Over the summer a new character claimed Fredericton as its own.
Its name is Meep the Cat and the once unfamiliar feline is now being spotted by all sorts of people.
The first time I met Meep was in Wilmot alley, just outside of the downtown Dooly’s. He (or she) wasn’t rolling around licking itself the way you would expect to find a cat. No, this was a large spray-painted, triangular eared piece of graffiti.
The doodle probably would have left my mind soon after if I hadn’t turned the next corner. In the shadows, squatted a petite brunette who had been unable to find an available toilet. I looked for a second, but not at the secret pee-er. Above head, winking at both of us was another Meep.
I ventured further down King Street when I saw it again. This time it was an orange colored
sticker which was slapped on the bottom of a street sign. The cat was hardly noticeable unless you were keeping an eye out for it.
The next day I met up with a dear chum. I brought up the cat from the night before because I was half convinced she was responsible for Fredericton’s latest street art. She denied the claim, but said she had also been noticing the cat all over the place. We bopped around downtown to see how many Meeps we could find as a lazy summer’s day scavenger hunt.
We rummaged around backs of buildings, seedy alleyways and rotting garbage cans. Near a particularly large portrait of our sought out friend was a gaggle of young girls. They asked me to take a picture as they posed with Meep and peace signs. I guess it wasn’t just us who were noticing the little guy.
At the end of our search, we had found 16 Meeps. Where did this neighbourhood graffiti cat come from?
A quick internet search proved that the cat wasn’t some kind of company or band symbol. In fact, there were no traces of Meep at all on the internet except for the Fredericton Street Art Facebook page. Posted to the page are 72 different photos of the doodle. Meep was plastered on signs, hidden in brick walls, sleeping behind popular restaurants and lurking outside of dumpsters.
This cat really is everywhere.
After the wheres had been solved another question remained: Who? More than two months later and the artist still remains anonymous, but Meep fans agree that’s what keeps this cat fun and mysterious.
Meep is something new altogether. He doesn’t blend in with the city’s art staples, but stands out among the illegible scribbles which decorate most alleyways downtown.
This cat keeps to himself and isn’t obnoxiously scrawled across storefront or households. More than half the time you’ll miss him because of his clever hideouts, but he has gotten people talking and others keeping a sharp eye out for their next Meep sighting. Hopefully that’s enough to keep this humble graffiti alive on the streets of Fredericton.