A FEW HINTS ON SHOW ETIQUETTE
THIS is the season for our big cat shows, and it may not be amiss at this time to say a few words pertinent to this occasion. First of all, if a breeder has not the utmost confidence in the judge, it is better - far better - for her to keep her cats at home, and not take them to the show. We choose our judge, and after doing so, we must submit to her decisions, and if we cannot do that in a sportsmanlike manner, let's keep our pets at home and not make a scene at the show. Judges judge cats and not people, but we have ever with us exhibitors who do not feel that way, and when such is the case, it is far better to do our own judging at home, and not make others dissatisfied.
Prepare your cats for the show by giving them, two days prior to the opening day, a laxative of some sort, and be certain that it takes action. A constipated cat is in not condition for show purposes, and is more likely to take almost any disease that may be lurking in the air. Another thing: Do not carry to the show with you a lot of tid-bits for your cats. Remember, that they are in a confined space and do not get any exercise, and do not need a lot of food in their stomachs, and the little they are given at the show is more than sufficient for their needs. Any more will surely cause trouble.
The only thing ever taken with me to the show is a bottle of olive oil, a little camphor, and a small vial of Chinosol, for disinfectant purposes. Before being placed in their cages, I wipe every bit of the pen with the spirits of camphor. That will kill every germ that may be left from the previous year's showing, and then after that, I go over the cage with Chinosol, which can be bought at any drug store. One tablet makes a quart, and it is stronger than bi-chloride of mercury, and is absolutely non-poisonous. In a later article, more on this subject will be written.
At the end of the second day, if my cats are still constipated, I give oil when leaving them at night, which generally forestalls or removes all trouble. it is always wiser and safer to keep your cats in their cages where they belong, rather than carry them in your arms around the showroom for everyone to handle and admire. The cats are under a great nervous strain in any event, and far more likely to contract a disease when handled by everyone.
Keep at a distance from the judge's ring, or cage. If you care to watch the proceedings, do so in silence ; you will gain absolutely nothing by letting the judge know that it is your cat she now has before her. It also confuses her, and is in exceedingly bad taste. If you see a ribbon placed on your cat's cage which is not blue, don't make a scene, but submit gracefully, and remember that the decision is only the opinion of one person, and not final. Some other judge at the next show may award exactly the reverse, so be a good, first-class sport and hang it with what pride you can muster on your cage, even if it be yellow - and that makes good feeling all around.
Don't get in some far corner with some other second-rate disgruntled exhibitor, and "talk it over" so loudly and noisily that in a few moments you gather around you a few more who feel just as you do about it. In a few moments, the unrest and dissatisfaction will spread like wild-fire over the whole show-room - and what have you gained? Absolutely nothing - and you have also hurt yourself and others very materially, Just submit quietly, and after you have cooled off a bit, go and take a look at the cat who won the blue ribbon over you, and be frank with yourself. See if it's not the best cat after all, and admit it. A judge knows, and you don't. That's what she's paid for.
Be courteous to strangers. Show them around. They are there to look and learn, and your interest and willingness helps to create a good feeling, and at the same time, assists the sales committee wonderfully.
When the time for awarding specials arrives, hand in your card without gusto, and await your turn ; you'll be waited on so much the quicker, and the poor special committee should always have our sympathy. I know it has mine. In short, be courteous all the way through, and as ladylike as you would be to guests in your own home.
After it's all over, and you have your little flock safely at home, before retiring, sponge each of them in alcohol. be thorough, and also give them a good dose of oil, castor preferred. If you haven't any of that, then use olive oil - and watch. If you safely pass the fourth day after the show successfully, and without sickness, you are probably safe, as any show-sickness usually occurs about the fourth day after. I will later write on the care of the cat should it develop show-sickness.
[Messybeast's note: in the late 1800s and early 1900s there seems to be an obsession with aperients and laxatives to make cats empty their bowels as a way of avoiding or curing almost any illness!]