Aby-a-Day – 7 July: “Once you get a kitten, the natural thing you do is take a billion photos” (Cat Show Saturday)

Because of this blog’s hiatus, I have an incredible backlog of photos to go through.

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Lorelai is not making getting through the backlog any easier.

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I mean, LOOK at her. She is stupidly photogenic, isn’t she?

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Oh, and yeah…she was so totally stressed out by being a showcat. Can’t you tell?

Aby-a-Day – 30 June: “A lady never gets her own eggroll. A lady never gets her own anything!” (Cat Show Saturday)

Today was Lorelai’s very first cat show in Forshaga, just north of Karlstad, in Värmlands Län.

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When we got to the benching area and looked at the catalogue, we got two surprises…One, there was a little ruddy girl who was born the exact same day as Rory!

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Her full name is SE*Cat Claw’s Master-Class (I don’t know what her nickname is), and apart from the fact that she looks more like Jacoby, the rest of her was just like Rory.

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She really wanted me to open the cage door and play with her.

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“Oooh, shiny!”

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But the other surprise was even bigger: Rory has a half brother! SE*Cat Claw’s Lord of Light’s father is the same as Rory’s: Norwegian-born Tejas Glenn! Her brother is a handsome fellow, isn’t he? He reminds me a bit of Alfred.

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So how did Rory do? Well, turns out our judge, Marie Westerlund, bred Abys, and she absolutely fell in love with our girl.

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And Rory played on the table like a champ.

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End result? She was nominated to the final panel! She didn’t get Best Kat. 4 Kitten in Show, though; a Russian Blue boy who is on track to be FIFe’s best kitten won the day. But, watching the judges, it looked close decision on the judges’ part, and it’s a very promising start. Let’s see how she does tomorrow.

Aby-a-Day – 19 May: Show stopper (Cat Show Saturday)

Jacoby hasn’t been to a cat show since the first weekend of June last year. This was mainly his choice; he prefers CFA’s style of showing (four to six judges a day, going back and forth to the rings, lots of action and excitement and admiration) to FIFe’s slower pace (one judge a day, and then perhaps the final if you make it to the panel stage, lots of downtime in the benching cage). The biggest difference is in the way the cats are handled: in CFA, a lot of thought is put into keeping cats from seeing each other, whereas in FIFe, cats are held by their owners and the judge selects which cat or cats he wants to send to the final. So after he achieved the title of International Premier, I let him retire and started showing Logan.

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Logan had been entered into the Spinneriet show this weekend…but of course he wasn’t able to be shown, being deceased and all. But we were able to substitute Jake instead, and we also entered him in the Senior classes both days. When we got to the show hall, however, they wouldn’t let Jake in! According to the chairperson (who wouldn’t tell me her name), cats entered in Sverak shows have to get the combined FVRCP vaccine (against Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calicivirus, and Feline Panleukopenia Virus) once a year. Jake has a three-year vaccine, given in 2016 and expiring next year. Despite my vet telling me that he didn’t need to be revaccinated yet, and the vaccination showing an expiry date of 2019 on his passport, they refused to let us into the show and we had to just take Jake home. I confess to having a bit of a sobbing meltdown, because it should have been Logan entered in the show in the first place…and that reopened some shallow wounds. I miss him so much, and this would have been such a fun show to do with him.

As soon as we got back to the hotel, Björn and I looked up FIFe’s rules for vaccinations both in the general, all-FIFe rules in English and Sweden’s branch of FIFe, Sverak’s, rules in Swedish, but we couldn’t find any mention of a one year rule for vaccinations, apart from a recommendation that cats used for breeding be vaccinated annually.

So I don’t know what to do. I paid 950kr (a little over $100 USD) to enter this show, only to be refused entry because of a rule we can’t seem to verify in either FIFe’s or Sverak’s online rulebooks (if anyone does happen to know where it is in either pdf, please let me know)! We asked our friend Anna, who was also at the show, for advice. Perhaps they will let us show Jake tomorrow, but I have little hope. Also, after the way I was treated by the “chairperson,” I am not sure I want to go back. Too bad, too. That was a fun show in a good location, but I don’t think I want to give this club any more of my money. Especially if I can’t get a refund for this show (nevermind the money we spent on the hotel and the rented car and everything else)…

I don’t normally post very much negativity in my blog, but this…I am upset. This wasn’t handled well at all by the club’s chairperson in my opinion. No one explained this rule (beyond saying, “show cats have to be vaccinated every year” – first time in two years I have heard mention of this) or showed us the citation in the rulebook (or told us where to find it ourselves); when I asked the chairperson about a the refund, she told me to ask my vet to state that since it was a three year vaccine I had been advised not to update it (or something like that, they didn’t really explain that either – I am still not sure what I am meant to ask my vet for, exactly) but she wouldn’t give me the email address to send it to. When I asked for clarification, a name or email address, she just got impatient and angry with me and snapped at me to “look it up on the website.” Considering the reason we even had this cat entered, it was pretty insensitive. We managed to salvage the (beautiful, sunny) day by going to Göteborg for shopping and such…but all day I kept tearing up thinking about Logan and Jake’s almost comeback, and I just kept wishing we were at the show where we were supposed to be. Doesn’t help that it was a really good shows for Abyssinians as a whole today.

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Jake’s happy to be back in a hotel room, though. Click on the image above to see his happy paws and hear his happy purring.

Aby-a-Day – 28 April: Getting back to the Scandinavian Winners Show

I’m working on getting back on finishing my photos and posts about the Scandinavian Winners show, and the other Singapuras we met…but it’s been a little hard. It all reminds me so much of Logan. So here is the page with the names of all the Singas entered in the show. There were five!

And, some reason, it was decided that a more than half-page photo of a ruddy Aby kitten would be an appropriate illustration…

(Really, it’s because Singapuras are, alphabetically, at the end of Group 3 in FIFe and Abyssinians are the first listed in Group 4…but still.)

Aby-a-Day – 7 April: Another city, another StrollerCat

If we lived in Göteborg instead of Skövde, Logan would be every inch the StrollerCat that Jacoby was in Boston. (Actually, Jake might be every inch the StrollerCat he was in Boston if we lived in Göteborg…but we digress.)

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He is barely a year old, but Logan has this riding-a-train-in-a-stroller thing down cold.

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To the point that he was so blasé about the whole stroller-on-a-tram thing that he hopped out of the stroller and rode at the back exit door.

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In fact, he seemed much happier riding there than in the stroller.

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I didn’t mean to take this short video (which is why it’s vertical and not horizontal) (click on still to see video on Flickr), but I am ultimately glad I did. Look what a cool public transport customer Logan is! As I told Peter Hasselbom: I guess I do have a trademark with cats I raise. And that trademark is…bulletproofness. I raise cats that can ride a train or stay in a show cage with the door open.

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And that’s not bad.

Aby-a-Day – 31 March: Scandinavian Winners Show (Cat Show Saturday)

Today we are entered in the 2018 Scandinavian Winners Show in Göteborg, Sweden.

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It’s kind of a big deal. Cats exhibited at the FIFe Scandinavian Winner Show must satisfy one of the requirements in the 13 month period prior to the Scandinavian Winner Show:
Adult cats in classes 7-10 must have achieved:
Best in Variety (BIV) or
Best in Show nomination (NOM) or
Each cat qualified in Class 12 or 11 within 13 months prior to Show

Luckily, Logan has qualified in Classes 12 and 11 (Kitten and Junior) and was NOM in his first class 7 (Open Champion) show.

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The show is conveniently located in Gothia Towers. This weekend (Easter weekend), Göteborg also hosts GothCon, a gaming convention Björn has attended regularly for 34 years. It’s rather nice that both big events fell on the same weekend. We booked a hotel in between the two venues, which is perfect.

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The Winners show is different from regular shows. The first day is a regular show, but the second day is a sort of “Best of the Best,” as I understand it. This is also a much larger show than most of the shows we go to. There are over 800 cats representing 37 different breeds and 14 different countries.

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Before the show, there was an official opening ceremony. Stellan, one of Sweden’s Singapura breeders, lives in Göteborg and was the main emcee for the day.

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After the introduction, there was a demonstration of typical Swedish “Bug” dancing. I don’t know from bugs, but it looked a lot like the swing and rockabilly dancing I did in the late 90’s. It looked like fun!

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Then they had a second dance and invited the audience to join in. You can see Stellan cutting a rug there in the middle.

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Then there was the Parade of Nations. Naturally, Sweden was the first, since they are the host country.

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When the stewards carrying flags from all 14 participating countries were on the stage, it was pretty impressive. There are even cats here from as far away as Brazil!

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After the Parade of Nations, the 14 judges were presented to the exhibitors.

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As you might imagine, there are a LOT of rosettes and prizes to be awarded to the top winners.

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Many of the cages in the benching area are decorated in a nationalistic theme for this show.

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Of course, most of the entries are Swedish.

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This Oriental Shorthair breeder had a very Swedish-themed cage along with two really cute crocheted blå och gul crocheted Oriental dolls.

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This cat has a lighted chandelier in his cage!

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These are cats from Denmark.

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And these kitties are obviously from Finland.

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But guess what? These Finnish entries aren’t just “cats”…they’re all Somalis!

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Logan’s cage wasn’t decorated to any theme apart from the regular one we always use at shows. It includes fake pussy willows, because his registered name is Vide, which is the Swedish word for pussy willow.

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If you’re thinking it looks a lot like Jacoby’s show curtains, well….you’re right. They are the same.

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Aby-a-Day – 24 March: Cat-apulted into a new life (Swedish Saturday)

Björn has written another post for me, this time about our cat show career. He is such a great help to me at shows, and he’s better at talking to the spectators than I am! I am so glad he doesn’t hate going to shows with me.

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Dogs have masters. Cats have servants. And show cats have an entourage. Since Koshka moved to Sweden, I’ve become sort of her tour manager.

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We’ve been to shows both in Sweden and abroad (Finland and Estonia thus far) with both Logan and Jacoby, and I’m usually the one who books hotels, tickets for trains and ferries, and rent and drive a car if one is needed.

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Hauling all that luggage (one big bag for the cat, and one for us, plus a few smaller bags) is too much for one person, so that’s another task.

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Then, at the shows, it’s the usual setting up to do. That’s pretty much Koshka’s thing, as she has done it so many more times before. Once the show starts, I’m still bewildered by what and when things are supposed to happen, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.

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I take it that men are in minority in the world of cat shows. There are the judges and breeders, the spouses (enthusiastic or suffering), and the occasional single guy with his cat. As we go to a show on average once every two months, it doesn’t get boring. What is fun is to go to new places, meet new people, and to stay at a nice hotel and go to a good restaurant.

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Also, as I have come to know Jake and Logan, I have become more invested in their success. After all, no one goes to a show just to display your cat and chat with the neighbor!

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While I’ll never have the cat show circuit as a lifestyle, I’m not doing this to indulge my wife, but to do something that I’ve come to enjoy.

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After all, we do this at the pleasure of our feline overlords, right?