05 October 2008

Our cat show days are over

Okay, it's only taken three cat shows to convince me that cat shows aren't really Lily's thing. I had held out hope that her behavior would improve and the judges would see what a sweet, adorable kitty she really is.

At the cat show yesterday, Lily instead went from bad to worse (if that is even possible), morphing into a vicious (and pretty much dangerous) ball of claws and teeth.

And I, of course, felt terribly guilty about putting her through the stress. So guilty that I bought her a lovely new cat basket. :-)

(Click on the collage to bigify. Note the expression of the kitty next to Lily in the lower right-hand corner photo!)

This was a national cat show, with 160+ cats from all over the Midwest and as far away as Florida. Nearly all of the participants were cat breeders, and there were some absolutely beautiful cats there, many of which I'd only seen in magazines. I quickly figured out that the breeders were also the ones showing the 35+ household pets, which are their cats that don't meet breed standards. So poor Lily was at a real disadvantage, since all of the cats (and their owners) were much more experienced than us.

All kitties were evaluated by four judges in four different rings, meaning Lily had to be taken out of her Double-Wide (properly referred to as a benching cage) and put into the judging ring cage four times. The first judge (see the middle picture on the left) was the only one who could handle her. She lunged dangerously at all the other judges. She even lunged at me, to the horror of everyone watching. I've never seen anything quite like it, and I felt badly that Lily was so upset.

A nice exhibitor from Minnesota told me that it was probably the high ceilings and the bright mercury lights causing Lily's stress. That was nice to hear, but I knew better. :-)

Household cats are separated into short-hair and long-hair, then again by spay/neuter and by coat color/markings. I learned that Lily is actually a "blue McTabby" -- a tabby with mackerel markings (vertical lines that extend around her body like ribs) as opposed to classic tabby markings (which look like a bullseye on the kitty's side). Since she was the only blue female spay McTabby, she was the only one in her class and got two blue ribbons. She also got two red-white-and-blue ribbons, which I assume mean the same thing.

Lily's behavior was so bad that we took the ribbon and ran from the ring each time. She actually had a third blue ribbon for a brief moment, until the ring clerk came to her Double-Wide and took it away, replacing it with a red-white-and-blue ribbon. "We're almost out of the blue ribbons," he said nicely. Right.

So what did I learn?

* No more cat shows for Lily. Mommy gets it now. :-)

* I MIGHT do another cat show with a future kitty, but we must start when the kitty is six months old. Starting early seems to be the key.

* We were WAY out of our league in this show, but that was okay. I learned a few things and got to see some amazing kitties, some with four-inch fur and some with no fur at all.

* Cat people are generally very nice.

* Crazy cat ladies really do exist. I met a few of them yesterday. :-)

* There are some beautiful and exotic cats in the world, but none could be more loved than our Lily and Tinsel.


Darcey said...

Sorry to hear that it didn't go that great. Good idea on waiting for another cat to do the shows again. Lilly is a beautiful cat:)

Linda said...

I'm sorry to hear the show didn't go as well as you had hoped. But it sounds like it was a good learning experience for everyone. I hope Lily enjoys her new basket!

Sarah C. said...

Lily is a winner to us! :) Kudos to you both for giving the shows a try. No way would I dare with either of my crazy cats. LOL

muirwoodsue said...

We love Lily and she is a beautiful cat! Sounds like it was a learning experience for everyone. You learned some good things too.
I loved your Christmas cards you made -they are so pretty!

Lily said...

awww, this makes me a little sad. I love reading about Lily's cat show misadventures. Sounds like you had a good time, at least.

Sandra Collins said...

sounds like a wonderful learning experience

Kristina said...

Well...Lily is still a beautiful cat even it her disposition is lacking at cat shows. I award you and DD a blue ribbon for effort!

I did one cat show when my sister was a teenager and wanted to show one of our first cats, Natasha...never again...lol

Cheri said...

Well she'd have won the show if it weren't for the handling part...that IS asking a lot of a kitty, IMHO. I wouldn't want all those strangers poking and prodding at me either:)

toners said...

This is an awesome post...especially the last part :) Lily and Tinsel are very lucky!!

Janet said...

Darcey-Thank you! I think she's beautiful, too -- too bad the judges couldn't see her for more than a split second! :-)

Linda-She loves the basket, and so does Tinsel!

Sarah-I do think it was a bit NUTS to try it, but it was mostly fun!

Sue-Thank you! Hard to believe it is time to make Christmas cards...

Lily-It actually was a little sad. When they took away her blue ribbon, it was sort of pitiful. But overall it was a fun day!

Sandra-Yes, I did learn a lot! I could have come home with about 5 more cats...there were many beautiful kitties for sale!

Kristina-Thank you! So many ppl told me that she would get used to the experience...I held out hope but it was not to be!

Cheri-If Lily had been the only cat at the show, she might have been ok! Oh, and if there were no judges there, it would have been even better! lol

Toni-Thank you! We love our babies, even when they are naughty! :-)

Fonda said...

Sorry Lily didn't behave better! But hey, Tinsel got a Lily-free day, I bet she couldn't have been happier!!!

Maureen said...

Well, all the ribbons in the world don't mean a thing... you have a wonderful cat, who probably means more to you than some of those breeders. I say Lily deserves that new basket!