Purina has contributed more than $1 million to the Purple Leash Project since its inception in 2019 and is currently collaborating with RedRover to achieve the objective of ensuring that at least 25% of domestic violence shelters are pet-friendly by 2025.
In addition to running her Etsy shop, Leeza currently works full-time as a magazine art director, children’s book illustrator, and licensing artist.
Jaspurr, Princess Pippa, and Cole, Jr., three rescue cats, are in charge of her home and are a constant source of inspiration for her artwork. There is constantly a gesture or situation between the three of them, she claims, that inspires a fresh piece.
She’s also inspired by cats in general. She calls it “pure cattitude.” It’s easy to capture the flick of a tail, a hint of a scowl, or the twist, fold, or stretch of the body in these lovely creatures to draw. I’m completely fascinated by cats. I’m the one sitting on the floor “pss-pss-pssing and scribbling studies in my sketchbook” if there is a cat in the room.
Leeza wishes to inspire and offer joy to others with her cat artwork. “When someone reacts with a smile, a gasp, a chuckle, or a nod and tells me how much my art reminds me of their cat(s), it is one of my biggest thrills in doing what I do,” she says.
Nigel, a black cat that she made into a plush doll, is one of her dependable characters. Nigel has a sizable fan base of his own. Customers frequently send Leeza notes with images of Nigel enjoying fun or getting into mischief. She claims that “one couple takes their Nigel on vacation abroad.” Another family held Nigel a welcome-home celebration with cake, and the daughter of one family asked that Nigel have his own featured space on their yearly holiday card.
What will Leeza do next? Her short-term objectives include creating illustrations for a new book, adding a new plush character to her collection, growing the Nigel & Friends line of products, bringing even more fresh prints to her Etsy store, and attending more cat conventions.
She adds, “I’ve also worked with numerous rescue groups to assist cats in need. So, more of that as well!