What My Show Cat Has Taught Me

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There are probably as many different reasons that people decide to take up cat showing as a hobby as there are people.

Some things we have in common, and some things may differ . . . but one thing is for sure, being part of the cat fancy has made me a better person because of what my show cat has taught me . . .

Patience:

Coat will grow at its own pace. I can encourage it by feeding supplements, bathing and special hair products . . . but mother nature is still in charge.

Pride

When I see my Persian show cat standing on the judging table, her coat a cloud of perfection, her eyes dancing as she plays with a toy, my heart wants to burst out of my chest because I know that together, this is what we have accomplished.

Determination

Even after listening to all the horror stories from old-timers about how a newbie shouldn't choose a white Persian for their first show cat because the coat is so difficult to keep immaculate, I learned how to groom and I was devoted to what had to be done to keep her coat perfect.

Compassion

My first litter was a difficult learning experience for me. It included a beautiful female kitten who did well for her first six days — then she started behaving very strangely. She began "swimming" constantly. She was so distressed. I cared for her constantly. I tube fed her, gave her antibiotics, but although she gained weight and grew, she didn't stop the strange swimming action.

Courage

I took the swimming kitten to the vet at three weeks of age. The vet recommended she be put to sleep. No! I had grown more attached to this baby than all her littermates. But I realized I had to do what was best for her, not for me. I made the decision to have her euthanized . . . and although it would have been easier to have stopped there, I also asked for a necropsy. The necropsy confirmed the diagnosis that my sweet baby was a Hydrocephalic Kitten.

Personal Forgiveness

Losing the kitten almost made me want to quit breeding. I didn't want to ever have to make the decision to put a kitten to sleep again. With time, I learned to accept that responsibility — as all breeders accept it. I learned to not blame when things are beyond my control.

Humility

Humility is not an easy lesson to learn . . . but learn it I did . . . usually when I thought my cat would win — and a better cat turned up out of nowhere.

Victory and Defeat

I have learned to accept victory or defeat with the same grace. My favorite saying is, "Rosette or no rosette, the cat remains the same". I learned that whether my cat won or whether my cat lost, my cat had the same beauty, the same personality, the same love for me and I for her.

Stamina

I have learned to drive long trips, get up early to bath my Persian on the show morning, show all day, enjoy dinner and conversation with friends that night, get up early to re-bath my cat, show again, drive home, walk in my front door at 1 am and still scoop litter and snuggle with the kittens before going to bed . . . and then get up and make it to work the next day. And do it all over again the next weekend too! Now, that takes STAMINA!

Long Term Goals

By planning a successful campaign I learned to see a bigger picture than just how my cat does at today's show.

Sharing

I've learned to be as happy for the owner of the cat that just defeated my cat, as I am when my own cat wins. It may be a different kind of happy :-) — but it is a special way of sharing with every other fancier the experience of having their cat be admired too. And learning how to be happy for someone else's success has helped me be a better person.

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