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More than 200 felines vie to be cat’s meow in Columbus awards show

Christopher Braun / Lantern reporter

More than 200 cats battled it out to see who was the purr-fect feline in the Mid-Ohio Cat Fanciers show Caturday ­- err, Saturday – at Franklin County Veterans Memorial.

The show, which also took place Sunday, brought cats and their owners from all over the country to compete in multiple categories. Winners were also decided Sunday.

Throughout the day, six judges inspected competing cats, who judged according to the specifications written out for each breed in the Cat Fanciers’ Association handbook.

“We have 43 different breeds and each one of them has a specification that describes the animal from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail,” said CFA Judge Gene Darrah. “It gives you the type of the body, the size of the boning, just everything about it. We evaluate them against each other, see which one meets the specifications the best.”

With so many cats and breeds at a show, things can get dicey among the owners.

“Some people really get along, some people … it really depends,” said master clerk Seth Baugh. “We do see a lot of the same people around the circuit, so sometimes there can be some drama involved, but for the most part, it’s pretty friendly.”

At CFA events, after a judge evaluates a cat, scores are given to one of two master clerks, who are responsible for tallying the judges’ scores for each cat. At the end of the day, the cat from each category with the highest score is crowned the winner.

While show cats might receive similar love and care as other house pets, it is clear that winners are a bit different.

“These are all registered pedigree cats,” Baugh said. “With a show cat, you’ve got to make sure they stay in condition. You don’t want the cat to get too fat and you need to make sure that they’re used to being bathed (and) to being handled by strangers.”

Baugh said cats need to be accustomed to the atmosphere of cat shows.

“When you take them to the show, there are going to be all kinds of noises and people, and judges they don’t recognize are going to be handling them,” Baugh said. “They’ve got to be used to different people, different sounds and being in a strange environment.”

While many owners breed their show cats, some owners purchase their cats from outside breeders. Cats are trained for the show world from kittenhood so that they are exposed to competition early and can adjust to the distractions it brings.

Ron Dylewski and Barbara Ley were among the owners showing kittens Saturday. They brought their 6-month-old American Shorthair, McT, to the competition.

Dylewski and Ley purchased McT from a breeder in Michigan after contacting the breeder in hopes of finding “a really good American to run.” After inspecting the breeder’s litter, they selected McT and promptly began raising him for a life on the road.

“McT’s done very well,” Dylewski said. “He’s been in seven shows and once made a final among 106 kittens. You kind of have to get out fast if you want to get the points you’re looking for, because kittens only have four months to show. He will show next year in Premiership. He’ll be neutered and we hope to take him to a national win.”

Saturday’s winners included Kitzen’s Artheopterys, a brown tabby and white Norwegian Forest kitten, owned by Keith Kimberlin, in the kitten category, made up of cats four to eight months old. In the Premiership category, which are cats that are spayed and neutered, Hitails Banjo Mooner, a blue Abyssinian owned by Lisa-Maria Padilla, won.

The winner of the Championship category, or whole adult cats, was Deydream Viva La Vida, a blue-eyed, white short-hair Minx owned by Erin and Joy Yoders-Dey.

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