Welcome to my photo cat blog featuring my fur balls, Sarah Annabelle and Elsie Mae, who live with me up in the mountains of Tennessee!

Friday, July 31, 2020


Sarah Annabelle

I first laid eyes on Sarah in an animal shelter in Newport, where we were pastoring, at the top of a large pen swarming with cats of all sizes and colors loudly meowing for attention. I worked my way through the crowded pen to where Sarah, a long-haired gorgeous calico cat was curled up sound asleep, reached out, and softly petted her long fur. Sarah lifted her head and yawned back at me. It was love at first sight.

I was still grieving the loss of Susie, a short haired calico cat we had for eighteen years.  I really didn’t know if I’d be able to have or love another cat after Susie, but my family insisted that I had to get another cat as I loved cats and they couldn’t picture me without one. So I found myself adopting Sarah, who I wanted to call Annabelle. Sarah was already a couple of years old so not to confuse her I began calling her Sarah Annabelle figuring I’d drop Sarah once she got used to it, but somehow both names stuck.

I was struggling physically as my Lyme disease had come out of remission and soon was bedfast. Sarah Annabelle would lie on top of me purring or beside me snoozing the day away keeping me company. She was the ideal companion; a perfect pet.

We moved back to our house in Jamestown and for the first time in her life Sarah Annabelle was able to go outside. She fell quickly in love with the outdoors roaming around exploring and sleeping in the sun during the warm summer months claiming our home as her forever place.

On cold winter days you would find Sarah Annabelle snoozing toasting her toes at the wood- stove. We often wondered how she didn’t suffocate with her thick long fur especially when the fire was roaring hot.

For some reason Sarah Annabelle loved shoes and slippers- and the stinkier the better. Pure catty bliss to her was curled up at the hot wood stove among work shoes drying.

Sarah Annabelle was a gently soul that got along with all the other animals that we took in at our place. Nobody had any trouble sharing space with Sarah Annabelle.

Sarah Annabelle was one of the most photogenic pets I have ever had. Her quite personality was ideal for sitting at one spot posing for however long it took me to get the right angle and shot.

All I had to do was gently push her body down or around and she would lie there quietly as if wondering in her catty mind what this human person would do or think up next.

Sarah Annabelle followed me from room to room during the day. When I was at my computer she made herself comfortable on the nearby shelf or…

squished her furry fat body on the crowded desk behind me.

If I was in the kitchen and opened up my herb cabinet while cooking guess what spot Sarah Annabelle claimed?

When I made pies Sarah Annabelle would sit on a stool watching my every move memorized over the rolling pin as I rolled out pie crusts.

Canning apple pie filling was a long process so a catty nap nearby was Sarah Annabelle’s solution.

Of course she was all curiosity checking out the pantry when I began storing my canned goods.

Sarah Annabelle was never demanding when she wanted attention. She would sit patiently by your side until you noticed her.  If you took too long she would reach out and pat you with her paw just to let you know that she was there.

In fact most visitors never knew there was a cat around unless they saw Sarah Annabelle curled up sleeping or when she walked into a room. One morning I needed to sign a letter to mail and got sidetracked. Minutes later when I came back to the kitchen there was Sarah Annabelle still sitting by the letter as if to remind me of what I forgot.

Holidays were fun with Sarah Annabelle around. When I wasn’t snapping pictures of her you never knew where she would pop up next.

She would hide under the Christmas tree among the present if things got too noisy when the grand-kids came or…

make herself at home on the dining room table in the midst of my Christmas village.

As the years passed Sarah Annabelle got frailer, but it was hardly noticeable with her long fur. She was just there- a quiet presence that took longer naps, and then sleeping through most of the day. The last couple of years she stayed indoors all the time no longer interested in going outside.

I knew I would soon have to put Sarah Annabelle to sleep, but kept putting it off. She wasn’t sick or in pain just old. It became harder for her to jump up on the bed or get to her cat food so I fixed things to make it easier for her.

Early summer this year when it warmed up outside, Sarah Annabelle suddenly wanted to be outdoors again.  She would come in only to eat a little spending most of the day in the front yard in a patch of sunshine curled up sleeping. It was as though she was preparing me for when she’d soon be gone.

When she quit eating we knew it was time to say good-bye. We counted up the years and it was hard to believe that we had Sarah Annabelle for fifteen years. She was seventeen years old. So one summer morning on a sunny day we buried Sarah Annabelle in the herb garden where our other calico cat, Susie, lies. Among the herbs and mints that bloom and shed fragrance my little catty lady, who I miss so much, now sleeps.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Miss Elsie Mae

 Miss Elsie Mae


 Originally Elsie Mae was a California cat, who came to me through my niece, whose husband was in the Air Force. I got a phone call from Stacy, who was visiting my sister in Pennsylvania, asking if I would consider taking her cat to keep when they came down to visit me. At only a couple years of age, Miss Elsie Mae was making her displeasure known about being an Air Force cat leaving my niece at her wits end. Even though Elsie Mae was always mildly sedated for air plane rides, she still yowled loudly every time she traveled and at my sister’s house terrorized her house cat.  A meek and mild cat Elsie Mae was not.


Although I agreed to help my niece out, secretly I wondered what I was getting myself into as I also had a tame house cat. True to her nature Elsie Mae let me know right off she was not impressed with her new owner or house once Stacy left. Most attempts at petting her resulted in this white and gray lump of fur laying back her ears, whipping her long skinny tail back and forth, and threatening to bite even though she meowed piteously asking for attention.   After informing  Elsie Mae that she was now a Tennessee mountain cat (forget any fancy brand name canned cat food for her finicky appetite, I only bought dry cat food),  and it was time she started acting like one, I began to ignore her.


In a couple of days Elsie Mae decided it was time to take matters into her paws and set out to conquer her new territory. She promptly squashed my long- haired calico cat, Sarah Annabelle’s status as the head cat, but ran into a challenge when faced with Lucy Lou, my mixed schnauzer/poodle house dog. Suddenly here was someone who would chase her back. Not only did Elsie Mae have a new house to explore but outside gardens as well.

After a year Elsie Mae decided to accept me into her catty heart as after all I was the lady, who gave her treats whenever she let me brush her and tuna on rare occasions. 


Whenever I’d sit down in my recliner by the fire, Elsie Mae, who was still growing and quite clumsy for a cat, would jump onto my lap roll around for attention for a bit then soon leap onto the top where she would drape her long body out and snooze often falling down on top of me during her sound sleep.


 I never had to worry about Elsie Mae sneaking up on me as she galloped down the hallway or across the room often crashing as she took a corner too sharp or tried to jump over an object; graceful was not her middle name.


By the second year Elsie Mae’s gray fur turned dark and she turned into a large gorgeous black and white cat who measured around a yard long from the tip of her tail to outstretched front paws. Visitors were always fascinated when they caught sight of her, but I always warmed them against any petting as Elsie Mae was not a friendly cat. Her pride and joy was her long tail that registered all her catty emotions- something she didn’t even tolerate me to play with. 


Elsie Mae learned how to open the bi-fold closet doors and would often hide in among my towels whenever anyone strange came. Soon she was opening all the drawers as well. Every morning I never knew what doors or drawers the cat had opened during the night for her catty inspection.

Elsie Mae was quite the hunter. She loved to jump and catch any flying bugs in her paws and when no mouse ventured inside the house she took to hunting outdoors often bringing into my sun-room through the cat door her latest catch. I’ll never forget the morning Elsie Mae brought in a live mouse and dropped it in front of Lucy Lou as a gift. The mouse took off, Lucy Lou in pursuit barking and racing in circles while I yelled directions and jumped around myself to keep from getting run over. Amidst all the commotion, Elsie Mae calmly sat and washed her paws.

As Elsie Mae got older she would let me carry her around the house on my shoulders every so often curling her long body around my neck her head twisting back and forth, ears perked up, and long whiskers twitching checking out all the details of each room we walked around in. Whenever I changed the sheets on a bed the crazy cat loved to dive under a sheet playing a catty version of hide and seek. 


At times when I sat in my recliner reading a book, Elsie Mae would jump in my lap, poke her head under the book, lay her long body against my chest and put both paws around my neck rubbing her head on me and licking me with her scratchy tongue until I’d scratch her chin, rub her ears, and run my hands down her sleek body. Then with furry paws still around my neck she’d purr tilting her head back looking like an enlarged version of a mouse with her pointy nose and whiskers.

When I worked at my computer, Elsie Mae would jump on my lap, check out my keyboard with her paws until I pushed her off, then sit on the floor beside the printer giving it an intense stare with a tilted head trying to figure out how the machine worked that spit out paper, until she got bored and climbed to the top of one of my book cases to take a cat nap.


Lucy Lou used to always sleep in bed with me, but as she got older with arthritis in her hip, some nights she slept on the floor beside me. Any attempts Elsie Mae made to get on the bed were met with fierce growls. Not deterred Elsie Mae would wait until my dog went to sleep, then with a huge leap she’d land on top of me waking me up from a sound sleep and begin doing a wild cat dance pouncing on anything that moved underneath the sheet. When I’d groan and roll over in exasperation, Elsie Mae would settle her long body comfortably down on my back and begin doing a thorough cat bath while I’d gratefully go back to sleep.

After only four years of having Elsie Mae and expecting to grow old with her, it was quite a shock to find her dead one day from no apparent cause.  My house is suddenly quiet with no Elsie Mae around. I miss our catty chats as Elsie Mae was quite vocal usually greeting me first thing every morning when I woke up and went to the bathroom. I miss the shadow of her following me from room to room to see what I am doing, peeking under the bathroom door when I shut it to take a shower, and sticking her head around a corner to keep an eye on me or my dog. 

I buried my independent cat wrapped in a soft towel in my enclosed garden where she loved to play near the goldfish pond where Elsie Mae used to sit, put a paw in the water, and keep a catty eye on the fish.

 Good-bye my sweet Elsie Mae.  You left me with so many wonderful memories and pictures of our time together.