Cats Protection Inverurie
Photographic competition 2004


With a record number of stunning shots to choose from, the judges of Cats Protection’s annual photo competition had a tough job on their hands choosing five winning feline faces.

“I was very impressed with the overall standard and quality of the photos, which made it really hard choosing the winners,” said freelance photographer, Paul Keevil, who specialises in animal photography and was one of this year’s judges. “I was particularly impressed that people had gone to such great lengths to achieve really outstanding shots - they clearly went to a lot of trouble and effort.”

The categories in this year’s competition, which was sponsored by Felix, included: Best Friends; Loveable Rascal; Cuddly Kittens and Perfect Pin-up.
An additional photo was picked for the top prize – "Cats Protection Photo of the Year".

Overall winner (3607 entries in total)
Tony Willitt of Havant, Hampshire for his photo of Minnie.

The top prize package for Tony’s winning ‘Photo of the Year’ includes a £400 voucher for photographic equipment, a year’s supply of Felix cat food, a framed photograph of Minnie (his winning subject), a certificate and a £75 food voucher for the Portsmouth Branch of Cats Protection.

Tony was thrilled to learn he had won Cats Protection’s photo competition, but did have an inkling he could do well. “Although I was surprised to hear I’d won, everyone I’d shown the photo to really liked it so I was hoping for the best,” said Tony.

Minnie, his brown Burmese, is quiet, observant and clever and Tony says she is always interested when the camera comes out. “She loves the garden, climbing and bird-watching on a nice day, so I find it easiest to photograph her there.”

This is the third time he has entered the competition and would like to enter again next year, but maybe in the cute kittens’ category. “We are planning to get a kitten soon so if I can get a good shot, you never know!”

Category winners

Category winners each received a £200 voucher for photographic equipment, three month’s supply of Felix cat food, a framed copy of their winning photo, a £50 food voucher for the Cats Protection Branch of their choice, and a certificate.

Best Friends (592 entries)
Laurel Steinbeck of Haverhill, Suffolk for his photo of Millie and Benson.

Laurel won this category with a stunning photo of his beautiful Burmese sleeping cats.
Millie and Benson, both four-years-old, are always together. They both love the camera – and the camera clearly loves them!
“Millie and Benson are brother and sister so usually play-fight when they’re awake and then cuddle up when they’re asleep! When I saw them all curled up I just thought what a nice shot that would be,” said Laurel.

Laurel has been taking photographs for nearly 30 years and specialises in landscape photography. He also has an impressive selection of cat portraits, but was very surprised to hear he had won the Best Friends category. “I don’t normally enter competitions but I saw this in a magazine and had to give it a go - I never expected to win anything!” he said.

Millie and Benson
Millie and Benson

Loveable Rascal (1747entries)
Andrea Finnegan of Oldham, Lancashire for her photo of a cat on the prowl.

This handsome tabby and white feline couldn’t fail to capture the hearts of the judges, even though Andrea had to lie on the ground and take around 40 shots before getting a good photo of the cat!

Andrea is studying photography at university and plans to use this shot as part of her coursework. She takes pictures of many subjects, but cats are her favourite.

She was delighted to have won the category, but wasn’t sure whether she would be a winner. “I wasn’t that confident because I realise it all depends on the judges’ decision, but my university tutors liked it so I was hoping the panel would too.”
Cat on the prowl
Cat on the Prowl

Cuddly Kittens (370 entries)
Martin Dalton of Chadwell-St-Mary, Essex for his photo of Daisy.

Cute Daisy had a sad start to life when she was abandoned in a field. Martin and his wife noticed how hungry she looked and ended up taking in the homeless kitten!

Daisy now belongs to the couple’s seven-year-old niece who Martin said was overjoyed when she heard the photo of Daisy had won. “Although I was really pleased to hear that the judges liked my photograph, I think it was my niece who was most excited!”

This is the first year Martin’s entered the competition, but says he will enter again next year if he snaps another good shot.

“Daisy is really easy to photograph,” Martin said. “She just sits happily in the garden and lets me take as many pictures as I want.”

Perfect pin-up (898 entries)
Barbara Ritchie of Corwen, Denbighshire for her photo of Thomas.

Barbara’s reaction to winning the Perfect Pin-up category was one of total amazement. “I just couldn’t believe it when I heard I’d won. I never win anything!”

Barbara adopted Thomas, a long-haired tabby, from the Wrexham Branch of Cats Protection five years ago. She says he has a habit of appearing everywhere, especially in front of the camera. “One of his hobbies is photography and I often see him posing. For this shot he appeared in the garden and I just took a few photos, never expecting one of them would be a winner.”

Photography is a hobby for homemaker, Barbara, who likes to photograph flowers and landscapes as well as cats, although Thomas clearly prefers being her centre of attention!