Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cat Whisker Collections

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 catsparella@gmail.com!

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18 comments:

cuppy said...

I've been keeping all the whiskers I find for 13+ years now :) :)

Catsparella said...

@cuppy Wow! That's awesome! :D

Sarah said...

wow! i never find my cats' whiskers. i don't think i've seen them fall out!

Beth Doodlecats said...

Love the Haystack book!
I have a few whiskers that I've collected over the years. I've found a few at the rescue centre I volunteer at too that I've saved.

Phanti said...

I keep mine in a little envelope in my good Bible. My little girl passed away and just knowing they are there and won't ever get lost makes me happy, but now I'm thinking that I should do something with them.
My Dad is a painter and I'm going to ask him to paint a picture of her; maybe her whiskers should be glued onto the painting for a 3-dementional effect. What do you think?

heretherebespiders said...

I think I've kept whiskers when I find them for a couple of decades, but somehow I don't have a huge collection. Maybe because I only have one or two cats at a time?

Georgia said...

That would be interesting to see them used in jewelry. I usually keep them for a while, it is so hard to throw them away for some reason! It's like finding a little treasure.

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz said...

I have a few whiskers from my first cat, but just like with Devon Rex and Sphynx, who all have short, broken and crinkly whiskers...I never find them like I did with long whiskers cats whiskers...

Catsparella said...

@Phanti I think that sounds like a beautiful idea! Keep us posted on how it turns out! :)

* Lavinia* said...

Us too, we collect them all and their little half moon nails too!

Lara said...

I collect my cats' whiskers. I always check the floor for them before I vacuum! And I also have a few of their baby teeth that I was lucky enough to find! :)

Anonymous said...

I have a jar in my spice rack full and labeled "Kitteh DNA" much to the delight of my dinner guests :)

Anonymous said...

Yes! Though, maybe you shouldn't tell people they're real, people are quick to judge...

Anonymous said...

That's hilarious, I want to bottle mine too now xD

Anonymous said...

My family and I have been collecting whiskers for 10 years now. Perhaps we should seek therapy.

Catsparella said...

@Anon Why?? I think it's awesome!

Anonymous said...

I have been collecting whiskers since I became a veterinary technician 15 years ago. I have thousands of whiskers that were graciously given to me by cats, dogs, lions, tigers, sea lion, seal, and even mice. I love my collection and it doesn't take up a lot of space!

R. Maich said...

This may sound even odder, but I am attempting to pollinate Hoyas (a variety of tropical flowering vines), and I have heard from Hoya breeders that cat whiskers are one of the only items found that work successfully for transferring pollen in these often tiny flowers. If anyone is willing to part with 3 or 4 cat whiskers, please contact me at rmaich@pacbell.net - thank you.

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