There are many types of animal photography, from heartfelt pet portraits to amazing shots of wild animals. Japanese photographer Hisakata Hiroyuki takes a conceptually lighter approach to his creature images; he reveals the delightful world of ninja cats—otherwise ordinary felines captured in the midst of action that look like they’re performing martial arts.
Hiroyuki’s portraits demonstrate the impressive agility of young cats. Using a feather toy and high-speed photography techniques, he shows how each creature bends and twists with ease, and many of the cats have incredible verticals and leap far into the air. Their exaggerated poses also make convincing sparring photos. With the cat toy removed from the scene, the kitties look like they are trying to defeat one another with their best roundhouse kick or strike. The result showcases the gracefulness of our furry friends as well as the importance of timing—if Hiroyuki had hit the shutter just a second later, a photograph would look totally different.