Chubby cats are a sadly underappreciated source of cuteness and fluff, but one Toronto photographer has set out to change that.
Pete Thorne's project, Fat Cats, has had him taking truly delightful portraits of tubby kitties.
"I do think chubby cats are the cutest cats," Thorne told BuzzFeed Canada.
He got the idea after working on Old Faithful, a photo series of elderly dogs. "It’s a pretty emotional project so I felt like I wanted to do something more lighthearted and colourful and vibrant," he said.
And what could be better than big, cuddly, pudgy cats?
He put out a call for hefty house cats around Toronto on Bunz and was overwhelmed with responses. It turns out that overweight pets are more common than he realized.
Photographing cats, however, has its challenges. At first he had owners bring their cats to his home studio, but that ended up being a disaster.
"They’re completely frazzled from the ride over here — they probably think they’re going to the vet or something," Thorne said. "I realized, talking to these owners, cats are really only comfortable in their own environment."
So, he started going to the owners' homes with his equipment in tow.
He uses toys or makes crinkling sounds to get the cats to look toward the camera.
But even then, he said, only a few photos from a shoot might be usable — and some cats refuse to work with him at all.
"They’re definitely difficult. They’ll decide if they want to come hang out or not."
Thorne also realizes that some people may think he's glorifying irresponsible pet ownership, but he pointed out that many of the cats in his shoots are on diets or were referred to him by a vet.
"I'm certainly not going to judge any of the owners or shame any of them."
"I'm just saying that they exist, they’re still these cute, wonderful, lovable pets."