Sunday, 16 June 2013

Cat Love - A Poem + Cat Photo Collage


Today is a special day. It's Father's Day!

This year, I decided to give my father something that he wanted: the gift of memories.
I accomplished this by making a Cat Photo Collage for him, because he loves cats. I also wrote the poem, Cat Love, for him, which I included in the collage.

Here is a photo of the collage:



Here is the poem, which is pasted into the collage:

Cats provide companionship,
semi-conditional love and joy;
Purring when happy,
growling when annoyed.
They each have personalities
and unique characteristics.
They have an amazing ability to heal
using their purrs and licks.
Cats are just like little children,
and will eat wet food on command.
They’ll ask to go outside
so they can roam and play.
They’ll bring home mice as presents,
whether cats are orange, black, white or grey.
Cats are adorable little creatures
- I think this is something we all know -
For all the reasons listed here,
this is why we love them so!




My father has owned many cats over the years, beginning with Lucky, a kitten who escaped death more than once, until she eventually died of old age.

Lucky was a kitten who climbed into my dad's car one morning as he was leaving for an out-of-town work trip. Lucky got stuck in the space where the gas and brake pedals join with the frame of the car. His hands were too large to free her, and she had to ride for four hours, stuck there, until he arrived at his destination and found a young boy who had hands small enough to retrieve her.

That night, while laying in his hotel room bed, my dad fell asleep while smoking. His cigarette landed on Lucky, because he had brought her to bed and was cuddling her.
My dad began calling her Lucky, since, after these two incidents, she was lucky to be alive!

Thus began the ownership of multiple cats.

The following is a list of the cats my parents owned, with a few words about each of them. (They are also the captions for the collage I made.)

  • Lucky survived against all odds, maybe because she had more than 9 lives! Loved sex, too; her many babies were proof of this!
  • Neebs was a fat cat with an attitude, who took no guff from anyone; she was the alpha female of the house! She was always underfoot! She was also sometimes anti-social, but happy she was rescued!
  • Swiper was a brave, friendly, fearless boy who had the loudest purr ever! He was an outdoor cat who got dirty all the time, too! Clean was not in his vocabulary. He got used to taking baths, but he never liked them!
  • Pounce was Princess’s playful little buddy, and was protective of her. She’s a Princess, after all.
  • Princess is a patient cat who takes her sweet time thinking about things, except when she’s doing her aerobics or running from the litter box!
  • Jacoby loves to eat treats, lay on his back, and chase invisible “ghosts”. He should have been called “Prince” or “King”.
  • Blackie is friendly but impatient. She is a treat lover with bad table manners who likes rooftops and breaking into houses. She hates baths, and will use your head as a springboard to get away from the water! She’s a free spirit who used to go by the name C-A-T until we re-named her.
  • Missing: Zorro, who broke his leg and healed himself, without the help of a $1500 vet. He only came home to “hang his hat”, since he preferred the outdoors. He never came home, and we don’t know what happened to him.
  • Missing: Hootie, who loved “pets”, was super-sweet, and lost his life to poison he consumed while out in the neighbourhood one day.
  • Missing: Sam, one of Lucky’s kittens, who would take your finger off when you fed her from your hand. She was a good mouser who ended up having kittens of her own.
If anyone is interested in the "how-to" process, these are the steps I followed to make this collage:

  1. I selected specific pictures to include. I chose some old photographs, and some digital ones that I took with my phone.
  2. I emailed the digital ones to Japan Camera, and then went there. The woman that worked there printed them out for me once I chose the size I wanted.
  3. I bought a piece of bristol board, washable markers, and a glue stick.
  4. I used a pencil and a ruler to draw lines on the bristol board.
  5. I used the markers to colour the bristol board, first experimenting with the order of the colours on a small piece of cardboard. Both are shown in this picture:
  6. I sprayed water on the bristol board and used paper towels to "blend" the colours, to give a muted effect to the boldness.
  7. I printed out the captions, then used scissors to cut them and trim them.
  8. I arranged the photos and captions on the bristol board, trying different arrangements until I found one I liked.
  9. I trimmed the photos in the middle using scissors. Three photos had their corners trimmed off, and two I "rounded".
  10. I glued the photos and captions down using a glue stick. I was going to use white, wet glue, but thought that the moisture would warp the photos.
  11. On a piece of cardboard, I drew a paw print.
  12. Using a pen, I outlined the paw print repeatedly until holes were eventually made. (I did not have an Exacto knife to cut with, so I improvised!)
  13. I used permanent marker and the stencil to add a bunch of paw prints to the collage.
  14. I went to the UPS store to get the collage laminated.
  15. I hung it on the wall using four nails, one in each corner.

My dad loved his gift! It was the best gift I could've given him, he said. It brought back many memories. My dad is not generally prone to shedding tears, but he did once he took a good look at all of the pictures. Some memories were not so pleasant, since many cats have died, or have been put to sleep due to illness or accidents.

However, he loved the tribute!

I even used a homemade stencil to add pawprints to the collage:




I took a photo of the collage when I was finished making it, before it was laminated, too.





The total cost for making this gift was less than $30.

Here is a breakdown:
$9.25 pictures printed out
$1.13 bristol board ($1.00 + .13 tax)
$2.26 markers ($2.00 + .26 tax)
$2.26 glue stick ($2.00 + .26 tax)
$13.00 laminating (this could have been $6.50 if I chose the thinner laminate)
Total $27.90

I already had scissors, so I did not have to buy them. I also printed out the poem on my sister's printer for free.

I have estimated that the time involved to make this collage was a total of about 5 or 6 hours, since my activities were spread out over a few days.

All in all, it was worth the time and the cost involved to see my dad both smile and cry, and now he has something that he can enjoy for the rest of his life!