CAT MAN MONDAY: Andrew Marttila, Cat Photographer

 

AndrewI had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Marttila at Grumpy Cat’s 2nd Birthday. It’s a good thing I did, because upon returning home I had 3 Instagram messages asking if I’d met him – he’s clearly a player on the cat scene. Hailing from Philly, Andrew heard about the party and cold called Purina for an invite. Talk about chutzpah! He’s an amazingly talented cat photographer and I’m excited to be able to introduce him to you today.

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Some of us cat men are born into cat man-hood, and some of us make our own way. Some of us grow up with other animals, and discover an affinity with cats later in life. Either way, we became cat men.

In my opinion it’s not hard to see what all cat men have in common: a slight preference for cats over humans. And of course, cat ladies over the others.

Haroun, Andrew's current cat

Haroun, Andrew’s current cat

 

It’s hard to believe my first real relationship with a cat didn’t come until my early twenties. Her name was Margot. Up to that point I’d been severely allergic to anything with a modicum of dander. It didn’t stop me from having lizards, hamsters, hedgehogs, sugar gliders, and even a chicken.

When my grandmother entered a nursing home and needed someone to look after her home and her cat Margot, I was not the obvious choice. Yet to New Jersey I went, armed with an inhaler and allergy meds.

Margot

Margot

 

Margot was an older tabby who spent much of her time outdoors and even more snoozing on the couch. Sometimes she’d bring back mementos from her battles in the woods, proudly displaying her kills on the deck.

That being said, Margot was utterly indifferent to my presence. But with my allergies it was actually the perfect match. I found I really appreciated the lack of attention she gave me

Corporal loving time with Haroun? (which Andrew calls a "smooch"!)

Corporal cuddling time Haroun (which Andrew sweetly calls a “smooch”!)

 

I had to earn her respect so made it a point to try to without being overzealous. And the gradual courtship with Margot helped my immune system adapt to the environment. The night she slept on my bed for the first time was a great success and turned out to be the first of many.

I valued her independence and self-sufficiency, but ability to be infinitely warm when she chose. It seemed the longer I stayed at that house, the more often those moments occurred.

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day

 

With my immunity intact I moved to Philadelphia for school and found a woman with two cats that I adored. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with her felines.

I was so excited to get my one of my own, but under the pretense that I’d get one when I finished college and we moved into a place together.  When our roommate relationship ended there was no good reason to delay any further, especially since my roommate at the time was getting a cat too.

Meowy Catsmas!

Meowy Catsmas!

 

I found an incredible Bengal on Petfinder and while I wasn’t chosen to adopt him for reasons unbeknownst to me, I was so enamored with the breed that I struck out on my own.

I got my guy, Haroun, from a breeder a few hours away from my hometown in Pennsylvania. A few days later my roommate got his Siamese, Shoyu. The amount of cute in that apartment was unreal.

Haround the Bengal and Shoyu the Siamese snuggling as kittens

Haround the Bengal and Shoyu the Siamese snuggling as kittens

 

I graduated with a bachelors of science in Neuroscience in December, and although I love utilizing that part of my brain, I realized I’d much rather take photos of animals than do anything else.

Cats were the perfect subject for practicing with my new digital camera, and pretty soon I’d started an Instagram account. A few months later I had about 1000 followers, and friends/family started to inquire about photographs of their animals.

Grendel Drinks

Grendel Drinks

 

I got some business through my website but it’s through Instagram that I’d say my cat-man-hood has really bloomed. I’ve gotten a ton of support from family and friends (in real life and digitally) to pursue what I love. So since graduation I’ve been doing the cat photography thing full-time. I do all sorts of animals, but I’m best known for my photos of cats.

I now have almost 22,000 followers on Instagram and several of my photos have gone viral on various media outlets. It’s really strange to think that millions have viewed my photos, and it’s all a result of social media.

Macro Cat Eye

Macro Cat Eye

 

It’s even stranger to think that it was all born from the interaction I shared with Margot. She passed about a year ago. She was an old cat. It was upsetting, but I realize it’s a part of life. My gratitude for her speaks every time I snap a shutter, because I truly would not be able to do this without her.

In the time that I’ve become a “crazy cat man,” I’ve crossed off a number of objectives from my bucket list.

Cat Circus

Cat Circus

 

I witnessed and photographed a cat circus.

Twice. I met Lil Bub.

Andrew and Lil Bub

Andrew and Lil Bub

 

I was the grand prize winner in a contest about crazy cat men.


My photos were published in the book, “Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too,” by Michael Showalter.

CAT LADY GUY HALL OF FAME
I’ve attended and photographed several cat shows.
And now I can add having met and photographed Grumpy Cat at her 2nd Birthday to the list.

grumpycat

 

What I’d really like to do is travel around the country to meet friends and their cats from Instagram, because that’s the inspiration behind a lot of what I do. There’s a very special relationship between humans and their cats, and sharing it with others seems like the next step.

Friends often tease me that I’d rather spend time with cats than with humans, and there’s certainly some truth to that. The more I speak to and interact with cat-people, I’ve found that I’m definitely not alone.

haroun

To see more of my work, head over to my instagram (@iamthegreatwent) or my website www.phillypetphoto.com. If you mention having seen this article on I HAVE CAT, you’ll get 15% off!

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Andrew’s photos are so stunning and full of personality I had to include a few more. Enjoy! 

playtime

Playtime

 

macro whiskers

Macro whiskers

 

opera tim

Opera Tim

 

Grendel Snow

Grendel Snow

 

Tim and Andrew on Caturday!

Tim and Andrew on Caturday!

 

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  • Oh man, that picture of the Bengal and Siamese kittens sleeping together…my brain almost melted from cute overload!

    • Tamar

      Total cuteness overload!

  • I would love to be photographed by a REAL photographer instead of my wannabe human. Maybe someday if he comes to L.A…. My human just followed Andrew’s Instagram account from her recently-established publishing Instagram account.

    • Tamar

      Ohhhh you should encourage him to do that Instagram tour of fans he was mentioning Sparkle!

  • WOW WOW WOW!!!! He and his passion are so evident in his magnificent photographs. His love of cats so authentic you can’t help but want to shout from the roof tops that CATS are Mans and Woman’s Best Friend . . . when they want to be. 🙂 Fabulous article. I will be following Andrew on Instagram…just need to install it on my phone 😉

    • Tamar

      And he’s truly the sweetest unassuming guy. Can you imagine him taking pics of my gang? That could take WEEKS I feel! HAHA!

      • Laurence

        I have to spend a few weeks at your place to train them LOL

  • What an interesting guy…and he takes some amazing photos!

    • Tamar

      That’s for sure! I love how he got turned on to cats. Thanks so much for your on-going support ISLAND CATS and for taking the time to leave a comment!

  • Oh Man Andrew! Congratulations on your magnificent photographs!

    • Tamar

      He is quite amazing isn’t he? Can you imagine him shooting all your kitties?! 🙂

  • Andrew sounds awesome. And his pictures are just amazing!! we love it when there is just that one cat that turns someone around. 🙂

    • Tamar

      Isn’t that just amazing?! Andrew is truly the sweetest guy. I’m so glad I got to meet him and THANK YOU for your readership and support!

  • jmuhj

    Wonderful article and great pix — all of the subjects are very easy on the eye, an added plus 😉

    • Tamar

      Couldn’t agree more Jmuhj! You took the words out of my mouth!

  • Hayley

    Great article! I heart Andrew and Haroun. I am lucky to have had Andrew photograph all my animals. Best. Photos (of my animals). Ever.

    • Tamar

      WOW you ARE lucky! I have no idea how he gets those shots. No way would my 3 put up with a photo shoot! Well, Andrew might have to move in and then maybe they would come around after a few days! ha! Thank for reading and commenting Hayley!

  • These are fantastic cat pictures,I love “Grendel Drinks”
    I can’t imagine not having a cat,they are so nice to have around.
    Keep up the great work Andrew.

    • Tamar

      Stunning I agree! So it looks like we have another CAT MAN in our midst. I’m always looking for guys who love cats to feature! Just contact me at ihavecat@gmail.com and thank you so much Michael for reading and leaving a comment today!

  • I really love these photos!

  • Gretchen

    These are great photos!

  • Eleanor Marttila

    SO PROUD OF YOU AND YOUR AMAZING PHOTOS! LOVE, MOM-MOM

  • susan

    Andrew your photos are the best! I will be ever so grateful for your photo shoot of Paulie in October. They are wonderful and so captured his spirit perfectly.
    Thank you so much.

  • It’s so heartwarming finding men who love cats! I would NEVER go out with a guy who didn’t like cats. His photos are wonderful. Great interview!

  • Eric

    Andrew, my catercousin, at the risk of being guilty of catachesis, I just want to say that I hope this revelation of your wonderful photos and story serves as a catalyst to catapult the appreciation of your categorically fantastic photography into another dimension. And, as you know, I have catermauled in the past about how very grateful we are that you have so beautifully preserved the memory of our dearly beloved, and only recently departed, Paulie. Thank you again!

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