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The Secret World of the Street Cats of Kazakhstan

‘I have always been around cats” writes Kazakh photographer Evgeniya Gor. She admires cats for their natural grace and independence and is forever observing, rescuing and looking out for strays when not at home with the two feline friends of her own—Masha who she rescued from the streets 17 years ago, and her kitten Chaus, who is now 9 years old. Most of the cats portrayed in her images have no home and must endure Astana’s harsh winters, where the average temperature is 14.2 °C (6.4 °F).

There are few shelters in the city, and those that exist are small and do not always have food sufficient for sustaining the cats they temporarily home. Evgeniya has taken it upon herself donate whenever and whatever she can to the shelters who desperately need funds; she also always carries with her dry food, in case she crosses paths with hungry strays.

When not feeding the homeless cats she meets, the photographer allows them to do whatever comes naturally and records those magic moments if and when they arrive with her camera. Shadows and reflections are expertly captured, creating striking compositions that might seem impossible to those who are familiar with the by now clichéd phrase “cats are notoriously difficult to photograph”. Her method conforms to the conventions of traditional street photography, though in place of the traditional human subject the viewer is for a brief instant granted access to the secret feline world.

The artist hopes that her photographs will help instil in humans an empathy and consequential better treatment towards animals: “Animals are an integral part of our life. As far as possible, we should help those who are not able to take care of themselves”.

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All images © Evgeniya Gor

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