Life Lessons From 'Felines Of New York'

In the five years since its inception, the photoblog Humans of New York has grown from a small project to a full-blown phenomenon. But now there's a new Tumblr in town, and it's giving Humans of New York a run for its money: It's called Felines of New York, and you guys? It is magnificent.

Like Humans of New York, Felines of New York catalogs the fascinating beings that have made their home in the Big Apple; unlike Humans of New York, however, Felines of New York doesn't focus on people. It focuses on exactly what you think it does: Cats. We've gone inside the world of bodega cats before, but Felines of New York opens up the entirety of the city's kitty population, and believe you me, it's eye-opening indeed. OK, so yes, I'm using a lot of hyperbole here; that doesn't stop it from being my favorite thing that I've seen this week so far, though, so, y'know… there's that.

Very little information is available on the Felines of New York Tumblr about the mastermind behind it. The “About” page includes answers to only four questions: Who runs this site? (“A person who likes cats and lives in New York”); can I send you a picture of my cat? (“Please don't. Not yet anyway. We don't even know each other”); are these cats real New Yorkers? (“Yes. You can see that hardened look in their eyes”; and can I contact you? (yes, via the email address provided. But don't send a picture of your cat, re: question number two). However, a little bit of digging — and also some emailing via the contact info left on the site — reveals that we have writer and comedian Jim Tews to thank for this glorious creation.

In an interview with MTV News, Tews noted that while he's quite fond of Humans of New York, he also thinks that “sometimes it takes itself too seriously.” In that sense, Felines of New York is kind of an antidote to the elements of Humans of New York that can sometimes rub readers the wrong way: Said Tews, “It's funny to think about trying to get a touching, human story from a cat” — and he's absolutely right. Not only are cats not human, but moreover, they usually couldn't care less about you. In short, they're… well, cats.

Where does he find the cats? In the early days of the Tumblr, Tews said, he was mostly just using pictures he had on his phone; now, though, he's actively going in search of cats to photograph specifically for Felines of New York. That said, though, he's still keeping it “in the family,” so to speak: He told MTV News, “I'm trying to keep it to friends and friends of friends for now. But I'll branch out more eventually.” Hopefully that will include bodega cats, cats like the one that lived at the tire shop by my old apartment, and more.

As is the case with Humans of New York, there are plenty of takeaways we can carry with us even after we've shut down our browsers and left the Felines of New York to their own devices. Here are 10 important life lessons the Felines of New York can teach us; head on over to Felines of New York for more.

1. Know thyself.

Getting comfortable with yourself is one of the best things you can do. At the same time, though...

2. It's OK if you need time to figure yourself out.

Identity is fluid. Take all the time you need to get to know yourself, and feel free to change whenever you want.

3. Have at least one place you can go where you always feel safe.

If you have your best ideas while you're there, think of it as an added bonus.

4. Sometimes silence is best.

Especially if you're in the process of plotting and scheming.

5. Don't take your anger out on others.

Not cool, bro.

6. Don't waste your time on things that make you unhappy.

Me too, Mimi! Maybe we should start a club! A club that never meets, because parties are the worst.

7. Make an effort to broaden your horizons.

You'll never know what you're missing if you don't get out there and try new things.

8. Be wary when necessary, but don't shut everyone out.

Is my friendship enough, Shutter?

9. Do what you love.

You don't necessarily have to make a living doing it (although if you're able to, more power to you) — but do set aside some time for the things that make you happy.

10. Hang onto your sense of wonder.

Don't let yourself become too jaded. There's joy to be had in the most unexpected places — as long as you know to look for it.

Images: Felines of New York/Tumblr (9); "Blinky" by Rhoades Hughes; Giphy