Today I’d like to introduce you to cat lady Erica Eriksdotter who I “met” thanks to Twitter when she was promoting her amazing custom cat portraits in honor of National Cat Day. Erica is a Swedish-born Washington-DC based fine artist who sold her first painting at the tender age of 10! Erica works in PR while also running her art studio. She lives with her husband Casey and their two cats, Lola and Rasmus, who keep her company in her studio. And while Erica rarely discounts her work, she’s offering I HAVE CAT readers 10% of custom pet portraits ordered by midnight Friday November 8th, 2013.
My cats play an important role in my life. Lola loves being in the studio with me and often lies in my lap while I paint. She’s a healer for sure and helps me add such great mojo into all the paintings I do. She’s also a poser. Whether we’re doing a photo shoot of my paintings or me, she knows when the camera is out – she’s her Mama’s daughter! She loves to photo-bomb my instagram feed (@studioeriksdotter) and can be not-so-helpful at times, dipping her tail in my paint or biting my paintbrush.
Rasmus is the opposite of Lola in every way though he too can be a snuggle-bug, but only as long as it’s on his terms. He doesn’t help in the studio, but does encourage me to take breaks (equally important) to play or snuggle with him. He’s a scardy cat who grows braver and braver by the day and now likes to spend as much time on the patio as he can. He’s not the master-hunter like Lola, but instead likes to sit directly underneath the bird feeder. The birds humor him, and the chipmunks let him play tag with them.
Lola came into our lives four years ago when a cat I’d never seen before kept coming up to our patio every day for three weeks. She lay in my lap for hours as I read my book (something I never normally let a strange cat do). I thought for sure she had a home as she looked well fed and happy. She would run towards my patio every time I opened the door.
Eventually I realized she didn’t have a home, and begged my husband – who is allergic to cats – if I could foster her “just for a while.” I had fallen pretty hard but understood that we couldn’t keep her since it would make him ill. I started calling her Lola because the name kept coming to me (la-la la-la Lo-la).
I walked around to the neighbors, one by one, and said, “hi, you know that cat that we’ve been seeing around for weeks? Well, I’ve decided to take her on and make sure she’s safe and fed. Oh, and by the way, I’m calling her Lola in case you hear me call for her.”
In every separate case, each neighbor stopped blank when I mentioned I called her Lola and all said the same thing “no way, I’VE been calling her LOLA!” So that’s how powerful my little Lola is and of course, after a month in the house I couldn’t let her go, and Casey didn’t ask me to either because magically… he wasn’t allergic to Lola!
After 4 years of patiently waiting and watching me paint custom ordered pet portraits over and over again, she finally got her own portrait this spring which is now available in fine art print online.
While Rasmus has definitely earned a portrait by now and tells me he’ll pay for it (for some reason I don’t believe him), paying customers come first! I do want to paint them both and have a vision of painting Lola dressed up in pearls and diamonds and Rasmus with a slanted prince crown on his little head!
We’d debated for a while to get a second cat to keep Lola company. Out of habit I was checking out the shelter kitties while picking up cat food and one day there were three 15-week old kittens there, all brothers named after the Beatles (John, Paul and George). A sign said you had to adopt at least 2 of them so I picked up my cat food and went my marry way.
Two weeks later, I was back at the store and saw that Paul was the only one left and I took one look at him and the name “Rasmus” popped into my head (it’s from a wonderful Astrid Lindgren story about an orphan). I called Casey and said “Honey, it’s too late, I’ve named a kitten. We HAVE to get him.”
Our cats have brought us so much joy since that first day we took in Lola, over four years ago. Now I can’t image life without them. I grew up with a darling little Yorkie and always thought I was going to have another dog as our first pet. Clearly, Lola knew I needed the comfort, joy, and the independence of a cat with my busy schedule.
While I look forward to the day I have both cats and dogs running around I do enjoy the attitude of cats, and it fits me to a tee. That catitude is famous for a reason. They show what they want, when they want it, what they don’t like and don’t want. And if they aren’t happy with you, they will let you know that too. We always get an earful from Rasmus when we’ve been away too long!
I love watching my husband play with them, and the “dance” he does with Lola every night when she steals his side of the bed. She even bolts passed him on the stairs just so she can steal the spot right in front of his eyes – it never fails! It’s become a routine for the both of them, and after Casey coaxes her out of her stolen spot, she begrudgingly moves to the end of my side of the bed. After a belly rub or two she happily sleeps by my feet for the rest of the night.
I talk to them all the time, mess with them and play with them. I laugh at how different they are from each other and it’s very satisfying to know that they are comfortable and happy. I’d rather pack on layers and layers of clothes and freeze just so they can enjoy sitting in a window. They bring us such great joy and I would do anything for them. They totally have me wrapped around their adorable paws.
And yes, I’m proud to be a Cat Lady, and now of course I love everything cat-related. I want cat-related jewelry, clothes, shoes… list is growing as you can see on my meow! pinterest board.