The prettiest cat in the whole country
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.