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In the Forbidden City and beyond, the life of cats

Updated: 2020-02-08 10:23:29


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A visual designer stumbles over a feline in need, and the lives of seven lucky animals are transformed.[Photo by Wu Hongli/provided to China Daily]

It was a cat named Snow White that got Wu Hongli started. It was a cold night in Shanghai in 2012 and Wu, who began taking photos when he was 19, came across the cat at the backdoor of his workplace.

She was trusting enough to allow him to pick her up, and soon she was enjoying his loving attention, lapping up food and water within the warm confines of a handmade shelter. But Snow White, as Wu named her, would have a surprise for her new guardian. Over the next several days she was joined by one kitten and then another and then another, until Wu finally realized the full extent of his new family responsibilities: Just before they met, Snow White had become the proud mother of five.

"She obviously felt safe with me and my workmates, and that prompted her to bring all of her kittens together," says Wu, who, naturally, like any proud new parent, was soon snapping photos of Snow White and her offspring.

Both smitten and inspired, Wu was soon prowling the streets, alleys, parks and nooks and crannies of Shanghai in search of cats-not necessarily looking for more mouths to feed, but at least to capture the cats on film.

With that passion, Wu would eventually turn tail on one profession, visual designer, and take up another, cat photographer, one who now has more than 3 million followers on the social media platform Sina Weibo. Over the past six years he has taken more than 70,000 photos of cats on the streets of more than 20 cities across China.

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