There is something that all of you can do that will make handling your cat a lot easier — ALWAYS take your cat out of both the benching and judging cages BACKWARDS just like the judges do!
If your cat is used to always coming out backwards, he will be much more cooperative so we are less likely to bump his head or back on the top of the door. When a cat doesn’t want to come out backwards and struggles, it is much more difficult to avoid that problem.
You take your cat out of those cages at least twice and, if you get a final, three times for every one time that a judge takes the cat out. The cat knows you and the judge is a total stranger. So “Mom” lets him come out head first and then this complete stranger INSISTS that he comes out backwards!! The cat is getting a confusing mixed message. If they get the
idea that they ALWAYS come out of the show cage backwards, they are a lot less likely to object when a judge does that.
Even worse are the exhibitors that encourage a cat to JUMP out of the judging cage onto their shoulder! Then the cat expects the judge to allow them to do that. We have NO way of knowing that the cat only wants to jump on a shoulder. Do you really think any judge is going to stand there and let a cat jump toward their face?! Not a chance. The judge will back up and the cat will land on the floor and take off. I had that happen once when I was judging.
There are exhibitors that encourage a cat to walk out head first because it “is easier on my back”. Even if you have entered five or six cats in a show, you are not bending and lifting nearly as much as the judges. If it bothers your back, think about how a judge’s back feels at the end of the day.
Why backwards? It is the safest way to take a cat out of a cage. Since we get one hand on the cat’s chest and one hand on the belly before we actually bring the cat out of the cage, there is very little chance that the cat can get loose. That is not true if a cat comes out head first. Backwards provides more support for a cat since we have both hands under the body. It also makes it difficult for a cat to “nail” a judge since our hands are not in a position that the cat can easily reach.
So please help your judges and your cats. Think BACKWARDS.