Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

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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!

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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.