Smack down in the dog eat dog world of the cat show

The great thing about being a writer and anthropologist is that you can learn about cultures that you might not normally have access to. When I did my research on the Piikani First Nation in southern Alberta, I worked with a group of elders and ceremonialist and attended a number of sacred ceremonies. I listened, learned and participated. As writers we have opportunities to go into different cultures, or sub cultures in the case of the world of the cat show.
In Dead Bird through the Cat Door, the second in the Megabyte Mystery series – due out this fall – there are a couple of chapters that take place at a cat show. Aviary Finch, the director of the bird sanctuary, infiltrates the cat show and kidnaps cats to kill the birds at the aforementioned bird sanctuary (c’est what!?).
About a year ago, my niece and I entered her cat Stubby in the Southern Alberta Cat Fanciers show for research (and fun) purposes.
Stubby relaxing in the jacuzzi
Turned out to be very dramatic with lots of plot twists and quirky characters. It was a total cat show smack down that pitted the underdog (or should I say undercat) Stubby against a Supreme Grand Master Cat. It was a classic undercat story. I said to the woman (and her cat) in the next cage: “seriously, tell me, do you think Stubby has a chance of winning a ribbon.”
She replied, in a tone as if someone has just died: "Well, she hasn't been bathed. Your niece told me Stubby hasn't been bathed." So in addition to the registration fee, the vet bill, and the preparation of decorating her cage - we forgot to bathe the fricken cat! All hopes were dashed, but in the first ring we went on to win first in colour and first in division. Then like any good plot, our nemesis revealed herself. A short, frail, little old lady with a sunken jaw argued with the judge because she thought her cat was misclassified – this was after Stubby trounced her cat. Let’s call her cat Contessa Cuddles (because that wasn’t her name, but it is the name of a character in Dead Bird through the Cat Door). Her cat was a Supreme Grand Master, and in the cat show world that’s equivalent to the super mac daddy of cats! Turns out we've been holding Stubby back all these years.
All day we were up against Contessa. Sometimes we would win, sometimes Contessa would. The little old lady hovered, ready to fight any judge. Then tension rose when one judge declared that Stubby was not a Super Mackerel Tabby but was a Classic Tabby (who knew!) and that the Grand Marshal would need to reclassify her. Stubby went on to win a 2nd best and a 4th best.
Stubby in all her glory at the cat show
Quote of the day came from my niece: "I've been bit, scratched and hissed at, and that's just from my cat!"
Stubby is not amused (but she is clean!)
Expect to see some interesting characters in Dead Bird through the Cat Door. And look out cat show, grand champion Stubby will be back! And this time, we'll bathe her!


Dawn said…
I can't wait for the second book :-)
Lori Hahnel said…
Wow. I showed these pictures to my cats so they could see what they might be someday but they feigned a complete lack of interest. Bums.
Teri Terry said…
Stubby is gorgeous, but I think he needs a show name?
Jan Markley said…
Thanks Dawn. I'm excited about the second book as well!

Lori, non-ambitious cats? I can't imagine it! I guess they are already living like show cats.

Thanks Teri - Stubby is gorgeous. there was an italian judge who went nuts for her. She does need a better show name - maybe Stubby the Magnificent. Unfortunately, my niece named her when she was four, so that's why she's called Stubby and plus, she's a bit tubby!
Angie said…
I love the pictures. Cat shows sound intense! I know my boys are looking forward to the next book!
Jan Markley said…
Thanks Angie! I hope they enjoyed the first one!
Carol J. Garvin said…
Oh, how I can relate!! I was a professional dog show secretary for many years... was even the consultant in the making of a movie about a dog show... and have run into some very eccentric doggy people. Who knew the cat fancy had an equivalent??? LOL
Jan Markley said…
Yes, Carol, an anthropological paper could be done on both the dog and cat show communities. That's cool that you were a consultant on a movie.
Angela Ackerman said…
That was great. Those little old ladies are always the feisty ones!

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse
Jan Markley said…
Yes, Angela you don't want to get between a little old lady and her prize winning cat!
Tiny Canadian said…
thats my stubby! :D and if you aliens of the world want to check out my blog follow this link (if you have thumbs and can use a mouse and/or type)

~Tiny/ Tea

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