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  • Lyla Ashburn

Kitty Post: Paws and Paintbrushes

Cat and Kittens, by Anonymous, c. 1872-83

Paws and Paintbrushes

In the vast gallery of human creativity, few subjects have captured the imagination quite like cats. From the sacred temples of ancient Egypt to the avant-garde studios of modern art, felines have prowled through history as both muse and masterpiece, leaving their indelible mark on the canvas of culture.

In the land of the pharaohs, cats reigned supreme as symbols of divine grace and protection. Revered as sacred beings, they were immortalized in hieroglyphs, sculptures, and tomb paintings, embodying the essence of mystery and majesty that captivated the ancient world.

But as civilizations rose and fell, the perception of cats took a darker turn in medieval Europe. Associated with witchcraft and superstition, they became both feared and revered, lurking in the shadows of illuminated manuscripts and haunting the tapestries of folklore with their enigmatic presence.

Yet, as the dawn of the Renaissance illuminated the minds of artists, cats emerged from the shadows to bask in the light of creative genius. Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, and Diego Velázquez immortalized their elegance and allure in masterpieces that adorned the halls of kings and nobles.

In the romantic glow of the 19th century, cats found new companionship among bohemian artists and literary luminaries. Edgar Allan Poe penned tales of feline intrigue, while Édouard Manet immortalized them in strokes of impressionistic beauty, evoking a sense of mystery and longing in their gaze.

And as the 20th century unfolded, cats leaped from canvas to silver screen, from Picasso’s surreal sculptures to Louis Wain’s whimsical illustrations. They became icons of pop culture, starring in films, gracing the pages of magazines, and adorning the walls of galleries with their timeless charm.

In the grand tapestry of human history, cats have woven themselves into the very fabric of our imagination, their graceful forms and inscrutable eyes inspiring wonder, awe, and endless fascination. So let us raise our glasses to these feline muses, for they remind us that in the dance of creativity, there is always room for a purr-fect companion.


It’s kitten season: consider fostering

            Beltsville Community Cats (BCC) took in a record number of kittens this spring, and they keep coming in. As a result, BCC desperately needs more foster homes where these kittens can experience living indoors and be socialized to pets and people. If you love cats but aren’t ready for the long-term commitment of pet ownership, consider fostering. With love and patience, kittens 10 weeks old and younger can be transformed into wonderful pets. Foster provides a life-saving experience for the kittens, and a life-changing experience for you!

Contact BCC (240-444-8353 or to learn more about fostering and other volunteer opportunities. Call BCC if you see a free-roaming cat in Beltsville that is not ear-tipped. Cats in this area can have two to three litters a year, and kittens as young as 4 to 6 months can get pregnant. Help BCC reduce the number of kittens born outside.

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