what have I told you......


what have I told you......, originally uploaded by hkvam.

Cat's Name: Her name was Flo.
Human's name: Helga
How you came to live together: When I got her, she was probably around 7 weeks old. She was tiny, skinny, and riddled with fleas. She had been found inside the bonnet of a car, seeking warmth to save herself. I am Icelandic, and the Icelandic word for a Flea is Fló. This became her name not for the fact that she had fleas but because she was so tiny and jumpy.

Length of cohabitation: We shared time from May 1999 until she was put to sleep because her cancer was so progressed and incurable (after a few surgeries) in January of 2009.

Favorite shared activities: She loved being held like a baby, over the shoulder, NEVER in the lap or over the stomach or chest. I always had to hold her so she was leaning on my left shoulder. I have scars after her "kneading" into my shoulder, and I look at them today and I smile. We always spent time in a big armchair together watching tv or movies. She also liked very much to be basically everywhere I was, be it in the bathtub, on the toilet, outside. . . She didn't  like to go outside, but if I went into the garden in the summer, she was there, like my shadow. Our favourite time was in the late afternoon, snuggling up on the sofa, me with a book and she used to lie on my chest. She was basically like my shadow, everywhere I went - she was there. Except in bed. For some reason she preferred the most uncomfortable places to sleep and she seemed scared of a soft underfooting like a matress. She did want to come into the bed when she was sick, but at other times she acted like the bed was made of broken glass.Through all her illness she trusted me to bring her to safe places and then it didn't matter if it was a bed or a box with old rugs (she loved that).

Tell us about this photo: The photo was taken when I was trying to make a photograph that I was going to process in the style of an old portrait. As a self portrait - minus a cat (I had two at the time...the other one is still alive :) ) I sat there with all gear set up, self timer on and ticking....but she kept jumping up, either onto my lap or trying to snuggle as she always did. She was hopeless if I tried to do product shots at home and not in the studio.....I have countless photos of mascaras with cat hair or even half a cat in them ;)

What do you love most about your cats? My cats are like family members to me. They are my companions - they are here when I get home; they give me unconditional love, and I have tried to give them the same back. In the photo, I found that the moment outranked the technical qualities, and if I hadnt displayed that photo public at the time when I shot it, I certainly would have after my kitty died because I think it has the elements of our love in it. Even though it is called What have I told you, I would have never scolded her. I merely lifted her up so that she would be in the frame when I heard the camera's self timer beep down until exposure. And she purred the whole time, probably hoping my weird business with bright flashing lights and machines beeping would be over soon so we could snuggle up.

I love cats because they have such a strong personality - because their affection is not easily won over; because they don't fear you or judge people. They take their time (some fast, some long) to evaluate people and situations. They choose who they want to show affection to, and their scale of emotions is far from being simple. They are such personalities, individuals.

I lived abroad when Flo and Jack (the remaining cat, black but slowly going grey) crossed paths with me. And when I moved back to Iceland there was never a question in my mind as to if I should bring them along. I saw them as part of the family, and that they were my responisibility, so I brought them with me over to Iceland from Ireland. People thought I was mad. I saw it simply as honoring a life and keeping the responsibiilites I had taken on when taking them in.

I only wish Flo's life could have been longer, and I wish my Jack can share time with me for a good while longer too.

Favorite Animal Charities: My fav animal charities are here in Iceland, even though I support foreign animal charities also. 

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