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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra

Auckland Cat Club (April 2023)

The Auckland Cat Club, of which I am a member of, held its first show of the year on 22nd April at Te Atatū Community Centre – a fantastic venue for accommodating many cats. Most of my day was spent on the entire shorthair cat corner, both adults and kittens. Entered were Apokalypt Magic Circle (1 years 7 months) and Apokalypt Ophelia Flame (5 months). Vetting was undertaken by Dr. Ngaire Dixon and judging commenced.

First was John Smithson (NZCF, NZ) judging Magic Circle. She was presented well by handler Hannah Grant. Magic is confident but not brash on the bench and allowed John to inspect her type, which is required due to her tortie colouring easily misleading those who cannot catch more than a glance. Tail length was checked. Back to the face where he remarked her as a “typey wee girl”, and then a deep look over her coat. Magic did not place in this ring, and it was great to chat with John afterward where he explained her type was excellent, however her coat could be improved.

Next was Dr. Thea Lamprecht (CJGA, South Africa) judging Ophelia Flame. Lovely front facing presentation to Thea by handler Beryl Colley. Thea began running her hands down Ophelia assessing her coat by feel, before picking her up and checking out her front and side profile. She was placed down and then raised up again, and on this occasion, Ophelia shot her legs straight out behind her and superman-ed herself for a great show. A very easy-going girl on the show bench. Ophelia did not place in this ring; I did speak to Thea afterward and received some good feedback.

Ophelia Flame was up again with judge Michelle Hinder (FASA, CCCA, Aust), being presented by handler Jan Allot. Ophelia was tucked up under Jan’s arm and Michelle greeted Ophelia with head and neck scratches. On the show bench, Michelle assessed her coat and adjusted her to an upright stance, but Ophelia wanted to stay low to the ground. Enchanted up by a teaser, Ophelia stepped onto her hind legs and swatted at the toy – giving Michelle a great view of her front and side profile. Ophelia was very tolerant of her face inspections, and her tail was checked. Michelle appeared to find her very cute. Jan even reached over for a pat! Ophelia did not place in this ring and the feedback from Michelle was that her ears were too high, and the coat was not quite tight enough.

Dr. Thea Lamprecht met her second Apokalypt cat Magic Circle in the adult ring. Hannah Grant held Magic up front facing with legs supported to Thea as they both glided toward the bench. Magic loves to be held with a hand under her chest and a hand under her belly, stretching with enjoyment. Thea held Magic up on her hind legs as she got a front facing view, smiling, patting her and continuing to stretch her as she definitely could tell Magic liked it! An attempt was made with a teaser, but Magic is much too refined to chase such frivolous feathers. Magic did not place in this ring, and I spared Thea of feedback for this round.

Back to John Smithson who was presented with Ophelia Flame. The handler placed Ophelia straight to bench, where John picked her up under chest and left her hind legs on ground. Holding her in that position for a great side profile review – he spoke comforting words to Ophelia as she was very tolerant of the control. A quick draw of her tail for assessment which recoiled back between her legs, reflecting slight nervousness. Front face was assessed before looking at her coat, John patted her and seemed to notice her slight bare patches around the neck (permissible in kittens). A few final contortions were made as she had a full once over again, John put breath to his hand before running it down Ophelia’s coat. Wish I’d asked what that was as it is not the first time I’ve seen that. Ophelia did not place in this ring.

Judge Daniel Germishuys (SACC, South Africa) was presented with Magic Circle by a handler unknown to me. Introduced by Daniel “a-ha! A tortie starting with ten points!” – sounds like he is a fan of torties. He swoops her up for a good look at her face type. A quick check of the tail length, before inspecting her coat. He made note to winter just beginning perhaps to explain her coat condition. Daniel then announced he could take Magic home in his bag! Magic did not place in this ring.

Next was the first round with judge David Crymble (WCF, NZ, ANCATS, Aust) who got Ophelia Flame out of the cage himself. On the bench, David ran his finger down the back of Ophelia’s spine, checking coat. Then on to her tail to check length. David stepped back before grabbing a teaser and enticing Ophelia to stand up and paw at the wand. She followed the wand across the bench and was confident – as was David in her being unsecured and free to make a runner if she wanted! David checked her belly for fur and continued to step back and observe her chasing the teaser. A final hoist up in the air for one last look at her side profile and ears, before returning her to the cage. Ophelia did not place in this ring.

Michelle Hinder met Magic Circle, presented by Hannah Grant in the front facing, hand under chest and back legs supported position – attuned to proper Devon Rex handling. Michelle greeted Magic and waved her front paws in excitement. Magic seemed more interested in seeing who was admiring her in the audience and sat on the show bench ready for her judging! Michelle got straight into Magic’s coat, fluffing, assessing. She used a teaser to see Magic’s side profile and ears. Michelle took a long look at her neck and this worried me – I suspect Magic may be barer at this time of year. Magic was very confident and enjoyed the pats. Many smiles from Michelle. Magic did not place in this ring, and I didn’t manage to catch Michelle to chat, the schedule started to bottleneck with multiple judges in the same class.

Back to Daniel Germishuys with kitten class and Ophelia Flame was held high like Simba as she looked straight at him, giving a great view of her front profile and ears. She wriggled her way to the show bench where Daniel checked her tail length. He leant in for a closer inspection of her neck and ears, where it appears the major fault of the day sat. Both cats entered have the same parents. The winter neck balding issue seems to have solidified their placing in the show today. Ophelia did not place in this ring.

It was not the first time that David Crymble had judged Magic Circle, and I wondered if he would recognise her. He scooped her up in one hand to look at her face, ears and profile. Magic is a very easy-going cat to handle so had no qualms about this. David used a teaser to move her head into positions however Magic seemed more distracted by the other cats and people in the audience, a true showgirl. David looked over her coat carefully, it appeared many thoughts were going through his mind, oh to know what they were… Magic placed 10th BIS in this ring, and we were grateful to receive our first placing for the day.

The last judge was Anthony Aldum (WCF, CJGA, South Africa), who first met Magic Circle placed on the bench by a handler unknown to me. Anthony began stroking Magic while holding her front legs off the bench, and Magic cooperated in this manoeuvre by standing upright and looking to me standing on the right side of audience, showing Anthony her wonderful side profile. Eyebrows were raised but otherwise Anthony had quite the poker face. He had to rotate her around as she kept glaring at me. Great comments were made throughout judging. Magic placed reserve Best in Show (2nd) in this ring and achieved a Breeder’s Award of Merit which was pleasing. Very thrilling and a relief to some success of a long day.

Anthony Aldum moved on to be met with Ophelia Flame. The typical stretch and shake manoeuvre to see Ophelia’s body, profile and type. Patting her to inspect coat, a flick of the tail to check length, and a hoist up to see her type. Anthony said she had a very nice profile, which she does. My chosen show cats are at the detriment of my own preference, a strong side profile with break and chin. Ophelia’s ears swung backwards as she looked directly at Anthony – perhaps a little scared, but she was overall very confident on the bench. Handler Beryl Colley was thrusted Ophelia to place back in the cage which was done so gracefully. Ophelia did not place in this ring.

Alas, there were a lot of learnings to be had at the show today.

The biggest lesson was my value for relationships within the uncanny, contradictory, challenging world of breeding animals. It was most enjoyable to spend time with other breeders. Another breeder and I stayed together and had a most enjoyable dinner afterwards – with my family who tirelessly put up with our cat chat. A breeder I mentor drove up to Auckland as soon as she got off work, arriving to see me, the cats, the breeders with only an hour left of the show. Very much appreciated. I can only look forward to improving – it certainly wouldn’t be as fun if I had the best cats straight away. If you’ve read this far, thanks! We shall conclude with a couple quotes:

Always demanding the best of oneself, living with honor, devoting one's talents and gifts to the benefits of others - these are the measures of success that endure when material things have passed away.

– Henry Ford

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

– Winston Churchill.

Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.

– Orison Swett Marden


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