Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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The Elderly Animal Project: Isa Leshko’s Photography

I recently came across the beautiful photography of Isa Leshko, in particular, her photography of elderly animals. These black and white images are stunning on their own. Then she added this short video explaining the elderly animal series. It brought tears to my eyes. Go grab a tissue before you watch this video.

As any animal lover will tell you, caring for an aging pet can be challenging & heartbreaking & rewarding. I’ve gone through it a few times myself. And we face it again with Woody our eldest cat. Woody is 12. In the past year he was diagnosed with kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and high blood pressure. The trifecta of kitty diseases.

He’s currently doing well. He gets medication twice a day. Eats breakfast, dinner, and all the snacks he wants in between. (In fact, he just came up to the studio as I write this to let me know it is time for his mid-evening snack.) His weight is holding steady at around 10lbs plus or minus (down from a high of 12lbs.)

After looking at Isa’s photographs and hearing her explain the elderly animal series, I took a few pictures of Woody over several days. I thought it would be interesting to capture him at different times of the day. Several of these pictures were taken in natural light without a flash. I think they capture his true nature, for the most part. (And with cats much of that true nature involves lots of naps.)

Woody 12/17/11

Woody 12/18/11

Woody 12/19/11

Woody 12/19/11

Woody 12/20/11

Woody is a pretty regal cat. A little Zen master who fancies a well worn toy mouse named George, tummy rubs, and night time snuggles; the periodic hit of fresh catnip, chasing a bird feather on a stick, having a nutty, and chasing his little brother around the house. He inspired my first cat sculpture and an Ornimal. He’s a very special cat.

Grey Tabby Ornimal

Isa’s project has me contemplating something similar with Woody. If not a daily picture, certainly a weekly picture. After all, he is quite photogenic. But more than that, I think it would be interesting to capture his handsome nature as he ages.


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Lessons My Cats Have Taught Me

  • Start each day with a long stretch.
Woody yawns

  • Hold your head high when you enter a room.
  • Look the challenge in the eye…then pounce.
  • Sit in the sun every day you can.

  • Snuggle.
  • A daily “nutty” burns off excess energy.
  • Running around in circles is no guarantee you’ll ever catch your tail.
  • Naps are rejuvenating.
  • Continue to pursue your dreams (see #7).
  • Eating too fast may make you sick.
  • Ask for a massage and you just might get it.
  • Share…even when you don’t want to.

  • A deep sigh can clear your head.
  • It is okay to go to your safe spot when scared.
  • Proceed with caution when necessary.
  • Hug.
  • Be flexible.