Exactly 200 mostly exotic-looking cats were registered for the South Central Region of the International Cat Association’s annual two-day cat show at the Extraco Events Center’s General Exhibits Building, officials said.
Some are long-haired and fuzzy, some almost bald, some tiny and some really an armful. All seemed alert but quiet and relaxed, as if they thought they deserved all the admiration.
The regional show was hosted by the Big Tex Cat Club in the same location last year, and organizers plan to continue in the Extraco Events Center next year, said regional director Wendy Klamm, of Lafayette, Louisiana.
This year’s show was bigger than last year’s by 25 cats, which came from the region and several other states. The South Central Region includes Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and Arkansas.
Twelve judges worked from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and will return Sunday, to rate the condition and breed purity of all the cats. They will bestow ribbons that will qualify some for the international association’s worldwide Labor Day show in Houston, said Anne Paul, of Houston, a comanager of the show with Toni Jones, of San Antonio.
Mistelle Stevenson, of Waxahachie, owner of several Maine coon cats, said all the judging is to protect the breeds against mixed breeding. Maine coons are large, long-haired cats of various colors, and Stevenson said her grandfather in Minnesota has several weighing up to 24 pounds around his barn.
“The cats down here are so small,” she said.
“I’ve been breeding for five years, but this is my first show,” Stevenson said. “I was pretty nervous about it, but I’ve had someone mentoring me, and I’ve been able to mentor someone else. That’s how we work.”
Lena Voerster, of Oklahoma City, was showing short-haired, pug-nosed Abyssinians, a breed she has worked with since 1995. Voerster said she had been working with other breeds for 12 years before then.
“When you win prizes, it tells you you’re on the right track to preserve your breed,” she said.
Some of the cats shown this weekend are among the best examples of their breeds, said Fate Mays, of Corpus Christi, a judge for 25 years.
“I know some cats here will be international winners this year because of their histories,” Mays said.
He said judges have to begin their preparation by serving as clerks, eventually writing long papers summarizing their knowledge. His paper ran to 93 pages. But it becomes a colorful hobby. Mays recalled a dozen nations he has visited to rate felines besides Canada and Mexico.
The show continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, with part of the proceeds from admission and sales of souvenir items going to the Central Texas Humane Society and Recycled Love Animal Rescue. Fuzzy Friends Animal Rescue of Waco and Recycled Love, of Fort Worth, have booths offering animal adoptions, Jones said.
Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and military, $3 for children ages 6 and older and free for children younger than age 6. Visitors can talk with owners of more than 30 breeds on display and watch judging booths. Food service is available.