December 23rd, 2022
“Why the sleeping cat?”
There are questions I have been asked more than most others, and this is one of them.
For as long as I’ve been releasing my work into the wild, I’ve been flying the banner of Sleeping Kitty Productions over, under and through it. It’s the name of my business, and it’s featured everywhere, from my calling card to my convention banner.
So where did it come from?
One of the earliest examples of the logo comes from this beach ball, which I signed when I was sixteen years old. We were given these as closing gifts for the musical South Pacific; I played Lt. Joseph Cable in my high school production.
I drew cats all the time. I love cats.
We had three of them growing up. My first was an orange & white gentleman named Jasper; he was later joined by Beauty, a gorgeous Siamese lady, and Ace, a feisty black & white icon.
As an adult, I also had a cat. His name was Ashley Kitty Vogen, but we all called him Kitty (and a long string of expletives too offensive for this post); I adopted him, and his given birth name was so deliciously ironic. I whisper it to others only in person, to respect his wishes and protect his legacy.
I often say one of the reasons I love Marvel so much is because she’s part cat.
So I draw cats because I love them. Easy. But why is this cat sleeping?
First of all: it’s cute. A slumbering, snoring feline is adorable. It would always elicit a sigh or a smile when I drew one, so I kept sketching them.
But, of course, there is something deeper to why the cat is sleeping.
It’s because, presumably, when a cat sleeps, it dreams.
I knew that there were a lot of things I wanted to do; I was already writing, drawing, painting, animating, acting, singing, playing instruments, filming movies. I needed a ribbon to tie it all together.
It was never one thing and yet it was. It was all about, like my idol Walt Disney impressed in my head and on my heart, having dreams and then making them come true.
As I read Walt’s biography now, I am stunned by our parallels and comforted by the ways we diverge. I knew I didn’t want a company with my name on it; I wanted to collaborate and have people feel like they could stake as much a claim in what we created as I do.
I (in)famously went to art school for three quarters. When I was nineteen, I designed the official Sleeping Kitty logo that lies on every book I’ve ever published in an Adobe Illustrator class.
The cat is a paradox. Sleeping, lazy, yet plotting and dreaming. Doing while you’re not looking; striking when you least expect it.
I discovered a website called Cat Bounce today (google it) and they write about the appeal of cats:
“Cats are independent. Sometimes they’re mysterious. They’re always a little unscrutable. And they seem pretty smart, even when they’re doing something dumb. Cats can’t be told, they simply are. That said, there are all kinds of cats, just as there are exceptions to every rule.”
And that’s Sleeping Kitty Productions.
Independent. Dumb, but kind of smart.
And an exception to every rule.