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Dirt Ball

Written By: Mark Rogers

As a professional pet photographer I’m pretty used to working with subjects that don’t act as expected and rarely do what you ask them to do. For some this would be frustrating. For me it’s really what makes this job great: you never know exactly what you’re going to get. Sometimes, however, things can tilt a bit more to the unmanageable: like the shoot I had with a cute little kitten last week.

Grappa is an adorable 9-month old Calico who moved in with my longtime client and all-time favorite subject: Guido the Italian Kitty. Grappa and Guido’s mom bid on a photo session with me at a recent San Francisco fundraiser so this was going to be young Grappa’s first professional photo shoot. I was forewarned she was a bit of a pistol and in 6 short months had already trashed a 32-inch flatscreen tv, shredded a pricey set of drapes and caused general mayhem on a daily basis. No problem, I thought. I can handle this.

The shoot started out normally. Grappa was initially a little nervous and wary of the camera but that often happens with cats and we were slowly getting comfortable with each other. I got some fun shots of her in the powder room, then with her mom holding her. Great, she’s loosening up, I thought. So I switched to different lens to get in a bit closer. That’s when things went bad.

I looked up and Grappa wasn’t where she’d been over near the fireplace. Now all I could see was a tiny Calico tail hanging down inside the chimney like Santa Claus’ boot on Christmas morning. Grappa was heading up the flue! Her mom was there in a flash and quickly extracted a now-extremely sooty kitten who promptly squirmed free and beelined it to the powder room leaving a black-paw print trail behind her and on all of us. We were all completely trashed.

Now that a once tricolor black, white and orange cat was now one color, black, we called it a day and sealed off the fireplace to prevent future expeditions. Don’t believe it? I have photographic evidence below.