By Rudolph.A.Furtado (in Mumbai India)
Saturday (27-9-2014): Following India’s first cat show in Bangalore on 23rd April 2013, Mumbai has hosted the country’s second. I live in Mumbai close to the air conditioned show venue (Stallion Banquets) and care for two purebred Persian cats but was unable to show them. My boy cat “Matata” is too wild (!) and his mother, “Matahari”, is currently recovering from a wound.
The show was been sponsored by Mars India International Pvt Ltd a leading pet food manufacturer in India, selling the famous Pedigree and Whiskas brands for dogs and cats.
Both the president, Mr Shree Nair and the vice-president, Mr Ganesh Srinivasan of the Indian Cat Federation attended the show and I met them both. I felt there was a slight lack of participants and discussed the matter with Mr Mr Shree Nair.
I later strolled around the small venue and came across some Facebook members of Mumbai Cat Club and “Persian Cats, Breeding and Upbringing”.
Meehnaaz Khan had brought five of her cats to the show, all Persians while Mr Shahab Ali had flown from Hyderabad with his cat “Snowy” proving that the cat fancy in India is not nascent.
I thought that it was only in U.S.A and first World country’s that pet owners travelled by air across city’s for pet shows. All the volunteers at the show were students from the “Bombay veterinary college”. Went home for lunch and later at approximately 1500 hrs returned back to the venue.
Cats were being examined on the “Traditional judges table” being judged by South African Dr Johan Lamprecht a WCF All breeds judge (see above). He is shown examining feline “Christina” owned by Mrs Meher.Ansari. I had a discussion with Dr Johan Lamprecht and was surprised to know that in South Africa it was mostly the minority white population that kept cats as most of the majority negro Africans associated cats with witchcraft! It seems even in the 21st century superstitious beliefs about cats is still prevalent in certain societies.
I came across beautiful and well bred Persian cats all of whom were bred in normal Mumbai climatic conditions. Their coats were in excellent condition. I had a talk with German Petra Muller (President of Middle East Cat Association[MECATS]) and was amazed to learn that she lived with 325 cats in her villa in Dubai.
She was responsible for getting the natural street cat of U.A.E/Dubai as a recognized breed by the World Cat Federation in 2008 after conducting 5 years of research and breeding. This cat was named the “Arabian Mau” cat.
Later in the evening the final judging of the show cats was done on the main show ring. Judge Mrs Anneliza Hackmann examined each competitor for various traits. The winners were declared in each category akin to a dog show, based on age, sex and breed. All the cats were of the Persian breed and hence no variety in the competition.
In Mumbai every cat owner seems to prefer the Persian and I was surprised at not seeing a single Siamese cat, once a very popular pet cat. My first cat as a child in the 1960’s was a Siamese cat. Mr Dev.Purbiya’s cat “Bella” won the best of best in the show.
The show culminated at approx 1900 hrs, a sparse crowd and a entertaining and educative day of cat beauty and cat fancy. As usual went home and quickly updated the photographs and my personal opinion of the show, encouraging cat owners to participate in this unique first cat show in Mumbai city.
Sunday(29-9-2014) :- My internet advertisement review of the cat show proved effective and did receive queries about the venue and method of reaching the same. Went to the cat show in the afternoon at around 1430 hrs and was happy to see the auditorium full of cat competitors as well as spectators. Saw a few new cat breeds, one being an exotic tabby coloured short-haired Persian cat with overshot upper teeth a major defect in cats.
This cat would be a excellent pet cat but definitely not a show cat. The tragedy of selective cat breeding by breeders is that many inferior specimens that have defects are usually euthanized at birth, a negative aspect of the World of cat fancy and cat shows.
A Spanish lady living in Mumbai and a friend of Meehnaaz Khan had brought her street cats, the typical common stray cat of Mumbai for the show. These cats and the exotic short haired Persian were the only two different breeds in the total Persian breeds on display.
The Bombay veterinary college along with “Indian cat Association” will be doing research work on the “Mumbai street cat (stray)” and hope to create a recognized street cat breed called “BILLI (Cat in Hindi language)” in a few years akin to the “Arabian Mau” created by Petra Muller.
Met various cat owners and their cat exhibits. A few people congratulated me on the article written about the cat show where thanks to the internet anyone can become a “citizen journalist”, something unthinkable and not practicable just two decades ago.
Met Mrs Juwairiah Majid who had come to the show after seeing my article on the Internet. She had arrived with three cats out of which two were traditional Persian kittens worth Rs 80,000! This was the costliest pair of local bred cats that i had come across in Mumbai although in dogs such fancy prices are not uncommon. I have seen German Shepherd dogs worth lakhs of rupees at a dog show in Mumbai.
Later Dr Umesh conducted a quiz on cats and I won a prize, a cat mug. After being a active cat owner, blogger and member of various cat sites for years, most importantly PoC this cat quiz was simple!
Dr Ashish. M. Paturkar the Associate dean of the “Bombay Veterinary college” was an honoured guest and he gave a short talk on the future of getting the Indian street cat recognized as a new cat breed “Billi (Cat in Hindi language)”.
Later as the evening progressed there was the presentation of cats of various ages into the show ring for judging the best cat in that class. There was the “Kitten Class”, “Elder Cats Class “, “Persian Cat Class” and a few other prizes. The most coveted prize, the best of best cat in the show went to 6 months old “Bella”, owned by Mr Devendra Purbiya and bred by Mr Sudhakaran Aaskar in Bangalore.
At the end of the show Mr Shree Nair made a announcement that the next Indian Cat Federation show would be held in Bangalore in February 2015 and another show in Delhi in the same year. The idea is to popularize cat shows in every city in India and a beginning was made in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital; Mumbai should now host a cat show annually as there are numerous cat enthusiasts. As for me hope to enter cat “Matahari” in the senior cat group in the next cat show and awaiting the same as would other cat fanciers.