“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ― Jean Cocteau

Monday, 5 December 2016

The working cats of Hong Kong

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An amazing series of photos by Marcel Heijnen has captured the hard working cats living in Hong Kong.

Marcel Heijnen, a photographer, who has created an ongoing photo series called Chinese Whiskers has been perfectly capturing the lovely cats hard at work as they go by their day-to-day business in Hong Kong.

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Every single day these hard-working cats begin the daily grind to make a living for themselves, dragging themselves out of their cat baskets and starting the nine to five at their job.

Their chores include looking adorable, greeting customers, keeping themselves clean, hunting for mice and convincing people to buy things. It is tiring and tough - but somebody has to do it.

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Heijnen decided to shine a light(or more accurately a camera) on these unappreciated, overworked felines, creating a new series, as a part of his Chinese Whiskers series, called Hong Kong Shop Cats. The collection of pictures documents all the different cats and their personalities working for all kinds of shops.

Heijnen was living in the Netherlands until he moved to Hong Kong, he was fascinated by the cat shop workers, as you can tell, it is quite a different experience to really anywhere else in the world but Heijnen claims it was not his intention to make these workers the stars of his next project, that just kind of happened naturally.

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When he would see a cat sitting at their stall he would take a photograph of it - but more because he loved seeing it, not for any real purpose. He would take the photos and put them on Facebook and the reaction was outstanding. People adored the photographs and wanted to see more. AsiaOne, a publishing house, also became interested and told Heijnen to make this the basis of his next photo book - and they ended up making a deal for a new book.

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Cats in Hong Kong are believed to be extremely lucky and for that reason, you see many 'working' in shops and businesses. They are an essential part of life in Hong Kong with the majority of people having one in their life. Some are adopted as pets, others as mice hunters and some just turn up to the shop, claim it as their job, and continue to work there basically forever.

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Hong Kong is one of few cities that has no laws or regulations on cats in stores - even restaurants, making them basically in every shop. This has made Heijnen's job very easy too. Usually, he just stumbles upon another hard worker as he wanders around the city. Most of the cats are extremely friendly and tame too and so have no issue with their photo being taken. In fact, the biggest problem the photographer has with the cats is that they are too friendly, making it hard to capture them in their working state.

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The book has become a great tribute to the city's cat culture and the hard working felines working their full-time job. Heijnen hopes his book brings a smile to people's faces and also teaches them a little bit about Hong Kong, its love for cats, and the beautiful place that they live.

You can visit Marcel Heijnen's website here to see more of his work or check out his Instagram which he regularly updates with his talented camera work.



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