In 2017, France was home to an estimated 135,000 pet cats and Germany an impressive 137,000. The most famous cat in the world, Choupette, lives in Paris, with her German owner
Choupette: the story of Karl Lagerfeld's world-famous cat
As the pampered pet of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, Choupette’s glam-filled days are spent hanging out with models and sitting in handbags (Chanel, obviously), all documented via Instagram to her 112.4K followers.
Born in 2011, Choupette began modelling in 2012, starring in V Magazine with Laetitia Casta, while her book Choupette: The Private Life of a High Flying Fashion Cat was published in 2014, the same year that Shu Uemura brought out a make-up collection in her honour, entitled Shupette.
The distinctively coloured Choupette is a Birman, also known as the Sacred Cat of Burma thanks to a legend about a cat that came to the aid of its slain master at the Lao-Tsun temple in Myanmar. As the man lay dying, the cat helped him to meet the gaze of the Goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse, which turned the cat’s fur the golden colour of the deity’s robes, and its eyes sapphire blue.
Ancient Egypt also considered cats sacred (but did not worship them), with the first known depiction appearing circa 1950BC. Egyptian cats were immortalised in paintings (one work dating from 1500BC shows a cat eating a fish under a table) and as sculptures, and were mummified as temple offerings.
In 2004, cat bones were found in a Neolithic grave in Cyprus, suggesting that felines have been domesticated for some 9,500 years. Today, a cat can easily outrun most dogs, with the Egyptian Mau clocking an impressive 30 mph. An ability to see in near total darkness, coupled with keen hunting skills, mean cats kill up to 20.7 billion birds and animals a year, prompting New Zealand to consider an outright ban.
Cats owe their slinky walk to direct register, that is, placing each hind paw almost perfectly in the print of the forepaw, hence the fashion term, catwalk.
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