Written by Fred Patten and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, February 10, 1965. Intended for Apa L, Seventeenth Distribution, LASFS Meeting 31435, February 11, 1965. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: 213 GR 3-6321.
|LONCON II in 1965!||Jock Root for TAFF!||Salamander Press #75.|
I was a wind-up toy for a pampered pussy. Yes, I was!
I drove down to the Trimbles' last Sunday, and arrived just as they were about to leave for a Cat Show in Long Beach. A Cat Show was a new one on me, so I tagged along to see what it was like.
The show was held in an old meeting hall in Long Beach, and apparently was a rather important one. The hall -- about as large as the program hall at the Leamington (PacifiCon II), I'd say -- was filled with rows of tables, upon which rested cat cages. Most of the cages contained only one star cat, though there were a few with a brother and sister, or a group of kittens. As this was a professional cat show, most of the cats were of rare and valuable breeds; I'd guess that 2/3 of them were "rare Burmese" (though they sure didn't seem rare all packed together like that) and "albino chinchilla" Persian, with a liberal sprinkling of other breeds and colors, and a few really unusual individuals -- a red-point Siamese, for instance. Most of the cages were plain and simply arranged, but a few really went in for décor -- a Chinese pagoda, a cool green motif; John discovered one that had a curtain that could be drawn around the sand box whenever kitty needed modesty.
Most of the cats were apparently veterans of such shows -- at least 4/5 of the cages were covered with blue and red ribbons from past shows -- and took this one in their stride. Half of them were sleeping through the whole proceedings, in fact. A few were nervous, and there were some signs on cages to the effect that "This is kitty's first show, and she's a little frightened, so please keep your hands away from her or the cage". Others were quite friendly. One active Burmese, dying of boredom, adopted me as the greatest toy ever. As long as I'd wiggle my fingers past his cage, he'd just sit there entranced watching them; the minute I stopped, he'd reach between the bars of his cage and give me a little pat to wind me up and get me started again. There were some giveaway broadsides on the cellophane covering over the top of his cage, and every time someone reached over to get one, he quickly jumped up and gave the cellophane a hard tap, sending it bulging and the paper sliding and giving quite a start to whoever had been about to pick one up.
Bĵo was sketching some of the cats, and she got into quite a few conversations that way. The owners were mostly very friendly and only too glad to talk about their pets. One woman, the owner of a sulky 20-lb deep-red Persian, said darkly, "I'm not going to enter him in any more of these shows. He used to be perfectly wonderful, but the shows make him nervous, and he's getting meaner and meaner. I'd rather have a happy cat than a few more ribbons." (And he did have quite a few.) another had a sign by her cages announcing that she bred collies and cats, but she said she'd given up the collies because most people never cared for them properly, and it was too depressing to sell a puppy you liked to someone you knew didn't know how to take the correct care of it. One fluffy white Persian had gone to sleep sitting against the bars of his cage, and his fur was bulging through the wire in tufts about an inch deep. Bĵo sketched this one, naturally, and got to talking with the owner who'd come all the way down from the Bay Area for this show. The result is that Bĵo might have a job designing calling cards and stationery for the woman's cattery; we'll have to see.
I'm not exactly sure how the judging worked, but from what I could carry, the cats of one class were all brought together into a special row of cages before the judges, and a handler brought each one forth to display it separately; then the class was judged and the cats were returned to their individual cages and another class was called. One man remarked that his cat had behaved very well, considering that he'd been scared silly of the handler; in her white medical smock, he'd thought it was the vet! One of the Persians being judged was so fluffy that when it sat down, the fur around its hindquarters puffed out so far that it looked like a perfect snowy pyramid, with a small pug face almost buried at the top.
We finally left after about three hours. My general feelings were that it was all very nice, but I prefer my cats wandering around loose where you can get at them, rather than all compartmented in ranks of cages. We returned to Chez Trimbles to be greeted by the resident felines, who may be a lot more clumsy and stupid than the ones at the show, but who can't be beat in the category of luvvable clods.
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Stop Press item: today's mail just brought news of the second group of Bradbury plays. Beginning March 2nd, the Pandemonium Theatre co. presents "The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit", which "will be accompanied by two brief, heart-warming fables, A DEVICE OUT OF TIME, and BEYOND THE REEF, in which, for the first time, the Pandemonium Theatre will induce a dinosaur to enter an auditorium." That last one sounds as though it could be a retelling of "The Fog Horn"; I don't place the other. Of course, you've all read "The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit". Rates are the same as the last theatre party. When do we go?
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
. . . "Tarantulas can really be quite tame. They learn to love their masters."
Bernie Hoffman, a pet dealer, quoted in TIME, Feb. 5, 1965, p. 86
Pardon me if I remain skeptical
--BEING COMMENTS ON THE 16TH DISTRIBUTION
Tom Gilbert -- Andre Norton has said that she considers the short story to be a much more difficult form of literature than the novel in which to work, which is why she seldom writes anything other than novels. ## I returned those plastic swords to you for Apa F at the Labyrinth; you must have left them lying there for Harness to discover and use.