View Full Version : Cats and pastels

05-25-2009, 09:33 PM
My new cat, a stray that a family member found, decided recently to curl up and take a nap on one of my colorful landscape pastel paintings. Needless to say, he was completely covered in colorful dust. I managed to get some of it off, but I know he ended up washing some of it off himself. He was also walking around the other day with one side of him covered in a rust colored pastel dust (not sure which painting that one came from). And just the other day, he jumped onto my oil palette sitting on top of my taboret and managed to get his paws full of transparent oxide red and ultramarine blue oil paint, some of which I was able to remove, but not all.

Do I need to be concerned? He's only two years old and I was hoping for a long time with him.

Ann :cat:

05-26-2009, 01:23 AM
My cats love love love my pastels. One favorite place they compete over is the foam I have over my French Companion. Here's just one example.


I do try to wipe them off, but like you I fear I'm not as good at it as their own tongue and I worry about their livers etc. I also try to make it unattractive/uncomfortable, but they seem to find another pastel alternative.

Sometimes, it's just brazen.


One picture I can't find at the moment shows this guy rolling around on a sketch, so it's all over his back.

He's Beau. Of course, I call it Beaux Art. I have four cats and three are enthralled with the pastels.

05-29-2009, 10:04 AM
I wonder what it is that seems to attract cats to soft pastels, this isn't the first time I have heard of stories of this nature.

I have a dog who loves to lick one of my watercolour pallettes, the one in question happens to be the one with my M.Graham paints on it which are made with Honey as well as the usual ingredients, I guess in that case it would be the honey that is the attractant, mind you on occasion she has licked one or 2 others. Fortunately this isn't on too many occasions but as you know, there are just some colours that wouldn't be too safe, like your Cadmiums for starters.

Hope you find a way of discouraging them from doing this.

Take Care and continue to enjoy getting dusty.
Love Carolynn :):):heart::heart::wave::wave::thumbsup::wave::clap:

05-29-2009, 12:12 PM
Brazen is as brazen does!
Here's my painting buddy who seems to sit on my work too. I've posted Rosie in a prior thread from a pastel mess she created. I think she loves art and the art making process. Here she is waiting for me to put the last mark on my canvas so she can sign it.

05-29-2009, 12:27 PM
I may be wrong since I'm not a cat owner or dog owner (unfortunately:( ) but I bet they are attracted to the place that you feel most grounded and happy. When we paint and are really in our element, I'm sure they are trying to tell us that they love the energy we exude.

At least that's my theory and I'm sticking with it!! :thumbsup:

Love the photos of the cat on the pastels themselves...

Why cats paint and why paint cats.... two very good books.


05-29-2009, 12:45 PM

Oh, just too funny about the cats and pastels!:lol:
My constant companion and resident furball, Urie, loves to be where ever I am and loves to get just as close to the action as he can. So far, that has usually been the back ledge of the futon in my "studio". Since my current studio is a crowded walkway in my music studio and the pastel trays are on old sheets covering the futon, this is as close as he comes to the pastels. But, there have been times, when I return to the pastels to find them slightly rearranged! :rolleyes:
Also, he tends to be very good at "aiming" his shedding cat hairs at my paintings....now just how did that hair get on that layer of pastel? :p

Cats do as cats want to do! :cat:
He loves to be with me when I paint, but get out my violin or start on the piano...and he's outa' there! This may show musical taste, also!:p

05-29-2009, 12:57 PM
Having been owned by a cat, I think they get a bit jealous over what one concentrates on. I used read a lot, and whenever a book or a magazine was on the table in front of me, the cat first took three walks over it, brushing her tail under my nose at each pass. If that wasn't sufficient for me to transfer attention to her, she langorously spread herself all over the book and wanted to have her tummy scratched. Same with the sewing. And any closed door was no challenge for that little Houdini.

(Yes, cat-people are nutty and can talk about their darlings forever.) What I mean to say is that these pastel kittys probably wants you to turn as intense attention and concentration on *them*. :cat:

Just hope they don't get really p*.... annoyed with you, and decide that the pastel box also can be used as a litter box... :evil:


05-29-2009, 03:18 PM
I may be wrong since I'm not a cat owner or dog owner (unfortunately:( ) but I bet they are attracted to the place that you feel most grounded and happy. When we paint and are really in our element, I'm sure they are trying to tell us that they love the energy we exude.

At least that's my theory and I'm sticking with it!! :thumbsup:

Love the photos of the cat on the pastels themselves...

Why cats paint and why paint cats.... two very good books.


That is a very interesting point, one I had not considered. No wonder my cat is always there with me when I am painting in my studio.

05-29-2009, 03:21 PM
Having been owned by a cat, I think they get a bit jealous over what one concentrates on.

I think you are absolutely right! My cat is also very jealous of my two young sons, (besides my artwork) and hisses and growls at them whenever I am with them.

I feel owned by my cat, too. :cat:

05-29-2009, 03:23 PM
Thanks to everyone who wrote in about my concerns over my cat getting into my pastels. I enjoyed everyone's stories and found them very endearing. I loved the pics of all the cats, especially Potoma's cat and Baby Beeb's cat. The look on Rosie's face is priceless. :)

06-01-2009, 01:07 AM
I was not a "cat Person" until my husband found two tiny little strays. They have grown into beautiful creatures and love hanging out in my studio. They are both boys and one day my husband came home to find me holding Tiger in my arms while painting. History repeating itself-my sons wanted the same treatment when they were little. The other cat, Simba, is the one fascinated with the painting mediums-he has wiped entire bottoms of paintings. For those who worry about the pastel dust-he is now six and is still going strong. I do wipe off as much as possible with a dry cloth and then with a damp one. I used to try and keep them out until Tiger(the smarter of the two) learned how to open my studio door.

09-09-2009, 07:48 PM
I'm a cat person too, and found my cat's actions funny around my pastel paintings until a couple of years ago when one of my cats got pastel dust in her eyes. The pastel ate thru her cornea and we had to have her third-eye lid sewed over her eye like a contact so she could see and her eye would not 'implode' into her skull! Apparently it was really painful for her! Poor little kitty! Now I lock my cats out of my artroom when I am painting in pastel :(

09-09-2009, 09:59 PM
My Monty (whose pic adorns my posts) is a bureau-cat who likes to sit on documents all day :lol:, thank goodness, so the pastels are relatively safe. [Although any papers I or my wife bring home from work are magnetic to him].

He did rub against a painting once, and I went ape cleaning him. It occurs to me that he is 1/30th my mass and has a higher metabolism, therefore, most ingested poisons will have far more effect on him than they would on me. I wash my hands before I touch my mouth. He washes with his mouth. I conclude he would ingest far more pastel than I ever would.

I now take precautions by keeping him out of the room when I paint, and keeping the pastel out of his reach at other times. It would break my heart if he were harmed by something I did, or failed to do.

09-18-2009, 11:28 PM
I've had that "get the colors off the cat" drill too with oil paintings. I had a cat in New Orleans with white feet who ran through my palette while I was doing an alizarin and ultramarine background. An hour of cat wrestling as I washed off his feet with Plumber's Goop and water eventually got them down to hot pink and sky blue, which lasted for weeks till the stained hairs wore out.

I have had quite a few scares with Ari and paintings, to the point where I start to wonder if his tail makes a good blender. But I've gotten good at getting it off him and keeping it out of him. Thankfully the only time he actually got much of it on him (as opposed to just sweeping his tail across for sudden gestures moving pigment) was when I was using some nontoxic student pastels, so I wasn't as worried about it poisoning him.

Washing out a cat's tail is a bit easier than giving the cat an entire bath. It takes rolling up the cat in a bath towel with the tail sticking out at one end, then holding him over the sink and rinsing out the tail thoroughly with a little baby shampoo. Despite the screams, this does a cat no harm, only an indignity.

The bit about pastel dust getting in that cat's eye is frightening. I'm going to have to be careful about him, though he's nine and we haven't had that problem or anything like it. I think that the way I work small may mean I generate less dust in general, at least I hope so.

After that incident I got much better at spotting him coming, moving the art and catching him. The drill goes set down art, grab incoming cat, hug and scritch, drop on other side of chair when he's done, resume painting.

I've collected some good sized tail fluffs he's dropped on the floor when grooming himself and considered rubber banding them to a pencil end so that I can have a safe cat-tail blender though... a cat-safe one. When he's done using them, the cat hairs are mine, right?

The cat photos are very cool. Thanks for posting them. Good looking cats.

Oh, one thing about foam and cats. My netbook arrived packed in the same kind of foam, so I put the foam pads on the bed after I unpacked it -- only to find that my daughter's cat curled up on one to sleep and my cat on the other one. So now these cats have got their own special foam pads to soften up the outrageously hard and stiff heated waterbed they lay on. Such a life.