The new book Shelter Cats is written and illustrated by former Lexington resident and Woodford Humane Society volunteer Michael Kloth. Kloth recently earned his MFA in photography and began the work for Shelter Cats as part of his graduate school thesis project.
Recruited by Woodford Humane Society’s Public Relations Director Sandy Davis to photograph adoptable animals in 2006, Kloth volunteered his time every week photographing dogs and cats for their Petfinder.com profile pages until he moved to Richland, Washington in 2008, where he continued his work photographing adoptable animals, believing that quality photographs are essential for effectively marketing cats and dogs to potential adopters.
His work both at Woodford Humane Society and the Washington shelters supported that claim by regularly attracting potential adopters to the shelters both locally and from neighboring communities, sometimes from hours away. Still, while he felt his work was making a difference locally, he wanted to reach a wider audience to promote animal adoption and Shelter Cats is a result of that effort.
Since he began volunteering at the Woodford Humane Society in 2006, Kloth estimates that he’s photographed at least 1500 adoptable animals and most of those animals have since been adopted.
Shelter Cats features over 80 feline subjects and about ten percent are former Woodford Humane Society residents. While the national adoption average for animals brought to animal shelters is currently only 50 percent, Kloth says that he is fortunate to work with shelters and humane societies that far exceed that average. Woodford Humane Society for example boasts a 90 percent adoption rate.
|MissKitty waited 612 days to be adopted at WHS.|
Miss Kitty waited 612 days at WHS before she was adopted, only to be returned to the shelter just four months later. Woodford’s dedicated staff helped to ensure that Miss Kitty was eventually adopted into her forever home.
While the goal of the book is primarily to promote adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering pets, a portion of the proceeds from the purchase of every book will be donated to the ASPCA. Kloth hopes that he can inspire other photographers to work with their local animal shelters to photograph their adoptable pets and he includes some tips to help photographers work with feline subjects.
|Michael with WHS alums, Maebe and Spring+ Lyle from Lex Humane|
Kloth is currently an Adjunct Professor of Fine Arts at Washington State University, is a fine art and portrait photographer (http://michaelklothphotography.com) and is working to establish a new non-profit organization to help connect other artists with humane societies and animal shelters (http://heartsspeak.org).
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