Cats enjoy a special place in visual representation in many cultures as companions, subjects, and symbols. Cats appear in the ancient art of Egypt where cats were revered as gods. In this depiction, a cat has just killed a snake and is being appreciated for it’s predatory skills.
Often cats are included as a symbolic element as part of a composition. In Francisco Goya‘s Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuniga, the cats lurk in the corner of the painting, threatening the bird while the child is unaware of the danger. Look carefully–how many cats do you see?
Cats are depicted in relation to their humans as in Ceclia Beaux‘s Sita and Sarita, a portrait of both human and feline–who is Sarita and who is Sita is not clear as the companions are represented equally.