Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Cat with H-ART
- Pets in Murals -
 Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Artist Sujo stands beside one of the murals she painted.  Her white cat, Cato, is painted into much of her art work and he was an artistic character in his own right.

The most unforgettable cat that Sujo (Sue Tryk) ever had arrived as a "bedraggled, gray, stray kitten. Cato was starving and covered in fleas, and after a much-needed bath, he emerged as a fluffy white kitten!" laughs Sujo.  Sujo works in oils, acrylics, water color, pen and ink, pottery and stain glass.

When Sujo moved her art office/shop/home to busy Highway 99, she was terrified that Cato would get hit by traffic.  "I tried to keep him inside," explains Sujo, "but it didn't work! Once, after running past arriving clients and nearly knocking them over in my attempt to 'save Cato' from crossing the highway, I decided that God was in charge of keeping Cato safe!"

Cato has had two names.  As a baby, his sweet personality led to his first name, Sweet Pea. "When he emerged into a teenager, he became anything but sweet! When my mother brought her tiny black poodle over, Sweet Pea watched the dog from atop the office counter.  Then, as per their game, when the dog bounced into our home, Cato would pounce on him!" said Sujo.

They chased each other through her home and ended up wrestling, in fun, having a great time. "As a result, my son suggested changing the kitty's name to Cato after the Green Hornet's sidekick!" smiles Sujo.

Cato loved sitting in the office window people watching. Strangers often walked right up to the window just to see if he was real or a statue.  
"Once, a friend unexpectedly burst into my office with his daughter, who was in town visiting, and introduced her to Cato, ignoring me. Then, as an afterthought, he said 'Oh. Hi, Sujo. I wanted my daughter to meet Cato.'  Just as fast, they turned and left!" laughs Sujo.

"Cato insisted on his Fancy Feast being served promptly at 3:30 PM.  If his meal was late, he started to flip anything he could find; papers, pens, pencils, paperclips, etc. off the office  countertops.  If that didn't work, he walked across my keyboard. If there were any flowers, Cato pulled each flower, one at a time, out of the vase with his teeth until I got up and served him.

Once, when friends were cat sitting Cato, they had a near-disaster. I had just put a pretty herbal flea collar on Cato. As soon as I was gone, he got one paw caught under the collar and was frantically trying to free his paw.

My friend, also in a panic, called another friend, and they chased Cato all over the yard.  He was hopping and running on three feet.  Luckily, they caught and released him.

After Cato died, I missed him so much that I began incorporating him in artwork. In the ceramic covered bridge plaques that I create, a little white cat resembling him is molded into each one. Look for Cato painted on both the fence mural on Main Street and in the Humane Society mural."  Sujo has also painted her childhood Palomino horse, Sis, and dog, Fritz, in the mural. In the mural Fritz is chasing Cato up a tree.

"I recently painted two new commissioned murals in the alley behind The Bookmine," adds Sujo, "because their customers were concerned for the safety of the alley cats. Cato, my present cat, Milly, and the alley cats are painted into the murals.

When driving down Highway 99, slow down and look up at the upper windows of my little yellow house next to Dave's Corner Market. You will see Cato painted on the windows, the little shed, and on the carport of my house. Cato is the most represented cat in Cottage Grove, and he deserves it!

Cato was a typical aloof egotist who didn't need anything from anyone (except his Fancy Feast.)  Mr. Aloof knew the sound of my car when I drove into my driveway. So, it was always heartwarming when he hopped up on the fence to greet me," says Sujo.

The Cottage Grove Art Guild and Sujo's murals can be seen all over town. Their painting projects are their gift of beauty to our community.

Sujo painted five of the paintings in the All American Park's restrooms, designed and worked on the mural on the Main Street fence, and painted the animal mural on the This 'n' That Humane Society shop building. Sujo and the guild artists really do "paint the town." They also volunteer by painting pet portraits to support the Humane Society.

Not only is Cato going to be remembered around Cottage Grove, so is Sujo for her 'heartwork!'  To top it all off, she also typesets the Humane Society newsletter.  To join the Cottage Grove Art Guild, contact Sujo at 541-942-8913.


The Humane Society newsletter: $20 a year for an individual, $25 for family, $15 for seniors/students.  Donations are welcomed year round toward the spay and neuter program. Mail to PO Box 61, Cottage Grove, OR 97424.
Pet portrait order forms are available at This 'n' That Shop, N. 8th Street, Cottage Grove, OR 97424.  You have a choice of artists and for $35, they paint a picture of your pet from a photo.

Mary Ellen and Miss Wings
Mary Ellen
Tips 'n' Tales Newspaper Columnist With Miss Wings
AngelScribe AT msn DOT com
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