This is George Cat, pursuing his favourite hobby.He has put in a lot of hours of practice, and now, in his old age, he is very good at it.
I first met George as a chipper young fellow – well, sort of chipper. I think he was always more the Remain inside style of cat, whilst his comrade at arms, Eric, was a thorough Out and better off outer. The two of them belonged to my first boss, Professor Colin Matthew, and I had been recruited from behind a bookcase at the Dictionary of National Biography to cat-sit one summer. Despite failing the most basic of intelligence tests: viz that, Eric having been named after the Eric Cantona, George was clearly named after … yep, David Lloyd George, British Liberal politician and statesman, and not George Best as I had guessed – I got the gig, and George, Eric and I became lifelong friends.
That was some years ago, and George is now in the seventh age of cat, still with teeth and eyes, but sans bird-hunting, sans mouse-hunting, and sans a clear and consistent sense of what is and what is not a litter tray.
Still, I wasn’t sure a snoozing cat would make for the liveliest of portraits, if the most accurate, so poor George was followed about all weekend, just in case he felt like opening his eyes.
And it turned out that he didn’t feel too much like it, actually. Fair enough, I’m not sure I do, some days.
I went quickly with George’s portrait, and there are no photos along the way, chiefly because there was no point along the way when I felt confident that George would emerge at the end. A black cat is very very good for stalking through the shadows of an evening, but not super good for sketching, in threads or otherwise. But in that mysterious and enigmatical way that cats seem to have the monopoly on, George, law unto himself, finally appeared.
If George Cat has whetted your appetite for a pet portrait of your own best beloved, do hop on over to the Commissions page.