Every year at this time, I look forward to the Santa Paws cat show in the Baltimore area. My cat show friends do too. It’s a competitive show that brings in some of the best cats in CFA. It’s also, for us, the start of the holiday season. This year was no different.

Last weekend, I drove three iCandy RagaMuffins  to the show area on Friday night.  What should be a two hour drive took four hours. Traffic  was just awful. I  was thrilled to  get to the hotel safely.  I unpacked the kitties so they could stretch out and relax.

It was Mars’ first trip to a show and first hotel stay. He took his cues from Strudel and Carob, who thought it was great fun in the hotel. Fortunately, I did not have to make any major adjustments in the room to keep the cats safe.

The next morning we packed up and drove to the show.  Carob, at heart a party girl, was happy to be in the show hall as was Strudel. Mars was a bit nervous initially, which is not abnormal for a kitten’s first time out.

I had gotten permission from the show manager prior to the show to take Carob out of the show hall for her appointment at a heart clinic. The veterinary cardiology hospital running the clinic was only fifteen minutes from the show hall. They have clinics four times a year to evaluate cats in breeding programs. The echocardiogram is a valuable tool to ensure heart health. The clinics are an economical way for breeders to have their cats checked.

So, shortly after the show started, Carob and I took a trip to the cardiologist. Everything was very efficient . She passed with flying colors and we were back in the show hall in one hour. Meanwhile, friends Mary and Robin were available for Mars.

Strudel is being shown by friend Albert who is considering the CFA judge’s program. Albert has a background with Persians and Household Pets. One of the many steps to becoming a judge is to show a variety of breeds. Albert developed a fondness for RagaMuffins and now has a bond with Strudel in the show ring.

As the day and weekend wore on, Mars became more comfortable. On Saturday, I entered him in the costume contest dressed as in a rabbit suit like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. He was a good sport, although he didn’t win, he did get a participation award. He made two finals and did well learning how to be a show cat. By the end of the weekend, he had figured out how to have a bit of fun, climbing the judging poles and playing with toys.

Carob had a good time with every judge. She has no clue that Strudel placed over her in every ring. It didn’t matter to her. Strudel impressed the judges, finaling in the majority of the rings, making Albert (and me) proud. She earned almost 75% of the points needed for her Grand Championship!

There is always a raffle at Santa Paws. It is awesome every year. I bought tickets as usual. I wasn’t a big winner, but I do it to support the club that sponsors the show. These days, It takes a lot of money to rent a venue, pay for judges’ accommodations and  travel, pay the stewards, clerks, cage service, awards and entry clerk. The raffles help defray cost in addition to the cat entry fees and spectator fees.

It was an enjoyable weekend. The drive home was much easier than the drive there. As always, it was good to get home and start thinking about the next show!