The overall winner of the Animal Friends Comedy Pet Photo Awards 2022 goes to Kenichi Morinaga for his photo of a white and ginger cat, sitting cheek-to-cheek on a fence and both looking like they've lost their heads.
More than 2,000 images were entered into this year's competition but only one could come out on top and be awarded a £2,000 (approximately $2,150 / AU$3,300) cash prize, £5,000 ($5,375 / AU$8,250) to donate to an animal charity of their choice, plus a bespoke trophy to take pride of place on the mantelpiece.
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Japanese photographer and lover of cats Kenichi Morinaga was also awarded the prize for best cat photo. Kenichi’s love for feline photography started when he would visit the small islands around Japan, which are home to lots of street cats, but it wasn’t until he got his own pet cat that his passion for them really started.
"Suddenly, I became fascinated by the antics of cats out in the street and had to photograph them,” he says. “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.
"This amazing competition reminded me that such gestures from all animals are recognized as being hilarious, cute, and heartwarming – not only in Japan but all over the world."
This year's competition was the closest yet with just ten points separating the top six places. Altogether seven different countries represented the category winners, making it one of the most international competitions.
José Baynon from Spain came first place in Best Dog, for his portrait of his pooch Nilo playing with a garden hose. Radim Filpek placed first in the Horse category for a touching photo of a mare and her foal, while a smoking alpaca taken by Stefan Brusius was the overall winner in the Other Creatures category.
Other noteworthy winners include nine-year-old Freya Sharpe, who took a photo of a family cat, Jack after he got stuck in a hedge; Marko Jovanovic received the People's Choice Award for a photo of his dog bounding through snow; and Chauffeur Dog by Mehmet Aslan from Turkey won the Comedy Pet Team Favorite.