It was a
suggestion that not even local ailurophobes could tolerate for an instant.
"No cotton-picking Tennessee Tom can be allowed to outdo an Alberta
grain-fed cat at the ancient and honorable pursuit of catching mice,"
thundered the proud Calgary Herald. "We must win!"
Cat fanciers and
civic boosters all over the province rallied to the call. The Herald itself
began training a mouser named Headline. Trans-Canada Airlines entered their own
Super-Connie-Kitty in the match. Radio station CFAC put up Cfacat, an unsavory
lady of the evening with a sound reputation for tracking down her prey. One
fancier came up with a cat named Pretzel, which boasted six toes on one foot—a
fact that local handicappers found confusing.
In a field which
seemed characterized largely by disreputability and the taint of the bar
sinister, the Calgary cat deemed least likely to succeed against the Tennessee
interloper was a sleek, well-mannered, purebred Siamese with the unlikely name
At last, after an
official civic reception for the challenger, Chisca Shanghai, and a milktail
party for all entries, the great day dawned. Some 900 Calgarians thronged the
Cat Club to see the contest and inspect the elaborate maze through which each
entry must thread his way against time to find the quarry—a carefully protected
white mouse tucked away in the last compartment.
The stage was
set; the cats were ready; the onlookers were tense. What happened? Well, what
happened in the days of glittering calm off Newport, R.I. early last week
during another great international competition? The answer: practically
nothing. The Tennessee challenger poked his head in the maze and, after gazing
purposefully about for two minutes, quit cold. Cat after cat followed suit,
until at last, cool, calm and aristocratic, the Siamese purebred Leo strode
through without hesitation to pin the quarry (completely protected) in a neat
and unhurried one minute 24 seconds.
Calgary, like the
American yachtsmen, had won in a walk with a plainly superior weapon. The only
difficulty the Canada catmen had experienced throughout the contest concerned
not cats but mice. Until the moment for the contest arrived not a single
suitable mouse had been found to lure the cats. The impasse was solved only
when a kindly donor came through with two small, white personal pets.