At Winter Kot Siberians, we have been busy preparing for the arrival of Princess Enya's kittens! Since we had already been taking an extended break from cat shows to focus on our females for a few years, we recently decided to pack away the cat show ribbons that our males have won as part of the kitten preparations.
A few days ago, I packed away a lot of ribbons, but I couldn't bring myself to pack this one. This ribbon is my absolute favorite! This is Gabriel's Spectator's Choice ribbon from his very first cat show in New Hampshire. Gabriel has earned many ribbons from the judges over his cat show career, but this one is from the people who attended the cat show. The spectators at this cat show chose Gabriel as their favorite cat in the entire show and there were over 200 cats in attendance.
This ribbon is a reminder of all of the happiness, laughter, comfort, wonder, amazement, peace, joyful memories, and friendship that Gabriel gave to the spectators at every single cat show that he attended. He played with them. He purred when they pet him. He posed for their pictures. He lit up with joy when a child approached him. He trilled and chirped for them. He always had time for them. He beamed when they followed him into a judging ring and clapped for him. He listened to all of their stories about having a cat that looked just like him while purring and chirping the whole time. He loved the people and they loved him. He still does and he always will.
I will never forget the moment when a little girl (around 3 years old) came up to me right before the spectator's choice voting was closed and said "What's your cat's number?" in an adorable, shy little voice. I told her "It's 55" and she beamed at me with a beautiful, mischievous smile. Then she immediately ran over to her mom (who was standing at the voting table) repeating "55" over and over to herself so that she didn't forget it before she could tell her mom. Her mom wrote it down and put it in the voting box while the little girl bounced up and down with excitement.
Gabriel beat a very popular, local Maine Coon to be Spectator's Choice that weekend. I found out later that the Maine Coon had won this award for the past 5 years in a row. I'm very proud that Gabriel is such a sweet, loving, friendly boy and that he loves people so very much. Titles and ribbons from the judges are very nice, but it's the time spent with the people that really makes those lasting memories.
As I was packing away the other ribbons, I took the time to remember the story that goes with each and every one of them. So many of those memories were happy, like this spectator's choice story. Some of the stories were not so great, but that's to be expected. The ribbons may now be packed away, but the memories will last a lifetime. This ribbon is staying out though. I think the kittens will like it.