by David McElroy
For the past couple of years, I’ve been reading a web comic that captured cat personalities in a way that I’ve never seen in art — and it just started running in newspapers nationally today.
“Breaking Cat News” captured my imagination from the beginning. The concept was brilliant and the execution was even better. Artist Georgia Dunn watched her three cats — Elvis, Puck and Lupin — and then developed a continuing story around them. She imagined them as the operators of their own television news operation — and she imagined how they would view and report the events of her own household.
If you’ve lived with cats and have a love for them, her work just might melt your heart, because she imagines her cats in ways that many of us have done. (Although I never got around to making the website for him, my Merlin ran for president last year on a platform of every cat receiving his dinner on time.) I immediately identified with the work Dunn was doing based on her cats — and I suspect millions of others who live with cats might feel exactly the same.
Breaking Cat News touches on the things we can imagine cats thinking about and talking about, such as this very early episode about the cats’ outrage at their food bowls being empty at 7:31 a.m. The art style has evolved slightly since those early episodes, but the basic conceit — that the cats are reporting on serious news in their world, while “the People” are oblivious — hasn’t changed.
“The People” in the strip are Dunn and her husband, Ryan. The two children — who the cats call the Toddler and the Baby — are their real-life children. There are various other cats who Dunn has worked into her stories over the last few years. For a creative person who loves cats, it’s been an amazing thing to watch.
In addition to loving the strip, I’m inspired by what Dunn has accomplished. What started as simple illustrations she did to share with her friends on Twitter took on more and more of a real life. A book of the cats’ reports was published last year — and now more than 100 U.S. newspapers have started running the strip as of today.
For a writer, photographer and wannabe filmmaker, it’s proof that great things sometimes happen to artists who have talent and fearlessly push their work forward. There are millions of talented artists out there, but only a few break through to success, and it’s inspiring to watch one of those stories happen. I’ve enjoyed watching the public part of this come true for Dunn — and it gives me hope that my own art can find commercial success if I’ll trust the work and put it in front of the right people.
If your newspaper runs Breaking Cat News, please give it a try, especially if you love cats as much as I do. I think you’ll find this strip accurately captures the heart and soul of cats’ lives. It’s funny and emotionally moving, depending on the day and the story.
If your local newspaper isn’t yet running the strip, you can keep up with it on the syndicate’s website and read it every day online, as I do.
Give Breaking Cats News a try. I think you’ll like it.
Note: If you’re on Instagram, you can follow my six cats (and dog Lucy) at the McElroy Zoo, which you’ll find @themcelroyzoo.