Allow me to tell you a tail…

It was last fall that I saw the sign while riding a bus down Riverside Drive. Bright neon letters shouted, “CAT SHOW.” I was immediately intrigued, but brief as the autumn leaves, the memory of the sign faded from my mind.

This summer, that memory called out to me again. CAT SHOW!

I rushed to Google.

Not only does London, Ontario have a cat show, but it has been going on for 20 years.

cat show
Come one, come all to the 20th annual Cat Show at the Western Fair this Sunday!

With over 100 beautiful cats, cage-decorating contests, and vendors selling everything from jewelry to kitty litter, the PAWSitive PAWS Cat Show has everything a cat fancier could want.

Philanthropic fanciers should note that the show supports the London Humane Society, Animal Alert, and Animal Aide with its profits.

Elaine Gleason, licensed cat judge and one of the show’s organizers, doesn’t pussy foot around in this QnA with LondonFuse in advance of Sunday’s show.

How does the cat show work?

Five expert judges evaluate pedigreed cats to find the best of the breed. It helps breeders choose where they’re going in their breeding program.

london ontario cat show judge
Judgment time. Photo by Dream Devon.

We have four different classes in the show. In the pedigreed classes, there are kittens, adult cats that are not neutered and spayed, and adults which are neutered and spayed.

Then we have a domestic class, the household pet class. They are neutered and spayed and they don’t have pedigrees. They’re your basic domestic mixed breed kitty that lots of people have. They can win titles and awards as well.

What are the judges looking for in a cat?

Each breed has a written standard marked out of 100 points.

Depending on the breed, there may be more emphasis on the coat quality and curliness or texture. For other breeds, the amount of points might weigh more onto a conformation feature like head type.

Each attribute of the cat has points connected to them. The judge is judging the entries based on that written standard of perfection.

From doing that they will select their best of breed in the class that they’re judging. Once they finish judging all the cats in that particular class, there is a final, and the judge presents their top 10 in the competition.

london ontario cat show judge
The perfect cat? Photo by Dream Devon

Some people will get involved with a certain breed because they love the look of them and their personality.

The breeders’ mentality is to be improving upon what they already have. It’s very rare to say that you’ve got the perfect cat. If we were able to say that, then we wouldn’t be able to strive for anything.

A lot of times the household pet class is a starting point for many people. The first cat I showed was a household pet. It’s a fun class to be part of because it’s very friendly, and lots of people are are newer to showing in that particular class.

Every cat is beautiful and unique, and you want to be a part of that thrill of getting your kitty acknowledged as being a beautiful kitty. That’s kind of what the household pet class is about. If the cat and the owner decide they like to show, they can earn titles as well as regional, national wins.

You don’t have to be a pedigreed cat to get a title.

What is the next step for a high-placing cat?

Well, it depends on which class they’re placing in.

For example, a kitten’s show career is from four months to one day under eight months of age. It’s a very short period of time that they can gather up the points that they would need for a regional or national win.

Some kitties are campaigning. They’re going to all the available shows they can to gather up as many points as they can, because once they become eight months they enter into a more adult class.

Sometimes you show a cat because you want to show a cat.

You may not have a cat you think is going to do anything huge. It’s still a cat to take to the ring and have some fun with friends. That’s part of the whole hobby as well. You can get together and have a good time exchanging stories and visiting.

What are your thoughts going into the 20th year of the London show?

We’re so grateful for the support that the community gives us. It’s a great city for having a show because people really appreciate the cats.

It’s good that the shows are still going on in order for breeders to get feedback on how they’re doing. The whole purpose is to produce healthy, happy, and friendly kitties, but also ones that are meeting what the requirements are structurally and conformation-wise.

Sometimes you need to step back and have a new set of eyes look at them.

Overall, it’s a fun event for everyone: exhibitors, judges, and the public. This is a great place to come and discover breeds you don’t know about. There’s pretty much a breed for every cat lover. It’s good to talk with someone to to help you make the right decision for your home situation.

We want everyone to go away with a positive attitude and hopefully, some information they didn’t know before.

london ontario cat show judge
A playful part of the judging process. Photo by Dream Devon.

Do you fancy yourself a cat fancier or want to see some fancy cats?

Check out the PAWSitive PAWS Cat Show this Sunday, October 22 at the Canada Building in the Western Fair District.

Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids aged 5-10, and $20 for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids.

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