An Afternoon with Artist Chloe Kutkus Morton and her Cat Elvis
Striking sage green eyes, a plump belly and the most affectionate nature - that’s what comes to mind when I think back to my shoot with Elvis the black and white cat. Just like his artist owner Chloe, he is such a happy and friendly soul and photographing the pair together was an absolute delight.
When I first meet Elvis, he’s fast asleep on his bean bag, sunken into it as if it was a memory foam mattress. He looks so comfy, but he gets up to greet me with a little nuzzle and a soft grazing from his whiskers. I know right away that he’s going to be a little charmer.
Chloe is a freelance artist specialising in pet portraits (click the link to see her stuff, she’s really good!). Chloe mostly works from her Leeds based studio, so day-to-day Elvis gets the whole house to himself. While we’re shooting, Elvis plonks himself down at the bottom of the stairs and stretches out. Chloe tells me how whenever she’s home in the day, she discovers something new about his daily routine and habits. This being one of them. He stretches out at the bottom of the stairs, reveals his tiny cat nails and starts kneading the carpet of the bottom step. Another part of his day that Chloe’s noticed is that he’s adopted a little nook right at the top of the house on a mezzanine landing. With its sloping roof tucked up in the eaves, it’s like a luxurious pent house for Elvis, where he can survey the space from a height. He also gets to curl up right in the middle of a sofa bed, it’s his prime afternoon cat napping spot. Lucky boy.
Chloe tells me about the older women that live close by. It seems Elvis is a bit of a ladies man as Chloe’s often heard them cooing over him. I guess that’s the thing about cats, they can have this whole other social life that you’re absolutely none the wiser to. Elvis is an outdoor cat but he never wanders too far. When Chloe lets him out on our shoot, she’s closely behind dragging a long spindly foraged stick. It’s Elvis’ stick and sometimes he likes to play with it in the garden.
Another one of Elvis’ adorable habits is that he has random urges to lap up spilt or dripping water. Chloe tells me that pretty much every day he will venture to the bathroom, get in the bath and just lick the hell out of the dripping tap. He even stumbles upon a spillage from the window cleaner while we’re mid-shoot. We just waited it out while he lapped up the dregs.
Mid shoot, Elvis decides to hide under the bed. You can’t really blame him, when you’ve got a big noisy camera being pointed in your face. It gives me and Chloe a chance to have a brew and a natter, and after a while we manage to coax him out with some Dreamies.
It’s not until the end of the shoot that I notice Elvis’ unusual chin markings - a big black splodge covering his mouth. It looks almost as if he’s open mouthed and in a constant state of surprise. Once I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it.
It’s my favourite thing about Elvis.
Visit Chloe’s Instagram and Etsy page to see her fabulous pet portraits and for more info on how to get your own.
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