Cooper, the friendly orange feline, goes out once a week with a small camera attached to his collar. His photos run the gamut from artistic to whimsical to surprising, and have attracted the attention of fans all over the world.
Have you ever wondered what the world looks like from cat level? Cooper can show you. This affable orange cat is an accomplished photographer! His images have won him global acclaim online, and have resulted in a book and even a clothing collection.
Like most professionals, Cooper has affiliates – in this case, his human family, Michael and Deirdre Cross, and their two sons. “When Deirdre and I were visiting her grandparents in southern Oregon, Cooper showed up begging for food at the back door,” says Michael. “None of the neighbors recognized this little orange kitten, and Grandpa made it clear he didn’t want a cat. So by the time we were packing up to head back to Seattle, it was decided — Cooper was joining our family.”
That was ten years ago, and Cooper became a member of the Cross family at once. “Like a lot of orange cats, Cooper has a bit of an attitude. But he is fun to have around, and he loves being in the center of all the action. He often lies down in the middle of the rug where our two boys are playing.”
Cooper is an outdoor cat, and Michael and Deirdre often found themselves wondering where he goes during his travels. So Michael decided to attach a lightweight digital camera to the cat’s collar, and programmed it to snap a photo every two minutes. “When we came up with the idea of Cooper’s photography project, we were only interested in where he spends his time. But the first day we sent Cooper out with his camera, he brought back what we call his ‘Neighborhood Watch’ photo.” It’s an amazingly creative shot of autumn trees and clear blue sky as seen through long grass. “We knew immediately that Cooper’s photography was not just an experiment in geography, but a beautiful art form!”
The Crosses began sending Cooper out with his camera once a week, and posting the resulting photos online for their friends and family. “People from all over the world took great interest in this little orange cat’s photography,” says Michael, adding that Cooper has his own website and Facebook page. “It seems to be a universal mystery how cats spend their days — so we wanted to share our findings with the world.”
Cooper’s photos range from fascinating and artistic to humorous and surprising. A browse through his online gallery of images reveal everything from an amusing ground-level view of a neighbor’s pink lawn flamingos; to a tunnel-like shot of one of Cooper’s leafy hiding spots; to a photo of a disgruntled, freshly-groomed cat hiding underneath someone’s car. “He captures the rarest of encounters between animals that people would never observe,” Michael says, referring to the latter photo, which he titled “New Haircut”. “It has to be one of my all-time favorites — I love the funny, embarrassed look on the other cat’s face!”
People love Cooper’s photos so much that Michael and Deirdre started offering them for sale through the cat’s website (see sidebar), either framed or unframed. You can also buy a book highlighting a collection of Cooper’s best images. “Just like your own photos, which end up getting trapped on a computer and rarely printed, we felt it was important to put together a physical album of Cooper’s photography. Cat Cam: The World of Cooper the Photographer Cat investigates the secret life of cats. Through his eyes, you can explore places only cats go, witness interactions with other neighborhood animals, and see the seasons change from a rare and vivid point of view. The book includes many never-before-seen photos, as well as commentary and tips from Cooper himself.”
And it didn’t end there. “My mom told me one day that she really wanted a Cooper t-shirt, so I made one for her,” Michael says. “Then I figured that other people might want one as well, so we made them for sale online.” Cooper Gear includes not only t-shirts, but also hoodies and sweatshirts.
Proceeds from all Cooper merchandise sales go to PAWS, a Seattle-based animal welfare organization. “It’s one of the best no-kill shelters we know of, and we love to support them any way that we can,” Michael says.
Meanwhile, Cooper continues to add to his growing photo collection. Both the Crosses, and his nearly one million social media fans, can’t wait to see his next masterpieces!
Find Cooper online!