Hi! We are Kirk and Mimi, active travelers, Europhiles, and long-time cat lovers. We both come from backgrounds that include cats in every part of our lives. Our first meeting in 1984, solely the result of our mutual affection for cats, occurred when a loud meow in the background of a phone call resulted in a conversation about cats, which led to a meeting in person, which ultimately has led to 35 years together and over 50 shared felines, including up to 14 at one time. Almost all of our cats, including the 5 we live with now, have either been rescues, homeless or abandoned, and all have become spoiled rotten, indescribably important members of the family.
Our shared love of international travel and photography, combined with a love of all things cats, is what led to Cat Photo Safari.
So, what is this site all about?
This site is meant to not only entertain and inform cat lovers, travelers and photographers, but it's also meant to raise awareness of issues around Europe (and the rest of the world) that affect the local cat populations. While there seems to be a growing concern for the health and quality of life of the local strays, there's still a long way to go in raising awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering the local cat populations. There are some quality organizations in place in some cities, the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary for instance, but more needs to be done in other areas. If possible, if you're a cat lover, consider donating a small amount to one of the many quality charities helping strays around the world. Check our support page for more information.
Even though many of our blogs do focus on the cats, not all do, and even if you're a devoted dog person we think you'll still find some good information and quality images that reflect our great love for the region and hopefully offer insights helpful in planning your next travel experience.
How do we find the cats we photograph?
Before we visit a city we will do some investigating online to see if there are any reported areas where the locals stray congregate. With that being said, in a city like Athens for instance, the best way is to stray off the beaten path and keep your eyes open. Smaller streets and alleys in countries with warm climates are usually our best bet for getting a glimpse or two of a local feline. We stroll casually and discover the area and when one of us spots a cat, we let out a "Cat, cat, cat!" and stop in our tracks to see if we can approach. We never get too close if we feel we are scaring the cat, but our ultimate goal is to get close enough for some good photos, and to offer a few friendly strokes and a handful of dry food from the pouch we keep with us at all times.
Do we do this for a living?
We wish... No, we're in the real estate profession in the Spokane, Washington, North Idaho area (contact us if you need to buy or sell...). We are also professional photographers who've had many of our photos displayed on travel sites around the globe, but that's more of a hobby/love and not a career. Our profession does offer us the opportunity to spend extended time away from home so we try to visit Europe as much as possible to update our cat photo database and enjoy the amazing sights, sounds and tastes of our favorite countries.
Why do we have only European cats?
That's just a choice we've made. We both share a deep love of all things European and have visited over 20 countries in just the last several years. Our goal is to move there at some point, but for now, this will have to do.
What is our travel style?
We're active. 30 years ago we slept through an entire day in Rome, our favorite city, due to jet lag and we've never forgiven ourselves. We make up for it now by never wasting a moment of our precious travel time doing anything other than enjoying and exploring the countries we visit.
We are not "foodies". We appreciate those that are and understand the link between a country's food and it's culture, but we focus on the total package when dining. We don't mind spending a little extra to be ON the piazza or castle wall, even if the food isn't considered "the best in the city". It's the ambience, view and atmosphere that are important to us (assuming the food is at least decent).
We are not budget travelers. We don't mind spending the money for the right location, but we're also not opposed to a 2-3 star hotel if it's in the right spot. It's all about the location for us. We like to spend every possible minute exploring, and a great central location (on Piazza Navona, in Old Town Prague, the Latin Quarter of Paris, etc.) goes a long way in maximizing travel time.
So, that's basically it. Enjoy the site, check out some of the beautiful felines we've come across and maybe visit some of our links to help out the cats. We do have some ads on the pages and hope that the products and services offered go hand in hand with our love of animals, photography and travel. These ads do help us keep the site updated and fresh and the income generated will help us help the charitable cat organizations we support.