My first photoshoot with a cat!

As you can probably tell from previous blog posts, I’m a bit of an animal lover.  And there’s no animal I love more than a cat.  So when my friend Libby asked if I’d get some photos of her friends’ cat I jumped at the chance!

We popped round to see Stacey and her little bundle of trouble, Effy.  Effy is definitely one of the more lively cats I’ve seen – zooming all over the place and not at all scared to use her claws.

I knew a photoshoot with a cat would be fun.  Cats aren’t always too keen to have their photos taken so I took a long lens (Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 ) for getting photos at a distance, and a fast lens (Sony 50 mm f/1.8) for capturing speedy photos. 

Stacey and Libby kept Effy entertained with toys and food while I snapped away.  Here’s my favourite ten photos from the shoot.

Valentine’s Day at Beale Park

In the midst of one of the rainiest and dullest winters I can remember, today, Valentines Day, was forecast to be nice and the sun was due to put in a rare appearance.  So I headed to Beale Park in Berkshire to see and photograph some of the many animals they have.  Love was in the air…

A Wet and Windy Weekend in Wales

Just back from a wet and windy weekend in Wales, I thought I’d quickly share just ten photos from the trip (yes I know I’ve a huge backlog of Canada photos to share… all in good time!).  

I’ve been to south Wales a few times in autumn and winter but it’s the first time the weather has been quite so bad.  Rainstorms and gusty winds overnight meant some missed sleep, but luckily the worst of the daytime weather came when I was under cover.  

Saturday morning was rained out, and Plantasia in Swansea offered a watertight glass dome filled with plants and animals.  As the weather brightened up a lunchtime trip to Verdi’s Cafe in Mumbles gave the opportunity for views across Swansea Bay.  Being close to 5th November there were lots of fireworks to choose from in the area, and seeing a bonfire and fireworks in the shadow of Coity Castle was a treat.  

On Sunday a trip to the Cats Protection Bridgend Adoption Centre left me feeling a little sad that there were so many cats waiting to be adopted.  But I was perked up by a visit to St Fagans, and all the dark clouds didn’t lead to a drenching.  This was my second visit to the museum, which is a huge site with various buildings from all over Wales.  The buildings are dismantled brick-by-brick and rebuilt at St Fagans.  The St Teilo’s Church, for example, took twenty years to dismantle and move.  Autumn is a great time to visit and see all the buildings set amongst the colourful trees.

The Cats of Lanzarote

This week the BBC has been showing a three part documentary about cats, called Cat Watch 2014 and presented by the lovely Liz Bonnin.  I’ve only seen the first part as I’ve come out to Lanzarote for a short break, however it’s inspired me to do a blog post about the cats of Lanzarote.  Anyone who knows me will know it didn’t take much arm-twisting once the inspiration sprang to mind, I’m a cat fan and self-confessed cat whisperer.

I’ve visited the Canary Islands a few times and have come to understand a bit more about the relationship between Canarians and the cat population.  Just like back home some cats here are kept as pets.  In Lanzarote there can be few cats more spoilt than those owned by Barbarella Buchner, aka The Mad Cat Lady.  Not only does Barbarella dote on her cats, she runs a cat photography business, and owns the excellently named thekitti.es web domain.  And if that didn’t qualify her for ‘mad’ status then her marriage to her cats surely does.  Look here if you don’t believe me!

Sadly not all cats are as lucky as Barbarella’s.  There’s a lot of feral and stray cats in Lanzarote which I guess is down to the environment here.  The year-round nice warm dry days are ideal for cats.  In Playa Blanca where I am right now, many of the strays live amongst the coastal rocks and use them for daytime shade.  In the evening when the cats come to life many tourists are around to feed them.  Some of the cats are so used to people that they’re quite happy to approach people dining on the sea front, and with a purr and flick of the tale they often get treats.

Some of the locals aren’t too keen on all the cats.  I know cats aren’t to everyones taste, and so luckily a charity has been created to help out.  9 Lives Lanzarote runs a neutering programme in an attempt to keep the population under control.  The 9 Lives team have also placed a few Cat Cafe’s (feeding stations) around the island, meaning that the cats get fed and watered, but away from the hotel complexes and the like.

If you like the photos in this blog post then please donate to 9 Lives Lanzarote via their donations page.  If you’d prefer to dontate to a UK charity then look no further than Cats Protection.