Meet Cholla (choy-ah), my orange muse. An orange tabby, rescued along with his gray tabby brother one year ago. They were frightened and wild. Tiny desert survivors, about 5 weeks into life. Cholla was the smallest of the two, wide-eyed with a worried expression and very timid. His brother was the protector, fierce and spatty. But soon, they learned we were good guys, here to help them, feed them, clean them, protect them, play with them, and most of all love them.
The two became a new photography muse for me. I think it was a combination of wanting to preserve photos of them as kittens, the challenge of getting a shot focused before they moved, and wanting to share their story with others, by capturing images that would tell its part of the story. Hard to resist as kittens of course, and this little orange kitten was starting to come out of his shell. He became adventurous–for a cautious kitty.
First to investigate the camera strap, first to attack the clicking sound just before half running, half sliding down the tub wall. Fleeing back to his soft, cuddly cat teepee, where he would barely peek out, betraying his worried expression.
As you know, with cats come claws. This little orange kitten used his. For protection, for play, and for grasping when he didn’t want you to put him down from your lap, or your arms, or your hands. It wasn’t uncommon to hear one of us say, “He’s a grabby little guy, isn’t he?” or “Ooch, prickly claws!”
We also realized he was quite a jumper. Much more so than his sibling. Little orange guy cleared large distances in his bathroom domain during the first few weeks of his life with us. He jumped around from tub to toilet to sink to cabinet and soon, directly onto our shoulders the minute we turned our backs. Of course his prickly little cactus claws came into play with that extreme cat talent as well.
Detaching him from my t-shirt one morning, I thought, he’s like a cactus. Just like a jumping cholla that “grabs” onto your shirt while hiking, requiring a prompt and delicate (ouch-filled) removal.
And so my tiny orange muse was named Cholla. And he continues to inspire me, along with our two others cats and a dog–each a perfect, furry little muse delighting my creative spirit with their playful antics, sleepy gazes and cuddling gifts 🙂