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6 Ways Cats Sabotage Our Attempts at Photography

I have three awesome cats, but it's impossible to take a decent photo of them. Check out my outtakes and learn from my mistakes.

 |  Oct 8th 2012  |   38 Contributions


You know that taking photos of your cats means a fair amount of crawling around on the floor, cajoling with feather toys and tasty treats, and attaining that one gem out of the 83,949 shots you take. 

You’d think my three cats would eventually get used to my snap-happiness; however, Saffy, Cosmo, and Phoebe immediately react like celebrities shielding themselves from the paparazzi when I pull out the camera.

Here are a few of their signature moves:

1. The Spinster

We’ve all seen it: You’ve lined up the ideal shot, every whisker is perfectly focused, the lighting is superb -- and the split second the shutter snaps, kitty spins her head and you’ve just nailed an impressive photo of the inside of an ear, back of a head, or an extended leg- and/or bum-licking pose.

Phoebe decided to inspect her derriere instead of looking cutely at the camera.

Saffy was staring into the lens until a millisecond ago.

An utter look of disdain and a smattering of smugness often accompany these moves. More than usual, that is. I could fill an entire scrapbook with this type of photo.

2. The Shutter Sniff

I lean in for the most exquisite close-up of my gorgeous fuzzyface and then she decides to lean in … sniff, sniff, sniff. The final result? A giant, out-of-focus cat face. You know, like the face we sometimes see when we first open our eyes in the morning.

Hi, Saffy. Yeah, that's a bit too close.

That morning face looks extra big and crazy-fuzzy because we haven’t even sipped one taste of coffee. It’s the face that follows us out of bed, mewing and nearly tripping us as we groggily shuffle to the kitchen. It’s the face that will get fed before we will ever even catch the first waft of brewing coffee. That’s the Shutter Sniff face.

If you put your face up to the computer, Cosmo gets even fuzzier than this picture.

3. The Pawsession

Occasionally, I want to quickly capture a cute kitty photo, so instead of trying to locate the expensive camera, I reach for my iPhone. Meanwhile, kitty becomes increasingly annoyed and wiggly, risking what could be the Annie Leibovitz of all cellphone cat pics. There’s a brief moment when my optimism soars and I believe the magical photo is still a possibility, so I press the button with naïve anticipation. I then hold my breath and access the camera roll, hoping to see my mobile masterpiece. The outcome: A shaky phone camera and even shakier cat is nothing to be prized, but perhaps exorcised.

Meet Cosmo, better known as Satan's scary, furry little sidekick.

4. The Furry Photobomb

Although I share my home with three lovely felines, I sometimes want to snap a special photo of just one of the little darlings. Sounds like a simple, straightforward process, right? Logically speaking, one cat is far easier to photograph than three, right?

Phoebe's butt photobombs a perfectly nice snap of Saffy.

Well, I should know by now that when I begin fussing with one cat, the others think treats are somehow being withheld from them and -– in a jealous fit -– at least one of them walks in front of the camera just as I press the magic button. Suddenly, my amazing solo shot is now a couple of ears from the first cat and the hindquarters of the furry photobomber.  And on top of that, all three cats are now circling me, begging for treats … which I give them, because I am a total sucker.

5. The Fried Grouper

There are, of course, times when I’d love a terrific group photo of all three cats. Aside from the fact they rarely share the same photographable space -– unless, of course I go with panoramic -- when they do manage to tolerate one another long enough for me to slide in with the camera, the moment is wildly fleeting. And do you think I happen to nail that golden moment before they begin butt-sniffing or wandering around aimlessly, looking confused? Group photos are futile.

Three cats milling about. Not a great photo.

6. The Endgame

Although the moves described above happen pretty frequently around my house, there is one that never fails to demonstrate how my cats really feel about my shutterbug shenanigans. When this move is played, I know it’s time to put away the camera.

Cosmo shows me it's time to end the photo session.

Yes, Saffy, Cosmo, and Phoebe are armed with any number of masterful moves designed to thwart my attempts at landing Facebook-shareable photographs.  Despite the known obstacles, I shall continue to crawl and cajole, attempting to snag those gems -– or at least fewer cat butts.

Does your cat prevent you from taking awesome photos? Do you have a bunch of out-of-focus pictures of whiskers and butts? Let us know in the comments! 

Ragdoll kitten peeping from behind vintage camera by Shutterstock

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