After falling in love with a photo of a Russian Black cat – and there I was thinking a Russian Black was a cocktail – I joined a social media group all about Russian cats.
The rules of the group are very specific about the types of photos that may be posted, which is fair enough since Russian cats are what it’s about. I initially thought I would find it hard to resist posting photos of Louis Catorze but, as I get to know the cats in the group, I feel increasingly relieved that nobody expects to see him, as it would be akin to showing my battered, ancient skateboard to a group of people who all drive shiny Lamborghinis.
Russian cats are SERIOUSLY fancy. We’re talking supermodel-fancy. Their fur is incredible, and something about their faces makes them look as if they’re permanently smiling, whereas Catorze’s fur is grim beyond belief and he looks as if he’s been sent by Satan to end humanity. Russian cats are also able to pose beautifully with their surroundings, so you’d be forgiven for thinking their humans were all professional photographers.
Not only are the cats fancy, but their homes are also très fancy indeed. Very often the decor complements/matches the colour of the cat in an effortlessly tasteful way, making every single photo in the group – without exception – worthy of the front cover of a “Fancy Cat Vogue” publication. Photographing Louis Catorze in his relatively modest Château, on the other hand, is quite the endeavour: it usually involves shifting unsightly objects from the background (if I can be bothered), brushing away surface crud from the furniture/floor/cat, adjusting the light to hide the grubby carpet/walls/cat, planning my disclaimer apologising for said grubby carpet/walls/cat, consulting my good friend the black markup pen to edit any unattractive pink rear end, and so on. And, even after all this effort, the photo is usually still terrible.
Would I ever want a Russian cat? Absolutely. They’re so beautiful that I can’t imagine anyone NOT wanting one, and if I came across one in a rescue situation I certainly would be tempted. Incidentally, this is not to sidestep paying a breeder; after all, Le Roi was the most expensive cat in the history of his rescue, so any plans to minimise spending went out of the window from the start. This is because my heart lies with the freaks and misfits that nobody wants, perhaps because I identify with them more closely than one would imagine.
And it does happen: if fancy cats are your thing, they do, very occasionally, pop up in rescues. Catorze’s big brother Luther was a Bombay, although we didn’t know at the time and we just thought he was a skinny black cat with a weird tail. Had they told us, I can’t say it would have made much difference. However, when they presented Luther as the longest-serving inmate of the least popular colour and with a chequered medical history, I thought, “That’s the cat for me.”
Here is Alik, the divine, dark angel who prompted me to become a member of the fancy cats group despite my own cat being as unfancy as can possibly be. Thank you to his Cat Daddy, Joseph, for letting me use this picture:
If you are thinking of adopting a cat, please ensure that you do so from an ethical, registered breeder or from a rescue. And, if you’d like to find out more about Russian cats, you can do so here: http://www.russiancatsaustralia.com