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Animal Photographer Seth Casteel Pounces Into Cats

They're the subject of his latest book -- and the reason he started animal photography.

Christie Zizo  |  Jan 6th 2017


Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our November/December 2016 issue. Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

Seth Casteel’s work is well-known to anyone who loves funny dog pictures. His Underwater Dogs series features pups underwater, wide-eyed, mouths gaping, in the midst of grabbing a toy.

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His newest book, Pounce, takes him out of the pool and into the world of cats. But many admirers of Seth’s work with dogs might be surprised that feline subjects are not new to him. Cats are the reason he started taking pictures at all. He was friends with a group of people taking care of a feral cat colony living on the Sony Picture Studios lot back in 2007. They were already overwhelmed with the cats when they discovered a litter of kittens. Seth just happened to be there with his new digital camera and took some pictures of the kittens to get them some attention. Within 24 hours, all of the kittens found homes.

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All photos by Seth Casteel

“It was amazing, the power of a photograph,” Seth said. “That was my first opportunity really photographing animals at all.”

After taking photos of another litter, he started doing volunteer work with city shelters. “Had I not met that litter of kittens, I really don’t know what I’d be doing.”

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So what took him so long to do a book about cats?

“I’ve always wanted to make a cat book,” he said. “I’ve just been trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do and how it would work.”

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So, he started taking some pictures of cats, trying to figure out what he could do. What he did was capture cats doing what they do best — pouncing.

“Most of the book is kittens, and they’re learning the craft, the art, the skill of the pounce,” he said. “And some of them are kind of clumsy. It’s fun to watch them perfect that.”

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The kittens in the book are all rescues who came from a variety of animal welfare groups.

“I wanted to bring to light how many serious issues are surrounding cats,” Seth said. “The whole reason to do it is to talk about overpopulation, rescue and adoption, spay and neuter. A lot of the cats out there are in trouble. We need to help them.”

About the author: Christie Zizo is a writer in Orlando, Florida. When she’s not writing about her dogs and her cat at Life With Beagle.com, she’s working at an area TV station as a digital media producer.