Split-second timing leads to amazing results when photographing the alley cats of Japan.

Cats aren’t generally known for their compliant nature. As a matter of fact, their staunchly independent streak is precisely why many people love them.

Because of that, it takes a special kind of photographer to take really good feline photos. You need to radiate a sense of calm so that they’ll let you draw near, but you also need lightning-fast reflexes and impeccable timing to get the perfect shot if and when they decide there’s someplace else the need to be.

Japanese photographer Masayuki Oki seems to have these qualities in abundance, judging from his truly impressive, and adorable, body of work.

Oki is releasing a collection of cat photography titled Busanyan later this month, but also regularly updates his Instagram account and blog with photos of his latest feline muses.

▼ The cover of Busanyan

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He has an uncanny knack for capturing images of the animals right as they leap or stretch, and these still-shot demonstrations of animal agility drive home just how nimble even a humble Tokyo alley cat can be.

Ocassionally, the cats appear to be doing gymnastics


…or even steeplechase, in the case of this daring guy.

And while synchronized cat-ing isn’t a sport, if it were, it would probably look something like this.

Others react in a less kinetic, but no less photogenic, manner when Oki turns his lens on them.

▼ Are these cats, or fashion models strutting down the catwalk?

▼ Somewhat less impressive posture here.

▼ Kitty is ready for her close-up.

Cats feel so comfortable around Oki that they’ll even let him place props on their foreheads or discreetly photograph their dates.

And just like with people, some cats apparently can’t resist the urge to make a silly face or, on the other end of the spectrum, try to look hard for the camera.

▼ Not as intimidating as he thinks he is

▼ This one, though, actually looks pretty scary.

Oki’s 96-page Busanyan comes out on December 17 and can be ordered here from Amazon Japan for 1,296 yen (US$11). It’s sure to be filled with more amazing examples of his jaw-dropping photography skills.

▼ The jaw-dropping goes both ways.

Related: Masayuki Oki blog, Instagram, Iconosquare
Insert image: Amazon Japan