Cats are challenging to photograph. They don’t sit and stay, they don’t pose, and they definitely aren’t inclined to do anything on command.

Cats just do what they want, and that’s what I love about them. And I should know! I’ve had the privilege of playing host - and art director - to over 150 cats and kittens.

Tiny Kitten Photography by Tania Hennessy

As a Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) foster, my apartment is frequently home to clowders of kitties. Photographing them is part of a foster’s role, because amazing photos help these felines find their forever homes. That’s where my niche was born.

I modernize cat and kitten photography into pastel pieces of pop art.

My work takes the classic “calendar kitten” concept in a bold new direction, using bright colours and modern art concepts to bring out the playfulness and individuality of each kitten who visits my studio.

And I’m fortunate to have special access to a variety of cats and kittens, and the trust of VOKRA. Instead of relying on the uniqueness of a particular breed to create interesting work, I’m able to work with rescue animals and share their stories.

Kitten Purrito by Tania Hennessy

Sometimes a shoot starts with an idea, followed by a search for the perfect furry model. Other times, a cat provides my inspiration. My Emoji Kittens collection features emojis that a kitten brought to life, and kitten photos that were perfectly completed with the addition of an emoji.

Whatever the inspiration, it definitely takes a bag of tricks and the help of an assistant (or “kitty fluffer” as I like to call them) to discover what draws out each cat’s spirit! Our annual Doughnut Kitten auditions are huge amounts of fun, because we never know which kittens will rock the doughnut prop - and which will climb in and pass out.

Emoji Kittens by Tania Hennessy

Shoots often include snacks, nap breaks when a kitty drifts off to sleep, and candid shots (or Instagram Stories!) as they explore the space beyond the backdrop. The patience and persistence it takes to get some of the photos that I take sometimes seems ridiculous. When the moment comes and I just know that I got “the shot”, that’s addictive.

Purrs and Head-Bumps,

~Tania Hennessy

Tania Hennessy