Cat Assisted Look Back at Spring

Smug and comfy Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet the Cat sits with me during almost all computer work now. She comes cooing and trilling, “urururururp,” “ooo ooo ooo eep” even before I’m fully seated. “Come on up, Sweetheart.” She jumps up, stands for a moment, moves around. She looks at me while her floofy tail sweeps over the keyboard. Well it needed dusting anyway. Her tail sweeps across my face. Still cool. When it moves towards my tea, not so cool. She settles, and purrs.

March photo of violet and sweetgum seedpod. The pods fall over the winter but come April there were still a lot left up in the trees.

Sweetgum sphere fell from tall trees, landing next to ground hugging violet

I took some photos in town of ducks visiting from the nearby lake. I’m told they’re Muscovy Ducks. One huge drake walked right up to me expecting me to toss him food like everyone else in the neighborhood does. I was sans duck fare but I think they found some bugs.

Duck buddies

“Those look right tasty, can I have some?” says Ultraviolet.

Well hello, big fella!

“Um, no . . .”

The day was cloudy so I pushed the color up a bit.

“Are they all for Shelley?”

March ripples

“No, cats only get duck from cans.” (Much as it pains me, cats must be fed meat, because they are obligate carnivores.)

Wisteria, souped up

“Well that’s confusing. I’ll go catch ’em myself, next time we’re in town.”

Enhanced Iris

“They’re bigger than you.”

Newly transplanted spiderwort


Ducks in April

We take UV with us to town on days the weather personnel says the sky might smash us. That’s where we rode out the 2011 EF4. You have to stay alert to conditions outside and track information sources every second. On April 22, fifteen minutes after arrival, we were in the polygon for a tornado warning. Ultraviolet was still in her carrier. We hurried to get Shelley into a carrier. Shelley commenced to hollering. All three phones let out grating blasts and their screens filled with TAKE COVER NOW. The tornado siren went off. We were about to get everyone into the safe room when the TV weather person said it was over. Conditions in unstable air change fast, for better or worse. The town siren stopped but the Shelley siren didn’t. We released both cats into their respective rooms and they were both happy again. Thankfully we had no further alerts that day but I still felt chilled. A little too much déjà vu; a warning soon after arrival at the same house just like before, same month, different year. April 27, 2018 was the 7th anniversary of the 2011 tornado.

Our friend’s cat, Shelley

“Shelley put up an awful racket! While I had to wait next to her, I could just smell her! What’s she doing in my post anyway?”

This picture is from another day but she really is right here

“Let’s look at some creeks, ‘K?”:

April creek

“Drinking creeks! To wash down fresh duck!”

A cloudy day with parrot setting

“Um, no . . .”

Green meeting blue under clouds

Heavy rains in May meant the creek was roarin’ by in great waves. Like a choppy ocean in a trough. I went closer with hesitation. Even UV agrees the pictures show the water is too muddy and fast for her to attempt the slurp she craves.

Waves moving down the creek. Cloudy day with parrot setting on camera

Rough and reddish creek


Not as smooth as it looks

Spooky moist beauty

I really didn’t want to get this close but I did.

A few days later, Tropical Storm Alberto rained on us some more. Waves were even more gigantic so I stayed farther away.

“But that flood water’s all gone now, amirite?” chirps Ultraviolet. We’ll talk about walking down there later. Where were y’all last night? I missed sitting with you.”

“We went ‘next door’ to hear live music.”

“I heard that low thumping rhythm sound from out in the woods!”

Ultraviolet in profile

(UV has a prominent forehead in front but it then flattens into an almost but not quite pantherine curve.)

“Wonderful counterpoint bass beat to the booming katydids, don’tcha think, UV? They played lots of Van Morrison, Ray Charles’ “‘What’d I Say’, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ by . . .”

“Rolling Stones!”

. . . “‘Crossroads'” by . . .

“written by Robert Johnson!”

“And you know all this how?”

“Human kittens. They had parties when I lived in town. Oh you look sad!”

“Human kittens and their families are being so mistreated now. It’s horrific.”

“I saw it on your screen. I knew it made you awful blue. Like in some of the songs.”

“It’s serious heartbreak.”

“I will purr for you always.”


(Still not feeling so hot. Still hoping to get around more and explore everyone’s websites, and comment more. Thunderstorms drive me off the computer every day. Yikes! But I’ll have more time later in the year I hope. We hope for better, always.)

Posted in black cats, Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

Spring Fun with Colors, a Creek, and a Cat

Well I wouldn’t have thought . . .

Heavy rains made the water high and fast. The pictures don’t show how fast it really was. I used a camera setting I’ve never tried before, “parrot”.


I’m trying some new stuff. I don’t know much about adjusting camera settings to available light and using the bells and whistles because I’ve been ill for 25 years. That makes it hard for me to learn new things. The tiny movements that adjust digital cameras on the go are hard for my fine motor impaired fingers. I know my photos have technical flaws. But I have explored using this new (to me) camera setting and hope to investigate more, for fun.

A little spooky

The camera I use has a “parrot” setting that increases color saturation. I’m not sure I like it as what I really want to learn is how to make pictures look more natural, but with deeper hues. I want dark pictures that nevertheless have rich color, and bright pictures with perfect shadow and light balance. Overall I think the focus isn’t as sharp in these “parrot” pictures, although some of that is because these are low res copies. These were taken in afternoon sun.

Our little fluffmuffin Ultraviolet has something to say

(This was taken the old way, then photo edited as usual.)

“The water looks delicious. Why wasn’t I invited?” so says Ultraviolet the cat.

Water waves in pastel

I dared further photo edit one; wee woo hoo, weird!.

“Well you’d be in trouble if you fell in.”

Flowing with purpose

“I’ve never fallen into those artesian ponds you made for me.”

I really should record the sound

(Slightly increased color saturation above.)

“That water was moving fast. And the creek looks small on the screen but it’s way bigger than your water bowls.”

Ultraviolet has an answer for everything!

(Taken with “parrot”, then photo edited. A partially shaded window to our left accounts for the light reflected from her eye. The light is natural, I never use flash with kitties.)

“Ain’t nothing in nature faster than me. I like moving slurps. Very clean.”

Currents with pizazz

The camera always changes the colors and records reflections that aren’t immediately obvious to the eye. When we walk up to the edge the flood water looks brownish gray. Usually the camera catches the blues of the sky, greens of vegetation, and any autumn colors bouncing back from the water. So the appearance of the lavender purple color is a surprise. I think I’ve figured it out, though. Moving water is overflowing the banks and churning the creekbed. So there’s a reddish silt load along for the ride. It’s mixing with the blue reflections from the sky, creating purple. We don’t see it, the camera lens does.

Hey what’s the rush?

You can see from the banks in this picture that our earth is reddish.

On our way

“That would be a great place to walk and sniff and drink at night. I smell the night air coming in around the door and it’s intoxicating. Let’s all go down there tonight.”

Talking water

“Sweetie we don’t walk to the creek anymore at night, it’s too dark. We did when we were younger though.”

Keeping a calm demeanor while scooting along

“Not that dark for me! I know y’all are night blind but I can see into night just fine. I’ll lead us down there. I’ve smelled everything out there, I’ll protect us.”


“You had streetlights in town, this is country night. And how would you know about intoxication?”

Whitecaps reveal haste

“I had myself some good hidey holes in town. I watched those humans kittens at night, saw them when they were studious and watchful like I am, and other times when they frisked around. I learned to intuit their levels of intoxication.”


“Ah, direct observation of student night life.”

Whatever it is, I find it fun


Foliage waves to water

Finding our way

That red leaf on the opposite bank in the first picture is in about the same position as the one I photographed there last autumn. I almost thought it was the same leaf that never faded out, but looking carefully I do think the position is a little different. That doesn’t preclude the fact that it could have been washed there by sloshing waves of rapids water, but it may also be another red leaf from the same tree or undergrowth.

Ultraviolet purring

Ultraviolet makes more sounds now! She’s calling to me in short, breathy musical notes, like soft cat trills. My husband calls them “grunts”. She gets in a “Hmmmmffff,” then settles in and purrs with me. She watches the screen while I sort pictures of her for this post.

I may be slow to answer comments as I’m rather low energy these days. Hoping for better, always.

Posted in black cats, Cats, Creeks | Tagged , , , , , , | 64 Comments

Tweaked Creek Ruffles Ultraviolet Cat

What do we have here?

These photos were taken on the creek last year in spring. I messed with ’em in editing. Taken on several afternoons, now they mainly just look darker, making the colors richer but damping down the springy brightness.

Ultraviolet getting into the fantastic

Ultraviolet Cat, our furry little light meter, says, “Whatever have you done with the creek! That light just ain’t quite right. Hey I’m a poet and didn’t know it.”

“I went to the creek, to tinker and tweak.”

Shallows and depths

“You worked a sea-change with the creek.”

Sweet water in the light of February

“So you’ve been getting into my old Shakespeare book just like Bud did?”

“Well, yeah, but I also slipped into a Survey of British Lit class at the University. No one heard me, no humans knew I was there.”


“You’re an educated animal.”

“I don’t miss much. I know you petted Shelley yesterday, I smelled her when you came back, snort, huff! Along with new grass and flowers – dandelions, redtips, crabapple trees.”

Spring in mind, but . . .

(Shelley is our friend’s cat.) “I petted you too−”

“There was no one to pet me while y’all were gone to Shelley’s! Boo phssssst!”

We can go lighter:

Are we there yet?

“I could so hunt in those dark pictures, but does the creek even look that way at night? So long as the water still smells fresh and sunny I want to go down there and drink from it.”

We can go darker!

Gulp again!

“Even better for hunting!”

“Say, what did you do with your gray mousie after you found it several days ago? And did you ever find your blue mousie?”

“Ain’t studyin’ mice, I’m all about water today. And you need to study light in pictures more.”

Ultraviolet and her glorious tail

“Yeah I know that Kitten, and I will, after I finish the book work. Meanwhile this is for fun.”

“I’m sleepy now, but I’ll expect creekwater when I wake up.”

Happy Spring!

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Sweet Cat Ultraviolet; with Cameo by Shelley

Ultraviolet making herself comfortable

Our new cat Ultraviolet has been with us since around the end of August 2017. Rescued from the streets, she took some time to settle in. Now she is one of the sweetest kitties we’ve ever had! She sits with us, adds necessary purrs, and helps with all our activities.

In a previous post I noted that she makes a meow movement with her mouth but we don’t hear anything. We’ve found she actually can meow! But only a series of deeper, calling meows, from the distance of another room, when she wants company or food. Of course we answer, “Kitty,” when we hear this, and give her whatever she wants. When she’s within visual range, looks up at us and opens her mouth in a greeting meow, there’s no sound.

Bright, inquisitive Ultraviolet

I think she has some Persian ancestry. Looking at the shape of her face and her noggin with it’s smoothly rounded dome like you see on the roof of the Smithsonian, a little googling, and some study of pictures of Persian cats convinced me. Her facial structure, wide-set ears, deep-set eyes, short muzzle, high cresting cranium, and the appearance of her profile is unlike the morphology of any other cats we’ve had and so much more like that of the Persians. She’s nowhere near purebred, but I suspect some part of her heritage came from Persian cats.

The vet thinks she has food allergies. I didn’t believe she’d like hydrolyzed food, but she devours it. So much that we may have to control her portions. That’s not going to sit well with her. Although she has a pretty good grasp of electromagnetic radiation, she just can’t compute “empty food bowl”.

Ultraviolet stretching and reaching with flexed paw

She’s really hard to photograph; if she’s awake, she’s moving. Because she’s a black and red cat, she’s also hard to photo edit. If I saturate to make the black deep enough, the red looks too red. If I adjust towards blue to counter that, the black goes too blue. It’s fun to experiment though, while I slowly learn(?) photo editing from the ground up.

She does look blacker than she did in the summer, maybe because she now has her winter pelage, or maybe the ruddy color was partly caused by sun exposure and has faded under indoor light. But look close and you can still see red tones in her fur. I don’t think she’s a variety of tortoiseshell; her reds are darker, like clay earth and dried pine needles, unlike the sunny orangey-red I see in tortoiseshells. Here’s a picture of Shelley, my friend’s tortie, for comparison. “Phhsssst!” says UV, “A strange cat in my post, that is so not cool!”

Shelley the tortie

I’ve learned from this article by Franny Syufy that some long-haired black cats may be genetically predisposed to sun “rusting”.

The genetic mechanism described in the article appears to differ from the one that causes tortoiseshell coloration, which involves the pairing of a red X chromosome and a black X chromosome. In my opinion UV is not a tortie.

I’m also seeing more and more photos of long-furred black cats who appear to have red “frosted” areas like Ultraviolet, on the internet. There was even one found wandering downtown on the streets. Kind people placed him in a home. So reddish floof over black is in the local gene pool?!

Ultraviolet has a sweet way about her

Domestic long-haired cats are only about a tenth of the random-bred cat population in the US, so maybe it’s not so strange that I didn’t know this color configuration existed. I had never seen a basically black cat with so much ruddy fur. However there’s also this: I haven’t seen enough cats! I so need to get out more!

Elegant Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet’s take on cat scholarship is that I need see no other cats, only her. She’s the one cat I need to study. I’m trying to convince her that although her wise, mature presence has taught me more than a universe of other cats and kittens ever could, I can still glean useful cat facts from observing other felids. If I know my cats, it may work to her benefit, I tell her. “Puuurrrrrrr.” She’s content with that answer, for now.

Here is the link to the quick announcement when Ultraviolet arrived.

Posted in black cats, Cat Topics, Cats | Tagged , , , | 66 Comments

Fall 2017 Part 2; Creek, Forest, Remarks by Cat

Vanishing act

Looking back to November 2017, to leaves long gone. The first two pictures are from the November 11th trek to the creek depicted in Part 1. Scan the first photo closely and you might see a red dot on the far bank; it’s the leaf that was the source of so much startling reflected color and shape in some of the Part 1 pictures. You can also see the twisty double tree, a major shadow-maker.

Now you see it, now you don’t

You just never know what visuals will pop up on this creek!

Ultraviolet has sass!

“Hey,” Ultraviolet pads up and chimes in. “I would flat sure pounce on that thingamabob in the water.”

“Nothing is there, you’d only get sopping wet.”

Shadows and ripples

On to the November 26 pictures later in the month, later in the day, with more subdued colors.

Tree shadows shift as the sun moves, all day

“Meow! I could so hunt in that light. It’s like, crepuscular.”

Water stays busy

“It wasn’t quite twilight, sweet one. Close, though.”

Drawn by unassuming hues

“I should have been let out to walk down there with y’all so I could hunt!”


“Well no, you need a hypoallergenic diet, with hydrolyzed protein. Fresh game isn’t on your menu.”

Sumptuous ripple architecture

“Phssssst! I mean, Fish! I could scoop up fish from the creek. Hydrolyzed doesn’t sound tasty!”

The closer we look, the more colors unfold …

“It will taste tasty! You’ll see when it arrives. Haven’t seen any fish in the creek, and fish are highly allergenic anyway.”

Current news

“That study sounds fishy to me! Send me the link! I’ll have to look into that myself!”

“It’s ok to dream, it’ll help us get through this cold spell. That’s how I got through feeling so ill over the holidays.”

“Fish needs to be devoured with some good stout creek water, slightly bubbly, a little foam on top.”

“Um … dream on, kitty.” High in the trees, the sweetgum seedpods were still greenish.

November 13, 2017, looking up 

Nov. 10, 2017 Fall means berries

“Now I could so climb up those trees! Those squirrels that tromple on our roof at night, I’d stop them in their tracks!”

Sweetgum leaves wave at us Nov. 22, 2017

“It’s freakishly cold out there now, UV. You wouldn’t much like it.”

Sun sneaks into the canopy, November 22, 2017

“Girlfriend, have you seen me? I’m furry!”

“Hey here’s a toy mouse for you.” (Blap, scuffle, swish. She springs high in the air, lands, tilts her head this way and that, eyes locked on the mouse, as she angles in for the next strike. Our little hunter kitty got toy mice for Christmas and she’s already lost the gray one.)

November 26, 2017, I’ve been watching

“We’ll talk again.” (SMACK, snort, jump, thump, bump, swish, bump bump.)

Bonus picture, Ultraviolet, with souped up color.

Ultraviolet dreams on


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Fall 2017: Creek and Cat, Part 1

Breath taken upon arrival

Fall is moving in fits and starts this year. It’s like we hardly noticed masses of color  crinkling and dropping off the trees, fast. But a few mature bright patches still linger around us, while farther up the road, we see panoramas of newly minted reds, yellows, and oranges. Greens too, they’re still out and about. These photos were taken November 11, 2017 and are unedited. Except the cat picture from August, which I did tinker with.

Wait, there’s more

There’s a tree on the opposite bank, a Sweetgum with two trunks that fused together and then diverged. Beavers have chomped away on the base near ground level. This double tree casts large shadows into the creek at the point where the rapids increase. Those shadows change with the shifting of sun slants, currents, water volumes, canopy leaf loads. The varying shapes might look humanoid at times, though not always.

Emerging shapes that can be anything

Here comes one of those shadows!

I can prove it’s autumn

Evidence of fall, of leaves turned color and shed.

Smart Little Ultraviolet Girl

“The color’s off in those pictures, there’s not enough ultraviolet. You can’t tell because you don’t see into the ultraviolet but I do.” So says Ultraviolet, the cat with a flair for editing. And science, up to a point.

The large leaf is Broadleaf Magnolia

“Um …”

Leaves jam and sparkle

“I heard y’all go out, and then crunch leaves all the way to the creek. I should’ve been taken along. Y’all needed more Ultraviolet, not less, and I needed a drink of that creekwater.”

Leaf pack examination

“Sweetie, your presence doesn’t increase ambient UV radiation. You know that. Nice try, though.”

Hanging in there

“Yeah, I know. But you’re always saying you don’t have the best light to photograph me in the house. The answer is at our doorstep, take me outside and I’ll outshine any leaf or tree or creek. You won’t have to edit pics of me!”

As currents go by

“You’re already prettier than any scenery, no matter how low the light.”

Close Travels

“I am! Purrrrrrrrrrr. Ya know, the creek is a perfect backdrop for a black cat like me, it would bring out all my red highlights and dark depths, I’d look so fetching out there, I would light the place up. Best thing you could do for your website.”

The light from one red leaf goes out to play in the water:

Where are we?

“That’s a great idea, maybe one day I’ll learn how to photo edit you into the creek pictures.”

This scene hasn’t been seen before

“Whoa!? I meant I need to actually smack that water with a paw. You wouldn’t be able to  match the lighting on the creek with the lighting on me in editing. This needs to be paws on!”

Talented ripples and swirls

“I hear more yipping coyotes out there than ever this year, sweetheart. What do you say, I’ll scritch and you purr?”

Dancing by the banks

“Puurrrrrr. This discussion isn’t over though, puurrrrrrrrr.”

Back around the house, those trees!

Lofty tangles

Trees always know what they’re doing

“Puuuurrrrrr. Not over. Puuuurrrrrr.”


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Wild Fall Color, Sussed Out by House Cat

From 2016, that is. A few leaves began to flare this August but somewhere along the way, our present fall stalled out, y’all. That’s not unusual, peak autumn here just might wait for November.

October 6, 2016   Autumn Beginning, Up Close in the Trees

October 6, 2016  So much to do

November 4, 2016, Yellows are entering!

There’s this one spot high in the trees, a juncture, a jam, of leaves and pine needles. It’s threaded through by a gnarly old longleaf pine tree that lost all its branches in a storm long ago; only one side grew any branches back. Looking from the landing, there’s an elm tree and a sweetgum in front the pine, slightly to its side. At least two elm trees stand behind it, and twining everywhere, living vines sport fresh foliage alongside old dead vines. All this throws the light around and makes messy, complex tangles of effects in the canopy, most notably in the fall. This calls to me. It’s a part of the forest that grew untended, no thinning, no perfect shapes.

Ultraviolet, Beautiful Always

Ultraviolet took to editing right away. She came out of invisibility to tell me just what I can do with my light. Here’s she shines via photo editing, to fit in with the colorful season. Like the previous editor Bud, she wants to know why, if these trees are right outside the door, she can’t go out and climb them.

“Um … getting back down is not so easy for a kitty.”

What’s out there? October 10, 2016

There it is! October 12, 2016

And there! October 17, 2016

Red leaf arrival October 17, 2016

Mysterious berries, identity unknown  October 8, 2016

The large leaves go with the berries, that’s all I know. It isn’t pokeweed, although it has a similar appearance. October 28, 2016

“And I’ve heard water running in a creek out there, so why can I not go drink from it?” she meows. “A cat likes to take a stroll and drink far away from where she eats.”

Feast of reflected color October 30, 2016

Sunshine at play, October 30, 2016

“I know, it’s a behavior from cats’ wild days when they left prey on the ground that might spoil,” I say. “Well sweetheart, coyotes also drink from that creek. We’ve found their tracks there.”

Floating in green waters November 10, 2016

“What are coyotes?”

“A sort of big wild dog, running loose. You may or may not have seen them in the city. Keep listening and you’ll hear them at night.”


Leaves make a splash

Trees have their ways, November 10, 2016


Getting away with a dazzle

“I hid from dogs in the city. So I get that part of it, sort of, but I still want to explore what’s on the other side of that door you know, my ownself. I know light, and I don’t mind telling you how to post your light graphs, but images just don’t do it for me. I’ll need some direct observation if I’m to keep sorting pictures. I’ll need to eyeball the trees and creek, climb to the canopy, and drink the water.”

Orange treat, November 17, 2016

“What if I open a tin and you can chow down now?” (I figure I’ll get her mind off the great outdoors.)

Meanwhile, the forest floor is busy, November 29, 2016

“I’ll wolf it down! Then I’ll go out and drink from that stream!”

“Um ….” I look at her and blink slowly. I learned that from our cats years ago.

December 14, 2016, fall color was still going strong

(She won’t get to go outside, it’s too dangerous. I expect she’ll want to edit again regardless. Wishing for a catio one day!)



Posted in Cats, Creeks, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 60 Comments