5,000 Cat Drawings Later…

Today, at about noon, I drew the 5,000th cat for I Want To Draw a Cat For You. It hasn't posted to the site yet... they release to the site and to Twitter on an automated timer... but if you click the thumb to the right you can have a sneak peek! Every thousandth cat is a gift I draw to myself... a little check-in with me to mark my mental and emotional state as this project continues. When I drew cat #1,000, I was congratulating myself on what I thought was the tail end of a project. At that point, that I had even reached 1,000 cat drawings was blowing my mind. The ridiculous influx of orders I received from my Groupon deal had taken quite a toll on me - late nights rushing through as many orders as I could had left me sleepless and anxious. So that thousandth cat was my way of patting myself on the back, and also a reminder that I should strongly consider all possible outcomes before rapping publicly about what I want to do for people. My Shark Tank appearance happened right around cat #1,450, so by cat #2,000 the crush I felt from the Groupon surge looked like a walk in the park. I had at least another 1,000 cats in my backlog. I was back full time at my day job, and putting in late and exhausting nights after work every day. I was a complete mental and emotional wreck. I think the drawing captures that pretty well. Cat #3,000 posted just 3 weeks later, on my 36th birthday. I was sick, I was tired... but cool and promising things were happening with the project. I was working with a toy designer and a literary agent on concepts to grow the brand, and all of my hard work seemed to be serving some greater purpose. So I mustered up a Happy Birthday, and kept plodding along through my queue. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I drew cat #4,000. I'm sure there's a cry for help encoded in there somewhere, as the thousand cats immediately following were pretty rough. More than once I cursed myself for having started this silly project, and strongly lamented the time I was spending away from my family. The hardest part was seeing the effect of my absence manifest in my kids. Which brings me to the cat I drew today, the 5,000th in the series. It came up in the queue as I was hitting my low. The weight and stress of adding this work to my life, and how it has eaten away at my day job and parenthood, was absolutely crushing me. But sometimes when you're at the bottom, you can touch the roots. As I put pen to paper, I was struck with the reason for this, and all of my other silly projects... and remembered why it's all worth it. I draw stick figure cats for people to combat loneliness in myself and others. In times when I have been down, finding a kindred spirit out there in the universe has always made a big difference. Weird people need to be noisy some times so that other weird people can find them. So while I can't sustain this pace forever, I have to have a little faith that I can push through this rough spot and turn this project into something that eats a little less of my time. And while I do that, I take comfort knowing that each cat drawing is a personal note between me and a customer - and every once in a while that tiny gesture of connection will put a smile on my face, or on theirs. And that is pretty important. So important, in fact, that I drew myself a bonus pig to boot. Only time can tell us if the sacrifices we make in the name of silly dreams are worth it in the end. Cheers, weirdos. There are still a few of us kicking around in this crowded, empty universe.  

  • Joyce_b_l

    How do I get rid of the annoying sign up banner across the screen???

  • Candice Stephanie

    I just received my cat (a gift from my husband) last week.  It put a huge smile on my face!  Thanks very much :)

  • Corey

    This is so stupid…

  • Andrew

    LAMMMEEEE

  • Romerorachel

    What’s the size of the drawing?! 81/2′ by 11′?

  • Indiglo Machinica

    You are a GENIUS!!!!

  • jadabeta

    You make the world a better place, one cat drawing at a time. Thank you for having the courage to do something that on the surface seems silly and pointless…when the point is that the world needs silly. 

  • Vicowan

    I loved your Shark Tank appearance so much that I recorded it for my teenage daughter.  When she saw it, she laughed and laughed and recorded on her cell phone to show all of her friends.  And low and behold, I did what I never thought I’d do–I ordered her a cat as part of her high school graduation package.  I just got the cat(s) and am in love with the drawing.  She is out of state at her college orientation, and I will give it to her as soon as she gets back.  I know she will love, love, love it, roar with laughter and show it and the link to all of her friends.  Thanks for a fun, innovative, totally whacky (much like me) product that can only bring smiles and joy.