Swiftmantis: Cat murals tell stories of strays in New Zealand

New Zealand-based artist Swiftmantis has been adorning walls in the North Island with stunning murals of cats.

The large scale portraits are part of Swiftmantis’ Stray Stories, which tell the stories of stray cats who have found their forever-homes in interesting places.

Among the stories that have been making crowds smile is Hangar the Cat on St Hill street in downtown Whanganui. The mural features local cat Sherman, a stray who has become a town sensation by bringing joy to the visitors at the airport terminal.

Swiftmantis has also captured the tale of another rescue cat Niko, who has now found his home on a Feijoa orchard in Horowhenua. The mural of Niko features a view of the Tararua ranges, directly above the orchard, as per the photograph taken just after Swiftmantis spotted Niko in the lush long grass.

Swiftmantis, the realism artist from the Manawatu, specialises in street art, tattoo and illustration. His work predominantly centres around animal-realism, and in recent years has begun focussing on animal portraiture and storytelling.

Usually the stray cats Swiftmantis paints have already found homes in interesting places, but his most recent mural of black cat Olive, rescued by the Cats Protection League of Canterbury in Christchurch, was an open ended story. However, not long after Swiftmantis’ painting of Olive appeared on a Christchurch wall, she found a new home.


Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s ChiefShe writes about entertainments and storytelling of all kinds.

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