I don’t know much about the YMCA hall that sits just behind the faded Bishopdale open air shopping complex, but if it’s had queues out the door anytime since Bodgies and Widgies were a thing I’d be surprised. On a cold, wet day, there was apparently naught else in the city to do.
The people crowded in the hall looked normal, but each was barely clutching a skerrick of sanity; that’s the lot of cat people. Humans love cats but no cat has ever loved a human. Cats love leg warmth, occasional pats, and food. The rest of the time they barely disguise their distain for the bipedal and furless.
When an owner drops dead, a cat will waste little time before chewing on a greying face. Science says that’s because human cheeks and lips are soft and easy to eat. In reality it’s spite.
Make no bones about it; cats are arseholes.
Beck Eleven doesn’t think so. She was super excited and before I could say I’m not staying for long she was elbowing her way through the crowd to get a better look at the rows and rows of cats in cages.
It reminded me of Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby. Chronic inequality and rampant crime mean those of importance exist behind walls and wire while the masses swarm around them sniffing for whatever they can get. It’s a tough and depressing place, but it’s a picnic in spring compared to a cat show.
The first cat I saw was an impossibly fluffy fucker with bright blue eyes. It looked up at me sadly. I wanted to break it out. And give it first prize. It was a confusing time.
Most of the competitors sat there like dopey loaves of bread and other playfully interacted with their tormentors. I hoped at least one would latch onto a judge and do some playful damage.
Despite a loud speaker insisting people don’t touch the cats, kids with grabby little hands were pushing their fingers through the cages for tiny pats. So was Beck Eleven.
Less than three minutes in and I wanted out. Just let me go down that last aisle, Beck said. Then we had to stay for the judging of the short hair category. The king of the judges had well manicured facial hair and wore a bedazzled suit jacket, the type of garment only a person without teenaged children and who owned eight cats or more would buy. You know the type.
The King handed proceedings over to an American woman who he said was highly qualified. A Trump stooge! I wanted to ask her for her paperwork but instead I received a sharp elbow.
This cat, the judge said, is balanced and proportional, describing all cats in the world that have successfully avoided being run over. She proclaimed solemnly: Today this is my 10th place. I imagine the owner was distraught to be out of the top five, and almost certainly lawyering up.
By the time we got down to sixth place the look on my face was that of the furry fucker I had met earlier.
As we were leaving Beck eyed up all the toys and other paraphernalia on sale. Maybe there’s catnip she said quietly to herself. Catnip being the drug of choice of cat tragics. Get your puss intoxicated enough, the thinking is, and they might start stumbling around proclaiming love.
Getting into the car I asked Beck what she really thought of this madness. With a quick drop of her shoulders she said, it was too busy and I wanted to touch them.
Touch them more, I said. Touch them more, she agreed.
After I dropped Beck off, I arrived home. And there they were. Jawsy and Blackie. The best damn cats in the world. Beautifully balanced and proportional. Next year boys, I said straight to their stupid little faces, you have an appointment at the Bishopdale YMCA hall.