The world of competitive cat shows this week and a documentary, no less.
DISCLAIMER: I’ve already forgotten all the human names and I can’t be bothered to go back and catch them so they will hereon out be referred to as Bobby’s Mum and Oh La La’s Mum. Of course I remember the star cats names.
Catwalk takes us into the gritty underworld of the cat show, something I have never thought about before and might not afterwards. Apparently it’s kind of a big deal in the US and probably elsewhere, again I haven’t done my research. Sue me.
Bobby is current king of cats, best in show. He’s a beautiful white boy described as ‘muscular, not fat’ by his mum. She might as well be describing Chris Hemsworth the way she’s going on but one look at Bobby and you can’t really blame a girl. He’s mostly nonplussed about the adoration and just gets on with what he’s required to do which is to be a good boy in competition. Via the power of a rather cute info-graphic we can see that Bobby is head and tail above all the other cats on the circuit and heading for world domination.
Alas, Bobby’s (or more accurately Bobby’s mum’s) confidence is knocked by the arrival of one Ginger Queen, the formidable Oh La La, a Persian fluff ball with attitude. Oh La La rocks up and easily scoops Best in Show but it’s okay because it’s a one off show right? If Oh La La and her owner take their victory and bow out on a high, never to be seen again, Bobby and Mum don’t have to worry, see? Shame then that Oh La La’s mum gets the cat show bug and decides to keep going.
Thus starts a competition to rival Bette and Joan’s. Relax, it’s never that bad, there are no broken legs a la Tonya Harding but there is some ‘jokey’ attitude as Oh La La’s Mum ponders whether Bobby’s has sabotaged an entire airline to stop Oh La La arriving to a particular show. Bobby’s meanwhile keep saying things like “Anything can happen… Oh La La’s Mum could fall ill…” and you wonder how far these women are willing to go to come out on top.
The cats, again, are not that bothered but Oh La La in particular goes through a rigorous regular routine of beauty and pain. Personally, I think she’s kind of a bitch and that’s why I like her so much but I do feel a little sorry for all the other cats that get sidelined for The Big Two.
I feel like there is a special indignity in watching cats of all creatures being manhandled by judges. For the most part, these cats don’t really want to be there and would much rather be sleeping or roaming about, surely?
At one point Bobby throws up a collection of grotesque hair balls on the judging podium, and I cheered. His mother looks on with a pained expression of not anger so much as disappointment. I like Oh La La’s mother far more than I like Bobby’s because she at least seems genuinely cheerful. Bobby’s seems to have an underlying coolness to her but in the end the two owners are kind of friends, and at least they understand one other.
As Oh La La continues to thrash the competition, Bobby’s ma seems to resign herself to the fact she can’t catch up and she actually seems to relax visibly. She has another cat in show, who is probably my favourite and who’s name I can’t remember. She decides to focus a little more time on this cat and helps him pump up his competition points. This is quite a triumphant segment to be honest.
I just think it’s a shame sometimes that the fun seems sucked out of the shows when all they’re worried about is winning. Bobby’s mother in particular seems obsessed with the idea of the perfect cat and anything that isn’t first place doesn’t count to her.
In my opinion all cats are perfect. This doc is an eye opener. It’s shocking how much commitment goes into the pursuit of perfection and I had fun with this documentary. The personalities and the facial expressions of the cats are the best thing about it as well as the barbed ‘jokes’ between the two main cat mums.
I really hope that Bobby and Oh La La do/did (Oh La La is now retired) enjoy their cat show times as much as their owners believe they do/did. I suspect they don’t give a fuck either way.
⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐