KUCHING: Sarawak made waves in the world of cat fanciers when Saladin – a Bengal raised in Bintulu - bagged the Grand Champion title at The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) International Cat Show in Terengganu, recently.
Saladin is Malaysia’s first Bengal cat to achieve this prestigious award, as the breed was only recognised by the CFA – the world’s largest registry for pedigreed cats – last year.
Bengals were first created in the United States in the 1970s when domestic cats were cross-bred with a leopard cat found in the jungles of Southeast Asia.
As the breed’s name suggests, the Bengal looks like a miniature leopard and is renowned for its richly coloured and highly-contrasted coat of vivid spots or “marbling”.
Saladin’s owner, Abang Sukri Abang Bujang, who owns 19 other Bengals at home, said the breed makes for devoted companions.
“The Bengals are gentle and affectionate toward my children. They are active and agile, so life around them is always interesting.
“My cats are registered with The International Cat Association (TICA) and my friends suggested that I enter my cats in a CFA show held in Kuching earlier this year.
“My 1-year-old Saladin did very well,” said the 46-year-old self-employed man.
“Fellow cat lover Cheryl Cheah, whose Maine Coon from Kuching made history after winning numerous titles, also encouraged and assisted me in order to get the required permit to enter the show in Terengganu, hence, we decided to bring Saladin and try our luck there.
“It was our first time traveling outside of Sarawak for a competition and Alhamdulillah, we managed to collect enough points to qualify for the Grand Champion title,” he said.
The competition was held by Terengganu’s Tourism Department and the Asian Abyssinian Cat Club.
The two-day event featured 142 cats of about 30 different breeds from various countries including Thailand, Indonesia and Turkey.
The felines were displayed and competed before 10 professional judges from Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and the United States.
Just a few months ago, a Maine Coon from Kuching put Sarawak on the cat aficionado map after it bagged four titles at the CFA’s International Division Championship 2018/2019 show season, which concluded on April 30.
Kahlua, named after his owner’s favourite drink, was announced as ‘Malaysia’s Best Cat’ and the ‘Third Best Kitten’ for the season.