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Cat images and the Bristol Cats Survey

2013 December 8
night cats

Two cats: both asleep…

I have previously discussed on this website various aspects of the changing feline-human relationship. I was pleased to receive a Xmas card from the Bristol Cats survey, an innovative  and ethical project designed to include human cat keepers as surrogate researchers in a longitudinal analysis of cat behaviour. (A sort of 7 up for cats…) At their request I – and I assume many other humans- had submitted images of the cats who choose to live with them for possible inclusion on the Xmas card. The image I chose was one previously included on this site (and now reproduced above). And the photo was chosen!

But, of course, I was not alone. Many, many others had also taken photos of their cats: nowadays that is what benign cat owners do. The too frequent posters of lost cats displayed on lamp posts and trees indicate, if nothing else, that cats are routinely the subject of visual images. I am particularly pleased about the choice of image because in the past I have been castigated by a museum professional, who having asked me to put forward a proposal for an exhibition on ‘pets’ and their changing relationship with humans was horrified to catch a glimpse of the selfsame two ‘real’ cats on my laptop screen saver. To depict anything as everyday as real cats rather than ‘artistic representations’ was decidedly not on: needless to say, my proposal was rejected…

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