June is adopt a shelter cat month!
And for a good reason I suppose – one of my local animal shelters, the ARL of Iowa announced last week that they have 317 KITTENS in their care – just kittens, adult cats not included! Go adopt one their many kitties, or send a donation! Or visit your local shelter – chances are good they are also caring for many cats!
YEAR OF THE CAT! One year ago this week I became a cat adopter myself when a 3 1/2 year old orange polydactyl tiger kitty joined our 3 dog home. I’m not sure if the decision to adopt a cat was impulsive or cautiously planned … I guess it was somewhere in between. After my cat-hating German Shepherd Vegas passed away, I occasionally toyed with the idea of joining the mysterious world of cat companionship. After a month of painting a cat portrait and designing a poster for a cat event, accompanied with the news of a very overpopulated animal shelter, I caved. I wondered if I was crazy and if my 3 fairly mellow, but large-ish and oh-so carnivorous canines could really handle a meowing addition to their pack.
After reading many, many cat bios (I’d been doing this for some time) I found “Peanut Butter”. The website said he was large, polydactyl (extra toes), and liked dogs, cats and kids. We visited him twice in the homeless cat room at the back of a pet store. Surrounded by many young, energetic cats he dozed peacefully on a fake tree branch. Both times we visited he was asleep, but woke up happy when we interrupted his cat nap to give him a few pets. His previous owner had thoroughly filled out an informational form which was extraordinarily helpful. What is your pet afraid of? Answer: Nothing. Sounded good and has proven to be accurate.
He was too large for the cardboard cat carrier he was supposed to come with, so he came home in a small to mediumish dog-sized crate. Quickly he made himself at home. We named him Johnny Gato because I thought it sounded cool, and there was already a cat with a blog named Steve McQueen! Johnny accepted the dogs immediately. One of the dogs ignored him completely and the other two were a little too interested so we made a room into a temporary Catdom so that he could acclimate and the dogs could settle down. Cautiously we introduced them and slowly integrated them together. One received a very minor kitty claw eye poke. Other than that there have been no issues, no chases, and no hissing. I still think I must have been crazy thinking this would work, but, SIGH OF RELIEF, it did!
Johnny Gato gets very annoyed when everyone is outside and he is left meowing at the patio door. He looks at me with angry eyes and throws himself on the ground meowing pathetically. Sometimes I feel like I’m holding him hostage but I want him to be safe! He keeps us entertained with his kittenish antics and huge personality! The dogs once found his gymnast and super-climbing abilities mesmerizing and his litter box treats enticing, but this is all old news now! He likes to be around us, or on us. Or sleeping on our clothes if we’re not available. He even comes when he’s called. Amazing!
These are the front 6 feet of 2 kitties and 1 Black Labrador. Their owner lovingly refers to them as her “12 Feet”. This painting is 20″ wide and 10″ tall.
I have had many people recently inquiring about whether I paint cats. This is the closest I’ve come so far! No kitty faces as of yet, but I have plans for adding more feline influence into my art in the near future.