I put in some extra time at the shelter today. We had a professional photographer volunteer her time to take pictures of some of our long-term cats so they can show their best on our website. I've never been in a position of having to keep a cat focused for extended periods of times. Cats, I've discovered, are not cooperative when it comes to posing for pictures.
When I socialize the kitties, it's all about keeping them entertained. If they want to run around and play, that's what we do. If they want a lap, they've got one. The cats pretty much dictate how the visit will go. But today I had to try and get them to sit still and look up, preferably towards the nice lady with the camera.
I had no idea how hard it was going to be. it may have been one of the silliest things I've done in a lifetime of doing silly things. Standing there, waving pipe cleaners or squeaky toys. Snapping my fingers. Making odd noises. Anything to keep them focused. In all we photographed about seven cats in two hours and only one was cooperative. This guy sat there, still and charming, and let her snap away. It only took us about five minutes to get a dozen good shots. Other cats we had for 20 minutes at a time and only at the end got something usable. The poor photographer got lots of lovely butt shots, tops of heads, or nice close-ups of side markings. But getting a full on shot of a kitty when he or she has her eyes open, looking at the camera, and still -- that was a work of epic proportions.
The one thing I keep learning from working with the cats is patience. Today was another lesson is that. But I think she did get some lovely photos and I can't wait to see the results on the website.
And, in spite of the fact that we worked with several red cats, I came away with only one scratch. (Laramie, some day you and I will be friends!)