The Just Cat-In Around Spring Fling cat show last weekend had a special guest in attendance. His name is Injoi's Need'n Kash, a five-and-a-half-year-old red ticked tabby and white Oriental, and he was present as in his capacity as a “Pet-Me Cat.” Kash, as he is called, was the best Oriental in the country four years ago, said his owner, Sean Hogan-Downey.
The “Pet-Me Cat” program was introduced at the Cat Fanciers' Association national show, held in Indianapolis, Ind., in November, 2011, so it is very new. The April 14-15 show, held at the Taylor Sportsplex on Telegraph Road, was among the first local shows in the nation to offer the program.
The “Pet-Me Cat” program gives show-goers an opportunity to interact with a cat of a specific breed. People who attend cat shows are usually asked not to touch or interact with cats preparing for the ring. Some owners fear that touching by strangers could give their cats diseases. Touching can also spoil the cat's meticulous grooming--which is one of the points on which they are judged--and it can stress them and tire them out.
The program differs from the official CFA-Iams Ambassador Cat Program, which has been in place since 2010. There are only thirteen Ambassador Cats in the United States, and each one has made a commitment to visit twenty-four shows each year.
The “Pet-Me Cat” program, on the other hand, is unofficial. Arrangements are made between the show manager and the cat's owner. A “Pet-Me Cat,” says Hogan-Downey, should have a calm temperament, and a willingness to interact with people the cat doesn't know.
Look for “Pet-Me Cats” at the Anthony Wayne Cat Fanciers show in Ann Arbor on May 12 at the University of Michigan Sports Coliseum, and the Midwest Persian Tabby Fanciers show on August 18 in Taylor at the Sportsplex.