Friday 1st of July was the Angelversary of our much loved noisy cat Dot Kitten so I want to celebrate a unique cat with a Dot Kitten portrait gallery of images.
Please let me know if the gallery does not display for you. I am including two beautiful graphics that were a gift from friends in the blogosphere when she crossed the Bridge and some of my favourite snapshots.
Dot Kitten came to us in 2007 and is named after the character on Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Sunday in the Park with George‘ musical who is called ‘Dot’. The musical entry on Wikipedia may look quite dry but the musical is one we enjoyed a lot. I was pleased to see that is is opening later in 2022 in London with a Hollywood star in the tittle role of George.
BTW Dash’s name came from the fact he never, ever, stopped moving!
Today’s selfie was meant to have a spider in it, but the aracnid didn’t oblige as it was hidden away from the freezing cold! So, what you see is the gorgeous web that I captured on a frosty morning this past week.
I think it looks very elaborate and while the interwebs owned by cats, this does show the amazing work a spider puts in while we humans are asleep. An elegant leading line from the mid-left to the top sweeps your look from one slender thread to the busyness and strength of the web itself.
I realised when I downloaded the images that I had captured some sparkling frozen water drops too and I cropped a second photograph to give you a better look at the frosty spider’s web close to.
An hour or so later the web had lost the glorious sparkle and the spider was able to venture out for the day but thankfully I have my photos to share.
I always insist that people keep old and unsuccessful photographs or ‘fails’, especially if they are the only record of an event or capture a precious memory. Why? Because sometimes photos are not so bad, if they are the only record you have and your only memory.
Here’s an example of a couple of absolute cat photography fails. Sharp as a rusty spoon they will have maybe one or two clear lines or defined areas. Fortuntely you can figure out who the subject is, and what he is doing!
Poor photos can happen because the camera or smartphone was not a recent model or, you are still learning to use your camera properly. Sometimes you grab what you have and hope for the best – but whatever, if you get something you know you are lucky.
This is Harvey after Dr Hughes, (our beloved vet who passed some years ago), performed a pinnectomy or ear tip removal of pre-cancerous cells. He also did minor cryosurgery on Harvey’s nose to remove cancer cells. The results were massively successful and Harvey went on to thrive for years after the surgery.
The day by day report I created at the time would, I hope, help anyone who might have a cat in similar situation. I recorded my feelings as a cat parent who worried much more than her cat did. If you read the comments below the post you will see that it helped a few people, for which I and Angel Harvey are grateful. He would want people to learn and move forward with determination and courage, and new and improved good looks.
Do you have a fail you really like or are fond of? Why not join Melissa and Mudpie’s Pet Photo Fails on Friday. You will realise that you are not alone but that you can smile about each other’s goofs and blurrs!
I am returning to my ongoing series about the book 52 Assignments, Instagram. I have enjoyed sharing the challenges so much that I carved myself some time in the schedule to showcase ‘Instagram Highlights’.
I didn’t know anything much about these for a long time so was glad to find them and make use of the advice on my own account. I was clueless myself for a while, so I hope you find this helpful too.
This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission should you chose to make a purchase using my link.
What are Highlights?
Highlights lets you curate items you like in a way that doesn’t make your timeline look like a scrapbooker’s worst nightmare. You might not want a cat water fountain or a short video of cat toys to pop up in the middle of your feed if you are aiming for a certain look such as special cat portraits.
Remember this post on branding in the 52 Assignments series? It advised on how to give your IG account a focused look that people will recognise as uniquely you. Highlights helps you feature friends, cat toys you like, or favourite sellers in a highlight and keep things looking smart and cohesive.
A great example of focus is the account of friend Adventures With Friday. Check out the Instagram Highlight covers in matching colours.
Check out our friend Adventures With Friday for a cohesive visual button look (left) and the Highlights Editing Screen (right)
The Impact Highlight Buttons Can Make
Here you can see my most recent Highlights buttons. I have aimed for a cohesive look by using one cat photo and changing the filter used for each one. I used Photoshop Camera for the image treatment. Yes I have used one image twice, juse because I like it!
I recently added a new ‘Shopping’ highlight so I can share cat friends’ cat costumes and bandanas, art and graphics and beside that button I introduce friends, and then showcase Instagram ‘security’ advice. You can see that each Highlight covers a different interest or feature.
Adam Juniper (author) also suggests you use the Highlights option when you want to collect some of your best posts and stories.
A rescue has a different use for Highlights
Check out OCShelterCats who use their highlights for very specific purposes allowing them to focusing their time on essential rescue. These buttons are perfect for handling common queries and adding links to important people.
The Highlights for this rescue answer questions, and point people in the right direction for common answers (FAQ’s/FYI’s) and also spotlight urgent rescue pets.
How to add a Highlight
For you to be able to use an Instagram Highlight you need to have posted images or video in your Stories already. You can’t upload them directly to a Highlight. This means your Highlight may need a bit of planning so you include all the things you want.
Here’s an idea of how to start:
Post the material you want to use to Instagram Stories. (You will find Stories that are a long way past their 24 hour date here).
Set up a Highlight and give it a name. You will be asked to add an image too.
NOTE: If you want to use a special set of images for your highlights post these in Stories too. I have tried to develop a certain look using a particular photo or pose (I had to add this even though it isn’t relevant to the button’s contents). Some people buy or commission a custom made set of buttons.
Start to add items to your Highlight by tapping on the circle with the plus sign below your biography. Then scroll back through your Stories until you find the things you want to include.
NOTE: You can add to and edit a Highlight at any time. See this image from my new ‘Shopping’ Highlight which I will add to over time.
If I created a Highlight that I really liked, I have the option to make it into a Reel.
Tags for Highlights
Adam Juniper recommends that you tag your location (optional if privacy is an issue) and use the hashtags you would use on a standard IG post. It is no longer essential to use 30 hashtags.
You are better off focusing on highly tags relevant to you and your niche. I might use #catphotography not just cats or catlovers. You might want to add hashtags for an American State, part of New Zealand, or country in Europe as well as a specific cat breed, action or event like #wickedcatwednesday!
Highlight Naming Tip
Keep your Highlight name to 12 letters or less. This way IG will not cut it short.
An example of what happens you can see on my Highlight line. I called my Toulouse series Pencil Fun but you don’t see it all so I need to rethink the title. It’s a tough one as I want to include pencil and ….. silly right?
There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how many Highlights you can make, although you will want to be selective not silly and add too many. Highlights let you focus on activity, interests or places you love but that may not have a place in the middle of you Instagram feed. Browse the accounts of some of your favourite people to see how they handle Highlights.
Today’s selfie was a totally unexpected capture although it looks as if it was carefully composed and took so long to set up.
There is a dramatic soft light, (carefully placed for dramatic effect) and a single cat surrounded by deep shade. Toulouse looks quite handsome doesn’t he? Didn’t it take an age to set up?
Dramatic Cat Capture Revealed
The truth is I ended up with an awesome cat selfie using my smartphone and a single lamp and the lesson is be prepared to take photographs in any kind of light, not just the light your camera tells you is the right kind..
Here the light was the only one left on in the living room before the family turned in and Toulouse jumped up on to his favourite perch which is a mushroom shape at the top of the living room cat tree. I just HAD to try!
The smartphone was looking for light and found it on Toulouse.
How I Did It
I turned my iPhone12 to Portrait mode and left it there. I did not have time to add any of the fancy portrait effects I usually add.
I made sure my subject, Toulouse, was as central as I could get in the ‘phone window.
I took a dozen photos really quickly. (You might use burst mode).
TIP If you try this kind of shot remember to make sure (if you can) that your background is reasonably plain and uncluttered.
I took a couple of photos of the shabby chic cat tree the following morning so you can see how I managed such a great shot. The tree is nearly 2 metres (6 ft) tall and the photo perch is the high mushroom shape. I shot the image looking slightly upwards as I am not 2 metres tall. We have had this tree a long time and Toulouse is the first cat ever to use the top spot on a regular basis.
With the curtain drawn there was no reflection from a window and the lamp is about a meter (1 yard) down on your left hand side on the breakfast bar as you look towards the cat tree and the window.
Take A Chance On The Light
You have nothing to loose and everything to gain by being fearless with your photos when the light is less than perfect. Try out shots in the half-light, or even moonlight. You will find yourself amazed at how fantastic the results can be.
I wrote about taking great smartphone cat photos in this recent post about fabulous photos with your smartphone
Shoko and Tyebe
It is with a sad heart we read the announcement that The Canadian Cats have ceased blogging. Their mom Jean had a stroke and will not be reporting anymore from their part of the world. The cats and her husband are all safe so we don’t need to worry. Farewell friends we loved on our weekly visit.
Today’s selfie may be the world’s first wrecked cat flap selfie and I am including some important information for any of our selfie pals who are on Instagram.
Why add an Instagram Alert?
There is a serious reason but first…. the wrecked cat flap selfie.
A wild yowling,
the clatter of a cat flap flying across the room……
Marjorie and Paul rushing into the living room alarmed at the racket! Cats (identities unknown..) disappearing in a flurry of fur and a flash and then……… Silence!
You can see the results in the photograph. The mending happened after the fractured cat flap was ‘repaired’ until we could buy another flap which we did the following day. The repair did not work ‘well’ but it kept the icy cold out. (Remember it is winter here at the moment.) After we installed the new cat flap it’s shiny clarity puzzled the cats, but they are OK now.
Instagram and Scammed Accounts
Why add this to such a fun post? I know several friends here have Instagram (IG) accounts and what I have to say is important.
Ensure that the birthday on your IG account is YOUR OWN, not your cats. Our friend Keith the Cat Cow who has over 10,000 followers had his own birthday on his account (not his mom’s) and is fighting to get his account back because Instagram think he is too young. There is a lower age limit on IG, remember.
Follow this account for solid and trustworthy advice Cats Against Hacking. They post regularly about what you need to do to keep safe. I trust them.
Install two-factor identification on your IG account. Yes, do it now.
Don’t click or trust any DM received including friends (they may not realise they have been hacked/scammed).
Do not click or open any links including any friendly person offering to let you be an ‘influencer’ for them.
Now for the world premiere on our blog of the ‘Thomas refuses the Cat Flap’.
The Wrecked Cat Flap Selfie Movie
This Reel was posted to Instagram and clocked up over 4,000 in its first 24 hours. Obviously it hit a lot of funny bones even for a short upright smartphone movie!
OK Have a good week everyone and I hope Thomas made you giggle.