Cat Life Drawing classes at Catfe in Vancouver are officially back in session.
The unconventional drawing classes started in 2019, before going on hiatus due to the pandemic, and returned to Vancouver’s first cat café.
Taught by Erin Green, an instructor at Emily Carr University and owner of the art school Children of the Craft, the classes offer participants a chance to improve their art skills and learn new ones while spending time with cats.
“Even when we first opened, that was one of my goals … to have fun little workshops,” says Michelle Furbacher, Catfe’s owner. “I chatted with [Erin], and we decided we would start holding Cat Life Drawing classes at Catfe.”
Furbacher says that the classes are not only a fun fall activity, but they also offer a way to interact with cats that is different than normal, especially for those not going back to school who are still interested in taking a class.
“The cats are used to everyone [wanting] to pet them and play with them,” says Furbacher. “But this one’s a little more hands-off because you’re standing there, observing them, and drawing. And then they get more curious about you and then crawl all over you.”
“I find, even if we have some shyer cats there, often that’s a really good night for them because they feel more confident to come out,” she says.
Furbacher says the timing was right for restarting the classes.
“It’s the fall season. It quiets down a little bit after the summer,” she says.
“Everyone was ready to get out and do something again. We spent a lot of time apart from each other, so as long as we can gather in small groups, it’s nice to be able to socialize with people again.”
After holding its first class of the season on Sept. 14, Catfe will be holding the classes on Tuesday evenings every other week and will be going the entire fall season.
“Ideally, I would like to have it run through until summer again,” says Furbacher. “It depends on what happens with the rest of the world. But we’d like to make it kind of a permanent fixture at least through the school year, once every other week.”
In addition to being a fun way to spend time with cats and meet people interested in them, Furbacher says the class teaches practical drawing skills that can be used for cats or anything else.
“We have had people that took the class before that got really into sketching, and then they got their own sketchbook, and then they would come back to Catfe just for a regular visit and sketch the cats,” she says.
“It’s a nice way to destress as well, with all the craziness that’s going on in the world, just take a couple hours apart from the world and do something creative. It’s nice to let your mind wander and be creative and be with cats.”