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Supercar owner trumps internet cat meme

The wealthier streets of the Middle East are a traffic jam of supercars, where Ferraris, Bugatti Veyrons and Lamborghinis are as common as Corollas in an Aussie carpark.

So how does the status-conscious gazillionaire stand out in that crowd? By adding cats to the household, and posting photos of them on social media. And we're not talking your usual internet cat meme. These are lions, tigers, cheetahs and leopards.

The king of the cars is Humaid AlBuQaish, who has more than 425,000 followers on Instagram keen for snaps of his menagerie of big cats and exotic supercars -- garnished with his own up-close-and-personally-near-those-claws-and-teeth poses.

And while he seems to be unworried about scratches to his body, he's even less concerned about the same fate befalling his collection of supercars. Several of his photos show his pets climbing on and over the cars, often joined by their owner.

His photos are blatant enough to remove any suspicion of the big cats being illegally kept: a problem that has recently arisen in the Middle East, with more than 200 confiscated every year in the United Arab Emirates alone.

AlBuQaish's social media profiles don't mention what he does for a living, but the number plates on his cars are largely from Sharjah, the third largest of the wealthy Emirates. And judging by the low numbers on the registration plates -- a local sign of traditional status rather than just mere money -- he's a young sheikh, and possibly part of the constitutional monarchy of the Al Qasimi dynasty that has ruled there since 1972.

What is clear is that when it comes to internet cat photos, everybody else may as well pack up their cameras, phones and tablets. AlBuQaish is the winner, all paws down.

This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott