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Published: Wednesday, 2/11/2009

My Stormy Valentine Cat Show offers visitors a meow-velous time

BY ANN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Your eyes meet across a crowded room in this case, the Lucas County Recreation Center and suddenly it happens: Love strikes, and before you know it you re packing a cat into a carrier to take home with you.

It s not a fairy tale. It s a real possibility Saturday and Sunday at My Stormy Valentine Cat Show, an event that will feature cat adoption as well as competition.

More than 500 cats from all over the world will be at the show, said organizer Jay Christian, with the majority of them vying for awards and titles in 16 rings. Many other cats rescue cats and royalty will be available for adoption, with fees ranging from $25 for a mixed-breed cat to $600 for one with a pedigree.

Some of the humble rescue cats will be competing as well, said Christian, president of the nonprofit Great Lakes Cat Consortium Inc., a Whitehouse-based charter club of the International Cat Association that is running the show.

We pay the fee for their entries, he added. We have found if cats have a rosette from a cat show, they will be adopted within a week.

Adoptions aside, the show is still a meeting of good times and good deeds. It s a fund-raiser for a shelter that the organization of local cat lovers hopes to open by the end of the year.

We are trying to get a shelter off the ground for pregnant cats and cats with kittens that are too young for a shelter environment, Christian said. We are not going to do any adoptions. We are going to provide critical care for mothers and their kittens.

Christian said there is no such shelter in northwest Ohio. Instead, There are a lot of people with very big hearts who raise litters until they are old enough to go to a shelter. But the foster homes can t meet the overwhelming need, he said. We want to take the pressure off.

The group s goal is to raise $5,000 to buy cages, examination tables, and medical supplies, he added. They currently have a location for the shelter, in a building they re renting adjacent to Paws & Whiskers Cat Shelter in South Toledo.

At the show, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, cats will be competing in six divisions, including kittens (pedigreed, 4-8 months old); championship cats (pedigreed, older than 8 months); alters (those that are over 8 months old and have been spayed or neutered); household pet kittens (any mixed breed cat from 4-8 months old), and household pet adults (mixed breed, over 8 months).

Christian explained that the sixth competitive category preliminary new breed, advanced new breed, new trait covers cats that represent breeds that want to earn the credentials to compete in the association, and those from a currently established breed that display a characteristic that s not accepted. Their eye color maybe different from the norm, for example, or their hair might be longer or shorter than the standard. This sixth division is an introduction to the judges and the public, Christian said.

More than 35 breeds will compete in Maumee this weekend, including some that are rare.

This won t be one of those events where you can look but not touch, he noted. Show cats are for cuddling, too, not just coddling.

A majority of the people who show cats in the association are very friendly, Christian said. Generally if you ask permission, we will let you handle the cats.

My Stormy Valentine Cat Show takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Lucas County Recreation Center, 2901 Key St., Maumee. Admission is $3; parking is free. The event will include competition, cat adoption, and vendors selling cat-related items. Information: toledocatshow.com or e-mail questions to toledoshow@aol.com.

Contact Ann Weber at aweber@theblade.com or 419-724-6126.



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