First Cat Exhibitions

The world of cat exhibitions is very intense, highly competitive and very interesting. Its fascination takes place as much as in the observation of the human participants as in the admiration of the felines.

The First Exhibitions
The first exhibition of cats registered took place in 1598, in Winchester, England, although we don’t know how cats where judged nor with which criteria.

In the XIX Century, in the United States they would sometimes exhibit the Maine Coons of the farmers as attraction in the local fair. However, the first feline exhibition in the modern sense of the word was celebrated in the crystal Palace of London in 1871.

Some owners had begin to breed cats due to their aspect and to the fidelity of the type and it was logical for them to want to compare the results of their effects with all of those of the other breeders.

The organizer of the exhibition, Harrison Weir, writer, artist and a great cat lover, was not only in charge that this event would be celebrated in one of the main public precincts of the London of that period, but was also who wrote the criteria for which cats would be judged and also was one of the three judges of the event.

Afterwards, Weir edited a standard manual for the organizers of feline exhibitions, our cats, which explains how to pay more attention to he different races, colors. Sizes, etc., in this way, the domestic cat will acquire a beauty and an attractiveness until now  unknown because it was never cultivated.

Weir regretted “the many years of negligence, bad treatment and absolute cruelty” that cats have suffered, and his main objective for organizing this first exhibition wasn’t the competence between owners, but the well being of the animals. This question would take him to quit from the feline association whom he presided.

The exhibition of the crystal Palace attracted thousands of cat lovers, many of them crystal palace attracted thousands of cat lovers, many of whom organized after in their own regions of origin similar exhibitions. From the first moment, most of these exhibitions made a symbolic effort of democracy and established in some exhibitions there was classes for “cats belonging to the working class”, with more reduced inscription fares, although also with prizes of less cost.

But money has never been the objective of cat exhibitions; so much then as now, money prizes have been trivial. The important thing is to compete and the opportunity that these exhibitions offer to exchange information with people with similar interests.

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