Going Viral With Cat Photos: How One Photographer Did It

two siamese cats lokking up at camera

The old joke about the internet running on cat photos hasn’t lost steam quite yet. The little furry predators are if anything more popular than ever before on today’s social media-driven web.

One photographer who specializes in exactly these furry beasts learned this for himself after becoming extremely viral with his own photos.

Nils Jacobi, who started his own photographic odyssey in 2011 as a hobby through shots of people first began posting these images to social media. In between human-focused shooting, he’d also occasionally post up candid photos of cats doing their usual cat things in all sorts of contexts.

cat licks mouth in photo

Image credit: furryfritz Instagram

It was when he noticed that the cat photos gained quite a bit more traction than his people photos that he also took notice of what might bring in more eyeballs. Since then, his cat work has gone exceptionally viral on the internet and particularly on social media.

According to comments in an interview with PetaPixel, “I had a studio for a few years and mainly photographed people. When I realized that my cat photos, which I posted in between, got way more likes than my other photos, I put my focus on it.”

Jacobi, who lives in Germany, also explains that this new spin on his photography soon became a passion because he in any case preferred to work with animals; though originally he was instead interested in photos of dogs as they run.


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A post shared by THE CATOGRAPHER (@furryfritz)

The unlikely turn of events is what has since turned Jacobi into a full-time professional cat photographer whose unusual career has led to work with clients such as pet food companies, magazines and even insurance companies.

He also continues his social media sharing, with a huge TikTok following of more than 4.1 million for his page, which is called “furryfritz”.

 He has even earned the online nickname of “The Catographer” from fans of his cute subjects.

Among Jacobi’s most widely shared photos are those in which he captures cats in photo and video as they walk over the top of a glass surface, with him capturing shots of their bodies from underneath. These have been inspired by the previous similar work of dog photographer Andrius Burba.

In an admission that shouldn’t surprise anyone, Jacobi also explains that working with cats can be challenging if they’re not feeling particularly willing, “There is no trick to get the perfect shot. Just a lot of patience and dedication,”

He also adds that “It can be hard to get animals, especially cats, to pose for a photo.” Persistence seems to pay off nicely though because many of his photos are composed wonderfully enough to almost seem as if they were digitally staged.

The stubbornness of cats also hasn’t kept him from pushing new boundaries. As Jacobi explains to PetaPixel, “Even as a professional with hundreds of cat photoshoots experience, you always try to push the limits of your creativity to get the cat to do something you want,”

cat looks at camera

Image credit: Furryfritz instagram

He adds, “But you just can’t force cats to do anything and of course, you shouldn’t try to do that in general! Fortunately, in most cases, it is enough to take advantage of the cat’s play instinct or appetite.”

The photographer also elaborates that particularly suspicious or shy cats are especially difficult to work with for getting ideal shots, but that patience still can pay off.

Jacobi’s basic advice to other would-be animal photographers is that patience and learning pay off. “You will learn a lot about cats’ behavior if you have photo shoots with them regularly.”

More examples of Nils Jacoky’s work can be seen in the PetaPixel interview as well as on his TikTok, Instagram and personal website pages.

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