Cats and Rats

Interactive Play

Smokey plays with the rats below

No explanation needed, except to say:

In your dreams, Smokey!

In real life, Smokey stayed far away from the rats. When it was necessary for a rat to pass her in transit from point A to point B, she did a terrific job of pretending to be asleep.

The Fates

three Fates meet the cat

. . . namely: Clotho, who spins the thread of life; Lachesis, who measures it out; and Atropos, who cuts the thread. Are you feeling lucky, cat?

Perfectly Safe

Dixie and Truffles keep a safe distance from Miranda

The title is probably self-explanatory. But if not, I can spell it out: Truff and Dixie are in no danger from Miranda. She may sit there and make faces at them, but she does not mean them any harm.

Miranda Explains the Rules to Truffles

Miranda talks to Truffles

Shortly after Truff moved in, he developed an alarming limp in one front leg; he wasn’t putting weight on it at all. Fearing the worst, I finally got him to let me examine the limb. It turned out nothing was broken or dislocated, but he had a nasty scrape in the middle of his paw pad, just where he’d be putting his weight if he tried to step on it. Now, I’ll never be able to prove this, but I will always suspect that he was acting uppity with the rats, and Miranda let him have it.

Truff is a gorgeous cat—he’s a random-bred Snowshoe, one of the Siamese derivatives—and very loving. But he’s, well, not very bright. He doesn’t need to be.

How did a fifteen-pound tomcat end up with a foo-foo name like Truffles? When he first showed up in the neighborhood, before his Trip To The Vet, his unofficial temporary name was “Chocolate Balls.” This detail is omitted from most official descriptions of Siamese cats’ points.

Could be worse. My first hamster, Puddles, got her name because in the beginning she was very anxious about being picked up, and . . .

Survival of the Fittest

Dixie and Miranda in their imaginings

Dixie and Miranda both knew who would be chasing whom if it came down to a question of “One of us has got to go.”

The Ascent of Mt. Fluffy

rat climbing to the peak of a cat

Confession: I had to fudge this picture a bit. First I retouched the physical painting to get rid of charcoal smudges dating back many years. And then I played with the jpg because it just wouldn’t photograph well. This is a regular problem with anything that has a lot of white in it. Somehow it just doesn’t end up white. Unless you cheat.

Inside, Outside

Inside Looking Out

rat looking out at a black cat in the snow

Black Cat in the Snow

looking out the window at a black cat in the snow

But where, you ask, is the rat? Isn’t this the “Cats and Rats” department?

The rat is staying inside where it is nice and warm. If the cat wants to be out in the cold, that is entirely its own business and of no concern to the rat.

Cage Cleaning

cat in an empty rat cage

This is a scene from life. A pretty common one, in fact. When I put the empty tank back in place after cleaning it, the cats like to hop inside. I don’t know if it’s the lingering eau du rat aroma or the warmth from the tank’s heating pad. The cats always seem to face in the same direction, and with good reason: the Big Cage is just off the right edge of the picture.


cat protecting a rat

We’ve had this picture hanging in the studio for years—since almost right after it was painted. It feels cozy, doesn’t it?