Stray cats and rescued dogs are featured in the annual competition.

Published September 22, 2022 11:45AM EDT

Head-butting kitties, a smoking alpaca, and all sorts of playful dogs are the stars of the winning images in the annual Comedy Pet Photo Awards.

The overall winner was “Boom Boom,” above, by Kenichi Morinaga of Japan. He photographed two playful stray cats on the streets of Japan.

“Cats are bumped on the wall suddenly,” Morinaga says, describing the image. “It was like a cartoon bamped boom boom. Such a funny moment.”

The picture also won the Best Cat Photo category.

Morinaga often visits the small islands around Japan, photographing the street cats he sees. His interest started when he first backpacked in Europe, not long after getting his own pet cat.

“Suddenly, I became fascinated by the antics of cats out in the streets and had to photograph them,” he said in a statement. “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 heart-warming not only in Japan but all over the world.”

Morinaga’s winning photo was chosen from about 2,000 entries. He won a 2,000 pounds ($2,260) cash prize, plus a 5,000 pound ($5,650) donation from Animal Friends Pet Insurance to go towards animal welfare or conservation charity.

Animal Friends is donating nearly $40,000 (35,000 pounds) to animal welfare charities that care for and rehome abandoned animals. Donations will go to Dean Farm Trust, London Inner City Kitties, and Wild at Heart Foundation. Morinaga chose the Cat Welfare Group to receive his winning donation.

“We’re so chuffed to see such a funny selection of winners this year from all over the world. And brilliant to see our first ever cat winner,” competition co-founder Tom Sullam said in a statement. “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. What is so amazing is that these hilarious photos and videos not only make us smile in the first instance, but they also mean that we can help some incredible pet charities.”

Here’s a look at some of the other winners.

Dog Winner

Jose Bayon / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


Jose Bayon photographed “Nilo’s Love for Water” while the dog played in his yard in Spain.

Nilo is an adopted puppy about 10 months old. He was hit by a car and was barely saved. Now recovered, he has just discovered water for the first time. His capers and pirouettes show his passion for water. Love at first sight.

People’s Choice Award

Marko Jovanovic / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


Fans voted and awarded “Dashing Through the Snow” the People’s Choice Award. Marko Jovanovic of the U.S. photographed his dog, Carter, playing in the snow.

Carter was on a [euthanasia] list in California. We flew from Chicago to Cali to rescue him. This was his first time experiencing snow. As you can see he couldn’t believe he was missing out all these years!

Horse Winner

Radim Filipek / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


Radim Filipek of the Czech Republic photographed a mare and her 3-day-old foal in “Happy Horses.”

 All Other Creatures Winner

Stefan Brusius / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


“Smokin’ Alpaca” by Stefan Brusius of Germany stars an alpaca who looks like he is smoking a cigar.

Junior Winner

Freya Sharpe / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


Freya Sharpe of Loughborough, U.K., won for “Jack the Cat Stuck in the Hedge.”

Jack is a real character and gives us lots of laughs! We had gone out for the day and came home to find our kitten Jack had got stuck in the hedge! 

Pets Who Look Like Their Owners Winner

Judy Nussenblatt / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


The resemblance is uncanny, figured Judy Nussenblatt of the U.S. who photographed “Dave and Dudley.”

This is my friend, David, and his dog Dudley. During the early days of Covid, David and I took advantage of a beautiful day and we were out shooting pictures. Dudley was so excited when we got back that he threw his front paws around David’s shoulders and I snapped this picture. They both look like they could use a good haircut, but it was Covid….so who cares….

Comedy Pet Team Favorite Award

Mehmet Aslan / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


The comedy award team chose “Chauffeur Dog” by Mehmet Aslan of Turkey as their favorite.

This is what I saw when I stopped at the traffic lights. At first I thought the dog was really driving!

 These are a few of the “highly commended” winners:

“OMG what is that” 

Beth Noble / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


Beth Noble photographed a very surprised cat in Heddon-on-the-Wall, U.K.

“Werewolf 2.0”

Karl Goldhamer / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


 In “Werewolf 2.0,” Karl Goldhamer of Germany says, “Even a werewolf needs to relax sometimes…”

“Now, how do I upload my pics?”

Kenichi Morinaga / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


Kenichi Morinaga photographed this curious cat in Japan.

“Revenge of the Tennis Ball”

Christopher Johnson / Animal Friends Comedy Pets


Christopher Johnson snapped this action shot in Warrington, U.K.

This is Star playing in the snow in a local field and getting surprised by a passing tennis ball.

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