Latest Kitty Rescue Photos – all waiting for new homes | Seattle Rescue Pet Photography

Let’s start the week out right, and get some kitties adopted! Here are some of the latest cats I’ve photographed that need homes. Quite a few ginger gentlemen this time. I’ll be catching up with other sessions after Bumbershoot, but until then, I hope you love these little faces and love your holiday today!

xo ~ K

All cats are up for adoption at Animal Talk Rescue! All Images Copyright K.A.Moore Photography.

All cats are up for adoption at Animal Talk Rescue!
All Images Copyright K.A.Moore Photography.

Rest in peace, TyraBear | Seattle Cat Photography

Being around animals at a no-kill animal rescue can be just as hard as one that euthanizes them. Some animals may find themselves at the rescue for weeks, even months to years. They are re-socialized, some after terrible histories of neglect and abuse, and treated for illness, given dental work, fostered in people’s homes, and treated with the care that many animals never ever have the chance for. The struggles of many of these animals touch every volunteer that works with them, feeds them and loves them, and they make it so that when one passes on, the loss is almost as if they were our own companion animal.

One such sweet kitty at Animal Talk was TyraBear,

TyraBear, when I met her at the rescue, Fall 2011

TyraBear, when I met her at the rescue, Fall 2011

who struggled for a long time to gain her health and gain a home, but she was never given up on. I’m posting the email sent to me, written by my friend and the rescue’s Head of the Board, Rebecca, to share Tyra’s story. RIP little TyraBear. I hope you rest well now.

“TyraBear touched my heart and the heart of everyone who got the chance to know her.  At the rescue this was very difficult.  Her shy nature and anxiety in stressful situations did not allow her to stand out and get noticed by many of the volunteers and potential adopters. But she had a lovely and gentle spirit.  Carol Cummings (foster kitty mom) described her perfectly by saying that few kitties have touched her like Tyra. This was also true for Paul and I.  Rollo (her ‘brother’ and friend) also adored her the eleven years they were together. Tyra remained loving and calm up until the end.

Tyra’s struggle to maintain stability and quality health has been challenging over the past year.  She came into foster care one year ago weighing only 4.5 pounds (down from 11 pounds) and sick with depression and chronic upper respiratory symptoms.  Rollo also was thin and ill, but recovered VERY well with supportive therapy and food trials. We were not able to discover what ailed Tyra and caused her lack of appetite which was her main problem.  The only issue we knew of was dental related but our vet did not feel her dental issues were the source of her decline and lack of appetite so did not wish to do dental extractions. Thus, in addition to much monitoring, testing, supportive therapy (steroids, antibiotics, appetite stimulants, fluids…), and TLC, little more could be done.  We were hopeful she would improve for good and become adoptable.  She had many good months, but she continually improved only to crash again and repeat, repeat, repeat. It was difficult to watch her suffer on the declines but a joy to watch her flourish too. I loved her like my own and was very devoted.  Carol and Lance were also devoted foster parents for Tyra during the last couple months.  Lance played her live music and Carol brushed her every day which she loved.

Two months ago her decline saw less up’s and she became very thin.  Every medical treatment and medication administration was traumatic for Tyra and she became very fearful and mistrusting with treatment so we gave limited care.  It was emotionally difficult for Dr Obegi, Carol, and I to help her in this way without improvement that lasted. We realized there was little more we could do for her, but felt grateful that we were able to extend her life for a year. She had many happy and cozy moments in foster and deserved every second of it.

I scheduled her euthanasia with sadness last week and the nagging curiosity: could we do more for this sweet girl who sickened so severely in our rescue’s care?  Strangely enough, the day that I scheduled her euthanasia she perked up as she had not done in months!  She ran to me and purred, rolled and rubbed, and acted energetic (for tyra) and comfortable.  We were shocked and decided to delay her appointment.  Lance stated the obvious, the source of our hesitation, by saying that she was a cat who was not thriving but also not dying. She spent the next 5 days at my house acting happy and comfortable. She loved to be pet and brushed.  She purred and licked and adored stretching out on her fav blanket on top of a warm heating pad.  She seemed to be at ease and I feel had a happy and relaxed time during her final rally for life.  However, she still ate very little and remained thin.  Dr O and I did not want her to suffer any longer with supportive care to help her gain weight without knowing the cause and thus no ability to treat it for good.

Yesterday I brought her in to be put to sleep.  I hope Tyra joined a new place and will find a new beginning with joy, comfort, and love.  She was a special girl with a gentle soul.  She will be missed.”

I've posted this before, but I love this photo of Tyra: taken at her foster home a couple of months ago

I’ve posted this before, but I love this photo of Tyra: I took this at her foster home a couple of months ago

Kitties looking for their Valentine | Seattle Cat Photography

So I have a little running joke with the ‘man of the house’ that my handsome cat Jeffers is my kitty boyfriend…he will sit staring at me, giving me his sweet little kitty looks (the ones where they slowly blink at you) and will jump onto my shoulder to snuggle in my hair, and apparently I give him too many kisses. But like anyone who has had a bond with a companion animal friend, that’s unconditional love you can’t pass up! And whoever it was that said that cats can’t be loyal, well, they just haven’t met the right one yet.

Well, obviously I know a great many cats through Animal Talk Rescue and they are so ready to share their furry, snuggly, warm love with the right ‘companion human’. Here are some special kitties looking for some love this Valentine’s Day (or any day soon!); alas, no cat would dress up like cupid for me…

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?”  ~ Charles Dickens

Abe, with his 'come hither' look

Abe, with his ‘come hither’ look

Bear (all 28 pounds of him!)...that's big love there

Bear (all 28 pounds of him!)…that’s big love there

Claudia, just looking adorable

Claudia, just looking adorable

Little Miss Mary

Little Miss Mary

Iris, sitting pretty

Iris, sitting pretty

 

Jaxyn & Poxie

 

Shelter Cat Photography Secrets | Seattle Rescue Pet Photography

Are you ready for some exciting cat photography secrets?! I wrote this with my rescue pet photography in mind, but there are lots of ideas here that will help with any pet photo work.

*This post was updated on Nov 21st, 2014. So a few new things have been added!

Many people know, in this very visual and internet-savvy age, that quality and professional photos can really get rescue/shelter animals noticed online. Great images drive up adoptions because they stand out and get people to call and come in to meet their new companions. I’ve been driven to constantly improve my craft with regards to pet photography at the rescue; I love that I can make a difference with my skills. I’d love to share some tips of mine here for those who may be thinking of contributing their photography skills in order to help out at their local animal shelter. Shelters and rescues always need help in this area; the influx of homeless animals is always there.

Just about 99.99% of my rescue photography is with cats, and my focus is generally on the adult and harder-to-adopt cats. The kittens often get quick photos done on spay and neuter nights or on intake by other volunteers. My specific help is based on the need for someone to take better photos to get the adult and harder-to-adopt cats noticed, as we often barely need a photo up for the young ‘uns before someone will come in asking to adopt a kitten. Animal Talk is the only no-kill rescue in the city of Seattle and so we are always overflowing with many adult cats! [*Note: my original post was written before we became Seattle Area Feline Rescue. We were formerly known as Animal Talk Rescue]

One of my biggest and best tips is to have a dedicated helper when photographing cats. I have to do a large amount of my photos with the cat(s) in the tiniest room (called the ‘office’, and that’s only because it has some filing cabinets in there). It’s really approximately a 5 by 5 foot tiny space with cat crates piled high and I’m photographing the cats on top of said filing cabinets (about 2 by 3 ft). And I’m on a little stepladder! I should take a photo one day to show you this tiny space…

As I said, I usually have someone help me keep the attention of the cat on the filing cabinet…and generally with a toy and lots of physical attention, petting them. No cats jumping off that cabinet, please! Dangly toys I find are great for getting their attention and to get the cats looking up…I get great eye shots that way. Experimenting with different sounds you can make with your mouth, like bird chirps, can really help too. Cats are more indifferent to noises than dogs, but they do help. I also find myself talking a lot to the kitties, especially when I photograph alone; they like the sound of the human voice and love the attention. Don’t be afraid to sound silly!

I usually take my time getting those first shots off with each cat so I can gauge how they are going to act and to warm up to being out of a crate. I used to volunteer at the rescue (doing crates) years ago, and also worked as a vet tech, so I feel like I have a good grasp of cat behavior by now. They can vary so much in how they act when in that environment; we get a lot of our adults from hoarding situations and from a high-kill shelter in Eastern WA, so I’d say there are a good lot of freaked out kitties… (*more on behavior below)
There are also what we call ‘kitty suites’ at the rescue; 3 small rooms that have about 8-10 cats in them, and those I go into by myself. It gives the cats a better chance of acting more naturally and they also usually like having me as a visitor and come to investigate me. The only way to get the shy ones in these rooms is by doing a lot of tricky maneuvering, and having a zoom. I was using my 18-55mm kit lens (a kit lens is perfectly adequate!) in the rooms with flash (Nissin di622) on my Nikon D7000, but just got a Sigma 17-70mm so having a wee bit more reach can help with ones high on the beams or cat trees.
So I do use flash with my ‘elaborate’ filing cabinet setup; in that room, we have a painted wall in the corner and I use a floor-drop. Sometimes hanging a different fabric there instead, is a good way to change up the background.
I will use a faster prime with no flash if I decide it’s not worth harassing a kitty to come out of their ‘window’ or crate, and so am taking those with my head and camera in them. The lens that is nearly always have on my camera for these types of images is a 35mm 1.8. I love this little lens! If you can photograph in the front of a cage, enclosure or crate, this is the best lens for that, and no flash needed. Drive the ISO up, and don’t worry about noise in your final image; you can usually grab some great images at an f stop of about 2.8 – 4; you want those eyes in focus above anything else. I also wouldn’t go any lower than 1/100 for shutter speed for a chill cat.
*If you’re really pressed for time to get your images back to the shelter, or upload quickly to a site, shoot in JPEG to cut down on your workflow, but that said, I always shoot in RAW. I like the flexibility in post and have a workflow that involves mostly Lightroom for batch processing and quick changes.

Another important piece of advice is to take your time to gauge behavior and let the cat ‘warm up’. Study cat behavior, what makes cats tick, how they move, how they respond to you. Do this without a camera in front of your face on your own time. It will be enormously helpful. Obviously having that dedicated cat wrangler can help with difficult or anxious cats when you’re shooting in an environment like a rescue or shelter. Another person can help calm, distract, and comfort a nervous kitty. It’s also helpful with respect to having that person take cats in and out of cages/crates for me so I don’t have to put camera down, etc. But ultimately it’s up to you to really understand cats if you want to get good photos of them. Studying their behavior will also prevent scratches and bites! Those can totally ruin a good photo session…

Are you ready for the #1 tip???
It’s to HAVE PATIENCE. I can’t stress it enough! I am very deliberate about my photos with cats; I don’t click away on that shutter, and just ‘hope’ to catch something. Even if it takes a few minutes, something good will come if you wait. You can’t rush a cat! Some people that watch me shoot don’t understand why I’m not snapping away (the ‘spray and pray’ method); honestly it really doesn’t work unless you really are trying to get action shots. I feel like I do my best when letting the cats lead, and that takes a bit of waiting for the right moment. You can’t make a cat do anything they don’t want to!! I like that challenge. When I take my time too, I get a feel for what kind of personality I want to have people notice in the cats’ photo; I want to see their real characters come out. I want to see a connection in those beautiful cat eyes. That’s what people are drawn to when they see the photos. Your goal here it to get someone to notice the cat enough to want to meet them, just come into the rescue, and if you can do that with just one excellent image to show off the essence of that kitty, you have succeeded! Your images can make a difference and I promise you, they can save lives. It’s a wonderful thing to do.
Feel free to let me know if these tips help you in your quest to help at other shelters and rescues!

Anyway, you can find much more of my cat photography at http://facebook.com/kamoorephoto 🙂 :kitty: Come and follow my page!

xo ~ K

Some specific image examples below.

(*Please do not copy, share, alter, crop or use my images for your own, this is copyright infringement. Please contact me for permission to share or link to these images on your site. They are the intellectual property of K.A.MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY. I appreciate you respecting these requests ~ thank you!!*)

Taken with a prime with the kitty inside his crate

Taken with a prime with the kitty inside his crate

Taken at her foster home

Taken at her foster home

Taken up on the filing cabinet

Taken up on the filing cabinet

Taken high up  on a cat beam in a 'cat suite'

Taken high up on a cat beam in a ‘cat suite’

Taken from  outside her kitty window

Taken from outside her kitty window

HeARTs Speak | Seattle Rescue Pet Photography

I am ecstatic to say that today my membership application for HeARTs Speak was approved! HeARTs Speak is a global network of artists that is dedicated to helping get homeless animals adopted through photography and art, and I am so humbled and pleased to become a part of the community. Be on the lookout for my new HeARTs Speak watermark on my images of the animals at Animal Talk looking for homes.

Please visit HeARTs Speak to find out more, and please click on my Giving Back page above to read more about the work that I do photographing rescue animals.

Thank you, HeARTs Speak!!  And thank you for all the work that you do to support the efforts of everyone involved in finding homes for abandoned, neglected and abused animals everywhere. xo ~ K