Turns out "cat fight" should only apply to politicians and reality stars, because most actual felines are friendly AF.
Cats made their debut at the Westminster Dog Show on Saturday. Despite a flurry of dramatic headlines leading up to American Kennel Club Meet the Breeds, all of the felines were on purr-fectly fine behavior.
Mary Kimmelman, the owner of a Bengal cat named Jefferson, told Unleashed her spry young showstopper "doesn't have much drama." On the contrary: The regal-looking young gent was "very relaxed" and "happy" to be part of the cat-meets-canine chaos.
Then there was Tutu, a British Shorthair who could give Taylor Swift's Scottish Fold kitties a run for their money in the cuteness department. This little lady was "not at all" worried about the dogs nearby, said her owner Micah. "We have a longhaired German shepherd at home," he explained, "and she goes up to her and she head-butts her and gives her kisses."
There were other cats, though, that weren't as familiar with their fabled four-legged foes. Chelsea, a Peterbald from Denver, Colorado, had never seen a dog prior to Saturday's Meet and Compete event. "She's been interested," her owner, Jackie, told Unleashed. "She's watched them as they've walked by, but she hasn't reacted or freaked out or anything like that."
Multiple dog owners were worried that the cats were positioned "a little close" to their canine counterparts.
"I'm not a cat person, but I would think they would want to be a little more secluded," said Stephanie Kodis, the owner of a lovely Lhasa Apso name Angie. "The dogs don't really care, but I don't know how uptight the cats are gonna be over that."
Several dog owners reassured us that their well-adjusted pets "were completely fine" with felines afoot. There were, however, a select few who admitted Westminster's cat presence had the potential to be problematic for their pups.
Rebecca Graham, the owner of two Welsh Terriers named Gatsby and Daisy, told Unleashed she intentionally "avoided the cats" on her way to the breed's booth.
"Daisy hunts cats, so I saw the cats, and I was like, ‘Nooooo,'" Rebecca said with a laugh. "On the Upper East Side, many of the buildings have cats for the vermin and she knows where all the cats live. She chases them! It's not a good scene at all."
That said, Gatsby and Daisy's owner thought it was "great" that cats got the opportunity to meet, greet and compete at Saturday's event. That's right—the cats, not to be outdone by the dogs, had the chance to duke it out on their own (Westminster-unofficial) agility course.
Ringmaster Vickie Shields, one of the founders of International Cat Agility Tournaments (iCAT), said everyone at Westminster had been "very welcoming" to the newest participants. "And I have to tell you, so many of the dog people that walk by say [in a whisper], 'I have three cats at home!' It's like…they don't want to admit it," she said laughing. "It's the funniest thing."
Shields was hopeful the next cat agility superstar would be discovered Saturday, but she was realistic about her prospects. "Every cat here is new—completely, utterly new," she said. "And because this is Meet the Breeds, these are the ones that are pretty passive and happy and can be petted by the public and everything, and they're completely confused about being in an agility ring for the first time."
Cats who have trained and practiced agility, however, "will fly through the course in six seconds," said Shields. Those cats—and their owners—seem to get a kick out of the competition, but at this point iCAT is more fun and games than serious sport.
That could change though. According to Shields, cat agility could make its way to Westminster officially "if we had cats that were experienced come to it." And with all the emerging interest in the sport, who knows when the next amateur cat-lete will decide to go pro?
Dogs, you better watch out: The future is feline.
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