“We moved around a lot when I was younger, so I never bothered making friends.” “Do you have friends now?” “The other cat that lives here is my friend. I think.” – Misko, Upper East Side
You probably already follow Humans of New York on Facebook – photographer Brandon Stanton’s never-ending series of portraits of New Yorkers paired with heartbreaking or inspiring quotes about their lives. Well, what if instead of HUMANS of New York, there were….cats?
Comedian and writer Jim Tews did just that with his viral Felines of New York Tumblr, pairing photos of his and friends’ cats with worldweary quotes like “I don’t really date. I mean, I could. It’s easy to have visitors here. And there are plenty of offers. But honestly, I don’t have the emotional energy.” or “I wouldn’t mind getting out of the city, at some point. More than anything, it’d be nice to have a break from the other cats that live here… She heard me say that, didn’t she? I don’t care. She needs to know.”
“I don’t really date. I mean, I could. It’s easy to have visitors here. And there are plenty of offers. But honestly, I don’t have the emotional energy.” – Helen, Astoria
You can still scroll through the Felines of New York archives, but FONY is now a book, out on November 24 – and for New Yorkers, there’s a book release party this Sunday featuring performances from comedians Mike Polk, Todd Hanson, Maeve Higgins, Doogie Horner, Team Submarine and Dr. Brett Levitzke.
We chatted with Jim Tews over email to find out more about FONY.
“The woman was complaining about the size of our apartment the other day. She said ‘It’s like living in a little box.’ But she made it sound like that was a bad thing.” – Calvin, Lower East Side
How do you find the felines for Felines of New York?
I start by going through friends and friends of friends first. That was a lot of the early ones. I ran out pretty quickly though, so I ended up putting a submission form on the website. That worked surprisingly well. There were no major weirdos. Nobody answered the door naked or anything. For the next round, I’ve considered soliciting via Craigslist, just for the stories.
Have Humans Of New York seen FONY? What do they think?
I haven’t hear directly, but I met that guy’s girlfriend at an animal-related event. She has a charity called “Susie’s Senior Dogs” that helps elderly dogs get adopted. She was very nice and assured me that he was cool with it.
“The older I get, the less I notice people taking pictures of me. That’s the youth-oriented culture we live in I guess, everybody wants a kitten. Until they need to get rid of a mouse.” – Unknown, Chelsea
Have you interviewed the New York-famous cat who sits on the man’s head? Will you?
I feel like I’ve seen that guy on the street recently, but for one reason or another, I didn’t get a photo. If I catch him again though, I’ll definitely talk to his cat. It’s pretty famous though, so I may just see if it has a PR team I can work with.
If you were a cat, would you be an indoor cat, an outdoor cat or a bodega cat?
I would definitely be a bodega cat. I like people watching, and those cats have the prime New York people watching job. I’d have to be a cat with a job, that’s for sure. I think firehouse cat would be great too.
What’s the best cat name?
I’m going to be partial here and say my own cats’ names: Bea & Arthur. My girlfriend named them. Cats with very human names are great though, too. Like Sal or Greg.
“Do I have secrets? Of course I do, but they’re secrets I can live with. I’d never tell the girl this, but I’ve been hiding her socks for years. Behind the fridge. Nobody ever looks there.” – Miss Kitty, Lower East Side
“The woman has been trying to teach me to sit. Which, obviously, I know how to do. I’ll do it when she asks maybe once every three times. I know if I just did it every time she asked me to, she would think she was in charge.” – Liam, Williamsburg
“This block used to be pretty rough. But since I started hanging around, it’s been a lot safer. I stopped a guy from breaking into a car once.” “How’d you do that?” “I circled his legs and started purring. Basically, I melted him.” – Nick, Bushwick
“I wouldn’t mind getting out of the city, at some point. More than anything, it’d be nice to have a break from the other cats that live here… She heard me say that, didn’t she? I don’t care. She needs to know.” – Phyllis, Williamsburg
My siblings could live next door for all I know. But if neither of us are allowed outside, then we’ll never find out. It’s just one of those things. Where does the red dot come from? Where does the lady go during the day? Why can’t I open the food cans myself? There’s stuff in life you’ll just never know.” – Kip, Gramercy Park
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