Jackie Palmer would like it to be stated, for the record, that she has only one cat — one lone, singular, solitary, individual cat, a female rescue named Ellie. Just one.
You’d probably be sensitive about being perceived as a psycho feline hoarder, too, if you ran a blog populated by pictures of other people’s pusses. But that’s what Palmer’s got on her paws hands with Oh, Hello Window Cat, a Tumblr dedicated to the Internet’s preferred domestic species in sun-bathed repose, in Philadelphia and beyond.
Palmer, who moved to Philly after graduating from the University of Delaware about eight years ago, works as an architectural designer for URBANSPACEDEVELOPMENT in Center City. While the blog, launched last summer, mostly features lazy kitties she scopes out on daily walks to the office and on runs, her habit of documenting them first began on a trip to Amsterdam, which is pretty much run by cats.Eventually, she amassed enough photographs — much to the delight of her pals, who relish busting on her for it — to necessitate a proper web presence.
Oh, Hello Window Cat started off slowly, but has caught on at a surprising (or maybe unsurprising) rate — just recently, Tumblr promoted it as a “trending” blog, causing Palmer’s followers list to jump from 30 to upward of 9,000 in a matter of days. “I thought my Tumblr had a virus at first, to be honest,” she says. “But people like looking at pictures of cats in windows, I guess.”
But they’re legitimately nice pictures, too, a huge variety of meow machines rocking fancy poses, navigating decorative obstacles, showing off their civic pride and agonizing over the futility of life behind wrought-iron window bars. In a nerdy-by-her-own admission move, Palmer has successfully identified the best times of day to capture window cats in their fullest, fluffiest glory (Bella Vista at dusk is a gato goldmine, for example), so there will never be any shortage of source material.
Most of Palmer’s photographic subjects are amenable or indifferent to the impromptu portrait sessions. “Some cats will run away,” she says. “Other ones will paw at the window, trying to be pet.” She hasn’t run into a homeowner catching her in the act just yet, though she’s dreading when it eventually happens. “I’m always trying to see if I can see someone in the window. If I do, I take it real fast and then leave,” she says, laughing.
Also laughing, both with her and at her, are Palmer’s coworkers and friends, delighted by the sudden notoriety her blog has cultivated with the whiskered set. Her boss, Tim Shaaban, probably gives it to her the worst. “He’s always telling me it’s why I’m single,” says Palmer. “He’s like the big brother I never needed to have.”
As long as Philadelphia’s cats continue doing cat-related stuff in street-visible windows, Palmer will continue chronicling them. “It’s a fine line, between it being funny and me being a cat lady,” she says. “And I’m just always walking that line.”
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