Many of the animals whose portraits I am commissioned to paint come from humble beginnings. Often, a pet who has been rescued from dire circumstances becomes a beloved pet, and the humans whose lives are touched by it ask me to paint the animal’s portrait.
Few, however, have as compelling a story as my most recent subject, Claude.
Claude is a blind white cat who lives in Phoenix, AZ. He once was part of a feral cat colony tended by two dedicated human caregivers who continue to feed the group and ensure that all of the cats are neutered. As one of his caregivers, Kate tells it:
One day I noticed that Claude was running into things and couldn’t find his way through the hole in the fence where we feed them. He had recently had a big wound on the side of his head and that is probably what caused him to loose his sight.
I was able to pet him when he was eating so I scooped him up and brought him inside. I’m the only one who can pet him and only if the moment is right and I approach him from the right angle. But once I start petting him he loves it! He’s been in the studio for two years now and he’s fat and happy! Well, as happy as a grumpy cat can be…
Living on the streets in a feral colony is not an easy life for a cat. Being blind and on the street is a tragedy waiting to happen. Thankfully, Claude had a savior, and he now lives a great life indoors.
But the story does not end there.
Claude did not stumble his way into just any studio. He found his way into the studio of Kate Benjamin, Cat Style Expert, founder of cat style website Hauspanther, and recently honored New York Times Best-selling Author for her co-authored book Catification with Jackson Galaxy.
Claude is not only living a life of comfort now. He is living in style!
Although he cannot see the great colors in the cat bed upon which he lounges in his portrait, he certainly knows that he is of value, and that his caregiver loves him deeply. He has clearly “catified” his domain, and I am certain he has had the opportunity to test out some of the most fabulous cat style products available on the market.
Catification, in case you wondered, “is about creating feline-friendly environments that cater to a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, rest, play, and own their space.” It is as much about creating a home environment that allows for cats’natural behavior as it is about creating a stylish dwelling for cat lovers.
I have known Claude’s caretaker Kate for a few years, and I have admired her style and unique knowledge about cats. Her partnership with Jackson Galaxy of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell not only brings an element of celebrity to her work, it also brings a mix of style and knowledge about cat behavior to people who desire the best for their cats. Kate has been featured in various media, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NY Daily News, and CBS Sunday Morning, and she often is a guest on Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell with cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy.
Beyond all of that, Kate is a wonderful person who lives a life dedicated to her own 12 cats, as well those beloved by many around the world.
“I would like to see every cat in a happy, loving, forever home, and I want to keep them there through design.” ~Kate Benjamin
Painting Claude’s portrait was a privilege. I cannot wait to see the painting take it’s place in such a wonderfully catified space!
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Life is an Adventure!