Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jaxx's Excellent Adventure

Aksum At The Shows

Longer, more detailed story is here: A Cat Show Adventure

Jaxx at 7 months old - Photo by Helmi Flick Cat Photography

Jaxx was being judged by this nice lady at a CFA show in Concord, NC on February 11th and he got a wild look in his eye and leapt over the spectators onto the floor about 8 feet in one jump and took off running for all he was worth toward the open door to the show hall a few yards away. At the same time, the judge took off running after him, and I took off running down the next aisle to do an end run around him and get between him and the door, which other people were hurrying toward also to close it. My friend and vet mentor headed down the aisle too, for a coordinated 3-point team to catch Jaxx as fast as we could. I got around between Jaxx and the door, a feat I don’t think I could have accomplished if it weren’t for the relatively slippery tile floor (as opposed to carpet) that Jaxx had to deal with and my serious adrenaline rush!

Jaxx saw me and started back the way he came, in one of those cartoon-like running-backwards sort of turnarounds. Then he saw the judge who was hot on his trail, and did another turnaround, sliding around with an amazing amount of grace the whole time. Meanwhile, people are shouting “CAT OUT!!” and “CLOSE THE DOOR!!” all around us. Jaxx looks at me and the judge and goes off in a completely different direction, this time toward the row of show cages the cats were all in (the ones not in the rings, anyway). Each double row of show benches has the show cages and then there is an aisle between each of them. My vet friend was waiting in the other aisle. We all knew this routine very well from previous encounters with escaped cats. We hadn’t practiced it together before but we knew it so well that each of us took just the right place to head him off.

Most cats, when in Jaxx’s situation, would run under the tables and run around hiding and playing hide and seek til somebody could figure out which table they were under and the owner could catch them. But not Jaxx, oh no!! He leapt OVER the top of the show cages in two huge bounds of muscular athleticism into the other aisle!!

Where my vet friend was waiting for him. He slid to a stop, defeated for the moment. Then he looked up and saw a show cage, which to him usually means he gets to take a well deserved rest from all of that moving around into and out of cages and being messed around with by all those strange people he doesn’t know (the judges). So he jumped inside the show cage. My friend zipped it up immediately afterward and declared, “It’s not his cage, but he’s caught.” Which he definitely was. I had also done another fast turnaround and had come around the other end (I can’t leap over things quite like Jaxx can!!) and ran down the aisle, thanked her, unzipped the cage, grabbed Jaxx and, breathing rather heavily by now, walked back over to the judging ring.

The judge had been watching all of this at close range and at my inquiring look, said “You can put him back in his cage.” Which I did rather gratefully. He gained the nickname of “Houdini” proclaimed by the ring clerk who had also been watching all of this while yelling “CLOSE THE DOOR” into the microphone, but if you ask me it wasn’t so much a trick as a rather extraordinary bout of athleticism and trapeze artistry.

So when he was called back into her ring for a final, I didn’t know what to think. I guessed she thought he was nice, and well, he is nice, several of us had gotten together to find the nicest Russian Aby from someone we could trust and got him over here, so of course we think he’s nice too….But how nice? There were 50 Championship cats at the show, including some very very nice ones that were being campaigned, too. And would Jaxx’s escape trick count for or against him or not matter at all?

So I waited as she kept picking other cats as she made her (confusing still, I must admit!!) way up the ladder from 10th (or something-th?) up to Best Cat and Jaxx still wasn’t chosen. I think my eyebrows went pretty far up when we got to 5th Best and she still hadn’t chosen him. Wow, in the top four?? And another, then another, then finally only two left. And at that point she picked Jaxx to be Best Shorthair Champion and 2nd Best Allbreed Cat. Wow!!! I was told that Grand Champions make it into the finals and an Open (Novice, first show as an adult) cat didn’t have much of a chance at a final, much less a high number like 2nd Best. I was dumbfounded and silly-happy all at once. :-)

Jaxx with his Best Shorthair Champion & 2nd Best Allbreed Cat ribbons

And I had enough wits about me to make a video of Jaxx being shown by the judge, explaining what she liked about him and why she picked him as her Best Shorthair Cat (and by extension, and something she did a couple of minutes later), her 2nd Best Allbreed Cat. (I still don’t get that part, Jaxx has three ribbons from two rings, it’s very confusing. But I’m not complaining!!!)

Til next time!