Image credit ibiblio.org, here. The Ray, Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, 1728, oil on canvas, 45" x 57", held by Musée du Louvre, Paris, France.
Zuffi nails it with his comment:
The secret and the magic of Chardin's paintings lie in their cold, sterile light, which seems to saturate objects, and in the intimate absorption that seems to endow them with a timeless existence. The only living presence--and it is very much alive, with its bristling fur and demonic eyes--is the cat, who is more interested in the fish placed on the table than in the hug sea monster in the background.
Cats--always focused, always aware of their situation. Except, in our home, De Beere, who, frankly, is just a klutz.
One other thing to note about The Ray (even given the clue that my series of posts here every Sunday is called "Cats in Art") is that the place where my eye is drawn in this painting is not the grotesque, partially butchered sting ray hanging in the back.
Nope, the cat is what I notice first. And that's the way it should be.