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Larchmont Photographer Offers Unique View of Shelter Cats

Elisabeth Pollaert's photographs of shelter cats will be on display at the Voracious Reader in Larchmont from April 8-22.

Larchmont Photographer Offers Unique View of Shelter Cats

Described as playful, gentle, friendly or a combination of all three, many of the animals housed at the New Rochelle Humane Society (NRHS) are not unfamiliar with the title of pet and are well-versed in its job description.

However, for a myriad of reasons—some more convincing then others—the animals were either deposited on NRHS’ doorstep or left to wander the streets alone in search of a new companion.  The NRHS— which serves 17 communities in Westchester County and rescues over 500 dogs and 900 cats each year according to their website—rarely euthanizes animals, unlike many other shelters, and depends on adoptions in order to make room for more homeless animals.

So, when Larchmont resident and photographer Elisabeth Pollaert heard about at the earlier this year that portrayed dogs housed at NRHS—she was inspired to create a similar presentation for the cats she volunteers to help socialize at the shelter.

With four cats of her own—one of whom was adopted from NRHS—Pollaert was aware that some of the cats might be skittish around imposing or loud camera equipment so, instead, she used her iPhone’s camera to capture the cats in playful, pensive or quiet moments. One cat steadfastedly refused to have his picture taken so, instead, she adopted him.

She created her tableaus by uploading the images into Photoshop and manipulating them into unique renderings.  Her photos can be viewed on her website here. 

“People will see them as beautiful creatures with a lot of personality,” she said, adding that she hopes that the pictures will allow people to not only see the cat’s personalities but will hopefully inspire some to adopt rather than purchase from a pet store or breeder.

And although some cats may have survived a traumatic past—a cat named Reese’s arrived at the shelter with a stub of a tail, the majority of which had been cut off—they don’t always have an ax to grind with new humans.

“Reese's is a beautiful cat, very gentle and patient,” she said, adding that the cat has since been adopted.  Other success stories include a feline named Cookie who huddled in his cat shelter for months until, one day, he decided he could trust humans again and simply jumped out.

is a former corporate lawyer who has been a photographer for the past decade. She has been a four-time finalist for the Popular Photography "Best Shot" contest.

The “Shelter Cats” exhibit will be on display at the in Larchmont from April 8-22, in the room behind the Tea Room. A portion of the proceeds from cards sold at the Voracious Reader will be donated to the NRHS; 25 percent of the proceeds from prints sold by the artist on her website will be donated. The exhibit will then move to the Mamaroneck Library, where it will be displayed for the better part of May. 

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