Cats are so familiar and yet so enigmatic that seemingly normal people are capable of expending a great deal of verbiage describing and interpreting cat behavior, preferences, interactions, dietary and grooming habits, psychology, etc., ad nauseam – so much so that discursive, picayune, ruminative, twee and ultimately inconsequential online writing in general has come to be know as “cat blogging.”
But while almost any cat owner can succumb to the occasional outbreak of cat blogging, only true feline fanatics fall into the circle of “cat fanciers,” as codified and personified by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), who are seriously fixated upon their pedigreed kitties.
The CFA just held its 18th annual International Cat Show over the weekend in San Mateo, California, and for the first time a cat from (shh) outside of the United States has won the coveted “Best-in-Show” title. The cat, “One-O-One Mascalzone Latino,” a black male of the Exotic breed owned by Marcella Mareno of Rinale Ligure, Italy, won the coveted honor from among a field of 823 pedigreed, pampered and preening felines.
“This year’s ‘Best-in-Show’ cat comes extremely close to meeting the written standards for the Exotic breed,” said Pam DelaBar, president of the CFA. “Competition was fierce this year, but he really earned the title with his wonderful presentation.”
Full details of those “written standards” in all their arcana are on the CFA site, but the general description says, “the ideal Exotic should present an impression of a heavily boned, well balanced cat with a sweet expression and soft, round lines. The large, round eyes set wide apart in a large round head contribute to the overall look and expression. The thick, plush coat softens the lines of the cat and accentuates the roundness in appearance.”
The ideal Exotic body is “of cobby type, low on the legs, broad and deep through the chest, equally massive across the shoulders and rump, with a well-rounded midsection and level back,” and a black Exotic should be “dense coal black, sound from roots to tip of fur,” and “free from any tinge of rust on tips or smoke undercoat.”
That’s the minimum I would expect out of a cat named “One-O-One Mascalzone Latino.”
The other top winners at the show were:
— Best Shorthair Kitten
Blue Russian Blue Female
— Best Longhair Kitten
Blue Patched Tabby & White Calico & Bi-Color Persian Female
— Best Shorthair Championship
“Majikmoon Will Silver With Age”
Blue Cream White Sphynx Female
— Best Longhair Premiership
“Kenkat Play It Again Sam”
Red Tabby Persian Neuter
— Best Shorthair Premiership
“Casadecano’s Black Orpheus”
Ebony Oriental Shorthair Neuter
In order to even qualify for the show, participant cats were required to produce odorless feces.