A Cat Show for an Aspie Daughter

Good Afternoon, dear readers.  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  Taking a break from all things ‘chore’ wise, we took Aspie Daughter to a cat show.  This might seem like a strange event to take somebody with Asperger’s to, held as it is in a huge, echoey, glaringly lit room (thanks to overhead flourescent lighting) in a leisure centre with constant noise emanating from both humans and cats  as it bounces off the walls and rude people pushing past you never minding to say excuse me.

You would think that Aspie Daughter would go into sensory overload and have a complete meltdown, what with her social anxiety issues and  hatred of crowds and clanging sounds. You would think that I would! I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that this could have been a recipe for a disastrous afternoon out.

So why do it? All I can say is that her love of cats helps her override all this.  However, we have to do things in a certain way.

This is how we do a cat show with Aspie daughter:

  • We go in, walk up and down every single isle making sure to stop, very briefly, at every single cat.
  • When we see one we particularly like, we stop and ooh and ahh and this time, when the owner comes over (which they usually do as cat owners are very proud indeed of their kitties and want to talk about them) we ask if we can take a photo.
  • I keep talking to the owner, Aspie Daughter is ready to move on.
  • We keep going, I see her running out of steam.  It doesn’t take long.
  • She looks over at me and I notice the very slight, first signs of exhaustion beginning to creep across her face which means it’s time to leave the room and go and get a drink. Right now.

We leave and go to the café, have a drink (and a piece of cake) and then go back inside just to see the overall winners of the show in their posh cages proudly displaying their ribbons.  By that time, we are both so hot and completely overloaded (and I don’t mean with cake) that, as much as we all love cats, we can’t take anymore. It is at that point  that Aspie Daughter looks across at me and I see clearly in her eyes, a sort of flat, exhausted and desperate look that screams out:

“Get me the hell out of here!”

I agree. We leave. Simple. That’s how you do it. All in all, a really lovely time had by all.

Here are some photos of a few of our favourites from the show (all taken with their owner’s permission of course!)  I should also say that where I can’t  remember the proper pedigree name (shame on me, if I were a journalist, I would be fired) I have made up a name, as you will see:

Cat Show Sept 2013 (9)

Adorable 4 month old Tabby Kitten – want to take him home!
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Cat Show Sept 2013 (5)

Magnificent Maine Coon
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Cat Show Sept 2013 (17)

Such a Sweetie Cotton Ball
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Gorgeous Bengal Kitty - Want One of these too! (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Gorgeous Bengal Kitty – Want One of these too!!
(c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Bengal Kitty proudly admiring his award ribbons (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Beautiful Bengal Kitty proudly admiring his award ribbons
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Apricot Tortie Siamese (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Adorable Apricot Tortie Siamese
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Seal Point Siamese (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Very Handsome Seal Point Siamese called Samson!
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Our favourite - a fluffly white cloud called Olivia

Our favourite – Darling Fluffy White Cloud called Olivia
(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

We all agreed that these cats are obviously very well trained from day one to get used to travelling in a car, being kept in a cage for the duration of a show and are all incredibly good-natured.   We also think that our cats would have easily won the show.  The only problem is that Eddie, our black moggie, absolutely hates going in his cat box and also in the car.  I dread taking him to the vet as he always poops in his box, so it’s probably for the best that we don’t enter him.

When I was quite young, my mother used to breed Siamese cats and show them.  I can remember going to one or two shows with her in London but mostly I remember when she would be gone all day, leaving me and my brother with my dad. It was great fun and here’s why:

  • Firstly, Dad would have a lie in and bribe us offer us extra pocket-money to clean out the cat runs and sheds (my parents ran a cattery business from home, and that is another post of its own).
  • Next, after Dad decided to get up, we would have a quick breakfast and he would take us into town to buy us some sweets from the pic ‘n’ mix at Woolies.
  • Lunch would follow which was always fish and chips, in newspaper, which we would bring home and eat in front of the television
  • Dad would then watch sports (football, wrestling or boxing, or maybe even cricket depending on the season) all afternoon and eventually fall asleep while we did whatever we wanted played.
  • Tea-time and Dad would always make boiled eggs.  He would bring them into us on a tray, complete with felt Noddy & Big Ears egg warming ‘hats’ perched on top.  There we would sit, allowed to watch a cowboy film on television while eating our eggs, and not forgetting the bread and butter soldiers for dipping.

Those were the days.  Now you can see why we love cat shows so much 🙂

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Asperger's Syndrome, CATalogue, Childhood Memories, Family Life, Humour and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to A Cat Show for an Aspie Daughter

  1. celestialmike111 says:

    Wonderful post!

    Like

  2. Rachel says:

    Love all the gorgeous cat pics and especially love the bit about Dad as babysitter all day long. Sometimes slack parenting is the best.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha ha! Thanks Rachel, glad you liked the pics, I was quite pleased at how they turned out, thanks to their owners letting me take them with the cage doors open as much as possible! We really did have a lovely day, and yes, those times with my dad were fun times indeed 🙂 I think it was just much easier for Mum to leave us behind, as much as I did enjoy the cat shows with her, but it would have been a lot for her to deal with!

      Like

  3. jennypellett says:

    I remember those afternoons of sport on the telly, in black and white, the football results, followed by a cowboy film. Our tea of choice was a slab of farmhouse loaf slathered in butter with squares of cheddar cheese. Those were definitely the days – no sport-on-a-constant-loop like it is on Sky these days.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh yes, the football results. And the football pools, remember those? Dad was football crazy. Farmhouse loaf with butter and cheese…oh yes, bring it on! We lived next door to the village shop when we lived in Surrey and Mum would send me next door to buy a fresh farmhouse loaf. I would nibble the edges as I would be so hungry and I would say it was a mouse! Those were the days eh?! 🙂

      Like

  4. Steven says:

    Wow, can I have them all? Lovely shots, cats are such posers. 🙂

    Like

  5. Denise says:

    I can’t believe that there is a cat that doesn’t go mad and start yelling their head off the moment they goes into a car, like ours does.

    Brilliant post, so much in it – the reminiscences, the soft fur on the cats like nothing I’ve ever seen, the care and love and understanding you give your daughter, and the knowledge that you had a good day out.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I know, our cats would absolutely hate it from start to finish. That is the thing with these cat shows, the cats are obviously brought up from day one to get used to it all. They were all so calm and relaxed. As I said in the post, Eddie always poops he gets so scared, and as for screaming his head off…a total embarrassment!
      I’m glad you enjoyed reading this Denise, thank you, and yes, it really was a fun day out, even though we were more than ready to leave afterwards 🙂

      Like

  6. Another interesting and charming story (stories.) The cats were beautiful. Wonderful you and your dear girl got out and about! Personally I would hate the crowds & noise but of course would love the cats. Greta has the same problem as your dear Eddie! What’s that about?! Love love love your blog! xo

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thank you Diane, so glad you enjoyed this, as I knew you would once you saw how beautiful the cats were and so well behaved! I never knew a cat to do that until we got Eddie, so glad he isn’t the only one! I didnt realise Greta did that too! Maisy cries all the way to the vets but is fine once we get there and on the way home but at least she doesn’t poop! You would have hated the heat in that room and the crowds. One lady kept barging her way through and never said excuse me or anything. Still, we went for the cats only and we did have a lovely time. Fun too as you can imagine 😉 xo

      Like

  7. rmudge says:

    Great photos! What beautiful cats you got to see! I hope that your daughter enjoyed the experience at least a little bit. Sometimes doing something that gives new insights or experiences really helps down the road.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hello rmudge, many thanks for dropping by my blog and reading this post. So glad you enjoyed it and the photos too! Aspie Daughter did enjoy it very much and it says a lot that she came out to do this, even though only for as long as she could stand it. As you say, all these experiences really do help 🙂

      Like

  8. Life and Other Turbulence says:

    What a nice post and a lovely way to spend the day with your daughter! Beautiful photos and subject matter…even for a non-cat person like myself. Thanks for the nice read at the end of my very long day.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Aww, you are very welcome and I really appreciate that you took the time to read this post even though cats aren’t your thing – nice to know that it helped after your long day 🙂

      Like

  9. I loved the photos, Sherri. I would love to go to a cat show, but I can’t walk all of the aisles for hours on end, and the convention center where it is held doesn’t have scooters. One day I will rent one in time and go see a cat show. I totally understand your daughter’s reaction to sensory overload. I have similar experiences and just have to get OUT. Then I’m done for the day. Time to go home, close the blinds, and turn off the phone! Thanks for sharing your story.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well Bev, I knew for sure you would love the kitty photos! You see, you don’t need to go to a cat show, I brought one home to you! You really do have to love cats to go to one, I can’t stand crowds and it was so hot in there and very noisy. If you ever do go to one make sure you can make a quick exit when you are ready to leave! Glad you enjoyed reading this 🙂

      Like

  10. Lyn Buckley says:

    I think Christine and Claire would be friends just because of their LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, for cats!! 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! Yes, you know how Claire is about animals anyway, and she has had cats her entire life (remember Willow, and then we got Maisy a year before we moved back to the UK?) It would be lovely to think that the girls, and Heather too, could meet up again one of these days…that’s cute about Christine loving cats too 🙂

      Like

  11. TBM says:

    Beautiful cats. I bet my Attie would win if he could get over his hatred of the car, his cage, and loud noises. He loves people though. Sometimes I think he’s a dog since he loves attention from all our guests and he plays fetch with a wad of paper. Glad you two had fun.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I know just what you mean! Looking at all the well behaved cats at the show we kept saying how much our cats would just hate it in every possible way! Your Attie sounds an absolute delight! Thanks TBM and glad you enjoyed reading about the cats 🙂

      Like

  12. Heyjude says:

    Lovely cats. I want the Maine Coon! I couldn’t go to a cat show though, I even dislike flower shows and you know how much I love flowers – far too many people, so I sympathise with your daughter.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Jude, glad you enjoyed seeing the pretty kitties. Isn’t that Maine Coon so beautiful? My daughter really did enjoy the day but for a very limited time frame, then it’s outta there!

      Like

  13. mumblypeg says:

    You got some beautiful shots of the glorious cats at the show, brilliant!
    I think we all suffered from the heat, noise and general crowds but it was short and sweet and it was great that Claire went for the second time in the past years to see her favourite animals, I think??? Your write up was very well done and a reminder of happy days. Showing at a cat show is a most exhausting thing. It involves early starts, late finishes, long hours of travel, general tension, but when your cats get certificates and accolades it makes it all worth while. Thanks again for yet another lovely read. Love m xxxx

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, it was great that she came along and enjoyed it for as long as she could handle it! We all had fun didn’t we! It must bring back many happy memories of your cat showing days – remember, I want to see those photos! I remember seeing your award ribbons from those days 🙂
      I bet you have some lovely photos of our day too, look forward to seeing them. Glad you enjoyed seeing these and reading this post. Thanks again M for organising this lovely day out 🙂 Lots of love xo

      Like

  14. I wouldn’t have handled the rude lady who barged through the crowds very well-you’re right. The least I would have down is mutter and. I might have done much worse-I shudder to think. Remember how I handled the construction workers here!!! lol xo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I do remember Diane, absolutely!!! I certainly did my fair share of muttering you can be sure of that! Think you would have lost it at the cat show 😉 xoxo

      Like

  15. I was looking for your post about parents yelling at their children (the one you mentioned on my recent post). I still haven’t found it, but I was so glad to find this wonderful post. The pictures are a delight, and your honest sharing of how you dealt with your daughter is full of insights and suggestions that will help many others.
    Your writing style is powerfully articulate, and I thank you for this post!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Sorry Marylin, I should have given you the link. It is my Project O – In my Humble Opinion post, https://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2013/09/03/project-o-in-my-humble-opinion/
      You will see my rant about parents yelling at their children there!
      Still, so glad you stopped by to read this post, and again, thanks so much for your very kind comments. It does make me feel good to read that maybe my suggestions could possibly help others in this situation, I never really thought of that!
      My daughter and I have a very good relationship and we can share these experiences even though she often is exhausted for days afterwards and can go into ‘shutdown’ mode. Still, these have been less and less lately for which I’m glad but I never take things for granted…
      Thank YOU Marylin for reading and for your wonderful insight, which encourages me greatly, as always… 🙂

      Like

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