The culmination of Dragon’s show career was his photo-shoot by the supremely talented Helmi and Ken Flick, in May, 2013. In four, short, UK shows, he garnered enough points to become TICA’s 3rd best International Russian Blue Adult Cat 2013. He also beat 300 other competing All Breed adult cats into the 8th Best All Breed Regional Winner position, whilst incidentally achieving Western Europe Region’s Best Russian Blue adult 2013.
Not many cats reach this level of accolades after a year of showing, but to achieve it in four shows is something quite extraordinary. Dragon is the first cat owned by Wychwood to be awarded the coveted Supreme Grand Champion title, and is the third cat to reach the Regional Winner title under our ownership. All three of our Regional Winners have achieved their titles in four shows maximum.
Aside from obvious bragging rights, what makes a cat so special, so extra-ordinary, that they do this well in such a small amount of time?
Well in fact the upbringing of the cats is extremely important. Show training starts by picking up and examining the kittens, from birth. Cuddles, love, developing that special bond of trust and affection between owner and their show cat is critical to a cat performing in the show rings with confidence. The Russian Blue is notoriously difficult to show, according to many cat judges, because of their low tolerance to other cats in the show hall.
In order to get any points at all, the judges must judge each cat according to how well it meets it’s standard. Dragon has all the right ingredients to please the judges, as he is exactly the type of Russian Blue that they are hoping to meet in the rings, but that is not often enough to really clock up the placements in judging ring finals, and attain the dizzy heights of Regional Winner. The top 20 Regional Winners are all cats who exceed their standards, and have something else. That extra sparkle, that “je-ne-sais-quoi’ that defines stars.
Immaculate grooming is essential to presenting one’s self in one’s best possible light. Hygiene is a very important criteria, as is health. Cats displaying any form of illness or disease are not considered for the finals. Faults are also disqualifying. Here, judge Genevieve Basquine is checking for tail faults. Dragon’s relaxed stance on the judging table is a big feature of why the judges were happy to place him in their finals. Threatening behaviour is also disqualifying.
All of these judging criteria are helping breeders to select the best cats for their breeding programmes: By only placing healthy, fault-free individuals, judges are constantly evaluating cat breeds, and they also ensure that relaxed temperaments are rewarded by placements, over stressed, or aggressive cats.
Achieving a Best in Show is always exhilarating, but it is also a necessary step towards that elusive Supreme title. We are thankful to judge Valerie Davidson for placing Dragon Best in her ring after he had obtained his Quadruple Grand Champion title. -To become a Supreme, a cat must then obtain a single Best in Ring after becoming a Quad. It is easy to see his relaxed, inquisitive nature in the photo above.
The show hall is only one side of the show experience, for cats, and their attitude towards travel and hotels can make or break a successful career. Dragon had to wear nappies in order to protect the furnishings in the hotel room, as an older stud male. In this photo, he had just become a father to his first litter, and therefore had begun to mark his territory and become more hormonal and dominant in his attitude towards other males in the show hall. It is most difficult to successfully show an entire male cat, because they do not appreciate the proximity of other males and can mark or get stroppy as a result or maturity.
In our experience, Dragon adores travel and hotel rooms. He is relaxed and content to wear a nappy and just uses his time in the hotel to cuddle me.
Dragon won more than a few judges over with his ability to seek comfort in their arms and to either purr or cuddle up to them like this. When he is either confused or nervous, he licks the tip of my nose, which is very endearing, and also shows an affectionate, gentle nature.
All of these features, when combined with the special up-bringing by Michele Vischi, of BluEudemonia cattery in Italy, creates an outstandingly sweet tempered cat who is bomb-proof and wows not just with his wonderful conformation to type and standard, but also with an affectionate, laid back temperament.