Madison Square Gardens has an annual tradition of hosting the CFA IAMS Cat Championships, hosted by the Cat Fanciers' Association within the Expo Center. I had the great pleasure of accompanying a cat enthusiast this weekend to survey the kitty floor. After purchasing my over-priced cat show ticket, I circled my way around the many tower levels and found myself face to face with the ticket clinchers. Upon thrusting my $15 ticket into the hand of a stupidly smiling portly fellow . . . I quickly realized that this is going to be weird. Portly man: "Ha haaaaaa, only women are allowed in the show!" Me: "Uhm . . . what?!" Portly man: "Only women are allowed to be in the show. Haaaa!" Me: "Uhm . . . ok-ay. . ." He handed me back the ticket and said some smart mouthed remark about it being a joke. Thus, I stumbled up the escalator into kitty land.
Little cat carriages, decked out in vibrant satin sheets with little luxurious pillows and crystallized kitty litter were the standard. Devotees additionally, would set up mini cat shrines, dedicated to their vain 'family members'. Mothers lovingly brushed their children's fur and used makeup brushes for some peculiar reason on their feline's eyes. Instantly, I gasped in shock and mild horror and made my way to the back of the expo center, searching for a ring number two because that was where my cat lover roommate was stalking her prey. Maybe it was the numerous amounts of large people eating out of Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets that frightened me, or possibly it was the massive amounts of glittery objects meant to entertain the cats. However, I only seemed to be getting in the way of some nervous competitors that would shout, "Cat, coming through! Get out of the way!" Discovering, that there were no labels or signs of rings in the place, I gave up and found the nearest concession stand.
Once I found my roommate, I was saved the burden of traversing the floor on my own. There was a stage in the back that displayed cat celebrities. The cat from CSI made an appearance and another cat that had appeared on animal planet show competitions. The most interesting event was a cat sex education speech made by a veterinarian cat specialist. However, the speech was more disappointing than entertaining because it had little to do with sex. Most of her tactics were of giving out meaningless trivia and quizzes on cats. "Can cats mate with bunnies? Is there such a thing as Cabunnies or Cabbits? The answer is NO!" I kid you not. I blame the lack of reasoning with her being from Orange County. She was very amiable, just too peculiar for my palate.
There were also exercise rings that were physical and agility challenges for cats to run through. Basically, the owner would pay ten dollars to wave a little feather toy and have the cat jump through rings and run up stairs in order to prove the height of their skills. It looked like a fun little playground but aren't cats for the most part lazy? And don't they enjoy being lazy? Most of the cats that were sleeping seemed fairly content. There was a cat with sheep like fur, named Woolibaar. The cat not only had a stuffed animal labeling it as an icon, but it had a marquee with scrolling red lights on the top of its' plush carriage. These were high-class cats in the midst of a strenuous competition of style.
The most enjoyable part of the cat show was actually the free part. The adopt-a-cat center was more entertaining because it gave people the chance to see 'normal' cats up close and to actually be allowed to pet them without feeling like a burden. Over 500 cats were available for adoption and several affectionate varieties were on display to the public.
The benefits of going to cat shows are that you are bound to pick up some free cat samples. If you have a hungry cat, bring a friend and pick up a couple extra care packages for the feline. The dressed up teenage cat dancers are a bit overboard in the entertainment department, but the cats are what make the event, not the people.
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