Text & photos: Hanna Kastl-Lungberg
While I was writing the thesis for my BFA studies, I decided to travel around southern Sweden to take portraits of homeless cats and interview their caretakers. The material I collected resulted in a book in reportage format: an artistic visualisation on the subject. It was important for me not simply to exhibit the cats, but also to show the amazing people that devote their time and resources to saving these animals that have been abandoned by others. I wanted to capture their emotions, commitment, and dedication through the stories in the book.
One of the women I met was Jennie. She doesn’t have a shelter for the cats she helps and instead operates a system of temporary homes. Anyone who is approved by Jennie can take a stray cat into their home and she provides all the necessary support to take care of it, such as veterinary visits, food, toys, cat boxes and litter sand.
This is what Jennie told me: ‘The intention with the temporary homes is for each cat to fully develop so it can be ready for adoption. Most of the homeless cats are very afraid because they have been homeless for a long time and the longer they are outside the more scared of people they become. The momentary homes are the most important tool that I have; I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. They give the cats the time and patience they need for their personalities to bloom. They make the cats realise that nice people do exist and that not all humans will throw rocks at them or scare them away.’
Every cat portrayed in the book has a home, if only a temporary one. They have food, warmth, love and care. There are approximately one hundred thousand homeless cats in Sweden that do not have that. The long-term goal here is for that number to fall. This project aims to show that each and every cat is valuable and that his or her life is just as precious as any other.