'In The Cat's Belly' was created for PAW-sitive: Interactive Art for Pets by Wellness, the world's first interactive art installation for both cats and dogs (organised by Wellness pet food and Silversky Pte. Ltd.) in the start of October 2017.
Thinking it would be visually interesting for a real cat to be entering a larger cat, I decided to make a large cat house with different rooms in it. Each room is themed differently so the cats can explore them, much like when a child finds out about their own body at the science centre. Aiming to stimulate their senses of sound, smell, taste and touch, this piece not only has to look good, but has to be fun for the cats as well. As animals are much more sensitive to their other senses, I wanted to make sure that they could have fun and truly 'appreciate' art, not the way humans do- mostly visually- by entering and playing with the piece.
One of the rooms had soft bells (selected specifically over the noisier ones, so they are less startling), another one had a food bowl with kibbles hidden in a knitted piece, another one had cushions and soft objects, and the last one was filled with furry, textured yarn hanging like curtains. Of course, in the true style of my work, I incorporated objects like eyeballs, an oversized fried egg, and a mouse with a unibrow, just to name a few.
To encourage interaction with the owners, I also made a removable tail out of a cat wand, which owners could use to tease the cat with. On the back of the cat was a huge mushroom, which they could climb on to get to higher ground, and also had feathers hanging from.
Since cats are more sensitive, I took note to use a different combination of yarn for each area of the cat. The tongue was a mixture of cotton and soft mohair, the overall body was furry, and the mushroom was a coarse, textured yarn good for scratching. This was to truly pique the curiosity of the visiting cats.