Every Cat’s an Artist

By Adele

A tuxedo cat named Henry became known as a “feline fiber artist” after he shredded a couple of carpet remnants and his owner got them hung in the Bangor Public Library in Maine. Henry was also featured on Animal Planet for doing what any cat does — scratch.

You can read all about Henry on his lame blog that’s all self-promotion and out of date.

Don’t get me wrong. Cats Working is proud of any cat who makes it big, but Henry doesn’t particularly impress us. Up to now, we’ve kept under wraps our own art projects in a variety of media, but now seems an appropriate time to share them with the world.

Cole’s still an apprentice because he’s relatively new, but he did lend his claws to this masterpiece we call “Study in Corrugation.” Karen proudly displays it in the middle of the living living room floor.

Study in Corrugation

Notice the fine depth of detail…

And these “Expressions in Blue” combine fiber and wood. They’re ensemble pieces the late Rex and Fred also worked on.

Expression in Blue

Expression in Blue 2

Henry’s art may be eye-catching, but it lacks subtlety, like “Launch Pad.” Our canvas here was the kitchen table, but nobody’s sure who the artist was.

Launch Pad

Not to brag, but when I first joined the family, I took creativity where no Wormald feline has ever gone before with an ambitious solo endeavor in the kitchen using mixed media. Karen calls it “Kitten vs. Sheetrock”:

Kitten vs. Sheetrock

Karen’s dust ruffle was my canvas for this nuanced work I call, simply, “Snag”:


But, admittedly, “Ramp to Heaven” is the artistic focal point of the bedroom, another longstanding ensemble piece that’s still a work in progress:

Ramp to Heaven (That's Yul on the right, and my ear is just visible on the left.)

I combined my love of danger and working with wood when I etched “Balance Beam” into the upstairs banister:

Balance Beam (That's Cole in the background sleeping with his teddy.)

So you see, when it comes to creative expression, Henry’s nothing special. Any cat with claws and a little initiative can fill your home with priceless works of art using whatever materials you have on hand.

10 Responses to Every Cat’s an Artist

  1. Adele says:

    Adele, I’ve seen Henry’s work as well, and he can’t hold a candle to the Cats Working staff. Your ability to work in many media is truly impressive — Kitten vs. Sheetrock is awe inspiring. I can just imagine Karen’s face when she saw your work. And it’s lovely that you have samples of Fred’s work to remember him by. Has Cole contributed any work yet?

  2. Bob says:

    Wow look out Jackson Pollack,the kitty’s are coming for ya..

    Karen must be a very understanding person, I know a great deal of people who would consider your “Art” vandalism. Just like graffiti artists of old, some times it takes a while for a new movement to catch on.

  3. Zappa says:

    Wow guys!!!
    Such exquisite sensitivity-I love the fabric/color composition.One of my favorite media (especially this time of year) is down.It allows for such creative expression,it’s like being a kitten again! I suggest you spend the rest of the day under the sofa afterwards.


  4. Noel Wormald says:

    None of the organic “vomit” series made it into the collection? While they are temporary installations, they are nonetheless stunning.

  5. catsworking says:

    Bob, you have a point, but I believe the medium has already caught on and fetches a hefty price. Humans call it the “distressed” look. Within a matter of days, cats can turn any ordinary piece of furniture into a priceless antique that looks like it has a story to tell.

    Adele, I do remember that Karen was stunned by the level of creativity I displayed in kittenhood while working on Kitten vs. Sheetrock. Not only did I use claws, but teeth, to get the sheetrock peeled exactly the way it needed to be to express my vision.

    Alas, Cole has not shown much creative promise beyond limited work with corrugated cardboard. I think he must have been taught in the joint that cats who get adopted and express themselves with their claws have a very high likelihood of being bounced back, so he’s very circumspect when it comes to using his for anything but digging in the kitty litter.

    Noel, it’s funny that you should mention our organic “Vomit” series. Yul left 2 interesting pieces on the carpet just this morning, but Karen has never seen fit to photograph them for some reason.

  6. catsworking says:

    Zappa, Karen has never brought anything down into the house, probably because she would get very lonely if we used it for artistic purposes and then abandoned her for the nether regions of the sofa.

  7. anitalmccormick says:

    Scratching on carpet or fabric is a natural way for cats to express themselves. It is up to their human caretakers to help cats channel their artistic talents into something both humans and cats can be proud of!


  8. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Anita! (Readers, Anita is Henry the feline fiber artist’s owner.) We admire Henry’s work, but so far Karen has not stuck any carpet on the wall for us. If she had, she might have blocked creation of “Kitten vs. Sheetrock.”

  9. anitalmccormick says:

    Hello Cat Artists!

    Carpet is a wonderful material to work with! I find that scratching carpet attached to the wall is just as satisfying as scratching the living room chair – with the added benefit that I do not get in trouble for working on my creations.

    I hope your person, Karen, makes it possible for you to explore this wonderful media in the near future. Make sure to ask for “uncut loops” carpet, as when the manufacturer cuts the loops, it severely limits the designs and textures a cat can create with it. Also, ask her to make sure the carpet backing isn’t too heavy, or it will take forever to pull the fiber out. In this case,less expensive carpet samples usually make the best artistic materials.

    Keep on scratching!


  10. catsworking says:

    Hi, Henry! I’m flattered to be hearing from the artist himself. Don’t get me wrong. We do admire your work and know how much effort you put into it. Your biceps and shoulders must be very toned.

    Thanks for the pointers on the carpet. I think you have persuaded Karen to let us give it try. Up to now, we have only worked on the carpet that covers our perches, as well as the Ramp to Heaven, but they’re not uncut loop, so the results have not been as spectacular as yours.

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