Cats in velvet, cats in skirts, cats in sunglasses, cats in football kits: hundreds of felines were dressed to the nines Friday for Bangladesh’s largest-ever cat show.
Owners sashayed down the catwalk carrying their furry friends, while others feasted in eating competitions or simply took cat-naps.
Sunglasses were a popular item, as were matching hats and jackets, along with Brazil and Argentina football shirts — the two South American giants have avid followings in the South Asian country.
Tabassum Akter adopted Z six months ago, and dressed him in a special collar for the event, at Dhaka’s biggest shopping mall.
She regularly takes him out with her, but receives odd looks when she does so.
“It’s important to realise that these animals also want love, sympathy, and care,” she said.
Domestic cats are common in Bangladesh, especially in rural areas, where they are used for vermin control.
Companion pets are largely the preserve of urban upper and middle classes, and felines dominate for religious reasons in the Muslim-majority country.
The Prophet Mohammed is said to have kept cats himself, and the name he gave one of his companions, the chronicler Abu Huraira, means “father of the kitten”.
Practising Muslim families do not keep dogs as pets as they are seen as impure.
Organiser Rabi Hasan purred with satisfaction at the turnout for the event, saying at least 900 cats took part, drawing more than 15,000 admirers.
Nasif Ullah adorned his cat Poko with the features of a honeybee, and hoped the event would raise awareness among Bangladeshis of animal rights.
“There is a tendency to cause harm to cats everywhere,” he said. “We often don’t realise that these creatures also have some rights.”
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