When holiday shopping this year, don’t forget your furry feline friends. Perhaps instead of treats and toys this year, an Inspurration Poster might be just the thing your kitty needs. Life With Cats spoke with the creators, Mo Golden and Ross Cowman, about this unique product, what was behind the inspiration, and where they see their posters heading in the future.
Life With Cats: What was the inspiration for your Inspurration Posters?
Mo: Well, winter 2014, Ross and I were hanging out in our kitchen. We had just discovered “bullet-proof” coffee. Ya know how when you drink too much coffee, everything seems awesome?
Ross: This was the frame of mind we were in when we thought of the cat posters.
Mo: So we were sitting in the kitchen when Lily, our cat, came in for a little snack.
Ross: I’m not exactly sure how the idea came up in our conversation, but I’m reminded now of when Lily was a kitten. Whenever I yelled at her to get off the counter, she would go to her bowl and start stress eating. My roommates at the time and I starting telling Lily “food is not love”. We even made a little sign for her to put by her bowl as a reminder.
Mo: So in our conversation in 2014, there were a lot of past ideas floating around and it all just kind of clicked. It may have been the coffee but the idea of inspirational posters for cats felt like the best thing ever.
LWC: Did you do any kind of research with regard to what different types of items appear on the posters?
Ross: When we first started working on the posters, we assumed that there would be pictures of cats on the posters… doing inspiring cat things. Then, we remembered how strange cats are often actually stressful to cats and that’s not the kinda vibe we’re trying to create. So, instead, we brainstormed ideas for what images would be comforting or inspiring to cats.
Mo: Once we stopped trying to put images of cats on the posters, the whole project took on a new level of amazingness. We made our messages first and then looked for images that would complement them and that we thought cats would enjoy: warm sunlight, a full bowl of kibble, dead fish, etc. Once we made a few, we started taking them on house visits to test them out with cats.
LWC: How do you make the artistic determinations as to what appears in print?
Mo: Well, Ross is a graphic designer and I’m a painter. I’m really into color and how shapes work together in a space.
Ross: I’m really into fonts and kerning.
Mo: The way we worked together on this project is that I would find some images I liked and do a rough layout. Then, Ross would tighten it up and sometimes change out the images for other similar ones. We both pulled inspiration from old motivational posters that we saw growing up, in schools, libraries, and other public spaces.
LWC: How did the idea come about for poster placement? I noticed you had suggestions as to where the posters should be hung.
Ross: First, we took an average of cat body length and mass, and we compared it to that of a human. We used that ratio to scale down our posters to cats size. This was important because we really wanted the posters to become part of the cat world.
Mo: When you go into a gallery or museum, paintings are hung at eye level. When we go do a home installation, we first take a standing measurement of our feline client, “paw to jaw”. This allows us to determine what will be eye level for this individual.
Ross: Cats are creatures of habit. They are also really sensitive to changes in their environments. We determined that for maximum impact, we should install the posters in places cats are already hanging out: by the food dish, window sills, a door they like going in and out, and so on.
LWC: How has the response been to your posters?
Ross: When we began this project, I thought that it was a big joke and that the cats would just ignore the posters.
Mo: We even brought a bottle of catnip spray with us to shoot some of the videos, thinking we would have to lure the cats close enough to be in the same shot.
Ross: But then something funny happened: time after time, when we installed a poster, the cats immediately noticed the change in their environment and were genuinely interested in what was going on.
Mo: Part of the beauty of this project is creating a safe and almost sacred space for the cats by installing the posters. It gives the humans an opportunity to put more attention and empathy into how they create space for their cats. And it helps us all see things through their eyes.
LWC: Do you have cats?
Ross: Just one. Her name is Lily and she is an old lady. I was there for her birth in 1999 and we just celebrated her 17th birthday last May.
Mo: Just like the cat posters, we did the party as a silly joke but Lily loved it! She hung out with us the whole time, waited patiently as I unwrapped her gifts, gave each one a sniff, and even played with some of the toys.
Ross: It’s almost like she knew this was for her. In a way it seems so obvious now – of course, like any relationship, when someone does something for you with intention and care, it has an impact on you. Why wouldn’t this be true for cats the way it is for humans?
LWC: Anything you would like to add?
Mo: We’re going to be releasing a series of home instillation videos over the next month. If people are interested in keeping in touch, they should visit inspurration.com and join our Inspurration Cat Club. There’s a sign-up for it on our website. Thanks so much for interviewing us and for all the work you do to keep up this amazing site for the cat-loving community!