Why in the world would anyone think of bathing a cat? Almost another pet is fair game. Cats? Hell no! However I must confess I have bathed cats more than 100 times. Call me a masochist if you will, but it was more in line of being a dutiful husband. Tish was want to bring home any sort of animal. It wasn’t unusual for me to return home to find a new beast sitting in the kitchen eating, or lying on my side of the bed snoring, or…you get the picture. Usually I was able to find them another home in 6 months to a year.
How did this situation get started you might ask? Surreptitiously as usual. Tish worked hard, she was a very good nurse and I always encouraged her to get with girlfriends, do something different, find a hobby. Lynn, the next door neighbor was semi-employed with time on her hands and eager to let Tish drive, but all in all a good egg. I encouraged the connection. However, I ought to have known that there would be problems when Tish came in the front door on a Saturday afternoon, announcing that Lynn had taken her to Goodwill – her first time at Goodwill – and she had bought a patio set. Did I need to go pick it up? No, Don, Lynn’s husband brought his very large truck and the entire set fit in the bed. Still not alarmed. How much did it cost? Only $650.00 says she. What in the world costs $650.00 at Goodwill? Its powder coated wrought iron with canvas covered cushions. Starting to get worried. How big is the set? It has 22 pieces. We can put some on the back patio and some on the side patio, and maybe a rocking chair on the front porch. Looking out the front window. Where is Don? He’s coming. And then I heard Don’s big diesel truck coming up the drive. The truck is very large but the patio furniture is almost spilling out of the extended bed. As we unloaded the pieces, Tish directed each to the area of the property she desired. I had to admit the furniture was wrought iron with welded joints, very good quality. After everything was offloaded and positioned where she desired, I took a good look. There was a good deal of dirt, mold, and rust. The top of the table was a mesh weave the would require a steel brush, steel wool, and sanding process before I could paint. Tish looked triumphant. Lynn had her phone out and noted that the Meadowcraft, in this pattern, would retail for over $8000. Don just smiled the smile of “I know what’s happening but don’t bother me with it.”. The financial argument for the purchase was that she had saved us over $7200. I never understood that argument and never will, don’t want to. It took me three summer months and over $400.00 to finish restoring this furniture. Not to mention a sore back and loss of skin on every finger.
One Saturday morning, Lynn called Tish and asked if she would like to go to a cat show at the local grange, Tish agreed and off they went. If I would have been able to predict the future I would have been terrified, but we already had a $650 patio set…at Goodwill. What kind of mischief could these two get into at the grange?
Later in the afternoon, they returned. Tish was carrying a pet carrier with a creature inside. What do we have here? Its a male Japanese Bobtail cat (see picture above). Tish opened the cage door “Want to see, he’s cute.” Baamm!! Out jumps the cat, runs around the house peeing everywhere. He eventually returns to us, looks up as if to say, “Dude, this is my house now. I just staked my claim. Whats for dinner?” At this point, Lynn made hasty retreat with the excuse that she needs to fed Don. Liar! I know that Don just left for Vancouver. I’ll get you later.
I left for the pet store to by cat related stuff, pan, liter (its called liter because that’s what the cat does when he’s in the pan). Of course I didn’t buy the exact brand and substance of what was wanted. Return home. Still not correct. Back to pet store. Purchases finally acceptable. When I returned home I discover that she had entered the cat in a show a 3 hour drive away. I had 3 weeks to get ready. Lucky me.
Why did you get the cat? I want to start breeding them. But this cat is neutered. I’ll get more. Silence. How much did you pay for this cat? Silence. The bank app says $400.00. I paid another $200 for the “necessities”. She took the cat to a Japanese Bobtail Cat specialist vet 55 miles away. another $350.
Little did I know what preparation was required for a cat show.
First step: brush and comb, cat not terrible happy.
Step two: prepare a bath in the kitchen sink, are you kidding? Water must be about 94 degrees.
Step three: secure the cat, hold by the nap of the neck, cat less happy.
Step four: hold the cat under the running water, cat furious. Hold him still, claws dig into every available stretch of my skin. Much like grabbing a drill bit while the hammer drill is rotating and vibrating at high speed.
Steps five through nine: apply shampoo, apply conditioner, rinse, apply whitener, rinse. Cat becomes increasing apoplectic at each increment of abuse.
Step 10: dry.
Step 11: hold cat, have wife shave the top and inner ear with nose hair cutter. Scream louder than cat.
So what is a cat show? Why did I sacrifice a good deal of blood and skin to attend? We enter the hall and find a large room with tables. Upon each table sit a number of rabbit cages. Wired cages, 3 feet long, 18 inches by 18 inches wit doors on either end. To prevent the adjacent cats from trying to fight or mate, a curtain is constructed of fabric with closures and covers the cage. Each curtain has the cattery’s colors. Cost $150.00+. Each cattery is assigned a cage and number . Accouterments include cat’s nameplate, cattery’s nameplate, small symbols of the cattery. Any awards from previous shows. Business cards. Cost of entrance $50 – $75.
Most shows have entrees that range from burgers and dogs to chicken, fake Mexican, sometimes Italian. The more exotic the higher the price. Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and thank goodness beer and wine.
The process: the ring master calls for the appropriate cohort. Ours cohort was Japanese Bobtail neutered. All cats that fit the cohort are brought up to the judging stand and placed in the cage that is assigned to the cat. The judge approaches the cat in the first cage and pulls it out. Then the fun begins. If the cat isn’t pissed enough by now it will be in a few seconds. The judges generally are rough. The first move is to assess how the cat meets the artificial standards of the cohort. This involves looking at the cat from both the front, teeth, ears, eyes followed by a spin move that would generate envious responses from professional pizza throwers. After several rotations, the cat stops ass end to the judge who then performs a meticulous observation of the butt and hips. If the cat survives this assault on its equilibrium, its shunted back into the on stage cage to await the judge’s award of points. Does the cat know? Does the cat care? Hell no. All the cat wishes is that it has not been awarded points. For if the cat has been awarded points it must return to the judging station for the “best of…” decisions.
So what are the owners doing during the judging? If their cat is in the ring they are sitting pensively awaiting the judges’s decision. Otherwise they are eating drinking, gossiping, trying to sell surplus cats, pushing their personal Multi-Level Marketing schemes, or just trying to hook up. As they are leaving they make noise about how great the show was promising to return next year. Once the cars are loaded and driving away they bitch about the show, the judges, how their cat was hosed and what they will do next year to score a bigger award. Our cat made best of breed. Wife’s feet never hits the ground from venue to the car. The worst is yet to come. The one time total was 22 cats at one time. Never sold one. Gave most away. Should have let her buy another patio set from Goodwill. But I loved her…Sigh!
And a fun time was had by all.