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Evil Cat Proves Everything You Believed about Cats to Be True

By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 30, 2011 3:20PM

2011_06EvilCatsCover.jpg We here at the Chicagoist staff greatly appreciate an afternoon diversion full of cats from from time-to-time all the time. So when we heard about Evil Cat: A Fluffy Kitty Gets Mean, a book of cartoons from bestselling illustrator Elia Anie about, well, we think you can guess, we were pretty giddy. This book is for anyone who’s ever wondered what their cat does home alone all day. Maybe they’re reading Symptoms of Rabies and tracking down a can of whipped cream for a nice scare when you come home. Or maybe they’re slipping genetically modified plant food into your garden. They could be doing any number of things really, and Elia Anie hilariously imagines the worst.

Anie, who is originally from Chicago but has traveled all over with the success of her first cartoon book Evil Penguins: When Cute Penguins Go Bad, was kind enough to answer a few questions over email. When not illustrating evil animals, she’s an independent animator.

Chicagoist: First penguins, now cats! Why cats?
Elia Annie: I find the idea of cute and cuddly animals causing mayhem to be hilarious. After doing a cartoon book about evil penguins, it was only natural that I follow up with cats. Not only are they adorable and melt-your-heart sweet, we know more about these animals (or think we do) and are familiar with their mischievous tendencies.

C: Is this cat inspired by a real cat?
EA: Evil Cat was not inspired by any one cat, but several cats that have deigned to entertain me over the years. I love interacting with and learning about animals, and cats are fascinating, mysterious creatures. It's this mysterious quality about them that is wonderfully funny, because I don't know what they're thinking about when they do certain, naughty things, or even when they're doing nothing. I know many people wonder at what devious things the cats may be thinking about when they stare at us, especially when they watch us sleeping.

C: Where do you get your evilish ideas?
EA: I love the idea that when we leave cats alone in the house, we don't know what they do all day while we're gone. What if they were bullying a teddy bear, or 'being curious' and finding out if other animals also land on their feet when falling? What if they are behind the great mysteries in life, like the sock that always goes missing from the laundry? We'll never know, but I keep pondering. I'm bit of a pansy and hate people being cruel to children and animals, so in that way, I'm not much like my Evil Cat. But that doesn't mean I don't chuckle imagining my mischievous cartoon cat doing all these things.

C: You must either love cats or hate them.... which one is it?
EA: I adore cats. We have many things in common. I, too, am an indoor creature who likes affection, but I also like being left alone at times and need my personal space. I have cat allergies and dry, sensitive eyes that turn bright red if I'm not careful, but I love playing with other people's cats. I think it would be so wonderfully strange if I lived with a cat. We would both spend the day staring at a fish bowl side by side, watching TV, and watching a bird outside the window, then find a nice warm spot somewhere and curl up for a good nap. We'd both give each other time to be alone, then meet up for a good bonding session. In truth, I think I would drive the cat insane because I would want to play with it constantly, and since I work at home, it would be unhealthy for us both. I imagine the cat (now hairless from severe stress) doodling Evil Human cartoons in the litter box.