Self Portrait with Fiddy, Feb. 2009

originally uploaded by Kevin Steele

Cat's name: Fiddy

Human's name: Kevin Steele

Length of cohabitation: Almost 3 years

How you came to live with each other: Six or so years ago Fiddy kittened with my younger brother out west in our hometown Saskatoon. My brother named him.

Five years ago I adopted a young orange cat named Toby. Shortly after that my brother came east to stay with me and Fiddy became my mother's cat. So now we each had a new orange and white cat!

Mom had always taken pictures. She had a darkroom in the house when I was growing up in the seventies. She gave me a nice camera when I was young but I wasn't allowed to use her darkroom.

Mom started using Flickr in 2004. She was very social on Flickr and loved uploading pictures of just about anything. She gave my brother and I Flickr accounts as a way to stay in touch after he came east.

I had already been uploading cat and street pictures to my personal web site for a few years but the community on Flickr really inspired me to take and share far more pictures. I was blessed with a few very photogenic cats who enjoyed that kind of attention and we were able to collaborate for many fun pictures. Mom was inspired to take pictures of her cats, too, especially Fiddy. Mom and I did not have any trouble talking openly, but I also cherish the way we were able to have a photographic relationship as well.

A few months after mom's unexpected death in late 2006, Fiddy was sent 1800 miles east to live here.

Fiddy is The Family Cat.

Favorite shared activity: Fiddy loves being fed, and he does like to chase things on strings.

Tell us about this photo: At a Flickr meetup a friend wanted a sense of how big Fiddy really was so that week I set out to take the picture to show his size, which was nearly twenty pounds. I had only recently bought a remote control and was happy to find reasons to use it.

That was a bit more than a year ago. Fiddy has been on a diet since the fall and is now closer to 16 lbs, and I think he's just about perfect.

What you love most about your cat (or cats in general): I love how willful they are. And soft. Willful and soft.

How or why you incorporate cats in your photography: It's an interesting challenge to get better at making cat pictures, and forces me to learn different things than my other photographic interests do.

When a session breaks out with the cats it can be breathless, exciting. I love it when the cats enjoy the interaction.

I like taking pictures of many cats I meet.

Favorite animal charity: Work takes me to Virginia often and I like to visit the cats at the Cats Cradle Adoption Centre in Harrisonburg, VA.