If it hadn’t been for Patrick I doubt I’d have met today’s Cat Woman Wednesday despite her proximity to my home. While looking for frames at an art supply store, I noticed some rather unusual artwork on the walls. A cat with a Brooklyn-style mustache who seemed to enjoy cross-dressing and lacked eyeballs (or at the very least the iris and the pupils).
Of course I had to snap a few pics for the I HAVE CAT Instagram feed and immediately find out who was responsible for it. When I asked, I was led to the back of the store to the same soft-spoken, petite young lady who’d been helping me moments previously. And that is how I met Angela Lau of AngelaLauDraws (the cat’s name – or the character’s rather was Patrick of course!))
So without further ado, I give you today’s CAT WOMAN WEDNESDAY (more on Patrick later!).
Growing up I was never allowed to have pets except for the occasionally goldfish from street fairs (amazingly, one is pushing on 13 right now). “Dirty cats,” my mom would say. “The germs would make you sick.” I had to get my cat “fix” from friendly market cats but always rushed home to wash my hands afterwards.
So I grew a fondness for dogs, believing them to be cleaner and more loving than what I considered to be their chic counterpart. It wasn’t until I was 14, procuring my first job at a non-profit where I rediscovered my affection for the domestic felid with the help of Church, a Russian Blue who was the organization’s resident cat. He was sweet, soft and working an “I’m-too-hot-to-care” attitude.
Church inspired me to make little comics about a married cat couple who accidentally swap their child with a bear couple who live in the same town (I think the plot of “Switched at Birth” was based on this – Sorry Lizzy Weiss but I was here first). The two families never noticed a difference in the species of their child and goes on living nonchalantly. Though, the other residents questions this but were never gutsy enough to ask.
This was also about the time I realized I was allergic to certain foods and four-legged creatures – specifically, the cat that ranked as my #1 allergy followed oddly enough by mulberries. Over time, I’ve learned to cope with it through the help of pharmaceutical drugs.
It was 2011, during one of the biggest blizzards in New York and my last year studying illustration at the School of Visual Arts that I decided to move out of my parents’ home. Soon after, I received a message from a friend, stating a kitten needed a home, which was followed with a photo of a small tribble-like thing with bear-like-ears (coincidence?). She’d been found outside near her mother and siblings, who unfortunately had not made it through the cold.
I knew I wanted her. I knew she’d maybe tolerate me. So I waited while she was nursed back to health. She was about 5 weeks old when I brought her home. She still had to drink kitten milk for another month and I had to crush up dry food every meal to get her acclimated to solid food.
I had endless names for her but officially, since one should always enjoy bad puns, her documents are labeled “General Maow.” Her name was of course a play on General Mao. As awful as the real Mao was, they shared a belief in communism in that everything I have belongs to the General.
General had a lot of energy. She climbed on everything, explored laundry basket (one time, I thought she was lost forever until I found her buried in the hamper, all smug from a nap), and wiggled up the back of the bed frame in the middle of the night and mewed until I helped her.
A few months and a kitten play-date later, I inherited a milk and ginger tabby, Mr. Kitty, from an acquaintance that had to move to an apartment with a strict no-pet policy. General now had another like-minded being to tolerate and learn from. Before Mr. Kitty, she didn’t know how to purr and express affection.
That’s the sound I am now haunted by when I open their food cabinet.
They both slowly made their way into my illustrations. I wanted my audience to be able to relate to me on the most mundane and absurd things. I wanted them to laugh and exclaim, “Hey! That’s the best thing I’ve seen all day!” I wanted them to experience what a cat might daydream about when they’re away at work (we all know they have deep fantasies regarding food magically appearing before their eyes).
Most of all, I wanted to know I’m wasn’t the only who thinks their love of all bags is truly crazy
Bags full of bags.
If not bags, then boxes.
What’s so exciting about being in a semi-enclosed object, smacking anything that comes near, and thinking, “Oh, I’m so damn clever. No one can see me. Let me punch Little Timmy’s arm again with my paws of fury.”
Life is tough when the amount of cats out-populate the household number you submitted for your taxes. I constantly have to reassure everyone that it’s not a dangerous number and to only worry when the proportion of 2 cats to 1 human becomes unbalanced. In this way I attempt to stop the side-ways glances I get the dose of which will certainly increase when I get more cats.
However, I do think about how long it would take my cats to eat me if I ever do die alone. Beside from that, living as a single woman with cats is pretty great. On cold nights, I have two personal heat warmers and on warm nights, they stay away. I get to silently gloat whenever I pass by dog-people because I know I would never again have to feel the warmth of expulsion through a thin plastic bag (I had my fair share as a dog walker).
While generally sweet little creatures, there’s a bit of a dark side to them.
There’s a reason they’re always underfoot and I must admit I sometimes wonder if cats are just furry little aliens sent here to secretly wipe out the human population by attempting to smother us only to fail night after night. But I have faith that our kind will slowly win-over their finicky little hearts.
Tamar here! I hope you enjoyed Angela’s guest post. I adore her art and her storytelling! And of course I love seeing young Cat Women! As promised, we must come back to Patrick. When I asked Angela about this character she replied:
“Patrick was first created when I was working as a cashier. I wanted an eye-catching sign and never would have seen him being so popular! “
She’s even made a paper doll of Patrick you can download along with a variety of outfits including a bra of course! Here’s just a sampling!
Go crazy and post your Patrick dolls to the I HAVE CAT Facebook Page and be sure to tag @angelalaudraws
Angela’s website AngelaLauDraws.com has a greater variety of her art and includes links to all her social media platforms! So if you like her work, follow her (online, not in real life!).