One of the non-painting things that interested people at my Open Studio for DoorsOpen was the fact that Isabella and Digby wear collars that are like clown ruffs. I had to explain that I was not trying to dress them up but that their collars had a purpose. They are from Birdsbesafe and are designed to prevent them from catching birds. Isabella was never much of a birder, but Digby, in spite of being without a regular tail, proved to be good at catching birds. Since I like birds and am happy to see them in the garden, I didn't want their lives cut short. Originally, a search for "cat collars" was made on the web because Isabella actually liked the plastic cone "Elizabethan" collar she wore from the vets after she had an injury. She was not happy when it was taken off! I found the "Birdsbesafe" site and decided that with Isabella's obvious wish for a collar, and Digby's discovery of birds, this was an perfect answer. The collars are cotton with a reflective border - good especially on a black cat if it gets out at night- and, worn over a regular collar with a release catch, are perfectly safe. Songbirds can see bright colours, especially red, yellow and orange and they are alerted to the cat's presence. Tests have shown that wearing these collars reduces bird-kill by 87%. If you tie a bandana on a cat, the cat could get caught on something and choke to death. These collars release--- and are easy to find in the garden if this happens. They are soft and washable. I even think they add a bit of charm to the cats. After all the comments- and giving out cards with the information about Birdsbesafe website (www.birdsbesafe.com), I was inspired to do a little cartoon for my sketchbook of Isabella doing the cat laundry. We have quite a few collars since cats often like to roll on the driveway or find other ways to get the collar dirty. Also, a change is nice as the collars come in interesting bright patterns - and why not a new collar for a cat's birthday? Digby usually wears red and Isabella has a selection of more yellow ones. They have their photos on the Birdsbesafe website.
Loraine Wellman has studied art ever since she was a child and was recommended to classes at the Vancouver Art Gallery.She has a certificate from Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr) and a B.Ed from UBC. Exhibitions include Gateway Theatre, Richmond Art Gallery and Richmond City Hall.
Loraine is an Active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, a member of Richmond Artists Guild, an a regular participant in a Life Drawing group. Her paintings are in collections in Canada, USA, Europe and Taiwan.