Artists and Cats 

What is it about artists and cats? It seems to be a thing. I know lots of artists who also have dogs, but cats seem to be the pet of choice. Am I wrong?

Is it because cats are so aesthetically pleasing? They pose so picturesquely on windowsills, sleep so peacefully in spots of sunshine and sit so neatly on a chair with their paws tucked in just so. They exude zen-like qualities that dogs rarely possess. Cats feel very calming. 

Now, before everyone gets all bent out of shape because they just LOVE their dogs, please don’t get me wrong! I grew up with dogs. I think dogs are very nice. I’ve met many very wonderful dogs. I like petting and looking at dogs. I don’t mind visiting dogs. I talk to dogs. Dogs are good! If you only have dogs and hate cats, I won’t think less of you. Truly! 

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Cats vs. Dogs as seen on a street in Cardiff, Wales (Photo by Jeremy Segrott)

But….

I just don’t want one. Dogs take so much work and demand too much attention. Cats and I understand each other. Perhaps it’s the napping?  I remember touring the McDowell Colony and being amused that there is a bed in every studio even though, as I understand, they have a dorm room to sleep in. Artists need to take those restorative naps…just like cats. It’s a necessary part of the creative process! 

My first two cats were siblings. Felix was a gorgeous black cat and so malleable that I later said we should have named him Play-doh. You could drape this cat around your neck and walk around for a half hour and he would just hang out. His golden tabby sister, Maddie, was my most stand-offish cat and, of course, lived the longest. 18 years!  She so cleverly delivered  her daily hairball in common paths around the house so that unsuspecting humans could step in them. A dubious claim to fame. She enjoyed (or maybe just endured) being petted without getting nasty about it. She had a good eye and managed to pose very pleasingly around the house for us. A good and serviceable cat. 

Next came Pyewacket, a grey tabby cat that we rescued. Best cat ever! He was so cuddly and soft and friendly. A hard-core outdoor cat, I trained him to come in at night when I rang a bell and called his name. He would run in like a dog. Unfortunately, one night I called and he wouldn’t come. This happened occasionally but he was always on the doorstep the next morning. That summer evening was one of those soft and beautiful summer evenings with a full moon, I didn’t blame him for not wanting to come home. Well, that was it for poor Pyewacket. We never saw him again. I’m sure he was a tasty dinner for the local fox or fishercat. I was heartbroken and decide that would be it for pets. No more. 

But then…

Periwinkle72
Periwinkle the Cat

My daughter started looking at kittens on-line. A litter had come in to the SPCA and there was little Peri! Oh. My. God. So cute. I caved and declared him an indoor cat. We brought him home and he promptly got deathly ill with a respiratory infection. I spent a couple of weeks nursing the cat back to health feeding him with a syringe around the clock and caring him around like a baby in a little papoose carrier I had fashioned. It was like coming home with a new baby. Fortunately, he survived! 

My daughter named him Periwinkle but we call him Peri. I think he’s the cutest cat we have ever owned. He is super sweet and loves to be petted. He is not a lap cat except for first thing in the morning when I can cuddle him like a tiny infant. He enjoys eating melon, the tops of broccoli and the occasional green bean. (So weird!)  He is the worse cat for jumping up on the countertops to try and steal food. We have squirt guns at the ready all over the kitchen. He has not changed his habits, but it give us great satisfaction to squirt him from across the room. He just runs away and comes right back again to try a different tactic. Fortunately, he tires easily (or maybe just loses focus) and settles down for one of his many naps after just a couple of attempts. 

Peri on scarf

So now you know my cat history. Fascinating? Maybe not. I just like having cats around the house and judging from my Instagram feed, many artists agree. At least once a day, there is someone posting a “Cat in the Studio” picture. It’s definitely a thing!  

What do you think? 

You can learn more about Laura Morrison and her art at LauraMorrisonArt.com