Sun, 06 Jul 2003

Cat fanciers show how the other half live

Sri Ramadhani, Contributor, Jakarta

Best dressed and best in show were among the categories when the Indonesian Cat Association (ICA) marked its official founding at Blok M mall in South Jakarta last month.

There was also a talk show, a discussion on cat diseases, as well as a bazaar and drawing competition for kindergarten and elementary school students.

The five-day festival succeeded in raising the number of ICA members to 70.

Not all the visitors were cat fanciers, breeders or owners. Some of those who passed the displays were low-income workers seeking some cool air in the mall.

It must have seemed strange, if not somewhat obscene, for them to see the immaculately manicured cats dressed in costumes or the expense that went into the event, in a country where millions of people live below the poverty line.

ICA judge and contest commission head Dyah Indrayanti acknowledged the criticism but said that the aim of the festival was to prioritize the upkeep of felines.

She said ICA planned to give free cat vaccinations aimed at stopping the spread of pet diseases, including rabies, and would also hold a mass neutering program to deal with strays.

Dyah said that ICA would soon be affiliated with the International Feline Federation (FIFE), one of the largest organizations of cat fanciers based in Europe.

Some ICA members are breeders of thoroughbred cats imported from America, Japan and Australia through the world's largest cat organization, America's Cat Fanciers Association (CFA).

Dyah said that imported kittens were more expensive; an imported Persian kitten could cost up to Rp 10 million.

Persians are the most expensive breed in the country, but other thoroughbred cats owned by ICA members are Siamese, Burmese and British Shorthair.

ICA has catteries to provide thoroughbred cat breeding and the association is trying to breed not only Persians but also other types, too.

ICA can be contacted at Jl. Dahlia Raya, Blok A No. 25, Jurangmangu Indah, Bintaro, in South Jakarta. (Sri Ramadani)