Ouch! My Head!

by Beth Hicks, TICA Judge

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All exhibitors and judges want to see show cats have an enjoyable experience in the judging ring.

A problem that nobody likes to see is a cat whose head or back gets bumped or whose fur gets caught on the cage as a judge is getting the cat in or out.

Getting the big, longhaired cats like a Maine Coon in and out of the a judging cage, while ensuring that it doesn't have get "bumped" is not always easy. While the Maine Coons are much bigger than 20 years ago - the cage door is still the same size!

But there is something that helps make it much easier...

Raising the height of the table that the judging cages are placed upon makes a HUGE difference.

From The Judge's POV

From the judge's point of view, when the tables are not raised, we have to take a cat out by bringing it down from the open door instead of straight out, especially the large breeds.  We are already leaning over just to reach the cat and have to lean further to get them out.  Think about the strain on your back muscles when you lean over to get your cat in and out of the benching cage. Now think about doing that at least 400 times in just eight hours! You don't want to know what your back feels like after judging a large show both days.

From The Cat's POV

The cats like the judging cages at a raised height too!!  With normal height tables, we are leaning "over" the cat when we go to take it out.  When the tables are raised, we are right at the cat's level.  In the shows that have raised tables, judges have noticed that a LOT fewer cats are "difficult" to handle.  Apparently a lot of cats are quite uncomfortable with a person reaching in over the top of them to take them out as opposed to being on the same level with them!

From The Spectator's POV

With raised tables the spectators can actually see the cats in the judging ring! Try looking at the cats in the ring as a spectator. The cats are not as easy to see with low tables. Spectators are there to see the cats. With security cages and all the “stuff” we usually have in front of the benching cages, the best view of the cats is in the judging cages. A spectator who enjoys the show will be back next year!

Making It Better

So . . . As exhibitors and club members, you are the ones that can ask (or demand) that ALL the cage service providers have the PVC pipe extenders to put on the table legs!!  It really does make a big difference!

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