There’s a 141-year tradition of no cats at the Westminster Dog Show. Cats have their own separate event, the Supreme Cat Show in Birmingham. Until now, both species have kept out of each other’s business. The dogs attend their dog show in February. The cats attend their cat show in November. The Westminster Kennel Club decided to change this for the 2017 season. On February 11th, for the first time ever, dogs and cats will gather together for a Meet & Compete showcase in Westminster. Unfortunately, none of the animals I reached out to wanted to comment more than a “woof!” or “prrrr.” I’ve had to gather another form of commentary for you instead. Here are the cat and dog photos I think best illustrate the pet perspective on this ruling.
This is not the feline response you might expect, but consider this. Admitting cats at the Westminster Dog Show opens the door for dogs to attend the Supreme Cat Show. That’s mortifying if you’re a cat. Hence the “damn you, what have you done” expression on our green-eyed friend.
More like what you’d expect after the announcement. To many, the decision to include cats in dog show activities was a victory in feline rights. Finally, cat breeds were receiving some recognition from the Westminster Kennel Club. Many dogs seemed indifferent to whatever revolutionary strides were being made. They viewed the kennel club’s Meet & Compete like this terrier is observing the kitten: dazed and confused.
Cats and dogs everywhere felt the idea to integrate cats into a dog show was just strange. Look at the pout on these two baby’s faces. Many were almost offended by the idea they were now expected to associate cordially. Why can’t dogs play with dogs and cats play with cats? It goes without saying there may be a few boycotts from both sides on February 11th.
Some pets were ecstatic about the Westminster Dog Show decision. Most of these cats and dogs had friends of the opposite species. The dogs couldn’t wait to share the most important event of their lives with their feline friends. The sense of unity coming from the animals who thought like this was refreshing. Some cats even hoped the Supreme Cat Show would follow suit and host a similar dog-friendly event in November 2017.
There were lots of blank stares. Some pets simply couldn’t believe what was happening. They couldn’t fathom the idea that cats would actually be allowed in at the Westminster Kennel Club! Cats had previously been at a Meet the Breeds event held separately. This gave the dogs and cats a nice chance to socialize without interrupting each other’s events. Look at the shocked expression on these little faces. It was interesting that in many cases the shock was mutual. Neither cat nor dog felt the decision was a good one.
In extreme cases, animals went rogue. Their frustration about the decision was so great they simply reacted without thinking, much like dogs do with food or squirrels. These were not outbursts of violence as much as spunky expressions of indignation. This dog sat on the cat next to him to illustrate his opinion about having cats at the Westminster show. There was probably no animosity between the two animals, but they felt violated all the same.
Typically, it seemed this decision was a push for equality that pets didn’t want. Most were content with two separate shows. They could co-exist and hang out in the interim. Cat breeds and dog breeds being casually judged side by side just didn’t make much sense. Choosing which was better, dog or cat, would just cause more animosity.
For now, this inter-species Meet and Compete is only scheduled for the 2017 Westminster Dog Show. No one knows if it will become a recurring trend. I guess we’ll have to revisit the dog and cat photos after the event to see what pets really thought.
— Julie Grossman