miles, originally uploaded by *MaryElise*

Cat's name: Miles

Human's name: MaryElise

Length of cohabitation: Three years

How you came to live with each other :
Miles was a kitten born to a feral mother in my boyfriend's neighborhood. Once we realized the extent of the cat population there, we took action to collect the adults for spay and release back to the colony and adopt the kittens. Fortunately, even some of the adults were eventually adopted. I wasn’t sure about bringing in another kitten as my Emily was about 12 and I was concerned it might be too much for her, even though she seemed lonely since her last companion died. I took a chance, and even though he likes to chase her a bit too much, they have a good relationship. He also seemed to bring back her interest in watching birds, etc., so his addition to my family was definitely a positive thing.

Favorite shared activity: 
Miles loves small stuffed toys that he can carry around. He will drop them at my feet to initiate play time. He is the third cat that I have owned that is a “fetcher”. I throw the toy and he keeps bringing it back until he gets tired and quits in exhaustion. He will also sit by the back window and watch the squirrels, birds and chipmunks with me, and loves to cuddle in bed. 

Tell us about this photo:
It was a snowy Sunday morning and Miles was sleeping at the foot of my bed. The light was coming in through my bedroom window and I thought it would be a nice background for a self portrait. I set up the tripod and he seemed interested in what I was doing. I have discovered he does love the camera, unlike Emily. After a few test shots, I decided to add him in the photo, holding him in his favorite position. As soon as the self timer sounds, he always looks straight into the camera. It has become one of my favorite images.

What you love most about your cat:
Miles is a friendly, good natured cat who likes everyone. He is a wonderful, affectionate companion and does something every day to make me laugh, although he can drive me crazy at times. I believe he has alternately added and removed years from my life, so it all balances out.

How or why you incorporate cats in your photography: 
At times it is planned, when I have a specific idea, or I see something I want to capture. Other times, they will just wander into the shot and I will see how much they add to the image and use that. I love to see an animal in a portrait shot, because I feel it adds a note of something intimate, a relationship, to an image. I like to incorporate my own animals in my photography because they are part of my life, and I feel it’s important for my personal expression.

Favorite Charity:
Jersey Shore Animal Shelter

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