I was recently interviewed for "HERE" magazine, a free local paper covering the cities of Moncton, Fredericton and St.John, New Brunswick. The lovely Ms. Handysides, a "HERE" reporter, met with me at Dexter's flea market where I have a booth I run on weekends. We chatted and had a quick photo shoot. The resulting article and fabulous picture printed below were on page three this week!
by Victoria Handysides
We're letting the cat out of the bag.
There's more than one way to skin a cat.
The cat's pajamas.
Pick your cliché. They all apply to a Moncton flea market's resident muse and four-legged fashionista.
Nofuratu: a handsome, hairless, prized sphynx scales the cluttered shelves and tables of Dexter's Flea Market (14 Rabbi Lippa Medjuck Street) each weekend, acting as the living, breathing spokes-cat for his brand of reborn handbags.
"I wanted to turn him into this evil genius that had multiple businesses," his arty owner Aislynne said. "On his business cards, he's described as critic, philanthropist and entrepreneur. I like him having all these big titles - I think it's hilarious."
Aislynne and her husband Brett McKnight run a booth at the weekend market, filled with items bearing Nofuratu's wrinkled face. No kidding.
Among the handmade creations are handbags, retailing for $25 each.
"I wanted to turn him into a Donald Trump-esque designer. All designers have perfume and handbags, and I'm not going to make perfume. Who wants to smell like a cat?"
Constructed from pre-loved materials found in various discard piles and thrift shops, the utilitarian accessories are a textile mish-mash of buttons, ribbon, patch-work and yes, fur.
The irony isn't lost on the Havelock couple, who say a brown, mink-sided bag hasn't been hanging from their shelves for awhile.
As shocking, and well, ugly, as he may appear at first glance, Nofuratu is a prime specimen. His beauty is clearly skin-deep, proven time and again through various awards at cat shows around North America.
"He's just beautiful - I think he's stunning. People can relate to animals. I know I don't like dealing with people," Aislynne chuckled.
Fresh into retirement from the pageant and competition circuit, Nofuratu is about to embark on a new venture - pet therapy. Recently approved as a therapy animal, he'll soon visit patients in hospitals and extended care homes.
"He's just so easy-going - it works well," McKnight said.
Humanizing the two-year-old kitty may be the key to his award-winning personality, the couple say.
Nofuratu eats dinner from a plate in a high chair with the family each night. He sleeps under the covers. He goes for walks in a stroller. He has a four-foot long closet, jammed full of his own personal outfits and accessories.
"He's spoiled," Aislynne admitted.
"The highchair has its own little table. He doesn't eat from our table - anymore," McKnight added.
Despite shameless promotion through merchandise, a blog and Twitter account, Nofur's ventures aren't in vain. The couple donate a portion of proceeds gained through sales to local animal-related charities. In 2009, he was pushed in a stroller during Moncton's Walk For the Cure, and raised $200 for breast cancer research.
The sphynx also pays for his own clothes, through charging market-goers $1 to have their photo taken with him.
And as for the human brains behind the operation, Aislynne says though she loves him like a son, she isn't a crazy cat lady.
"I think I'm just crazy," she said. "I hate normal - it irritates me."
To follow the life and times of Nofuratu at Adventures of a Naked Cat, visit www.nofuratu.blogspot.com
Do not forget to check out ALL my other blog reviews! Just choose a date under the "More of my Adventures" heading in the upper right column.