Although reader Lori Anne Parker and her partner John Danley own two cats, Lori Anne is also an artist, and submitted a work of art instead of a real cat (you can see more of her work at her website).
Her entry is called Oscar’s Nightmare (The Garden of Evolution #4), 2011. Oil, human hair, snake skins, and leaves on canvas, 30 x 40 in.
And the artist’s description:
This painting depicts a cat from the inside. As I was painting, I started to think that in many ways the pose and mood of the skeleton expressed the quintessential volatility and unruliness of the feline disposition. Basically, the way your cat might be purring one minute only to swat you mid-purr, all the while leaving you wondering about the cause of the sudden shift in mood (was it free will or just some random burst of energy…?). On a deeper level, the pose and mood are about the pain and struggle that is part of evolution. If you look closely, the cat is walking through and on pieces of snakes (made from real snake skins found in my yard). Of course, the snakes, in part, symbolize the other one we’ve all heard way too much about. Though the cat may be sinister and there is the red of blood in this painting, I also want it to reflect the dynamic, wild energy that is simply part of being alive. The title came about through my friend Oscar who was horrified when I told him about handwashing the shedded snakeskins for the painting. Then he confessed to me that he was also creeped out by cats. As a child in Mexico as he was running to school one morning, he took a short cut down an alley, jumped over a mud puddle, only to land with a foot on a plastic bag with a dead cat inside. His foot caused the bag to burst open. When he got to school, he noticed pieces of cat in the treads of his shoe and basically had a panic attack. After he told me this sad story, I said “this painting is your worst nightmare then.” And that was when the title was born.