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Thursday, April 14, 2005
Lennie C. Hoover is rare in the world of collectors. Collecting cat whiskers is not a prevalent hobby, even on the internet, which caters to every fetish.
A Google search turned up very few other aficionados of this hobby.
One of them would "collect the whiskers you find around the house and every once in a while stick a whisker up the cat's nose while she was sleeping."
I wrote to his friend. Mr. Winters kindly answered and supplied further proof of the paucity of cat whisker collectors (my questions are in bold):
First off, I gather from the way that you worded the above statement about your friend that he collected cat whiskers in addition to poking them up his cat's nose.
Another cat whisker collector, Corie of Callalillie inaugurated The Whisker Project to collect whiskers just for the sake of collecting them. Her project began a month and a half ago.
I also wrote to Corie, and her response makes her the first authentic cat whisker collector:
How did you get the idea for the Whisker Project?
Ah ha! Corie has a friend who collects cat whiskers - if neuroscientists are doing it, it must be ok.
Meanwhile a commenter on Callalillie also admitted she is a legitimate cat whisker collector. She replied to my queries:
I only collect my cats whiskers and I started because I would find them all over my house and think they were the weirdest little things - I had never known they had the ability to fall out, so I found it really weird and bizarre, which just made me like it all the more. I started collecting them maybe 7 years ago and I don't hunt for them, but my cat seems to lose a lot of them all the time so I find them all over the place. I like to think that he leaves me them as little presents because he knows I keep them (yes, I am a weirdo). I use to keep them in an envelope but now I keep them in a ziploc bag and I have a lot - too many to count.
Yes, Kim, it is more common than I initially thought.
Another commenter inserts collected cat whiskers into a toy mouse. A weirder twist to the hobby, yet this Dominocat has not responded to my email at the time of publishing.
Then I hit the motherlode of cat whisker collectors: an entire website devoted to the hobby.
According to the site, "One of the basic tenets of cat whisker collecting is that the cat whiskers may not be taken from a cat, they must be given by the cat." Cat whisker collections thrive in cool and dry locations.
There is even a registry of Cat Whisker Collectors, with four other collectors in addition to the authors of the website, with membership cards and certificates.
Again, my pleas for more information on this unique hobby went unanswered. I am not giving up hope.
While conducting my research for this blog post, I took a break to meet a friend to whom I confided the nature of my work.
"Why, didn't you know that cats shed whiskers?" said Cheryl the Red. "I am not a cat lover, but I once had a cat and I would find the things all over the place and I would pick them up and keep them."
"I even had a friend who used cat whiskers in an art installation. Whiskers and glass shards."
I guess it's like tuna casserole and sex in airplane toilets. Everyone else has tried it except me.
I have collected cat whiskers for 20 yrs..LOL..I just could never bring myself to throw them away. They are cool little things...
This is amazing - I have been cat-sitting for six months now and I have yet to discover a cat whisker lying around!Post a Comment