Pedigree Show Cat Hated Cat Shows

Snickers, a Pixie-bob show cat in an instrument of torture to restrain her so her claws could be trimmed while preventing her attacking her owner.
Snickers, a Pixie-bob show cat in an “instrument of torture” to restrain her so her claws could be trimmed while preventing her attacking her owner.
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Snickers, a Pixie-bob show cat wanted to stop attending cat shows. She learned to hate it. She made that quite clear to everyone including her owners and the cat show judges as you can see in the video below. Jackson Galaxy, the cat behaviorist was called in to help. His initial assessment, wisely but ultimately based upon common sense, was that Snickers did not want to be at a cat show. There are a lot of good reasons for that, one of which is the noise at cat shows and another is the number of people that a show cat has to encounter at a the show. There are a lot of things about a cat show which are the exact opposite to what a cat would normally like. They are not calm, quiet places where a domestic cat can find a bit of solitude; far from it. Often the owners provide hiding places in their cages and the cats need them.

The first video describes the problems that the owners were facing. You can see that they were keen to carry on showing their purebred pedigree cat. The wife was particularly keen and the driving force. Incidentally, as mentioned, the cat is a Pixie-bob. This is quite a rare pedigree cat with a short tail. This cat breed has a slightly wild look – a bit like a bobcat – but there are no wild genes in this purebred cat.

You can see the outcome of Jackson Galaxy’s intervention in the video below. You will see that he tried to desensitise Snickers to the trappings of being a show cat and also to accept having her claws trimmed. Her claws had to be trimmed as part of the cat show rules. Stickers so disliked this that in the end her owners used what Jackson Galaxy called an “instrument of torture” to restrain her, which in retrospect made things a lot worse because Snickers associated having her claws being trimmed with a very unpleasant experience (which is clearly was). Jackson Galaxy’s objective was to make both the experience of being a show cat and having her claws trimmed relatively enjoyable by desensitising her, which was carried out by associating a pleasant experience with these unpleasant situations. Despite all this, unsurprisingly, Snickers was retired.

I think the story is quite instructive about cat behaviour and cat caretaking, generally. What can the average cat owner take from this story? The first obvious point is not to force a cat to do anything if he or she has made it clear that she does not wish to do it because you will always lose that battle and in any case it is wrong.

The next thing is to make sure that a cat’s environment is pleasant and as mentioned above the cat show halls could never be described as being a pleasant environments for a domestic cat. It has always amazed me how placid some show cats are which in turn has made me wonder why. Clearly some cats accept all the noise and the hubbub but I do believe that a number of show cats are sedated in some way to make the whole experience acceptable which includes by the way some long-distance travelling very often.

Lastly, I liked the way the attitude of Snickers to nail trimming was altered. It is in the video. I’d watch it and learn.

15 thoughts on “Pedigree Show Cat Hated Cat Shows”

  1. Then again, parts of it may have been live. In all events, this singular point involved in every cat show (even dog shows) where the pre-stage last minute details take place between the low-self-esteemed human and the “perfect” showcat take place, has got to harbor a great amount of trepidation, anxiety, angst, etc. I do not understand why anyone would want to put a beloved pet through this.

    • Good point Caroline. These are competitive places and as such the people may be slightly stressed which I suppose is picked up by the cats. Just another reason why cat shows are arguably not a good idea.


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