(This article originally appeared as part of a post to a newsgroup. Kris Ballantine graciously gave us permission to use her post. Kris was one of our original "NewBees" and although she passed over the Rainbow Bridge some years ago, she left us with a legacy of kindness)
I bought a "pet" Persian a year and a half ago with no intention of showing him. The breeder encouraged me to give it a go and I did.
When I started showing my boy, I made the assumption that the cats were being judged on their quality – not on who owned the cat or bred the cat or exhibited the cat, and I still believe it. Sure, there are always a few exceptions, but by and large I think that the vast majority of CFA judges have great integrity and conduct themselves in an extremely professional and impartial manner. If this was not so, my boy would not have gotten an RW.
No one knew me from Adam's housecat and his breeder was not well known either. As long as a judge took the time to look at my cat and handled him in a kind and respectful manner, regardless of whether we made the final or not, I felt we got our money's worth. And when I knew that a judge was or had been a Persian breeder, I considered it the highest compliment when my cat made that judge's final.
I also understood that with this kind of competition, there is always a certain amount of subjectivity involved, and that on any given weekend, there could only be (in most cases) 10 cats that were going to make each final, and in any given ring, my cat might or might not be one of them. I didn't try to make excuses, though I heard them:
1. My cat didn't make the final because a judge was showing that cat.
2. My cat didn't make the final because that cat is owned by a campaigner.
3. My cat didn't make the final because the judge had to make room for the show manager's cat.
4. My cat didn't make the final because it's not from this region.
5. My cat didn't make the final because the judge is a good friend of the the man that bred that cat.
6. My cat didn't make the final because this judge only uses a cat if he knows the owner.
7. My cat didn't make the final because the ring clerk doesn't like me.
8. My cat didn't make the final because the judge isn't from this region.
9. My cat didn't make the final because that cat was bred by a RD.
10. My (longhair) cat didn't make the final because the judge is a shorthair breeder.
11. My cat didn't make the final because the judge used to breed this breed and he/she doesn't think anyone else can breed a good one.
12. My cat didn't make the final because the judge is a really good friend of the owner of that cat's fourth cousin twice removed.
I never heard anyone say: “My cat didn't make the final because the 10 cats that did were really nice cats!”
Of course, I also knew that regardless of how he did at the show, I always took the "best" cat home with me! Heck, Jeff Gordon is the car owner of Jimmy Johnson's car, but they both compete in the NASCAR races, and I don't see either one suggesting that one should stay home so the other can win!