The fur flies at Argyle Fine Art opening

An age-old dispute about what pets are best goes on display at Halifax art gallery.

Cat and dog lovers were invited to an exclusive BYOP (bring your own pets) event Saturday to celebrate the launch of Argyle Fine Art’s latest exhibit, Cat Person Dog Person, a multimedia tribute to furry foes.

“We know people love their pets, so we wanted to host a family-friendly opening event where people could come bring their dogs and cats by appointment,” said Adriana Afford, the gallery’s owner.

But when the felines failed to show, the party went to the dogs.

The canines and their owners wandered freely through the gallery, which showcased the creative works of local artists bringing beloved felines and pups to life through painting, sculpture, print and more.

Following a call for general submissions, 20 artists were chosen to feature their creations of the age-old rivals. Among them was six year old Hunter Keefe — a committed cat person, prolific painter and animal advocate.

“I have two at my house. Shamrock and Murdoch,” said Keefe.

His favourite piece from his collection is a painting of a rainbow-coloured feline with the phrase “I love cats!” scrawled in the top left corner of the canvas.

“The cat in a boat is probably my second best,” said Keefe, pointing to a frame featuring a pink kitten floating on a body of blue water.

The artist sold two works within an hour of the exhibit’s opening. They went for $35 a piece, but instead of pocketing the profits, Keefe is donating the proceeds directly to the Halifax Cat Rescue Society.

Keefe started supporting the charity last summer. Keefe raised $300 selling baked goods and his first paintings around his community

Since then, Keefe has had three paintings specifically commissioned and he is still accepting custom orders upon request.

“I really just want to help out lost cats,” Keefe said. “I love them so so much.”

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The six-year old makes a convincing case for cat people caring more deeply for their preferred pets than their counterparts, but the debate isn’t so easy to settle.

The exhibit only featured felines when it began three years ago. The gallery put together that first show in response to a growing internet obsession with cats.

Pooches were included the following year at the insistence of dog lovers and given the animals’ equal representation in this year’s show, it seems like puppy love is here to stay.

“People are really passionate about it,” said Afford. “That’s what makes it so fun.”

The reception included 10-minute custom pet portraits by Halifax-based artist Lindsay Hicks and complimentary “pupcakes” from Three Dog Bakery for guests.

Afford said people are especially in need of events like the one she planned around this time of year.

“In February, people have had enough of ice, snow and winter,” said Afford. “This is a great excuse to get your dog out for a walk, come in and see some great artwork.”

The exhibit runs until March 11. Photographs of the works in the collection can also be viewed online.