By Renee Wood
Montrose has played host to one superstar feline, who has been on the rise since hitting the big time on the small screen.
It’s not very often you come across feline celebrities but it’s safe to say Karl Lagerfeld, a Ragdoll Cat, is the closest thing to it.
Living in the Yarra Valley, Karl is known to frequent the Montrose favourite Hahndorf’s Fine Chocolates where he is often seen sipping on a latte.
The spectacular looking ragdoll has garnered a social media following and has even featured on an Advance pet food TV commercial.
Owner Lisa Leckie said it all started with harness and trick training when he was a kitten.
“I used to put the harness on when he was eating or playing because distraction’s the key to try and keep their mind off having something around them,” Lisa said.
Although Karl is the third cat in Lisa’s household, he’s the first to be trained as a trickster.
“I worked out what treat he liked and I taught him to high five, to sit, jump through hoops and jump up when I asked. There’s quite a few little tricks he can do on demand.”
Lisa has shared Karl’s skills on a dedicated Instragram account for her ragdolls, @cocochanelandkarl, which gave him the leg up when applying for the Advance pet food gig.
“They wanted him to eat and clean himself and that was for a 10 second commercial which took about took about two and a half hours to film.
“He did really, really well – there was all the film crew around so everyone had to be silent and let him relax, so he could get use to the room first.”
Karl’s obedient nature on a harness and lead has not only been beneficial for his acting career and social life, but also vital living in an area with a 24 hour cat curfew.
Lisa said he’s an indoors cat due to the Yarra Ranges curfew and is frequently taken on walks around her property.
“He comes outside with the harness and the lead and we walk around the yard, walk around with the dog.”
Lisa said perseverance is the key to training your cat to use a harness.
“Quite often when you put it [harness] on a cat, they’ll flop over, and then people think it’s not going to work but you’ve just got to get them use to it so they don’t even think about it when it’s on.”
The lead is also used when Karl visits cafés with Lisa, which provides an exciting opportunity for other customers.
“I have found that the reaction is really good. I think it’s something so different – little children especially get very excited.
“The dogs you have to be so careful of, but it’s great – you can use a harness and lead when you’re on your own property or even visiting friends.”