Let’s Talk About Your Cat!

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

To help bring 2017 to a close Let’s Talk About Your Cat features three famous internet cats and my friend Laura Kicey of Olive & Rye Cat Art. Laura currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her partner Michael and her three cats Olive, Rye and newest addition Fig. When she isn’t busy being the social media manager for her feline trio, Laura works as a freelance graphic designer, photographer and illustrator. In addition she is also the creative force behind Kittydelphia, an annual cat-themed pop-up shop event in Philly.

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Left to right: Olive, Fig and Rye

How did Olive & Rye Cat Art come about?

It really started to develop not long after I made an Instagram account for Olive and Rye, in October 2014, about two months after we adopted them. I just wanted to post photos of them and not overwhelm friends who followed my other (non-cat) photography work. Their account following took off pretty quickly and by June 2015 we had 10k followers. I was also building my business as a cat portrait artist around their account and meeting clients through other cat accounts on Instagram. It grew over the years and I attended many cat-centric events and met lots of fellow cat enthusiasts as well as people who were also in the “cat biz” who became great friends.

I was meeting people and drawing their cats for fun and other people saw them on Instagram and asked me to draw their cats as well. It was getting a bit overwhelming so I decided to open an Etsy shop to accommodate the requests and it took off. I’ve probably drawn around 350 cats since I started and, though it is a bit hard on my heart sometimes I still find it very special to be able to do memorial portraits. Making something that moves people, especially through a shared love of kitties is pretty awesome. In addition to custom portraits I make other cat art and housewares, apparel, and accessories featuring my art.

Tell us about your cats

Our oldest cat Olive is about 4 to 5 years old. We suspect she was raised by dogs or maybe by possums because she doesn’t know how to be a cat or even meow. Olive is very gentle, rather awkward, a bit nervous and bewildered by everything. She is also extremely lazy except for an hour per day when she is activated, during that time she is a complete maniac, galloping around the house, attacking rugs and waving her paws around dramatically. She doesn’t really like being held but she is very into sitting on laps, in particular my lap, and receiving belly rubs.

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Olive is a small calico alien although she is often described as a domestic shorthair, but she is definitely mostly alien.”

Our middle child cat Rye is about 3 and a half years old now. Rye is a tortoiseshell domestic shorthair and the biggest of all our cats at the moment. Of all the cats I have ever had in my life, she is the most “normal” and also is incredibly sweet, chatty, and gentle.

Let's Talk About Your Cat, Purr and Roar, Olive and Rye, Cat Art, Laura Kicey, Cats in Art,

“She loves being held and hugged and riding on shoulders.”

Our newest and youngest Fig, is about 7 months old now. Fig is also a tortie domestic shorthair and looks like she is aiming to be gigantic as she is already 8lbs 8oz.  She is obsessed with water and loves to watch me in the shower from the edge of the tub or from between the shower liner and curtain. She will jump in the tub when I am done to play with the water dripping and puddles, then she enjoys getting a blow-dry. She is completely fearless and very chatty – always has something important on her mind she needs to share.
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“For a still-kitteny-cat, Fig is pretty calm and loves to cuddle, but it turns out she is a huge drama queen. She has the biggest mouth and is always chatting and whining – such a little showboat!”

How did your cats come into your life?

I had my first cat, Maggie, for 14 years when she died at age 17 back in 2014. I adopted another cat, Hazel, right after losing Maggie, but sadly Hazel died from cancer six months after we adopted her. It had been a very bad year and while it was extremely difficult, I still wanted to have a cat in my life. We started looking at adoptable cats online and I was hoping to find a cat around 3 to 4 years old. Michael showed me a photo of Olive (then Minnie) on the Philly PAWS site and I was taken, but we saw some others that we thought were cute too. I applied to adopt through PAWS and planned on keeping an open mind.

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“I had always been very drawn to calico cats, my previous cats Hazel and Maggs both were calicoes, and Olive was just so unique looking with her huge green eyes.”

Olive was estimated at 1 to 2 years old when we met her, she was napping and very calm. Michael had been wandering around looking at other cats when he was literally grabbed by a little tortie from between the bars of her cage, he begged me to take her to the back room so we could meet her. Even though Rye (then Nittnay) was only 6 to 8 months old, she was also pretty calm but still playful. Michael suggested we take both of them and, when they met each other briefly at PAWS Rye was a bit hissy but we decided to take the plunge. They had to be kept apart for several weeks while we treated Olive’s URI and herpes-related eye issues but they couldn’t stop tickling each others paws under the door. When we finally introduced them, they took to each other straight away.

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“They were both a bit younger than I was looking for but they were both irresistible.”

Inspired by the cat centered events I had attended, I decided to make a local event for cat lovers last year and Kittydelphia was born. I invited Philly area cat-stuff makers to be vendors, I also sold my own work and merchandise there. There were also guest celebricats and daily raffles. I named PAWS as the recipient of all donations from the event and they had adoptable cats available throughout the weekend as well as kittens in foster. On the last day of Kittydelphia, I had gone into the back room and saw Michael holding a tiny tortie kitten from the foster litter attending the event. He put her in my arms as I walked by and I was done. As I was holding her, I said, this is a Fig if ever I met one! After some discussion we applied to adopt her, her foster mom had said no one else had been interested in adopting her, and were accepted. We had to wait a few weeks until after her spay to bring her home but she fit in straight away.

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“Rye especially took to her and now they are quite inseparable.”

What is your first memory or experience with cats?
 
Besides college I don’t think I have gone more than a few weeks without having a cat in my life. When I was very young, my mother had a big ginger tabby named Pistachio, Pooh for short. I have little memory of him but I have seen photos of us together. My main childhood cat was May, a 6lb ginger tabby girl who was my best buddy growing up. We never had multiple cats in the house so having this crew was all new for me and I love it. I’m not sure I could go back to being a one-cat girl.

Anything else people should know?

I intend to do Kittydelphia again in 2018 and I am really looking forward to growing the concept a bit. I am waiting until 2018 to make any major planning moves on that though! I am always adding things to my Etsy shop, whenever I finish up a new piece of cat art. I am really hoping to complete the alphabet cats series I started in 2017 as well!

If you would like to have your cat/s featured on Let’s Talk About Your Cat, feel free to contact me at purrandroar(at)gmail(dot)com
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Buy It, Give It – Holiday Edition

Here is the 2016 Holiday Edition of Buy it, Give it! With just a few weeks left to pick up those last-minute gifts I have listed some of my favorite picks for the holidays or anytime because you never really need an excuse to pick up some cool cat themed merchandise. Happy shopping!

As always I am including a t-shirt and this year my pick is Friends of P-22, available for men and women, from gurlRun on Etsy. It is a unique print featuring a silhouette print of everyone’s favorite mountain lion from LA

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Olive & Rye Cat Art –  Whatever you decide to go with you can be sure it will be fun and colorful. There are totes, like the Catroyoshka Tote Bag pictured here, mugs, pouches, t-shirts, leggings, scarfs and more

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Olive & Rye also offers amazing custom cat portraits like this one that was done of my cat Spinner

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The perfect stocking stuffer idea from Areaware is the Fauna Pouch featuring a tabby cat print inspired by early style photography

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Socks are always a fun, affordable and practical gift ideas. First pick is the My Cat is Cool as F&^%$ Socks by Blue Q

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For a more family friendly holiday inspired style, also available in kids sizes,  Sock It to Me Jingle Cats

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Just in time for winter, the Cat Scarf by Archie Mcphee available in store or online at Rolo Store. What I really like about this scarf is all the cats are looking up at you

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For the big cat lover the African Cats Pendant by New York designer Alex Woo, its beautiful and charitable with a portion of the proceeds from all sales going to help with conservation of African wildlife and wetlands

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For the cat parent who is looking for a new way to photograph their cat there is the Animal Adventures Pet Photobooth

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or, Cat Selfies by NPW because everyone including your cat are into selfies

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It wouldn’t be a holiday without a special hat and the bonnet by Archie McPhee is the newest in head wear for felines that takes us back to a simpler time

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Get retro with this fun and portable pinball game from Ridley’s Utopia Cosmic Cat Pinball

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For the home Lili Chin’s Exotic Cats Duvet Cover on Society 6

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Cat Nap pillow cases by Xenotees which come in various colors

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For the cat lover who also loves to bake a laser cut cat rolling-pin by SugaryHome on Etsy

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Finally for the literary cat lover, there is Shop Cats of New York – a photographic book of New York City’s most iconic felines

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CatConLA The Return!

I just got back from a short vacation in LA and CatCon! Last year, the first year of Cat Con, was an experience not soon to be forgotten and completely overwhelming in the best possible way. This year I was better prepared – with a plan of how to calmly and productively make my way through the two floors of everything cat.

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The event was held again in downtown LA at The Reef but the set up was much better, more vendors spread out over two floors (last year it was on one!) which made it much easier to navigate. I found you could actually see the tables and the merchandise better as well as have plenty of room to stop and chat with friends both new and old. I made sure to arrive at the venue before noon, thankfully the line up around the building moved fast however, by late afternoon the Fire Marshall barred people from entering for a time due to capacity issues. The attendance was at about 15,000 up from last years 10,000.

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Stopping by Polydactyl Cats to pick up some fun catnip toys!

Meet and greets with some famous internet cats were available with LiL Bub, Nala Cat and Pudge the Cat. Portions from the sale of these special tickets went to support FIxNation, Kitten Rescue or Lil Bub’s Big Fund, and a $1 from the sale of all regular CatCon tickets also went to FixNation.

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Lil Bub so cool you have to wear shades

For the person who loves to shop for themselves or their cat, it was a dream come true. Many vendors from last year returned and there were quit a few new ones.

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Cat beds – are all the rage and this one came with hand made cat quilts! You could purchase single or bunk style for your cats.

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One piece cat suit by Pretty Snake

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Picked up this bright colored pouch by Olive & Rye Cat Art

Many famous internet cats also have their own merchandise, like Cheese and Olive two Abyssinian cats who are featured in clothing, home decor and accessories.

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Cheese and Olive Catzilla shall destroy your city!

There were many cat themed items for home and human use like like the classic pillow cases of Xenotees, which I picked up, or these Japanese tattoo inspired creations by Momon Cats.

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Beautiful cat shaped pillows by Monmon Cats

Of course there were plenty of options in the cool for your cat and looks great in the house category, like these colorful and modular Kitty Kasa designs by Arni Says. 100% of profits go back into the ARNI foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue of animals at local kill shelters in Daytona Beach, Florida.

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Kitty Modular design by ArniSays

On the really tiny side, there were these delicate cat figurines by Long Live Porcelain, who also make items such as ring bowls and cat adorned salt and pepper shakers.

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Cat figurines by Long Live Porcelain

If you wanted cat beds there were lots of styles to choose from, including these whimsical and colorful designs by Dharma Dog Karma Cat.

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Super fun and cozy hide outs for your cat

Once you were all shopped out just walking around to admire the many of the cat costumed humans was a great way to spend your time.

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Amazing Calico Cat – fully detailed with claws and moving mouth by Dragon Squared

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Fierce looking Stabby Tabby

Among the extravagant outfits one couple stood out for having subtle yet detailed matching cat printed Kimonos. They had purchased the fabric in Japan and had the outfits made to order.

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By end of CatCon on Sunday, people went home with cool cat stuff and some went home with a new family member courtesy of the SPCA LA’s cat adoption center. About 90 + cats and kittens found homes and, since they were only allowing serious and potential adopters in the cat cuddling areas, which was a good thing, I had to snap a few pictures through the glass.

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A view into the cat adoption rooms where potential adopter got to meet the cats.

Actress and original cat woman Julie Newmar met with fans, signed books and autographs and, Kat Von D showcased her make-up line providing free cat eye make up applications. There were speakers on various topics and even the first Furr-ocious Fashion Face of contest. Once again there was something for everyone and then some!

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Saying hello to I Have Cat’s Tamar Arslanian

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A visit with SauerKraut in the RV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sauerkraut’s Humom and Pops

It was another fun year at Cat Con, with lots of like minded people sharing their passion for all things cat and if you missed it, not to worry the event is guaranteed to be back again for a third year.