Interview with Olga Abramova – One of the Most Experienced and Authoritative Feline Experts in the World
–Olga Lvovna, you are known as a specialist enjoying authority in many countries, one of the most experienced experts in the felinology world. How long have you been practised this profession?
Since 1987 – since the first cat show in the USSR.
–What breeds have you and do you work with?
It began with a cat acquired in the Pet market: it resembled a European Shorthair and its name was Liverpool. After that I had a red Oriental cat named Elsa and a couple of Maine Coons - Kukun and Maxim Gorky. After that I have bred British silver/golden, chinchilla and shaded cats for 20 years already.
- Why did you choose these very breeds?
As to British silver/golden chinchilla and shaded cats, just in 1990 I saw the first chinchillas at a show in Denmark and fell in love with them.
–What was your first cat's name?
The first cat bought in the Pet market was named Liverpool, it lived 18 years.
- You travel a lot across Russia and often visit foreign countries and, of course, you can evaluate better than anybody: Where is the best quality of animals? What countries/regions would you name leading?
It is difficult to say: some breeds are better in foreign countries, some are better in Russia... I definitely like the quality of the Norwegian Forest in Sweden. Not because it is worse in Russia, but because they are rare here. But in Sweden there was a large group, about 40 cats of a good type. They were pleasant to look at... But we have a high-quality group of British chinchillas and shaded of silver/golden colours - over 20 years, from the moment Sveta got her first shaded cat from Holland and I got a cat from Germany, many good animals have been born, and interest in these colours has increased significantly.
– The Siberian breed. Has it changed over the last 10 years?
It's better to say, over the last 20 years! :). Yes, since establishment of the first standard the Siberians have made a breakthrough in terms of formation of the standard and correspondence of animals to this standard. I like Siberian cats very much, and breeders know that I love this breed.
– Is the Siberian cat in Russia different from the Siberian cat abroad?
Earlier animals differed greatly: they resembled either "domestic cats with semi-long hair" or semi-Persians. Now this is a recognizable breed, alongside with Maine Coons and Norwegian Forest cats.
- Your first show as an expert – how did it go?
It was very long ago, and now I recall this show with laughter and bewilderment:). But it was in Saint Petersburg in 1990, as far as I remember. A lady named Capitolina was the chairman, I remember neither her patronymic nor her surname... We had got acquainted at a show in Moscow. She knew I had visited a number of foreign countries – England, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other countries. And someday she calls me and tells: come and judge at my show... :) , Well, I came and judged...:)).
–Would you give some advice to beginning experts as a guru of judging?
I can give only one advice – to learn! Here I completely agree with the classic of Marxism–Leninism:). I respect people who, having great experience in judging, still continue to learn and get to know something new.
- What is your sign of the zodiac? (Date of birth)
May 25 – I am the Gemini and the Tiger :).
- How do you like to relax?
I like beach holidays. I like to look at the sea. Alas, I have not had such a possibility for a long time :(.
- What is your favourite dish? Drink?
My favourite drink is apple juice. And a dish? I have never thought about it...
- Do you have another hobby besides cats?
I like to grow house plants.
- What is an “ideal present" for you?
A present? Nobody will present me what I dream about. And the rest of the things just make the house cluttered... I think I have reached such a state that I do not need presents. Attention will be enough.
- What is your life credo or motto?
Do what you love. Love what you do*. And the following one: Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. (C) Oscar Wilde