New Zealand's love of felines remains

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 13:31 05/05/2014
Cat show
WARWICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

ON SHOW: Tomoko Vlach, a cat judge from Austria, entices a response from a three-year-old lilac point Birman female.

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Plenty has changed in 60 years of Palmerston North cat shows, but the public's love of feline friends remains an undeniable constant.

About 200 cats from as far south as Dunedin and as far north as Kaitaia - and hundreds more curious onlookers - turned out to Barber Hall on Saturday and Sunday for the Palmerston North All Breeds Cat Show. The show also marked the 60th anniversary of the organising body behind the show, the Palmerston North Cat Club.

Cat Club president Denise Grace said it had taken months of planning and fundraising to brush everything up for the show but the public response had made it worth it.

"It's been excellent."

The cat club had been extremely fortunate to secure the services of renowned international judges for the event including Japanese-Austrian maestro Tomoko Vlach, who put the cats through their paces in front of a crowd of people.

Grace said the biggest change to New Zealand cat shows recently had been the explosion of different breeds.

In the early days of Palmerston North cat shows, the awards were dominated by siamese and burmese in the short-haired category and persians in the long-haired category.

Grace said that there had been a huge increase in the popularity different pedigree breeds such as maine coon, particularly in the past 10 years.

Another thing that had changed was the number of pedigree cats as family cats.

The public's lack of time at weekends was a potential furball for competitions in future, but Grace said she was confident Palmerston North cat shows could continue for another 60 years.

"At the end of the day, people just love their cats."

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- Manawatu Standard

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