Last year, The Inquisitr told you about 4-year-old Iris Grace, a little girl from Leicestershire, England, who has autism. Her parents encouraged her to paint as a way to get her out of the isolation imposed by her condition — and amazingly, she produced paintings of such beauty that they quickly began selling for more than $2,000 each.
Iris’s parents say the little girl, whose impressionistic work is often compared to the paintings of French Impressionist master Claude Monet, draws much of her inspiration from the long hours she spends sitting outdoors, gazing at the beauty of nature.
“She has a fantastic concentration span but as her parent and educator I have to keep an eye on that and help her move onto other things,” said her mom, Arabella Carter-Johnson. “I can see nature in her paintings, water, trees, flowers, and also we can see Thula her cat in many of them.”
Ah yes, Thula. The little cat has formed such a bond with Iris that the two have become inseparable. Iris’s mother even says that Iris’s relationship with Thula has led her to show signs of becoming outwardly social.
“Thula has lowered her daily anxieties in life and keeps Iris calm,” says the artist’s mom. “But equally has the effect of encouraging her to be more social. She will talk more to Thula, saying little phrases like ‘sit cat.'”
The cat is so supportive of Iris, that Thula will even make the ultimate sacrifice a cat can make — she’ll take a bath, allowing herself to get all wet, just to encourage Iris, who has a strong aversion to the bathtub, to do the same.
As you’ll see from these adorable photos, Thula is still a kitten at just one year old. She’s a Maine Coon, a breed of cat that will grow to weigh about 15 pounds (males can weigh up to 25), making them the largest breed of domesticated cat.
But Maine Coons are also highly intelligent, with a mostly calm, friendly disposition, both qualities that are evident from these photos of Thula and Iris.
To see the Iris Grace artwork, visit her website. Proceeds from sales of her paintings going to defray costs of the little girl’s therapy — and to buy her more art materials.
Watch an ABC News feature story on Iris Grace in the video, above, as well.