I've already talked at length about the virtues of collecting and crafting with cat hair, but one topic I haven't touched on is cat whiskers. I have to say they're not something I've ever held on to - I hardly ever come across any of Priscilla's, and Charlie's fine, black whiskers are even more difficult to find - but they're an cool little memento, and some say that finding one is a signal good luck.
Cats use their whiskers to navigate, indicate their mood, and to judge whether or not they'll fit through an opening. Whiskers should never be cut or removed, but it's not uncommon for them to occasionally fall out on their own, like your own eyelashes or hair.
I found some beautifully documented whisker collections on Flickr, starting with Lynn who posted this image of whiskers from her cats Jitterbug, Onyx, Cretia, Kanye and Kaida.
When I asked if she had any plans for them, she said no, "I just collect them! I think I may have heard that they are good luck, but really I just find them to be a quirky and cool thing to collect."
The image above, taken two years ago, has 399 whiskers, but she says her current collection probably totals over 500.
Emily from Metal Emily tells me that her impressive collection of whiskers spans over ten years, and includes whiskers from six cats and three dogs over that time period (she currently has three cats - Annaka, Max, and Gretchen, and one dog).
So far, she's only worked the natural material into one project - a gorgeous book made out of fabric pages with the whiskers woven in "here and there." She says she hopes to eventually find more ways to use them in her work, and as a jewelry designer who uses a lot of alternative materials, she's sure she'll find a way!
Do you collect cat whiskers, or have any other unusual cat collections you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!