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On Painting Cats

There I was, listening to the local news while working yesterday (sometimes I keep the television on in the great room to distract the dogs from the sound of the neighbor’s dogs) and I hear the anchor woman say: "You won’t believe who–or rather–what–is behind these paintings."

I bolt into the great room and press rewind on the DVR remote because I just know that the what–the thing–the anchor was talking about was some kind of animal.

When I rewind I see a person holding a kitten. Not a couple of weeks old, but a month or two or three. She dips the cat’s paw in paint and brushes it across
the canvas.  Several kitties are shown, one of whom clearly wants no part of the situation
and tries to curl up in fear or anxiety or whatever clearly negative
experience she’s having, and the person smears her around the canvas
anyway. (Here are some stills. Marilyn Monroe is the resistant cat.)

The anchor and reporter both laugh.

The paintings will be auctioned off at an event called Paws for a Cause, with the proceeds to go to the Hobe Sound Animal Protection League, which is a very well-respected, no-kill organization. I’ve visited the place where the cats live, and as far as I have been told and can tell the organization has the best interests of the cats.

But who on earth thought the painting gimmick was a good idea? This isn’t like the animals we’ve seen who choose to paint. This is people using cats as paintbrushes, and it might not upset you because you didn’t see the clip (and it’s not available, just the stills are) and I’m probably not doing it justice.

Here’s where I come in. This is the first time the organization has done this, and perhaps they might think about it differently, and see it differently, and choose a different path next year.

I’m going to contact them and suggest they look at the news footage and they rethink whether using cats as paintbrushes might be sending a message they don’t want to send.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Bea Elliott #

    Thanks for this story Mary – I needed the moment of levity. It's silly to use cats as paintbrushes. Even the sentence is farcical!

    However, as trite as it is, I find myself wondering how people can be so thoughtless, (or stupid)? Don't they know that animals, don't like to be mauled, maneuvered and (mis)handled? I'll never figure why people just can't give animals their own "space" their own right of "being".

    If the staff of this organization put themselves in the cat's position, I'm certain they would see the needless stress they are causing. My cats would detest the whole affair – I'm sure these cats do to! It's "cruelty by way of ignorance".

    It's also a terrible way to raise funds for what seems like an otherwise fine organization. I left my comments…

    August 29, 2008
  2. Lisa #

    I sent them an email too – I hope they'll feel differently about the situation once they really think about it. I also suggested some other artsy ways they could raise money without forcing animals to paint.

    August 29, 2008

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