As many of our readers may know, I am a big fan of my local cat adoption cafe Neko Ngeru. They have been muse and inspiration to me as an aspiring photographer and smartphone movie maker.
So, it was with amazement that I saw their announcement that the cafe celebrates it’s third birthday on Wednesday the 18th of November.
Cat Cafe Launch Day
Check out the video that I took as a volunteer to celebrate the opening of the cafe. Since then 100+ cats have gone to their forever homes having found the family of their dreams at the cat adoption cafe.
Stars From The Cat Adoption Cafe
I have been thrilled to take photographs of some of the wonderful cats who welcome visitors to the cafe. Using both my smartphone, my new DSLR my skills have grown alongside the cafe’s popularity, and capturing the feline personalities on show is so exciting.
- I have also discovered that cats are happy to pose and they do get used to camera noises.
This photo of Harry in 2018 proves that you do not need fancy equipment to take a breathtaking photograph of a cat. I used my iPhone 6S and relied on the almost monochrome contrasts with his fur and the very bright sunshine.
Kappa the tabby and white kitten came in to the cat adoption cafe with his brother Betta and sister Peaches (see below). I used my DSLR to capture his alert and playful mood. I love the way he just stands out from the bright red cushions, which are very popular with the cafe cats as well as the human visitors.
Cat Cafe Adoptions and Health
The 100+ cats adopted through the cafe meet a steady stream of people and, thanks to this they are socialised and easy in the company of people. Sometimes a cat may be shy and retiring but every cat gains enough confidence to audition potential forever homes.
The cafe is always highly conscious of the safety and wellbeing of its feline whanau. Recently a cat who was being fostered arrived to meet their ‘naming sponsor’ and could not settle at the cafe. Happily for the kitty the foster had fallen in love with her so she went home after a few days at the cafe.
Every cat is monitored and weight regularly and they receive top quality kibble with a few treats. One of the cafe’s rules is that human food is off limits, although one or two cats have become adept at the ‘appealing starved look’.
There is a rumour that recently retired cafe cat Chenzo is running a correspondence course on Thinkific on the topic of ‘Food Thievery’! Graduates are already spreading out around the Wellington area.
One of the most special cats at the cafe was Mr Fox. He was beloved of every visitor and had a rare magic few cats possess. Everyone who visited loved him and many were saddened by his death from meningitis. I include his portraiit as a tribute to a fine and greatly loved cat.
Professor Cats at the Cat Adoption Cafe
The cafe has a staff of professor cats who ensure that newcomers feel at home at the ‘School of Cat Craft and Kittenry’. These are the cats who remain from month to month and who the many regular visitors get to know well.
Connor’s story had a sorry start when he was found as a stray but, with care and confidence he became a cat with a rare balance of compassion for others and manic playfulness when he races after a wand toy. If a cat appears to be misbehaving or stressed they are giving a thorough cleaning by Connor, after which they calm down.
Not only is he a genuine cat in a million, he is the perfect cat model as you can see in this DSLR shot.
If you need a boss with a heart of gold then Tiger Lily is your Boss Cat girl. She loves her mum and dad and runs to greet them whenever they appear. She is assertive and strong with the cats in the cafe though and tussles with characters as strong as herself. Of course Tiger Lily usually wins!
Tiger Lily is also a perfect model, and my photograph of her appears on the cat adoption cafe publicity brochure with her mum, cafe proprietor Richelle Okada (middle right side). A proud moment for me, and such a lovely shot of cat and human bond.
Peaches the New Cat Cafe Professor
When her brothers Kappa and Betta were adopted, creamsicle Peaches showed leadership potential and was also a bit of a people magnet.
Peaches is the newest permanent cat at the cafe and is rumoured to be taking Chenzou’s optional ‘Certificate in Escapology’ as she meets people at the door and often ends up in the transition area between the cafe and the cat room. So far she has not achieved certification (much to everyone’s relief).
Chenzo Kuykendall Award Winner
Finally, the inspiration I hope every aspiring photographer needs. My photograph of retired cat adoption cafe cat Chenzo. The image was a fortunate capture that I transformed into a black and white image that ticks all the best monochrome image boxes.
His image was my winning entry in the Cat Writers’ Association Kuykendall Image Award. The award has been a real confidence boost to me and my photo of Chenzo now appears on the cat cafe’s range of mugs.
Finally, Our Own Cat Cafe Adoption
Toulouse joined us on 11th September 2020 and he is settling in nicely. He is also turning out to be the purrfect cat model.
How to Get To The Cat Cafe
If you are in Petone, just head down past the artesian well sculpture and the bank, you will see their welcoming flat outside the cafe, and, like the great cat adoption cafe they are you will find them of social media and the web.
I hope to see you at Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe when you visit the Wellington area and the historic retail area of Jackson Street, Petone.