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Meow! Cat Fanciers

Top Design judge in trouble over “catty” remarks.

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Elle Decor editor Margaret Russell might be able to handle the catty behavior of the contestants on the Bravo show Top Design, where she is a judge. But not cat owners. When one of the competing designers who was told that the room he was creating was for a client who owned a cat, he went to town, concocting a feline-friendly room, complete with seven-foot-tall scratching post and roomwide catwalk. Russell’s reprimand, “You just can’t design a room around a cat,” was used by Bravo in ads for the show, incensing pet lovers who’ve been bombarding her with angry e-mails and phone calls. “It’s so funny that I was called on the carpet for this,” purrs Russell. “It’s a bad rap as far as I’m concerned. Hell, I grew up with pets. We put them in pictures—on covers. They humanize a house. Clearly, the feline fan club is something to be reckoned with. I don’t want to be remembered as the person who hates cats. It will probably wind up on my tombstone.”

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