Paws-ing for camera

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SOME advice for Sheffield cats: keep your whiskers trimmed, your coat shiny and your claws clean - you might just be on camera.

For here’s a project which will give pet owners paws for thought.

Cats of Sheffield by Nynke Wierda - Airedale Road, Wadsley

Cats of Sheffield by Nynke Wierda - Airedale Road, Wadsley

Professional photographer Nynke Wierda has been making like a moggy and prowling Sheffield’s streets - to snap the city’s felines.

She is almost half way through a year-long project to shoot (using her camera, we stress) more than 100 kitties.


“Because these pets are such an important part of life,” she says. “But no-one ever records them.”

This, it seems, is an online wildlife documentary in big city South Yorkshire.

“Photographers take pictures of buildings, people and events,” says Nynke of Milden Road, Wadsley. “But no-one ever records our pets for posterity. Why not? They share our city with us, and it would be a less lovely place without them.”

She thinks for a second.

“Also it gives me an excuse to stroke them.”

So, here’s how it works.

In January Nynke - originally from The Netherlands but living in Sheffield since 1997 - decided she wanted a year-long project which would allow her to explore both the city and her creative side.

She started snapping dogs; “I just ask people if I can take the picture. No-one has said no yet,” she said.

But while walking through Hillsborough one day she saw a moggy.

“I presumed cats would be impossible because I thought they’d disappear as soon as they saw me,” she says. “But I called this one over and it came.

“It’s remarkable how approachable they are. Occasionally some will run away when the shutter going but most pose like it’s the most natural thing in the world. They’re very trusting. Remember that lady who put the cat in the bin? It’s easy to see how she was able to do, although perhaps I shouldn’t say that.”

So, while continuing to photograph dogs too, she’s been searching out felines ever since. “I take my camera where ever I go so if I see one I can take it,” says Nynke who has two cats, Bill and Ben, of her own.

“When you start looking for them, you realise they’re everywhere.”

So far she’s snapped almost 40 taken around Hillsborough, Wadsley, Crookes and Broomhill. But she plans to spread her net further afield as the summer comes.

And this time next year? She’s hoping to turn the project into an exhibition.

“That’s the idea,” she says. “I’m certain it would interest people.”

View Cats Of Sheffield, as it progresses, at

Nynke snaps to it in kitty bonanza

Feline search: Nynke Wierda and some of her cat shots, left and clockwise.

Talking cats: moggie quotes

Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the lash.

That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat - Mark Twain.

A dog will flatter you but you have to flatter the cat - George Mikes.

I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior - Hippolyte Taine.

Cats are kindly masters, just so long as you remember your place- Paul Gray.