Cat owners may think it unfair, but the winner of The Eagle's and Wichita Paws' beautiful cat photo contest owns dogs instead of cats.
"I'm actually allergic to cats," said Kasey Canbea-Kromm of Wichita, whose photo of Diggy, her best friend's cat, received the most votes in the contest.
Canbea-Kromm's photo of Diggy relaxing in a windowsill won with 23 percent of 816 votes cast. In second place was Sookie, a 10-week-old yellow and white tabby owned by Allison McConnell, with 15 percent of votes, followed by Fluffy, a 16-year-old long-haired black cat owned by Bob and Lynn Weeks, with 11 percent.
Canbea-Kromm wins a $50 gift card to All Paws Pet Center.
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The Eagle received about 145 entries in the contest, seeking the most beautiful cat in the Wichita area. Those entries were narrowed to 15 finalists, and readers were asked to vote for their favorite of the 15.
Canbea-Kromm, 28, a teacher whose hobby is photography, said she usually practices by snapping photos of Muggs and Molly, her soft-coated wheaten terriers.
But on a recent Saturday, she shot about 50 photos of Diggy and Tyke, cats owned by her friend Shelly Roberts.
Diggy, a Siamese mix, is usually shy and hides when she visits, Canbea-Kromm said. But on this particular day she caught him enjoying one of his favorite pastimes — looking outside from a perch on the windowsill.
"It's one of his favorite things to do, especially in the summer when the windows are open," she said.
On the day she shot the photo, "It was really cloudy and cold outside. I was actually worried that there wasn't going to be enough light to get a decent picture," Canbea-Kromm said.
But she liked the way the lighting and color turned out, and how the photo captured Diggy's pensive but playful personality.
"I think it was pretty good lighting, and it wasn't just a photo of a cat," she said. "It was a good photo, in my opinion."
Canbea-Kromm said she shares her interest in photography with her students at Pleasant Valley Middle School, where she teaches seventh- and eighth-grade science.
"They all have digital cameras and they take tons of pictures," she said.
Canbea-Kromm said she told her students that she had entered the contest but didn't ask them to vote for her photo.
"That would have been an easy 150 votes. I like that idea," she said.
"I'm excited to tell them that I won."