Category Archives: famous felines

Book Review – The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat

Belle loves Henri!

By Julia Williams

William Braden, the creative genius behind the Henri, le Chat Noir empire, has done what I’ve dreamt of doing for years. William not only put his cat to work, but now supports himself fully with Henri-related ventures!

Whereas most pet owners merely watch their cat or dog blissfully sleeping away and just wish they’d wake up and do something to defray the cost of their kibble, William had a vision.

Well…actually I made that last part up. I don’t really know if William had a vision for his now-famous French-speaking cat or not, way back in 2006 when Henry (the tuxedo kitty’s real name) appeared in his first internet video. But after the second video catapulted Henri to fame, lightbulbs surely went off in William’s brilliant mind.

He had created an unforgettable character — the world’s first existential cat philosopher – who was filled with ennui and bent on pondering his tormented existence. Filmed in black and white to parody French film noir, William’s video won the Golden Cat Award at the 2012 Internet Cat Video Film Festival, and late film critic Roger Ebert declared it “The best internet cat video ever made.” Yes, it’s that good!

Legions of Henri fans snapped up the t-shirts, coffee cups, posters, mouse pads, Henri “pawtographs” and other merchandise that followed, and now…William lives off his cat! At least that’s what the press release said for the latest Henri endeavor – a delightful little book titled The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat.

The hardcover book (in black and white, naturally!) is a collection of doleful Henri quotes that purrrfectly illustrate the disenchanted house cat’s cynical outlook on life. There are also 45 gorgeous photos, mostly of the handsome Henri but a few of his supposedly simpleminded feline roommate, aka “the white imbecile.”

If you’re a fan of the Henri videos, you simply must have The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat in your library! It also makes a great gift for a cat lover. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

“When I watch you go about your activities, make no mistake about my intentions. I am not curious or coy. I am judging you.”

“I sleep because every time I open my eyes, the world is still there.”

“Looking into the garden today, I saw another version of myself meeting my gaze. A celestial counterpart, free in all the ways I am trapped, yet longing for the safety of my prison. It turns out it was just a raccoon.”

Cat treats are a poor substitute for real answers to the mysteries of our existence. Yet, I do not reject them.”

“My thumbs are not opposable, yet I oppose everything.”

If I had one itsy bitsy quibble with this great book, it would be that the experience of reading it is far too short. It’s certainly not a book you’ll take on summer vacation to while away a lazy day at the beach. In fact, you can finish the book in ten minutes. I definitely wanted more Henri after that last page! But here’s the thing – you’ll come back to the book again and again, and each time the experience will be just as enjoyable.

Buy it. Read it. Give it to a fellow cat lover. Or keep it on your coffee table to (in Henri’s own words) “make you look smart.” Indeed!

Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat is sure to become a cat classic.

Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book for review, but all opinions and philosophical musings in this post are wholly my own.

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Meet Quint, The Painting Cat!

By Julia Williams

I’ve profiled many talented felines here over the years, including therapy cats, photographer kitties, cat burglars, bestselling author cats and even a TV newsCATster.  Today it is my great pleasure to introduce you to another gifted feline – Quint, a cat who paints! Quint’s abstract art is just exquisite, and the kitty himself is quite the charmer. I know you will enjoy getting to know “Quint the Painting Cat” just as much as I have.

Julia: How old are you, and how long have you been painting?
Quint: I turned one year old at the beginning of May. Everyone says I’m still a baby, so I get lots of kisses. That’s not so bad. Officially, I took up painting last October. Unofficially, I’d been practicing my paw-strokes for about a year.

Julia: Your paintings are so beautiful! How did you pawrents discover that you had this artistic gift? 
Quint: Thank you! And thank you for calling it a gift! My pawrents didn’t think it was that at first. I’m not using names or anything but when I was little, I used to watch my dad get ready to face the world each morning and during that time somehow, little white dots would magically appear on the bathroom mirror. Well, no dot is safe with me! I’d touch and pat each one and sometimes, the dots would smear and swirl and that made me want to tug at each one even more. Mom wiped away my art every day and I had a fresh canvas to work on the next morning. When I was a little older, one day I thought the walls of our Cat Den looked boring and needed some help. The way mom tells it, I graduated from toothpaste on a mirror to cat litter smears on her walls. And that’s when I think I finally got through to them – I’m an artist and I needed a more acceptable outlet!

Julia: Why do you like to paint? 
Quint: Hmm, I think most artists don’t know why they do what they do. We just feel the need to express ourselves differently than most. This fall marks one year since I began painting and that milestone excites me. When something excites me, paint helps me express my excitement. Oh, and it’s fun to get colors on my big, white paws.

Julia: Could you describe your painting process? 
Quint: Sure, that’s easy. Usually, mom picks up on my restlessness and pulls my cardboard ‘studio’ together quickly. If I’ve been outside admiring flowers or sitting in my window watching birds, mom uses those color cues to set out a few paint dabs in a shallow bowl along with whatever I choose to paint on that day – small square canvases or heavy artist paper. When she tells me she’s ready, I find one of my mousies to take with me; for extra inspiration, and we get to work! I touch some of the paint and dab it on the paper. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for bold streaks and hard paw prints and sometimes I try to be more gentle and delicate. It all depends on my day!

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Luna the Fashion Kitty Struts the Online Catwalk

By Julia Williams

Cats wearing clothes is not something you see every day, even on the internet where you can see just about anything you can imagine. Photos of doggies dressed to the nines, sure… but not cats. That’s because most cats are just not the clothes-wearing kind. Luna the Fashion Kitty is, however. This feline fashionista has been wearing cute outfits since she was just a baby, so strutting around in colorful tutus or dresses is second nature to her. Luna’s 18,000 Facebook fans are so used to seeing her with clothes on, in fact, that on the rare times she posts a photo “in the fur,” she seems totally naked!

I caught up with Luna the other day and asked her a few questions, so we could all get to know her better. I hope you enjoy her candid interview!

Julia: How old are you, and what breed are you?
Luna: I’m 5 years old, and I’m a Cream Point Himalayan Purrsian.

Julia: Most kitties hate clothes, but you seem totally comfortable in yours (dare I say, you even seem to enjoy them!). How and when did this clothes wearing thing begin?
Luna: I come from a fashionable family, my grandma had a boutique and the store next door carried furchild clothes! My momma couldn’t resist and got me an outfit, because she always had dogs and didn’t know that kitties hate clothes. Since I didn’t get the “hate clothes” memo either, I felt very good in my outfit from the beginning. That was it, I was meant to be The Fashion Kitty.

Julia: How many outfits do you have now?
Luna: Too many to count! Last time we tried to count them, there were close to 300 outfits!

Julia: What are your favorite outfits?
Luna: I look so good in EVERYTHING that is hard to have a favorite!

Julia: A common theme of your outfits seems to be frilly tutus and matching hair bows – what’s up with that?
Luna: What’s up with what? I’m very girly and we kitties jump better than any ballerina, so it’s just logical that tutus and bows are a big part of my wardrobe.

Julia: Is it hard to use your litterbox in a dress? 
Luna: Not at all! Sometimes if I’m wearing a big tutu, I leave the tutu in the box. Lol. What can I say, the hole to my kitty box is too small fur a big tutu butt!

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A Cat for Mayor? In Harmony, California it’s Possible!


By Diane Matsuura, CANIDAE Customer Service

There is a tiny town located on the California Coast off Highway 1 just south of Cambria, steeped in history and now little more than a bump in the road, but packed with charm and artistic flair. What once was a thriving dairy community in the early 1900s is now a bohemian artist community boasting a population of 18, which probably includes the local wildlife and a town cat. This is where the story gets interesting, as how many towns can boast they elected a cat for Mayor?

A large orange tabby striped Maine Coon cat named Freddy Cheenie Alfredo, Freddy for short, was a much loved and cherished town mascot. He lived his entire “nine lives” in Harmony, passing at a ripe old age of 22 years. Freddy loved to greet visitors to Harmony and could always be found lounging in a patch of sun in the gardens or in a shop window. Shoppers could buy a T-shirt or other Harmony souvenirs with his likeness.

The story goes that because of his celebrity status, Freddy decided to run for Mayor of Harmony (though this is a bit unclear). He ran unopposed in the election and won in a landslide victory. Freddy served as Mayor until his passing in 1995. His final napping site can be found behind the old creamery building where the local residents lovingly maintain a touching memorial in his honor.


However, in typical Harmony artistic fashion, a new, absolutely gorgeous black and white female kitty named Gatacita has taken over the role of “mascot cat” for Harmony. She has oodles of charm and purrsonality, and takes her role seriously as the official greeter to the fair town of Harmony. While this kitty likes to nap in the gardens Freddy was so fond of, she will also follow you from shop to shop and sit with you at your table while you rest or picnic.

With not a shy bone in her svelte feline body, Gatacita is extremely photogenic and loves having her photo taken. Gatacita wasn’t born in Harmony like Freddy was, but she was adopted by the entire town when her first owner passed away and she had nowhere else to go. She is much loved by the residents and visitors alike, and rumor has it she is planning to run for Mayor of Harmony in the next election, following in the pawsteps of the famous Freddy!

On your next road trip up or down the coast of California, stop by the unique town of Harmony and visit with Gatacita.  Dogs are welcome in Harmony too, but a hand-lettered sign reminds guests that dogs must be leashed. Cats on the other hand, may run free!

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The PATSY Awards for Animal Actors

By Langley Cornwell

Actors who give an especially great performance in a movie or television series are usually awarded with an Oscar or an Emmy. That’s all well and good, but what about those actors from the animal world? Animal actors are just as deserving of awards for exceptional performance so in 1939, the PATSY Awards were created to do just that.

What are the PATSY Awards?

Created by the Hollywood office of the American Humane Association, PATSY was originally an acronym for Picture Animal Top Star of the Year. In 1958, the PATSY Awards were expanded to include television performers and the acronym Performing Animal Television Star of the Year was added.

The PATSY Awards were originally created with the intent to honor animal performers after a horse was killed during the filming of the movie “Jessie James,” starring Tyrone Powers.

The first actual recipient of a PATSY came in 1951 when Francis the Talking Mule was honored. Who presented Francis with the first PATSY? None other than Ronald Reagan himself, the actor-turned-President who was known for his work with a chimpanzee in the Bonzo movies.

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The Dalai Lama’s Cat: Book Review and Giveaway!

By Julia Williams

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live with one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers? Well, wonder no more! In The Dalai Lama’s Cat, a novel by David Michie, a sassy Himalayan gives us a cat’s eye view of life in the inner sanctum of His Holiness’s household. True to feline nature, the curious cat soaks up the teachings that take place when visitors – everyone from Hollywood celebrities and self help gurus to philanthropists and royalty – seek an audience with the Dalai Lama. To be sure, life is never dull when you’re the Dalai Lama’s cat!

The Buddhist wisdom is artfully interwoven with entertaining tales of a cat just being a cat…getting into mischief, making the most of every opportunity, and purring her way into the hearts of all who meet her. One would expect no less of any feline, let alone one who spends every morning curled up with the Dalai Lama while he meditates.

The Dalai Lama’s cat, a.k.a. Mousie-Tung, The Snow Lion of Jokhang, His Holiness’s Cat (HHC), The Bodhicatva, and “The Most Beautiful Creature That Ever Lived,” is so charming, funny, wise and witty that it’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t love her. She even shares her most embarrassing moments for the sake of giving us a good laugh, which is something most dignified felines wouldn’t dream of doing! But the Dalai Lama’s cat is no ordinary feline, and she never lets us forget.

She makes no apologies for eavesdropping on the conversations between the Dalai Lama and his guests, and she puts a uniquely feline spin on the basic Buddhist principles she overhears. Through the Dalai Lama’s cat we learn about concepts such as karma, mindfulness, enlightenment, compassion, and the meaning of life.

The mark of any good novel, at least for me, is that it captures my attention on page one and compels me to keep turning pages despite other distractions and obligations. I read this book in two days because I just couldn’t put it down. And when I finished, I found myself wanting more. You really can’t ask for more from a good book, can you?

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