It’s not uncommon to hear that cats are less work than dogs. Cats take care of themselves, they clean themselves, they don’t need to be walked, they are low maintenance pets.
It’s also not uncommon to hear people complain that their cats ignore them, are lazy or their cat won’t play.
Here’s the problem – just like dog owners have to walk their dog on a regular basis, cat owners have to play with their cat on a regular basis. As a cat owner, it is your responsibility to play with your cat at least once a day. Yes, I said at least once a day – ideally more.
Not only does it build a bond between you and your cat, it helps them adjust to living in a house (something they are not really used to), it helps them gain confidence in their environment and improve their overall behaviour. You’d be amazed at how many issues with litter boxes, hiding under couches (caving) and cats who are “afraid” of their own shadow can be resolved with regular play time.
Bengal cats need play more than most – it’s basically built into their DNA; but, all cats need to play. As they are younger they will play more vibrantly and more enthusiastically. Older cats will play more mentally and it will take more effort from you to get them up and moving.
Play doesn’t mean running around continuously. The act of engaging mentally with stalking, eyes hunting, ears focussed, tail twitching – is an important part of it. That alone is part of their confidence and building into the environment. A session of play should involve stalking time – it’s important!
Catching and Killing is an important part of play too. Make sure they are playing with something they can wrap their paws around and dig their teeth into!
20 – 30 minutes is usually enough time for a good play session. Remember it’s not all running around.
Find a good toy that’s mouse-like or bird-like. Get them into the action. If you find they don’t like it; find another one.
Laser pointers are great for stalking but horrible for killing. Make sure if you start with a laser pointer you move to something tactic for the kill part.
Your cat is your companion – make sure you take care of their needs. Play with them regularly!
Cats prefer unscented, fine textured litter. People prefer scented but cats do not, if you switch to a scented litter you may find the don’t use it as much or at all.
Cats like clean litter boxes. If you don’t clean it regularly that can easily avoid it until it’s clean.
A good depth is 2-3 inches of litter. Too much and they will spray it all over the place. Too little and they can avoid it or make a big mess.
Make sure you get a box big enough for your cat. Bigger cats need bigger litter boxes. Overweight and large cats will like litter boxes with larger sides. This is an excellent choice as well for stand up pee-ers and those who like to play and dig deep.
Electronic litter boxes
We’ve had both success and failure with these litter boxes. We currently use an Open Air Litter Robot; however, these are expensive and only work for full grown cats. Additionally you need to user only certain types of litter. Quick clumping and fine litter is necessary.
Other electronic litter boxes we used still need to be cleaned really regularly and basically don’t twice the burden very much. Just not worth the cost.
Flushable litter is great and we use it for our kittens. We’ve used a few different kinds and they all seem to work similarly. The key thing is the cats liking them and the smell to you.
Like in real estate it’s all about location location location. Find a quiet private location away from their food.
It needs to be easily accessible
You need multiple litter boxes (one per cat minimum and usually one more extra). This is especially important with multiple cats to avoid litter box guarding.
Daily cleaning is important or they will stop using it.
You can use a covered litter box but not all cats will like it. If it’s covered you need to clean it very regularly.
Change all the litter at least once a month and you should clean the entire box at that time.
If the litter smells or the bottom of the box is wet then replace the litter.
Replace the box when it’s cracked or smells and can’t be cleaned.
So we when decided to show Xena and Shinobi in a cat show we had no idea what to expect. We scoured the internet and various resources trying to understand how a cat show works and it was super confusing. It wasn’t until we actually participated that we truly understood how they worked. This is our attempt to bring some clarity to the world of Cat Shows.
Each cat show typically has ~4 rings (I’ve seen as few as 3 and as many as 6).
Each ring has its own judge and is completely isolated from the other rings.
Each day is separate from every other day
If the show goes multiple days then the only difference between each of the days are the judges. Each day will have a new set of judges — everything else is the same! So if you have a 2 day show with 4 rings each day you really have 8 completely judgings going on over 2 days.
When your cat is being judged they are first judged against the other cats of the same breed, sex and colour. It’s very possible that a cat may be the only cat of that sex, breed, coat and colour, especially with cats of lots of different colours. We have Brown spotted Bengals (Male / Female).
Next they judge against the same breed, coat and colour. We have Brown spotted Bengals.
Then they judge against the same breed. We have Bengals.
Finally they judge against all cats in the same rank: Kitten, Open / Championship, Premiership, Household Pet. Note that Open / Championship compete together; however, the rankings are Open -> Championship -> Premiership.
Once you have found a show and decided you want to enter the process is really simple. Just contact the clerk for the show and fill out the form. They’ll be able to tell you anything you need to know for requirements. Typically you’ll need to be registered with the association for that show (TICA, CFA, CCA), fill out the form and pay the entry fee. You can usually do it all by email.
What should I bring to my first show?
Cage (optional) — they will provide a cage in the show, you do not need to bring one. If this is your very first show — don’t buy a cage. You should wait until you see if your cat takes to shows (quite a few do not like it). The cage they provide is adequate.
If you don’t supply your own cage then you should supply the following:
Cage Curtains. You need to surround the cage with curtains so that your cat cannot see the other cats or what’s going on around then. Super important (and mandatory by the show)
Cage Floor. We liked to get a soft bottom (rug or something similar) that they can lie on instead of the table (note that the cage is sides and top only — there is no bottom to the cage).
Absorbent Padding. Basically if they have an accident or spill water you don’t want them lying in it all day — a padding on the bottom to soak it up makes it so it doesn’t spread and you can clean it up easily.
Bed (optional) — somewhere for them to relax — it’s going to be a long day.
Litter Box — the show will provide litter (though we’ve found that frequently it takes the show a while to provide it) however, you should consider bringing some of your own as they may not like the show’s litter. The show does NOT provide a litter box though and you are expected to bring one.
Toys — it’s going to be a long day — they need something to do.
Paper Tower — super useful for any messes that may happen.
Food / Food Bowl — it’s good to get something stable that’s not easy for them to knock over.
Water / Water Bowl — if you can get a water bowl that hooks to the side of the cage — that’s best — otherwise something super stable. We like the metal bowls with rubber bottoms.
Brush / Comb — something to straighten out their coat with
Anything beyond this list is really up to you. There are cleaning / coat sprays, baby powder, ear cleaners, the list goes on and on.
What should I expect to happen at the show?
When you arrive you will check in with the clerk who will tell you your seat assignment, your cat’s assigned number, give you the schedule and take your money if you owe it.
Take your cat(s) to your table and setup your cage. If they are providing you with a cage and one isn’t there, go and ask the clerk. Leave your cats in the carrier until you have fully set up your cage.
Put your cats in the cage, try to settle them down. Give them a chance to go the bathroom, eat and drink.
Checked the schedule and look at each ring and when your times are. They should be spread out throughout the day.
Wait for your number to be called — they will announce the numbers and the ring to go to.
Take your cat to the ring and put them in the cage with your number on top.
Close the cage and get out of the judging area — they don’t want you hanging around.
Feel free to watch the judging and when the ring clerk takes your number down that’s your cue to take your cat back to the cage.
If you won any ribbons (congratulations!) they will be on the cage before they take the number down.
Wait for your number to be called again.
Talk to visitors, talk to neighbours, check out other cats, read a book — there’s a lot of waiting.
If you are in a multi-day show then it’s expected to leave your cage setup for the next day. Take your valuables; but it’s fine to leave your litter box or other inexpensive items at the show.