Exclusive Interview with Zarathustra from Fat Cat Art

I love art. I love animals. I love when the two combine. I was not paid to write this article; it was my pleasure. All I received was a copy of the book to review.

Life with Dogs and Cats Exclusive Interview with Zarathustra the Cat

He’s big in the art world. He’s also fluffy. And has whiskers.

I had the opportunity to chat with Zarathustra, the muse (mews?), model, and majestic mancat of Fat Cat Art who collaborates with Svetlana Petrova, an artist whose medium these days is improving classic masterpieces. By adding a cat. Specifically a fat ginger sweetheart named Zarathustra.

Zarathustra is coauthor (with Svetlana) of the new book Fat Cat Art. (Enter for your chance to win a copy!)

Zarathustra and Svetlana

Zarathustra lived with (and was spoiled by) Svetlana’s mom, who called him, “the best Cat in the world.” When she passed away in 2008, Sventalana adopted the cat. “I was so close to my mother, and miss her so much. Zarathustra was and is a living memory of my mother.”

Encouraged by friends, and trying to find her way out of the depression that followed her mother’s death, Svetlana began photoshopping Zarathustra into famous paintings. The artists and collectors she sent them to laughed so hard they wept.

Zarathustra Fat Cat Art poses with Monet painting

Zarathustra of Fat Cat Art poses with one of Monet’s waterlily paintings — where the cat appears three times. Courtesy Fat Cat Art.

Svetlana tells me that Zarathustra loves to be photographed. He “likes to be photographed, for him it is an interesting game, though he acts in a very professional way. And he adores a lot of attention to his precious person!”

Both artists take their work seriously; Svetlana adds texture gels and oil colors to match the original artists’ work — even using “very rare historical pigments made from precious stones such as lapis lazuli (which for example, is a very important color in Vermeer’s Milkmaid.)”

Zarathustra by Fat Cat Art in

Notice the striking blue in The Kitchen Maid by Johannes Vermeer. I think Zarathustra would like some milk. Courtesy Fat Cat Art.

You’ll note in the following interview with Zarathustra that he uses the royal “we,” referring to himself in the plural. I asked Svetlana about this. She told me, “Zarathustra refers to himself as We, like kings in the ancient times did, because he is full of dignity as much as they were, and he also thinks he is representing all cats, like Simurgh, the Iranian mythical bird as large as thirty birds. Zarathustra thinks he is as large as many cats. He lived for ages hidden in art; that is why he has a big respect for himself and refers to himself as We.”

She added,”If you would see his extremely serious full-of-dignity face in some very funny moments, you would understand that he cannot speak in another way!”

And then she told me, perhaps as a way to explain the cat’s warmth and loving nature, even as royal as he is, Zarathustra “calls other cats ‘Our beloved brother’ or ‘Our beloved sister.’

Thus Speaks Zarathustra: Interview with the co-author of Fat Cat Art

Do you enjoy posing and participating in the artwork?

Yes! We love it! Our main passion is to sit for the great artists. Only great artists can appreciate Our generous body and sublime soul.

Do you have a favorite artist or style?

We love Renaissance art, there We feel Ourselves at home. Peter Paul Rubens is good for Our fluffy forms. Dutch still life is so tasty, especially crabs and lobsters. Salvador Dali loved cats, and he loved Us most of all; We are making his art even more surreal. We appreciate Edward Hopper for reserving a lot of empty space in his paintings for a cat as large as We are.

Zarathustra Fat Cat Art Bacchus by Peter Paul Rubens

Enjoying himself in Bacchus by Peter Paul Rubens. Rubens tended to paint large and sensuous women, so you could see why Zarathustra fit right in. It’s where the term “Rubenesque” originated. Courtesy Fat Cat Art.

What are some favorite works of art that you have appeared in?

Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali. [Interviewer’s note: you can see these on my previous Fat Cat Art post and giveaway page) Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder — here We gave a recipe how to fix the tower, St.George and the Dragon by Uccello – We made this story non-killing. In fact We improve only paintings that We love, so We love them all!

Zarathustra of Fat Cat Art in Paulo Ucello's Saint George and the Dragon

In the “original,” Saint George is killing a dragon. Here, Saint George is feeding a winged Zarathustra organic meat. A definite improvement. Courtesy Fat Cat Art.

Are there other famous cats or people you would like to meet? If so, why?

We love to meet all famous cats because cats solidarity helps to resolve human conflicts We had Our very good friend cat Hank who ran for Senate; unfortunately he passed away. And now We are in friendly relations with Tuxedo party and with Simon’s Cat.

We are planning to make a festival of cat culture in St.Petersburg Russia next year, and hoping to invite famous cats there, of course if they will be able to travel so far away. We, cats, don’t like to travel too much.

Zarathustra Fat Cat Art with framed prints

Zarathustra posing with some of his paintings. Courtesy Fat Cat Art.

Do you have any advice for other artistically inclined cats — or dogs?

Yes! Train good your humans, teach them, inspire them, support them; they need your love so much, and you will have success in art!

The title of your book is Fat Cat Art. Do you mind being called “fat?”

Do you know that the family name of Leo Tolstoy means “fat,” and his name sounds just like “lion” in Russian? If Leo Tolstoy is a “fat lion,” We don’t mind to be a “fat cat.” It is just a nickname; in fact We are big-boned and fluffy.

But We hate if somebody calls Us “overfed.” We are making so much efforts being on diet, that it sounds very offensive for Us!

Zarathustra Fat Cat Art with Willem Claeszoon Heda Still Life with a Lobster

One of Zarathustra’s favorite types of paintings: Still Life with Lobster (by Willem Claeszoon Heda.) Courtesy Fat Cat Art.

Enter to win a copy of Fat Cat Art book or print (and learn the secret to the Mona Lisa’s smile)

15 Comments on "Exclusive Interview with Zarathustra from Fat Cat Art"

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  1. Jana Rade says:

    I think the artwork is lovely. The kitty needs to lose a bunch of weight, though.

  2. I love the paintings with the addition of the cat. How does she use those paintings without copyright infringement? I ask because we have several things that we’ve done with Bentley but are afraid to show them publicly.

  3. Summer says:

    We are HUGE fans of Zarathustra and his human! My human and I adore the art.

  4. Robin says:

    I love seeing these images! I have run across them on the web many times. This book looks totally pawsome. Great interview!

  5. Gweat posty. Cute fat cat art fotos. Have a gweat day.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  6. These are some fun pieces of artwork, but we hope the kitty is losing some weight so he’ll be around a long time.

    • Yes Svetlana knows this. She has Zarathustra on a diet. He was large when she inherited him from her mom, who spoiled him. Zarathustra isn’t too happy about the diet, but Svetlana loves him and indeed does want him to be around for a long time.

  7. The paintings are adorable with the “fat cat” in them! We will go and enter your giveaway.

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