Pau Badia is an international cat show judge from Spain. He has been judging cat shows over the last three years. Here, he talks about his experience and changing scenario in cat shows during pandemic.
How long have you been involved with cat shows? I have been involved with cat shows over the last three years.
What is the biggest challenge in judging virtual cat shows? There are several challenges when judging virtually—light and video-camera quality, stability of each participant, internet connection, etc. But the biggest challenge has been to not hold the cat and observe their characterstics that I would like to see in them.
According to you, what is the fun part in judging a cat show? When there are cats around, it is always fun. To me, the virtual cat show brings fun and opportunities to many cat pet parents and breeders who do not always have the opportunity to attend cat shows due to distance or other reasons. During this difficult time, virtual cat shows bring fun at everyone's possibilities.
How does one set the judging standards? To me, there needs to be some adaptation and flexibility when judging in a virtual show. Depending on the show, there are different classes (Championship, Premiership...) as well as specialties (Long-Hair, Short-Hair). When judging virtually, we need to be realistic that many features can’t be appreciated if we don’t hold the cat.
Which one is more important—temperament or feature? In a virtual show I give importance more to temperament.
How many cat shows you have participated or involved with? I have involved in most of the CFA cat shows in Thailand during the last three years and some virtual shows too.
Tell us about your first experience at a cat show? When I went to a cat show for the first time I was completely lost. I didn’t know what was happening, I didn’t understand the classes, specialties as I was busy bringing my cat when they called my number to bring her into the ring. Thankfully I met some fanciers who were regulars to cat shows and they explained to me how everything works.
What is your piece of advice to pet parents of show cats? The show is for just one day. But keeping your cat in good condition is something that needs to be maintained constancy. Pet parents who really take good care of their cats pay back. Some cats like to be shown and some get stressed. So, take care of all these. Health of your pet is more important than some titles!
What do you feel about cat shows & FCI in India?
I think The Feline Club of India (FCI) has a huge potential. It is the biggest national cat club in India. It feels really good to see the initiatives and popular cat shows organised by the club.
In the current crises what do you say about the future of cat shows? Will the virtual cat shows help in keeping motivation and interest alive amongst cat pet parents?
It’s quite uncertain to decide when will normalcy be back in life? But what I am sure and what we have seen is that people find other ways to keep lives, businesses and hobbies alive. The same holds true with cat shows as well. Now we have started virtual shows which open opportunities that usual shows don’t have. Some organizations conduct shows locally without international travel. If the situation continues, virtual shows will definitely be the best way to have fun with cat fanciers, friends and cats.
What are the innovations in cat show world in the current time?
Innovations can be seen or interpreted at different levels. Advanced technologies have come to the shows and accumulative scoring is done by online systems and paper-based works are reduced. Nevertheless, I would highlight virtual shows, both photo and video-call shows, as the biggest innovation and adaptation in these difficult times.