A stray cat is often a permanent fixture of a neighborhood. Whether it’s catching local rodents or appearing on someone’s porch for a meal, these creatures are as alluring as they are aloof. What do they do all day before they emerge for their nightly can of tuna? 19-year-old photographer Gabrielius Khiterer breaks through their mysteriously stoic facade by snapping intimate portraits of his feline neighbors. The stray cat photos feature up-close shots of the creatures as they stare intensely into the camera; their beauty and flaws are on full display.
Simultaneously sympathetic and intimidating, Khiterer captures the dual attitudes of these cats. Many show signs of living on the street with a clipped ear or scratches on their face—presumably from other animals. But thanks to Khiterer’s photographs, we get to see these felines for all they are. We look past their rough exterior and see the cats’ toughness as a way to cover up vulnerability. Like others living outdoors, they are doing their best to survive. And thanks to these dignified portraits, Khiterer pays homage to this fact.
The young photographer first snapped these pictures over a year ago. With some time past, he recently revisited them and discovered something new. “I looked at these photos,” Khiterer wrote, “and realized that stray cats look really interesting, not like regular, cute cats that we usually see.” After this revelation, he began taking other stray cat photos around the streets of his hometown Vilnius, Lithuania. We’d love to see this series extend beyond Vilnius and celebrate even more of these fearless felines.