“I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love.”

—James Herriot (pseud. James Alfred “Alf ” Wight, Sunderland 1916-1995 Thirlby, England) veterinarian and writer

I especially treasure this life-size stoneware cat created by French sculptor Jean-Auguste Dampt (see page 281 in Caticons).  Dampt has beautifully captured the graceful fluid movement of a cat gently reaching its cheek to caress an invisible hand.  It is such a realistic and distinctive cat gesture that my mind yearns to hear the gentle purr that usually accompanies it.   The relaxed posture of eyes closed, tail curled, and paw raised demonstrates the complete trust between the cat and its object of affection.  It is no wonder that this work was exhibited in Paris at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1896.  It just amazes me the amount of feline expression given to what started as a lump of clay!

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