As an animal rights activist and mother to her own kitty, Yushi, Davidson has always been interested in photographing cats – she did a cat photo-shoot the same year that she did her photo-shoots for Shake Puppies, and said that “I had originally thought I would do cats and dogs in the same book, but looking back I think it was best to give each animal its own book so their unique features could be highlighted.”
Davidson, raised by parents who were both artists and animal lovers, “grew up encouraged to be curious about both the nature and creativity.” This curiosity resulted in having her own pets, but also led her to the animal activism that affects so much of her work. “I believe that animal rescue is a revolutionary act of love, and I want that energy reflected in my work. When you rescue, you are creating space and empathizing with another being that needs the same things we all need: to feel safe, shelter, food, affection, and patience.” Not surprisingly, many of her kitty models are rescue cats and adoptees from her hometown, Portland, OR.
On our current culture of undeniable cat obsession, Davidson says that it’s only natural: “We have been worshipping them as spiritual icons for 10,000 years since the Mau (Egyptian cats) were domesticated, and the cult of Bastet took hold in Egypt. Now we worship them for their Internet antics because they bring joy to people all over the world. The rise of the cat back into worship status on the Internet seems natural if you look at their historic significance.”
But what’s so great about them, anyway?
“They are healers, I mean if your friend is having a bad day, sending a picture or video of an Internet icon like Lil Bub, Grumpy Cat, or pretty much any cat doing something funny, it becomes a source of humor, comfort, and connection. Cats combat Internet negativity with their sheer visual presence.”
Which is exactly why having a copy of Davidson’s book is essential. With over 135 pages – that’s over 135 different kitty cat action shots – you may never have a bad day again.
Photos via Shake Cats by Carli Davidson
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