Waffle and Tirzah
This weekend I donned my finest cat apparel (it's not like wearing a band's shirt to their concert, right?) and headed to the Garden State Cat Club Cat Show & Expo in Somerset, NJ. Far from just a cat show, the expo aims to educate the public about cats, cat care, and new products and training. The lobby of the exhibit hall is donated to numerous local shelters who are invited to bring their cats and kittens for adoption, and there are also informative demonstrations on feline grooming and first-aid. The event has been touted as one of the top two cat shows in the United States (the largest one on the east coast), and was even visited by John Fulton on the first season of Animal Planet's "Must Love Cats." (Read about my trip to last year's show here).
Feline Agility Course
In addition to checking out all of the amazing cats who were competing in the show and perusing all of the cool kitty gear for sale in the "Meow Mall," one of the highlights of this year's event was the Feline Agility Competition. You may have heard of dog agility courses, and feline agility is essentially the same thing, just with a smaller course, lower jumps, and more er..reluctant participants.
Instead of being motivated by the prospect of treats, the cats are led through the various obstacles with a feather wand toy (watch this "Kitten Agility Training" video for the cutest example you'll ever seen in your life). I did see a few young cats successfully make their way through the course, however most of the show cats seemed to enjoy giving their owners a work out, as they hid in tunnels, or attempted to go under hoops instead of through them. One particularly adorable five-month-old Persian (pictured above) was greeted with cheers after she entered the ring and jumped through a hoop unprovoked, before showing decidedly less interest while being led through the course by her now frustrated owner.
At one point, they asked for volunteers from the crowd, and heart racing, I excitedly jumped up and shrieked "Me! Me!" (Unfortunately, I was also too excited to think about asking someone to take pictures). After being given a brief run-down of the proper place to drag and tap the feather to achieve the desired results, I was paired up with a 7-month-old cat named Mr. Brown. A trained professional, this kitten could have run the course with his eyes closed, and in fact, I was the one doing most of the running as I struggled to keep up with the eager kitten as he shot from one obstacle to the next.
"Not bad!" the woman in charge of the ring said after we finished the course, before giving me an enthusiastic high-five. I was also awarded a certificate for my efforts, and you better believe I will be treasuring it for many years to come.
Two more kitties who definitely lived up to their hype were Waffle and Tirzah, the car bound cats from Basic9.com. Waffle, the handsome black and white cat, wore red sunglasses and a patriotic bandana as he and his sleepy tortie sis made their way through the exhibit hall (and I excitedly chased after them, iPhone in hand). The duo are owned by Gregg and Karen Sue McCandless, who take them to various events, and hope they will inspire others to smile, "and be motivated to share this most outrageous moment when you saw the two cats that cruise around in their own miniature 1938 Model A car and cart."
Waffle may not actually have his license (Greg operates the car using a remote control he holds behind his back, and also speaks as the cat through a headset), but the amazing kitty car garnered quite a crowd on Saturday afternoon. During one particularly hilarious moment, the tenacious tuxie challenged a woman in a motorized wheelchair to a race -- to which she gladly accepted, and promptly lost.
All in all, I had a great time again this year, and met many kitties I will not soon forget. I also want to give a shout-out to Janna and her husband Andy of Chester SmooshyFace, who I finally got to meet in-person for the first time!
Cat or disapproving marshmallow?
Amazing Kitty Cake
Cat Dreams Are Made of These
Anybody need a cat bib?
Each of the judging stations were decorated with a different theme. I want to be on their crafting committee!
For more information on the Garden State Cat Club, please visit their website at gardenstatecatclub.com.