We had our first snow a couple of weeks ago and the need for extra heating and eating comfort food has increased dramatically. Hungry birds are being fed homemade 'birdcake', fruit, sugar water and leftovers. We have been repaid with their beautiful bird song from tuis and bellbirds. Heaps of tiny waxeyes and Sparrows line up on branches to eat the peeled apples that are speared on to the gnarled branches of the banksia Rose near the back door.
Just after Easter this year a small abandoned kitten appeared eating the stale Hot Cross buns which I had thrown out for the birds. She was a very alert little thing but very scared; she moved at the speed of light and disappeared under the house as soon as we appeared. With temperatures approaching freezing we became increasing concerned for her welfare. We fed her cat biscuits daily on a small plastic plate which was pushed under the house. We could hear her eating from the plate when we were inside our living room (the sound underneath the floorboards). After 6 weeks we were starting to despair that she would ever trust us enough to come out and allow us to stroke her.
The night before the first snowfall was bitterly cold. She had started to mew looking through the bathroom window but still resistant to entering the house. We went to bed that night hearing her mewing. Early the next morning winter's blanket had arrived. We managed to pick her up when she was eating and took her inside into the warm. The first day she spent behind the huge pine dresser unreachable from human hands. Late the same day she ventured out to investigate. The following day she had undergone a complete character change. Purring and biffing around us, she was so happy to have found a home where she could be loved. It was amazing that a little kitten which had such a rough start to life could be so affectionate. We have called her Tilly. Here are some photos of her.
With cats and winter dominating my thoughts I felt inspired to create an artwork incorporating them both and came up with this below. I have called it Cats in Winter Hats. It is a work on watercolour paper using watercolour paint and pen.