Getting a Grip on Kitty


Pam’s Pictorama Photo Post: Just like something out of a Lilian Harvey film from 1930, this German photo of man, child and katze caught my eye recently. A bit of google search tells me that Vandenheuvel is a surname, although obviously also an advertisement here. It could perhaps, be the name of the man and girl. I like the little girl – she is at a gangly stage with her legs a bit out of proportion (tights bagging at the knees) to the rest of her, big smile and of course clutching her tuxedo cat; him, one ear cocked in vague irritation, tucked neatly under her arm. The man, smoking a pipe, with a smile more in his eyes than on his lips, looks like a nice man. While everything about them is a bit worn, there is a sense of ease if not actual prosperity about them.

A girl and her cat – a favorite theme of mine. While cats have been my friends and confidents since childhood they, like me and especially the childhood me, are also notoriously willful. It is very hard to get a cat to do something that wasn’t the cat’s own idea to begin with, as we all know. This includes getting them to sit still in a photo.

The way she is holding the cat is what my family refers to as cat prison. Obviously cat prison is a gotcha grip on a cat that guarantees the best result for holding onto said puss. The hold in the photo is one of the dependable ones and certainly one of the few that can be employed for photo taking – although in looking over some photos we’ve also been know to employ the method of flipping them over on their back like a baby. As a kid I used to carry our huge orange tabby Pumpkin around like the girl in the photo – which he allowed if not actually encouraged. (Pumpkin and I were close. He would have taken anyone else’s arm off.) My father coined the phrase cat prison – his preferred hold is on his lap with his two large hands holding the cat on his lap – nothing fancy for him. Usually employed in his case for brushing said kitty. It can be the only way to get a photo of some cats – but it is also the struggle of man against the determination of cat – a never ending battle.



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