UNITED KINGDOM – Richard Saunders once saw an ornamental shrub and was somehow struck by how its shape resembled his beloved pet cat while asleep. Now the images he creates replacing real-life bushes with his pet’s feline in mind have reached millions of people around the globe.
Imagine walking through a beautiful English country garden, turning a corner and spotting a gigantic, perfectly-manicured cat sculpted from lush green bushes lazing next to a lake.
Taken from the mind of a “surrealist” artist from Stapleford, Hertfordshire – and rendered into the high-quality fantastical images that they are – the topiary cat has been taking social media by storm.
Each of the photos feature Tolly, a Russian Blue owned by 69-year-old Mr Saunders.
The first image he created took a picture of his beloved pet – who died back in February – and cropped it into a photograph he took at Hall Barn, in Beaconsfield, where he had spotted a topiary shaped like a cloud.
“It reminded me of an animal sleeping, and I thought to myself ‘you could change that into a cat quite easily’,” Mr Saunders explained.
One of his later images, which depicted a cat drinking water from a lake located at Painshill, in Surrey, was seen by 3.25m people on Facebook.
“I’m fascinated by how things go viral – I never planned to make any money out of the project. It’s just a bit of fun,” Mr Saunders stated.
He said he always made it “very clear” that the topiary cats dotted around country estates were never real, but “about 25%” of people who saw them believed they actually existed.
Comments on The Topiary Cat’s Facebook page speak of just how users “wish they were actually possible” or are “captivated” by the “inspired pictures”.
Mr Saunders stated that he always breaks the news to people who think they are real, adding that he would “rather be known for my art than my deception”.
“I try to correct people, but sometimes they don’t want to know and want to keep believing they’re real,” he admitted.
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