You've heard of dog breeders, yes? Well, let me let you in on a little secret: There are cat breeders as well.
And as the girl who grew up with a cat breeder for a father, I'm going to tell you everything that goes with being (or being raised by) a cat breeder.
1. Cat Shows
This is what usually blows people's minds. But yes, just like dog shows, there are cat shows. They judge the cats on body, color, face shape and more. And in my totally biased opinion, they're a million times better than dog shows.
2. Color Patterns
What you see as gray, I know is classified as "blue." What you call orange, is actually classified as "red." What you see as a cat with multiple colors, I see as either a patch, calico or tortoiseshell.
I could find myself in conversations saying, "Oh, she was a red patch classic tabby." And you may have no idea what that means but, to a cat breeder, that's second nature.
Yeah, kind of obvious. But there's a whole science behind it: who can breed with who to get better ears, a better jaw, a longer tail, etc. It's something I was exposed to at a very young age, and now it just happens subconsciously.
I was probably less than four years old, and I knew that no matter how much I wanted to touch the cat at the show, I couldn't. It had already been washed and the oil from my hands would ruin its coat (fur).
I also knew exactly how to blow dry a cat without getting attacked and when to start bathing them to get them used to water. There's really a science to it.
5. Driving far for shows
A lot of breeders will drive all over the state, and even the country, just to go to the next show. It takes a lot of money and time. But hey, when you sell a cat at the next show, it's totally worth it.
6. The programs
Each show has its own program. It's the thing at the door that tells you the number and name of each cat that's entered. You learn it like a second language.
7. Your number
Again, at each show you're going to get a different number for each cat that you enter into the show. You will learn this number, and you'll tune your ears into the announcements perfectly to listen for it.
8. Naming all new kittens
My "job" as a kid (and now) was to name all the new kittens — and I loved it. There was nothing I looked forward to more than playing with little balls of fluff and giving them all special little names.
9. Selling said kittens
You grow used to these kittens, so once they grow up and hit the age to be sold, it's sad. You know it has to happen, but it's always sad having to say goodbye when they're sold.
10. Wanting the ribbons
You want to make a final to get one of the pretty colored ribbons. They decorate the cages nicely.
11. "Grand Champion"
You get a certain number of points for each final you make, each ribbon you get, what place you win and all that jazz. Once you eventually get to a certain number, you become a champion. When that number gets even higher, you become grand. Hence, Grand Champion. It's a big accomplishment in the cat world.
I loved growing up breeding cats. I never understood that people didn't know what it was, but I loved growing up in that atmosphere. Whenever I walk into a show, there's a feeling of familiarity in the air.