“Cat Lovers Killed Cat Fancy”

by Dish Staff

That’s what Abraham Riesman concludes in his post-mortem for the magazine:

In their defense, they had no idea they were doing it. But in recent years, the nature of cat adoration (and I must offer full disclosure here: I am the parent of two cats) has changed 2078985468504005137f9404728566c1radically. Though Cat Fancy tried to adapt, it never totally broke free from its origins in a different era of cat enthusiasm. To understand the seismic shift in cat culture, you can start by picking apart Cat Fancy‘s name. It used to be much more than a whimsical reference to the enjoyment of felines. When the magazine launched in 1965, animal lovers were very familiar with something called “the cat fancy.” The term referred to a connoisseurlike approach to cats: following professional cat shows, maintaining directories of cat breeders, and recognizing the importance of purebred bloodlines. “Back then, the people who had all the knowledge tended to be the people who were showing cats, breeding cats, everything like that,” said Melissa Kauffman, senior editorial director for I-5. …

[R]eaders of Cat Fancy in its early decades would likely be aghast at the shape of today’s cat passions. Modern feline icons like Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub are mutts with genetic deformities. They wouldn’t have made it past the front door at a Golden Age cat show. And their many public appearances are filled with fans who would disdain anyone who gets a cat from a breeder rather than a shelter.

Here’s what Cat Fancy‘s replacement, Catster, looks like:

Riesman again:

But beyond the covers, what will Catster the magazine be? Much of that won’t be clear until the first issue hits stands in February, but all evidence indicates that it will be extremely photo-oriented, very lighthearted, filled with lists and confessionals, and committed to treating cat ownership as a lifestyle rather than a hobby or a medical burden.

Catster is for the cat-selfie generation,” Huey-Steiner said. “It’s for people who consider cats an integral part of their social lives. It’s about fun things and knowing that cats rule the roost.” That means lists like “19 Crazy Cat Superstitions” and “Litter-Box Accidents Waiting to Happen,” as well as pieces like “How to Cat-ify Your Cubicle.” There will still be some breed information and veterinary advice, but neither will be a major focus. And then there’s the celebrity aspect. “We want to capitalize on the role that cats play in the lives of celebrities, whether that’s somebody like a Taylor Swift and how she talks about her cats or someone else,” Huey-Steiner said. “You’d never see that in Cat Fancy.”

(Image of Cat Fancy‘s cover from February 1969)