Picture of purebred cat being prepared to be judged at cat show

This is an excellent cat picture by AARON LAVINSKY of the STAR TRIBUNE of Marsha Tjeerdsma, of Springfield, South Dakota, grooming her Himalayan, “Hott Toddy,” before showing him at the 43rd Annual Saintly City Cat Championship Cat Show.

Picture of what a purebred cat goes through at a cat show before being shown

Picture of what a purebred cat goes through at a cat show before being shown!

The picture caught my eye. It’s a very good photo. Initially I noticed the white powder lying around the cat. It’s quite visible. I have seen this before when accompanying Helmi Flick at a cat show in Oklahoma. She was photographing a white LaPerm (a curly haired cat). Tons of, what appeared to be, talcum powder (it may be something else like a grooming powder) fell out of the cat’s coat while she photographed him.

I’m sure it is normal behavior at cat shows for breeders to dust a white cat’s coat with a white powder to improve her appearance. Forgive my naiveté in these matters but how is this allowed? Surely the judge will notice this when handling the cat? I don’t know but I’d have thought the objective at cat shows is to judge the cat’s quality and therefore it should be unenhanced by artificial means. Clearly this is not considered to be cheating but it looks like it to me. It’s the cat world equivalent of drug cheating in athletics or am I being too harsh or have I missed something?

The cat looks uncomfortable but show cats must learn to accept the type of attention they receive at shows together with the noise and crowds. However, this brings to mind a conversation I had with the breeder/owner of a beautiful tuxedo Maine Coon I met another cat show in the USA. The breeder said her cat had grown tired of attending cat shows and it was time to retire him. I didn’t probe further and presumed that he had become a little fractious and irritated at being at cat shows and therefore was not on his best behavior. This probably went against him when being judged.

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Picture of purebred cat being prepared to be judged at cat show — 4 Comments

  1. The “artifice” of using white powder is nothing mysterious, nor anything but grooming. Sometimes, on very white coats, corn starch is worked into fur to help control oiliness, especially along the track from the base of the ear down to the jaw. Other times, diatomaceous earth is used, also to control oiliness but with the added benefit of killing any fleas or other unwelcome things that people bring in. Both powdery substances are necessarily brushed through and out of the fur so the judges meet a lovely clean cat. And that cat looks quite accustomed to being groomed, as all show cats are since they are groomed from kitten hood.

    The judges have specific things to judge. Standard is, of course, vitally important. Characteristics that meet standard are what judges look for. Temperament helps too! By the way, cats are not judged against each other. They are judged against their particular breed standards. Those cats best meeting standard are the cats who ribbon.

    • Thanks Reesa. I think your reference to fleas is wrong to be honest. There should be no chance that a show cat is going to have fleas in a show hall (have you commented on this before? It rings a bell). If there is a chance it is a disgrace. To have a purebred show cat at a show with dead fleas in her coat because of diatomaceous earth treatment sounds less than ideal

      And I have seen white powder falling out of show cats which indicates to me it is there to artificially enhance the whiteness of the coat. What is wrong with the natural cat coat? I’d argue that the natural coat of a healthy well cared for cat is better than one with powder falling out of it.

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