Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

Let's Talk About Your Cat, Cats, Kittens, cat stories, rescue, adoption, Purr and Roar,

Today, Let’s Talk About Your Cat features a trio of rescue felines who found their home with Toronto artist Melanie Lowe.

Thanks to Melanie for sharing her story and her adorable cats!

Q What are your cats/names/age/color/breed

Tobias – 4 years old, cream tabby, domestic short hair

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Tobias, aka the goof, you can see why. That’s his sister Sid he is sitting on.

Sid – 2.5 years old, all black, domestic short hair

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Sid aka the sweetie, aka Tobias’s pillow

 Poppy – 1 year old, tuxedo, domestic medium hair

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Poppy aka the shy guy

Q Describe your cats personalities

ML Tobias is a quirky cat. He is pretty hilarious at times and very particular about certain things. Sometimes he can be a little bossy with the other cats. He has become very chatty and will ask you to turn on the shower for him, even though he has fresh water in his dish.

Sid is the sweetest cat I’ve ever met. She has a sleek black coat and loves to play fetch with a little pink ball. If you don’t throw it when she wants you to, she’ll tell you. Quite often she will carry her toys upstairs and onto the bed on the middle of the night for play time.

Poppy adores Tobias…he looks up to him like a big brother. They play together all the time and snuggle in their favorite chair for hours. He is still sometimes kind of shy, but he is coming out of his shell. We named him Poppy because he looks like a small old man with his long white whiskers and ear tufts.

Q How did your cats come into your life?

ML All adopted. Tobias is from Toronto Animal Services. Sid and Poppy are both from Toronto Cat Rescue. Adopt, don’t shop!

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The cat cave

Q What made you choose each cat?

ML Hmm, I think it most cases, the cat chooses you, but there has to be something that draws you to them. There is always something in the interaction when you first meet, like they fall asleep in your arms.

Q What is your first memory or experience with cats?

ML I can’t be sure as I have always lived with at least one cat!

Lets Talk about your cat, cats, Orange tabby, cat adoption, Toronto Animal Services, Toronto Cat Rescue, Melanie Lowe, They Choose You, Cats as artists muse, cats in art

Tobias with Poppy for some quality snuggle time

Melanie will be combining her love of cats and art for a project called They Choose You which aims to help homeless felines get adopted. The show runs at Artscape Youngplace November 22-23.

🐱 If you would like to have your cat featured on Let’s Talk About Your Cat, share a story some pictures and the cat love, contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com

Cats and Art – They Choose You

Cat parents everywhere understand that it’s the cat who actually chooses us. A connection is made during the first meeting of cat and human making us part of each others world. The art project aptly titled They Choose You is based on this very idea and experience. Together we create a social circle and community, intertwined, felines will be our companions and teachers.

They Choose You is a “participatory, ephemeral art installation…a social mixer–for cats and people” taking place over one weekend in Toronto that will feature rescue cats, for adoption, from Toronto Cat Rescue (TCR).

Toronto based Artist Melanie Lowe seeks to highlight how we relate to other living creatures, in this case cats, in contemporary life. “They Choose You is art as activism, sincere and absurd at the same time, with a motive somewhere between a cat lady’s dream and a creative way to build community. The precarious lives of the cats are intertwined with the humans who inhabit the same city, allowing for an experiential connection in a shared space, beyond the walls of the animal shelter.

I first met Melanie at a similar and successful art event in 2012 and reached out to her to find out more about They Choose You.

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They Choose You – by Melanie Lowe “Ephemeral art installation featuring rescue cats.” November 22-23, 2014 at Artscape Youngplace in Toronto.

When did you first decide you wanted to combine your love for art and cats?

ML I started to think about cats in my own artworks after adopting Tobias from Toronto Animal Services and bringing him home to live with our other two cats. I started reading more about animal behaviour and really paying attention to how the cats interact. It is quite interesting to watch the cats meet, play and get reacquainted with each other.

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Tobias – photo Melanie Lowe

ML My artwork has always been about how we relate to each other in contemporary life and in the last couple of years, it has expanded to how we relate to all living creatures. It makes sense to me…the animals we live with are members of our family, non-human persons really!

What is the biggest challenge/reward in organizing They Choose You?

ML I would say the biggest challenge is coming up with artworks that are both aesthetically pleasing and safe for the cats to interact with. I was looking for an exhibition venue that would be open to the idea of having cats and a space that could be easily modified, open, accessible, yet safe and enjoyable for the cats and people coming to meet them.

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Spend Sunday afternoon crafting with feline friends and artist Emily Gove. Craft your own cat pouch, kitty brooch or crinkle blob cat toy. Register via email with Emily at emily.gove@gmail.com.  Cost $25/person.

You are partnering with TCR for this event, why did you choose this rescue group?

ML I decided to work with TCR, who I also volunteer with as an adoption screener,  because they are an organization that has done many adoption events and is also open to new ways of engaging the public. Volunteers from TCR will be present at all times during the event to oversee any adoptions.

From the perspective of a cat parent what is the biggest challenge homeless or stray cats in Toronto face?

ML There are so many homeless and stray cats in Toronto. It is very important that people keep their cats indoors and have them spayed/neutered, but quite often this doesn’t happen. As much as I love stopping to chat with a friendly cat on a neighborhood street, I’d rather their owners keep them inside!

What is your favorite work of art featuring cats?

ML There are so many. I would say British artist Louis Wain. He is so well-known for his images of cats!

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Artist Louis Wain with cat

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Katzen – Louis Wain

What is the most important thing you would like people to take away from They Choose You ?

ML I would like people who attend They Choose You to come away with a positive experience and be present in the moment–with cats. We can learn so much from them and it makes sense to me to create a space where the cats and people who inhabit the same city can come together. And of course, if they decide to adopt a cat, that’s fantastic! Some people will be coming because they adore cats and already have two or three at home. I’m all for that. It is a social event for cats and humans!

They Choose You is on Indiegogo and the campaign runs until November 30 with funds being raised to cover cost of materials, production, labour and transportation costs for the art installation. $5 donations get you a big thanks at the event and online, $60 gets you a hand crafted scratching post and cool cat toys.

This free event is happening November 22-23 at Artscape Youngplace in Toronto and more info can be found on the They Choose You events Facebook page.

The First Mechanical Lion

When most people think of Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci they think of his paintings The Last Supper or the Mona Lisa, the latter being one of his most enigmatic paintings ever created.

However, it’s one of his lesser known works commissioned at the end of his life, that I find simply the most fascinating – The Mechanical Lion. Da Vinci way ahead of his time, merged both artistic and technical skills perfectly. I actually find this work extremely brilliant and can only imagine what it was like to see something like this in the year 1515, it must have been mind-blowing.

The piece was a gift given to honor the newly crowned King of France, Francois I by Giuliano de’ Medici in Lyon.  The Lion the symbol of Florence, its chest cavity filled with lilies (the fleurs-de-lis of France), was meant to symbolize the close relationship between the families.

The piece set in motion “…and it moved from its place in the hall and when it came to a halt its breast opened, and was full of lilies and flowers.”

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Da Vinci’s Mechanical Lion walks again

Sadly, the original Lion has long since been lost, or perhaps is hiding in someones private collection somewhere, but the mechanical drawings for the piece survived. The Lion was reconstructed  in 2009 at the Château du Clos Lucé and Parc, in France, as part of a     Da Vinci exhibition.

 

There is also a secret spot on the Lions mane, that when stroked causes a trapdoor to open on the Lions side revealing fleur de lys. 🐱

 

Cats In Art – Past Present Future

Artwork that involves animals is always on my radar, no surprise, and I appreciate any type of art that involves cats. There are lots out there but I have attempted to narrow it down to a few of my personal favorites past, present and future.

I have been fascinated by Egypt and its artwork ever since I can remember, and as a child I will never forget seeing the beautiful artifacts of the famous Pharaoh Tutankhamen at the ROM exhibit here in Toronto. Most people are aware that ancient Egyptians worshiped and revered felines, depicting them in the forms of Deities with the most famous being Bast. Bast had different incarnations before being represented as a domestic cat, which I think is the image most are familiar with. I know it’s the first one I remember seeing and it has been ingrained in memory ever since.

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Bast or Bastet as being represented as a domestic cat

“You are the Great Cat, the avenger of the gods, and the judge of words, and the president of the sovereign chiefs and the governor of the holy Circle; you are indeed the Great Cat.”

I am also a huge fan of the Impressionists and painter Renoir, who clearly had a love and appreciation for the feline form. He has a few wonderful paintings featuring cats but this is one of my personal favorites as it shows a particularly content looking kitty enjoying a cuddle, I imagine purring away. It’s also a scene that most cat owners can relate to,  however I do wonder how long the feline subject sat still during the prep work for this piece.

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Pierre Auguste Renoir, Julie Manet also known as Child with cat (1887)

The cats of the Hermitage deserve a special mention as they have been guarding The State Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia from rats since 1745. These kitties are definitely one of my favorite cats in “art” even though their official role is in the history of the museum. They are quite famous, and while their roles as rat catchers has slightly changed over the years they have a following all their own. They are taken care of by volunteers and provided with food, attention, cat doors to and from the museum and vaccinations. Behind the scenes video of the Hermitage cats can be seen here.

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“Vaska the cat with antique statue” photographed in the museum yard – (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Present day, we have the first cat art show in Los Angeles that happened early this year where over 60 artists exhibited works – pop culture meets cat. Artists paid tribute to cats using humor and real life characters which made for fun, colorful, interesting and beautiful works.

Anybody look familiar?

Marc Dennis, Cat, art show, los angeles, Snoop Dogg

Marc Dennis Gold Framed Portrait of a wide-eyed cat

So what about the future? Cat-tification of art seems to be a growing trend that thankfully is here to stay, and whether you prefer the “classic” or “modern” themes, or ones that merge the two, the future of art looks very bright and furry.

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Famous paintings improved by cats

 

 

 

Is That A Lion On Your Front Lawn?

If only I had a place to put this and the money. Dream big or go home. Le sigh….

Istanbul artist Selçuk Yılmaz has a bit of a talent for working with metal. (I’ll say)

Art, Lion, Istanbul, artist, Sculpture, Big Cats , Selçuk Yılmaz Click here to see the rest of this magnificent creation! I am obsessed with it, it is beyond beautiful, exquisite and I would commission an entire pride  if I won the lotto…I am being dead serious when I make this statement. And when people stop and ask me “Is that a Lion on your front lawn?” I would say yes, yes it is.

Do You Know These Cartoon Cats?

Fun Feline Friday is a little frustrating at the moment…so far I have Hello Kitty, Pink Panther, Garfield, Heathcliffe? Stimpy, Sylvester, Felix, Tom, Snowball I, Snowball II, Cheshire cat…

stimpy, garfield, pink panther, Hello kitty, Tom & Jerry, heathcliffe, felixWho out there can help me fill in the gaps?

 

Laser Cat Project

Lasers, cats… artwork. Can’t think of a better combo. Is it me or are cats taking over the art world? Actually I think they have always secretly owned it and have been steering the creatives towards total world domination of feline infused art for centuries. I am fine with this.

Laser Cat is hungry for your art!

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 8.30.11 PMLaser Cat video screen shot courtesy of Hungry Castle

“A giant cat head that radiates art through its laser beam eyes is the latest commission of the art directors club, created for their 93rd annual awards + festival of art and craft in advertising and design. ‘laser cat‘ is conceived by barcelona-based hungry castle and comprises a massive feline face with illuminated ‘lasers’ for eyes, which use high powered projectors to transfer the personal art projects of the creative community onto urban surroundings. renowned artists and designers like Stefan Sagmeister, Milton Glaser, Banksy and David Lynch have already submitted their work, preparing to exhibit publicly on the south beach streets. the event will take place through the digital eyes of the quirky cat face from April 7-9th, 2014 in Miami beach.”

Watch the full promo video here

Fancy a trip to Miami beach anyone? Pew Pew!