Many potters share their studio with at least one cat, and that’s certainly been true for me ever since I first began potting in my own space. If you look on YouTube, you can find videos of studio cats, sometimes “helping” out on the wheel or walking through a partially constructed clay piece (leaving interesting footprints), and sometimes just taking up space. I have to admit, all of my cat companions have done more of the latter. Their contributions to the creative process have been mostly intangible.
But the company is always nice. They don’t talk or interrupt your chain of thought. They don’t comment and tell you one ear on that sculpture is lower than the other, or the handle on that mug is crooked, or you didn’t wedge that ball of clay enough. Sometimes they tell you it’s time to eat, but that’s about it.
More important, cats have an independent attitude that is a good model for an artist of any kind. They are not crowd pleasers. You don’t like where they’re sitting, go find yourself another chair. They’re not in your face, distracting you with tangents or needs of their own. If they want to chase a squirrel from window to window, they’ll just do it. And when they’re done, they’re done. The only thing that will keep them in the studio when time’s up is a closed door, and that will just cause the kind of caterwauling that no quiet introverted potter can stand for long.
A lot of us potters work alone for hours at a time, in our own world, in a creative zone that makes the rest of the world and all of its cares completely vanish from awareness. That happy place is what a cat finds in curling up in the only spot of sunshine in the studio.
And that’s why the cat.