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The Natural Beauty of Ray County: Felines out of the bag, but their mysterious lives live on forever

By David Knopf, News Editor

A cat in Camden can't resist a photographer's pssst and obliges by facing the camera. (Photo by David Knopf/Richmond News)

All things considered, I should understand cats.
I have more than a few things in common with them: I have my quirks – just ask my family or co-workers, I tend to enjoy my own company, I love to sleep,  I sometimes may appear aloof, and like to pounce on small moving things.
OK, scratch that last one. I’m not quick enough to pounce on anything, except for photos of cats, dogs and anything with fur, feathers or scales in Ray County.
As I’m sure my family would point out, there are many things I don’t have in common with our feline friends. Take gracefulness and impeccable grooming, for example, traits I can’t even imagine. Plus, if you put food near my face I eat it, unlike cats who are picky and seem unable to eat out of my hand.
In contrast, I understand dogs perfectly well – we speak the same language and share slobbering as a favorite hobby. And even with the traits I share with cats, they remain totally mysterious to me.
But they are really very graceful, quite beautiful and make good photo subjects. Hopefully you’ll enjoy these and maybe post some of your own on the Richmond News Facebook page, or send them via email to me at editor@richmond-dailynews.com with a description of what makes your cat unique, special, mysterious, unfathomable or whatever trait you choose.
Cat photography is kind of a cat-and-mouse game for me, with yours truly being the hunter and the poor cats of Ray County being the prey. They puzzle me, so I take their pictures.
I’ve learned through trial and error that, with a little pssst from me, there isn’t a cat in the world who won’t stop in his tracks, turn and see what the noise is.
You know what they say about curiosity killing the cat. While no cats were harmed in the creation of this page, I did take advantage of them being constitutionally unable to resist a good pssst. It’s fool-proof, trust me.
You should know that there are strict photojournalism rules that frown on set-up photos or prompting a subject to do something for the sake of a good shot. Newspaper photos are supposed to be unstaged slices of life, which many of these are.  I make an exception with at least one (the black and white cat, top left, that’s looking back after a hefty pssst and figured you should know but wouldn’t care one iota).
So there it is, full disclosure.
With dogs, all you have to do is think a kind thought or look in their direction and they’ll jump in your lap and slime your face with enthusiastic love.
Cats aren’t like that. They’re a little more subtle – some would say say more standoffish – so you do what you have to get their attention. Just look at the things Tom did to corner Jerry or how low Sylvester would stoop in trying to get at Tweety Bird.
In the world of cats, dogs, humans and photography, you do what you have to do.

You can write David at editor@richmond-dailynews.com

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