Pussy riot: An interview with Caroline Moore from Fang & Fur

Fang & Fur founder Caroline Moore tells Natasha there’s no shame in being a crazy cat lady, why our feline friends deserve more than tacky plastic toys and how she’s always happy to be on the receiving end of a pussy pic!

Auckland purrveyer Caroline Moore has scoured the globe to curate her stylish range of products for cats and their human devotees.

Whether you’re after sleek, designer pieces such as the beautiful Bendo Cat Bowls, handmade quirky pieces or items with an edge such as the Purrvana Catnip range that delights in playing off the catnip/weed comparison, everything she sells is sourced from small companies and independent makers.

The longtime cat lady first launched her online business, Fang & Fur in 2019 after realising that New Zealand had a huge gap in the market for high quality cat products.

She soon built up a core following and loves nothing more than receiving photos of her customer’s cats  ‘meowdelling’ their latest Fang & Fur swag.

When she’s not slinging pet products on the net, you can find Caroline working in high-end jewellery retail, checking out a local band, taking day trips in her 1975 Datsun 120y or chilling at home with her cat (and her man).

Read on for a tour of her product catalogue, to hear about her Cats of the Lockdown competition and to find out how you can become a member of her pussy posse!

Caroline and Suzi Q on Seafoam Sheepskin

                                        Fang & Fur founder Caroline More and her muse Suzi Q.

What made you start Fang & Fur?

The idea came about after trying to find quality, leather collars for my cats Suzi Q and Django a few years ago. There was nothing available in New Zealand, but I found some really beautiful ones being made overseas.

This prompted me to assess what else was available for cats in New Zealand and I realised that it was pretty grim! It was mainly mass-produced plastic stuff and super tacky.

thumbnail_humans-greeting-card-arna-miller-ravi-zupa-call-it-a-night

About last night: One of the greeting card series featuring inebriated cats by Arna Miller and Ravi Zupa.

I’m sure everyone who has a cat knows what I’m talking about: nasty vinyl collars, plastic toys that look like they’d break after two plays – you get the drift.

For some reason there are lots of beautiful products available for dogs in New Zealand but there was a clear gap in the market for cats. This, along with the fact that New Zealand has a really high rate of cat ownership, got me thinking.

Hot under the collar: Cheshire & Wain’s Caviar Collection for cats who demand the finest things in life!

How did the business cope during COVID-19?

I’m very lucky to say that Covid hasn’t had much of a negative effect on the business. Obviously I couldn’t send parcels out during level 4 of the nationwide lockdown, but it did give me time to run the Cats of Lockdown Competition!

There were 4 categories: Best Cat Gone Crazy, Best Work From Home Helper, Best Snugglemuffin and Best Hygiene Freak. Comedian and SnapChat Dude Tom Sainsbury came on board as judge, and we received heaps of downright hilarious entries!

For the Auckland lockdown, I ran a Sexy Kitty Competition. You heard that right.

Strike a pose: Sexy kitty Monty shows how it’s done.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

As far as the product range is concerned, there’s a bit of a mix of aesthetics but I think it all ties in together well. There are sleek, designer pieces such as the beautiful Bendo Cat Bowls, handmade quirky pieces like the felt catnip toys, and a bit of a naughty edge with things like the Purrvana Catnip range that delights in playing off the catnip/weed comparison.

The fact that I’m a bit of a rock n roll gal also comes through! I’ve really wanted to keep things fun, I don’t get pet brands that are all beige, grey and white – it’s just so boring. Especially when you consider how hilarious cats and dogs are!

Frida Catlo Greeting Card

                                     Portrait of the artist as a young cat: Frida Catlo greeting card

What makes Fang & Fur different from your average pet supplies store?

The main difference is quality. All the items for cats are made by small companies or individual makers from really good quality materials so they last. Another big difference is that Fang & Fur’s products are cool!

I always think generic pet supplies stores look like toy stores – everything is made from cheap plastic and covered with cartoony pictures. Another element that is really different is the ‘For Humans’ section which includes books, cards, t-shirts, bags, and other “hooman” accessories.

Cat Coven Magickal Protection Slouchy T-shirtCat coven: Kjersti Faret’s designs have a strong witchy aesthetic.

Can you talk us through your range of products?

Sure! The products for cats include leather collars and charmstoysbeds and housesbowlsscratchers and treats. All the collars are handmade and there’s also a range of really cool collar charms including some made from semi-precious stones.

The toys include beautiful wands made by a small Japanese company and handmade catnip pillows by Cat Coven. I’m really pleased to sell a selection of extremely luxe NZ sheepskins in dreamy colours, and for cats that prefer a more enclosed sleeping space, there are diamond-shaped houses in an array of designs.

Bendo Meow Cat Bowl - Luxe Copper

The bowls are by Australian company Bendo and are super sleek and cool, and a Melbourne-based maker creates the beautiful scratchers. The organic catnip range is by a Colorado company and includes titles such as Cat-O-Tonic and Get Soused!  

The pieces for humans are by a few different makers and companies. One of my favourites is Cat Coven which is the creation of a Brooklyn-based artist called Kjersti Faret who has a strong witchy aesthetic. Another is Monmon Cats by Japanese artist  Horitomo who uses a lot of traditional Japanese imagery and symbolism.

The brand that produces the most laughs is definitely Pussweek. It’s a series of publications ‘by cats, for cats’ that tackle important issues such as: what’s your licking style?, and which windowsill is best for your body type? Some of Pussweek’s more hard-hitting stories include: ‘My big fat gender identity crisis’, ‘My human says it’s my fault he touched my belly’, and ‘I lost eight lives in two weeks – the diary of a catnip addict’.

The store also stocks a great range of kitty-related gift cards and accessories, as well as books and magazines. I pushed the cat theme out a bit by stocking Jo Weldon’s beautiful Fierce: The History of Leopard Print.

Fierce - The History of Leopard Print by Jo Weldon

How has the brand evolved?

The biggest change of focus has been on having products made. This started with the Fang & Fur face masks – available in black and white leopard print, and a fun pink and yellow leopard design. Now, I’m in the middle of having cat collars made. I’ve found some dreamy leather and am working with a local leather craftswoman. Next year will hopefully see Fang & Fur cat toys and bowls too.

84484039_3186774068017572_321084191611551744_n

Puss Puss in the lounge with diamonds: My cat proudly shows off her diamond cat bed from Fang & Fur.

Do you test drive the products on your own cats?

Absolutely!! There’s only one way to find out if the products are up to the job! Suzi Q is really, really into the Purrvana catnip blends – so much so that we have to hide them from her! She also loves her beautiful Kitska Scratcher which saves the furniture (some of the time). 
Unfortunately we lost our dear Django on New Years’ day which was really hard, but he looooved his Jet Sheepskin. He would always spend at least 10 mins kneading it with his toes outstretched before going to sleep, and it was a real comfort for him in his final days.
Suzi Q meowdelling Cat Coven Collar Charm

The look of love: Suzie models her white leather Fang & Fur collar with Swarovski crystals.

Why are cats so eternally popular?

There are so many aspects to cats that make them irresistible to humans. Obviously they’re cute and cuddly (when they want to be), but I think humans also admire their aloofness and independence which gives them an air of mystery. Most cats have a life that their humans know nothing about – when they come in after a jaunt outside, we don’t always know where they’ve been, who they’ve met or what they’ve been up to.

Another element that humans seem to have always loved is the aesthetic pleasure they offer. The cat’s form is deeply embedded in human culture – from Egyptian hieroglyphs to ’50s kitsch and beyond. Having said all that, cats can also be big idiots and endlessly hilarious – there are so many things to love!!

bed-cat-new-zealand-sheepskin-candyfloss-pink-1-768x768

125558424_1262888787445169_8577423678331822380_oCat got your butt: Be reminded of cat butts wherever you go.

Where can people find out more and do some shopping?

Just pop over to fangandfur.co.nz and follow Fang & Fur on Instagram and Facebook!  Or join the pussy posse here

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