Aby-a-Day – 14 Mars 2020: Scandinavian Winners Show…Cancelled

Yesterday, I posted about the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade being cancelled. That’s not the only thing cancelled. The Scandinavian Winners Show, which was to be 25-26 April, was declared cancelled on Wednesday.

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When I went to the Winners Show in 2018 with Logan, I didn’t fully appreciate what a truly big deal it was. I mean, I knew it was special, and you had to qualify to enter, but I didn’t really get how important it is. Cats who win BIS in the Winners Show get to add the letters SW to their titles. It matters. CFA has nothing like that, where you can earn a title in a single show.

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It started to sink in on the second day. There was no judging, just awarding. People dresssed up in their national colours and it felt like a party.

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But one of the best things was that our friend Stellan’s Singapura, Chi, won! Now he is SW S*Kustens Chi Sarà Con Te.

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He’s also a little doll.

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The timing wasn’t right to go to the Winners Show last year when it was held in Turku, but we were excited to go to this year’s show in Norway. Timing was good, the location was good…and it would have been my first time travelling to Norway! But there is a teeny-tiny silver lining…Next year’s Winners Show will be in ÖREBRO! Our favourite showhall and everything! Hopefully this virus will be managed by then.

That’s not all. CFA’s President has announced that, after the Crab and Mallet show in Baltimore this weekend, the CFA show season is over. It usually ends on April 30th.

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You may recall I got to visit this show once as a spectator; it’s a wonderful show in a great location. And I got to meet the Mooners! This year, however, spectators are not allowed. Only exhibitors and judges will be allowed in the show hall.

Aby-a-Day – 22 Februari 2020: Best blue Abyssinian in Sverak! (Cat Show Saturday)

You may recall on Wednesday, I posted Lorelai’s Diplom from our club, AbSolut Kattklub naming her the best female Championship Aby for 2019. Well, yesterday I got another big envelope, this time from Sverak. Turns out, our Rory is also the best blue Abyssinian in Sweden.

Along with the certificate, I also got the latest issue of Våra Katter, the Sverak magazine/newsletter (similar to CFA’s Cat Talk and TICA’s TICA Trend magazines)…and way in the back, there were their photos announcing their International Champion titles earned in Turku. It was a pretty good day for mail, yesterday.

Aby-a-Day: 8 Februari 2020: Instead of Örebro, a tale of Finland (Cat Show Saturday) (Part 1)

Note: today and tomorrow’s posts were written by Björn. We were supposed to go to our favourite show in Örebro, but for a constellation of reasons, we had to stay home. Since I had planned to do cat show posts this weekend, I thought I would share Björn’s account of Jacoby’s Big Finland Adventure.

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We left for Stockholm on Thursday, 29 September.

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It was our first time travelling with a cat EU passport!

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Jake made himself comfortable on the train – his first big trip since he moved to Sweden. The train ride took two hours.

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Once in Stockholm, we caught the bus to the ferry port on the eastern outskirts of the city.

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We checked in, and boarded the ferry.

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Jake, of course, made friends as we waited to board.

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While in the queue on the gangplank, we could see the cars waiting to board (it is a ferry, after all). Sweden is known for its fascination with vintage cars, and it’s always fun to see them. There may have been a car show in Helsinki that weekend.

There was a photographer at the gangway, snapping photos of Jake.

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After finding our cabin and setting up the litterbox, we left Jake to enjoy the comforts of the cabin while we explored the ferry.

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The Baltic Sea ferries vary in standard, but the best are like cruise ships, albeit on a smaller scale. There was a mall, several restaurants and bars, and the inevitable gaming areas. The photographer sold prints of the photos they took during boarding, and those with Jake were awesome.

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We stuffed ourselves at the buffet, and feeling content, we went looking for amusements. Of course, Koshka found a slot machine game with an Abyssinian.

Later in the night, high winds made the ship roll, making us walk like we were more intoxicated than we actually were. Jake was happy to see us return…but the rolling ship didn’t seem to faze him at all.

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The seas were calm next morning when we neared our destination, Helsinki, the capital of Finland. We left our cabin, Jake riding in his stroller, and went looking for a cab to take us from the port to the city center.

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As it was Koshka’s first time in Helsinki (and my first time in 15 years), we stored our luggage at the railway station, and did some sight-seeing and shopping. In every shop (more than half a dozen), we made sure that it was OK to bring Jake.

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Not one turned us down; on the contrary, the staff in every shop were charmed by our furry companion, almost forgetting the other customers.

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After a late lunch at a Finnish restaurant, we went to the rental car pickup place.

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As the driver, I quickly realized that getting out of an unfamiliar city at rush hour on a Friday was a challenge. I sent grateful thoughts to the inventor of the GPS navigator, as it made finding our way a thousand times easier. Jake began meowing straightaway, and kept up the song of his people for the 45 kilometers (28 miles) to Siuntio, a small town west of Helsinki which was the location of the show. We found the hotel, the Rantasipi Siuntion Kylpylä, and checked in.

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The sprawling hotel was pretty labyrinthine, but we found our room and installed ourselves. We had dinner in the hotel restaurant, and by the looks of the other guests, most of them were there for the cat show.

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Saturday, 1 October: Jake’s debut as a show cat in Europe. The vet check was pretty early, but we were there in time (again, thanks to the GPS).

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We found the show cage and set it up with curtains, bowls and litterbox.

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We were benched right next to Jake’s good friend Sketsi.

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As it was the 50th anniversary of the first litter of Abyssinians born in Finland, the Aby people had the goal of showing 50 Abys and Somalis, a goal that was surpassed.

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Our friend Anne Kontula was especially invaluable, helping us find our way in the strange world that is a FIFe show. Anne also shows in CFA, and she was just so great at helping Koshka navigating between the two systems. She and her friends and family treated us to snacks, and made us feel very welcome.

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Koshka said that she had no idea what she was doing, apart from going where her friends told her. That said, our first judge, Martti Peltonen, was very impressed with Jake, and said almost immediately that Jake looked like an Instincts cat! Nailed it!

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There were three ruddy neutered males, so Martti got to name a Best in Variety (BIV). Jake ended up being chosen!

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Martti also Nominated Jake for the final! Of course, we didn’t know what, exactly, a NOM was…but we knew it was good.

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Jake was awarded a rosette and a little charm on a purple ribbon as his award.

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Then it was time for the panel. Jake was up against some stiff competition. It was nice to have someone else handle the cats to display them rather than the owners, as it gave us a chance to just watch the proceedings.

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All the Category 4 judges examined each Nominee, including the judge who nominated the cat. Then they vote for their Best In Show. Jake only got one vote (from Martti), so we didn’t win BIS, but we were pretty happy with our first go.

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When the first day was over, we returned to the hotel. After dinner, there wasn’t much in the way of distractions. A bar, a slot machine…

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and the TV in the room…But we knew we had to get up early for the show’s second day, so we went to sleep fairly early.

Aby-a-Day – 11 Januari 2020: International Champion Joy Minimali*PL (Cat Show Saturday)

We went to a cat show in Turku, Finland, back in November. The main reason we entered this show was so that Lorelai and Izaak could earn their International Champion titles. In order to achieve this, cats must earn three certificates from three different judges in two different countries. We had the three certificates from three different judges locked. We just needed to go to a different country. Turku is a convenient ferry ride, and a place we hadn’t visited yet.

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As is not uncommon, Zak was the only Singapura in the show, so we were pretty certain that he would become an IC.

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His judge for the day, Pia Nyman, loved him. She praised his perfect “reindeer” colouration.

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She also knew Singapuras, which, in FIFe, can be rather hit-or-miss when it comes to judges. But Pia was actually “babysitting” a litter of Singas at home for a Finnish Singa breeder friend.

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Singapuras are almost always the last breed in the ring in Category 3 (unless there are Selkirk Rexes, Sokokes or Snowshoes entered, and honestly, they’re almost rarer than Singas! But because we are last, we usually just hang around for the Nominations, because we’re almost always under consideration. The Champion males were stiff competition. We were up against a Korat, a British Shorthair, an Ocicat, and an Egyptian Mau.

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But you could tell she really liked Zak.

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It was super close and really tense. I am usually the one who’s taking the photos, not holding the cat during the Nomination.

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Pia took close second looks at the Brit and the Oci…

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…and she also revisited the Mau.

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But she kept coming back to Zak.

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Pia had good things to say about all of the cats.

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But, in the end…it was Zak who won the NOM!

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Then it was time for the panel (basically, the FIFe finals), and we had a great steward assigned to handle him.

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It was close…there was a white British Shorthair and a seal Burmese with Zak…Zak did get one vote, but in the end it went to the Burmese.

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That didn’t matter, though. We got what we came for.

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Zak earned his International Champion title.

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And he also earned a really nice NOM medallion. The prize you get for winning a Nomination can really vary between clubs. We have gotten trophies, plaques, banners, and simple rosettes…but medals are by far my favourite, and the Turok medals are seriously the best I have ever seen.

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It seems that they had them custom-made somewhere. They are really heavy and really nicely made (this coming from someone who did metalsmithing and jewellry making in college and coin-making in the SCA). It’s one of the best cat show trophies I’ve ever won.

Aby-a-Day – 3 Augusti: There’s winning and then there’s doing pretty good (Cat Show Saturday)

We’re at a cat show in Södertälje this weekend. At the last show, I bought a little shelf for the show cage which also has a curtain to hide the litter box.

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This is the first time we’ve actually used it, and as you can see, it’s quite the hit with the ticked crowd.

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The show was in a good location (near an amazing Greek restaurant, too), and it was well-organised and set up…that’s always a plus! Lorelai was the first to be judged in the morning.

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The judge, Glenn Sjöbom, was fast, but thorough.

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I am always surprised by how calm Rory is on the table with the judge. She’s always so squirmy and active, but put her on the judge’s table, and she’s a perfect angel.

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There are four blue Aby girls in the show today. The other two are IC Abychat Whos-That-Girl and her two daughters, S*Cat Claw’s Purr-fect Pleasure and S*Cat Claw’s Purr-fect Paradise.

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Here is Whos-That-Girl with our friend Susanna.

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Because there were more than three blue Abys, we could have a Best In Variety, so we had to wait around whilst all the girls were finished judging.

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Meanwhile, in the ring next to ours, the ruddy Abyssinians were being judged by Thea Friškovec.

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I had to laugh when I saw this guy (GIC S*Aucuparia’s Mimar Sinan JW) because he reminded me so much of Jacoby sitting in the judging cage like that.

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Then it was time for the blue Aby BIV. Poor Glenn had to choose between four girls.

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First he eliminated one of the kitten sisters.

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He checked Rory’s ticking and undercoat tone.

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I had the presence of mind to switch to video for the final decision…I’m glad I did! Click on the image to see the video in another window.

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Rory seemed pretty proud of her achievement.

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And perhaps a little stunned, too. She was also up for Nomination, but lost out to a Cornish Rex.

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Next, it was Izaak’s turn to be judged.

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His judge, Eric Reijers, was quite charmed by our little Zak.

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I’m not sure who was having more fun playing, Zak or Eric.

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He tried out every toy with Zak to see which he liked best.

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(Spoiler alert: He liked ALL of them!)

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Our friends Jenny and Skilla (S*Kustens Follia d’Amore) were at the show, too! It was good to see them again.

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Skilla was having a bad day. She was cranky and hissing. Again, I was reminded of Jake.

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Zak was up against three British Shorthairs; a blue with amazing golden eyes, a brown mackerel tabby, and a young red tabby. Unfortunately, Björn was busy with Rory, and I was holding Zak, so I don’t have any photos. I was shocked when Zak got the Nomination! We almost always lose to the BSHs.

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Finally it was time for the panel. Zak didn’t like the grooming I gave him, so he did it himself.

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I really like that stewards hold the cats up during the panel. That means the owners and breeders can relax and watch.

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The competition amongst the the male cats was stiff! A Bengal, a Lilac BSH, and little Zak. The way it works is, the three judges who judged the class (in this case, Vladimir Isakov, Sirpa Lindelöf, and Eric) look at the cats who were NOMed, and vote on which they think is the best example of their breed.

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In the end, the Bengal got two votes. But Izaak got one as well! Considering the competition, that’s awesome!

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But remember the ruddy boy who reminded me of Jake? He won Best in Show in his class! Here he is with our friend Jan, his human. They both look pretty happy. I wonder what will happen tomorrow?

Aby-a-Day – 15 Juni: Parallel Judging (Cat Show Saturday)

Amongst all the other things that happened at last weekend’s cat show, I mentioned that there was a trainee judge watching the Abyssinian judging, shadowing a Group 4 judge. But later, after the Singapuras and the Selkirk Rex had been judged, Stellan called me to bring Izaak over to the Group 3 “Parallel judging.”

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I’d never heard of that before, much less seen it. Stellan said it’s fairly rare. But it’s actually pretty cool, and I don’t think either CFA or TICA have a thing like this.

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Basically, you’re all called up to a mock ring. Stewards take the cats up to the student judge, who judges each cat and writes down notes on every one, the same as the real judge does. She also chooses her Bests in Variety and the cats she would Nominate if she were the judge.

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Later on, they compare her notes and decisions to the actual judge’s notes and see how she did in comparison. We exhibitors don’t get to see the notes, nor do we ever know how our cats placed…but it was interesting to watch.

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Zak thought it was a lot of fun! Maybe even more fun than the actual judging, because he got to do it and Lorelai didn’t!

Aby-a-Day – 8 Juni: Double play! (Cat Show Saturday)

Today we are at our first cat show since Örebro in January – four and a half months is a long time to not go to a cat show! We were supposed to go to a show in Falköping last month…but someone missed some kittens’ vaccination boosters, so we couldn’t go. So here we are in Gislaved at the DackeKatten show.

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And what a great show it is! Lorelai was first up, and the first thing that happened when she got onto the table was…another judge brought a cat over to our judge’s table for a second opinion on the cat’s colour.

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Even though a strange cat was just inches away from her, Rory didn’t even notice. This is why Jacoby didn’t like FIFe…he didn’t like having to see other cats. Being close to them was right out. But that happens in FIFe. Luckily, Rory and Izaak, having grown up in FIFe, don’t mind being held out in the open with other cats.

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Rory’s judge today was Alexey Shchukin from the Netherlands.

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He had a judge-in-training, Hannah Jensen, with him, so he spent a lot of time explaining what he was doing as he went along.

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He explained what he saw in Rory as she listened intently.

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Then Hannah looked at Rory herself, trying to see what Alexey saw.

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During her judging, Rory decided Alexey need a hug. He kept explaining things to Hannah despite the schmoozing.

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Rory supervised as Alexey wrote down his judging notes.

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Then it was Zak’s turn on the judge’s table.

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His judge was Thea Friškovec, from Switzerland.

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I didn’t know it until the end of the day, but she actually breeds Singapuras herself.

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Zak sat nicely whilst Thea wrote her notes on the judging sheet.

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Our friends Stellan and Hans Owe from S*Kustens were at the show, too, with their two girls, SW GIC S*Kustens Chi Sarà Con Te and IC S*Kustens Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. We’ve seen these two girls at shows many times before.

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Because there were three Singapuras in the show, we got to compete for Best in Variety (BIV).

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It was a very close competition. Stellan and Hans Owe breed amazing Singas. But, to our shock…

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Our Zak was named BIV!

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And whilst I was watching that happen…Lorelai got a Nomination in her class (Unspayed Females)!

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Then Zak was up for his Nomination, and his competition was stiff: He was up against a sweet Egyptian Mau and a stunning Bengal.

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But the Singapura was the one Nominated to the panel! Both Rory and Zak have gotten one Nom each…but this is the first time both our cats were Nommed in the same show.

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Not only that…but Rory became a Champion today.

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After lunch, it was time for the panels. Rory went up first.

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For Best in Show, Category 4, Unspayed Female, Rory was up against a very nice Cornish Rex.

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And she won!

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This is Rory’s very first Best in Show win.

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Next up was Zak.

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I mean, we were still over the moon about Zak getting his BIV. And now he was going to the panel!

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Zak was up against a very nice Burmilla in Category 3 Unneutered Males.

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And the judges’ choice was…

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Our Zak!

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Both of our cats were Nominated, and both were named Best in Show. AND one got BIV! We were stunned…

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We had a really good day at the show today…probably the best since we showed Jake.