Whether you prefer the richness of oil paintings, the contemporary look of computer-generated images, the subtlety of watercolors, or the softness of pastels, a portrait of your favorite puss will look great hanging over the mantelpiece for years to come. And having your cat’s portrait done is much easier and less expensive than you might think. Kitty doesn’t have to sit and pose for hours on end while the artist perfectly captures his likeness, either. That’s just not practical, especially since it’s almost impossible to make any cat sit where you want him to for more than 30 seconds.

You can have a beautiful and lifelike portrait of your cat done by simply sending a photograph to an artist in the mail or via e-mail. Most artists are very open to your input on color and background choices and will even do several pets in one portrait. As a touching tribute, you can also commission a portrait of a pet who has recently passed away. Listed below are four hassle-free portrait services, each of which uses a different medium.

DFW Pet Portraits , (817) 482-1259)

  • Materials used: Most customers prefer oils, but watercolors are also available.
  • Self-described style: “Fairly realistic and slightly impressionistic” paintings, says artist Ann Loggins. “Naturally I get a good likeness and show the pet’s personality and softness.”
  • Time to complete: It depends on the complexity of the painting and the time of year, but it usually takes about one month.
  • Sizes available: 8-by-10 inches to 24-by-36 inches
  • Price range: $150 to $600, depending on the size; $50 for each additional animal

Watercolor Pet Portraits by C.A. Wells

  • Materials used: Watercolors, watercolor paper and pencil
  • Self-described style: “They’re realistic watercolor portraits,” says artist C.A. Wells. “Customers have remarked that I capture the essence of the subject, which is a wonderful compliment.”
  • Time to complete: 6 to 8 weeks
  • Sizes available: 5-by-7 inches to 16-by-20 inches
  • Price range: $50 to $150, depending on the size

PhotoWow , (800) 453-9333)

  • Materials used: The image you send is scanned into a computer at a high resolution and all the design work is done with digital design programs. Depending on your specifications, the design is then either stretched onto canvas or printed on glossy poster paper.
  • Self-described style: “Because PhotoWow offers over 40 design styles, you can have whatever you like, from Warhol to watercolors,” says representative Kristin Hanser. “A very popular style for cats is the four-panel pop design created in the style of Andy Warhol.”
  • Time to complete: A proof will be ready in 1 week, and the portrait will be finished within 2 weeks after you approve it.
  • Sizes available: 11-by-14 inches to 24-by-36 inches
  • Price range: $250 to $1,000

Pet Portraits by Carol , (718) 863-8725)

  • Materials used: Pastels
  • Self-described style: “My cat portrait paintings are realistic with big bold colors,” says artist Carol Brown. “What makes my paintings unique is my attention to details and features like the eyes, which are so important in a cat.”
  • Time to complete: 5 to 14 days
  • Size available: 14-by-17 inches
  • Price: $100