Supermodels of the cat walk

The elite of the feline set were out in full fettle at an international show in Ra’anana.

By MERYL KARBE
October 8, 2010 16:29
THE SHOW is strictly for the upper crust, a world

Cat 311. (photo credit: Wallace Karbe)

There are two types of people in the world, cat lovers and the rest. This was oh so obvious at a recent international cat show in Ra’anana: The rarefied world of everything feline and fanatical was in full swing. Here is a universe all its own. All types of brushes and shampoos for endless pampering and grooming.

“Only the very best will do for these cats,” the saleslady sniffily informs me. Only aristocats, each and every one of them, are seen here. This is strictly for the upper crust, a world very far removed from the scratch and hiss of street cats.

Cat connoisseurs, cat lovers, cat obsessives. Catty cosmetics, nutrition, enviably comfortable bedding for endless catnapping. There are toys for cats, for their owners and for the children of the owners. There is an array of feeding bowls and all the paraphernalia and accoutrements for both the necessary and the frivolous.

There are delicacies and, of course, nutrient-filled foods. Feeding bowls so fancy, humans would be happy to eat out of them.

But the paraphernalia for sale is a mere sideshow.

Center stage is for the uber-cats. They parade about like supermodels with a disdain for the mundane.

The first specimen reveals herself. She minces her way across the judges’ table. Her tail flicks and swishes upward and around a judge’s face. She’s hot and desirable, and she knows it. She is The Sphinx. Be frightened. Be very frightened. A skinny, wrinkled little creature: not unlike ET, but to cat lovers a creature of infinite desire. These are skinny, tiny, hairless, wrinkly and pink. There is a whole family of them, and people are clamoring around, straining on tiptoes, for a glimpse of these strange little creatures.

Their minute little brows are furrowed with scores of lines, almost akin to a wizened old man pondering his life. Perhaps these lines attest to the anxiety of keeping this lineage as pure as possible. They are also called Champion Purrers, and their appearance is deceptive; apparently they are extremely peopleorientated and affectionate.

But wait! Something is becoming apparent. Barely a word of Hebrew is heard here. It’s almost like being in mini Moscow. This is clearly a European predilection, although the lovely Ola asserts, “I have lots of Israeli friends who are both cat lovers and breeders.”

All the cats are in beautifully maintained, differently colored containers made predominantly of nylon and netting. Here are three utterly luxuriant specimens. They are completely content in the knowledge that all they have to do is curl up, sleep and do nothing. Lowly earthlings are here merely to admire them. This is the Himalayan breed.

Would they really, seriously, prefer living in the freezing, icy Himalayas? And here are another couple of exquisite specimens; cats who’ve just licked the cream. They are Golden Persians owned by a couple with the great surname of Kool. She’s a petite, friendly Frenchwoman, and her partner is an approachable lanky Dutchman. They are clearly proud of their brood and owners of the one and only Blue Golden Persian in Israel. Their cats are playful and peaceful, they say.

“One of them sleeps with our son every night.” This family and their cats are cool in every way.

Here is a winner secure in the knowledge of being one. This is a Scottish Straight Hair, appropriately named Ace. Still a kitten, Ace is gigantic and will grow even bigger. The thought is scary. Three rosettes adorn his container. Ace has supreme confidence; he knows where he stands in the world and doesn’t really give a hoot for humans and all their nonsense.

The so-called Bloos and Broos are British Golden Blues. They’re entwined in brotherly love, somnolent on a blue tartan rug. There is no sibling rivalry here. There wouldn’t be; they’re always happily asleep, sharing each other’s dreams.

The model-beautiful Ola owns this Sacred Burma Cat. Her breeding business is called Pointe Shoes Birmans. She sensuously and lovingly strokes Hot Spot, this four-month-old. “These cats are snuggly, cuddly and purry,” says Ola. Hot Spot’s fur calls out, unashamedly, to be stroked. But here owner Ola is firm; adoring gazes, with pleasure, but no touching, she says unapologetically.

Hot Spot has family. At home there are her father, two sisters and a brother from another mother. Hot Spot is as beautifully groomed as her owner. This feline loves people and company. From her plentiful fur her stunning turquoise-blue eyes peek out.

Obviously related to that strange and wrinklybrowed first Sphinxy lot is a Canadian Sphinx, a six-month-old. She is predominantly gray with pink patches. Her cat mate and companion is just a regular domestic. The two live happily side by side – the regal and the regular.

The main purpose of this event comes into view: Judgment Day. When a competitor is being observed, one of the judges teases the cat with a type of feathered stick to assess its responsiveness.

The judge admiringly strokes another one of the cats with her practiced hands, her jet-black nails striking against the cat’s snowy white coat. She holds the cat high up to the delight of the cooing audience. She reminds the audience and participants of the standards that are to be met.

To the detached onlooker, this may all look like a frivolous bit of fluff. To the cat lover and breeder, this is a very serious business.

Irene is assisting the judges here today. Bubbly and vivacious, she says, “I have always adored cats. In my homeland, Russia, my parents weren’t particularly cat loving. But they indulged me, and I always had a cat.” She owns two cats. “One belongs to one of the British breeds and the other is a Siberian.”

These two cats are not with her today, but many of their grandchildren are taking part in this competition.

Irene’s eyes gleam with pride and pleasure.

Now here is really something to behold: a minkbrown, velvety-furred beauty if ever there was one.

This, too, belongs to Ola. Another Sacred Burma Cat. She sleeps next to two coveted grand trophies, nonchalant about her success. At first Ola is reluctant to disturb her for a photograph. Eventually she concedes. After all, such superior feline grandeur should be kept for posterity. Ola holds her up to be photographed; they have eyes only for each other.


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