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Meow! Cat Fanciers

Top Design judge in trouble over “catty” remarks.


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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