new york city

A Visit to Meow Parlour, New York City’s First Cat Café

Meow-Parlour

During a recent visit to New York City, I had a chance to visit Meow Parlour. The city’s first cat café opened last December. The concept follows that of most cat cafés in this country: visitors can spend time with adoptable cats while enjoying food and drink. Meow Parlous allows visits ranging from half an hour to up to five hours. They offer free Wifi, so you could get some work done while in the company of cats. Continue Reading

Cat Books, Cat Art, and a New York City Christmas

Columbus_Circle_Holiday_Market

New York City is my favorite city any time of the year, but at Christmas time, the city transforms itself into a wonderland of Christmas tress, lights and over the top decorations you won’t find anywhere else in the world. And I feel a little bit like a kid on Christmas Eve, because I get to part of the magic that is New York at Christmas time: I’ll be the guest of digital artist Deborah Julian at her booth at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market on December 11 from 2 to 6pm.Continue Reading

Review: Travels with George: New York by David Stone and Deborah Julian

Travels with George: New York

I love cats, and I love New York City, so I had no doubt that I would love Travels with George: New York, the second in David Stone and Deborah Julian’s Cat’s Eye Adventure series. I just wasn’t prepared for how much I loved it.

In the first book in the series, Travels with George: Paris, George, a much-loved indoor cat living in a New York City high-rise, stows away in his humans’ luggage as they get ready for a trip to France. Imagine his surprise, not to mention his humans’, when he finds himself in a hotel room in Paris, along with his younger cat friend Billy, who somehow found his way inside the luggage, too.

George and Billy know they’ll never get away with that kind of an adventure again, but they came to like being “out” for something other than a vet visit. One day, they hear their humans talk Continue Reading

Join me for a New York City Christmas

New York City Christmas

There’s nothing better than New York City at Christmas time. I love New York at any time of the year, but during the holidays, the city takes on a magic that you just can’t find anywhere else in the world. And this year, I get to be a part of the magic that is New York at Christmas time: I’ll be the guest of digital artist Deborah Julian at her booth at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market on December 19 from 1 to 8pm.

 cat christmas card

The Christmas card above is just one of the many beautiful pieces Deborah sells at her booth. Continue Reading

Anjellicle Cats Rescue: saving New York City cats, one cat at a time

Alistair

New York City is my favorite city in the world. I love everything about it: the energy, the hustle and bustle, the fact that you can walk everywhere. However, I’ve often wondered what life is like for stray cats in a city like New York.

Thankfully, there are goups like Anjellicle Cats Rescue. They are making a difference for abandoned, stray, and neglected cats and kittens in the city. For over fifteen years, their Hell’s Kitchen-based organization has been a lifeline for cats in need. They are a member of the Mayor’s Alliance and a New Hope Partner with the New York City Animal Care & Control (ACC). Their goal is to help make New York City a no kill city.

They work closely with ACC to pull out those cats who are in danger of being euthanized. Each one is welcomed with kindness Continue Reading

Cats With Jobs

Bodge cats New York City

Here in the United States, we’re celebrating Labor Day today, so this post is dedicated to all the working cats out there.

I’ve had a number of working cats in my life. Virginia was my first office cat at the animal hospital I managed, followed, of course, by Buckley, as those of you who read my book know. Amber wasn’t so much a working cat as she was the inspiration behind The Conscious Cat, although who’s to say being a writer’s mewse is not hard work. Continue Reading

An Interview with Deborah Julian, Photographer, Artist and Cat Lover

A Champion Sleeper by Deborah Julian
 
I came across Deborah Julian’s cat art through an interesting “coincidence” that is a testament to how the internet and social media can lead to some really wonderful connections.  A Google search sent me to an article by Deborah’s husband, writer David Stone.  The article resonated with me deeply, so I clicked on various links throughout the article and realized that David was also a cat lover.  His article on Happy Cats sent me to Deborah’s website, and I took one look at her beautiful art and knew I wanted to introduce her to my Conscious Cat readers.  What I didn’t realize when I contacted Deborah was that not only was she a longtime reader and fan of the Conscious Cat, but she and David has just been talking about getting in touch with me to ask me to review their upcoming book, Travels with George:  Paris, a story about two cats and their adventures.  It is my pleasure to introduce this wonderful artist to you today.
 

Deborah has lived and worked in New York City for over twenty years, working as a photographer, innovative artist and art gallery director. She began her career in Buffalo, her original hometown, and earned her first degree in Photography at Villa Maria College, where her work was first shown in public. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with honors and a degree in Art History. For the last ten years, she has been the director of a fine arts gallery in Manhattan and has continued to sell and exhibit her photgraphs.  

Art and photography were Deborah’s primary passions for many years—until her heart was captured by a smart, funny cat named George. It was love at first sight from the moment they saw each other at the Humane Society of New York. She has since adopted two other terrific cats, Billy and Sammy. Her cats have become part of her art work as she creates colorful, whimsical images and more sober appreciations.

Deborah’s other favorite subjects are New York City, especially the amazing skies she captures as clouds skim the buildings, and travel. Many of her museum quality pictures were captured during trips to Europe and, nearby, while enjoying the views from her own windows. 

Welcome to The Conscious Cat, Deborah. 

How do cats inspire your art?

As a photographer I am an instinctive observer. I enjoy watching our cats and truly admire their spirit and endless curiosity about their world. I love to document their creativity, genuine sense of fun, and enjoyment of life. I’ve come to realize that it’s a reciprocal relationship-they are as interested in our lives are we are in theirs. 

While cats are featured prominently in your artwork, you also photograph other subjects.  What is more challenging – capturing cats, or capturing other images?

Both are challenging. My shooting style begins with observation. Whether it’s a cat image or a street photograph, I try to capture the essence of what I am seeing. My street photographs are created spontaneously. Sometimes I’m attracted to the mood of the moment. When photographing people on the street, I am usually drawn to a pose or expression that seems to tell a story. While shooting on the street I prefer to photograph my subjects while they are unaware of my presence and perhaps lost in thought or activity.

Everything Tastes Better With Cat Hair by Deborah Julian

My cat images are usually inspired by something I have seen my cats do. I delight in watching them play and explore. I often joke that our apartment is basically Disneyland for cats as my husband and I frequently set up boxes, impromptu tunnels and tents and anything else we can think of to engage them.  I’m not sure who enjoys this more—the cats as they explore these things or my husband and I as we watch them.   I try to keep my camera nearby at all times so I can photograph them when they are cute or funny- but that doesn’t always work out. I often try to get them to do something again so I can photograph it.  It can be a challenge to photograph them in the poses I want but it’s also part of the fun. The photo sessions are part of our play time and they have become very used to my camera.

 What is the creative process like for you?

City Cats by Deborah Julian

The cat images are created on my computer.  Often one image is composed of many photographs. I think my images are very painterly as I love to work with color and texture.  It takes a while to get the cat images just right as I want them to be colorful and interesting designs but also to portray realistic cat behavior. The cats enjoy our photo sessions but they do not like the time I spend working on my images on the computer as they are very much aware that I am not paying attention to them. Sammy will often walk across the keyboard while I am working and has been known to ad or subtract a few things from my designs. 

With my street photographs I think I instantly know when I have shot something really interesting. I shoot digitally and will make changes in color saturation and exposure in Photoshop.

Tell us a little about your feline family members.

All three of our cats were adopted from rescue shelters. George was 2 ½ years old when I met him at the Humane Society of NY. His first family gave him up when a child developed allergies to cats. My good fortune, as Georgie has been the perfect cat for me and will undoubtedly be the cat of my life. We’ve developed a very special bond.  When I adopted George I was going through a transitional period. I had some health problems and was dealing with a career change. George definitely helped me with his zest for life and gregarious nature.

Can I Jump That High by Deborah Julian

George has always had an incredible desire for adventure. Dave recognized this from the start and began taking him for supervised walks in the long corridor of our New York City apartment building. I was fairly shy but could not turn George down when he begged for walks when the two of us were home alone together. The first time George and I walked in our hall, neighbors I did not know came out of their apartments and said “Hi George” and smiled at me. George, always one to push the boundaries, discovered he could enter a neighbor’s apartment if their door was left open for more than a second.  Fortunately our neighbors have always been cat lovers who welcomed these visits. One night George, Billy and I were in the hallway together. We were near a neighbor’s door but it appeared to be closed. However, George noticed that the door was not quite shut tight. Not one to let an opportunity pass by, he stood on his back legs, pushed the door open with his front paws and bolted into the apartment while the door slammed shut behind him.  I remember Billy and I looking at each other with the same sense of shock, both of us undoubtedly thinking “Oh no! What did he do?”   Happily, the man who answered the door was laughing at Georgie’s antics. With George’s help I came to know all of our nejghbors, some of whom have become very good friends.

We adopted Billy as a kitten. He had been abandoned and needed a lot of reassurance. He has blossomed into a wonderful, confident cat. Billy has a very sweet disposition and thrives on attention. He is our most vocal cat and has a wide range of sounds, depending on the situation. When we travel our cat sitter tells us he talks to her and she tries to figure out what he is saying. Most likely he is saying that he likes his breakfast a bit earlier and that Sammy’s pouncing is driving him crazy. 

Sammy was adopted three years ago from a terrific group called Zani’s Furry Friends. They rescue animals from New York City’s animal shelters where sadly, they are at risk from euthanasia due to overcrowding. He was skin and bones when he was picked up by the city but extremely friendly. The woman who rescued him called him Stretch because he loves to flop down and stretch out on the floor when he greets people. He is our sweetest cat, in spite of all the trouble he had in his early years. He is affectionate and playful and seems to really appreciate having a family who loves him.   

Thanks for  joining us on The Conscious Cat, Deborah – it sounds like you won’t run out of inspiration anytime soon!

To see more of Deborah’s art, and to purchase prints, notecards and more, please visit her website and her Etsy Shop.

A Change of Pace, a Shift in Energy

central-park-new-york-wallpaper

No matter how much you love your life, your environment, and your routine (and I do), sometimes, it’s good to have a  change of pace and a change of scenery.  Following the same routine day after day can lead to stale energy, and a quick and easy way to shake things up a bit is to get out of your normal environment.  So last weekend I went to visit a friend in New York City – my favorite city in the whole world.  What’s not to love?  In addition to being able to walk everywhere you want to go, there are so many great restaurants on every block, there’s Central Park, and there’s the incredible energy of a city of millions of people.  And I hadn’t seen my friend in two years, so it was long past time for a visit.

I had a fabulous weekend, and the trip reminded me how important a change of pace and scenery and an opportunity to get out of one’s normal routine can be.  Instead of my usual routine I spent the weekend walking around the city with my friend.  We caught up on each others’ lives, ate at wonderful restaurants, went to a comedy club (celebrity sighting:  Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock!), and hung out with my friend’s cats.  I came home feeling relaxed and recharged.

Even if you can’t get away for a weekend, there are simple ways to incorporate a change of pace into your day.  You’ll be surprised how even small changes can shift your energy, and as a result, free up creativity, open your mind to new and different possibilities, and make you feel great.

Some suggestions for a simple change of pace:

  • Take a different route to work.  Instead of going the quickest way, go the scenic route one day.  If you work from home, find a different place in the house to work from.
  • Make small changes in your daily routine.  Do you always follow the same sequence when you first get up in the morning?  Shake things up a bit.
  • Try a new food you’ve never had before.  Is there an ethnic cuisine you’ve  never head but always wanted to try? 
  • Rent a movie that’s different from your usual fare.  Do you usually watch dramas?  Try a comedy. 

You’ll be surprised how these seemingly small changes of pace can shift your energy.