Yesterday, we had the singular opportunity to photograph what is to our knowledge, the only known Bagral in captivity. The Bagral is a exotic/domestic hybrid breed which is a cross between the Fishing Cat and a domestic shorthair, in this case a melanistic Bengal.
For a stay-at-home cat that is not used to being around strangers or new places, Cleo was surprisingly manageable during the photo session -- especially a cat with one wild parent! We were struck by how affectionate Cleo was with her owner, Pat Harbert, constantly headbutting her - purring and visibly happy to be in her company. In fact, Cleo was so happy, that she was also affectionate to Ken and me, wrapping her body and tail around my legs and rearing up to meet my hand when I reached to pet her.
This was a large cat, far heavier than most cats and all muscle. Cleo's friendliness aside, this was not an easy shoot, primarily because Cleo was a busy cat by nature, eager to explore the new surroundings she found herself in. And eager to be all over our shooting stage, especially behind the deck when we needed her to be ON the deck so we could photograph her! She'd jump down off the shooting stage and start exploring (we were in an enclosed room), then run back to Pat for affection, purring loudly. What a treat this was to photograph and be around this happy feline!
Cleo was photographed against our Background: Old Wine.
(If I had another opportunity to photograph Cleo, I'd choose Peat Moss or Black. We had to pump so much light in since Cleo is a dark cat that the background came out pinker than I would have liked. Next time... !)
NOTE: From research done after this post was uploaded, it seems that Cleo would actually be called a Viverral which is a cross between the Fishing Cat and a Bengal. But whatever she is called, she is a stunner!