New job, photo shoot and homeless cats

I just started a new job as the Photography Coordinator at Radio Systems Corporation (Petsafe). As Photography Coordinator, part of my job is to put together photo shoots for new and updated products. My first photo shoot was in September. I cannot tell you what the products are (business secret). But I can tell you they are cat-oriented products.

When I first found out I had to do a photo shoot involving cats, my stomach did a little flip. Cats? My very first shoot was going to involve cats? I have six cats. I know that cats almost never do what you want them to do. And very often will do just the opposite.

The next question was where am I going to get these cats? And I had to find a house – a free house. And a free model or two. One of my co-workers was kind enough to let us use his house. His very nice, built 2 years ago, house. So, I would be bringing strange cats into a strange house, filled with lots of breakables. No pressure.

Back to finding cats. Yes I have six, but I knew they would not work. Too big, too shy, too old or too dark. I put out a “casting email”. A lady at work offered 2 of her cats. Excellent. But I knew I’d need more than 2. So, I sent out a Facebook request. I was answered with stony silence. So, I decided to try some of the local cat rescues. Only 1 replied. Shelter Animals Rescue Group (SARG) thought it would be a great idea to showcase a couple of their cats.

I decided to use rescue animals for a variety of reasons. First, I knew they are accustomed to being around strange people in strange places. As adoptable animals, they are often taken to adopt-athons and handled a lot. Second, I really wanted to help some cats find homes. There are so many homeless pets out there. The perfect companion for some one. They just need to find the right person. I felt by putting them out there, it would bring attention to their plight. And maybe just maybe some one will fall in love and take them home.

The shoot started early in the morning, so Jan, from SARG, and I decided that it would be best if I took the cats the afternoon before. So, the night before my first photo shoot, I had 2 strange cats in my house. With 8 cats in my house, I think my husband thought he’d died and gone to a special part of hell. They were kept separated from one another and from mine. But everyone was nervous, myself included. Despite the tension, everyone behaved fairly well. There was a lot of door staring, but no growling or hissing or inappropriate peeing or pooping. Small miracles.

When morning came, I crated them up and we drove the 45 miles or so to Walland, TN. Remember that nice house my co-worker allowed us to use? Yes, it was in the mountains.  A long drive any time, but with 2 cranky, confused cats in the car, even longer. Once we finally arrived, after a curvy dirt road and me cursing people that live in the boondocks. And why are they so opposed to lighting? But I digress. Once we arrived, I set each of them up in their own little space while the photographer set up his lights and camera.

We started with Posey. She was a dream. A 2-year-old, adult, she was easy going and very loving. She did exactly what needed to be done and won our hearts right away. She worked like a champ all day. Even when it was naptime, she still gave us her best. When someone did something she didn’t like, she would smack. She never once clawed or bit. Cat people know what I’m talking about when I say that. Most cats get annoyed – they leave a scar. And she was not easily annoyed. It was amazing to me that she behaved so well all day.

Apollo was next. As a 4 month old kitten, he distracted easily. But he is definitely a work for food kind of cat, so we managed to get him to stop and eat for a second or two. Towards the end of the day, he started to calm down a bit and we got some fantastic photos of him snuggling with the model.

The other 2 cats did a fine job as well. But they had to leave early, their human had to get back to work. And they had to nap.

All in all it was decent shoot. We got the photos we needed and then some. Now, if we could just find homes for those cats, I’d call it a raging success.

Apollo (top) is a black and white kitten. Posey is an adult white cat with black spots. Photos were taken by Charles Brooks Photography for Petsafe. If you are in the East Tennessee area and would like to meet either of these sweeties, contact Shelter Animals Rescue Group –


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