Eryne Ang loves cats. I first met her during a cat show in 2018, which she organized along with her fellow cat lovers. She signed up two of her furry companions, who eventually nabbed top titles.

We hear stories from cat parents about how their feline friends changed their lives for the better and how their cats made them happier. For Eryne, it was live at first sight, a love that pushed her to become who she is today.

Love at fur-st sight

Eryne and her family used to live with dogs when she was in grade school, but because of her father’s medical condition, they were forced to give the dogs away. For almost 15 years, they didn’t have any companion animals, until 2014 when she saw an Instagram post.

“I saw an Instagram post of an Exotic Shorthair cat. I fell in love,” Eryne said. “He had a beautiful cream and white coat, huge eyes, and of course, a little pink snub nose.”

For weeks, Eryne tried to persuade her parents to allow a cat in the household. She even consulted with her father’s doctor if it was safe to have animals in the house again, and was told it was only if they could be extra clean.

On her 22nd birthday, Eryne had her wish. They found someone whose cat gave birth three days before her birthday. “It was serendipity,” Eryne exclaimed. Five months later, her “Little Cleo” as she liked to call her, flew from Kiev, Ukraine to Manila.

What’s with the Exotic?

When asked what made her fall in love with the breed, Eryne said it was “because they are gentle, calm, and also playful.” She added that Exotic Shorthairs were particularly bred for their short coat, tiny snub nose, and big, wide eyes.

Her family loved flat-faced animals. She now takes care of eight Exotic Shorthairs, and even cares for two Pekingese dogs.

Care tips for Exotic Shorthairs

As a cat parent. Eryne has these tips for those who intend to be one, too.

  1. Mix wet and dry food: Give the cats a mix of wet and dry food, because the wet food helps in digestion, while the dry food keeps their teeth clean.
  2. Prevent respiratory problems: Flat-faced cats like the Exotic are very prone to respiratory problems, so Eryne recommended giving the cats vitamins every day and wiping their eyes at least once a day.
  3. Groom regularly: “The [human] should know that [an Exotic Shorthair’s] eyes needs to be cleaned at least once a day, nails cut once a week, ears cleaned twice a week, and baths given once a month,” Eryne said.
  4. Encourage physical activity: Eryne said that she gave her cats 30 minutes of playtime everyday. Cats have their own personalities: Some of Eryne’s cats love playing with dogs, feathers, or string, while the other love to sleep.

“They are characters, all of them,” Eryne said.

Meet the fur-mily

There are three important things about cats that Eryne wanted others to know about Exotic Shorthairs: They are smart, calm, and fiercely loyal, contrary to popular belief.

Get to know her eight cats.

1. Cleo (6 years)

“She’s the ultimate queen and she does act like one. But she’s fiercely protective and sweet. She sleeps on top of my pillow and grooms me every chance she can get.”

2. Harquin (5 years, 4 months)

“Our resident Garfield. He looks so much like the famed character and acts like him, too. He loves to sleep in very funny positions, and has a tiny meow (uncharacteristic of) his large physique.”

3. Griffin (5 years, 8 months)

“A lot of people have said that he might have been a dog in his past life. He’s very friendly, and loves chin rubs and belly rubs. He’s pretty vocal, too, and loves to talk.”

4. Porcini (3 years, 7 months)

“Our naughtiest cat in the house. He plays a lot, and loves looking birds outside the window. He is addicted to feathers and chirps.”

5. Cinnamon (4 years, 7 months)

“A very sweet girl, she loves to eat and is very vocal about it, too.”

6. Noriko (5 years, 5 months)

“She is our little baby. She loves getting picked up and carried like a baby. She’s very shy and is quite the treat monster.”

7. Biscotti (4 years, 3 months)

“The gentle giant of the group. He loves cuddles and ‘making biscuits’.”

8. Ponzu (3 years, 5 months)

“Like all torties, she is quite feisty, but she can be uberly sweet as well. She purrs a lot and loves being petted.”

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s January-February 2021 issue.

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