Tag Archives: pet loss

Two New Cards, for Emeraude

animal sympathy card with black cat

To Emeraude, from Emeraude, “I will never forget you.”

Of course, it’s our pledge to them as they leave us, that we will never forget them, but don’t we also hope it’s their pledge to us, that they’ll carry our memory with them wherever they go?

I’ve designed and dedicated a new animal sympathy card for Emeraude. The geriatric kitty who made her own happiness in a strange new world and turned to trust me deserves that, and more—a second card dedicated to the adoption of senior cats.

I take the use of an animal’s image seriously, especially with my sympathy cards, never presuming they want to represent what I have to say; for that reason I always feel most comfortable using the images of animals I know well, mostly those who’ve lived with me.

For about half the time she lived here, Emeraude was quiet and withdrawn, rarely made eye contact with me unless I laid on the floor to look at her, never interacted with Mimi and the kids and though I left the door open they never stepped in and tried to be friends. Until one day she actually looked up at me in trust, the same way Peaches did, and let me know I was her person. We were devoted after that, and the boys plotted to steal her food, we all felt free to join her in the bathroom where she had chosen to live. Emeraude had a forever home, even if forever was just a few months more.

This is my favorite photo of her, this photo of her looking up at me because I wanted to preserve that expression on her face, and I wanted to include her favorite colorful blanket. She loved her bed, and from the first time I added the pawprint blanket to her pile of soft things, and every time I turned it over or replaced it with the second identical blanket she would wait until I had it all just right, then with great ceremony step upon her bed, and turn around and purr, truly a princess. It suited her immediately, and until she began to feel very ill not one black cat ever even thought about stepping on Emeraude’s bed. It belonged to her and everyone respected that.

And I wanted that expression because it was a reminder each time that she had come to trust me, and because I worked very hard to get it, both her trust and the photo. I have at least two dozen photos from this day alone that are blurred, too dark, not looking up enough, looking away too fast, and dozens from other days that were about the same. I knew our time was finite—this photo was taken on December 13, a month after her diagnosis with lymphatic leukemia—and I wanted to be certain I captured it, her slightly bent up face, her one white whisker, her emerald eyes, and her happy bed.

sympathy card with black cat

To Emeraude, from Emeraude, “I will never forget you.”

My sympathy cards have a theme of happy memories, and in the end this is what I hope we all remember about our animal companions, the joy they brought to our lives, and the beautiful things we shared. Like Lakota, Emeraude spent just a short time as part of our feline family, but I will surely never forget her.

And I will never forget all the love sent to her from all of you, and I’m sure she will remember too.

I will add that I had to wait a week to post this image because every time I looked at it tears just splashed from my eyes. I was concerned it would only make others cry too. But I consulted with my friend Deb Chebatoris who meets with people grieving their pets every day and she convinced me that, for all the stories people tell and all the sentiments they share, this is the one thing that absolutely everyone says. So I guess it’s fitting.

Use THIS card to celebrate the adoption of senior cats

card for senior cats

“You’re never too old to fall in love!”

When I sat down to design the sympathy card, this idea kept coming back to me so I actually designed it first. Is this what Emeraude would say? I’m sure, and it’s likely what a lot of other senior kitties looking for a home would say as well. And it makes me smile. It’s a great sentiment to encourage the adoption of senior pets, and it might even come in handy for a few humans as well.

card with senior black cat

“You’re never too old to fall in love!”

I hope that both Lakota’s card and Emeraude’s card can be used to let others know you’ve made the commitment to adopt or foster a senior cat, or to encourage or congratulate someone who has done so, because you’re never too old to fall in love, and even though we may never feel it’s enough time, there is always time enough to love. You can find Emeraude’s sympathy card, Emeraude’s love card and Lakota’s card in my Etsy shop.

. . . . . . .

About my sympathy cards

animal sympathy cards

The set of sympathy cards.

As an artist I turn my emotions into creative output. Thus it is with the grief I’ve felt at the losses of my cats through the years. After receiving many sympathy cards I realized that not too many are focused on the loss of an animal companion, and I vowed to create a line of sympathy cards drawn on my own experiences that would feature photos and paintings of my cats and others’ animal companions as well as artwork and photos not focused on any species.

It wasn’t until after I’d lost Namir in July 2009 that I was suddenly moved to start designing, and when the task was done I had a dozen different sympathy cards. Each of the cats depicted was or is one of mine and the dog, Tika, I came to know through a friend and her animal memorial project.

Lakota’s card is the first new one since that year. I’ve also found that other cards outside this series are also used for sympathy cards, and as I mentioned above these sympathy cards are used for other greeting purposes. I’m so pleased to serve six veterinary hospitals around the country, four of them cat-specific, with wholesale orders of my sympathy cards. It also brings me joy to know the cats I loved are still out there doing their magic on others.

You can read more about my sympathy cards and see all the designs on my regular website, and you can also find the original set of a dozen sympathy cards in my Etsy shop. With the addition of Lakota’s card and Emeraude’s card I’m going to organize different sets and take the time to list them each individually.

black cat with green eyes

I carry her into the room, but Emeraude has grown to like it in there.

Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.

Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.

Read about creating custom items

Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.


It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!

Also browse Featured Artwork

I also feature artwork which has not been commissioned, especially my paintings of my own cats. If you’d like to read more about artwork as I develop it, about my current portraits and art assignments and even historic portraits and paintings, I feature commissioned portrait or other piece of artwork on Wednesday. Choose the categories featured artwork.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

Inspired by felines you know! Visit Portraits of Animals on Etsy.


© 2014 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




Animal Sympathy Cards

You can read more about the inspiration and creation of these cards in a post on The Creative Cat, “Pet Love and Loss and How it Gave Me My Art, but I wanted to include a few notes about the images and the cards here, too. I had had this idea from my first loss, but waited until I felt I could put my grief in images and design animal sympathy cards with more universal messages, not my own personal ideas. Of all cats, Namir doesn’t appear here except for his pawprints in “I’ll always walk beside you”. But I wanted to make sure I memorialized Lucy, the little black kitty you see twice below, who I lost at 15 months to FIP, right after I had lost my four oldest friends.

animal sympathy card

No other eyes will look at you in quite the same way again.

animal sympathy card

The sweetest memories often come in quiet moments.

animal sympathy card

Remember the best moments with love and joy.

While I am a fine artist, I have actually worked as a graphic designer for more years than I want to tell. Designing everything from letterhead to websites every day, the task of designing these cards was second nature to me. I was glad, for once, to use my commercial art skills to create something for my offering of animal art, especially since my poor neglected cats could just expire all over my desk before I took my eyes off the computer.

animal sympathy card

always in your heart

animal sympathy card

They find a comfortable spot in your heart to live in forever and ever.

animal sympathy card

They find a comfortable spot in your heart to live in forever and ever.

I’ve found, to my surprise, that these cards are sometimes purchased for the loss of a human, or even a “thinking of you” card for persons who like animals—I never considered this. Using the images of my own cats for these cards, especially ones who had passed, was a little frightening; if one of the designs was not at all popular it could feel like a rejection of that kitty, who I loved so much. I am so glad I waited until my sentiments and designs were more universal, not so personal, to create these cards. Some are more popular than others, but I have reprinted all of them so no one has been left behind.

animal sympathy card

I will always walk with you.

animal sympahty card

Remember the beautiful moments with love and joy.

animal sympathy card

No other eyes will look at you in quite the same way again.

I intentionally chose to use photos rather than paintings for most of the designs. I like the softness and little bit of fiction I can work into a painting, but somehow I felt the realism of a photo was needed when expressing deep and sincere emotions of these cards.

animal sympathy card

Remember the beautiful moments from all those years together.

animal sympathy card

No other eyes will look at you in quite the same way again.

animal sympathy card

They leave their mark on us, don't they?

Each of the cats depicted here was or is one of mine and the dogs are ones I’ve come to know through friends and art customers. I am currently working on more dog images as well as images of home and nature where we remember our animal companions best. There are more cats than dogs because I live with cats and have lots of material, but more than that I am careful with the images I use, not only that they are easily recognized and accepted, but that I know the animal well enough to use its image for this purpose. They are conveying a heavy thought, and I don’t take the relationship with my subject matter lightly.

All animal sympathy cards can be found in my Marketplace under Animal Sympathy Cards.

Other images used for sympathy

And in addition to the intentionally-designed sympathy cards are the blank greeting and note cards I have available portraying a special moment of one of my cats I’ll always remember.

pastel drawing of a cat on a bed

Afternoon Nap

pastel painting of a cat looking out a window

Winter Window

oil pastel drawing of cat in the sun

Warm Winter Sun

These cards can be found on my website in “Fine Art and Portraiture” under “My Cats“, and in my “Marketplace Online Store“, under Notecards, look for “Cats“.

pencil drawing of a cat on a windowsill

Sleeping Beauty, my Sally, pencil © B.E. Kazmarski

pencil drawing of striped cat

Stanley's Stripes

pencil drawing of cat sleeping

Don't Wake Me Up

These cards can be found on my website in “Fine Art and Portraiture” under “My Cats” but click on the icon for “Pencil Works“, and in my “Marketplace Online Store“, under Notecards, look for “Cats“.

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