Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How to Photograph and Groom Shelter Cats:The Rachael Ray™ Nutrish™ #ShelterCatsAreBeautiful Tour

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish.   As always, thank you for reading and supporting our sponsors.

On September 29th I shared Part One of my Two Part feature about the The Rachael Ray™ Nutrish™ #ShelterCatsAreBeautiful Tour  and  their stop at   Friends For The Dearborn Animal Shelter, in Dearborn, Michigan, which I was thrilled to be able to attend.

Rachael Ray Nutrish  took the “Shelter Cats areBeautiful” tour to 16 cities
across the country and offered professional grooming and photography services to
capture the full beauty and personality of cats in need of adoption. The
program  provided shelters with the necessary tips, tools and equipment
to groom and capture the best possible photographs of shelter pets in the future.
This program helped celebrate the launch of Rachael Ray Nutrish‘s new line of
natural food for cats, which is now available in stores nationwide. Rachael is
dedicated to helping animals in need and donates her proceeds from the sale
of Rachael Ray Nutrish to help animal support organizations, which has resulted
in more than $6.5 million in donations to date.

Rachael Ray™ Nutrish™ is proud to partner with® and One Picture Saves a Life™. Together, they traveled across the country taking photos worthy of these loving cats who are simply looking for a second chance.

The session was led by Miranda Hay (read all about her in Part One) .

Miranda and I (my tired and haggy looking self!)
at the #ShelterCatsAreBeautiful Tour
Dearborn, Michigan

There were approx 40 people in attendance. lWe istened with rapt attention to  the grooming and photography tips that Miranda shared with us, (they can also be found at

The cat that Miranda groomed was named "Linc" (I believe it was short for Abraham Lincoln, but I am not sure, my husband caught that part, I didn't!) I was impressed immediately with how Miranda handled and related to Linc with the utmost care, respect and gentleness.

The session began with an overview of the program,   then Miranda proceeded to discuss tips for

Shelter Cat Grooming
some of the tips were:

Before You Start

  • Safety first! Make sure the cat is ready to be handled!
  • DO NOT RUSH! Spend some time with the cat to make sure you are both comfortable to ensure a safe and relaxing experience for both of you!
  • If the cat you are preparing to groom is not ready, move on to another cat and try again later!

Focus on Cleaning the Face

  • The headshot is THE most important picture!
  • Clean "goop" around the eyes and nose with saline solution and a paper towel or wash cloth

Trim Nails
Clean the Coat

  • Use a waterless shampoo on a paper towel or washcloth, and you have a quick and easy wipe to safely remove dirt and dander and give the coat a nice scent.
  • Finish up with a brush out to make sure the coat is fluffy and shiny for her glamour shot!!


Miranda and Linc sharing a private joke

For more grooming tips visit:

Here is a photo of a happy and groomed "Linc" with Aaron Bertera, Downriver Center Animal Control, Chief Animal Control Officer, who graciously offered to pose with Linc for a photo op for me!

After the grooming tips, Miranda went on to share with us Shelter Cat Photography tips that she learned from Seth Casteel, who does Lifestyle and Pet Photography. The tips that we were given by Miranda are ALL in this fabulous video that is on the One Picture Saves A Life website. Enjoy!

Always Remember:

  • Positive photos get animals adopted!
  • Try to showcase unique features about each cat and show their personality
  • Head shots where the eyes are light and in focus connect with adopters!

I was a coward and chose NOT to go into the area where the cats were in cages waiting to be adopted, instead, I opted to join Miranda and a few others in an area that was more "home-like", where the kitties were on beds, had scratchers etc, and were able to move about freely. It was there that we each got to take some photos of our own. Here are some of mine:

I didn't do too shabby did I? I am pretty proud of a few of these, especially since I only used my iphone!

There you have it!

It is a complete honor being a Brand Ambassador for Rachael Ray™ Nutrish™  and to be able to experience her #ShelterCatsAreBeautifulTour first paw! Kudos to® and One Picture Saves a Life™ for their partnership with her and dedication to this incredible cause as well. A special THANK YOU to Rachael Ray™ Nutrish™ for the pallets of food that were donated to the kitties of the shelter. You can see a video of them enjoying their food here. THE VIDEO IS SUPER SHORT, BE SURE TO TURN UP YOUR VOLUME TO HEAR THEM MEOWING WITH DELIGHT!!!

 My time spent at the Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter was incredibly educational and rewarding. It was an honor to meet and become friends with Miranda, and to mingle with those who give their hearts and souls every day to help save millions of furry lives. 

I promised my friends at the Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter that I would share their next HUGE endeavors. 

Dearborn Animal Shelter to Host 14th Annual Black Tie & Tails Gala
Organization hosts elegant Paris themed fundraiser evening to benefit homeless pets

The Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter’s popular Black Tie & Tails charity fundraising event returns on Friday, Oct. 24th Festivities begin 7 p.m. at the historic Dearborn Inn, 20301 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn.  The 2014 theme is Passport to Paris: celebrating the countless adopted animal love stories that have been created in the organization’s twenty-year history.

Guests will be transported to Paris, the ultimate City of Love, starting with a French wine tasting hosted by Merchant’s Fine Wine. There will also be “passport stops” throughout the evening, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre “adoption gallery.” And, of course, there will be flowing champagne and French-inspired entrees.

 Tracy Balazy and Einstein; Adorable Adoptables are the star guests at Black Tie & Tails
Photo Credit: Besek Photography

Since its inception, Black Tie has been an engaging community event that has attracted local celebrities, athletes, auto industry and business leaders, politicians and concerned citizens, gathering to help fund the Friends’ ongoing efforts to care for and find permanent homes for unwanted animals. More than $1 million has been raised since the start of Black Tie in 2001; this year’s target is to top $150,000.

A wide array of metro Detroit area businesses, artists, and private individuals donate auction items such as great tickets to sporting events, tours, dinner excursions, weekend getaways and luxury merchandise. Black Tie is also known for unique offerings, such as a meet-and-greet during a morning skate with Red Wings play-by-play announcer Ken Daniels, and a hot-lap, test-drive experience at the Ford Motor Dearborn Development Center. Leading up to the evening, a host of the many auction items can be previewed online, 

Tickets for Black Tie & Tails are $175 per person and are available online or by calling the Shelter. 

Learn more about events, volunteering, donating or adoptable animals online. The Dearborn Animal Shelter is located at 2661 Greenfield Road, Dearborn, and is operated by the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Phone (313) 943-2697, online, Facebook or Twitter.

They want to build a new shelter!!!

.  They are in the process of a Capital Campaign to build a new Shelter facility that the animals and humans who care for them/come to adopt them, so richly deserve. Any donations or sharing about the campaign to help them realize that dream are welcome!  Details here: 


  1. Such a great program! We're hoping to see a difference in our local shelter's photos since the Shelter Pets are Beautiful tour was here recently. It makes a HUGE difference from those sad intake photos.

  2. I couldn't agree more, it is a great program and the tips offered from professionals could quite possibly save a large number of lives.

  3. Great program and we always think those that get involved are wonderful. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. Oh wow, we just loved this post, thanks so much fur sharing! Mew guys are just so pawesome!! Purrs Basil & Co xox

    1. Basil you are so sweet! So glad you liked it, it is such an important program. xoxo

  5. Caren, what a fabulous post! So great to learn about all of this.

  6. Wow! This is wonderful!!! Great info Caren xoxo
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    1. Thanks so much Jenna!!!!!! xoxoxo PS:something arrived!! Haven't had a chance to open it since this week has been insane, I PROMISE I will in the next day or so! xoxo

  7. What a terrific program!!! It's so nice to see that some of the big brands support shelter adoptions in such creative ways. ...A good photo can make ALL the difference for a shelter pet waiting for a forever home. xo

  8. These are such wonderful tips. I wish the tour had come to my area; Truffles is obsessed with Nutrish kibble!

  9. What a great program ! You give impawtant tips, a beautiful picture can make a huge difference for adoption ! Purrs

  10. LOVED reading this. It is so true how important good pictures are (though admittedly mom may have gotten a little distracted by the good looking cat guy). You took some great ones - the one with the tilted head is our favorite. :)

    1. Thanks so much! I loved writing it! lol about the "cat guy" lol. Thanks a million, I like the tilted head one too! xoxo

  11. We agree we think a good photo goes a long way in helping kitties get adopted.

  12. That does sound like a great program. We think you did a fantastic job on the pictures. I have always said, that the pictures of the cats in shelter make all the difference in getting them adopted. The ones with good pictures have such a better chance at finding a home. Great post.

    1. oh Marg it is!!! Thank you soooo much!!!! I couldn't agree with you more about the photos helping the kitties to be adopted! xoxoxo

  13. Gweat posty and pawsum fotos. Fanks fur da infurmation.

    Luv ya'


  14. That was great to see how a picture session done well, can get a new den fur a kitty in need.

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. That was a lot of fun and sure darn good for the iphone, we're impressed!

  16. The photo tips were great! And nice iPhone photos from you!

  17. Those are some great hints for those of us who are already adopted. Mom Paula still has problems grooming Brulee.

    1. Thanks! Oh yes, I bet your girls are hard to groom with all of that gorgeous floof!

  18. I've enjoyed this series. I am the unofficial cat paparazzi for the rescue organization I adopted three of my kitties from, so I can use all of the tips I can get to make their photos look good! Thanks for sharing about your experience.

    1. Thanks so much! I enjoyed writing it and enjoyed experiencing it!! It is sooo important!! Yay for you being the cat paparazzi for your rescue organization!! xoxo

  19. Great info. Chris always has goop in the corner of his eyes and I never think to remove it before taking his picture.

    1. Thanks so much! Actually on my last Shelter Cat post Layla Morgan Wilde gave a good tip in the event the cat didn't want to be groomed. She said to just photoshop the goop out!

  20. That's such a great program. Good photography TOTALLY helps shelter animals get adopted, so we love all these terrific tips. You did a wonderful job with your photos, Caren! :)

  21. wonderful program. i would have to check out this rr food product; emma is so finicky. she eats a little at a time and often turns up her nose at what i offer.

    emma and buster

  22. A wonderful program Caren..the sad thing is people 'assume' shelter cat means scruffy or raggedy and it could not be further from the to show that cats are cats..just that no matter where they are will go a long way to helping with adoptions...once you know how to best capture a cats personality on film then half the job is done...hugs Bev xx

  23. that is a wonderful program, i wish it would come up here.. but so few things get to Maine..

    I often go in and take photos of shelter cats.. I call it my "shooting at the shelter series" and I really enjoy it. I just let the cats be as they are and work with what they are currently doing.. I think I get some good photos out of it.

    1. It truly is wonderful and so important. I think you take some great photos too, you certainly know what you are doing! xoxo

  24. That sounds like a grrreat program !
    Me and my mom-person think´s you did good with your photos !!


  25. What a fabulous program. Those are great tips to avoid the usual bad photo of adoptable animals. I also like the shelter's Black Ties & Tails, it sounds similar to our shelter's Fur Ball.

    1. I couldn't agree more, it truly is! Thanks for reading about the fundraiser too, I know this post was ridiculously long, that is why it was a "2-parter!!" Sooo cool that your shelter does a "Fur Ball" how clever is THAT?

  26. Such a great post and your photos are fab!

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

  27. Fantastic! Thanks for sharing and hope that tons of people show up for the fundraiser!

  28. spot on Cody and Miss Caren, the photos make it and break it as do short videos. At first I thought this was about Ray and Rachel, the black kittens Brian's Home worked relentlessly to find a home for. Might I suggest, this campaign would really Make A Difference if they were to contact Ray and Rachel and do a photo op with THEM!!! PAWSOME!!! And even better...they are both special needs kitties with vision challenges AND they are BLACK!!! The most difficult color of cats and dogs to capture. Just a suggestion, and this is a totally pawsome post!

  29. We're so happy to hear that there are programs that help train people to take good photos of shelter animals. A good photo can truly "sell" an animal right into a forever home!!