So, to complete the trio, here is the latest photograph of our beautiful Chai. My husband and I had been working in the kitchen preparing dinner for Chubby our pig, when I popped my head around the corner. There at the top of the stairs was Chai, backlit by the late afternoon sun. I could already hear the other cats galloping around downstairs and knew instinctively that I didn’t have long. I yelled to my other half to keep Chai’s attention, while I literally ran to the study to grab the camera. Pulling off the case and lens cap as I returned, I had two seconds to grab one shot before Buddy and a few other kittens hurtled up the stairs and swept her away. I put the camera in a safe place and we went outside to feed Chubby and the llamas before cleaning the field shelter. I had no idea if the image would be usable and didn’t get the chance to look at it again until all the animals were done and we had eaten our own dinner. Only then did a smile spread across my face as I realised I had caught her at just the right moment.
Chai suits backlighting – I’ve photographed her this way before. I love how the light catches her whiskers and brings out the warmth in her ears. There was just enough reflected light to bring out the detail in her face and I simply adore how her head is slightly turned to one side. By that time she could probably see Buddy and Co. zooming through the front room and starting to head up the hall. There is always a slight delay at this junction as the cats don’t corner well on our bare floorboards and they often resemble cartoon characters, with their legs scrabbling hard while they make little forward progress.
Chai was found slowly dying in a park as a ten week old kitten. Someone had cut her all over and slit her throat before breaking both her front legs. Even now, I only have to look at her sweet little face for tears to spring to my eyes. I simply cannot understand such cruelty, but I am grateful she was found that night by a neighbour of my rescuer friend. She was rushed to an emergency vet where she started on the very long road to recovery. I said if she survived, then we would adopt her and so began all the updates, photographs and videos that we were to receive over the next few months. I cried to see all the treatments she had to endure. I laughed at her antics with her friends Foxy and DeeDee and I winced to see her jumping around on her rapidly healing front legs. (Our vet was to inform us later that broken bones in kittens heal at lightning speed, so maybe I shouldn’t have worried so much).
I’m sure there are many more photographs to come, but at the moment this is my favourite of our very special girl.