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Commentary: Hundreds of felines frolic down runway, compete for ‘Best in Show’ at Columbus cat show

Ronna Colilla / Lantern photographer

At the Greater Columbus Convention Center this weekend, a subtle scent of feline feces sporadically lingered in the air.

The center was also inhabited by 12 judges’ rings, a cat agility area and several vendors.

A competition of kitty prowess slinked into the arena this weekend, where around 50 breeds of cats competed for ribbons and the coveted titled of “Best in Show” at the 2012 International Cat Association’s Annual Awards Show & Banquet.

The show, held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, offered public admittance for $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids 5-12 years old and free for those under 4 years of age.

Walking into the 98,000-square-foot convention center, it seemed to me, however, the number of cat owners or those affiliated with the show, including the hundreds of cats, far outnumbered patrons in attendance.

But as with any reputable kitty show, vendors were abundant and ready to take my money before I could even get to the kitties. An unexpected one though was the scented candle booth packed with dozens of glorious aromas, some in the form of Scentsy tarts, which are certainly not traditionally sold at a booth at a cat show.

Perhaps more humorous was the utter lack of shoppers at this particular vendor. The pet owners seemed oblivious to the occasional stench of feces that caught my nose.
More expected vendors included businesses selling cat toys and adoption services searching for new human mommies and daddies for orphan cats. I should’ve expected it, but the large clothing booth, specializing in T-shirts sporting oversized kitty faces, took me by surprise.

Meandering through the aisles of cats, I trolled the judging rings for kitties that looked like winners. Sure there were 12 judges of national distinction at the show, at least two of whom were from Japan and Argentina, but I was judging by own standards.

Gizmo was the first to immediately catch my eye. He was an enormous Maine Coon, a breed known for being large and fuzzy, and he looked the part of a champion. Apparently my first instincts weren’t all that great though because Gizmo couldn’t claw his way to the top of the podium. The judge didn’t even consider him for a ribbon.

Every imaginable look was represented among the 403 entrants: giant and fuzzy, bald and wrinkly, spotted, striped, long snout, no snout. Even a breed called the Napoleon, aptly named due to its extremely short legs, got into the judging as a new breed.

Breeds weren’t my fancy though, I decided. My eyes were set on one particular event: the CAT-ture “Meow-Wear” Fashion Show.  

I patiently waited by the main stage for the festivities to begin, watching entrants arrive decked out in mohair, velour and rhinestones galore ready to work the runway. It didn’t take long to spot my winner.

Of the nearly 20 fashion show entrants, one stood out as the cat’s meow. He was a Sphinx, which is a breed that appears entirely hairless (but isn’t) and wrinkly. His name was Edward Cullen. Yes, as in Edward Cullen of the “Twilight” series. At first it might seem a stretch for the cat version of the Chihuahua to be named after such a handsome character, but once Edward’s (the cat’s) well-groomed wig is taken into consideration, there’s no denying his superiority on the runway. Sure, his shirt was simple and lacked the glitz and glam of other contestants, but a Sphinx in a wig will always beat a Persian cat sporting a Carmen Miranda outfit. Always.

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