We have a book somewhere in this house which is all about cats who paint. Starting with a review of the history of feline art, the book explains how cats become artists, and how
their gifts can be developed. It includes many colour photographs of the artists and their artwork. I ought to read it one day.
The Worcester Animal Rescue League even once put on an exhibition of cat art. That is, Worcester in the US, not the UK. There is quite a lot on the internet about cat art. It’s obviously a popular topic.
Do cats actually have creative urges? Animals have been proven to be capable of extraordinary achievements so could artistic expression also be a talent some animals possess? I would certainly say that my cat has art critic tendencies (not sure about her own artistic urges). She will sit on drawings of mine she likes, or sit next to paintings I am working on, seemingly to admire them.
The Museum of Non-Primate Art has a website devoted to the promotion of cat artistic and creative activities. Art historian and animal philanthropist Dr Peter Husard founded MONPA in the 1970s and he and his team of expects spent time studying various subjects such as the digging pattern of moles, and the flying formation of birds, passing this off as performance art. However, a large part of their resources are dedicated to studying cat art.
According to the museum, the best way to encourage your cat to paint is to leave a tub of acrylic paint with a board near the litter tray. Cats use marking of their urine and feces to mark their territory, so apparently this instinctual urge may connect to any creative feelings. Another study conducted by those at MONPA show that cats may be susceptible to what is called Invertism. When cats draw something from life, they draw it upside down. I’m tempted to try it with our cat. Perhaps with an iPad rather than real paint.
Of course she’ll never find herself in the same league as the elephant.
MONPA Webiste, http://www.monpa.com/wcp/ [last updated 4 December 2012]