Category: Jamie’s Life

Our 4-Month Anniversary with the Kittens

Our 4 Month Kitten Anniversary

On November 3 we celebrated 4 months of having the kittens in our lives, 4 months of tending and growing, 4 months of adventure, of finding our way through, of inviting in love. In some ways it feels like we’re still at the beginning. In other ways, it feels like Scout, Escher and Shibumi have been a part of our lives forever. When we brought these three kittens into our lives, I was clear we were going to help them cross the threshold from scared, neglected and abandoned to safe, healthy and open to love. I was also clear that this journey didn’t necessarily end with all three of them finding their forever home with us. Four months in, I can’t imagine life without them. All of them.

Escher and Pillows

Remembering that we’ve only been together 4 months is especially important when it comes to Escher. He’s still in defensive mode the majority of the time, paw at the ready to swipe if you come close. He bolts in terror if the doorbell rings. The poor guy has also had an attack of what may have been asthma and ended up in veterinary emergency overnight. And yet, of all the places he could be, he spends most days curled up in the chair in the studio with me. When he is relaxed, I can sit right beside him. I can pet him and hold his paws. I can tickle under his chin and have him stretch out in delight, purring. I’ve even been able to kiss him right on top of his head. He may be guarded (as you can see in his eyes in this picture) but sometimes he lets his guard down and we can pour love in.Dauntless Shibumi

Then there is Shibumi, Shibumi the Dauntless, the Daring, the Intrepid. We have cat toys we don’t bother to bring out anymore because it takes her .003 seconds to grab them and then she simply growls and holds on and the game is clearly over. She’s gotten into the vents – more than once.  And she’s gotten into our hearts forever.  Her lionhearted spirit translates not only into adventures but also into love and relaxation. When she sleeps, she sleeps soundly. One time I saw her legs poking out from under the night table and they were so still I was frightened something bad had happened. I gave her paw pads a tickle, looking for some reassurance in her reaction. Nothing. I gentle held her feet. Nothing. I peered under the furniture to find her perfectly content and sleeping deeply. She’s the one cat that lets us hold her. What a joy to scoop her up, feeling the relaxation in her body and the way she rumbles with purrs. But she wasn’t the first to purr.


The first to purr was Scout. And, in fact, when I look back to the first pictures, I see it was also Scout who first came in close. He was also the most obviously terrified when we brought him home and for weeks after. The first time we took him to the vet he threw himself into getting away, attempting to scale the walls and peeing on the poor vet when she was able to catch him. I am completely amazed that Scout the Terrified has become Scout the Tenderhearted.  It was Scout that helped me understand that we were opening the door for love. We read each other’s body language and intentions and slowly, steadily we met, heart to heart. Now Scout has this funny way of dropping to the floor and letting you know he’d love some love. He purrs loud and strong and regularly gives me his belly, occasionally even licking my hand to return the favour.

Studio Kittens

Perhaps the best word to describe these four months with these rescued kittens, who are now 9 months old, is intense. I think we have all experienced intense growth,  intense fear, intense bravery and intense love. I am so thankful to everyone in the studio community who has given encouragement and support, especially the Sparkles Aunties and Uncle. We couldn’t have done it without you. It has been an enormous help to have so much care help us get over the threshold too.

These kittens are family. These kittens are home.

Sunday with the Kittens: Sensitivity & Milestones


It’s been just over three months since we brought three abandoned kittens home. I try to take stock all the time, to notice the changes, the shifts, the improvements, to be aware of how far we’ve come.

Escher on the Bed

Escher remains wary and reserved the majority of the time. I’ve been thinking this week that perhaps he’s an HSC aka a “Highly Sensitive Cat.” He seems hyper vigilant all the time and we have our best success at getting close when he’s dozing. At those times, when all is quiet and all is well, we can pet him and even hear some loud purrs.

Kitten s Intertwined

Luckily he has the support of his siblings.


Scout continues to grow into a loving, elegant gentleman. One of the best moments of the week was when he and Shibumi jumped onto the couch and hung out with while Justin and I watched TV. Scout curled up right beside me, leaning into my leg and resting his head on my thigh, purring deeply for at least an hour. This was a major milestone! Until now, the kittens have not shown the slightest interest in shared couch-time. Of course, this tender moment began as they chased my yarn as I tried to crochet! We look forward to many cozy nights to come.

JRS Shibumi

Though Shibumi doesn’t look like cozy is her mood of choice, LOL. Wherever there is action, there is Shibumi. Crinkle a paper ball and she comes skidding into the room. My sister Shannon says Shibumi has two speeds: fast and off.

Sharing the Chair with Kittens

I was also delighted this week when Scout and Shibumi figured out they could sit on my chair with me.  It’s hard to see but both of them are tucked in behind me there. They stayed put all morning – and yes, I stayed perched at the end of my seat the entire time. When I finally went for coffee I returned to…

Shibumi Loves Chair

Luckily, Shibumi sleeps so soundly I could just move her over and take a seat.

I'll Never Get My Chair Back

Still, I have a feeling I might be losing my chair!

Escher on Grey Chair

Luckily, there’s another good spot in the studio but it looks like it’s taken!

Sunday with the Kittens: Cuddles, Climbing & A Trip to Emergency

JRS Escher on the Mend

It’s been a while since I’ve shared an update about our rescued kittens, though if we’re connected on Facebook or you follow their Tumblr you’re sure to have been watching them grow. Though they’re just 6-months old, they look more like cats then kittens these days and though it’s only been 2 1/2 months, they have become a part of our family.

This week we had a scare with our little grey. The kittens were running about, as they do, when suddenly we heard an insistent cough from Escher. Gradually the sound worsened to a gurgling and an occasional almost growl as he put everything he had into trying to clear something. We took him to the vet straight away. They treated him for inflammation and a potential allergic reaction and kept him under their watchful eye. At the end of the day, he wasn’t significantly better and there were concerns about his X-rays so we took him to emergency, where he stayed overnight. The good news is the crisis has passed and he’s home with us and doing well. We’re still not sure whether it was a one-off irritation or allergic reaction or whether, perhaps, this poor little guy has asthma. We’ve also discovered he has a bit of a larger heart, which we hope is just normal for him.

I thought for sure he would run and hide under the bed for days when he got home but he settled right back in (after a bit of “you smell weird” hissing from his siblings). In fact, he, our most reticent kitten, has been more open to affection than before! Both Justin and I have been able to pet him quite a bit, sometimes getting purrs as a reward! I guess in the scheme of the big, wide world, we’re not so bad after all ;)

Shibumi Climbs

Oh, Shibumi. Everything about her makes me smile, even this.* She is dauntless! She’s 5-lbs of utter vivaciousness! As lively as she is, when she sleeps, she sleeps! Sometimes I have to go up close and make sure that little chest is moving. Nothing rouses the sleeping Shibumi!  This little one is full of love and purrs and is the one cat that we can pick up and cuddle – though not for long! She has too many adventures to go on!

This week, along with climbing the window, she discovered something very exciting. She figured out she can jump up on my chair, right behind me, as I work. She jumped up, walked around, got some pets and jumped down only to repeat the exact same sequence right away as though she were testing to see if it would go the same way again. It did so I’m expecting more visits to come!

* Yes, I did stop and take a picture or two before getting her down from there! I got that from my photographer mom, lol.

Happy Scout

And our Scout. What a sweet and tender soul! He’s like a sensitive gentleman, a bit skittish around chaos and noise but when he’s in his element, he is open, loving and elegant. He’s growing into the largest of the cats and is getting more and more handsome every day. Truly, I am smitten with this kitten – and I think the feeling is mutual!

Me & Scout

All in all, the progress over our time together has been amazing. Just two months ago it was a big deal if they didn’t run when we came near! I remember the thrill of touching the tip of a paw or a tail for the first time, beaming the first time they ate out of a bowl on my lap and getting tears in my eyes the first time one of them purred. (It was Scout.)

We still have a ways to go (I’m working on petting Escher regularly and getting to pick up Scout) but my worry that they would never form attachments have all but disappeared.

The Studio Triplets

Sunday with the Kittens: Spaying, Neutering & Healing

Shibumi & Scout

It was a big week for the studio kittens; we took the boys in to be neutered and Shibumi in to be spayed.

They fasted overnight and in the morning were more than ready for a big breakfast, not to get into their carriers! With great trust, Shibumi let me scoop her up and get her in. She was even purring for a moment before she realized my betrayal! It was more challenging with the boys. There was a lot of running, leaping and even hissing. Justin was amazing. He gently but firmly managed to corner each of them, diving in with a towel and emerging with a wriggling angry kitten to quickly deposit in a carrier.


The good news is that despite the fighting and the upset, the meows and complaints were frightened and ticked off as opposed to the last time, which was more like “OMGTHEY’RETRYINGTOKILLME”. I guess that’s a bit of progress.

All three surgeries went well with no complications. They did discover that Scout had retained canines that could be a problem. Basically, his baby canines weren’t falling out and his big-cat ones were trying to grow in. To avoid any issues of misalignment, the vet removed the baby teeth. The two permanent teeth are a bit wiggly but hopefully, as they have the room to settle in, they will start to make themselves at home.

We were able to bring the boys home that night, each with a cone around their head to dissuade them from grooming their surgery sites. Scout had his off before we’d taken 10 steps. Escher’s was a challenge when we got home. They bolted when the carrier doors opened and were clearly terrified. Escher tried to run up the steps but the cone got in the way and he had a little tumble. He was just fine but we found the cone abandoned at the side of the bed he was hiding under.

Both boys stayed under the bed hiding for about an hour. Eventually they emerged in search of dinner. I’ll tell you that I felt much, much better after they’d eaten a bit of food, had their painkillers (which luckily we could put in the food) and they were lying down in their regular quiet spot under the couch.

I am delighted to say that by the end of the evening, we were able to pet Scout and Escher was hanging about. The next morning they both ate a hardy breakfast, Scout was very affectionate and, believe it or not, Escher followed me everywhere! The next day we were able to bring Shibumi home.

Though she’s clearly unimpressed with “the cone” (I keep telling her it looks rather queenly on her), it hasn’t stopped her from anything, except messing with her stitches. She’s as determined and playful as ever!

In fact, since she’s been home she’s been incredibly loving, full of purrs and wanting to be close. Justin and I have both held her in our arms for quite a while, enjoying the closeness and the rumble of her purr. Last night she even slept in the crook of my knee, which is a first. Even more surprising, Escher was right there with her, leaning up against my leg!

He’s been hanging out with her pretty consistently since she got home, whereas Scout was clearly scared by the cone. His first response was to hiss at her and at the first meal with all of them home, he wouldn’t come in and eat while she was there. His fear seems to have settled quite a bit, though Scout seems to be having the hardest time. He’s spending a fair amount of time alone and under the blue couch. He did have two teeth removed in addition to being neutered so I’ll give him a couple of more days before I am too concerned. (Lol, I love how we say that as though we can schedule our concern.

All in all, everyone is well and things will hopefully set into normal. Shibumi and Scout will have to return to the vet in 10 days or so but hopefully after that, everyone can stay put and get comfortable for the year! Imagine that.

Thank you so much for all of the love and good vibes that have been sent to these three. I know that has helped and will continue to help them with their healing.

A big shout-out to all of the staff at the animal clinic. Everyone has been so kind and generous in taking care of these kittens and their humans. We’ve received excellent care, great advice – and even seen pictures of how the kittens were while they were there! We are so thankful to everyone for all their support.

And speaking of support, we could not have done this without the generosity of all of the Aunties and an Uncle who signed up for Sparkles in support of these kittens as well as their own creativity. Each of you have made a difference in the lives of these kittens and of all those who care for them. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. May your sparkle continue to light the way.


Rescue Kitten Update – 39 Days In

Rescue Kitten Update

Here’s a snapshot of how our rescue kittens are doing 38 days in. You can find the beginning of our adventure here.

JRS Escher on Red CoachEscher

When we first saw Escher he was pure grey with that gorgeous silver shimmer. Though he still has that glow, you can definitely start to see some tabby markings, clearly on his face and tail and subtly on his sides. His eyes are still a ring of blue and green and he is a beauty.

His pace is slow. He’s the last to join in any games and he’s still eating long after everyone else is finished (just like me and my dad). He’s still so guarded and likely to dash if you get anywhere close to him. Of all the kittens, he spends the most time tucked away in some rather hidden spot, often under our blue couch or Shannon’s bed.

With Escher it’s important to pay attention to the subtleties. Yes, he still glares at us warily like he’s sure we’re about to do something awful, but he also sometimes stretches out long and relaxed in the middle of the floor when we’re in the room. He may not like to be approached but he does seem to like being nearby. I try to sit close to him but not make a big deal out of it, grabbing a spot on the floor and a book or my journal and marking it as a success if he doesn’t move away.

Because there are three kittens it’s easy but not particularly useful to compare their progress. Escher has a gentle pace and that’s just fine. We’ll take it slow and steady and hope that eventually he’ll feel secure not scared and loved not threatened.

Shibumi Update


Especially on days when progress is too tiny to be measured, Shibumi gives us hope.

Shibumi the brave, the dauntless, the feisty.

Shibumi who will now come and ask for cuddles, who will rub against your leg and purr. We’ve even been able to pick this wee one up for a moment or two. Justin recently held her to his heart with one hand and we marveled at how tiny she still is.

She’s the smallest of the triplets, built compact and strong. Her frame seems just right for holding the intensity of her spirit. She’s silky to the touch and her eyes shine out from an incredibly expressive face.

She’s the first to catch the paper ball (Shibumi wins!) and the most likely to be caught on the counter. (We recently discovered that her favourite prey is the ubiquitous “teabag” and so we’ve had to make these scarce.) And we’re rather sure she was the instigator in the whole “vent” escapade. She’s also the soundest sleeper in the world! When she’s on, she’s on and when she’s out, she’s out!

This little kitten is a spitfire but one that’s full of love. I am grateful for her every single day.

Scout UpdateScout

Our little Scout is a sensitive soul. He is tremendously skittish and we’ve seen how terrified he can be, both when initially captured and at the vet, where the first time he literally threw himself in any direction to get away. It took him days to even look at me.

And yet…

He wants to love and be loved.

He would come up to me warily, awkwardly and I could feel the yearning in him. He would lean in, bow down and when I would reach out he would back away. But he would also come back. Slowly we moved towards being able to touch. We both worked at figuring out the approach, what would feel nice and not too scary.

He would flop to the ground and raise his legs in the air. He would turn around this way and that way and look at me with those big eyes. And oh, he would purr.

In fact, he was the first one to purr.

I feel like we’re in it together, Scout and me, figuring out this crazy little thing called love.

The Kittens Have Their Second Trip to the Vet

Taking Kittens to the Vet

Yesterday was a very intense day for the kittens and all who love them: their second trip to the vet. That also meant their second time in a carrier and I’ve been nervous about that aspect for days! We tried putting treats in the carrier and were surprised when Shibumi walked right in! Escher, who loves treats, was very interested but very cautious. He needed a push on the bum and a quick-shut door to secure him inside. Our skittish Scout was another story. He looked inside at the treats but the minute he sensed me near, he tried to bolt. I grabbed him as securely as I could and he fought hard but, sweet soul, he kept his claws in and I was able to get him in the carrier.

They were all frightened but Scout was terrified. He howled the entire way, clawing at the door, trying to escape. I held the front of the carrier right up to my tummy to secure the door and limit the visual stimulation of the outside world. We got their safe and sound but I dreaded what was to come.


Scout update

Scout went first. Last time he threw himself all over the office and peed on the vet when she tried to catch him. With the way he’d responded in the carrier, I didn’t know what we were in for.  Amazingly, he stayed still as we held onto him. Dr. Jen was gentle and firm and examined him closely. She was surprised at his size, examined his teeth and ended up reassessing the age of the kittens.  It turns out they were likely 4 months, not 3, when we found them and are now at the 5-month mark. (Can you believe it’s been a month?)

Scout shows every indication of being healthy.  He still has his baby teeth and has grown from 4.5 to 6 lbs! I pet him as he received his second round of vaccinations and, considering all he’d been through, he was quite content to get back into his carrier this time around.


Escher Update

Escher is the most reserved of all the kittens.  He’s nervous and wary a great deal of the time, though slowly he’s shown signs of wanting to be near us. He was still for most of the examination and he’s looking good as well. He does have a tendency to have quite weepy eyes but Dr. Jen assured us that as long as the discharge stays clear there’s not too much to worry about. All of the kittens had blood taken to see if there are any underlying problems and we’ll hear back soon.

Our second little boy also looks healthy. He’s got a grown-up incisor just starting to come in and, like his brother, weighs in now at 6 lbs.


Shibumi Update

And Shibumi was feisty as always. We managed to keep her still but she was roundly unimpressed by getting two needles. Still, it couldn’t have been too bad because she was purring so loudly Dr. Jen couldn’t get a clear hear of her heart and lungs, LOL! Justin’s right; Shibumi has two modes – angry and purring.

She’s the smallest of the bunch, weighing just 5 lbs, but her adult teeth are the farthest along. She was also the first to get back to normal when we got back home, ready to sit down and have her dinner.

Progress & Gratitude

We’ve made so much progress with these three and, of course, I was nervous about the stress of the visit being a major setback. Scout and Escher are still staying away from me today but they were all ready for breakfast, with Shibumi even wrapping herself around my legs in anticipation. I’m sure a few more days and we’ll be back on track with settling in, plus we’ll feel secure that they’ve been well taken care of.

I can’t tell you how blessed we all feel to have been so powerfully supported by this studio community. We are so grateful for all of the helpful advice, inspiring encouragement and the love notes about the kittens. I am especially thankful to all of you who have signed up for Sparkles and encouraged others to sign up too – you are all honourary aunties!

The kitten-dedicated registration fee made all the difference when we were faced with a 4-figure vet bill yesterday. With their spay/neuter surgeries on the horizon, every bit of support helps us in caring for these unexpected treasures in our life. Who knew that one month ago today, when I went out for coffee with a friend, I would end up bringing home 3 abandoned kittens and giving them a home, not only here but in your hearts as well. My eyes are full of tears and my heart is full of love and gratitude.

Thank you, from all of our hearts, for being on this journey with us.

You Can Still Become an Honourary Auntie!

The Triplets Together
photo by Shannon

Taking in three abandoned kittens came as quite a surprise – as does three vet visits, three sets of vaccines and three spay/neuter surgeries! So we’re getting creative and relaunching the Sparkles e-course in support of these much-loved rescues! We’ve even made the registration fee adjustable in case you want to add a little extra to their care package. We know they’d appreciate it.

Sign up for Sparkles – LIVE and bring your creativity to life in just 5 minutes a day – We start tomorrow!

Sparkles Live: August 1 to September 1, 2015

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Registration is only $31

The fee is adjustable if you are inspired to give extra love for the kittens!

Click here for more details.