Hey, gang- I thought I had posted this but looks like I didn’t. So here’s a Flashback Friday post from Sept. 2019 for you…
Well, I already told you about my kitty mural at the Tunica Humane Society in Tunica, MS. They really liked how it turned out, and asked me if I would consider doing a bit more painting in their expanded cat room.
I had enjoyed my visits to the shelter to paint (and play with the kitties), so I said yes and came back the following weekend. Was looking forward to seeing all of them again, especially Poppy. She had stolen my heart and it was so hard to say goodbye each time I left. Part of me hoped she would get adopted while I was gone, and part of me was happy to see her each time I came back. After I had finished the first mural, later that week I asked Nicki if we could adopt her. She was a bit shocked- I had asked her right after we had gone to bed. Hey, couldn’t sleep, and wasn’t sure how to ask. We had three cats already and had agreed that was enough for our household. She didn’t say no, but we were going to have to discuss it…
Nicki was going out of town with some friends for the weekend, so I came back on Saturday, August 3rd. Sandy, the shelter director, said she was looking for some more kitties, butterflies, grass and such to help liven up the bare walls around the opening in the middle of the room as you enter the area where I had painted the Jarael, Harley Quinn, and Lex mural. I started off freehand sketching out a couple cats in pencil. I knew I wanted to draw a Poppy kitty, since she was such a sweetie when I was there last.
Speaking of Poppy, she was in solitary confinement. Her good eye had been looking a bit goopy so they put her in the smaller cage while they gave her medicine for it. BluesZ kept her company. He’s a sweetheart, but I had to keep an eye on my supplies. Those kitties can climb and are very curious. The previous week a sweet kitty who’s owner had passed away was in there, but she had been adopted since I had been there.
Sandy had said she’d like to see a tuxedo kitty, too. The shelter gets lots of them, and had several while I was there. Sneezy, Happy, and Dopey were constantly wanting to play with me or hang out while I was painting.
The three tuxedo kitties that had been in solitary last week had been released into the general population and were interested in sitting on my shoulders, too.
Thankfully they all sleep a lot so I was able to get some work done during their naps. They eat a lot, play hard, then sleep hard!
There was a group of three new kittens in the lower part of the solitary cage. They were so fluffy and had the prettiest blue eyes!
Ethel was still in the large solitary cage above them. She’s a senior cat who’s really loving, but needs to be an only cat in her next home. Raggedy Andy was still at the shelter and he kept watch over all the rambunctious kitties. He always waits for them to eat and go to sleep before he eats. He’s had a rough life, but is amazingly sweet and gentle.
Anytime I sat down I had someone jump up in my lap and/or climb up to my shoulders. Usually it was Happy, Sneezy, or Poppy- and Happy did a number on my legs with his tiny little razor claws. I really should have worn pants! Oh, and if I got up from my seat or stool I always had someone steal it.
Had to be careful while on the stool to check below me before stepping down. If there wasn’t a cat across my feet there usually was one or two on the steps below.
I mixed up some grey and green for the Poppy kitty and got started on it. Made sure that the painting was just high enough to not be covered up by the large litter box totes. Occasionally I’d hear a squirting whoopee-cushion sound behind me, and there would be a kitten in the litter box looking up at me like, “What..?”
I definitely wasn’t lacking for company anytime I visited. Sneezy loved trying to play with my paintbrush. I had to be careful of drips and kitty paws. A couple times I would have a small drop hit the floor and a cat would step in it before I could get to it! I had to clean a few paws off, and had a couple paw prints end up on my shorts. Thankfully I was using water based paints.
Little Luna was such a chill and loving cat. She would jump in my lap from time to time, but for the most part she just liked siting next to me while I worked. She and Nicki really hit it off.
Sandy and I discussed adding some words above the opening and I got started on it. Added some hearts to either side. The black wasn’t being completely opaque, and I had to be careful of drips/runs if I put down too much at a time. Was definitely going to take at least two coats. Poppy would let me know she wasn’t happy not being able to come hang out with me while I painted. I tried to give her some attention whenever I was near her cage.
I added some butterflies above the cats, and then had to call it a day. I was going to come back the next day. It’s only about a 30-40min drive down from our house. Almost a straight shot to Tunica.
When I got there the next day the gang was waiting for me by the cat room door. Wish I had been quick enough to get a shot of BlueZ hanging and peeking through the bottom of the door’s window. He looked like a kitty Kilroy! I’ve had practice getting in/out our front door at home with Lex trying to escape, but this was a bit trickier!
I started putting more details on the cats and butterflies and went back over my black lettering above.
I also added some poppy flowers, and added some bumble bees, a humming bird, and dragonfly to the painting.
I was happy that folks at the shelter got the poppy reference in the painting. I decided to add a dandelion and ladybug to the tuxedo kitty side.
Nicki met me there Sunday afternoon. I was almost done with the mural, so she played with the kitties while she waited for me to finish up. She had driven back from her trip in Arkansas so we could adopt Poppy!
Poppy had been sleeping most of the day, but was happy to see Nicki- and finally get sprung from solitary!
Actually, she was not only getting out of the cage, she was going to be headed to her new home. Yep, after much discussion Nicki had agreed to adopt ANOTHER cat. She’s just as much of a softy as I am!
Sandy waved the adoption fee for us (THANKS!), and we took our little nugget home. Nicki wanted to rename her, but we couldn’t really settle on anything. If she had been a boy she definitely would have been named Fury!
We worried about there being drama with us bringing a new cat into our home, but with a minimal amount of hissing everyone seemed to get along surprisingly well. Our old lady cat Jarael likes sunning with her younger sibling out on the patio or in Nicki’s Fangirl room.
Harley Quinn has always been a daddy’s girl and didn’t like sharing my attention or lap at first, but has learned to share. She doesn’t even hiss if her new little sister steals a treat out from under her. I’m very proud of her.
Lex was the one that surprised us the most. He wasn’t sure what to make of her at first, but almost immediately became a big brother and new playmate. It was seeing these two develop a bond that we decided to name her “Lena”. Lena Luthor is a DC Comics character who has commonly appeared as Lex Luthor‘s sister, but has also been shown as his daughter in some story-lines. Nicki is a big fan of Lena in the CW series Supergirl, who is played by Katie McGrath. Whenever we’ve had to put our Lena in solitary confinement in the master bath so we could eat (she hasn’t learned table manners yet), her new big brother Lex always ends up springing her out of kitty jail so they can play. We have noticed Lex doesn’t seem to get into as much trouble now as he used to, so that’s a plus!
Lena has now had all of her kitty vaccinations, been chipped, is gaining weight, and has come to feel right at home with us.
I started a Twitter account in Poppy’s name- Poppy’s Pet Project (@PoppysPetProje1). It’s to help other animals find homes, especially any with special needs, disabilities, or elderly pets. I hope to help spread the word about other shelters, and showcase just how awesome rescue pets can be. Please feel free to follow us!
I’m so glad my sister-in-law Teresa tagged me in the Tunica shelter’s Facebook post about wanting a mural artist. I had a lot of fun and got a new fur-baby out of it!
The Tunica Humane Society is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to The Tunica Humane Society are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Monetary donations can be sent to:
Tunica Humane Society
P.O. Box 236
Tunica, Ms 38676
Tunica Humane Society
4500 Fox Island Rd
Tunica, MS 38676
If you are interested in adopting one of our dogs or cats, complete the application and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 662-363-3090. Call 662-519-1700 with any questions concerning fostering or adopting. For other information, email email@example.com.
*EDIT: Since I originally wrote this blog post our tuxedo kitty Harley Quinn passed away in 2020.
We’re still not sure what was wrong with her. She lost some weight back around the holidays but seemed to get better after our vet saw her. But then in February she started not eating and started having trouble breathing, and more. She had seen an emergency vet, and our vet again. They did everything they could, but we new we didn’t have long with her- and I think Lena and Jarael knew it, too. They kept Harley company, and were awesome sisters right up to Harley’s last night with us.
They tend to sit on hers and Zayne’s markers a lot. I truly believe cats can mourn. We say it with Jarael when Zayne passed.
We’re gonna miss our Harley-buggy. She was a daddy’s girl and part of our family for almost 10 years. A decade sounds like a long time, but it was way too short of a life span for our girl. Love ya, Harl.