The impossible family photo with 17 pets

Shutterstock.com/ Liliya Kulianionak

How many pets are too many? If you live in an apartment or small house many people would argue that you are not ready for a pet at all. If you do have a big house the limit for most people is likely still in single digits. Two or three pets already sounds like a lot of work but if you had 11 or 12 that would just create an incredible amount of chaos. For Kathy Smith that chaos is her life. At last count, she had 22 pets without including all of her fish. Yet a photo that Kathy took has now gone viral as it shows she has it all under control.

Eight dogs, nine cats, four budgies, one hedgehog and some fish. That is a serious family to look after. Recently Kathy, 30, from Wales decided she wanted to get a family portrait. She decided she would try to get all of her pets in front of the camera and all facing the lens. If getting them all to sit still wasn’t demanding enough she wanted them all to face the camera as well! 

As the picture shows, she finally did it. In the photo, you can see seven black cats sitting on the back of the couch all facing forward, with one grey cat standing to attention on the side of the couch and the last cat sitting close with a dog on the couch. The dogs look a little more obedient with most of their faces clearly focused on the treat they are desperate to receive. One particular border collie in the center of the photo looks close to breaking and diving right at Kathy for the tasty treat.

Kathy says it took a full week to successfully capture the photo. The first and easiest challenge was the dogs. She started to prep them during the week by taking photos of them at different times as if teaching a new trick. She would get them to sit on or near the couch and give them a treat if they could hold still. By the time the final photo came around, she says they were a piece of cake. The real challenge was the cats. There is no treat to tempt an independent cat.

Instead, Kathy had to simply take a photo, run back place one cat back in position, take a photo, run back, fix another cat and repeat constantly until finally, all cats happened to be captured together. This must have placed extra frustration on the dogs who must have had to wait a long time for their treatment or got to eat a lot of treats that day. 

While the photo looks like a calm and serene family picture, Kathy says the truth was very different. The moment the photo was captured the cats all went their separate way to continue on their cat business. The photo is an incredible achievement and something that Kathy can cherish for a very long time.

Kathy lives in a three-bedroom semi-detached house, she rescues wildlife in need and says that visitors are surprised when they come to her home, no matter how many times they have been before. The number of pets is always changing (usually growing) and people are always shocked to see the pets. The photo is a lovely reminder that families come in all shapes and sizes and highlights the need to look after abandoned pets as best we can. If you decide to get a pet make sure that you know it is for the entirety of the pet’s life, not until you get bored with it.