The International Cat Federation says it has banned Russian cats from its international competitions in the latest rebuke to Russia since it invaded Ukraine last week.
In a statement, the said that it was “shocked and horrified” that Russian forces had invaded Ukraine and “started a war.” Known as FIFe (for its French name, Fédération Internationale Féline), it said that the measures were decided Tuesday and that officials could not “witness these atrocities and do nothing.”
It said the rule would remain in place until the end of May and would then be reviewed.
“No cat belonging to exhibitors living in Russia may be entered at any FIFe show outside Russia, regardless of which organization these exhibitors hold their membership in,” said the organization, which spans almost 40 countries.
The federation, which was established more than 70 years ago, also said it would not allow cats bred in Russia to be imported or registered in any of its pedigree books.
Officials said they would be donating funds to assist cat breeders in Ukraine and thanked neighboring countries for their efforts to help Ukrainian refugees.
According to its website, the federation holds more than 700 shows globally each year, with more than 200,000 cats exhibited from Brazil to the United Kingdom.
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Countries around the world have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. In the days since the war began, Russia has been banned from numerous events.
In a bid to showcase solidarity with Ukraine and its people, countries worldwide have united in their efforts to impose crippling measures on Putin and his allies in Europe and the United States.
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Sports federations and leagues have aggressively side-lined Russia’s teams and athletes, and boycotts have also rocked Russia’s cultural, entertainment and travel industries.
On social media Thursday, reactions to the federation’s ban — deemed by some as “cat sanctions” — were mixed. Some critics called the move “ridiculous.”
“Russian breeders should not be punished for a war that isn’t of their making,” one user wrote on the federation’s Facebook page.
Others, however, said that any act of solidarity no matter how small should be applauded.
“Russian athletes are currently banned from virtually every event. Why should cat breeders/exhibitors not be banned as well?” read one tweet.
Commenting on the same, The Russian Embassy in Uganda said that the country did not expect sanctions against their cats.
“The Russian Federation was ready for sanctions but did not expect that they would affect athletes, intellectuals, actors, journalists and even our CATS,” the Embassy tweeted on Friday.