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These incredibly lifelike needle-felted cats are so detailed they look real!

By: Camille Lemos

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Featured photo Sachi/Wakuneco

44-year-old Japanese artist Sachi’s specialty is a unique one: she makes highly detailed, hyper-realistic cat faces from needle-felted wool. The attention to detail lends mind-boggling verisimilitude—the results are so lifelike you could be forgiven for thinking them real.

Sachi fell in love with her craft quite by accident. In the spring of 2015, she happened to stop by a handicraft store and encountered wool felt for the first time. Inspired by her “deeply-beloved three ex-stray cats,” she decided to make felines out of felted wool, eventually coining her craft wakuneco, Japanese for “frame cats.”

The Internet kept her from toiling in obscurity. In 2016, her work went viral thanks to Facebook. “The number of followers increased by 50,000 in one week,” recalls Sachi.

Each work is a labour of love, so time-consuming that she is only able to complete three works in a year. “A great deal of time is spent analyzing,” she explains. “I patiently go through many steps to make it look like a real cat—the period is about three to four months.”

After completing a work, Sachi opens up entries for her next cat model. She does not take reservations but looks for another cat after completing the last. Cat lovers hoping to have their cat selected submit photos and the price they are able to pay, then cross their fingers they will be chosen.  

How to Make Wakuneco was released in Japan last summer. The book was so well received that it has already been reprinted four times. Sachi is hopeful an English translation will be published, but in the meantime, the Japanese version is available at Kinokuniya bookstores. “It contains many photos, so please enjoy it!” she says.

* Purchase the e-book on Amazon Japan’s website. 

This article originally appeared in the award-winning Modern Cat magazine. Subscribe today!

Last Updated:

By: Camille Lemos
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