The Big Apple is tough for a little kitty, as hundreds of tiny felines are abandoned in New York’s urban jungle. With this in mind, photographer Shaina Fishman teamed up with stylist Ryen Blaschke to create “Cats in hats” – snapshots of orphaned kittens wearing funny headgear – to shed light on their plight.

“Cats in hats” is amusing, but at heart has a serious side to it...


Indeed. The project brings attention to New York’s rescue groups. A great photograph not only raises the chance of a cat getting adopted, but it also drives volunteers and donations. A striking shot can also create interest in the important work shelters are doing across the city.

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Do you have any particular feel-good story about animal adoption?

Most recently, I have been working with the Southampton Animal Shelter [on Long Island, New York] to photograph their cats and dogs. I focused that project on getting great images of the animals that had been living at the shelter for a long time. They were wonderful dogs but kept getting overlooked for various reasons. One dog has been there for almost two years. Just recently I got the news that she had been adopted. I don’t know if my image of her had anything to do with it, maybe it didn’t but maybe it did.

Back to the cats, tell us about the process behind the shoots.

First, I had to decide which hats would be made. Ryen Blaschke and I came up with lists of headwear that were iconic and relevant. Ryen then hand-made all of the hats out of felt (except for the wigs). The shoots took place in the homes of volunteers that were fostering the kittens. I choose the kittens based on what character I thought they fit.

How was your experience in working with these little felines?

I absolutely love working with kittens. These kittens were all calm and seemingly enjoyed the attention and affection they received during the shoot.

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