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This Halifax cartoonist has a mission in 2024: ‘Let me pet your cat’

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Halifax cartoonist has a mission to pet 100 cats in 2024
Every new year, resolutions are made and most of them are broken quickly thereafter. But one local graphic novelist made a rather paws-itive one – setting out to pet 100 cats and documenting the experience online. And as Amber Fryday reports, feline fans from around the world can’t get enough – Jan 16, 2024

Kate Leth has a somewhat unconventional New Year’s resolution.

In 2024, Leth intends to pet 100 cats and document each petting in their “cat journal” — which includes a cute doodle and a rating out of 10 for each cat’s softness and willingness to be pet.

“I just wanted to do a resolution that was fun, that wasn’t going to be a struggle to keep up with,” said Leth in an interview from their home in Halifax.

“You know, a fun little side quest for the year.”

Leth, author and illustrator of the coming-of-age graphic novel Mall Goth, announced their intentions in a TikTok video on Jan. 3. In the video, Leth said: “I’ve done enough self-improvement. It’s time to pet 100 cats.”

@katelethargy

Rest assured the rating does not imply quality of cat because all cats are perfect 🐈🐈‍⬛ #queertok #100cats #newyearsresolution #resolutions

♬ original sound – Kate Leth

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Leth was shocked when the video attracted more than a million views and thousands of comments — including one from the official Google account, which called the cat-petting quest “inspirational.”

The cartoonist believes their resolution is resonating so much with the public because “people love cats.”

“I think it’s just wholesome, and positive, and simple,” they said. “I just want to do this fun thing that makes the year more enjoyable for me and creates silly little opportunities.”

In fact, Leth has heard from people around the world who have extended invitations to come pet their cats.

“I wish I could just tour all over and pet all the cats,” Leth said.

Kate Leth is making it their mission to pet and draw as many cats as possible. Amber Fryday/Global News

As of Tuesday, Leth was 10 per cent through their goal, having petted 10 cats so far.

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Most of them have been cats Leth knows — including their own furry friend, Callie.

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Leth isn’t playing favourites: Callie got a 6/10 rating for both softness and willingness to be pet.

“She’s more of a headbutt girlie,” Callie’s entry said.

Leth’s journal entry for their own cat, Callie.
Leth’s journal entry for their own cat, Callie. Instagram/kateleth

Other notable cats include Kimpy, a “scrungly” 19-year-old whom Leth describes as the “world’s oldest cat,” and Tortellini, who belongs to one of Leth’s friends and is “one of the weirdest cats I’ve ever met.”

One cat, Rey, even got a 13 out of 10 for willingness to be pet, because she “won’t let you stop petting her.”

“I want to be clear that no matter what I rate these cats, they are all a 10 out of 10, a 15 out of 10,” Leth clarified in one of their TikTok videos. “Every cat is weird, every cat is perfect.”

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One cat, Rey, got a 13/10 for willingness to be pet.
One cat, Rey, got a 13/10 for willingness to be pet. Instagram/kateleth

Leth is branching out from their usual work with this project: they’re drawing all the cats in ink without sketching them out first, “so they’re messy and weird and imperfect — just like cats.”

They believe their goal is achievable, especially now that it’s been shared online.

“Posting it online does give me a certain amount of accountability,” they said. “I do need to keep up with it now because people are really into it.”

They hope to one day turn their “cat journal” into either a comic book, or create a journal to help other people do the same thing for themselves. Leth also expressed interest in collaborating with a local shelter to help raise money.

“I really want to share it with people, and people seem excited for the idea,” they said.

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But first, Leth has 90 more cats to meet. They have a message for the public: “Let me pet your cat.”

— with files from Amber Fryday

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