A Photographer’s Invaluable Gift To Homeless Cats

Photographer Hope Harris provides an invaluable gift to the homeless cats at the Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento, California. For six years, Harris has been volunteering her time to show cats at the facility in their very best light.

Harris told Shelter Me where she got her inspiration:

“I had seen a video of a woman on the east coast who had an idea to start taking beautiful portraits of animals at an animal shelter and it made a huge difference in the adoption rates.”

Harris approached Gina Knepp, the Front Street Animal Shelter Manager, and offered to volunteer her time taking portraits of the cats. Harris told Shelter Me:

“That is where it all began and I feel so thankful that I could not only experience the love and bonding with the animals, but also help them get adopted at the same time.”

Because of Harris’ amazing photographs, many (many!) cats have found homes, but one cat in particular stands out in her mind. His name was Jefferson and he was having a tough time finding a new home.

Harris described the homeless feline as “a magnificent cat, beautiful, loving, charming, and full of personality,” but those glowing attributes weren’t quite enough to secure an adopter. Harris, along with Sue Huscroft, another photographer, collaborated with a poet named Kimberly to find this special guy a family.


On Valentine’s Day, Jefferson had his own special portrait, as well as a personalized cat poem. A portion of Jefferson’s Ode reads:

I’ve got no tail, which makes me a Manx,
And with my wide bottom, I could sure use some Spanx.
My coat may be as black as coal,
But I’ve a heart of gold and am a gentle soul.
I’ll warm your lap when the weather’s dreary,
And make you smile when you’re less-than-cheery.
Those frustrations you’ve had today
My rumbling purr will chase away.

I’m not too keen on living with Rex and Spot,
C’mon, let’s face it: dogs are a primitive lot.
They drool, and beg, and stink, and pant;
Endure all that? I simply can’t!

Between the gorgeous portrait, and the fun poem, Jefferson found a family. Harris told Shelter Me, “Once it was all posted on Facebook, dear Jefferson found his forever home!”

Harris’ portraits for the animal shelter are regularly featured on the animal welfare agency’s Facebook page. Harris calls it a “win-win” for everyone – especially the kitties who are waiting to be adopted.

Right now, homeless felines at the facility need even more help because the shelter is in the midst of a “cat-astrophe.” On Monday, the shelter explained:

We have over 200 kittens who desperately need homes, and we need your help spreading the word that this Saturday and Sunday, all of them will be up for adoption at our Petco satellite adoption center for just $20 (includes spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations and microchip). Details: 1878 Arden Way, 8/5 and 8/6, 11am-6pm. Cash only to increase speed of adoption process.

You can find Hope Harris’ Photography website here.

Front Street Animal Shelter on Facebook here.

Do you know of someone who is making a difference to shelters and homeless pets? Email me at Eims1@live.com for story consideration.

Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at Examiner.com for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.