On a recent rainy Sunday I had the occasion to drop by the International Cat show appearing at a local motor hotel.
This wasn’t my first time at this particular Holiday Inn. It’s the place this crazy city chooses to put on some of the cheaper and more tacky events. I had last been here several years ago, for a bad art show and this day, this rainy Sunday reminded me of bad art.
M.M and I with teenage daughter in tow arrived about noon or so. The parking lot was packed, but by the grace of the good parking lot fairy, a miracle in the form of a departing minivan left a gap and MM masterfully grabbed it. I took this as a sign of good fortune in this year of the dragon and as soon as we landed I hydroplaned across the slick parking lot and almost ran right into a red VW bus full of hippies and cat people.
This I took as a sign of my utter stupidity and it wasn’t until I heard the frantic mewing that I stopped in my tracks….what was that? I listened, MM listened and so did our daughter…The parking lot was full of frantic cat cries…”Is that where the losers go?” Back to a locked car and who knows what?
After passing several nervous smokers we finally hit the front gate and into the show proper. We received our ballots with instructions on the voting. The winning cat gets 1000 bucks.. what does a cat do with 1000 dollars? I did not know until I saw it…..
What is it? Good question. It is a scene of utter foolishness and fools parting with their money. Rows upon rows of kitty condo cages crammed together, all customised I guess, according to each cat’s personality. Some of the cages proudly displayed an elaborate ribbon or two declaring their superiority. In each deluxe luxury unit lie a cat, flaked out and asleep surrounded by an array of cat accessories the likes I have never seen. These cats were tired and worn-out like overdone starlets sleeping it off in the lap of luxury. Who knows how long before they end up frantically mewing in a locked car in the parking lot out there with the others.
Just keep those ribbons coming Fluffy……
The owners of the cats seemed to be living quite a different life. Many of them hovered around their charge, eyeing each other and everyone who came near, seeing them as a potential threat. Don’t even think about trying to pet a cat. That is a strict no-no to the nth degree.
Never under any circumstances should you ever attempt to make any physical contact with any of the cat contestants.
This is the supreme sin in cat shows and we were reminded of that constantly.
Most of the cat owners were middle-aged women wearing ugly cat shirts and nervous stressed out faces. Many of them were eating foul-smelling chinese takeout that seemed to mix with the odor of cats to create an atmosphere I will never quite get over or explain.
Every few minutes or so an annoying man with a microphone and a raspy voice would cut through the roar of the crowd and shout out a number, calling up the next contestant. A harried backstage mother/owner would then jump up, frantically brush the cat and rush up to the stage while warning the onlookers out of the way by repeating over and over:
“Make room for people holding cats, make room for people holding cats.”
Pity the poor spectator who got in the way; these women meant business. I hate to admit it but some of them made me a wee bit nervous, especially the big ones.
I made my way past the harried and through the endless rows of cages to view and perhaps meet with a few contestants. Some of the more ambitious ones were out stirring up the crowd and posing for pictures.
We toured the entire circuit and I was afraid that I wouldn’t find a cat worthy of my vote for the 1000 dollar prize.
It was the high-pitched squeals that first alerted me, the kind some little girls and some bigger ones make upon presentation of something so unbelievably cute, and how…I joined the chorus of girly oohs and aahs as soon as I spied the cutest kitten there has ever been in all kittenkind. I realise the seriousness in that statement and I’m telling you cat lovers out there that it’s true and anyone in attendance would definitely agree. This kitten in all its kitten glory with its soft fuzzy spotted fur let out a silent mew that literally drove one woman to tears.
“I wasn’t ready for such cuteness.” she exclaimed as her wary boyfriend looked on.
This was one of the more surreal moments that will stick in my mind for some time to come. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it strange, I did. It was that I completely understood and was feeling a bit overwhelmed myself. The kitten was that cute. It was so cute that I neglected to take a picture of it. It was at that very moment that confirmed what I have really known all along…
These are my people..I am one of these cat people…..
I broke out of the crowd and made my way to the very back. Littered along the edges were tables with various vendors selling their various cat trinkets for various sums of money that seemed all too much for me. I visited each table and exhibit feigning interest and looking like a potential sap.
I stopped and watched a woman spinning yarn out of cat fur. She seemed nice and quite normal except for the fact that she was making cat yarn. She told me about the ups and downs of the day and how no one seemed to be buying her sweaters…
yes… cat fur sweaters….
I politely excused myself by mumbling something about the world’s tallest cat and how I must find it. After all it was the headliner….
I wandered around until I found the biggest crowd. It took some doing to get inside the circle and see what all the fuss was about. I ended up crawling under everyone but it was worth it because there it was! The world’s tallest cat! It resembled a smallish cheetah and it looked bored. I couldn’t fully appreciate its incredible tallness because it was sitting down. I crawled along the very ugly carpet and snapped a few pics… I’m glad I did because then suddenly my camera went buggy and refused to take anymore pictures. This was terrible…At a cat show?!
I must admit now that I came here not exclusively because of my love for cats. I came here to find weird-looking cats and take pictures of them so I could write about the weirdness. Now fate forced me to slow down and realise that I had yet to find a really strange-looking cat, most appeared pretty normal and even the one’s with the squished faces were sort of appealing.
We had about exhausted the place anyway and we all admitted that we were eager to leave to get home to our own cats…Mario, the black and white and Sunny, the Calico. They are the winners in my book and I give my vote to the both of them. Too bad that doesn’t win the $1000………
Have a purrfect day full of catnip and naps.
- Feline Agility Training With an Adorable Kitten-in-Training (laughingsquid.com)
- Love yourself (mizfoofytayl.wordpress.com)