It seems that Cluny is a good place for cat lovers as well as equestrians. At the Griottons today was a show organised by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, originally an American institution which has recently arrived in Europe. The hundred or so cats in the competitions were groomed to perfection and very much admired by the various judges. But many of them have those ugly flat faces which seem popular nowadays, or so much fur that I doubt they could live a normal life. Many of the owners had travelled from Germany and Switzerland, and the judges were from all over Europe. The judge in the photos below was an American who lives in Finland.
Examining a Cornish Rex
The proud owner of a prize winning Persian
Funnily enough we found that some cats looked just like their owners, as above. I find it a bit unnerving the way the cats did not object to being hauled out of cages and passed around by strangers. Learned helplessness?
On leaving we were given free samples of cat biscuits which were wolfed down by our cats tonight so I assume they’d like us to go back to the Griottons tomorrow and get in a supply.
Seeing those unfortunate show cats makes us appreciate our four. A trip down the road to the vet is traumatic enough never mind travelling to another country. They are spooked by anybody who isn’t us, are quite often rather dishevelled and have an ongoing battle with fleas. But at least they seem to enjoy life.
The boys, Kitten and Benedict
I wonder whether if they had more impressive names like the cats in the show they would be a bit more glamorous. Instead of Mother perhaps Ivy Cat Nitro of Snomyst. Benedict could be Suavere’s Dark Secret of Penobscot. (Actual names of a couple of the show cats). Or perhaps not.
This morning we left our three sleeping cats to go and see the international cat show at Les Griottons in Cluny. We’d seen the cats arriving yesterday morning, some from Switzerland and Holland. Uncomplaining, they were wheeled in by the trolleyload.
Swiss cat enthusiast’s car
I thought then that they couldn’t be proper cats. Ours howl like souls in torment just going to the vet’s. And today we saw the hall full of cats, mostly huge and fluffy and all asleep except for those hauled out of their cages to be presented to the judges. The owners hold them so they are stretched out as long as possible.
poked and prodded, and tested for their playfulness
The judge in the above photo was from Belarus and he gave his verdicts in English. Goodness knows if the owners ever understood that their cats had a wonderful coat or nice bone structure.
What makes me think that these show cats were just realistic automatons was that they accepted their treatment without demur. They didn’t seem to mind being handed around and examined, or bothered about strangers peering in at them. Sometimes there were even three cats in one cage.
Back at home we find our real cats still sleeping, each in their separate rooms. Mother, our adopted ‘wildcat’ insists that ‘the kittens’, now aged 5, should leave home. Benedict wants to be pally with Smudge but Smudge doesn’t want anything to do with him. I woke up this morning to find them fighting under the bed. Mother would rather die than learn to use a catflap. If the doorbell rings or there are voices outside there is mass exodus so I’m not sure that any of our friends even believe we have cats. They will not be picked up or brushed. Mother will put up with a couple of strokes before you are in danger of losing your fingers.
Anyway, even if they are not sociable nor biddable our three are tough and streetwise. I’m not sure I would choose to have a cat who would do what I wanted. Anyway you don’t choose your cats, they choose you.
That’s 35 in human terms but to us they are still ’the kittens’. Their mother was a stray cat barely a year old. She was starving and the only thing I had to give her was a tin of best tuna. She wouldn’t come in the house but had her four kittens in the nearby stable. We boxed up the kittens and brought them home. She followed and has been here ever since.
The kittens at 6 days old
A life of leisure for Mother
Sadly we lost two of the kittens on All Saints Day 2012 so now we just have Benedict and Smudge.
Benedict doing what he does best, eating
Both cats spend their nights out hunting but unfortunately like to share their catch with us. We often have mice running around under the bed in the early hours.
I would like to come back as a cat. Eating, sleeping and hunting. What a wonderful life!
Chris BBQs some chicken
Our ‘kittens’ are now two years old. It’s been a hot day, about 30°, so they have been sleeping in the shade, only emerging this evening for our first barbeque of the year.
We lost two kittens on All Saints’ Day last November so we now have just the three cats, Benedict and Smudge, and their mother, White Cat. Mother, who was barely one year old when she had the kittens, is the most playful of the three.
Mother climbing the peach tree
Benedict watches her....
and decides to have a go too
while Smuge prefers to roll around on the garden