Last Saturday, we decided to go to the Austin Cat Fancier Association’s downtown cat show. Mostly because my boys are obsessed with cats, but also because I adore any kind of convention or show that’s full of fanatics. Like the Burbank X-Files convention that we almost went to many years ago until we got scared off by all the Mulder wannabes who had “I WANT TO BELIEVE” tattooed on their necks. I still regret not going in and buying that awesome Scully wig, though. It would have really added some 90’s spice to my marriage.
Before we headed out to the cat-a-palooza, I sent a text to my friend Jennifer that said, “Cat show. Downtown. Join us.” Jennifer, being Jennifer, immediately texted back, “O.M.G. What time?! Do I need to iron my Purina shirt?!” I’ve said it before—everybody needs a Jennifer in their life. She’s definitely my one call from jail.
We arrived at the show and the first thing we saw was a small, older woman sitting behind a huge table covered in bat paraphernalia. I immediately thought I’d screwed up and taken us all to the Bat Fancier’s show instead, but then I realized that, this being Austin, there’s of course an alliance between the “bat enthusiasts” and the “cat enthusiasts.” Why wouldn’t there be? They both end in “-at” and may, at times, involve capes.
(By the way, even if you’re a very polite person like me, it’s really, really hard to walk into a cat show and not want to scream, “I SMELL POOO-SAY!”)
The show’s room had rows of tables where the owners set up their cat’s cages—some more elaborate than others, all containing litter boxes for the contestants just like on Toddlers and Tiaras. At one point, a “cat mommy” walked past us with huge, bleeding claw marks on her arms and drawled, “Silkyface got me. She’s being a total diva today.” Again, just like on Toddlers and Tiaras.
The judging areas were on one side of the room and each cat would wait patiently in its cage until their particular CATegory was called. (OK, I was just trying out a “cat word play” thing right there, but obviously, I need to stop.) During the competition, the cats sat in wire cages while the very serious judge would crouch to the ground and wave a sparkly toy at them to see who had the best reaction. Then she’d take out each cat and examine its body and teeth while they hissed and yowled. (Question: Am I the only person who thinks Donald Trump should do this in the Miss USA pageant? I know I would love to see Miss Alabama checked for fleas.)
Jennifer, who actually is a Cat Professional, walked around with me and the kids for about two hours, and repeatedly said, “May I touch your cat?” to the owners. My husband Chris did the same thing and now I think he might be engaged to a woman named Bitsy who not only raises Bengal cats, but also dresses like them. Honestly, with all her safari wear, it was awfully hard to see where the cat ended and Bitsy began.
Other ladies just went with simple embroidery:
(Less is more, Bitsy.)
The most interesting aspect of the cat show was probably the variety of exotic cats. No back-alley-born calico losers like Miss Dickens for these people. No way. They all had special breeds that required lots of time and lots of money. Like the woman I talked to who had no hair, missing teeth and shoes held together with gum drops, but was still “making payments” on an Abyssinian. Now, if I were her, I’d probably opt for “making payments” on a dental plan, but you know, different strokes.
Now, let’s meet the cats!
Here’s a little someone who took her Brazilian waxing just a bit too far:
And someone who would make me sleep with a machete under my pillow:
And here’s Mr. Freckles, a Scottish Fold. I now know way more than I ever wanted to know about Scottish Folds because his owner just loves to talk and talk and talk. Maybe that’s why her cat does this:
My biggest complaint about the show is probably the fact that they didn’t hang a sign by the restrooms that said, “PUBLIC LITTERBOXES.” I mean, come on. That’s just synergy.
But luckily, they did have shopping areas where you could buy anything from cat socks to cat earrings. After browsing a bit, Jennifer whispered to me, without any irony whatsoever, “Those ladies selling feline toothpaste were sure being gossipy and catty.” Oh, Jennifer. We were also both intrigued by the cat toy area, mostly because the feathers on a stick looked like something you could buy in one of those XXX stores off the freeway where I once saw my ex-boss’ car. I would have gotten a couple of the feather sticks to play with at bedtime, but they probably would have made me, I mean, my cat, sneeze too much.
Finally, it was time to go home for some long, hot showers and a few hundred doses of Benadryl and Sudafed. But not before I begged my husband to buy me this:
If you’re guessing he said “Oh, hell no,” you’d be right.
I really don’t like his cattitude.