We exhibited Cosmo in his first show last month. It was our first show, as well – The Mo-Kan Cat Club’s “Cat Days of Summer” show in Kansas City, MO. Because KC is 6.5 hours away from our home, we stayed at a Holiday Inn the night before. The original plan was just for me and my daughter to attend, and then drive home after the show closed, but my husband wanted to make a weekend of it, so I changed the hotel reservation to 2 nights.
As we anticipated the arrival of Cosmo, knowing that we would be showing him, we visited a couple of cat shows because we had not been to any before. As a spectator, and not previously knowing anything about the cat fancy, cat shows were a little confusing. At a cat show there are rows of cat cages (the benching area), which are decorated in all sorts of fancy fabrics (curtains), and several judging rings around the perimeter of the show hall, and periodically, an announcer calls out numbers to inform exhibitors who should head to a particular ring. Once the cats are caged at the ring, the judge evaluates each cat in each category. For this show (and I believe for most) there were categories for Kittens (age 4-8 months), Championship (for intact cats), Premiership (for desexed cats), and Household Cats (not pedigreed). Once all cats in a particular category are judged, the top 10 are called back for finals.
For the Mo-Kan show, my first task was to check in with the entry clerk and figure out the location of Cosmo’s benching cage. Our cage was provided by the show, but many exhibitors bring their own collapsible cages (Sturdi brand shelters seem to be prevalent). I was fortunate that Cosmo’s breeder, Mette, loaned me one of her cage curtains, which I used on the inside of the cage. For the outside, I opted for two plain ivory sheets that were used to cover the top of the cage and to drape over the front of the table to hide my belongings. A plain white towel lined the floor of the cage, and I provided Cosmo with a small litter box (litter was provided by the show), his puffy bed, and small dishes for food and water (he was upset all day and did not touch either until we got back to the hotel room).
I had never seen a show catalog before. The show catalog lists all of the cats that are registered for the show, as well as other pertinent information (Judges and ring numbers, ring clerks, show organizers, sponsors and vendors, etc.). The catalog also contains forms to assist in keeping score, such as a breed summary sheet, a chart to identify winners of each ring’s finals, and a point chart. Once we were checked in and got our bench cage set up, I noticed the Judging Schedule on the back of the catalog. While I was careful to listen to the announcer for Cosmo’s number, it was also imperative to get a general idea of the order of rings in which Cosmo would be judged.
I thought Cosmo did very well, with this being his first show. We registered with the intent of simply learning about how shows work (I still don’t understand points very well) and getting Cosmo used to the sounds and smells of a cat show, but he actually placed in two rings, earning two ribbons.