Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cat Show: getting there and parking was the challenge; biggest virtue is "an alert animal"


Well, today I visited the National Capital Cat Show at the Dulles Expo and Convention Center

The ads (at least in the Washington Times) included no driving directions, and I found it surprisingly hard to find from Route 28. It didn’t help that when I got to Route 28 on I-66 I had forgotten in which direction Route 50 was. Once I found it in the maze of industrial parks, I found all the parking lots full. And plenty of the surrounding businesses had “no expo parking, cars towed” signs. Finally, somebody pulled out. The show was packed today because everybody stayed home yesterday as Tropical Storm Hannah passed.

The cat is about the only animal that invites itself into a stranger’s home life. Mountain lions have been known to enter homes. Bears probably would if allowed to. Think about it: any animal that hunts game for a living has to have some smarts and problem-solving ability, which explains why most carnivores learn to accept man, as an “equal” (usually not as food, but there are exceptions). In Dallas, I was “adopted” by a male cat who could recognize the sound of my car, run to my apartment door, and would try to turn the door knob. Once inside, he would run for the refrigerator. He would sit on newspapers that I tried to read, and carry housekeys around the apartment in his mouth.

In an neighborhood, cats who are allowed to wander will memorize their entire territory, and remember every fence nearby mouse holes, and every water spicket that drips. If I make eye contact with a cat in a neighboring yard while walking past, she will come up to the sidewalk and watch.

At the show, while the exhibits of several hundred cats were separated by breeds, the main events seemed to the prize-winning show-and-tells. Cats would claw on their cages saying “I want go next.” The main virtue in the cat world, according to the judges, seems to be “an alert and lively animal.:

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