How the Institutional Racism of Yesterday Still Reverberates Today
As Marjorie mentioned last week, the Oregon Cats Classic was happening in town over the weekend. In an inspired attempt to claw the cat-lady-in-chief reins from Alison Hallett, I pointed and yelled something about Cheryl Strayed, and while she was distracted, I swiped her beat.
And it. Was. Glorious.
Click for more cats. You know you want to.
I’d never been to a cat show before. Thankfully, my friend Kenna came with me, and she is kind of a cat show expert? On our drive up to the Expo Center she gave me the scoop on how to behave, which was really helpful because WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T JUST TOUCH WHATEVER CATS I WANT WHEN I WANT TO? Apparently there is a protocol. I was a little disappointed. The cat show was one hall over from a gun and knife show, and that made for a fun mix of bumper stickers in the parking lot.
Oregon Cats Classic cost $8 to get into which was totally worth it to me even though I have a cat at home that I am allowed to pet whenever. Kenna said that often the shows are free. She also scoffed that there weren’t enough cats. There were...I don’t know, I didn’t count, but just, like, a ton of cats. I liked her attitude, though, and began to take it as my own. “Oh, are these are the only Russian blues? Hmm. Sad.”
If you haven’t been to a cat show either, it’s like this: in a huge hall, there are a bunch of rows of cages with owners sitting around, and cats are either in their cages or being groomed or being carried off to get judged. You can walk around and look at all of the cats and say cute things to them while they look bored (see above). As I learned, you have to ask people if you can touch their cats (WEAK) but the cat people are pretty into their cats (understatement) and most are more than happy to chat with visitors. My favorite cat owners were the ones who immediately offered to let me hold their cats.
Only one lady did not let me touch her cat. The cat was a fancy fluffy white thing. “It’s...oils…” she politely mumbled. No, lady, IT’S...A CAT. I wonder how long I’m going to be mad about this. Probably a while.
Off on the sides are where the cats get judged by breed, color, and gender. Since the show was pretty small, most of the cats got first or second place in at least something. There were points awarded for each win and then the kitties move up and are able to compete for the title of Supreme Cat of Purrlandia. (My suggested title; I think it’s gonna stick.)
The judges narrate what they’re doing and give the cats great compliments like being “pleasant on the table.” I learned that to keep a black cat shiny it has to be dried cold, and that if all cats were allowed to breed willy-nilly we’d eventually have nothing but brown tabbies! Cute!
My favorite cat was a giant persian who hissed at the judge while it was getting fondled. I giggled loudly in the front row. “This isn’t endearing,” the judge snapped at me. Sorry - but, come on, it was a little bit endearing. I mean, LOOK AT IT:
My two favorite things that happened: 1) a guy gently shook his cat upside-down to get it extra fluffy, and 2) a middle-aged man patiently told his wife that he kinda wanted to check out the gun and knife show next door.
It was a great way to spend a Sunday and I will go to all cat shows from here on out forever.
Feel free to ask any questions you might have because I can do another thousand words on this, easy.
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