Catlanta: My love affair with an elusive urban cat

About a month ago, Catlanta graffiti began appearing on the walls, bridges and buildings of Atlanta. We spotted them in Cabbagetown, Little Five Points, Old Fourth Ward, Candler Park — you name it, Catlanta’s little paws had been there.

And I fell in love. If you’re my Facebook friend, you might have even removed me from your news feed because you were exhausted by my photographic posts every time I stumbled upon a new Catlanta.

Then on Wednesday night I got a text from Amanda with a photo of a Catlanta magnet she’d seen on her friend Marta’s Facebook page. Catlanta magnet?! I had to know more.

That’s when Cody and I discovered that the mysterious Catlanta was becoming more than just adorable street art — it’s now street art for the taking. The creator had set up Twitter, Facebook and Flickr accounts that gave clues to where Catlanta cats were awaiting “adoption.” Some of the clues are easy: a photo of a cat on a napkin dispenser and the caption “El Myr.” You simply stop by the restaurant, order a burrito, grab the cat. Done.

Others are a bit more challenging — as in, your best bet to find said Catlanta is to happen upon that random lamppost or graffitied wall by complete accident and catch the sun glinting off it’s golden “fur.”

So that Wednesday night around 11, we immediately headed out into the snowy Atlanta night in search of homeless Catlanta kittens. (You can’t leave kittens out in the snow on a night like that. It’s just plain wrong.)

Our first stop was Cabbagetown, and we instantly discovered a kitten clinging to the side of an old Coke machine near Memorial Tattoo. Success!

We were hooked.

I’d simply thrown a coat on over my pajamas and hopped in Cody’s car, and large flakes of slushy almost-snow were falling from the sky, sticking to my glasses as I scoured street signs and Creative Loafing dispensers for lost cats. It was cold. It was late. It was a school night … er, work night. But it was strangely exhillerating.

Next, we headed to the Glenwood Park area and we drove through the nearly empty streets trying to find the buildings that would match up with the photo clue. We found the right apartment, but then we had to deduce at which angle the photo had been taken. Was it from the right? By that stop sign? From those steps? At last we found the right corner and Catlanta was waiting, cold and wet on a metal post. Success!

We assumed the most obvious Catlantas were already gone: Publix on Ponce, the Candler Park Market, Highland Bakery. But we were surprised to see that even some of the more difficult ones had already been sought out or discovered by passers-by. At last, we called it a night and brought our new Catlanta adoptions home to meet Foxxie and Fiver.

This afternoon, I was lucky enough to catch a Catlanta tweet that four more kittens were now roaming the city streets. I was 23 minutes late to the news, but Cody and I headed out again and met with more Catlanta success!

One of our kittens will soon be moving to Tennessee to live with Amanda. After all, Cody and I don’t want to turn into selfish cat hoarders and end up on Animal Planet — we just enjoy the game, identifying the locations, working out the clues, seeing if we’ve managed to beat the more eager Catlanta followers.

Tomorrow (Caturday!) a new kitten drop will take place. While boxes of kittens have been dropped off for adoptions in the past —which I’ve always missed — these are special Valentine’s Day kittens. We don’t know where they’ll be or when they’ll arrive, but I do know this: They’ll be gone fast.

Unfortunately, I’ll be leaving early in the morning to visit my mom in Greenville, so the ball is in Cody’s court. I don’t want chocolate, flowers or diamonds. I want a Catlanta valentine.

After all, Catlanta needs my love.

Photos: Cat_lanta/Flickr, Cody Wellons, yours truly

13 thoughts on “Catlanta: My love affair with an elusive urban cat

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention » Catlanta: My love affair with an elusive urban cat --

  2. A little bragging is OK now and then — esp. since you had to venture over to Murder Kroger, of all places. We missed the one across the street from there tonight by Masquerade.

  3. I wish I lived there so I could play. You guys are always up to the strangest things but it sure sounds fun! :)

  4. Finally, a way to horde cats that won’t land you in the nut house. I love it. And if you weren’t so into playing the game, I might have thought you were the one who came up with the idea!

  5. So excited to be a follower (from the crusade, and we’re not in the same “crusader group” but that ain’t stopping me). Anyway, it was just the other day that my husband and I watched a documentary on street artists and how this guy videotaped them and planned to turn it into a big movie, but then he decided to become a street artist too. It was fascinating. It’s called “Exit through the Gift Shop.” Some of those guys make millions selling their art.

    Also, how in the heck did you get a gig writing about zombies? Pretty cool, if I do say so.


  6. My boyfriend was just talking about that documentary yesterday, Angela! I need to check it out. As for the zombies, I got a job at Mother Nature Network ( about a year ago, and they’re really cool about letting me write about pretty much everything. I have quite a few apocalyptic articles under my belt now and I even managed to write a “10 ways muggles can experience Harry Potter” article before the new film came out. I finally have my dream job! ;)

  7. Oh! How did I miss this?! I haven’t even seen the graffiti tags- I am so unobservant. But I am a cat lover- I even have a DeCATur coffee mug.

  8. Catlanta actually recently left some kittens for adoption in DeCATur! I’m sure he’ll be back your way soon!

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