LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) — A Thanksgiving day tradition is the National Dog Show, where the best breeds are paraded and shown off to adoring fans in Philadelphia every year. Some people may have wondered, where is the show for cats? Feline lovers need not hold their breath anymore, as the International Cat Show is showcasing all sorts of cats on Dec. 11 and 12 at the Lebanon Valley Expo Centre.
You may be wondering how exactly a cat show works. Is it really like herding cats? Well, you won’t see cats on a leash being paraded around a show ring in a group, like you would at a dog show. According to LCWW Show Manager Emily Greene, judging is very much a one-on-one activity.
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“Cats and owners are called to a ring and the cats are put in a cage. The judge then pulls the cat out of the cage and places them on a judging table. In each class, kittens, cat, alters, the cats are first judged by breed and the best of breed is selected.”
Greene also tells us picking the best of show for cats is different from dogs. “We have finals in which a judge calls back their top 10 best cats. In cat shows, a judge doesn’t have to call back the best of each breed or group. They also have the option to bring back two, three, or four of the same breed,”
Cats do not come in the incredible range of size and shape that you see in dog breeds; they will, for the most part, look like cats. Still, there’s enough variation in cats to divide them into breeds.
“We have about 70 breeds,” Greene says. “They are judged against a written standard. They are required to be amenable to handling. Many show off on the scratching posts and play with the toys. All of the TICA judges are out through a rigorous training program to help them learn the standards of each breed. “
Each breed is subdivided into five classes: Kitten (4-8 months), Adult (8 months or older, not altered), Alter (8 months or older, spayed or neutered) Household Pet Kitten (4-8 months), and Household Pet (8 months, must be spayed or neutered)
Allowing spayed and neutered pets to compete in an “Alter” class is another way cat shows differ from dog shows. “This is wonderful for those who don’t want to breed but still want to participate in the cat fancy and be around those who adore their cats,” says Greene.
Have a cat with no papers that you got from a friend? Did a stray kitten show up on your doorstep? The household pet class is for you. “This class is for non-pedigreed cats,” explains Emily Greene. “Many of the owners have rescued cats who have wonderful temperaments and can be shown. There is not a written standard, and judges choose based on grooming and personality-and this category they are allowed personal preference,” says Greene.
“Oh it’s just a house cat or moggie’ shouldn’t exist – they are all special,” adds Greene. “I have three rescues myself and have shown two of the three. The cat fancy values all cats, regardless of pedigree, and, this is why they have a household pet show category. “
Like many other events, cat shows are staging a comeback from COVID. “All cat shows came to a halt in March 2020 until about January 2021,” says Emily Greene. “Many exhibitors, including myself, wouldn’t go to any shows until I was fully vaccinated. There has been a dramatic increase in cats shown in the past 4-5 months. Fortunately, spectator attendance is starting to increase again. We really want the cat-loving public to come to visit our shows and grow the cat fancy.”
And what about that public? What sort of people comes to the shows? “Cat lovers!” says Greene. “Cat lovers come from all backgrounds, cultures, ages- cats are universally loved. It’s impossible to classify, other than they are cat lovers! We all know they rule the internet and social media.”
“Some spectators come to see breeds and meet breeders in person. ,” she adds. “I highly recommend anyone interested in a pedigreed cat to come to a show. Meeting people in person is best!”
Even if you already have a cat-or a full-blown clowder of the cats-the show is the place to go looking for that perfect Christmas gift for your favorite feline(s).
“We have a lot of cat-related items! Cat beds, cat trees, cat toys. We also have rescues who will have cats for adoption. ” says Greene. “For me, it’s a social event where I get to spend time with cat lovers like myself. I have many wonderful friends I’ve met at shows. It is also amazing to see your cat on the judge’s table playing and showing themselves off. “
Emily Greene has one piece of advice to offer if you plan to come to the show. “Please come at least 3 hours before close. This way you have the time to see the cats, see some finals and visit all the vendors. “