Cats aplenty, cats galore

Furby is known as a “sassypants diva” by owner Megan Andreassi.  (Photo: Megan Andreassi)
Furby is known as a “sassypants diva” by owner Megan Andreassi. (Photo: Megan Andreassi)

Herding cats is notoriously difficult, and getting them to pose for photos can be nearly impossible. But that didn’t stop 50 proud cat owners from trying, and then submitting their best images for consideration for the annual Tufts Cats calendar, produced by a Cummings School student group.

Consider Misty’s tale. A pregnant cat brought to Tufts’ Foster Hospital for Small Animals after being found along a road with a broken pelvis, she was adopted by Scott Neabore, and his fiancée, Lindsey Konkel—along with Misty’s two kittens. For the family portrait, “it took about 150 photos to get one where they were all looking at the camera,” says Neabore.

And then there is Milla, a 9-year-old that Denise Kelley adopted as a kitten. She wanted a photo of Milla peeking out of a jack-o-lantern, and had to cut a huge hole in the back of the pumpkin to encourage the cat to walk into the gourd. It worked, and Milla is Miss October in the calendar.

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The kitties were chosen from among 150 photos the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine community submitted to the Tufts student chapter of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

The annual Tufts Cats calendar contest has proven a surefire breadwinner for the student group, which is known as the “cat club” on the Grafton campus. Sales from last year’s edition raised roughly $400 to help fund events the association sponsors for its 50 members and for the veterinary student body, including talks on cat behavior and a new pain medication, as well as labs on feline dentistry, neutering, handling and neurology.

This year, students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends submitted photos. There are 48 feline stars in the 2013 calendar. Between three and five cats are featured each month, grouped by such themes as “love” for February and “back to school” for September.

Associate treasurer and contest judge Sara Dilegge says she can relate to the photographers’ efforts. “I cannot take a picture of my cat,” she confesses. “Every time I try, she’ll stop whatever she’s doing and either look at me or walk toward the camera.”

Genevieve Rajewski can be reached at