The Supreme Cat Show
On Saturday, I spent the day at the Supreme Cat Show in Birmingham. William Langley has written an excellent review of the show here, and you can see photos of the day, taken by Geoff Pugh. If you're a cat lover, make a note in your diary for next year, because this is an opportunity to see cats at their best. These are not just any cats, entered into a show to see how they fare. To qualify for the Supreme Show, a cat needs to win a regional show, which means that every single creature in Birmingham had already been proven to be a winner. These are the crème de la crème of the cat world.
I've been to plenty of cat shows before, and I've even entered one of my own moggies into the "domestic pet" section of a local show. A typical cat show is not always an enthralling experience. Some of the cats look very ordinary, and you can't help wonder why they are caged up on display. A few entrants clearly would prefer to be elsewhere, sitting at the rear of the cage, back turned to spectators. There are always a few spectacular individuals, but the extraordinary aspect of the Supreme Show is that every animal on display is spectacular.
They weren't all pedigree cats - there were plenty of cross-bred moggies too. One of my favourites was a friendly one-eyed ginger cat. This says a lot for the inclusiveness of the cat showing community. Appearance is not all. Personality and demeanour are also important.
There is always a commercial aspect to cat shows, and the Supreme is no different. Anything that can be sold to a cat owner was on sale, from cat scratch posts to outdoor cattery units. I was intrigued by the stand selling a device designed to find your cat if it goes missing. A button-sized tag is put on the cat's collar, and the credit-card sized unit allows you to track down the precise whereabouts of your pet. My cats don't get lost, but my keys and wallet often do, so I came away with one of the devices to deal with this aspect of my absent mindedness.
Judging of the cats took place all day, and it was entertaining to watch. The white-coated judges clearly enjoy their job, and I often saw them smiling to themselves as they ran their hands over the cats under inspection. There were many different sections being judged, and there were dozens of winners, but the overall top prize went to a perfectly proportioned silver tabby cat with green eyes and the confident attitude of a born winner.
The intermittent public announcements on the PR system highlighted the show organisers' genuine concern for the individual animals. "Would the owners of the cat in cage 32569 please note that his litter tray is full", or "Message for the owners of the cat in cage 84270. He has no water."
If you're a cat hater, well, you won't have read this far. But for the rest of you, make a note to remind yourself about the Supreme Cat Show at this time next year. There are worse way to spend a dark November day.