The Cat

THE INSPIRATION: I recently posted Claire the Cat’s somewhat apologetic letter to a little girl.  If you are new to this blog, you may want to read Claire’s backstory: Claire the Cat .  Want to read more posts about her?  Type “cats” in the search bar.


THE CHALLENGE:  Animals move.  Cats move a lot.   Unless they are taking one of their daily 12 1/2 naps.  So one would think that would be the best time to sketch a cat.  Not for this artist’s model!  Evidently the scratching sound of charcoal on paper was enough to awaken and annoy Claire the Cat.  Who promptly walked away to find respite in her favorite human arms.

I followed.  Tried sketching again.  To no avail.  And had to resort to photography.  Claire the Cat was not pleased – as evident in finished piece.  Oh the paparazzi!

THE SKETCH: A tiny 5 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ ACEO piece.  Pastels and watercolor wash.

THE TAKEAWAY: The artist’s eye can see sense emotion better than any camera!  I’m going to try again when Claire is in a happier mood – perhaps a more wakeful moment.




Because Cats Can’t Write

Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.

Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.

Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.

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Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.

Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.

Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.


Dear Little Girl,

 I am sorry I scared you when you came to my house to pee.  You were standing between me and the front door to FREEDOM.  I was just trying to escape.  It wasn’t about you.  It was about me.  My female hooman wanted me write a sentence lots of times to show you how sorry I am.  But cats can’t write.  So she wrote them for me.  And gave you a toy dog to play with.  I hope we can be friends anyway.


 Claire the Cat

Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.

Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.

Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.

Me-I-ow will not scare tiny people who visit my hoomans.

Crying Baby Image Credit: Osborn


CRITTERS ETC. · Southernisms

Sewing With Claire the Cat

This is Claire the Cat.

img_0053She is head of quality control at ArtReach.  A perfectionist, she can be overly critical of my sewing skills.  And remains unimpressed with my use of a vintage Singer machine.

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Under Claire’s watchfulness I’ve made a  variety of items including those microwavable heat therapy pillows everyone loves so much.  The slides feature material used to make a pillow inspired by van Gogh’s Starry Night.   My completed work met Claire’s approval. Yay!  I’m thinking of adding an “Inspected by Claire the Cat” Q.C. label.

CRITTERS ETC. · Southernisms

More Conversations with Claire


My friends think it must be great fun having a talking cat.  Sure!  I mostly enjoy our conversations.  Yes its all fun and games until…

Its time for a feline pedicure at the pet mega mart – the place where I found her.  Claire is a rescue cat.  Because of her age and antisocial behavior with other cats Claire was difficult to adopt out.   This pet mega mart holds unpleasant memories for her.

And there we enter.

“Me-NOow?   Me-NOOow!  Me-NOOOow!!”

Her protests echo throughout the spacious store where pets are always welcome.  People stare.  Dogs glare accusingly.  I look straight ahead to the Groomer’s counter, avoiding eye contact with a poodle.   “Me-NOow!”  We check in.  But we’ll have to wait. “Me-NOOow!”  And we wait.  “Me-NOOOow!”  And we wait some more.  “Me-NOOOOow!”

FI Alin Williams Williams

“Calm down Claire.  I’m not going to leave you here.  Besides if anyone takes you they’ll bring you bring you right back to me.”


“Because you are a drama queen.”

“Me-WHYow?  Me-WHYow?”

 People are beginning to listen in to our conversation.  “I’m not talking to you anymore.  Calm down and be quiet.” 

She does neither.

Inside the Groomer’s there is a tug of war between Claire and the young assistant.  Claire is winning.

“C’mon little girl settle down.”  Pleads the Groomer.


“Because we’ve got to get those back nails of yours.”

“Me-WHHYow?  Me-WHHHHYow?”

“Because you can’t leave here with only your front nails clipped!”

Oh my!  Claire had drawn the poor woman into the madness.  Eventually all nails were trimmed.

To lessen the stress for both of us, we’ve changed Groomers.  Now I take her to the small veterinarian practice that sponsored her adoption.  Happy memories for a little orange tabby.

Claire: Just where she wants to be!

And there we enter.

“Me-HELLOow!  Me-HELLOow!”

“Well its Claire Bear!  How you’ve been girl?”  Cat spoken here.

CRITTERS ETC. · Southernisms

Conversations With Claire

Here’s a quiz for you.  Answer True or False.

  1. Only lonely old ladies respond to their cat’s random meows.
  2. All cats are stealthy, quiet creatures.
  3. An elephant never forgets but a cat’s tiny brain can’t remember squat.

Answered “True” to any?  You are probably not a cat owner.  Or you have a traumatized pet elephant.  Sorry about that.  But one thing for sure, you are not the proud owner of the orange tabby named Claire Bear.

I am.

So lets tackle the first two myths and save the third for another post.  My husband and I inherited Claire from Momma.  Claire was a rescue cat we adopted from the local pet mega mart. Rather than being a quiet kitty, Claire’s gift of gab is one of her charms.  My husband and I often carry on humorous conversations with her.  Its all fun and games until its 3:36am and a persistent cat has a question.

Bump!  Bump!  Bump goes her head against our bedroom door.  “Claire I know that’s you.  You’d better stop knocking on that door.” I  snarl quietly.

“Me-WHYow?”  She whispers through the crack under the door.

“Because its 3:36am and I need to sleep.”

Claire the Cat Napping Like a Boss!



“Because I got to get up in 2 hours.”


“Because I have to get an early start to make my 9:00am appointment.”


Silence.  Really?  Really??  Why am I explaining myself to a cat at 3:36 in the morning?

“Me-THEREow?”  Bump, bump, bump…

“Me-THEREow?”  Bump, bump, bump…

Giving in, her human Billy drags himself into the kitchen and feeds her.

Blessed silence.














CRITTERS ETC. · Southernisms

Claire the Cat

My last CRITTERS ETC. post, Rats, hinted at the decision to make my Momma a cat owner.   We desperately needed a good “mouser.”  A cat rescue group had several animals up for adoption.  Mostly, cute, cuddly kittens.  But it was a 3 year-old that caught my attention -an orange short haired tabby with striking green eyes.  The sign in Claire’s window read “Adult cats need homes too!”  Awwwww.  I knew I wanted her for Momma’s house – female cats are wonderful hunters.  But what sealed the deal was that she “talked”.   It was feeding time and Claire’s face was buried in her bowl of canned chow.

“My goodness.  Is it THAT good girl?”  I’d never seen an animal eat with such zeal!

“Me-YESow.”   Was Claire’s one word response, not stopping to look up from her bowl.

“Oh my gosh!  She talks!”  I roared with laughter.  The volunteer told me that Claire was quite the “talker.”  She described her as a really lovable cat with only one draw back – she doesn’t get along with other cats or animals in general.  Because of this they had a difficult time adopting her out.  Thus the descriptive surname “Bear” was added in by anxious volunteers.  Claire Bear.

“She’s perfect!  When can I take her home?”   I felt like the two brothers selecting the “perfect” cat in this clip from the MouseHunt movie.

 Posted on YouTube by YoureAJagOff

I had to convince the volunteer that I really wanted to adopt Claire.  Yes. She will be the only pet.  No.  Her talking will not be bothersome.  Eventually I convinced the agency that we would be a good fit.

Claire was also a “hard sell” with Momma.  When Claire first arrived she warmly greeted Momma with a Me-Hi0w and a snuggle on the leg.  Then Claire Bear caught the pungent scent of rodents and she was off hunting!  Over the next 48 hours I received multiple phone calls from Momma – Claire had disheveled neatly stacked bathroom linens, burrowed under beds and twisted drapery in pursuit of her prey.

“You better come get that cat!  She’ll going all over my house!”

“No ma’am.  The cat is helping us get rid of all your mice.  And since they are all over your house, she has to hunt all over your house.”  I defied my mother in the most respectful tone possible.

“Mmmph!”  Miss. Daisy was not pleased.

But the family did not back down.  And neither did Claire.  She hunted – getting rid of all the rodents.  She hissed – getting rid of all the stray cats that had taken up resident in Momma’s yard.  She persevered – when Momma locked her out of the house, she’d claw her way back inside,  “knocking” relentlessly on the back door.  She talked – engaging Momma in family gossip.  And she protected – staying by Momma when she fell on the kitchen floor.

Soon Momma had to go to live in a Nursing Home.  She entertained the staff with stories about her heroic “talking” cat who wouldn’t leave her side when she fell until human help arrived.

“Who got my cat?” 

“She’s at my house Momma.”

“Well, y’all better take good care of her.  That’s a very smart cat.  She’s a GOOD cat.”  Miss. Daisy was pleased.

Claire napping with on her favorite Human


 Cat Close-up Image Credit: McGuire