De-stress with a cat coloring book!

There’s a reason we loved to color so much as children – it’s relaxing as well as fun! Add a cat coloring book to the mix and you have the perfect solution to stress.

As the pandemic rages on into the New Year, our stress levels have reached an all-time high. Some of us are working from home while also juggling household responsibilities and helping kids who are distance learning; while others are feeling the loneliness, boredom, and even depression that arise from being isolated at home with not enough to do. Whatever your own situation, there are lots of solutions to the stress you might be feeling. For instance, have you ever considered coloring? This simple childhood activity has been shown to reduce stress and refocus the mind. And if you’re a cat lover, you can choose from a variety of great cat coloring books to make the experience even more fulfilling!

Why is coloring good for stress?

Over the past number of years, coloring has become a go-to stress reliever for many people, even those who don’t consider themselves artistically inclined. According to Scott M. Bea, PsyD, coloring refocuses our attention. “Adult coloring requires modest attention focused outside of self-awareness,” he says. “It’s a simple activity that takes us outside ourselves in the same way that cutting the lawn, knitting, or taking a Sunday drive can all be relaxing”.  In short, coloring takes our attention away from ourselves and relaxes the brain.

Coloring also offers multi-faceted pleasures: choosing the design, picking the tools (pencils, pens, markers, crayons, or a mix), deciding which colors to use, seeing the artwork evolve, and admiring the results. The feel of the pencils and how they lay down on the paper varies from brand to brand and paper to paper. For the novice, or those looking to broaden their skills, YouTube has lots of videos, and Facebook offers many adult coloring groups, geared toward coloring in general or dedicated to particular artists and their books.

Choosing a cat coloring book

Adult coloring books have been published on every topic imaginable; in addition, websites and Facebook groups offer downloadable coloring pages. Cats are a popular coloring subject, and are portrayed in a variety of ways in a huge number of books – from the realistic to stylistic to whimsical. After some 15 years of exploring adult coloring and amassing a collection of books, I’ve settled on a half dozen or so favorite artists. This article focuses on just a few.

  • Creative Haven’s Creative Cats, by Marjorie Sarnat (Dover), is probably one of the best known and has been around the longest. (Sarnat has published two additional books called Creative Kittens and Christmas Cats Coloring Book.) Creative Cats is one of my favorites, and features stylized sweet-faced cats in incredibly detailed themed settings, such as butterflies, the moon and stars, space, music, writing, toys, and the sea. The designs are printed on one side only, which is ideal for those who prefer the vibrant (but bleed-through) colors of markers. The pages are also perforated for easy removal.
  • Mystical Cats in Secret Places, by Honoel, is a mind-boggling collection of two-sided detailed drawings, more than 80 in all. It may have been wiser for the artist to break the book into two single-sided volumes to accommodate marker use. Although the paper is heavy, I’ve used a variety of pencils and gel pens, which work just fine. Glitter pens in particular add a wonderful pop to the artwork.
  • Among the other favorites in my collection are:
    • Color CatsBooks 1 and 2, by Margaret Gates Root, featuring realistic cats in household and literary settings (org)
    • Color Me Cats, by Artist BZTAT, with its stylized kitties in settings that beg for bright colors (com/coloring-books)
    • Cat Therapy: 100 Designs — Colouring In and Relaxation which contains a diverse selection of stylized and realistic felines (Amazon).

If you have a cat in your life, you know that felines have perfected the art of relaxation. And science has shown that coloring reduces stress. Combine the two, and you have the ideal recipe for stress relief – along with a fun and absorbing activity to do as you spend more time at home!