“Latvian Winner” finds out how well-known Latvian cats manage to stay in shape!

In one week, on 10 and 11 June, the Ķīpsala Exhibition Centre will gather 300 cats of various breeds, as they will compete for the title of “Latvian Winner 2017”. Active preparatory works are already under way – fur is being groomed, nails trimmed and other beauty treatments are being carried out as well. How do some of the most popular cats of Latvia stay in shape?
In order to find out who is actually keeping the other one in shape – the cat or the owner – we had a talk with Ināra Beļinkaja, Director of Publishing House “Jānis Roze” and owner of cat Felikss who accompanies her at the office of the publishing house every day, as well as musician Igo who owns Otto and writer Elita Veidemane, owner of seven cats – Elizabete, Pūce, Čalis, Pirkstiņš, Berimors, Zeķīte and Spuļģītis.

Cats are very noble and beautiful animals, however, they also require beauty care! What kinds of procedures do your cats undergo, and what do they think of them?

Ināra Beļinkaja: Our tom-cat’s beauty salon is in the room of the publishing house’s IT specialists, where he has his personal groomer. There are also others wishing to groom his fur, however, Felikss has the best connection with a certain employee. Both of them are always happy and satisfied after the procedure. (Smiles.

Igo: Otto likes to be groomed. However, as it usually is with animals, one has to be careful not to brush his fur in the wrong way, so that he does not have to pull his nails out. It was a lot more difficult with one of Otto’s closest friends – Mārtiņš the cat. It is possible to brush his back and neckline, but once you get to his belly, problems start to arise. There were even times when we had to go to the clinic, where caring professionals would carefully remove small twigs from his fur. Although sometimes the poor cat was left with a bare patch in his fur. 

Elita Veidemane: My cats are not too fond of bathing and grooming, but somehow we manage. Morsis likes being brushed the most. He is very independent and proud by nature, but, as soon as I start grooming his back, the tom-cat starts purring with joy. 

In Ķīpsala, tom-cats and she-cats will compete in a beauty competition. What’s the secret weapon of your cat?

Felikss has a very beautiful orange money cat’s fur, as well as green eyes. He is a very attractive tom-cat!

Igo: My cat’s advantage is definitely his gorgeous, long-haired tail – it’s like a flag! He’s also very graceful and he can parade beautifully – as if he is walking along a line drawn on the floor. 

E.V.: Every one of my cats is completely different! The oldest she-cat – Elizabete – has ginger fur, and she looks like a true English lady. Besides, she is very smart. Pūce is a real rascal – a very mischievous being, whereas Berimors is a genuine professor. Čalis is the most naive one. He’s surprised about everything, in fact, he even looks like a true blonde with blue eyes. (Laughs.) You can’t not fall in love with Pirkstiņš – he’s very handsome with long legs and spotted fur. Zeķīte (little sock) got her name due to the peculiar colouring of the fur on her leg that resembles a garter. And Spuļģītis is the most compact of the cats – he’s like a meat pie. All of them are beautiful!

Cats certainly love to sleep, however, it is not the only thing that fills their day. What is the favourite activity of your cat or how does your cat keep in shape? 

Igo: I’m not sure what he does when I’m not around, but my cat is very outgoing. It’s his most characteristic feature. Otto is capable of finding something to do on his own, but he is often on the second floor of the house – thinking about life.

I.B.: My Felikss is also not one of the most active cats, but he enjoys company. The tom-cat often jumps on the large bookcase of our office that is at least six times his size, and then he listens to the discussions taking place in the office from the top in order to find out about the newest trends in literature. Sometimes Felikss surprises the guests of our office in the middle of a conversation with a sudden jump. He likes to have a physically, as well as intellectually fulfilling time. 

E.V.: I can’t say that my cats are not active. The younger cats are the most energetic ones, they like to run around the garden, jump and stretch in freshly cut grass. Pirkstiņš and Spuļģītis like to play the most, as they compete by running to the ditch. Hunting is also a part of their daily routine – shrews are their favourite. I don’t blame them for this, as it is a cat’s instinct to hunt.

I.B.: Felikss also likes hunting. One of his daily activities involves getting ready for hunting, however, he does not get any further than observing seagulls and making various interesting sounds, as we do not allow him to go out. It would be too dangerous.

If a dog can be seen as a trainer that does not allow his owner to lay around the house, what’s the situation with cats? Who is keeping who in shape? The owner or the cat?

Igo: Otto certainly knows how to draw attention, and I also have a habit of checking where he is from time to time and making sure he’s not left outside. However, when I’m going to bed, Otto is already there – waiting for me. I need to stroke him for a few minutes, and then he goes to sleep. When I’ve been away and working for a long time, I can feel that he wants to sit me down in one place, so that I don’t leave. We take care of each other.

E.V.: It’s quite mutual. Sometimes they make me run when they wander off to the meadow, whereas sometimes they cuddle up to me, especially Spuļģītis who likes to sit on my shoulder. Actually my cats think that they are the ones running the house. Sometimes I have to try to get in my bed without disturbing them, as one of them is sleeping at the head of the bed, another is at the foot of the bed, and the last one is somewhere in-between. 

I.B.: Felikss is not bored in our office, and we also have a lot of fun with him. He has his own activity with every colleague – he goes to one colleague to purr, approaches another one to play fight, while someone else brushes him. 
A cat and discipline – how are these things combined at your home? It is well-known that cats like to be independent...

I spoil my cats so much that they can do almost anything. They are only not allowed to scratch the walls and furniture, and they all have to come home and go to sleep in the evening. They listen to me and follow these rules carefully. 

I.B.: Felikss may sometimes taste the contents of a guest’s cup – he’s the host after all and is in charge of everything. Including the leather furniture of the office.
Igo: Our cat is very naive by nature – it’s characteristic of him to do something and then wonder how it happened.

How do your cats show their emotions?

Felikss takes care of the employees’ health, as it is good to stand up, stretch and rest one’s eyes from time to time when working on the computer every day. He also tends to sit down on keyboards and help with the writing process, creating texts with a lot of consonants. (Laughs.

E.V.: I think that cats have come from outer space! They are independent and simultaneously loving animals. 

Igo: Otto is a real sweetheart – sometimes the independent nature cannot be felt as much! I can feel him trying to get my attention, especially after longer periods of absence. 

Does your cat feel any competition and get jealous?

The only thing that he is really jealous about is the world around us that makes me leave home. When I come back after a longer time, he does not leave me for one second! 

I.B.: Felikss feels the smell of other animals on our employees – he sniffs every worker very carefully and then realises that there are also other pets. However, he does not have any competition – Felikss is always the centre of attention, and he does not meet any other cats on an everyday basis. It is only during the winter when we see that some of the local cats have come to talk, leaving their white footprints behind. 

Igo: Otto is very friendly with other cats – Mārtiņš with whom he used to live, as well as with the neighbours’ cat Diedziņš.

E.V.: My cats are not jealous of others. A cat is not intrusive by nature. Only Spuļģītis and Zeķīte find it difficult to get along with one another. If they meet on the stairs, I know that there will be a fight. However, the most jealous one is Bruno the dog, who chases the cats around sometimes in order to remind them that he’s the king of the house. 

Although cats seem to be very graceful and noble, they all have certain weaknesses. What’s the weakness of your cat?

The weak-spot of Felikss is his personal blog (laughs) – twice a month he writes something new and shares his latest picture. 

Igo: Vilhelms the cat had a weakness for delicacies and the guests were always surprised when they saw him eat olives, melons and persimmons, but Otto does not have any weaknesses like that. The most telling one is the previously mentioned being together. He knows how to ask something in a very persuasive manner – to go outside, fill up his bowl with food or watch TV together. Moreover, he has beautiful blue eyes and a look that is impossible to resist.

E.V.: All seven of my cats have a weakness to sit on the table and wait for a treat to be given to them. For Pirkstiņš it is bringing animals home, while Pūce has some sort of a connection with Bruno the dog, as she tends to throw treats off the table, and Bruno eats them.

It will be possible to meet the most noble cats of modern-day breeds who might have similar habits and interests to those of Otto, Felikss, Zeķīte and the others on 10 and 11 June in Ķīpsala, where the International Dog and Cat Show “Latvian Winner 2017” will be held.

More information on the show: www.bt1.lv/latwinner/
Follow the news of the show: www.facebook.com/petekspo.lv/

Adults – EUR 4.50
Children up to the age of 4 – free of charge!
Children from the age of 5 to 18 – EUR 3.00
Students, seniors, disabled persons – EUR 3.50
Family ticket (2+2; 1+3) – EUR 10.50
Parking – EUR 3.00

Opening hours:
10 June 10:00–18:00
11 June 10:00–17:00

“Latvian Winner” is organised by the international exhibition company BT 1 in cooperation with the Latvian Cynological Federation and Latvian Felinology Association “Felimurs”.

Sponsor of the dog show – “EUKANUBA”, sponsor of the cat show – “JOSERA”