You may have noticed that our business logos, Among Brenda’s Quilts & Bags and Make Bags With Brenda, both include an orange cat. Those of you who receive my newsletter may know that this is a reference to Harry, who is my house cat and business mascot.
The story of the cat logo
When I was first starting my business back in 2005 I consulted with my friend Shirley Parkins-Bobier about the name of my business. Shirley owned and operated a quilting store, The Marsh Store in Coldstream, Ontario.
I was teaching quilting at the shop and Shirley had most of my quilt and bag models displayed there. As I recall, I had a sheet of possible names that we looked over. After much discussion, Shirley suggested that I chose a name starting with the letter ‘A’.
I could appreciate that advice, because before I became a ‘Miller’ my last name started with a ‘W’ and I was always the last in every list and activity at school. Because Shirley was surrounded with my quilts she further suggested I call the business ‘Among Brenda’s Quilts’.
After a time I decided to have a logo designed. But the question was, how could you depict that name? Harry my cat stepped in to solve the problem. Now he, instead of Shirley, is surrounded by and among my quilts – and bags, as is now the case!
I wanted another orange tom, and we found one in a Glencoe, Ontario barn, the only orange kitten of a rather large litter. I was a bit worried, though, because he was a longhair, and we have had enough problems with shedding animals over the years.
We called him Harry, although his official title is Harry of Glencoe. Although just a humble barn cat, Harry has pretensions of being a ‘Turkish Angora.’ All of our cats have been indoor/outdoor cats, but we have never had a cat that loved to be out of doors more than Harry.
All night, every night, and most days, despite the cold and wet, in four seasons, he is ‘out there,’ burning the candles at both ends. He doesn’t like a lot of human interaction, so he won’t tolerate being petted very much. Every relationship has to be on his own terms.
The vet who fixed him says that Harry has a heart murmur. We think Harry knows it, he knows that his days are numbered, and he just throws himself into life, living every moment to the fullest, because every moment is borrowed time. Despite this pronouncement of veterinary gloom and doom Harry has reached a very respe-cat-able age!
We admire Harry. And every morning when he shows up and plops his face down into the bowl and eats eats eats whatever happens to be placed in front of him, we cheer, thankful that he has survived another night, grateful that he has graced us again with his presence.
Even our former dog Hershey would wag her tail in greeting; she was as excited as if the prodigal son had returned. Harry was the top ‘dog’ and would always eat first, followed by Hershey. Naturally, Hershey would watch Harry intently while he ate. Now that Hershey has passed Harry will often not eat at all unless somebody is right there watching him and petting him at the same time!
Once in a while when we go away Rob leaves long letters explaining this peculiar behavior to our cat sitters. If they want Harry to eat, they have to follow Harry’s eating protocol. Only then can both parties be happy.
And sometimes, when he is absolutely exhausted, Harry finds the perfect quilt indoors to curl up on, and he throws himself into sleep.
One morning when he appeared at the back door, I told Harry that, because our son’s wife is so terribly allergic to cats, he is likely to be the last cat we will ever own. He listened carefully and appeared to take on the responsibility for being that most significant last cat of our lives. Despite that he still gravitates to the most allergic guest whenever we have company.
As Harry has gotten older he has really grown into his name. Each year his hair just seems to get longer and longer. This spring he has about a 4″ mane on his chest. There’s so much shedding my husband Rob has taken to making fishing flies incorporating Harry’s fur and bird feathers. Considering the size of the lures it’ll be a very long time before he uses up his bag Harry’s cast off fur!
Over the years Harry has ingratiated himself with some of the neighbours. Apparently he has ‘trained’ one to feed him at their dining room table. Harry loves to eat out.
He also has friends in our next-door neighbours Bonnie and Dan. Dan keeps a special bag of food for Harry in his garage. So naturally, when Dan and Bonnie return by car at night to park in the garage Harry comes running. This often leads to him getting locked into that same garage when he’s not spotted. He is very sneaky sometimes.
So if Harry is missing we just open the neighbours garage and he pops out ready to take on the world again!