Cat Fanciers Dictionary

BENCHING REQUEST (bentching rikwest) noun    A tactical maneuver employed by exhibitors with a devout interest in social climbing, self-preservation or both.

BLOW (blo) verb    What a cat does when it turns ballistic in a ring and goes after a judge the way China goes after its dissidents.

CONTRACT (kontrakt) noun    Attempted legalese in which the party of the first part, through sedulous disregard of the first and other amendments, seeks to hog-tie the party of the second part in a transaction involving a cat.

CATALOG (katuhlaug) noun    An often over priced, confusing, hard to use exhibitors necessity. Contains all the information on all the cats entered in the show; however, this information is frequently incorrect due to no fault of the exhibitor or the entry clerk. Designed to fall apart by the third ring of the day. Unlike the hand, is easily misplaced. Most frequently disappears when your cat has done very well and the information it contains is badly needed.

DESIGNER CAGE CURTAINS (dizainer kaej kertinz) noun    A triumph of platitude over practicality whereby once-utilitarian items have been elevated to the status of status symbols. Spiritual kin to the velvet Elvis painting, designer cage curtains sometimes cost more than the cats they surround.

DIRECTIONS TO THE SHOW HALL (direkshunz, sho haul) noun    In legal parlance, sufficient cause for justifiable homicide. No jury has ever convicted a person for assaulting the committee member who put together the directions to the show hall.

DISCRETIONARY INCOME (diskreshunaree inkum) noun    What an exhibitor has left for the mortgage, the kids' orthodontist, the utility bills after paying entry fees, plane fares and dinners charged to Mastercard for the last four shows.

DISINFECTANT (disinfecktnt) noun    A sacramental ointment used by judges to wash their hands of their decisions.

END-OF-ROW-BENCHING (end ov roe bentching) noun    Prime show hall real estate paid for by exhibitors who are incapable of ignoring people on both sides of them at once.

ENTRY CLERK (entre klurk) noun    A person of questionable judgment who suffers fools, phone calls, and inane questions, though not always gladly or with grace.

FRESH WATER (fresh wahtr) noun    A luke-warm, murky substance at least one-quarter mile and two doorways from an exhibitor's benching cage.

FUR (fer) noun    What some exhibitors and judges wear to cat shows in colder months to demonstrate their concern for all animals great and small.

GATE (gaet) noun    A collective noun applied to a collection of individuals, at least half of whom interrupt your grooming to announce that they "have a cat just like that at home".

GENETICS (junetiks) noun    An arcane, tedious discipline, little understood, yet much discussed by cat breeders, the knowledge of which has nothing to do with producing a good cat. Unlucky breeders resort to genetics to explain their failures, lucky breeders embrace it to explain their successes. Both are generally wrong.

HAND (hahnd) noun    An appendage, with an opposable thumb, provided by providence so that exhibitors will have something to write their cats' entry numbers on that, unlike the catalog, they won't be able to misplace.

HOUSEHOLD PET CLASS (howshoeld pet klas) noun    A congregation of cats of allegedly unknown origin who sometimes outnumber their pedigreed cousins at a show.

ITCOULDGOEITHERWAY (itkudgoeeethurwae)    A plea of Nolo Contrendre entered by a judge who is about to do something that a goodly percentage of the audience is sure to disagree with.

JUDGES DINNER (judgz dinur) noun    A secular version of the last supper in which the haves are pursued by the would-haves. An enterprise to which the average exhibitor is not always invited despite the fact that he or she is subsidizing the dinner with an entry fee.

JUDGING TABLE (judjing taebul) noun    A place where fleas, mats, ear mites, and suspicious looking bald spots, miraculously appear for the first time in a cat's life.

LUNCH BREAK (luntch braek) noun    An interval in which exhibitors repay judges for their many transgressions by asking them questions while they are trying to eat.

MASTER CLERK (mastur klurk) noun    A person with a keenly developed tolerance for drudgery, a head for transcribing figures under extreme duress, and a determination to become a judge at any cost. A fondness for self-flagellation and hairshirts may be substituted for the judging fixation.

NOVICE EXHIBITOR (nahvis exibitur) noun    A natural mutation of the human species. Equal parts "golly-gee" enthusiasm and endless questions.

PEDIGREE (pedugree) noun    A document listing the known (or alleged) ancestors of a cat. Much studied by persons with a fondness for cryptograms.

PEOPLE FOOD (peepul fud) noun    What exhibitors subsist on at shows. Differs from cat food in that the latter must conform to certain government standards.

POLITICS (polutiks) noun    Why your cat was defeated by a cat belonging to someone on the show committee, or by a judge.

PREPOTENT (preepoetunt) adjective    What a male cat automatically becomes after he's produced one good litter with a mediocre outcross female.

PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM (publik ahdres sistum) noun    An instrument of torture that argues (loudly) on behalf of selected repression of freedom of speech.

RAFFLE (rafl) noun    Legalized petty larceny, sanctioned by show committees, in which children are authorized to shake down their elders in the spirit of trick or treat.

RIVAL ASSOCIATIONS (raival asosseeaeshunz) noun    Beknighted assembles with no redeeming social value, where the cats are inferior, the judges are incompetent, and the exhibitors eat their young.

ROSETTE (roezet) noun    A garish wall covering. Prized by cat fanciers the way scalps were prized by warlike Indians.

SHOWABLE BREEDER (sho-abul breedur) noun    A cat with a better chance of producing than defeating grands. Distinguished from the garden variety of breeder by the price.

SHOW BATH (shoe bahth) noun    A very painful and needlessly complicated process which removes a quantity of dirt and hair from a cat, multiplies it by ten, mixes it with steam and applies it to every surface of a room.

SHOW COMMITTEE (shoe kuhmitee) noun    The ship of state of fools, depends on who's at the helm and how treacherous the sharks in the surrounding water are. Note the word commit, as in certifiably insane.

SHOW FLYER (shoe flie-ur) noun    What the serpent concealed in the apple he presented to Eve.

SPECTATOR (spektaeur) noun    See "GATE"

STANDARD (standurd) noun    A work of fiction that artfully combines the exactitude of the constitution with the literary flair of a blueprint. Difficult to read, nearly impossible to apply, and frequently ignored by the judges.

STEWARD (stoo-urd) noun    An underage and under duress member of the juvenile set wearing at least one item of clothing you've never seen before and looking at a bunch of cats he or she hopes never to see again.

THIRD CALL (thurd kawl) noun    The earliest call heeded by those exhibitors who believe the last shall be the first, as long as the judge sees them putting the cat in the ring.

THISISTHEWAYISEEITTODAY (thisisthuhwaeiseeittooday)    A porous disclaimer that the judges use when they aren't convinced of the certitude of their decisions and suspect that you aren't going to be either.

TIEBREAKERS (tei-braekrz) noun    What a judge does to stall for time and pray for guidance when itcouldgoeitherway. These services are usually conducted just before the judge intones thisisthewayiseeittoday.

TITER (tietur) noun    A number that when squared and divided by 10,000 reveals your chances (expressed in percentages) of wiping out your entire cattery, if you buy the cat the titer describes.

TRAINEE (traenee) noun    An extremely nervous individual who holds up the show while trying to guess how the judge is going to hang the ribbons in any particular class.

WEDNESDAY (wenzdae) noun    The first day of the week which exhibitors regain full use of their faculties. Unfortunately, the day of the week on which exhibitors begin preparing for their next show.

(Author unknown....)


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Barbara Petersen, January 2002 barb@velvet.com