Sunday, September 23, 2012


I took these photos today for a neighbor/friend. I'm not accustomed to photographing pets. Photographing a cat was, of course, a challenge. She only has three legs and she's quite old so at least she didn't move around a lot. I asked her owner to write about her so here is the letter she sent me:

Neige is originally French, and her name is the French word for

"snow".  She first entered my life in 2005, as a homeless kitten
living on the streets of Paris.  I'd recently lost my cat, who somehow
managed to get out of our building when she sensed her time had come.
I'd put up Lost Cat ("Chatte Perdue") signs around the neighborhood,
and while they didn't reconnect me with my cat, they connected me with
a wonderful neighbor named Zakia, who proceeded to search our whole
arrondisement (neighborhood) for my missing cat.  Along the way, she
met a little white kitten who'd been living in a nearby park.  When
fall came, and Zakia started worrying about how the kitten would make
it through the winter, I told her I wanted to meet the kitten and
_maybe_ adopt her.  Those words set into motion forces that soon
spiraled out of my control!  The next thing I knew, Zakia and a local
cat adoption agency had rounded up the kitten and taken her to the vet
to get fixed and vaccinated - and I accepted that I was adopting a new

Neige adapted to her new life so enthusiastically that I'm convinced
she'd been a house cat before her life on the streets.  Yet she always
retained one vestige of homelessness: a passion for food that far
exceeds that of any cat I've ever known before!  In Paris, my Italian
housemate fell in love with her, and used to let her eat off his
dinner plate.  When the time came for me to return to California, I
considered asking him if he wanted to adopt her, and might have done
so if I'd ever seen any evidence of him cleaning the litter box.

In 2009, Neige was diagnosed with vaccine-associated sarcoma (VAS), a
nasty, aggressive cancer that affects something like 1 out of 1000
cats vaccinated (see  Like most owners of
VAS cats, I'd never heard about VAS, or any other adverse effect of
vaccination, until my cat was diagnosed with cancer.  Then, I had to
make a horrible decision of whether to let my cat die or have her leg
amputated.  You see, most veterinarians are sufficiently aware of VAS
that they administer vaccines in the leg rather than the scruff area,
so that if cancer develops, the cat could lose a leg but survive.  In
the end, there was really no choice, but Neige pulled through like a
champ!  Three years later, she still runs as fast as ever, jumps
almost as high as ever (she can't jump onto the kitchen counters
anymore, but there's a silver lining to everything!), and has proven
herself quite capable of chasing off any dog that gets too close to
her space!  And for all I worried about her becoming mean and bitter
after the amputation, she remained the same sweet, affectionate kitty
she always was.  And best of all, she still is; if she hadn't had the
surgery, by now, she wouldn't be.  After three years, she's considered
to be in full remission.  Within the community of owners of VAS cats,
she's earned the status "Long Term Survivor".

To quote a veterinarian I know, "cats are born with three legs and a spare".

Thanks again for a wonderful portrait!


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About Me

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Santa Cruz, CA, United States
I am a very shy introverted photographer. My psycho-therapist says that I may be able to come out of my shell almost any time now.