I was never a cat person. I don’t have ailurophobia (fear of cats). I just had the impression that cats were arrogant and unsociable animals. Whenever I tried get their attention, they turned away with this bored and superior look on them. So, I decided that they were not worth my time and attention.
Ever since I adopted a cat in Phnom Penh, I am pleasantly surprised by their behaviour and ability to provide great companionship. Slowly, I began to fall in love with the cat.
My husband and I are in the midst of relocating back to Malaysia. We have decided to bring our cat back with us since she has become an indispensable part of the family. We have bought some books on cats to understand more about their behaviour and needs. After reading them, I’ve learned a lot about this elegant and “aloof” creature and quickly discovered how much they have been misunderstood. In fact, I actually find them more interesting than dogs.
One of the reasons why dogs are much more eager to receive attention and affection from us is because they have been domesticated much longer than cats. Cats, on the other hand, are still very much guided by their feral instinct, making them more difficult to tame. Unlike dogs, they are known as solitary hunters and hence tend to be more independent.
Apparently, cats tend to avoid people who give them too much attention. It isn’t because they are arrogant or they like to be pursued. Persistent eye contact such as staring and great amount of fussing make them feel challenged and cornered.
Unless they are familiar with you, cats do not like their bodies to be touched, looked at or spoken to. They like to have their personal space in order to feel secure. They prefer to check you out first by rubbing themselves against your legs to leave their scent on you as a way of marking you.
This explains why cats normally follow and pursue a friend of mine who doesn’t like cats and simply ignore them. By ignoring them, they feel unthreatened and safe which then trigger their interest to get to know the person. So, all those times that I had tried to fuss over them had in fact put them off.
Anyway, since I’ve suddenly became an overnight cat lover, I was excited to find out that Mid Valley Megamall is having an International Cat Show from 26 to 28 June 2009 and coincidentally I am home during this period. I thought it would be a good place to receive first hand information and tips on cats especially when we’re now preparing to relocate our feline friend to a new home.
So, I paid the RM5 entrance fee and couldn’t wait to spend to a few hours going through exhibition booths selling cat products; food, litter, cargo cage, toys, books, etc. I even expected to meet vets or cat experts who could provide advice on how to take care of cats. Alas! I was sorely disappointed.
All in all, it took me only 15 minutes to get in and out again from the show. I didn’t know that when Mid Valley organizes an International Cat Show, it meant having about 15 pedigree breeds confined in small individual metal cages.
I tried to look at the cats but it was impossible as flocks of people were seen gathering close to the cages and since there were only about 15 of them, they stationed themselves by the cage, refusing to budge or give way for others to have a look.
Worst of all, many of the “spectators” spent their time poking the cats through the cages with their brochures, trying to gain their attention (pictures above). The cats didn’t look happy. In fact, they looked miserable, nervous and uncomfortable; most of them crouching at the corner of the cage.
There was nobody there to supervise or make sure that some sort of a safe distance is demarcated between the cage and spectators. This would have made the cats feel more comfortable and provide other people a chance to have a look from a distance.
I left the show feeling embarrassed, cheated, disappointed and upset. Embarrassed because yet again, another Malaysian initiative that has failed to live up to expectations by hiding behind a prestigious label while displaying shoddy and lame effort. Cheated and disappointed because I paid RM5 for absolutely nothing. Upset because the people were uncivilized and insensitive.
I thought it would have been better if there was some kind of sensitization effort made by the organizers, especially for those who might not know much about cats. After all, it’s a cat show and it’s supposed to provide people with the opportunity to learn more about them, not just as displays to be poked at.
Altogether, a very poor and embarrassing show. I hope Mid Valley Megamall will never organize something like this again unless they decide to do it wholeheartedly and not as an opportunistic mean for the organizer to rip off customers.