Showing and campaigning a cat often requires long drives, long days and long nights.
As the cat fancier grows older, while the spirit remains eager to continue showing, the aging body often cannot take the travel demands of the passionate exhibitor.
As we age, stamina lessens, arthritis develops and our night vision also tends to deteriorate. Driving long distances, especially after dark becomes particularly difficult.
So the "mature" fanciers may feel they must cut back on showing because physically it has simply become too hard.
But wait. There may be an easy solution.
How about sharing a ride with another person going to the show? There are lots of benefits gained by traveling to and from a cat show by "hitching" a ride!
The advantages are obvious - two can share the driving, split the expenses, and (perhaps the best benefit of all) share knowledge and experiences. For as the miles roll by, people have the opportunity to learn more about each other, both as cat fanciers and as "regular" people.
It's A Two-Way Street
Think of the older breeder, perhaps with 20 or 30 years of experience in the fancy who has the opportunity to ride along with new exhibitors. The more experienced breeder can share a unique storehouse of history, knowledge and amusing stories. The younger breeder can tell of their perspective on the fancy that only a newcomer can experience.
For an "old-timer", it can be a learning experience in understanding how the fancy appears to someone with fresh eyes. To the newbie, there is a rare opportunity to learn from someone who has already "been there, done that"
How Do You Find A Traveling Companion?
Ah . . . the advantages of the internet age! You don't need to actually know the person before you share a ride with them. Simply send an email to any relevant cat email list saying you would like to share gas expenses in exchange for a ride to a specific show. Be sure to include:
- "Looking For A Ride" in the subject title of the email along with the name, date and location of the show you want to attend.
- Where you live so you will appeal to people in your area or who will be passing near you en route to the show. Or you may drive to their home, leave your car and continue to the show from there.
- Whether you are willing to assume some of the driving chores.
- Specify your cat breed.
- State how many cats you are taking.
- Include any relevant information such as if you will be bringing a whole male or spraying cat.
- It is also helpful to let potential traveling companions know how much luggage you will be bringing with you. Some people travel relatively light — and some definitely don't.
In The Benching Area
The same unexpected benefits that come from sharing a journey with a stranger can be duplicated by benching next to someone new at the cat show — all you have to do is introduce yourself to your neighbors and start up a conversation.
While most of the time it is natural for exhibitors to remain within the warm embrace of a circle of friends when showing, occasionally reaching outside that circle can reap real benefits for everyone involved.
Be A Little Adventurous . . .
Next time you are entering a show, why not look for a spot of adventure? Post an email to a cat list offering to share a ride. When you send your entry in, don't put the usual person down for benching but instead volunteer to be benched next to a first-time exhibitor. You just may make a new friend . . .