Wow! My baby is seven months old!! Time has flown!
The next show we enter will be in Open Class when he turns eight months in a few weeks.
Reflecting upon the past six shows, there have been so many nice people who have answered dumb questions and who have helped when I had a look of sheer and utter panic!
They have given me some great advice, helped with everything from diarrhea, to cat static, and sculpting Bear's face from the "Hairy-faced Persian from Sesame Street" to "Handsome Himalayan from Beekman Place." I have sculpted, or tried to sculpt, and others have had to fix what I have attempted to do! And in one case, it was hopeless. I just had to wait for the hair to grow back. It did, thank God!
Not too many major mishaps. Except for this one little one..I accidentally cut his top whiskers when I was trimming his lashes. Those grew back as well. Thanks for asking
One time, the judge put him on the table and he looked like he had been electrocuted!! That is the first time I actually laughed out loud in a ring! I don't think that was appreciated, but it was funny.
Thank God for the experienced breeder who showed me what to do to fix that situation. I have taken notes, I have watched other more experienced exhibitors, asked questions, been in a total state of confusion, met new people, made a few new friends, lost some sleep, cried a few tears, and have had a great time.
And we HAVE RIBBONS! The BIG kind. I will get to that in a minute! But, most of all, I did kitten class for practice. No, really. I am serious this time. I think back to that day in the bathroom after the first bath, with me crying, him crying, and water everywhere.
I have not been afraid to admit when I was totally lost, nervous, scared, or all of the above. We have made some progress. I have gone from not leaving his cage - I mean, NOT LEAVING his cage as with the first show - to even go to the bathroom, to being comfortable leaving the cage as long as someone was nearby.
I have gotten used to being tired for days afterward.
And this time, I am still running around not quite sure of what hit me! Bear got his first BROWN RIBBON or BEST OF BREED RIBBON. (I go by colors-it's more fun!) If you recall, he did get a few of those early on. Eight to be exact, when he was the only Himalayan at four and a half months. Hey-in my book it still counts. You don't have to explain every last detail!
This time, when the judge hung the Best of Breed ribbon, I sat there stunned. And no, he was not the only Himalayan this time! Inside I was going, "Finally! Finally! You don't KNOW what we've been through ." Everyone was so nice and congratulated me, or him, or us!
All I could think of was, "Good, now I can get that brown ribbon and add that one to his scrapbook." Yes, we have a scrapbook. Afterward, with cat in tow, I go to the master clerk's table, so that he can pick out his own ribbon, (Yes, I am serious) and I see this huge, brown 12" long and 2" wide ribbon..Yup, mine! I have no shame! I admit it. He was not amused. I was delaying his treat.
I put him back in the cage, gave him his treat, and Ed goes, "He got the brown ribbon. Can't he get into a final with the brown one?" I stop and looked at him, raised one eyebrow, cocked my head to the side, and slowly said, "Yes, I think so." Now it dawns on me. Oh, my!! He has a shot at a kitten final. There are a lot of kittens. It looks like it rained kittens in the show hall No way!
I quickly put it out of my mind because that event would be too good to be true. That event would be beyond my imagination, beyond my comprehension, and beyond my wildest dreams! So, Ed and I kept ourselves busy for the rest of the long, long, long day. Ed tried not show it, but I think he was as nervous as I was.
The kitten finals were rescheduled until later in the day, actually it was LATE, WAY LATE, in the day .It took everything I had to keep myself occupied. I took walks, I looked at the vendors stuff for the fifteenth time, I talked to the cat, I talked to other exhibitors, had his picture taken, paced, and bargained with God. I went through scenarios in my head. I prepared myself for the best and for the worst.
It is 6:00 and late. We still have one more ring to go. The kitten finals for Ring 4 are being announced. About five minutes earlier, Ed says he is going to walk around. I don't think he could stand it either and had to go and see if the clerk was putting up numbers. I see Ed near the judging ring, WAY over on the other side of the show hall. I am sitting in front of Bear's cage. Number 53. Number 53, please, please, puhhhleeeeese, call number 53. God, I swear, I will never ask for anything else again. I promise. You don't knoooowwww what we have been through. Why do we have to be so far down in the numbers? O.k., o.k., here we go with the Persians. Number 51, number 53. Wait! What did she say? Did they announce number 53? Did I hear people cheering? I flew out of my chair! I am jumping up and down. The cat is yawning. His eyes are wide open, but he is yawning.
Then, Ring 2 calls number 53 for judging. Oh, now what? Now what do I do? Run. Put cat back in cage. No, wait. Take cat. Go ask the other exhibitors. Ring clerk-talk to the ring clerk. Still have cat in hand. Stick cat in Finals cage. Ring clerk says to take him out and put him in the other cage for judging. My eyes are now five feet wide. I ask the ring clerk, "But, the judge will wait for him, right? I mean, I will just pull him from the other ring. Can I do that?" The ring clerk laughs and says, "Judging before finals. We will wait." I say, "You promise, right? This is his first final. And, you don't knooooowwwww what we've been through.." If you recall, at times I tend to get a bit dramatic. (I say expressive. Ed says dramatic.)
The cats in Ring 2 are the only ones being judged. Everyone else is done. Bear gets Best of Breed in that ring. Another brown ribbon. My mind blows up. Seriously. This is too much for one day. Now, I am shaking like a leaf. In Ring 2, kitten finals are postponed until the following morning.
Back to the Finals ring. Ring 4. The judge finaled two Himalayans. No, there were not just two kittens total! The other ring has to wait for ME .I am liking this now! Everyone is waiting for moi?! I am just about to say something witty, but realize that I am still new at this and this is our first final and everyone wants to get out of there. Not a time to be cute.
So, I put him in his cage and go and sit down next to one of my friends. I am still shaking. 15, 14, 13, oh, my god 12, The judge goes over to his cage, and for the life of me I wish I could remember what happened. I cannot tell you what she said. Number 11. 11th Best Kitten. We have a rosette! No way. I am writing down who was in the final. I was not conscious of who was actually in the final. I am just copying what my friend had in her catalog. I see everyone writing down something. You know, we are in a final now and I have to look like I know what I am doing. My friend gets Best Cat. I am with The Important People now. Bear is in the big leagues This may be ok. Except, I am still shaking. I did not stop shaking until we got back home one hour later.
But, before we left, Ed and I had this serious discussion about taking the rosette. I wanted to take it and bring it BACK the next day. Ed goes, "All of the experienced people leave them here." That got me. We left it there. Someone thinks Bear is good. Someone other than my family, which is a given. My friends, another given. If they think anything else they are not my friends. But, someone thinks he is a nice cat. Hard to sleep. Easy to get up. We have to go and get the rosette!
Bear did not make the other final. Doesn't matter. We have ONE rosette. Someone thinks he is 11th Best Kitten. Another ring. Nothing. Sigh. Another ring. Nothing. Next ring. Best of Breed.
Bear, I kid you not, is completely different now. He is acting on the judging table. That is the best way to put it. A little actor. Can they tell when they have done something good?
Number 53 gets called for another kitten final. OH, MY GOD!!!. This is waaaay beyond my comprehension. I am going to be a nightmare to live with this coming week. When is the next show? Maybe I should find another one this weekend. So what, it is Christmas??
And the second time I was so excited when I got to the ring I put him in the wrong cage. Mind you, I ignored the pink card with the wrong number on top, denoting girl cat...flipped the card over to blue, for boy cat....stuck him in the cage, turned around and I realized with the other cat's owner standing there that his highness was in the wrong cage.
I had the wrong number. I only have ONE CAT and I cannot remember his number which, here is the kicker-is written on my hand! The judge is looking at me like I am nuts...I say to Ed, "When I do something stupid like that--please stop me..." The cat is smart, the owner is stupid...Don't ask me what happened in that ring either. I did write down who was finaled. I just copied it from someone else again. I cannot pay attention. I need to pay attention. Fifteenth Best Kitten. No, it is not out of a total of fifteen kittens! Two rosettes. The judge asks me his name. I forgot. You don't knnnoooowww what I have been through to get this I want to tell her. Two rosettes. Finally. I have been in the equivalent of Kitten Siberia for a long, long time.
As for Ed. Well, he usually stands while the judge is judging. Not for the second final. He sat in the SECOND ROW. He was so proud of himself. You know, he drove us to the show on Saturday morning in another snowstorm. He also came to the conclusion that the cat cannot stay by himself in the cage....Now, Bear demands that Ed holds him at a show ALL OF THE TIME..So, he got the job. He has to come with us. One of the times while we were waiting for finals to be announced, Ed came up with the newest form of judging. "Drive By Judging" They mail you the ribbons...Funny. He is funny. As for the ribbons.. I taped them to the front door when we got home, realized it was snowing, did not want to get them wet, and took them down and put them in my office. They currently move from room to room with me. Bear can play with them... of course, only under strict and close supervision :-).
Jodell and her Himalayan kitten, "Bear", share stories of their first forays into the world of cat showing: