A cat that was rescued as a stray is now a worldwide celebrity.
His art works have been sold around in countries and exhibited in galleries–and have been incredibly well received.
Four years ago, Cooper’s owners, Michael and Dierdre Cross of Seattle, Wash., saw an article on the web about an architecture student who developed a timer-operated camera that he put around his cat’s neck to collect images for a photography assignment. The Crosses decided they wanted to get a similar camera for their own cat.
“When we first thought of putting a camera on Cooper it was simply to try to find an answer to the question that all cat owners ask: ‘Where does my cat go all day?’,” said Michael Cross.
“A geography experiment, really. We hoped that he didn’t cross busy streets or go into neighbors’ houses.”
But when Cooper brought the camera home at the end of that first day and the Crosses downloaded the photos, they were amazed by what they saw.
“Suddenly we no longer cared about exactly where he went, because just getting a glimpse of the beautiful images that fill Cooper’s day made us realize how wonderfully lush our neighborhood is from a cat’s perspective,” said Dierdre.
The images capture Cooper’s visits with other cats, his favorite hiding places, and even a variety of abstract sky shots. In one shot, the Crosses got to see the moment the cat mocked a dog trapped behind the glass of a neighbor’s front porch.
But the cat camera didn’t just give the Crosses a glimpse into Cooper’s daily life. It also solved a problem for the feline artist.
“We learned through his photos that Cooper spent a huge amount of time each day just waiting to be let inside,” David said. “So we acted upon this knowledge, and installed a cat flap at the back door. All of the next week Cooper seemed to be a much happier cat, and it was clearly because he gained the freedom to come and go as he pleases.”
And now the five-year-old cat has become more famous than the Crosses could ever have imagined.
Cooper recently made an appearance on Animal Planet’s new series, Must Love Cats. His Facebook page has almost 38,000 fans, and his photographs have been on exhibit around the world, selling for hundreds of dollars each. His book Cat Cam: The World of Cooper the Photographer Cat, went on sale last October, receiving rave reviews from critics across the country. And in February, Cooper won a Best of the Decade award from Seattle Magazine.
When Michael and Dierdre celebrated the birth of their son Cameron, Cooper enthusiastically started taking pictures of his new little brother.
“People keep asking when Cameron will be wearing a camera around his neck,” said Michael. “And now that he’s started crawling, Cooper could have some competition.”
The video below is Cooper’s segment from Must Love Cats.