Regulars at the Philbrook Museum are familiar with the estate’s three resident garden cats: Acer, Perilla and Cleome. Appropriately named after plants, the trio has become a mainstay on Philbrook’s Instagram feed, blessing lucky visitors by emerging from the garden brush to say hello.
Acer is the most social of the three Tulsa-famous felines. And his clout is about to get even bigger when he takes center stage as the main character in a new children’s book, The Cat Who Got Framed.
Though Perilla and Cleome make appearances in the book, it’s Acer’s story. The tuxedo cat likes his life in the garden but longs to be a museum cat. The book follows his adventures as he strives to live in the big house among the art.
Illustrator and author Katie Turner doesn’t have any cats at home. "I always wanted a cat but my parents are both allergic and, now, my husband is allergic—so sadly I don’t think I’ll ever get to have one," the Tulsa native said.
Instead, she writes about them. Recently Turner has been working on children’s books, adding The Cat Who Got Framed to her vast portfolio of work—from illustrative components to articles in national publications like The New York Times to merch design for Nashville bands.
"I like doing books the most, so honestly this Philbrook project is probably my favorite thing I’ve done so far," Turner said. "I’ve written a few books myself, but this will be the first book I’ve written and illustrated myself, so that’s really exciting in andof itself."
Turner graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and went to New York for design school before moving to Nashville, where she and her husband live today.
"I went to [Philbrook] so many times as a child. It’s just really cool getting to work with a great place in my hometown," Turner said. "The people who work there … gave me a lot of freedom to do what I wanted with the book, so it’s been a great experience overall."
That experience started with Turner visiting Philbrook in springtime this year. "I got … to walk around the gardens and take some photos for my book, and I got to meet all the cats," she said.
The Cat Who Got Framed comes out Sept. 13. Turner will be signing books at the release before the Internet Cat Video Festival on Philbrook’s garden lawn that evening. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the video festival, and the videos begin at dusk around 8 p.m. Concessions will be available, including burgers from Kitchen 27, and festival goers are encouraged to bring picnics.