Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: December 3, 2023 by Crystal Uys
Many of you may know Summer from her website Summer’s Fabulous Cat Life. This gorgeous Somali is a busy girl! Blogger, therapy cat, ambassador and actress – these are just a few of Summer’s jobs. She’s also the feline spokesmodel for Sleepypod.
The stunning seven-year-old was born to be a star. Her full name is RW GP Tajhara Summer Samba. She is an award winning show cat whose happy, friendly disposition made her an ideal candidate for both therapy cat work and for modeling. We are big fans of Summer and have been following her blog for a long time. I wanted to learn more about Summer’s modeling work, and her human Janiss Garza was kind enough to answer some questions.
How long has Summer been a spokesmodel for Sleepypod?
We’ve been working with Sleepypod since January 2020, although we did have some Sleepypod sponsored posts on the blog prior to that. But as far as modeling, that started right before the pandemic took over. We did a video shoot and photo session at their office, which is just a 15 minute drive from where we live.
What does a typical photo shoot look like?
The shoot we did at the Sleepypod offices was an informal version of a traditional film shoot. The video had a script for the expert to follow, and several different camera angles. Then we all went outside, with Summer in the Martingale harness, to film her walking. I was just off camera, following her all the way to make sure she was safe and not scared. There was a photographer taking still photos during the shoot too.
That was a long day for a working cat, but after the video was done, the photographer wanted to know if Summer could stay for a little while and model some different colors of the Martingale harness in the studio, with a plain backdrop. Summer still had some energy, so I agreed. But we were both very tired when we got home!
The shoots I’ve done for the blog posts aren’t anywhere near as elaborate. I just use natural lighting, and pick the proper times of day for the most flattering photos, usually late afternoon. I have lot of photogenic areas around my house, so it’s easy to do photo sessions, and Summer is an eager model.
Does Summer enjoy being a model?
She loves it. Like LOVES it! When she sees me gathering my photo stuff, or even hears the sound of the camera being turned on, she comes to attention and starts talking to me. Our photo shoots are one of her favorite parts of the week for her. She purrs through most of the sessions, makes happy paws and rubs against the props (which can cause problems if they are lightweight and prone to being knocked over). She likes going on location and working with crews because she enjoys being the center of attention. Plus whether I’m doing it myself or whether she is modeling for a professional, she gets lots of treats and praise, which she thrives on.
Has she worked for Sleepypod in other capacities such as at trade shows or other events?
Not yet, but we would love to. Summer has worked events for TICA (The International Cat Association) several times, and attended blogging conferences, and she really enjoys it. The energy of the exhibition halls remind her of the cat shows she does as an Ambassador Cat for CFA.
How did you train Summer to work as a model?
She was a natural. She was very camera aware from the start, and learned quickly to play to it. I photograph her several times a week for the blog, so all that repetition helped her to learn things like sitting still, and that being moved around and put in position is just part of the gig. Along the way, I trained her to do several tricks, including High Five and ringing a bell. These two tricks in particular turned out to be valuable for her modeling work, since I can transfer her talent for pawing my hand or touching the bell to touching products instead. It just takes a few minutes of coaching to transfer the trick to whatever item she is posing with.
For more information about all of Sleepypod’s products, please visit Sleepypod.com.
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.