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Someone Is Painting Cats on Walls; Is It Art or Vandalism?

In San Pedro, California, stenciled black-and-white cats make some say “Aww” but others say “Grrr!”

 |  Sep 23rd 2013  |   1 Contribution


Under cover of darkness, a mysterious soul wanders the streets of San Pedro, California. His or her mission: painting cats on the walls.

The next morning, when business owners and residents go about their daily routines, they’re watched by an assortment of life-size “cow kitties” stenciled on businesses’ walls.

This cat looks a lot like the one being stenciled on walls in downtown San Pedro, California. Black and white cat in a street by Shutterstock

The cats started appearing a few months ago, and now they can be found numerous places: on retaining walls, in alleys, on drive-through restaurants, and so on.

Some residents adore the new “public art,” but some business owners are up in arms. They complain about having to paint over the unwanted felines, calling it defacement of property.

Still others have mixed feelings. “I don’t dislike them, they’re kind of cute,” downtown art gallery owner Allison Vought told the Long Beach Press Telegram. “Is it public defacement? Yes. Is it public art? Yes. But it’s a heck of a lot better than seeing some idiot’s tag on there.”

Online forums, which are typically hives of scum and villainy, have whole strings of discussion and argument about the cat art. Some say it’s nothing more than low-class graffiti, while others say it’s more akin to the work of the famous stencil artist known as Banksy and say they’ve been having a ridiculous amount of fun spotting and sharing the locations of the latest cats.

Kids love the images, of course, because that’s the way kids roll.

As for me, well, I think it’s awesome and fun. If kitties started popping up on walls in Seattle, I’d be among the first to join the “spot the cat” parties. I actually enjoy seeing cat graffiti. I took a picture of this particular feline tag on a retaining wall on the Eastern Promenade trail in Portland, Maine. Heck, I don’t even mind that it has a swear word in it because I f***ing love cats, too!

Cat graffiti on the Eastern Promenade Trail, Portland, Maine. Photo by JaneA Kelley

I think the fine folks of San Pedro should lighten up. Like Vought said, it’s a heck of a lot better than gang tags. Besides, the mysterious cat art could become an attraction and bring “cat searchers” into the town, thereby benefiting local businesses.

What do you think? Check out the Press Telegram article, look at the photos, and tell me: Is it art or is it vandalism? Sound off in the comments.

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer, and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their cat advice column, Paws and Effect, since 2003. JaneA dreams of making a great living out of her love for cats.

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