The pret­ti­est cat in the whole coun­try

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - JOEL MAXWELL

All eyes were on the stage at the Na­tional Cat Show as the se­cond-place rib­bon hov­ered over Les­ley Parker’s head.

Then the judge yanked it away. Parker, be­fore she could stop her­self, let slip an ex­ple­tive.

The judge – a bit of a trick­ster – was only play­ing to the crowd at Bish­op­dale YMCA in Christchurch, and soon re­turned with the win­ner’s rib­bon, mak­ing Parker the owner of New Zealand’s top cat.

For while every fam­ily might think their cat is the best in the land, Parker’s ac­tu­ally is, hav­ing taken home the supreme cham­pion award.

He’s a per­sian of­fi­cially called Dixykatz Fer­rero Milch-Sch­nitte – but bet­ter known sim­ply as Parker.

‘‘I know he’s a beau­ti­ful cat, but this is the whole of New Zealand, it’s the very best, the cream of the crop,’’ his proud owner, from Otai­hanga, on the Kapiti Coast, said.

It’s her se­cond supreme award, af­ter she won two years ago with Parker’s half-sis­ter, Muf­fin. She has tiny por­traits of both tat­tooed on the in­side of her left wrist.

The dou­ble win is re­mark­able, given she started show­ing cats only five years ago, choos­ing per­sians be­cause ‘‘I think they’re pretty’’.

She’s aware not ev­ery­one thinks that – per­sians might un­kindly be de­scribed as a cross be­tween a pug and a pair of Nana’s woolly slip­pers.

But a flat face was one of the char­ac­ter­is­tics they were judged on, Parker said. ‘‘They’re meant to have big round eyes, flat face, lit­tle ears and a wide top-of-head.’’

The com­pe­ti­tion was part beauty con­test, with im­mac­u­late pre­sen­ta­tion giv­ing com­peti­tors a good chance for a win, she said.

She en­joys groom­ing her cats, giv­ing each of her four per­sians and two rag­dolls about 10 min­utes of brush time every day.

The pas­time has ‘‘ab­sorbed’’ her, tak­ing her around the coun­try, mak­ing plenty of friends and be­com­ing part of the show com­mu­nity. ‘‘I do have to stop do­ing it, I’m think­ing I can’t col­lect cats.’’

Les­ley Parker with Dixykatz Fer­rero Milch-Sch­nitte, known as Parker.

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