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Photo Shoot with Chris Hemsworth
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As a New Jersey Breeder of Norwegian Forest Cats since 1988, the phone call I received late in the day on an August afternoon caught me off guard. The caller said that she was the assistant to a famous photographer, Bruce Weber, who wanted to use my Norwegian Forest Cats for a photography shoot with a famous actor. When and where did you have in mind, I inquired. Day after tomorrow, early morning, in Montauk, Long Island, was the response. Really? And who is the famous actor? She said it couldn’t be revealed just yet.

Our Norwegian Forest Cat Kittens have drawn a lot of attention through the years, starting with our foundation cat, Supreme Grand Champion, Regional Winner Pirate, being selected as the Science Diet Cat. His Science Diet photos appeared in cat magazines and veterinary literature worldwide. Pirate appeared as a “Celebrity Cat” at many Cat Fancier’s Association (C.F.A.) and The International Cat Association (T.I.C.A.) cat shows.

Just a few years ago, the Cats 101 team of the Animal Planet Channel contacted us to feature our cats on The Cats 101 Norwegian Forest Cats Program. Before I knew it, a production team spent a day in our home filming our wegies, the affectionate name for Norwegian Forest Cats. The program appeared on Animal Planet and can currently be seen online.

Packing up a bunch of fun-loving Norwegian Forest Cats for travel is no easy task. Cat tents, carriers, food, water, dishes, toys, combs and comfortable pads to sit on must be readied. I told the caller that I had never been to Long Island and couldn’t imagine finding my way there early in the morning with a car full of Norwegian Forest Cats. She assured me that transportation would be provided and I could stay overnight. My response was that I’d talk it over with my husband and call her back.

My husband is a retired marine engineer. He usually deliberates over issues. When I related the phone conversation, he blurted out, “Are you crazy? Of course we’ll do it! Call her back right now!!”

I grabbed the cell phone and called back within 3 minutes of saying to the caller that “we’d talk it over”. She reassured me that a large chauffeured SUV would be provided. I preferred not to stay overnight, so the pick up time was 5:00 AM for the 3 hour drive to Montauk, which is at the very end of Long Island, New York. It was agreed that I’d bring 5 of my wegies. And who is the famous actor, I asked? Chris Hemsworth was the answer. Home run!

A day and a half later, at 4:55 AM, a huge SUV limousine pulled into our driveway and we were greeted by a cat-friendly, personable, professional chauffer who made the transfer of cats and equipment effortless. We whizzed northward through New Jersey, Staten Island, Brooklyn and, before we knew it were transversing Long Island to its farthest reaches. Our destination was a lovely, quiet beach community and the site was just half a block from the beach. The clear, sunny skies and 75 degree weather belied the scene that awaited us. As we pulled up to the property, a truck was blowing artificial snow all over the house at the entrance. Assuredly we were prepared for a winter scene and our Norwegian Forest Cats would feel right at home.

We were escorted into a small wood-framed two bedroom bungalow and asked to assemble our cats in the bedroom with twin beds. Show tents were popped open atop the beds and 5 fluffy Norwegian Forest Cats quickly occupied them. Staff members began visiting and soon we were greeted by Bruce Weber, himself, a man of infinite charm and vitality. He petted each of the cats as we introduced them and they returned his greeting with hand kisses.

We were invited out to the vast lawn to partake of a bountiful buffet breakfast. Staff bustled everywhere, and we noted at least four or five other charming cottages on the property. Within minutes of returning to our wegies, we heard music coming from the living room and the sounds of a bongo. We peered around the corner and seated on the sofa, playing the bongo, was Chris Hemsworth, in the flesh! Wow!! He smiled as he played the drums. He was handsome, low key and engaging.

We waited with our wegies for the curtain call, and soon it came. Two wegies were requested, Daphne, our 8 year old ladycat and our young kitten, Collie. We entered the adjacent bedroom where we found the room jammed with Bruce Weber, his many assistants and Chris Hemsworth under the quilts in a double bed. Bruce asked me to put Daphne under Chris’ arm and place Collie directly onto Chris’ forehead. I did exactly that, but as I backed away from the bed, Daphne bolted. I swooped over Chris and caught her and pushed her back to his arm and she bolted again. Bruce instructed me, “Barbara, get in bed next to Chris to keep her in place:. With Bruce, my husband and a room packed with production staff, I obeyed. Well, it’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it. Right?

Cameras clicked, lights flickered, music wafted through the air, and there I was, lying next to the movie star acclaimed to be the sexiest man in America! It was a surreal moment, and even Daphne settled into the security of Chris’ embrace. Collie was, perhaps, the second biggest star of the day. He sat attentively on top of Chris’ forehead for at least 10 minutes without moving a muscle. Next, I was asked to bring in the other 3 cats and when I returned to the room, Chris had left. Bruce Weber asked me to put all the cats on the bed pillow and he shot many pictures as they assembled. Afterwards, he scooped up Collie onto his lap, gave him a kiss on the head, and held a book, as if to read it, with Collie on his lap, while his staff took photos and videos.

A wonderful luncheon buffet awaited us outdoors. We enjoyed the delicious meal, the sunshine and refreshing ocean breezes and clearly knew that this marvelous day was one that we would always treasure. We reflected on how it all began with our rescue cat, Kashi, then becoming the proud parents to our beloved Norwegian Forest Cat, Pirate, and the decision to establish Kashi Saga Cattery and having all of these loving descendents of Pirate, which made this perfect day happen.

Barbara L. Chronakis
Kashi Saga Cattery

See Chris Hemsworth Video with Kashi Saga Cats!

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Photo Shoot with Chris Hemsworth
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