Musician and multimedia artist Amy Raasch delivers a psychedelic spin on the Internet’s obsession with cats in “KITTY DECIDES,” her captivatingly campy video treatise on the infamous imperiousness of our feline friends. Proceeds from the web installation benefit animal rescue. Vibrantly captured by cinematographer Kelly Jones of the Foo Fighters’ viral sensation, “White Limo,” “KITTY DECIDES” springs from the screen with celebrity cats, a kindle of curious rescue kittens, a rock band of seven year-old girls and a cat who watches it all on TV. Set to the beat of an electro-pop earworm produced by veteran songsmith David Poe, the video examines the aloofness, self-absorption, and fantasy world that cat fanatics associate with their felines.
“Many cats love being pet – until they do not,” quips Raasch, whose multimedia performances embrace animal themes. “That is when play turns serious. The song and video were inspired by that moment when you’re petting a cat and she flops over on her side to present her stomach, so you pet the stomach and she chomps you!”
An adoptee herself, Raasch has always had a soft spot for homeless animals. “Some mistrust cats’ changeable moods. It is true that cats do exactly what they want, when they want. How different is that from the human heart? It’s equally unwieldy and impossible to control.”
When Raasch began volunteering with local rescue groups in Los Angeles, she witnessed the staggering amount hard work and devotion required to address the overpopulation of abandoned pets. While Americans spend over $56 billion on pet care each year, and countless hours racking up online cat video views, the benefit to the animals they love to watch is practically nil. That realization inspired Raasch’s vision of a one-touch donation button next to every online animal video that would allow viewers to contribute to rescue efforts – all via one simple click.
As a performer, Raasch found inspiration in legendary Catwomen, particularly Julie Newmar of the 1966 television series, Batman. “Her dancerly interpretation of feline movement is a joy to watch, but her elegant inner strength is what makes her so transfixing. She embodies a certain feminist energy inherent in this project. Some ascribe unpredictability to women, as they do to cats, and both get a bad rap due to misplaced fear.”
Raasch’s goal with “KITTY DECIDES” is to inspire cat video devotees to support not only well-known national organizations, but local rescue groups in dire need of funding and volunteers. “Cats have an innate quirkiness, austere dignity, and complete lack of sense of humor that makes them hilarious!” says Raasch. “Why not give back to the creatures that provide so many with instant stress relief?” “Kitty Decides” will screen before a live audience of CatConLA attendees last weekend in June.
“Gandhi said, ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the ways its animals are treated,” says Raasch. “And we all love our favorite cat lady, Taylor Swift. But it’s nice to know you don’t have to be famous to help.”