A Show Cat?
Hugh A. Price
Reprinted from The Bengal Bulletin,
Welcome to the
increasing number of new Bengal exhibitors appearing in the show
halls. Unfortunately, several express disappointment that their
cats are not doing as well as they expected and, of course, are
quite dissatisfied that the "top quality" kitten they
paid big bucks for is not as good as they were led to believe
when it was purchased. Hopefully, the following information will
be useful for anyone considering the purchase of a "Show
"show quality" Bengal is one which meets or exceeds
the published standard. Because of different looks of Bengals
from different lines of ALC, each cat meeting the published "Standard"
should be judged on its overall wild appearance -- how the total
cat is put together -- and its temperament. Since I began showing
Bengals in 1994, most shows have grown in the number of Bengal
entries and usually include several high quality entries. The
Standard provides guidance to judges concerning preferred patterns
and contrast. When one trait (regardless of degree of difficulty
in obtaining) overrides another, it is the Judge's call in determining
which cat he/she considers the best/better representative of the
breed. While we would like to see all clear-coated specimens without
any rib-bars, the published standard intentionally neither specifically
requires nor penalizes these things. Given competitors with similar
appearance/temperament, the Standard gives judges appropriate
latitude to make their evaluations.
We all tend to
get excited with our babies and envision great success shortly
after they arrive. Whether or not a kitten has show potential
should not be determined until it is eight to twelve weeks old
-- even then, there is no assurance it will continue to develop
as expected. However, people often insist on "knowing"
too early in a kitten's growth. ("Pet" kittens without
faults sometimes surprise their breeders as they mature!) Since
wins are directly related to the instant competition at any show,
no cat can be guaranteed to win at shows. The best guarantee for
a show quality kitten is to offer a price adjustment if the cat
does not meet the conformation and color/pattern standard when
it is eight months old. A "show" kitten should not leave
any cattery without good temperament. If due to changed environmental
or handling influences the kitten develops behavioral problems
(including grumpy temperament), the new owner will need to learn
corrective actions to overcome them. The breeder should assist
the owner with advice and referrals for getting such help.
seeking a show quality cat would do well to get a cat from a Breeder
who has a proven success record in the show hall. Breeders who
do not show their cats will not be able to offer much empirical
advice about showing cats and the advancements made in the Bengals
being shown. Kittens with faults, e.g., tail kink, unacceptably
long hair, or locket, should not be considered as show quality
and the buyer wanting a show cat should not buy the kitten. I
would be wary of a Breeder who would sell such a kitten as either
show or breeder quality. Likewise, do not expect a kitten with
a grumpy or questionable attitude to do well in the show hall.
The image of a poorly behaved cat in the show hall reflects unfavorably
on both the breed and the Breeder. Buyers should be wary of a
Breeder selling a poorly socialized or grumpy tempered cat as
a breeder. If you are going to pay a premium price to acquire
a top quality cat, do not settle for less. If the Breeder cannot
provide what you want, go elsewhere -- there are a lot of responsible
Breeders who can provide you with your "special" cat.
After you take possession, you may never be able to resolve the
problem that could have been avoided.
your homework and find out about the Breeder's reputation. Buyers
should be extra picky when they buy a show quality cat and should
always make an effort to visit the cattery before making a deposit.
This will reduce the likelihood of becoming a disappointed buyer/new
exhibitor/Bengal Breeder. Loss of contrast and/or glitter as some
cats age is not uncommon. Buyers of show quality kittens should
see parents whenever possible and check pedigrees for "track
records" of judged acceptance (i.e.,titles) of parents.
Good luck in your
search for your "Special Baby." See you in the Show