A Purrfect Calling

By Carlyn Law, a PR consultant by day and off duty, she is always on the prowl for good food, green pastures and cats around the globe. As organiser of ‘Cats Of The World ’ and mamma to two cats, she is thrilled to share her love for cats and wishes more people will give them a loving home.

It all started with our first cat Jarvis whom my sister adopted from SPCA 18 years ago. At that time, I was not fond of cats but Jarvis won us all over with his charms, and soon that led to two more rescued additions to our family along the way. Jarvis is 18 now – an old geezer by a cat’s standards, and is one of my inspirations for Cats of The World photo exhibition.

It began in 2007 as a fun exhibition to showcase the cat photos that my friends and I have shot in the countries we visited. The idea then came to me; why not open it up to the public so everyone can take part and at the same time raise awareness and funds for Cat Welfare Society in Singapore? It was a purrfect cause.

Cats Of The World slowly evolved into a community project during the last five years, and my co-organiser Noelle and I are proud that it has gained a loyal following among many cat lovers and avid photographers in Singapore and even overseas. Our primary objective has never strayed – that is to celebrate cats in this visual art form and applaud their photogenic feline charms. The limelight is always on the cats; each special in their own ways all over the world.

Each year, the pool of photo entries and photographers gets bigger. The contributors come from all walks of life – students, professionals, etc. One contributor Alex, who has an amazing eye for pictures, has been taking part every year since she was a secondary student.

We hope to devote a category for school children (under 16) next year (so parents and teachers, listen up!).

We choose and curate the photos based on the criteria guidelines which are found on our blog.

Essentially the snapshots must capture cats in their element – graceful, lazy, sneaky, aloof, loving, adorable etc – in awe-inspiring settings and backdrops around the world. Half of our photos are shot in Singapore but the rest are beautifully captured in far-flung destinations like Jordan, Japan, UK, Greece, Turkey and Italy.

Photographing cats is an art and takes a lot of patience and luck, as a cat observer would know! You need to understand cat behaviour and also got to recognise The Moment when it presents itself, for example when the cat is about to pounce on its victim, or a mom grooming its kittens in their secret hideaway. Most of the photos are often spontaneous, although some cats are natural elegant posers.

Have a look at our past years’ photos which are on our Facebook page. They illustrate the essence of ‘opportunities’ when cats are photographed in their natural element. You just have to be ready when it happens. Good luck!

This year, we added an inaugural Saturday Purrzaar Market that offers quirky, unique cat-inspired merchandise and crafts by Singaporean artists as well as Cat Welfare Society.

The cat-themed flea market was a runaway success, attracting many visitors on the three Saturdays at the Arts House. We also raise funds through the sale of the cat photos, postcards and the Purrzaar for the Cat Welfare Society. We applaud their efforts in championing the rights and welfare for the cats in Singapore and hope that through the exhibition, more people will appreciate these beautiful creatures and understand that the best thing they can do for their cats is be a responsible owner.

Lately, we are heartened by the public dialogue and increasing awareness that concern cat and animal welfare. Chong Pang constituency is the first in Singapore to stop cat-culling and use humane methods to control its population. Even National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has called for the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) ‘to seriously consider reviewing its culling programme for cats’.

We feel that the authorities should work closely with Cat Welfare Society and its network of restless volunteers to ensure a more loving and safer environment for our feline friends.