little plastic tub every night and every night, when everyone is asleep, Renee starts her fun.
One by one, each little toy is carefully removed and starts it’s journey through the kitchen, into the lounge and up the stairs…so that in the morning we are greeted by a scattering of little soggy presents on the landing.
Even Bonnie is not forgotten, she normally gets a nice feather in her water bowl
And so, every morning, I bring down the little collection back to its box so Renee can do it all again.
Lovely to see Gruff with his newest playmate outside together chasing grass blades and toy mice.
To think she was unwanted when you see her play with such joy.
Two gentle friends enjoying just being free.
Renee loves her toys so much. She picks them up and carries them around and if you’re lucky, she’ll bring one to you accompanied by an awful lot of yowling. She hasn’t been outside yet as I want her to feel settled before I let her out in the garden.
She is a very talkative cat and will have small yowling dialogues with herself while prowling around the house. Little panther on an adventure. Black cats are so beautiful when they move, from head to toe a fluid tip toe of paws and haughty tail. Her eyes are bright green and go as big as saucers when something grabs her attention.
The kids are so happy that she loves to play with them. She and Bonnie are getting along with a healthy disregard of each other. There is no fear on Renee’s part and there is the endless need to sniff a cat’s behind from Bonnie.
Anyone who’s ever brought home a rescue cat knows that they will have their peculiarities. Renee is no different to the collective. So far she has insisted that she sleeps in my utility room sink. She has however, taken a preference to sleeping under the bath by squeezing through a small hole but she comes out for her grub so there is no stuck kitty.
She has learnt already that the sound of the fridge door opening means there’s food on the menu.
Bonnie is still too much for her but she has shown her inner panther by roaring with that mighty pair of lungs she has. Bonnie is being very patient and an utter angel with her new kitty friend when I know all she secretly wants is a sniff at that swishing tail. Good luck there Bonnie with that.
So far so good.
Tomorrow is a big day. We are missing Arnie terribly and although no cat could ever fill his paws, we have a home that’s missing a certain something. That something is a cat.
I’m happy to say that a cat answered our job application and interviewed flawlessly.
Renee is three years old and was found abandoned in an empty house, pregnant and very dirty. She was rescued by the Friends of Animals Wales who cared for her when she had her two kittens. Please have a look at the amazing work they do and if you’re looking for a animal to re-home, please think of them.
She has been in foster care with a very lovely lady and is now ready for her new beginning so she will be coming home tomorrow to meet everybody.
And yes she currently rules over a dog so Bonnie will be happy about that I’m sure.
Just look at that tail!
Cat shaped hole isn’t going away. I’ve been looking around in various homes and catteries for a little furry reject that would like to come and live with us. I don’t want a kitten but a cat that needs a fresh start with a warm sofa to spread out on and some nice wallpaper on the walls to shred.
I’m putting a shout out to any cat who would like to take up residence with a bonkers lady artist and her tribe of cat mad children and a nice big dog that needs a small furry boss.
Please come and find us, we’ll take you in and you will be so loved.
Brought Arnie’s ashes home today. We’re going to buy a plant and put him in the garden where he liked to sit in the sun and watch the sparrows chirp.
Spring is coming.
Here is a life lived in washing piles and fluffy toys. A life that padded out gently last week but never ever will be forgotten. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed drawing them. Break the internet with cat drawings and purry love.
Arnie is still hanging on in there. We have to do twice daily injections of insulin at food times and he’s taken to this really well.
His behaviour however, is rather strange. He has now taken to falling asleep at his water bowl or even worse, in the dog’s crate.
Bonnie is made up with this as she finally gets to sniff and fuss Mr elusive after all this time. Arnie is just happy to have a warm body to curl up next to.
Arnie has been unwell for a week or so but he went downhill quite rapidly over the last few days.
I’ve just driven thirty miles to a veterinary hospital to see if they can bring our poorly cat back from the brink. Looks like we have a diabetic in our house.
Not yet Arnie, we’re not ready for this, you’ve sprung this on us and we’re holding on tight to you.
When I brought Bonnie home, Arnie left the house for three days.
When he finally returned, I had to train Bonnie not to chase after him and after a few months, we made great progress.
What has not changed from the start is that they both share the same drinking bowl. I’m always surprised at this as Arnie has a particular look he reserves for “his” dog and that is one of utter disgust. They are not friends but they tolerate each other’s existence.
Bonnie drinks like she’s had a mouthful of anaesthetic injections with plenty of dribble and slobber. As though she has never drunk water before and she’s trying it for the first time. It’s spectacular and very, very noisy.
Now this is where it gets strange. Arnie will simply not have his own bowl and wherever Bonnie’s water bowl is placed in the house, you will find Arnie waiting for his turn after the tidal wave of doggy drinking has finished. He will then stoop in a neat arrangement of paws and and lap quietly.
Dogs are strange but cats are just unexplainable.
Both Millie and Evie read to themselves these days, Evie is following her sister and sneaks up to her room on a regular basis to borrow and replace her books.
I am read to by Gruff these days, I have insisted that I get to read a story too so we both benefit, (and the cat does too of course).
Gruff worries, his big worries all seem to pile in at bedtime when he’s tired. The cat helps out with furry cuddles which seems to make things better.
Worries are worries no matter how small you are.
I amuse my cat. I am a particularly clumsy and annoying human.
He hears my chatter like a whining bluebottle. I do bring food and herb enhancing joy (in the form of cat nip) so I’m not all bad.
This particular brain to pen splurge was inspired by the large chunk of a cat that waits outside my children’s school for cuddles each morning.
I’m not an amazing knitter but I find it very relaxing and I enjoy making toys for my lot.
That is until the knitting monster arrives.
The knitting monster will has a few lines of attack.
The first is to stalk you silently, slowly, crawling on silent paws until the final burst of claws and fluff descend.
The second is through masquerade. Knitting monster will curl up beside you and pretend to fall asleep but do not be fooled! Oh no, knitting monster is merely biding his time until lots of lovely wool unravels itself all around him and he engages all four paws in attack and shred.