With or Without the Necklace
by Carlee Marrer-Tising with GIC Hazel-Mary Moon <mes Bijoux>
My husband, Pius, thinks that clothes and jewelry on animals are absolutely terrible and, in fact, down-right unacceptable. Consequently, it was all the more surprising to me when he thought that the necklace I had put on my cat (and which is illustrated in this photo) was beautiful. ―Yes, that really looks very pretty, he said. Having gotten his blessing, I took my courage in both hands and took Merry Moon to a Fifé cat show, complete with necklace. I have to admit that I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. This was because I have often made the experience—especially with Sphynx cats, a breed which is not very well accepted here in Switzerland—that the cat show public do not necessarily appreciate it when people anthropo-morphize cats with clothing or jewelry. Comments are made, mostly negative ones, and there is a lot of whispering behind one’s back on Swiss cat forums: ―Did you see Marrer’s cats at the cat show yes-terday? Absolutely dreadful!... and so forth.
And then the moment came when Merry Moon was called to the judge’s table. When I got to the table I asked, ―With or without the necklace? The judge in-spected Merry Moon intensely for a rather long time; then she said, in a very determined voice: ―With WOW! ―Success, I thought. And then she went to work, judging, appraising, evaluating Merry Moon’s characteristics, examining her from the top of her head to the tip of her tail, and then she said to the young man standing next to the table who was a judge-trainee, ―Perfect! On the judge’s report she drew a large heart and put an ―Ex (for Excellent) in it. The first hurdle had been taken, and Merry Moon got her certificate. With the necklace! The entire day went by without one negative comment at all, and, in a very good mood, we all drove home at the end of the day.
Things went a bit differently on the second day. When I was standing in front of the judge’s table I asked again, ―With or without the necklace? With a some-what offended expression on her face, the judge said, ―Well, actually a thing like this at a Fifé exhibition is not… and before she could finish her sentence the necklace (whose closure is a magnet and can be removed immediately with the slightest jerk) was in my pocket. So this time Merry Moon was judged without her necklace—and she got her certificate.
Some weeks later there was another cat show. When I got to the judge’s table I asked my usual question. With a dismissive gesture which seemed to ask, ―Have we sunk that low here? she said, ―Of course she can keep her necklace on! What did you think? So Merry Moon was judged again with her neck-lace on. This time she shame-lessly used every ounce of her charm and cuddled and smooched so hard and heavily that the judge could hardly write her re-port! Merry Moon was literally all over her—and it appeared as though the latter enjoyed every minute of it! With still another certificate and the request that I stay there with Merry Moon for the nomination judging, I wan-dered around the area for a cou-ple of minutes. Soon afterwards the judge called me back and said, ―you may take your cat back to her cage. I thought to myself, ―Oh well, no nomination, so let’s go, Merry Moon. Then suddenly I heard the judge say, ―It’s OK. She is my nomination! ―Oh, that’s great! I exclaimed, and took my cat and her nomination notice back to the cage.
When the moment came for the Best in Show decision and the cats were to be taken to the front stage I was a bit hesitant. With or without her necklace? I walked past a Burmese breeder I know, and she called out to me, ―You will probably have to remove the necklace. I know I did the time I put a necklace on my cat. ―Yes, I replied, ―I am wondering what will happen but I have decided to take my chances. When the steward took Merry Moon to the first judge, the latter examined her, gave her back to the steward, he took her to the next judge, and this continued without a hitch until she was brought to the judge who had nominated her. Her necklace was still in place! Even when she was presented to the audience that necklace stayed in place! Merry Moon didn’t get BIS at this show but at least she got a couple of votes—and no reproaches—and I had the pleasure of taking a Sphynx complete with necklace back to her cage.
Although I would have had just as nice a time at this show if there had been no neck-lace involved, it was indeed nice to experi-ence the fact that some of the judges can close one eye at a Swiss cat show for no other reason than to just have some fun. It is, after all, nothing but a harmless, amus-ing and—as several people said--aesthetic thing. This does not mean, however, that I think all cats would look good with jewelry at a cat show. On the contrary! I personally think that a necklace on a cat with a fur coat rarely looks good and then only when the fur is very short. I do not even like jew-elry on every Sphynx, but on a black cat like Merry Moon (and it is noteworthy that her cattery name suits the necklace, because it is ―mes Bijoux which, in English, means ―my jewels) I think that a simple chain is very pretty. But I also think: everyone to his or her own taste!
Reprint by permission only