THIS PARKVILLE family is pet-oriented and expects to stay that way.
Debbie Denisuk and Bruce, her husband of ll years, and their two daughters, Maggie, 8, and Katie, 4, own Himalayan and Persian cats and two dogs. They show the cats and are training one dog in obedience.
At a recent cat show, their seal-point Himalayan named Abbie was cuddled between Bruce and Debbie waiting to be shown. She is a beautiful show winner and is expecting a litter. Their male Himalayan, Phantom, is the father. The family also owns a solid black Persian they call Lady, whom they will be showing this week at a cat show in Pennsylvania.
Several years ago, "We owned Siamese and I do love the beautiful color contrast between the dark points and light body of the Siamese, but the Himalayan, which is a cross between the Siamese and the Persian, has a much sweeter nature. The
Siamese talks so much, and it's bad enough to have someone always talking back to you, much less a cat," laughs Debbie.
The Himalayan, according to breed history, can be traced back to experimental breeding programs in Sweden about the 1920s. However, careful breedings between Siamese and Persians were done in the United States and in 1940 the Himalayan was accepted and is registered with the Cat Fanciers Association, the largest cat registry in the country and the organization that sets standards by which cats are judged.
Debbie Denisuk admits that her family and pets keep her very busy.
"How busy?" She answers her own question. "Well, I get up at five, have a routine of housework, check the cats and give them time, changing their water and scooping litter boxes. I get the girls up and ready for school and I'm out of here," she says. She works for Semmes, Bowen and Semmes, a law firm in Towson, and Bruce works for McCormick at Hunt Valley.
One evening a week, Debbie and Maggie take their year-old Shetland sheepdog, Tasha, to obedience training with trainer Edna Murley at Parkville Recreation Center. Maggie also owns a Pomeranian called Sparkle, who is 4. Both Maggie and Katie socialize any kittens the family may have, and their mother says they are particularly gentle with them.
"I guess you could say we are beginning a second generation of pet lovers," says Debbie, who may be one of the few cat owners who loves to groom cats.
"If I'm showing one, I bathe it once each week with Faberge wheat and honey shampoo. Each day I groom each cat by combing and brushing, and they love it -- maybe not so much the bath," she says.
In caring for her cats, she says she "prefers plain clay litter, mainly because my cats do not seem to like the perfume litter. For medical care, I take them to veterinarians Duane Mangini and George Harmining at the Parkville Animal Hospital."