Ahoy, Cats On Board

A series of watercolour illustrations and soft sculpture art dolls, depicting the life and times of seafaring cats and their owners.

When I first started this small project I had no idea where this series would take me. My research began with the well known adventurous cats; Matthew Flinders and his cat Trim, Harry McNish and his cat “Mrs” Chippy.

Many cats went to sea on naval ships during WW1 and WW2, they were considered good luck plus they made good ratters and mousers.


To add to my research I put a shout out on social media for folks to email me their stories of felines on board boats, and to my delight I had several people contact me with stories and photos of their seafaring cats.

Trim And Matthew Flinders 2020 48 x 30 x 15 cm machine and hand stitched art doll, reclaimed wood draw, signed verso $1200,00
“Mrs“ Chippy and Harry McNish 2020 48 x 30 x 15 cm machine and hand stitched art doll, reclaimed wood draw signed verso $1200,00
Little Zissou 2020 18 x 15 x 9 cm painted fabric art doll inside painted shadow box sold
Meridian 28 2020 18 x 15 x 9 cm painted fabric art doll inside painted shadow box sold
Murdunna Slinky. the Devon Rex 2021 watercolour mixed medium framed and mounted sold
Little M and the Wild Thing 2021 28 x 23 cm watercolour mixed medium framed and mounted SOLD
Motley To The Rescue 2021 28 x 23 cm watercolour framed and mounted sold
Oscar 2020 22 x 18 x 9 cm painted fabric art doll inside painted shadow box. sold
Ginny’s Story 2020 28 x 23 cm watercolour collage $200,00
Tassie 2020 55 x 30 x 8 cm painted fabric art doll papier mache boat $470.00
Owl and Pussy Cat 2020 50 x 30 x 8 cm painted fabric art doll papier mache boat SOLD
Scarlet, The Stowaway Cat 2020 32 x 24 x 8 cm painted fabric art doll papier mache boat sold
Red Lead 2020 18 x 13 x 4 cm painted fabric art doll inside painted shadow box $270.00
Scouse 2020 18 x 13 x 4 cm painted fabric art doll inside painted shadow box SOLD
Unsinkable Sam 2020 28 x 23 cm watercolour and mixed medium signed verso. sold
Flinders and Trim 2020 28 x 23 cm watercolour collage framed and mounted. sold

Melinda M - Scarlett a long-haired black cat had stowed away in the back of my friend's boat after he had packed it for a week-long fishing trip.  When my friend arrived to meet his mates at their fishing destination, he removed the cover and found Scarlett asleep in the back of the boat.  It was too far to drive home, so scarlet had a lovely time boating with the boys. She ate plenty of fresh fish and returned home to the family the following Sunday.


Deborah G - My kitty a Devon Rex called Slinky, didn’t go in the boat, but we had a shack at Murdunna and we used to take him with us down to the beach and go for walks along the foreshore.


Ginny's Story - When my mum was carrying me, my parents were living on an old army vessel called the Fairmile, that was docked at Norman Wrights shipyard on the Brisbane River where dad was working. They adopted a black kitten and named it Tassie.

I think Tassie helped mum keep her mind off her constant morning/seasickness.


Diana N - We sailed for many years with our tortoiseshell cat called Motley. She was a rescue from RSPCA Cairns and last remaining of the litter because she was..... pretty ordinary looking. She sailed with us from Cairns to Fremantle and then from Fremantle right through SE Asia. She's now 16 and has a peaceful life on our 5-acre property in SW Australia

Copyright © 2021 Grace H Garton. All rights reserved.