Question: How do you choose a cat?
Answer: Well, actually, you don’t. They choose you! It’s a very different process with dogs but with cats you don’t get to make the decision, they do. If you pick a cat by their looks alone, things can go horribly wrong and you might end up with a very aloof and distant cat who doesn’t want to know you.
My grandparents always had cats but each time one had gone over the rainbow bridge, another one simply appeared. It was a mystery to me and I always found that amazing. How do cats know? Well, fast forward by quite a few years and the very same thing happened to me. Around September a new kitten arrived in the neighbourhood and it started to come into our garden and peek through the windows. I kept teasing Dobby that he found himself a new girlfriend at his old age. The two of them got on very well and they met up regularly for little chats on our patio. I’m convinced that Dobby told her to look after me once he was gone.
Along came Pippa
Dobby sadly went over the rainbow bridge on 17th December. This was also his Gotcha Day and truth be told, Christmas was very difficult. I can only thank my friends for looking after me so brilliantly but come Boxing Day, life looked very grey again. However, on 27th December a little face suddenly appeared at my patio doors. I felt a tiny bit guilty to let this kitten into my house, after all, she wasn’t mine, but as I wasn’t planning on feeding her, I hoped it would be OK. I simply wanted to enjoy her company for a bit and she was too cute to refuse. The next day she came back again and stayed the whole morning and afternoon. I then discovered that she was riddled with fleas and as her human half-jokingly said the previous week that I could have her when he learned about Dobby, I decided that we needed to have a chat. It was quite comical when little kitten and I marched down the back alley and knocked on his door together. We must have looked like Hänsel und Gretel as we stood there side by side. He didn’t answer and so little kitten escorted me back home. We repeated this exercise twice and on the third try, he opened the door. We had a very honest and open chat and he told me how this only 7-month-old kitten had ended up with him and that he is currently completely renovating his house because he wants to move elsewhere. It was blatantly clear that there was no room for a baby cat in his life and we agreed that it was the best for everybody if she moved in next door with me instead. I began to move her things over into my house and on the last trip, the moment I had her litter tray in my hands, she ran outside the front door, galloped down the alleyway and didn’t stop until she reached my kitchen! I had truly been chosen. I then looked deep into her eyes and we agreed that she can’t continue to go through life with a boy’s name. There was only one name that popped into my mind when I looked at her and that was: Pippa.
I took Pippa to the vet the next morning and she is now going to stay inside until after she’s been spayed and microchipped. She’s been very happy to stay indoors for now and has been sleeping and adjusting to her new home. We have been amusing ourselves with lots of cuddles and playing with her new toys and indoor climbing tree. It’s been a while since I’ve had a kitten so this is a completely new pace in my house but getting to know Pippa is a beautiful experience and she couldn’t have arrived at a better time in my life. Ok, I was making plans to adopt a little dog but I firmly believe that my Dobby has made different arrangements for me instead. There might be a little dog in the future alongside Pippa but not any time soon…
How to take photographs of cats indoors:
Finally, after 5 days it was time to get Pippa used to the idea that she had chosen a pet photographer as her new mum. Coming back to not choosing your cat and you certainly don’t choose a kitten by its looks but if your new moggy just happens to match your interior design, there is only one thing to do – take full advantage of that fact.
When taking photos of cats you are more or less limited by the features of your house. So the first thing I do when making a location assessment is to see how the light falls through the windows at certain hours of the day. I don’t use flash with animals so I have to make use of the natural sunlight or work with the light the lamps cast.
As you can see, Pippa’s colouring beautifully matches my staircase and I was determined to have a full session around the steps. The real skill here is to direct a cat to the spots you want them to be in but without them realising what you’re doing. The moment they cotton on to you wanting them to pose the session is over! I said before that toys, treats and a ton of patience are the basic ingredients to any pet or equine photography session. I always let the pet dictate the pace of the session and follow their lead as much as possible. Pippa’s session lasted about 30 minutes but this was enough for plenty of photos in two locations.
There aren’t many photographers who offer on-location photo sessions for cats because it is probably one of the hardest genres. Who fancies herding cats after all? Well, I do! More photos of Pippa and other willing felines to follow soon.