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Cat lovers in Cuba push for a more feline-friendly country

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 01:47

Dec. 20 - Hundreds of cat lovers turn out to show support for felines in Cuba. Andrew Schmertz reports.

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Cat lovers will tell you that Cuba is not friendly territory for their feline friends. They blame a distaste for cats on generations of prejudice that has not changed much since the Cuban revolution. Still, hundreds of Cubans turned out in Havana for the annual cat show-- as part of a quest to improve their fortunes. Angel Rubio is the president of the Cuban Association for Cat Enthusiasts. SOUNDBITE: PRESIDENT, CUBAN ASSOCIATION FOR CAT ENTHUSIASTS, ANGEL URIARTE RUBIO, SAYING (Spanish) "This year, we have a much higher quality of cats. There are 100 cats in the competition. They are being judged by capable judges from our association." Rubio is a doctor who founded the association in 1991. The idea of the event is to increase public affection for cats because neglect and mistreatment is considered far too common. Gleny Hernandez likes her cat so much, she got a tattoo of it on her back. SOUNDBITE: CAT LOVER, GLENY HERNANDEZ, SAYING (Spanish) "I did this tattoo because I love cats. For me, it means a lot. It's the most beautiful, the most lovely." There's actually one type of cat that you need to visit Cuba to see. The Cuban Blue breed is specific to the island -- and the cat draws visitors from all over, including Natalia Bannikova who came from the Ukraine. SOUNDBITE: UKRAINE ATTENDEE, NATALIA BANNIKOVA, SAYING (Spanish) "It's the second year that I am visiting this cat show, because in Ukraine I have six cats. I really like them a lot." Judges poked and prodded the cats and then handed out best in show awards. But if shows like these improve the fortunes of cats and their owners in Cuba, they are all winners. Andrew Schmertz, Reuters.

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Cat lovers in Cuba push for a more feline-friendly country

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 - 01:47