Too often, the newcomer to the show hall is treated shabbily by the old-timers… and especially if the newbie’s cat happens to be less than stellar in quality.
Below is a response from a breeder who remembers clearly her humble beginnings in the hobby she loves, and wishes people could be a bit more understanding and sensitive about how they behave towards a person exhibiting at their first cat show.
Like many other beginners in the world of cat shows, I bought my first pedigreed kitty, Sam, as a pet. He was never represented to me as anything but a pet by my breeder. She asked if I wanted to show him just once. I didn’t, but feeling indebted to her for entrusting him to me, I said okay.
I walked into the show hall and I was transfixed. I had found a whole new world full of (as my husband says) “people of my own kind”. I LOVED it. I did not care that Sam got the “black and the blue” in every ring by default (he had no competition). I was thrilled! I collected ALL of my ribbons.
Then it came time to grand him. WELL, I basically had to show like a campaigner just to collect those necessary grand points. He took a LONG time to grand… but I had a blast showing him… even if I cried a lot on my way home from shows because I did not understand why he was passed over so many times. I thought he was the most magnificent kitty I had ever seen and he was MINE.
When you make disparaging remarks about someone’s cat, you are really hurting that person. When you are new to showing, you have all sorts of dreams for the next show. I did grand Sam and we had a great time. He was really a great show cat now that I look back. He really LOVED showing, everything about it except the bath, which he says he could have done without.
My point is that I, like many others started out with a pet and a wonderful mentor that took the time to introduce me to showing. We both knew I had a pet quality baby, but he was still my baby. Look at it this way. Sam and I were count fodder for an awful lot of you out there. Be grateful to us. We can’t all have as perfect a specimen as you do.
Just a few years later I was showing my own kittens, had granded five cats, and had a regional win with my precious homebred boy.
Is it not the love we feel for our kitties that is the real reason we began showing in the first place? Don’t you remember being new? So, the “newbie” dragging her pet into the show hall IS the future of CFA. Please… PLAY NICE.