A photograph of two seemingly conjoined cats has been awarded first prize at this year’s Comedy Pet Photo Awards.
The winning picture was captured by Japanese photographer Kenichi Morinaga.
Morinaga spends his time travelling around Japan’s islands to photograph street cats.
The photograph of the “conjoined” pets shows two cats – one with a snowy white coat and one with marmalade fur – sitting side-by-side on a fence.
The cats are pressing their necks together to give the appearance of being conjoined.
Awarded Comedy Pet Photographer of the year, Morinaga has won a cash prize of £2,000, plus a £5,000 donation to an animal charity of his choice.
The winner said his passion for cat photography began after he became a cat owner himself and visited Europe as a backpacker.
“Suddenly, I became fascinated by the antics of cats out in the streets and had to photograph them,” Morinaga said.
“When I returned to Japan, I continued to seek them out, they really cheer me up, especially after the last two years of the pandemic.
“They are so funny, even when they are doing something serious.”
While Morinaga took home the top prize, the competition also awarded photographers by category.
The winner of the dog category, a photographer named Jose Bayon from Spain, captured a rescue dog frolicking in the garden with a sprinkler.
Morinaga said he would use the prize money to fund more photography trips around Japan.
“I would like to continue photographing many cats and bring many more smiles to people’s faces,” he said.
“Through funny photos I hope that the world will one day become a kinder one, where cats, dogs and other animals are not abandoned or mistreated.”
Tom Sullam, a co-founder of the Comedy Pet Photo Awards commented: “The joy pets bring to our lives is evident in all the entries we receive, making our job as judges very enjoyable but also very tricky.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies