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Cruelty free cat-walk will help stray felines

Aug 31st, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

LION TAMER: Debra Ashton, co-ordinator of Stray Cat Fashion Show, and below, show inspiration Millie.

IT’S a cat walk for cats.

Except there’ll be no actual felines on show at Saturday’s Stray Cat Fashion Show.

Human models will grace the stage for a cruelty-free fundraiser to raise money for the Black Sheep Animal Sanctuary in Otaki to help care of Wellington’s stray cats.

The aim is to raise money for the sanctuary to de-sex and find homes for the overwhelming number of wild cat colonies in Wellington.

“To get them de-sexed is a key thing,” says show co-ordinator and television make-up artist Debra Ashton.

“If we can get them and de-sex them, it’ll be better for the cats and better for the environment.

“When we are talking about homeless cats, we mean a little bit more wild,” she says.

The Cats Protection League and SPCA re-home a lot of homeless cats, but it is a bigger ask to take care of a wild cat.

“This will be in addition to what other cat charities are doing.”

It has taken about four months to organise, she says.

But after the first rehearsal last week she is very proud to see the show put together: “None of us had done this before.

“It just looked amazing to see it. There’s been a hell of a lot of stress trying to get everything done and to see it all coming together, all the stress came off.”

Debra has spent the past two to three weeks sifting through second-hand clothing at op-shop Opportunity for Animals in search of “those gems” which will feature in the show.

“I have found things and thought, ‘I can’t believe someone threw this out. I can’t believe someone hasn’t bought it.’

“All the models want to buy all their clothes,” she says. “There’s a Christian Dior dress in the show.”

There are 20 models of varying sizes, which is one of the show’s requirements.

“We don’t want one sort of look. We want to provide for real people.”

Green MP Sue Kedgley will join the volunteer models on the catwalk and television personality Sarah Bradley will MC.

Along with the clothing, food and art have been donated by supporters and all the people working on the show are volunteers.

Debra says the main expenses have been posters and venue hire, but otherwise the production has stuck to a nearly zero budget.

All of the cosmetics and make-up products, food, wine, beer and clothing will be vegan, so the show will be completely cruelty free.

Debra, who likens her eagerness to help wild cats as “lion taming”, says the main inspiration for the show is her cat Millie, who she picked up from the SPCA while volunteering there.

“She was deemed a ‘long term stray’ and she was petrified and scared of us and I thought, ‘I have to take this cat and look after her’. And so I did. Millie was the bottom line inspiration for this show.”

She says taking on a wild cat is a highly rewarding experience, but is disappointed that many people do not have the time and patience.

The Stray Cat Fashion Show will be held at the Whitireia Performing Arts Centre on September 3 and will feature live music, and clothing, art, vegan beer and wine for sale.

Tickets can be purchased HERE>

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