When most think of 4-H animal projects they picture goats, lambs, horses and steers. But there are way more opportunities and other animal projects one can pursue. For kids who love cats the 4-H cat project is purrrfect! Kristopher Carver falls into this category and is very excited about showing his cat, Kyo, at the upcoming Marias Fair. Kristopher and Kyo have been working hard on the kitty poses and are sure to be a hit with the judges this weekend.
Kristopher has always loved cats and when his cat had kittens about a year ago his mom suggested 4-H.
“My cat had babies and my mom brought up joining 4-H and doing the cat project,” said Kristopher. “I decided to try it and I really like it!”
Kristopher and his fellow cat project companions meet a few times a month to practice showmanship and learn grooming tips to get their feline friends ready for the big show. A lot of hours at home are also involved as training your cat to comply on demand with the proper poses and allowing you to show off his teeth and gums, etc., is not the easiest.
“We show off all the cat’s features,” said Kristopher. “I work with him at home and at meetings so he is used to it. The hardest part has been getting the cat used to the harness and leash. He doesn’t like it, we’ve been working on that!”
Cleaning the cat’s teeth and gums, clipping its nails and a proper feeding schedule are just a few of the things that go into raising a show cat. Kristopher shared that brushing his cat’s teeth is easier, and cheaper, by simply using his finger and salt water. Cleaning his ears requires the same as human ears, a Q-tip or cotton ball and cleaning his eyes simply requires a damp, soft rag. Keeping them healthy and at a good weight is also very important.
“You have to keep them healthy and at a good weight,” said Kristopher. “I have Kyo on a feeding schedule so he doesn’t get overweight. I’d recommend doing this project to anyone who has a cat six-months to two-years-old. You could do it with an older cat, but I think that would be a bit harder as they wouldn’t be used to it.”
Kyo is not quite a year old and is an American short-hair. Kristopher has noticed that since doing the cat project he is a bit more obedient than the other cats in the house and he and Kyo have a closer bond from spending so much time together. He is already looking forward to participating again with Kyo next year.
“I like cats and how we get to show them off,” he smiled. “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m going to do it again next year, with the same cat.”
Kristopher also participates in the Robotics course offered through 4-H and will be showing a project in that category as well. While he has enjoyed learning more about robotics, he shared that next year he is going to try out archery, along with doing the cat project again. 4-H offers a multitude of projects to choose from and Kristopher encourages anyone who hasn’t tried 4-H to give it a shot.
“I would encourage kids to join 4-H,” he concluded. “It gives you something to do, you learn stuff and it’s fun!”