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Cat's Meow: Local event showcases the finest of felines

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    Christine Arnold, of Canada, combs her Exotic Shorthair named Glitter during the Cat Fanciers' Association's annual cat show at Monroe County Community College in January of 2017.

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    An Exotic Shorthair cat named Jack waits to be judged during the Cat Fanciers' Association's show at Monroe County Community College in January of 2017. A Cat Fanciers Association All Breed and Household Pet Cat Show takes place this weekend at Lucas County Recreation Center.

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    Sheldon, an ebony and white Oriental tabby, being judged by Sharon Powell, of Wadsworth, Ohio, during a Cat Fanciers Association show in Maumee in 2014.

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IF YOU GO

What: Cat Fanciers Association All Breed and Household Pet Cat Show

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Lucas County Recreation Center, 2901 Key St., Maumee

Cost: $6 admission for adults, $5 for seniors, students, and military, and $4 for children 6 and older, with younger kids free

Information:  bit.ly/2F3vK0j

We all know the Internet loves cats, like this “Funny cat compilation” on YouTube with more than 65 million views (see bit.ly/2hR02rQ).

It turns out that cats are quite popular in real life as well.

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates 30 percent of households in the United States, a little more than 36 million, own at least one cat. (Dogs, by the way, are the most popular American pet, with a 36 percent ownership rate in more than 43 million U.S. households.)

And just like dogs, cats have their own showcase too.

The Cat Fanciers Association, a nonprofit founded in 1906 and devoted to the well-being of all cats, began putting on cat shows back when going viral meant a pandemic. (Think of the CFA as the cat equivalent to the slightly older American Kennel Club for dogs.)

This weekend, the Midwest Persian Tabby Fanciers is sponsoring the Cat Fanciers Association All Breed and Household Pet Cat Show at the Lucas County Recreation Center, 2901 Key St. in Maumee, with the exhibition and judging of cats (a range of breeds including Maine Coons, Ragdolls, Persians, Exotics, Japanese Bobtails, Siamese, Tonkinese, Cornish and Devon Rex, Russian Blues, and more) throughout the event.

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An Exotic Shorthair cat named Jack waits to be judged during the Cat Fanciers' Association's show at Monroe County Community College in January of 2017. A Cat Fanciers Association All Breed and Household Pet Cat Show takes place this weekend at Lucas County Recreation Center.

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The cat show, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, is open to the public with $6 admission for adults, $5 for seniors, students, and military, and $4 for children 6 and older. Younger kids are admitted free.

Cathy Hawley, one of four directors of the Midwest Persian Tabby Fanciers, a Cat Fanciers Association member club that’s been around for 50 years, said she expects about 150 cats out of a possible 225-entry limit to show at the weekend event.

“It’s a large show,” she said, with only a few Cat Fanciers Association showcases such as in San Diego this weekend that are bigger.

At the Cat Fanciers Association All Breed and Household Pet Cat Show, the felines will compete in four categories:

• Kitten: pedigreed kittens between 4 and 8 months of age

• Championship: pedigreed adult cats, not neutered/spayed and more than 8 months of age

• Premiership: pedigreed adult cats, neutered/spayed and more than 8 months of age

• Household Pet: nonpedigreed cats (or pedigreed cats that do not meet the written breed standard), neutered/spayed and more than 4 months of age

This event is also a “10-ring show,” with five rings on Saturday and five rings on Sunday. Each ring has its own judge, and each cat will be evaluated by every judge to a written breed standard with awards for the top 10 places. Initial awards are presented based on color and gender of each breed, followed by the best in each category, and ultimately the best in show, much like a dog show.

Each cat is given a number, and cats being, well, cats, they are kept in cages until they are examined by a judge. Also, the cats are not judged against each other, Hawley said, although that’s often how it appears.

“The judge examines them and compares them to that particular cat’s breed standard and gives points from 0-100” based on how well they meet the standards, she said. “That’s how they determine who the best cats are.”

While the judging is going on, spectators can roam the show to see the cats before they enter the ring and talk with their exhibitors. They may even be able to interact with the cat, with the owner’s permission of course. But don’t feel slighted if an owner says no.

“The judges disinfect their hands between every cat handle, and [the owner] may not want to transfer germs or the cat may have just been groomed,” Hawley said, adding that while some of the exhibitors may seem curt, “they are just getting ready for the judge’s ring.”

Brenda Snyder, a Toledo resident who has shown cats for 30 years, including a red tabby Persian and a blue Somali that placed nationally, will be attending this weekend’s show as a spectator.

She encourages other cat enthusiasts to do the same, as well as those who are considering becoming a cat owner themselves.

Cat shows often have local cat shelters present with cats available for adoption, for example, and cat exhibitors may have kittens for sale now or, more typically, this spring.

“Now is a good time to talk to breeders and get on their waiting list for kittens,” Snyder said, as well as to chat about cats in general or specifics.

“You can find out if this cat breed will fit in with your household or lifestyle. Is this cat playful or a couch potato? What is their breed like?” she said. “They love to talk about their cats.”

Contact Kirk Baird at: kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.

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