Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cats of Europe, Cont

I'm still in Europe, having a lovely time. Still photographing pretty much every cat I come across (I don't see many in Poland, actually).

Including this friendly guy we met at a train museum. I snuggled him for a bit.


And this guy who wasn't so keen on snuggling but was still pretty.

I miss my cats a lot. Looking forward to that part of getting home in a few months. And visiting the rescues - hoping all the cats I know found homes while I was away!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cats of Europe

While I'm sad not to be in Vancouver, helping find homes for shelter animals, I'm making the most of my time in Europe. My partner and I went on a road trip for most of June - down to Croatia and Albania and swinging by Romania on our way back - it was very interesting. We met a few cats on our way (in Croatia mostly) and I couldn't resist taking photos of them! I'm missing my cats very much, so I turn into a bit of a crazy person when I see a cat now.

I've started a set on my flickr page for the cat photos I'm taking on my travels - I suspect there will be more! 

In more Vancouver-centric news - Vancouver rescue groups have been flooded with cats from two big rescue operations. If you are inclined and able to donate to support them, now would be a very good time!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Feature Cat

Copenhagen cat.
I'm in Poland!  We've successfully relocated to Poland (here until early 2014, then back to Vancouver) and despite the language barrier, it's nice living here; I've always wanted to live in an old European town centre, and here we're literally two short blocks away from the beautiful giant central plaza. If it would just stop raining, it would be great!  (You can follow my adventures on my personal blog:

The only downside to this European adventure - we had to leave our two cats in Vancouver. You can probably guess how hard that was for me. We were so lucky to find a friend who was willing to take both our cats in and foster them for the year we're away; I will never be able to thank her enough for this. Knowing they are in good hands and are loved makes a world of difference.  Still, being without cat is weird - it's quiet and empty and seems like such a waste of an apartment. (We're traveling too much to even foster temporarily while here.)

I'm scheming up ways to get out to the animal shelter here, maybe to take some photos, but the language barrier is a bit of a problem (and convincing them that I'm not a wingnut). Still, I have hopes!  In the meantime, I try to pet every cat I see in the street (not many so far), and get mopey about missing our cats.  I may just move into Katie's Place for a few days when I return to cuddle as may cats as possible. :)

To keep you amused - I've changed up the Feature Cat.  I met Juliette the first time I went to Katie's Place with Cindy - she has these sad eyes that follow you around but she doesn't like to compete with all the other cats to get your attention, so we didn't see much of her. The second time, she came out for me and was adorable. She seems perfect - I can only attribute the fact that she hasn't been adopted to the fact that she is black and a bit shy, both things that mean you tend to get overlooked in a shelter. Poor girl - she needs to learn to strut her stuff a bit more!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Do the Photos Help?

This is a question many of the foster parents ask as the photographers and I are crawling around their floors trying to get a good shot.  It's a hard question to answer.  I think we all know on some level that good photos on an online profile can help to attract attention which can lead to more/faster adoptions - but it's a difficult thing to prove.

There is one very tangible example now, however.

One of the first photo shoots I did with my friend, Ben Johnson, was for HomeFinders Animal Rescue.  There was one cat, Azlan - a beautiful one-eyed boy who had been found living behind a bar on Main St. He had lost his eye and had his fur shaved but was still very dignified.  Ben took beautiful photos of him.  We all fell in love.  When we sent the first batch of photos to Hilly at HomeFinders, she replied that the photos of Azlan made her tear up because she had been trying to show people what a wonderful, beautiful cat he was but her dimly-lit basement photos just didn't convey it.... and Ben's did, in spades.

To know we could make a rescuer happy like that was a win in my books.  Azlan is a senior cat, with health issues, so, not an easy guy to find a home for - but he did get adopted! We found out later that his adopter saw this photo of him and fell in love. So photos do matter!

Azlan is now in a great home and is loved to bits, just as he should be.  And, his adopter just used Ben's photo as inspiration for a tattoo. That's a pretty powerful, lasting image.

For the most part we have to go on our hunch that beautiful photos help animals find homes, but every now and then it's good to hear very definitively that it's true!

Here's a blurb from Azlan's new person:

Pictures are powerful, be they for a piece of furniture, a place to live or a fuzzy companion.

When I was dreaming of adopting a cat after 17 years, as I was buying a place where I could finally have one, I looked over many pets on and found Azlan. The photo with his paw outstretched towards the camera as if to say "love me" I kept coming back to again and again. I didn't care that he was a senior cat or missing an eye. I was actually looking for an adult or senior to adopt. His thyroid issue was a concern but once I asked about taking him in as a foster and met him for the first time it was instant love for both of us..

Since then, I've adopted this snuggly boy and cured his thyroid condition, but I was hit with the news of his third stage kidney failure. This was found after the 2nd round of post thyroid procedure blood tests. 

I had already a tattoo scheduled but I decided to make a change to one of Azlan.

Once again, I kept thinking about the picture that first drew me to him. Luckily I have a friend who knows an extremely talented artist, Carlos Vanst, and he was able to transform the photo into a very detailed tribute. Azlan is still with me but hard to say for how long. When it comes time to let him go, all I will have to do reach down and put my hand on the paw that will often poke at me to feed or pet 

him, and remember the best kitty I've ever had.

My thanks to Ben Johnson for capturing the moment in the photo.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Permanent Home

Speaking of the need to find homes for things - I've registered a proper domain for this site. 

Please change any links/bookmarks you have to:

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Ben and I made it out to HomeFinders Animal Rescue to do photos of a bunch of creatures - cats, turtles, hamster... and the most adorable puppy ever.  I totally fell in love (risky volunteer gig this adoptable animal photography!).  Such a sweet thing, so cute.  She was very scared at first but ended up pretty relaxed as we continued doing photos - and that was with cats milling around!  Her name is Tika - go adopt her!

Um, I may have also pulled out my miniature cowboy had and put it on the head of a very patient 17 year old Keisha.  She was very good to humour me.  I think maybe a top hat would have suited her better?

The rest of the photos will be added to Ben's gallery shortly!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Marlowe Found a Home!

Marlowe.  So good looking, this cat. I took about 65 photos of him when I was at Katie's Place last, he's a great model.  He had pulled out some of his fur because he was sad/stressed in the shelter environment - he needed a proper home.  But he's not necessarily an easy cat to adopt out - he needs to be taken on his own terms - needs a home that understands him and doesn't have expectations of constant cuddles... and that's a rare home to find, one that will take a quirky, possibly temperamental cat and love them on their own terms.

Fingers crossed for Marlowe because he found someone willing to give it a try!! And so far so good!  Let's hope it works out for him and he can grow his fur back and be the beautiful, happy cat he should be!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Katie's Place

Have I told you all about Katie's Place yet?  It's a wonderful volunteer-run shelter in Maple Ridge (~1 hr outside Vancouver).  They take in many cats that would otherwise be deemed 'unadoptable' and they provide the best life they can for them.  They do their best to find generous-hearted people who will adopt a less-than-perfect, sometimes jerky cat, and it's very heartwarming when they succeed.  They also have regular cute cuddly cats that are perfectly perfect.  Their cats live in communal rooms with access to outdoor catteries so they can laze in the sun & feel the breeze and have space to climb and run.

As shelters go, it's a nice set up! But it's still a shelter - and many cats get very stressed in that kind of environment, so go adopt someone!

I happened to be out in Maple Ridge the other day, so I stopped by to visit during their open house. I took my camera with my lovely new lens and decided to try to get some photos myself (couldn't get a professional to come with me!).  Am fairly pleased with how the photos turned out.

This is Marlowe.

He is one beautiful cat - and quite the model too, striking all these poses for me.

He was super chill and friendly and purring with me, but I was told, when I asked about him, that he can be a bit of a jerk sometimes (aren't we all?). I take that to mean he's moody and needs an understanding adopter that doesn't expect a cat to be cuddly all the time.  Marlowe is also pulling out his fur, which is heartbreaking and probably a result of being stressed (I'm guessing here).

Sounds like this poor guy needs a home of his own where he can be himself and be accepted for who he is, jerky bits and all!  Isn't that what we all want?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sneak Peak

Just got some photos from Tanja - very unique cat, this one....  for now, you just get a sneak peak!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2012 Summary

I'm rather late with the year-end summary, but here goes!

The greeting card sales went well during the holidays - allowing me to send a $100 cheque to Katie's Place, AND pay down $100 worth of HomeFinder's vet bill for them.  The assistant at the vet who processed the payment kept thanking me for doing such a nice thing - which I wish I could pass on to all the people who bought cards because it was their money!  So thank you - by directing your greeting-card purchases to my fundraiser, you helped warm the hearts of many - from vet admins to the hard-working people who run these rescue groups!  I hope it brightens their day, when rescue work gets them down, to know that so many people support them and appreciate what they do.

I did another print run of the most popular card - the blank card with Nicole of Katie's Place on the front. She is stunning - and Cindy Hughes captured her beautifully.  Feel free to purchase more!  They will only be available until March.

In addition to the cards - I run a snack basket in my office where I charge outrageously high prices for snacks. My co-workers like to munch (and support saving kittens) - and I was able to donate an astounding $700 to Katie's Place through this!!!  Go start a snack basket in your office today! No, seriously.

Aside from fundraising - we got out and met some lovely animals!  I met three great photographers Tanja of Jelger and Tanja Photography, Kristina of K9 Studio Photography (who sadly moved to Venezuela shortly after we did our first photo shoot), and Cindy of Muddy Love Pet Photography (and Sugar Snap Photography). 

Here's the rundown of photo shoots in 2012:
  • Ben (my original photographer) and I did two photo shoots for HomeFinders, including our first bunny and turtle photos! [27 animals]
  • Cindy also did a photo shoot of kittens for HomeFinders (and inexplicably, the cutest is still available!). [7 cats]
  • We did 6 photo shoots for VOKRA (Jackie, Tanja, Ben, Kris) [15 cats]
  • Cindy did a ton of photos at Katie's Place [50 cats!]
  • In total - approximately 99 animals where photographed! I'm quite shocked to tally it up and find it was so many! 
How is this guy not adopted yet? Go adopt him!
2013 will certainly be much much quieter - as I'm off to spend a year in Europe!  But, I'm hoping to squeeze in a few photo shoots before I leave in April, and I'll certainly be back at it in 2014!