The cat depicted in this anonymous Japanese print has been causing its owner trouble—this is clearly not their first catch. This skilled hunter has avoided detection despite being fitted with a bell that was clearly intended to alert any potential prey. The pinned down bird cries out in alarm as the cat hungrily inspects the upcoming meal. The ferocity of the cat is emphasized by the way their body coils up along the right side of the print, towering like a giant over their diminutive quarry.
While we don’t know who the artist was that created this work, it comes out of the Japanese Ukiyo-e print tradition. Like other prints from more well-known Ukiyo-e series such as Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji or Hiroshige’s Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, this work channels the grand scale of the human experience through scenes that highlight the vast variety of mundanities in daily life.