Monday, September 27, 2010

Basket Cases [Cats in Baskets]

With fresh paint in our bedroom and the hardwood flooring which J. put down early in the summer, we consider this room to be "finished."
We have been installed in it comfortably enough, but without the small personal items unpacked which are dear to our hearts.
All summer my dresser has held a jumble of things: my autoharp [because it seemed safe there] a small pile of ironing, oddments that seemed not to have found a proper place.  For some reason the left side of the dresser remained clear and several of the cats decided it was a fine place to spend hours napping.
Rather begrudingly, I folded an old flannel sheet and left it there to accomodate them.
Yesterday I undertook to organize the room.  J. was persuaded to hang the heavy lodge-pole pine framed mirror above the dresser.  I located and unpacked the small cartons which held a few of my "treasures."
The cats were [of course] very interested in what I was doing.
I rummaged out a linen curtain I made for one of our first Wyoming houses, folded it and spread it as a dresser scarf.  [This, after an unfruitful look-around for the boxes or bins which might hold various linens.]
Jemima immediately decided that she needed to recline on the clean dresser!
I found the old cat basket, placed it on a folded towel and with amusement, watched the battle for the basket.
Teasel thinks she would like the basket.
She actually had installed her plump self in it, but left to investigate why I was rootling in the closet.
Jemima immediately commandered the basket.

Teasel appears to be making a statement.
Perhaps she is being non-chalant.  ["If I don't look like I am waiting for the basket, maybe Mima will grow tired of it quickly!"]

Mima has happily settled in for a long nap!

I have always liked baskets as containers.
I have two old baskets which came from my grandfather's home.
I have a collection of the Longaberger baskets which were made in Ohio and became available in the late 1980's. I have some of their limited edition baskets as well.
The cat basket I purchased at a second hand shop in Vermont sometime in the 90's.
I moved the basket to Wyoming along with the family cats.
My Mollie cat lived out her years in Wyoming.  She was fond of this basket and retreated there when the younger members of the feline family became too raucous for her taste.

At some point this basket, which may have started life with a handle, became a cat basket.
Here J. sits with Raisin, basket and all.

This is Raisin with her brother--the late, much beloved Oscar.
Oscar had been a boisterous and very affectionate cat, very special, rather naughty.
He developed a cancerous tumor in the winter of his 7th year.
As he grew weaker, he spent more time resting in sunny spots.
Here Oscar and Raisin bask in the sunshine of a January afternoon.

Here, in the autumn of 2007, a very tiny Teasel peers from the basket.

When I adopted Jemima and Chester from the Pet Connection, they too found the hooded basket a shelter from a household of less than welcoming big cats.
I beleive this is Chester--when the kittens were small the only sure way to distinguish them was to upend them.

If a well padded basket is not available, a box or carton will do.
It must be an ancient instinct of the feline race, this penchant for a small, snug, safe place from which to survey her surroundings.

Eggnog has plumped herself into a plastic box of quilt fabrics.
It is always desirable to take over a box or basket which the humans think belongs to them!

When Charlie came to us from the shelter we supposed that some of his rather odd ways were a result of the weeks of semi-confinement which he and Maisie had endured.
[We have since decided that he just IS ODD and a thug to boot!]
Charlie has a "thing" about cardboard boxes.
One was set down just inside the kitchen door of our Wyoming house and became in his imagination a hideaway, a fortress.
He clearly felt invisible and invinceable with a box to call his own.
He wore out several boxes while we lived in that house!
He scooted the box about the room, stood on top to look out at the bird feeder, tore through the rooms to throw himself with a great thump into his box.
He defended it fiercely.

At one point, hoping to encourage felines to sleep somewhere other than our bed, I placed inviting strips of fleecy blanket in the big basket and placed it on J.'s dresser.
[Cats of Siamese ancestry prefer to over-look their world from high places.]
Here Teasel and Mrs. Beasley have squashed their ample selves into the basket.

Teasel: "I dare you to try and take over this basket!"

Teasel playing nannie to Jemima [left?] and Chester [right?]

The ultimate expression of "basket case", Mrs. Beasley, at leisure.


  1. Beautiful cats, your lot, an obviously completely at home. It's clear they think they are in charge and you humans are there in some subservient capacity. Obviously too, control is exercised best by looking as cute as possible at all times. They are certainly experts at it......

    have a good one........

  2. Oh such a basket of cats! I love them. Especially Teasel, Jemima and Chester. Bailey loved cardboard boxes too as well as paper bags.
    It's been so hot I have done very little for several days. And if it's still as hot tomorrow I might beg off my afternoon meeting. It was 101 today and remember, no air conditioning.

  3. All cats seem to like baskets and boxes where they can tuck themselves away don't they? Do you think you'll ever get the top of your dresser back now?:)

  4. What a wonderful catalogue of cats, and containers. How many do you actually have around you now (cats, I mean)? Have they settled in their new home? We have been inundated with feral farm kittens this summer = they scare the hens!

  5. What wonderful 'cat basket' moments ...mine love boxes and tubs that are left empty ...but the latest is drawers ...a real pain. I was thinking I was being very bad about shutting them until I discovered 2 culprits, working together, to open one and then finding another in the back of my t-shirt drawer when it was barely open....bless them ....I just dont want them thinking they have found a new litter tray lol

  6. Oh bless them - they all look so happy, but how you tell your "twins" apart is beyond me!

    If we are to have another very cold winter (and I believe we may, as it is already VERY nippy and Autumn has arrived really early) I think I will have to make up some pussy-cat beds for the kitchen.

  7. What GREAT pictures. I love your feline family.


  8. Oh I am laughing hard! Aside from their memoryfoam bed with the handknitted cover, theres nothin my cats love better than a good box to sleep in! It is iniversal, I guess. And yes, high up is better. And stuffed with fabric is even better. But best of all is chock full of sheep's fleece, to be burrowed into, dug around in, and covered up with, and then peered out of, with great innocence.... bless them!

  9. Oh. what a hoot this morning with the wonderful photos. It looks just like my house, everyone fighting over baskets and boxes and other odd places.
    Your Teasel looks just like my late Max, he developed bladder cancer and I lost him over 4 yrs ago, and I miss him so much, he was a doll and a character.
    I have some that are odd in their manners, some just thugs too, but I sure love them the same, just makes the house more interesting.
    I have one kitty that can squeeze into very tiny places, I had a basket on the frig, and she sure managed to fit into a 7"x8" space, and would sleep there all day, sometimes popping a leg over the side. Go figure.
    Love your photos with my coffee this morning.
    Have a great week

  10. Cats and things they can lay on, crawl in, claim as their own! Loved your pictures and the baskets, i buy them all the time too, have had to discard too many through the years with our many moves (Mac was in the Army), now I can have a permanent collection.
    An auto harp! i donated mine to the school when I retired, do you play much?

  11. What beautiful pics of your cat family! I especially liked the little Teasel photo.

  12. What a wonderful collection of contented cats!