Full of excitement, you're standing in the parking lot of the show hall, gathering all the things you need to bring. Today will be your first day in a cat show with your furry friend.
You pick up the following from the boot of your car:
Confirmation letter from the show (nowadays electronic)
Show cage, or curtains for show cage
Litter box and scoop, plus a few bags
Water and food bowls, cat food
Hand sanitizer and disinfectant
Brushes and combs
Cat inside transport crate
Then bravely towards the entrance. Cat shows usually have people at the door checking vaccinations. Next, you'll be directed to a vet's inspection and/or to sign in. If you get to go to the vet's inspection, they will ask you to put the cat on the table. The vet checks the cat's overall condition, eyes, ears, teeth, and behind. Random fungal tests are also taken on the vet table. The results are mailed to the cat's owner in about 2-3 weeks. When everything is in order with the inspection, you can proceed to sign in.
After this it's time to find your cage spot where you'll set up camp for the duration of the show. Many of the rows in the shows are organised by category. Somewhere in there are Category II cats, which also includes Neva Masquerades and Siberian cats. Sometimes the cage spots are numbered. At other times you get to pick your own spot.
You assemble your own cage at the designated spot. Don't forget that the size of a single cat cage is not to exceed 65x65x65cm. If you have a double cage (eg. double Sturdi), it can house 2-3 cats. If you have curtains instead of a canvas cage, the organisers will have placed a metal cage ready at your spot. Just add the litter box into the cage, and now your cat can settle in comfortably.
FI*Little Priin Elite Queen in cat show with Heli Holma
At this stage, you can breathe more easily and maybe go for a cup of coffee. Of course, you have arrived well in time, and the judging won't commence for a while. After a coffee break, it's good to check the location of your judge and how many cats are scheduled to be judged before yours. And then you wait, and follow the judging, admire your competitors' cats, and occasionally check how your own cat is doing in the cage. All this, of course, in nervous excitement.
You should go get your own cat ready when some 2-3 cats are still lined up before your turn. It's worth asking the breeder for advice on finishing grooming touches as well as for washing the cat before the show. The better your groundwork at home, the easier the finishing touches before judging. The breeder will be glad to help prepare the cat for judging and with any fur-related problems. If the breeder is not there, you can always find help from the breed ring; there's no need to fret alone.
Finally your cat is all groomed and ready for judging. There's just one cat on the judging table before yours. So take your cat and wait for your turn somewhere by the judging table. Your palms are sweaty, your heart's racing nervously. This is all okay; now just take a deep breath and relax. This way your anxiety isn't transferred into the cat. You lift your cat onto your arms in show position and wait for your turn.
And next the judge invites you to the table. They examine and observe the cat. A show cat needs to be easy to handle. After inspecting the cat for a while, the judge writes their review on a grading slip. A general principle is that you shouldn't really converse with the judge. They might tell you what they think of your cat, though. If there are more than 3 cats in the same colour group, the judge will also pick the Best-of-Colour out of these. When the judge has graded all the cats in a category, they let their assistant know which cats should come to the selection of Judge's Favourite. In the Judge's Favourites selection, the judge picks the best adult male, best female, best castrated male and female, best young cat (7-10 months), and best kitten (4-7 months), and possibly the best veteran in the category.
In this show, your cat is in the kitten class. This time, the selection for Judge's Favourite includes a Maine Coon kitten, a Norwegian Forest cat kitten, a Siberian cat kitten, and your own kitten, a Neva Masquerade. The judge once more goes over the selected cats and describes their good and poor qualities. This time, the judge picks your kitten as "Judge's Favourite". After this, the wait for the final panel begins.
FI*SoulSibster's BeLoved Best in Show panel presented by an assistant
Photo by Fredrik Åkesson
The panel won't start until all judges have finished their grading. In two-day shows, both days have their own panel. The final panel includes all the cats selected as favourites by all the judges. For each category, there is a separate Best-in-Show panel. The order of the categories varies from show to show, but it is always announced before the panel starts. Within each category, the best adult male, female, castrated male and female, young cat, and kitten in that category are selected. The panel can be cageless or with cages. In a panel with cages, the cats waiting for their turn are taken into a cage (the cage has the cat's number), and the assistant takes the cat into the panel ring, while in a cageless panel the owner brings the cat to the preparation area and directly to the assistant, who takes the cat to be presented to the panel.
The panel begins. First in turn are Category I cats. After that, the panel proceeds at its own pace, and soon it is time for Category II. First they select the best male, female, etc., and finally it's the kittens' turn. You bring your cat, groomed to perfection, to the assistant in the preparation area. Now all you can do is leave the ring and wait anxiously. This time, the panel includes 5 Category II kittens. All judges who judged this category tour around all the cats, and then proceed to write the number of their choice kitten on a voting slip. This time, an American Curl kitten got all the judges' votes.
Your first cat show day is now over and done. Now just grab your cat along and head to the hotel, go out to dine with cat friends in the evening and gather strength for the Sunday show.
Sof`ja Nevskaja Radost and the judge
At regular intervals, we get customers at the upholsterer who hope to have cat-resistant fabric to their chair. I have also had a couple of cats as a customer too!
This may come as a surprise to everyone, but there is no cat-resistant fabric. There just is not. However, there are some points that can be taken into account when upholstering furniture for a cat (because everyone knows that every single chair is the cat’s own, whether the owner likes it or not).
First, I would consider whether the fabric is densely woven or not. Loosely woven fabrics with longer thread runs are outright screaming to claw them. If, on the other hand, the fabric is very dense, it cannot be gripped so comfortably with claws.
Another point to keep in mind is that cats shed hair. We have had two cats for over ten years, so one might think that this too would have been a clear thing for this upholsterer as well. But what happened? Last winter, an on-the-job learner at the upholsterer was honoured to re-upholster our own K-chair. The fabric was truly loved and carefully chosen, but two cats and two small children had done their job over the years. I had been dreaming of a felt-like woollen fabric for a long time, but I could not decide on the colour. Of the two options, I chose dark lilac, a truly beautiful shade, on the recommendation of many different people. It has turned out to be a mistake! Because that of our cats who sleeps in the chair is grey! And a fabric like that will catch every little hair. Basically, I am not that bothered about cat hair, because they just have to be accepted. If there are cats, there is hair. But at times it stings a little, as the second colour option was a wonderfully beautiful calm grey. So it is worth thinking about the materials of the fabric and the surface structure, as well as to consider how well they capture dust and cat hair. Anyway, it would be good to vacuum the furniture with a textile nozzle at regular intervals too.
My third piece of advice is not really about choosing the fabric, but I think it is perhaps the most important. Namely, the placement of chairs. Having known quite a few cats, I can say that the chairs in the living room, or some other central location, are most at risk of being clawed. So for those pieces of furniture, it is really worth considering the choice of fabric perhaps a little more precisely.
Of course, you should also make sure that the cats have enough other places to climb on and sharpen their claws. It might even work! In addition to all these tips (dense fabric, one that does not easily catch visible hair), you can only cross your fingers and hope that the cat does not get excited over the recently upholstered furniture.
PS. I am truly a cat person, the same tips certainly also apply to dogs.
Alina makes Kissapuu's sleeping pads, both of fabric and goat fur, and all fabric parts for hammock & crip platforms.
A pet going missing, running away or being stolen are a pet owner’s worst nightmares. A registered microchip is a vital tool in the case of missing pets. When found, the pet is scanned using a reader. If a microchip is detected, the furry friend can be returned home soon. Pets must always have a microchip when they are entered into a show or taken abroad.
An ID chip, or microchip, is a capsule roughly the size of a grain of rice (measuring approx. Ø1.4*8.5 mm), containing electronic parts. A layer covering the capsule/ampule enables the chip to attach itself to tissue, forming a connective tissue capsule. The chip is inserted in place using a needle-like, sterile tool designed specifically for this purpose. Microchips come in a variety of sizes. The same chips work with different animals, such as cats, dogs or rabbits. A kitten can be chipped young, at 8–12 weeks, for instance alongside vaccination. The procedure itself is similar to vaccination; the chip is inserted under the skin on the back of the animal’s neck. The chip stays under the skin as long as the veterinarian ensures the chip does not come out with the needle, or that the chip is not placed on the cat’s fur (as can happen with long-haired cats).
Inserting the chip might be slightly painful and the insertion point might bleed a little. On the other hand, some pets might not notice anything. However, microchipping an aggressive cat may be difficult, or downright impossible, meaning that it is safer to perform chipping during e.g. castration. In x-rays, the chip will be visible as a capsule the size of a grain of rice. Sometimes the chip can be felt through the cat's skin. When performed by an experienced, trained expert, microchipping should be harmless for a pet.
The chip’s functionality is confirmed by checking that it works by responding with a number sequence. The 15-digit sequence is a sort of identification code for the pet. However, it is not the same as the pet’s registration number, but rather a number sequence coded by the chip’s manufacturer, compliant with international standards. The sequence can only be read with a specifically designed reader, which transmits a low radio frequency that activates the chip, which itself has no energy source.
Since the chip can move under the pet’s skin, it is recommended to scan from head to tail, in case the chip is not found at the back of the neck. The ID chip should last for the animal’s entire lifetime, although they can break due to injuries to the chip location or surgical procedures. A veterinarian should check the microchip at every visit to confirm the chip’s and the owner’s information, including right of ownership.
A chip is useless without registration, since the chip itself only contains a number sequence. After ID-marking an animal, it must be immediately registered in a database. This prevents possible misuse in cases such as disappearances. During registration, the chip number is given and the owner's contact information is attached to it. It is recommended to register a pet in several databases, improving the chance and speed of finding the owner. Animal shelters etc. can access certain databases at any time of day, whereas others are only accessible during business hours.
Paperwork filled out during registration should be stored with your health card or registration book together with one chip number sticker. Other stickers should be stored in case you need to apply for a passport for your pet. Information about which register the chip is entered should also be stored in the same place. This information is important, since correctness of the register information is always the pet owner's responsibility.
There are four registers in use in Finland, which anyone can check to see if an animal’s chip has been registered. Information in the register about pet owners can only be accessed by register administrators, who decide to whom and under what terms should information about owners be disclosed. The chip number must be treated like one’s own personal ID, since the number can verify that the pet in question is yours when picking it up from the person who found it.
There is also an ongoing project in Finland called Miljoona Mikrosirua (A Million Microchips), whose goal is to provide affordable microchipping and registration with the help of business partners. The chips have been donated by municipalities, companies and organizations, among others. Microchipping events are organized in Finland at least bi-monthly. No reservations are needed and payments are done in cash. Microchipping specialists trained by veterinarians perform the insertion and the information is saved into a register.
Text by Julianna Hautoniemi
Originally published in Sacred Birmans in Finland association’s member magazine, issue 1/2019.