Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cat Show

Never in my wildest dreams would I think I’d have the material for this blog. Today I went to a cat show. Let me repeat myself, I went to a CAT SHOW. Yes, that's right, a show of felines, hundreds of them, and crazy cat ladies to accompany them. Now, you may be asking yourself Why the hell would she do such a thing? Surely she's gone mad. Well yes, not really, I mean... maybe I have. 

Several days ago, I was riding my bicycle- like I do every day- and saw that there was a cat show coming to the City Aud. I thought to myself Greta, this is too good an opportunity to pass up! Think of the mocking you can do at a CAT SHOW! I quickly told Stacy about this and she agreed that we simply must go. After some investigating online, we found that admission was $5- a small fee for the potential greatness to come.

So last night, I was trying to plan my outfit for the show. (I was imagining something like either the Westminster Dog Show, or an ultra trashy convention of crazy cat ladies. I was leaning towards the latter.) I'd planned to wear either an amazingly pretentious outfit (think Westminster), or astoundingly trashy (think crazy cat show). Rather than doing either, I decided to just wear my favorite purple sweater and jeans. My second outfit choice was a sweater vest worn as a tank top. Next time. So we arrive at the City Aud and all the doors are locked. WTF? We weren't as worried about not being able to get in, as having to ask for directions to the cat show. The shame. We find an open door and ask the hip(ster) looking guy working the film festival for directions.

We enter the main hall (where the roller derby team competes) to find it filled with long tables covered in cages and containers, filled with cats. And of course, tons of middle-aged women with cat shirts and sweaters walking around with their cats. The man at the door seemed fairly excited that two non-cat people were there to experience their first cat show. This guy looked like he was straight out of a King of the Hill cartoon or something- high and tight haircut, neon hunter’s orange t-shirt, huge beer gut, wranglers, and a plate of greasy potatoes and eggs. Not at all what I’d expected to see. He goes on to explain that the “kitties” are all lined up here, and the “kitties” are judged over there. I’m thinking to myself Seriously, we’ve been here one minute and I’m about to start hysterically laughing. Great start.

Honestly, the whole thing was quite overwhelming. We weren’t sure what to expect but it was nothing and everything we expected. We started walking around looking at the cats, and looking at people interact with their cats which was amazing. The first cat we looked at was hideous. It’s face was horribly disfigured, which apparently, is how all cats in this breed look. Unfortunate really. The one we saw was a different color, but looked like this:

We walked around, looked at a bunch of cats, too scared and embarrassed to ask questions about anything. We met a woman who makes folk art in the form of cloth, stuffed cats. These fake cats looked nothing like real cats, mainly because they were made of printed fabric, with puff-paint faces and whiskers to match their fabric. Impressive in the fact that she (and her 90+ year old mother) made them all by hand, but really, nothing I would ever want in my house. Ever. We talked for a while then moved on to the other craft tables where there was a skinned cat! Now, maybe it's just me but as (presumably) cat lovers, why the hell would you have the pelt of some type of house cat at a cat show? A trophy? I've got nothing.

Being the smart people that we are, we decide it would probably be best to learn about the cats and the whole deal at the judging rings. One judge looked like he hated cats and didn't want to be there at all, one looked mildly turned on by the cats, and the one lady seemed mostly normal. She talked through the whole thing which was helpful to learn what the cats are judged on. Basically being as close to that breed's standards as possibly, and the personality of the cat.

After about an hour or whispering to each other and getting dirty looks from the cat people, we work up the courage to ask someone questions. The women we asked first were incredibly nervous and socially awkward- cat lady?? They tried to recruit us into showing cats and gave us business cards to help get us started (check out the Cat Fancier's Association).

The second woman we talked to was really helpful in explaining a lot about showing cats. We learned it was much harder to have a Champion cat than dog because of the tournament like competitions you have to advance through. She told us it was the last show of the season, and the new season would be starting up May 1st (which is next weekend btw) so apparently there's no cat show off-season. A good entry level show cat costs about $600, maybe $500 if you're really lucky. This woman was also terrified of my claw. Now, it often fools people because of it's tan shell, but it really is a claw. She was quick enough to notice that it wasn't a real hand, and in fact a metal claw, and it was very clear she had NO idea where to look. So, rather than acknowledge I was standing there, she just looked at Stacy the whole time, and occasionally her eyes would dart to the claw then right back to Stacy. Rad.

She told us basically everything we could ever want to know about cats and then some. We saw huge cats, cats with smashed in faces, cats that looked like you could break them in half, cats that looked like cats, cats that looked like an explosion of fur, cats that use hair product in their fur, and cats with coffee filters around their necks to prevent them from licking their fur and undoing all the hard work their owners had done to style their fur.

All told we spent about 2 hours at the cat show, and as quickly as we decided to go to a cat show, we decided it was time to leave the cat show. Admittedly, I was hoping the cats would have to perform tricks like dogs ranging from jumping through a hoop, catching a frisbee, and walking on it's hind legs. You know, things a good cat would be able to do. After seeing the spectacle in person, I can now say with certainty that I have NO desire to show cats, have a cat, or be a crazy cat lady. Crazy? Sure. Cat lady? No thanks.

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