The Cats and Dogs of Clarion Alley, San Francisco’s Most Colorful Street


A few months ago, Catster editor Vicky and I visited San Francisco’s Mission District with the plan to stop by as many thrift stores as we could find and search for ceramic cat tchotchkes to send to the Teal Cat Project. Our search only yielded one porcelain cat — lame! — but we were glad for the opportunity to stretch our legs outside the office, and took a moment to walk down Clarion Alley, which is sandwiched between Mission and Valencia streets.

The street is home to the Clarion Alley Mural Project and is a must-see for locals and out-of-towners alike. I’d photographed the evolving fences and garage doors for SF Weekly in the past, and figured it was as good a time as any to capture the alley in its present state — this time with a fisheye focus on all things cat. And maybe a few dogs.

Above: The remnants of a tabby piece. We’re not sure if the wings are a later addition.

Clarion Alley is home to several big cats. Here’s one that’s inspired posters we’ve seen elsewhere in town.

A black cat’s shadow next to a colorful garage door.

Another large cat. Lion? Panther? You tell us.

Several dogs reside on Clarion, too.

This doggie installation is a wee bit creepy.

One cat pulls a disappearing act.

Not all the cats of Clarion are on the walls…

A Doxie in a cluster of stickers on another garage.

And just like that, we’re at the end of the road.

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