cat portrait Tobi

A Cat Portrait of Sleeping Tobi

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“I want to have you paint a portrait of my cat,” she said. “How much would it cost?”

She stood before me, a 11 (or 12) year old neighbor kid, having stopped me as I was walking past her house.

I looked at her and considered. I didn’t have to think long, because as much as I want to make my portrait business a success, I’m not going to take money from kids.

“Well,” I said, “I usually charge about a hundred dollars for a pet portrait.”

I paused and watched her shoulders sag in utter disappointment.

“But for you, I’ll offer the Friends, Family and Neighbor Kid Discount, which is free.”

That put the spring back in her step.

It turns out her cat, Tobi, was just a kitten when it disappeared. It most likely got caught outside by coyotes or some other predators. It happened a year or two back, and she really missed it.

We live out in a rural area, so such things are fairly common.

That’s one reason why I avoid getting attached to my cats. To my mind they are there for one reason: to control the pest population. Though they interpret “pest” to include not only mice, but chipmunks, lizards, snakes, birds, dragonflies… pretty much anything smaller than them that moves.

The other reason I don’t get attached to cats is that I’m a dog-guy.


So I asked her to have her dad email me some photos. She said she wanted the portrait to be of Tobi sleeping, as that was her favorite photo.

“That’s fine,” I said, “but send me a couple other photos just in case I need to see something else about Tobi that will help me paint his portrait.”

Things got a little busy for the next couple months and I had to put Tobi on hold, but last week I finally got around to painting a portrait of Tobi napping, just as she requested.

cat portrait Tobi
Sleeping Tobi (8×10 digital portrait)

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