Hands Off
Spanish Translation / Traducción Español

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I do it all the time.
I know you've done it too.
We all do it occasionally.

What am I talking about? :-)

I am referring to the fact that I judge a cat without ever actually handling it.

I might be watching a class of cats from ringside and in my head I am evaluating and handing out the ribbons the way I would place them if I were the judge. I make my judgment based on what I can see as I sit in the audience.

Or . . . I might be visiting with a couple friends in the benching area and rehashing the finals when I give my opinion about why a cat placed Best Cat in one ring and didn't make the final under another judge.

Or . . . I am browsing through a Yearbook and I like the look of one cat but not another — all without handling the individual kitty.

Making a judgment about a cat without handling it is a skill that every cat breeder and exhibitor develops. It is something each of us will find necessary at one time or another.

Whether we are looking at a photo of a kitten we are thinking of buying on the internet or watching from the audience at a cat show, each of us are honing our skills at evaluating a cat "hands off".

While I believe judging without handling the cat is something we must try to become better at by necessity, I also think it is sort of like buying a sofa without sitting in it. You can tell a lot about the quality of a sofa by just looking at it . . BUT you cannot tell the full depth of its quality until you actually try it out.

Of course, I am not suggesting you need to sit on a cat to judge it :-).

It is important, however, to realize and acknowledge the things you can't tell about a cat unless you actually handle it. For instance:

  • You cannot tell balance of the cat.
  • You cannot feel the smoothness of the tophead.
  • You cannot tell the weight of the cat.
  • You cannot tell the muscle tone.
  • You cannot tell the feel of the coat.
  • You cannot tell the depth of the break.
  • You cannot feel how the cheeks flow into the chin.
  • You cannot feel the boning.
  • You cannot check the bite.
  • You cannot check for tail kinks.
  • You cannot check for testicles.
  • You cannot see how agreeable the cat is to being handled.

Yikes! That seems like a lot of "cannots".

So, does this mean you can't have a valid opinion about a cat unless you can actually handle it? Of course not.

There is still plenty you can tell just by looking at a cat from ringside or from photographs. Just remember that there is nothing that can compare with actually handling a cat to get the true picture of its quality.

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