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On the hunt for the Purrfect feline

Apr 14th, 2014 | By | Category: Features, News, Picture story, Top Picture

THE Indian Cultural Hall in Petone transformed itself into a cat lovers’ dream during the annual Dominion Shorthaired Cat Club Competition last Saturday.

Over 90 cats lined the hall in their freshly decorated cages, with curtains coloured to mZulucat_400pxlatch their well-groomed coats.

Among the winners on the day was Bengal cat Zulu Spirit Indian Summer (right),who endured a long trip from Fielding for the competition.

Zulu Spirit Indian Summer’s owner, Hayley Coleman, described the five month Bengal as being very unusual for her breed due to her placid nature.

“I take her to my kid’s school with a harness, and she’s totally cool with all the poking and prodding.”

Zulu Spirit Indian Summer scooped up two first division places, one second position, and one fourth position placing.

Bengal cats attract a price tag of $650-$1200.

The competition was judged based on the New Zealand Cat Fancy Inc. marking schedule, where tail length, muscular toning, and a special sparkle in their eyes were amongst the criteria being assessed.

rainbowcat_400pxlSome cats opted to hide under their carefully placed bed (left), away from prying eyes in order to save themselves for the registered cat judges.

They had already tolerated a morning of coat grooming in preparation for their big day. For longhaired cats this meant a bath and a blow dry; for shorthaired cats the ordeal was slightly less traumatic, with no blow dry required.

The other star of the show was cinnamon Abyssinian Casper.  Appropriately named after being born on Halloween, he took home four second places, and a Breeders’ Merit award.

Owner and cat breeder Jody Robinson-Wildey said of her winning feline, “He’s just amazing. We take him to a rest home where he will purr non-stop for an hour and a half. His personality is definitely his biggest asset.”

This was not the case for all entrants, however.  One cat took exception to the thorough inspection and bit a judge’s hand, presumably costing him valuable points.

Feline competition decline?

Although the Dominion Shorthaired Cat Club competition seemed well attended, there is concern that overall interest in cat competitions is dropping. Not as many cats are being entered as in times past, although spectators still enjoy the events.

Zena Pigden, Chairperson of the New Zealand Cat Fancy Inc., says the social and economic changes that are facing breeders is reducing the amount of cats being entered.

“In the past cat breeding was a hobby that provided an interest and a social outlet for women at home. Now women are busy and meet their social needs through work.”

Show official, Christine Ryan, has organised many competitions with her cats over the years.  She believes that even if you don’t get a rosette, the winning cat is the one you take home.

“They’re all as good as each other, the best one is the one sitting on your couch,” she says.


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is a Whitireia journalism student who takes a keen interest in anything and everything, particularly cats.
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