Felines purr happily at cat show’s 60th anniversary
First Siamese cat competition started in 1953 and remains magnet for cat fanciers
Aimee Henson, from Galway, with Victoria, a one-year-old Sphynx. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Christine Wall from Manchester with her Blue/White Exotice Male and Cream/White Exotic. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES
Rubie McArdle (4) from Ballyboden, Dublin playing with Sheerbliss Masquerade, an Exotic Kitten. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES
Cleopatra an Egyptian Mau, a past winner. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / THE IRISH TIMES
“It’s M for miaow,” said one of the enthusiasts in the lift on the way to Ireland’s oldest cat show.
The M in question was the mezzanine floor of the Tallaght Maldron Hotel, where the Siamese and All Breeds Cat Club of Ireland held its diamond jubilee 60th annual cat show.
The Siamese Cat Club was founded in 1953 and expanded to include all breeds in 1968.
Cats have never gone out of fashion in that time, although the breeding of them has become more professional.
Some 126 cats were on show, divided between pedigree and non-pedigree cats.
To ensure some parity of esteem, the owners of the non-pedigree cats were allowed to decorate their prized moggies’ cages.
The competition featured cats you would never spot scrounging around bins for their next meal.
“You won’t see them on the streets, they would be nicked,” said club spokeswoman Karen Sluiters of the beautiful pedigree cats on show.
“Nobody in this room would let their cat outside the door,” said Ronan O’Conchobhair, the owner of Louis, a pinky-white Canadian Sphynx. “You can’t really have pedigree anything in this country because someone will try to rob them.”
There was an austere beauty about the hairless Sphynx cats in contrast with the enormously fluffy Maine Coon cats or the pug-nosed Persian cats and their first cousin, the Exotic Persian cat.
Siamese cats were once in vogue. They lost out to Burmese cats and now they have lost out to the naked Sphynx cats, which are so delicate that they cannot venture out even in the Irish climate because of fear of sunburn.
Veronica Brooks, the show’s organiser, said the recession seemed only to have increased interest in the event, though big sponsors were thinner on the ground.
“It’s a surprise, but perhaps showing a cat is a bit cheaper than going to the south of France, ” she said.