Incredible felines without their tails

Galina Andryushina, from Gomel, proposes new breed
By Yekaterina Smirnova

The auroch and stork are traditionally viewed as symbols of Belarus, but Galina proposes the addition of cats with short tails (or none at all), having begun breeding them six years ago. So far, over a dozen of her unusual cats have been born.

From kutsak to lynxor
On entering Galina’s flat, I’m welcomed by a ginger cat, which casts its eye over me before running to hide under a sofa. Looking carefully, I see that he has no tail. “That’s Abrikos,” Galina tells me, adding, “My new breed cats are extremely shy, preferring to hide from people they don’t know. Here is his mother, Cherry, who has a 7cm tail. Not long ago, she gave birth to two kittens: one has a tail just 1cm long while the other is tailless.”

She takes me into the living room, where the kittens are playing in a large box. I can’t help but stroke them as Galina explains, “A decade ago, I visited my relatives in their village and noticed cats with ‘broken’ tails. Five years later, on his return, my husband was surprised to see tailless cats in the village. Being a biologist, I became interested and asked for a photo. I tried to discover their origin and was told that a large tailless cat had arrived in the village from the forest, fathering the unusual kittens. I then decided to breed my own, asking my relatives to give me three kittens: females Cherry and Garsia and a male, called Grand.”

Galina has since received permission from the International Phelinological Federation to breed this variety of cat. Interestingly, each tailless feline gives birth to just a couple of kittens — mostly males.

Look but don’t touch
While petting Brungilda, I wonder how much attention the cats draw at shows. Galina admits, “People often ask if they can touch my cats, wondering where their tails are. Some even think that we cut off their tails in the first days of their life. There’s no sense in arguing and I even think of simply agreeing with them for the sake of peace! A religious woman once berated me for interfering with God’s creatures. I tried in vain to explain that we’re only preserving the breed. I also remember attending a show at which The Master and Margarita was being staged. On seeing Abrikos, the actor playing Voland forgot his lines and stopped to stroke him!”

Irina adds that cats use their tails to express their feelings, as well as their bodies, saying, “Once, a woman at a show was chatting to me when Abrikos suddenly turned up his nose arrogantly. It was a clear demonstration!”
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