If there’s one thing cat owners can agree on, it’s that their cat is absolutely, utterly unlike any other cat on the planet. You could chalk that up to pet-owner fanaticism, but most cats actually are little weirdos–each has their own strange habits, distinct peculiarities and rarified tastes. For proof, look no further than the 50 felines profiled in Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle‘s delightful new illustration book All Black Cats Are Not Alike.
There’s Church, for instance, who hunts lizards and goes into a rigid trance when listening to death metal. Sashi, a frenetic-looking fur ball, prefers to eat her freeze-dried chicken by candlelight. Then there’s Kim (née Kim Kardashian), possibly the only feline who actually likes lounging around in the bathtub. All of black cats featured were crowdsourced through the book’s Kickstarter campaign last January, during which backers either secured a place for their cat with their pledge or nominated a cat for consideration. Once they narrowed it down to the final 50, Arkle, an illustrator, drew the portraits and Goldwasser, a writer and editor, wrote the delightfully detailed bios.
Capturing a cat’s true essence, says Arkle, comes down to a trick of light. “The key with animals–especially pet animals–is that you want to detail where the light hits in their eyes. All you have to do look at those little glimmers in the eyes and then faithfully reproduce them. I illustrate animals all the time and people always give the same response: ‘Oh you totally captured little Timmy’s soul.’ It’s actually pretty formulaic.”
To source the material for the bios, Goldwasser sent the pet owners a survey to fill out about their cat’s habits and unique characteristics. “In a way, I like to think of the book as a collection of personality disorders,” she says. “I wanted people to really focus on: ‘What’s a strange thing your cat does that you’re convinced your cat is the only one that does this?’ We wanted the weirdest choices in food and habits. They’re all OCD. And they’re all trying train their people.”
See a selection of the lovable little oddballs above or go here to buy All Black Cats Are Not Alike in full.