Judge Harley DeVilbiss knows what he's looking for as he inspects a 1-year-old spotted tabby Bengal during the annual My Stormy Valentine Cat Show at the Lucas County Recreation Center.
As 300 cats boasting a stunning variety of breeds and colors milled around the Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee Saturday, they mostly had one thing in common - their attitude.
Looking either bored or obligingly patient, it was clear that the stars of the My Stormy Valentine Cat Show, the annual February feline competition presented by the Great Lakes Cat Consortium Inc., were having far less fun than their humans companions.
Kelly Templin, 31, of Sylvania Township, a cat aficionado attending the sixth annual show, which continues today, said she knew why.
"They are probably just like my own cat," the Owens Community College student said. "My sons wanted to bring him here, but I told them that our cat doesn't like to leave the house. He just likes to do his own thing."
Her sons, Cole, 8, and Reece, 7, both students at Hill View Elementary School in Sylvania Township, nodded in agreement.
Asked which was his favorite cat thus far, Reece said, "My fa-vorite cat is my cat. It's at home. But I liked other cats too."
Those included a "big-eyed cat" his brother spotted at the show.
Not everyone attending the cat show was there to see felines.
Candice Massey of Alpena, Mich., hugs her Havana Brown cat at the show, which continues Sunday at the rec center in Maumee.
The Templin boys' aunt, Tracy Radecki, 27, of Toledo, said she was there to learn about a new type of cat litter that smells nice and is low-maintenance.
"I have a cat at home so I'm taking tips how to take better care of her. I also got some toys for her," said Ms. Radecki, a physical therapist at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.
The family stopped near a row of cages that are used to hold the cats temporarily while their owners bring them before the show's judges.
Standing out among the competitors were a pair of cats, one black, one white. The black one appeared to be sleeping while the white one sat wide-awake, stealing glances at his rivals.
Erica Tadagewski, 35, of Lansing, Mich., the owner of the pair, said the white cat, named Tzar, actually was a blue-and-white 2-year-old Turkish Van, a breed known for its playfulness and affection. It was to be shown in the championship category for breeding cats.
The black cat, named Prince, was an 8-month-old Norwegian Forest cat competing in the alter category for neutered or spayed cats, she said.
Ms. Tadagewski said she had entered multiple cats in shows in the greater Toledo area, Detroit, Chicago, and Wisconsin. But she liked this weekend's Toledo-area show at the county recreation center because it draws knowledgeable and inquisitive spectators and has spacious accommodations.
About 150 owners entered 300 cats in the contest, which bills itself as the largest cat show in Ohio.
Entrants competed in 43 breed categories, each of which had three subcategories - kittens, championship cats, and alter cats.
Run by the Great Lakes Cat Consortium Inc., and sponsored by Royal Canin pet food company, the show has returned to the recreation center for the second- straight year, said Jay Christian of Toledo, who is a member of the board of the International Cat Association, the cat consortium's parent group.
The show continues today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for all ages.
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