Heart-Shaped Cats

heart-shaped cats on afghan
Heart Shaped Cats on the Afghan

Here’s my personal heart-shaped cat collection. Mr. Sunshine and Miss Mewsette have always been cuddle buddies, and they’ve always had this habit of curling up together cheek to cheek and chest to chest and wrapping their little arms around each other, even crossing tails in the front. They are a somewhat elongated heart here on the afghan* with the heart right-side up, but looking at them below they are a more typical heart shape only with the heart upside down!

heart-shaped black cats
Heart-shaped cats the other way!

Do you think Mewsette likes to get her photo taken? Mr. Sunshine isn’t as concerned, he just wants to cuddle. I’ve only caught a few photos of them because they don’t always cuddle together in the best light or against a contrasting background, and they are black, absorbing all of what’s available and not giving much back, making photos a challenge. Look closely, though, Mewsette has her arm right under Mr. Sunshine’s chin and he has his below hers, then he has his hind leg tucked into her belly and she has hers wrapped around his hip, then they have their tails layered on top of each others’, completely interwoven.

Here they are one night in my studio as I was moving furniture and cleaning, supervising what I was doing.

two heart-shaped black cats
Mr. Sunshine and Mewsette curled again.

And then the view from the top shows them heart-shaped again, but Mimi is sleeping behind them so they look a little misshapen.

two heart-shaped black cats
Heart-shaped again!

I found one very early photo of them as they were apparently developing this wonderful way to cuddle, though Giuseppe in the background looks a little miffed at the attention they are getting. I can assure you that I only got one shot because Giuseppe got up and sauntered between me and them.

black cats curled together
Early stages of the heart-shaped cat.

And finally, the photo of them I took on the night before Valentine’s Day in 2009 where they have their technique fully developed. Too bad that old camera wasn’t so good in low light conditions! Still, I couldn’t believe how sweet they were.

two black cats curled together
The original Heart Cats

Sometimes when I get a good photo composition that’s blurry or otherwise unclear, and not in a way that I can use for effect, I play around with it in PhotoShop. I never get enough time playing in PhotoShop so I’ll take any excuse. I liked the way this series of filters and adjustments clarified the image, even though it’s no longer photographic. The black outlines and areas of color remind me of the illustrations from some of the books I looked at and read as a child.

illustration of two black cats curled together
The original Heart Cats illustration.

I liked this so much I used it to print on a tote bag for sale.

So there they are, all my Heart Cats to date, though I’ve no doubt that I’ll have more to show next Valentine’s Day, now that I’m on to them!

*(This isn’t the same afghan you see so often in photos of them, as in “Muted Colors” and “Cozy”. That was the wool afghan my mother made which was damaged in a flood so all the colors blended. This is the afghan I made years ago because I liked hers so much and I wanted one just like it, though mine is made of acrylic yarn. It’s made of all the scraps from other afghans I’d made, plus odds and ends of yarn I’d bought because I liked the color. Each square, and therefore the pattern, is bigger than the wool afghan, and the colors are brighter; those yarn colors from the 70s were downright garish, but the afghan is welcoming nonetheless, and as with all crocheted things the kitties LOVE it, though they prefer the wool one.)

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3 thoughts on “Heart-Shaped Cats

  • February 14, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Love the photoshopped image. How did you do it?

    • February 15, 2011 at 8:06 am

      Gail, thanks, I love to play in PhotoShop! For this one I began by increasing the contrast so you could see more detail in the cats, plus the small details in the lightest and darkest areas dropped out–that simplifies the image. Then I posterized at six levels, followed by the Poster Edges filter to the point where I liked the arrangement of colors and black outlines. It was an overexposed image to begin with because of the poor light, and that’s part of the success of getting nice simple color areas; whenever I do this I have to remember to move the middle area of levels until it looks way too light. I also make several copies of the image and play around with them, especially if I’m doing a series of images and they all need to match. Good luck!

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