Did you know there are a host of virtual museum tours for cat lovers? Museums around the world offer a wide selection of cat paintings and artifacts that might not be so easy to find when you’re trying to squeeze everything on vacation.
While it would be quite impossible for most to visit Paris, Budapest, New York City, and Japan in one day, week, month, or perhaps even a year, virtual museum tours for cat lovers can bring all kinds of cat art from around the world into your home from the comfort of your couch with or without a kitty on your lap.
With COVID-19, quarantine, and self-distancing becoming a norm in 2020, people are traveling less, and we wondered how we could promote cat tourism and events. The answer is simple – take a virtual museum tour for cat lovers.
Now this might seem a bit far fetched, but it’s easy, you just need to know where to find them.
Virtual museums, art galleries, and online learning have spiked, and they aren’t likely to go away for two reasons: convenience and cost.
Cat tourism takes in all places where you can get your cat fix, and a big dose of cat while on vacation. In a time when social distancing is keeping more people closer to home, virtual tours of museums featuring cat artifacts is a great way to see lots of cat stuff that we’d never have a chance to see.
Where do you find virtual museum tours for cat lovers?
At Paws, we were skeptical about finding a virtual museum tour for cat lovers. We’ve seen a number of recent posts about virtual museums, but could we find one that featured the feline.
Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 2500 museums and galleries around the world to bring anyone and everyone virtual tours and online exhibits of some of the most famous museums around the world. Their collection includes:
- The British Museum in London
- The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
- The Louvre in Paris
We could spend days looking for exhibitions about cats, and after we found the museum’s locations, we could spend hours locating the cat items we wanted to view within the museum.
But that’s changed with Virtual Museum Tours for Cat Lovers. With most, you can scroll through the art, do searches for cat art, and they’ll take you right to where you want to go. No more tired feet from going from place to place, and scrolling through the descriptions. These are included in the virtual tours you can take from the comfort of your living room.
A Mecca of Cat Art on Virtual Museum Tours
We could spend days looking for exhibitions about cats. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, British Museum all have cat exhibitions. We were surprised when we clicked on the link to the VanGough Museum and did a search for cats, that we were connected with a mecca of cat art. It’s not so clear whether VanGough was a cat person, but his museum does have an interesting selection of feline items.
It starts out with a short description from Wikipedia, which says, ‘The cat is a small carnivorous mammal. It is the only domesticated species in the family Felidae and often referred to as the domestic cat to distinguish it from wild members of the family. The cat is either a house cat, a farm cat or a feral cat that roams freely and avoids human contact.
Domestic cats are valued by humans for companionship and for their ability to hunt rodents. About 60 cat breeds are recognized by various cat registries.
The cat is similar in anatomy to the other felid species, has a strong flexible body, quick reflexes, sharp teeth and retractable claws adapted to killing small prey. Its night vision and sense of smell are well developed. Cat communication includes vocalizations like meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling and grunting as well as cat-specific body language.
A cat is a solitary hunter, but a social species. It can hear sounds too faint or too high in frequency for human ears, such as those made by mice and other small mammals. It is a predator that is most active at dawn and dusk. It secretes and perceives pheromones. Female domestic cats can have kittens from spring to late autumn, with litter sizes ranging from two to five kittens.’
Of course, the start of the virtual museum tour for cat lovers is for those either not familiar with cats, or those looking to do some online research for a course (after all Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia). Keep in mind, you will not find every piece of cat art there is. We did not find some of the master’s like:
An Old Woman with Cat by Max Lieberman
Let’s start a whirlwind tour in Los Angeles at the J. Paul Getty Museum, with European artworks from as far back as the 8th Century. Take a Street View tour to discover a huge collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, and photographs. On this virtual museum tour for cat lovers, we find the 1878 Max Lieberman painting of An Old Woman with Cat.
An old woman sits alone with a cat in front of a rough wall. Her head bowed to the side and her large coarse hands gently embracing the cat emphasizes the emotional bond between the woman and her pet. Through such gestures, Max Liebermann filled the subject with his own understated and affecting humanity. He depicted the woman in bright light and wearing a richly colored skirt, thus omitting obvious signs of poverty and avoiding an unnecessary display of sentimentality.
Influenced by the Dutch Masters of the 1600s, Liebermann became fascinated with themes that concerned contemplative states. He also absorbed the lessons of French painters; his richly worked execution of this painting reflects the painterly style he learned in Paris in the 1870s. The Old Woman with Cat was painted in 1878 in Venice, where Liebermann went to recuperate after breaking his leg. He captured that city’s famous golden light to harmonize the rich and disparate colors and textures of the woman and the setting.
Vincent van Gogh, Hand with a Bowl, and a Cat, 1885, is one of many items that can be viewed on one of the Virtual Museum Tours for cat lovers.
Virtual Museum Tours Around the World
At the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki, Japan, we are greeted with the 1909 Pierre Bonnard painting, Cats on the Railing.
At the Ruks Museum in Amsterdam, we find a relatively well-know painting by Jan Steen, 1660-1679, Children Teaching a Cat to Dance, known as ‘The Dancing Lesson’.
In this description, it says, ‘here is mischief-making going on here! A group of children is teaching a cat to dance, to the music of a shawm, a 17th-century wind instrument. They are clearly enjoying themselves, but the cat is screeching its displeasure, and the dog is barking loudly. An old man angrily reprimands the children from a window high in the wall of the room. Jan Steen knew how to reproduce the ear-splitting din of the scene.
At the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J, we are delighted to see the well-know cat poster, Tournée du Chat Noir de Rodolphe Salis (Tour of Rodolphe Salis’ Chat Noir) by Théophile Steinlen, 1896.
In the description, it points how Rodolph Salis established the Chat Noir (The Black Cat) as an artistic cabaret in Montmartre in 1881, and it soon became a popular gathering place for Montmartre’s rising artists and writers. Beginning in 1892, Salis organized a company of performers from the cabaret to go on tour during the summer months. This large poster by Théophile Steinlen, one of the important artists whose career was launched at the Chat Noir, would have served as a kind of ‘coming attractions’ announcement to be posted outside the venues hosting the tour.
At the Bottcherstrabe Museum in Bremen, Germany, we find Paula Modersohn-Beckerca’s painting of Girl in Birch Forest with Cat, 1904. While some have very detailed descriptions this one did not.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, we find Annabale Carracci’s Two Children Teasing a Cat, Gallery 639
Virtual Museum visitors at The Met are greeted with links to additional descriptions. Viewers of this painting are invited to imagine the result of teasing an obviously unhappy cat (you can almost hear its growl). For surely the little girl’s hand will be scratched. The painting thus incorporates a time factor and carries a lesson similar to ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’ and ‘Don’t go poking around vipers’. Painted with a directness and spontaneity that look forward to nineteenth-century art, this painting is among the earliest Italian genre paintings. It belonged to Cardinal Tommaso Ruffo (1663–1753), who also owned Velázquez’s Juan de Pareja.
To find this plethora of virtual museums for cat lovers, check out this link.
Virtual Museum Tours for Cat Lovers include more than just paintings, though there are thousands to review.
We also find an Egyptian leaded bronze Cat Statuette intended to contain a mummified cat, 332–30 B.C., at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City on view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 134. There’s even an audio guide connected so if you tire of reading all the extensive information, you can listen in.
The cat was the sacred animal of the goddess Bastet, a great and benevolent Egyptian goddess. For the Egyptians, the goddesses Bastet and Sakhmet were two aspects of divine power. Sakhmet, the lioness, represented dangerous, potentially destructive forces. Bastet, the feline of the house, incorporated the benevolent aspects of a deity that could be pacified by rituals.
In Bastet’s honor, mummified cats, sometimes in impressive bronze or wooden containers, were donated at her temples, of which the most important were located at Bubastis and Saqqara. The mummies were then buried within her temple precincts.
This statue was the container for a mummified cat. Clearly, this is not an ordinary cat. Its pierced right ear once held a gold ring (now lost), and suspended from its incised necklace is a wedjat-eye pendant. An impression of majesty is created by the cat’s erect and dignified pose and the alert expression of the eyes. The sleek muscles and long graceful legs convey a sense of controlled power.
Virtual Museum Tours show ancient and modern cats
Cats were first domesticated by the Egyptians in the Middle Kingdom for their mouse-hunting abilities. By New Kingdom times they had also become household companions. In tomb scenes, they frequently appear seated beneath the chairs of their owners or on sporting boats in the Nile marshes, where they flush out birds for their masters.
Taking a virtual museum tour of cats is a great way to see feline artifacts and art around the world. The best part is you can do it from your sofa with or without kitty in your lap.
Tabby Cat (Important Cultural Property)
Takeuchi Seihō1924 at the Jamatane Museum of Art, Shibuya City, Japan
- Bronze figure of the cat-headed goddess Bastet -900/-600
The British Museum, London
- 32c ‘Girl in Red Dress with Cat and Dog’ stamp
United States Postal Service 1998-08-27 Smithsonian Postal Museum, Washington DC
- Delle meravigliose cose del mondo, leaf a1r, Marco Polo 1496
- Monkey, The Cat & His Hats, James Whitmore 1949-01, TimeLife
Copyright: © Time Inc. at the Life Collection
- A Cat Teasing a Butterfly Gim Hongdo 1745/1806, Oriental Painting
The Gansong Art Museum Collection, Korea Data Agency, Seoul, Korea
- Cat and Lobster, Jamini Roy 20th century
- Leonardo da Vinci, Virgin and Child with Cat, a drawing, 1467/1519
The British Museum, London
- A Cat Mummy
The Brooklyn Museum, New York
- A Gold Headdress that represents a mythological being with bird, feline and snake traits ML100541, Chavin style 1250 BC – 1 AD
- Le chat, la balette et le petit lapin (The Cat, the Weasel, and the Rabbit), Martin Marvie, published 1756
- Two cats surmounting a box for an animal mummy
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Card game: The Black Cat Fortune Telling Game, Parker Brothers 1897
The Strong Museum of Play, Rochester NY
- Merry Company in a Pergola (The Cat-Family), Jan Steenca. 1673–1675
- Several photos from the Black Cat Auditions in Hollywood Life Collection
- The Poems of Thomas Gray, Design 9, ‘Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat’. William Blake, between 1797 and 1798
Keep in mind, not all cat art, or even well-known cat art is not available through the link we found to connect with 3,700 cat listings.
On the Virtual Museum Tours for Cat Lovers, we did not find some well-known cat works like:
- Child With Cat, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1880-81)
- The Cook and the Cat, Théodule-Augustin Ribot (1860s)
- Barber Shop with Monkeys and Cats, Abraham Teniers (1629-70)
However, a Google search should lead you to these works of art and others. It’s pretty cool to see all these interesting artifacts without going anywhere. We even found a Pinterest Board (not ours) entitled Dutch Masters Museum of Cat Art.
We do not assume we have a complete list of Cat Art here, and we have only tried to give you an example of the variety of cat art you can find by taking a Virtual Tour of Museums for Cat Lovers. If you have some suggestions of places we can highlight that have cat art, please send a comment or message us through the contact page.