Any color, any pattern, any design for a domestic cat? Have a painted live cat, if you could afford it!
A couple of years back, a popular circulating e-mail shocked many of its readers. The pictures included in the e-mail were cute enough: cats painted in various unnatural colors and designs. But, what shocked most readers is the huge price some owners were willing to pay for a paint job.
According the e-mails, the large price of $15,000 was dished out for the each of original living works of art. After that, painted cats had to be repainted every three months to renew the design. At $60,000 a year, the owner could have a cat of any color, any design, in any outfit painted on.
Which design do you like for your cat? Will it be cash or plastic?
Or maybe, the better questions would be: who could afford colored painted cats and why?!
Numerous re-postings of painted cats images created a lot of talk on many forums. Some people loved the creative ideas presented in the e-mail, some screamed about cruelty to animals.
Most people did not immediately bother doing any research about the images and took them at face value.
They talked and wrote about creative colorful images; potential harm to the animals; theories which paints were used, how the artists made the cats stay still; who could afford it; how to duplicate the results on a smaller budget. At one point, the conversation got so heated, people started using foul words.
If only someone told them that these images were a clever marketing scheme made to create interest in a book! Why Paint Cats, The Ethics of Feline Aesthetics, a book full of colored cats images and cute stories about them and their owners, came to the market soon after.
While the authors of the book would not offer straight explanations of how the images were created, the book carried a somewhat a disclaimer: "no cats were harmed in the making of this book."
It is also mentioned that the book is created in hopes of encouraging ethical debate. (Hence, the title.)
Most expert suspect the cats were painted with the help of Photoshop software, not dyes and paints. In the last few years, Photoshop have developed into a great tool. So great, that for an average person it could be difficult to tell the difference between digitally created and real photographic images.
Why Paint Cats? So they would look like these!Click thumbnail to view full-size
The interest in artistic cats started with another book titled Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics. Authors Burton Silver and Heather Buschm created the first cute coffee book about artistic cats in 1994. The book told stories of inspired cats painting pictures.
Just like with the second book a bit later, the first book created controversy. Some people loved the cat images and other people raised questions about potential harm to the animals depicted.