British artist creates fascinating Topiary Cat photo series with pictures of his beloved pet

The first image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.
The first image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.PHOTO: FACEBOOK / THE TOPIARY CAT
An image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.
An image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.PHOTO: FACEBOOK / THE TOPIARY CAT
An image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.
An image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.PHOTO: FACEBOOK / THE TOPIARY CAT
An image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.
An image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.PHOTO: FACEBOOK / THE TOPIARY CAT
An image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.
An image of The Topiary Cat created by Richard Saunders.PHOTO: FACEBOOK / THE TOPIARY CAT

Surrealist artist Richard Saunders came across a shrub and realised that its cloud-like shape reminded him of Tolly, his late Russian Blue cat, sleeping.

Since then, the Briton was inspired to digitally replace real-life ornamental shrubs in gardens with the shape of Tolly, who died in February.

The resulting captivating images have created a sensation on social media.

Mr Saunders, 69, from the Stapleford, Hertfordshire, was inspired by a topiary he saw at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, and realised that the green shrub bore a resemblance to his beloved cat.

He then decided to crop a picture of his cat, Tolly, into a photograph of the ornamental Hall Barn shrub.

He told BBC News: "It reminded me of an animal sleeping, and I thought to myself 'you could change that into a cat quite easily'."

He has since created more of such images by replacing ornamental shrubs in gardens located across England with the topiary cat.

These images, which can be found at http://www.thetopiarycat.co.uk/ and his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/topiarycat/), have since been seen by millions.

One particular picture, which featured a topiary cat drinking from a lake in Painshill, Surrey, has been viewed by more than 3 million people on Facebook, reported Australia's 9news.

The fascination with these images is probably due to how intriguing they look.

BBC News reported that about 25 per cent of people who saw these topiary cats actually believed they existed, despite the fact that Mr Saunders had always made it "very clear" they were not real as he would "rather be known for his art than his deception".

He said he was in awe of the unexpected widespread fame of The Topiary Cat.

"I'm fascinated by how things go viral - I never planned to make any money out of the project. It's just a bit of fun," he told BBC News.