14 August 2007

Lily takes 10th place

"Do not enter your cat if it cannot be handled by the judge."

This rule was printed in bold on the cat show application. We read that rule. We considered that rule. We were sure that our Lily would be pleasant and cooperative at the state fair cat show.

Instead, she growled. She hissed. She tried to bite the judges. She did everything that a competing kitty should NOT do.

But in spite of her bad behavior, Lily was awarded 10th Best Household Pet Cat out of a field of 17 competitors at the state fair cat show on Sunday. She also received the Best Cage Decoration award, too.

Lily's bad behavior started from the moment we tried to extract her from her carrier to be examined by the check-in vet. She was calm while in her decorated cage, but as soon as she had to be removed for competition and taken to the judging area, she became somewhat vicious again and simply would not allow anyone but DD to come near her. She swiped her nicely trimmed claws at the judges. She lunged at them with her teeth.

The only possible advantage of this behavior was that everyone soon learned her name. "We need the owner of Cat 1357," announced the show manager more times than I could count. Each time, I cringed. Soon, it became, "We need Lily's owner." In fact, out of all 17 cats, Lily was the only cat who had to be handled by its owner.

"Growling and hissing will count against that cat," whispered the woman seated behind me, who obviously took the competition very seriously.

While waiting to be judged, the cats are placed in holding cages along the back side of the ring. During this time, Lily also provided free entertainment for the audience, as she tried to climb the cage door, poke her face out through the grate, and peek over the black divider to see the cat in the neighboring cage. People gasped and pointed. Mind you, Lily was the only cat doing anything like this. All other kitties sat patiently in their cages and greeted the judges nicely when approached.

Given all of this, it was a complete surprise that Lily won any award at all. In fact, DD was packing Lily up to go home when she was summoned to return to the ring and was awarded 10th place. We were also quite surprised to win the cage decoration award, since we didn't even know there was a competition. Lily was given a huge prize package...all kinds of cat food, toys, and cute photo frames.

We firmly believe that if the three judges had been able to handle her for any length of time, she would have placed higher. The finals judge told the audience that she was a nice size and beautifully groomed. And she loved Lily's little white paws. The judge acknowledged that Lily was scared but said she was improving by the end of the show. A kindly exhibitor told DD that many cats are nervous the first time but do get used to the show process with practice. I think everyone would agree that if Lily's behavior were acceptable, she could definitely hold her own in competition.

Meanwhile, Lily has been enjoying her prizes and sharing a few of them with Tinsel. All bad memories quickly subsided. And on our kitchen table is a flyer about another cat show in October...


EquineSpirit said...

LOL! Aren't cat shows FUN?!? Whoever said cat shows are boring have never shown in one nor sat around long enough for the fun stuff to happen...LOL! I've shown in several cat shows...one was a household pet class and the rest were championship classes. Hmmm...sounds like I have a few good topics now to blog about when I get into a blogging lull...LOL!

toners said...

Great entry :) Congrats to Lily!! I love reading about cat antics!

Maureen said...

Awww... was hoping Lily would take first; she's such a great kitty. But at least she placed! Congrats... a very big honor indeed since it was her first show. Great story and pics, as always. Here's hoping there are more shows in her future!!!