Guest Post: Socks the Cat

I'm turning the blog over to the newest furry family member in my extended family, Socks the cat! My Mom adopted her from Cat Depot a little over a month ago. We wanted to give Cat Depot an update on how she's doing, and thought this would be a really fun way to do it! 

Here she is!

Socks looking out the door at the birds

Dear Cat Depot Staff & Volunteers,

This is Birdie! But now my name is Socks! My new Mom finds it amusing that while I'm dressed up everyday in a furry tuxedo, I still keep things a bit casual with my white socks. Also, I love my Mom's socks, they're probably my favorite toys of all time! 

I've had a lot of new experiences! I've seen REAL-LIFE squirrels, woodpeckers, and other birds, just like in the TVS at the shelter. There's a bunch of windows and even a catio I can see them from. 

Also figured out what a window is...apparently there's something deceptively solid about it, even though it LOOKS like you can jump outside, you can't. First thing I did after getting out of the cat carrier was jump at a window and bonk my head. It was pretty embarrassing, but my Mom and my Aunt Denise (who is a pet photographer, and this is her blog) found it kinda funny. 

Socks checking out a window for the first time

I'm getting along with my new step-sisters, the other two cats in the house. They've kindly shared all of their beds, food bowls, sleeping spots, and climbing trees with me. But, now that I think about it, I don't think I really asked for permission first. Oops! Oh well. I think one step-sister is a bit nuts, but we get along fine. Apparently she's the one everyone was so worried about that I wouldn't get along with, which I find pretty amusing. Truthfully, I've yet to meet a cat or person I didn't like. I'm a very, very happy cat. I purr all the time!

Socks looking pretty by the door

My new Mom took me to the vet to get my sniffles checked out. I always have a runny nose, and sound a bit congested. The first thing I did to my new Grandpa, who lives with us, was sneeze on him. The vet gave me a shot, which was not fun, but it did alleviate some of my congestion. I'll probably always have a bit of runny nose, but my new Mom said that's ok and she loves me, boogers and all. Moms are awesome like that.

I want to let everyone at Cat Depot know how happy I am, and also how grateful I am for taking care of me, and rescuing me from the cruel conditions at Napier's. I waited longer than most to find my perfect family, a little over a year, but it was so worth the wait. I keep Grandpa company during the day while Mom is at work, and I'm never bored or lonely. 

Socks in her favorite new spot, the top of the couch

If it wasn't for the extra time and effort that you took writing such a detailed description about me and what I'm like, my new family would have never found me. You see, my Mom was worried about her other two cats not accepting a new cat, and although she really wanted another one, she wasn't sure it was a good idea. But the volunteers made sure to write about how I love other cats and haven't met a cat I didn't like, and that gave her the encouragement to come meet me, and fall in love with me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Socks with her gifts from her sponsors

I also want to send a special purr out to my sponsors. It can be kind of uncomfortable going to your new family with empty-paws. I was surprised and delighted to find out I had sponsors that had a care package for the family who would adopt me. It was a big bag full of all sorts of goodies for me to take to my new home, including this awesome bed that I love to knead. It was so thoughtful! My Mom and I really appreciate it, and we were touched by this additional generosity. 


Ok! Well it's about time for my 2:30 cat nap. The sun has just started to shine through the back door, and there will be a sun-beam on my favorite new sleeping spot on top of the couch! It's purr-fection!

I send you all lots of kisses! Thank you for everything! Rest assured your Birdie is living a furry fairy tale!

With lots of love!

Socks the Cat

Socks, getting ready for a nap


WE LOVE THIS CAT. She's fantastic. My Mom and my Grandpa can't stop raving about how wonderful she is. Socks was originally rescued from the animal cruelty case at Napiers back in February of last year. If you're unfamiliar with the story, here's a link. But bottom line, this cat has been through a lot, and we're ready to fill the rest of her life with love, sunbeams, and food! Cat Depot was there for her, as well as so many other cats in need. Thank you! 

Please, always opt to adopt! There are wonderful cats waiting for a forever home at your local animal shelter. 



Classic Catnap

I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks about pets who are long gone. Marmalade is the ‘one who started it all’ for me. His memory certainly lives on in my home through my girls Katze and Jayla. What better way to honor a pet who has passed by opening up your heart and home to a new pet who needs love?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m the keeper of my family’s photos. This photo of us together means more to me than I could ever express in words.

Photo of a baby and orange tabby cat sleeping together, Copyright Polar Bear Studio, LLC

One of the creative projects I’m currently working on is a visual exploration of my family’s long history of pet ownership and how it’s landed me where I am now. This is the first image for that project that has the working title: Forever Felines.

This photo inspired me to create a self-portrait photo shoot with Katze and Jayla that would honor Marmalade’s legacy.

Some things change, some things will never change. There’s just something timelessly wonderful about a catnap with your cat. In order to tell that story I resurrected my old passion for digital collage, which was my medium of choice for my senior thesis at Ringling College of Art & Design.

With cats, you can’t predict things. You have to assemble the image beforehand and hope they’ll react as you expect them to. However, cats love nothing more than to ‘help’ when you’re sorting through papers or photos, especially smelly old photos. 

The odds were certainly in my favor with this concept. Sorting through papers and photos is mentally exhausting work which also led to the story I wanted to tell of how my habit of cat naps with cats continues to this day. 

First, a close-up, and below it the whole composition.

Digital Collage Classic Catnap by Polar Bear Studio

I really enjoy the visual juxtaposition of the floral bed sheet in the 80’s to the modern floral sheets of today. I have the baby blankets in the shot three ways, in the original photo, underneath the photo, and in the modern interpretation, a constant visual element. A big fan of the daydreamy-movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks, I ensured a golden knob on my victorian-style trundle bed from my office shined through.

I used a tripod, remote, timer, and digitally painted the two images together with Photoshop. I’d work on the collage, let it sit for a day, and play with it more. I was content with the final image after 3 evenings of tinkering.

The Forever Felines project will be a personal project that I’ll continue to play with while also working on another project that I haven’t announced yet. It will require volunteer models again! I’m so excited about it, something totally unique and as far as I’ve googl-ed, it hasn’t been done before! I just need to update all the signup forms and finish the details before the announcement.

A New Project

I hate it when I can’t find something. I wanted to share a specific old photo with you. It is probably my first pet photo I ever took, and I’ve been digging through all my photo boxes I have for the past month looking for it

My first pet photography experience, photographing my bestie Marmalade

I was 8 or 9 years old when I was in 4-H and entered into the photography category. We had gorgeous flowers in our backyard that year, without a doubt the best flower beds of my childhood, full of various pink impatiens, red geraniums (our 4-H fundraiser) that smelled wonderful, and our mystery perennials who had resided in our yard longer than us.

It seemed obvious, at that time, that for my 4-H photography project I should take pictures of the flower beds. And I did. But some sort of creative impulse took me at the last moment, and I asked my Mom for permission to take Marmalade, my BFF (best furry friend) since I was a baby, out into the garden to take some shots of him amongst the flowers. Even though he was an indoor cat my Mom gave me permission, but warned me to be careful that he didn't run away. I had once lost a pet turtle who ran away. Think about that for a moment.

I tied a white ribbon with scalloped edges around his neck for a bit of pizzazz. The photo shoot went just as I had imagined it. Marmalade trusted me completely. I set him into the flower bed with his white ribbon, and I imagined he thought, "Meowow, this is pretty awesome." He wasn't afraid, and he didn't try to run away. It was just like a scene out of The Three Lives of Thomasina, one of my all-time favorite movies.

I got an awesome shot with my little disposable Kodak camera with real film (yes I'm dating myself a child of the 90s for sure)!

Afterwards, we put our dog Wendy, a mystery mutt with an ample amount of beagle, into my green soccer jersey. Then with my Mom as the photographer, my older brother Shawn and I posed with Marmalade and Wendy in different groupings of four or two around the back yard.

When I finally arranged my final project on white poster board, without a doubt the picture of Marmalade amongst the flowers in his white ribbon was my favorite. I did use the other flower shots, but I made sure to put Marmalade center stage of all of the shots.

With his long, orange silky-fur with the white spot at the tip of his tail, his darling ear hairs curling wildly, and bright green eyes that sometimes changed to yellow, he was a bonafide star in my mind.

I won a blue ribbon, pretty impressive for a disposable camera after I realized most of the others in my category were with 'real' cameras and some even developed in a darkroom. If those other contestants had known I had just simply had my film developed by the local pharmacy they probably would have been horrified. I was naive, and clueless. If I had known that beforehand I probably would have never entered into the photography category at all, I would have been intimidated and ashamed as if I was breaking the rules.

But to be clear, there were several blue ribbons, not just one. So I was sort of special,not the most. Regardless, it gave me a confidence boost, and I felt vindicated. This entire creative process has really stuck with me, but it has taken nearly twenty years for me to stop resisting my yearning for pet photography.

So, what does this have to do with my next project? The title of the post, but I have not mentioned yet. I’m getting to it, hang on. 

Katze Helping Me With My Family Photos

I’ve dug up so many treasured photos of Marmalade, as well as pets of my parents, Grandparents, and even Great-Grandparents. I’m the official keeper of the family photos since I whipped everyone into shape a few years back. With my Mom and maternal Grandparents moving here, everyone’s photos fell into my lap and I’ve separated them into something resembling order into archival photo boxes, with Katze's help of course.

Here are some of the earliest and cutest photos of Marmalade and I, circa 1987. I even still have the pink and yellow blankets. My girls, Katze and Jayla, love these blankets, just like Marmalade did.

And here’s the last photo of Marmalade and I, shortly before he died. I was 16.

One thing I’ve discovered is the extensive lineage of animal-loving nut cases in my family is impressive!

It’s inspired me to create a new collection of work around it. I’ll be visually exploring my family’s long history of pet ownership and how it’s landed me where I am now. It will be a mix of modern photography with antique and vintage, and very dreamy. I’ll be mixing digital collage illustration with pet photography.

To see how other families have captured their cats across the ages, I’ve been collecting images into a specific Pinterest board you can follow or check out here:  Follow Polar Bear Studio's board Antique & Vintage Cat Photos on Pinterest.

And in the meantime, I’ve been submitting my collection of Dogs of Manatee County calendar images to various contests and publications, and if I hear any good news you’ll be the first to know!

Do you have any family heirloom pet photos? Leave me a comment below if you’re on the blog page, or if you’re viewing this in the newsletter click through to the blog post and share your memories or photos if you have them! I’d love to see them!

Talk to you soon! 

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