Anyone trying to be the cat’s meow had plenty of competition on Saturday during the Austin Cat Fanciers summer cat show at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center.
About 100 cats were entered in the morning and afternoon judging sessions of the one-day show, Tammy Ardolf, show manager, said. Siamese, Bengal, Persian, Ragdoll, Bombay and Maine Coon were among the pedigree breeds. The show included non-pedigree household pets and kittens, and had a junior division for children.
“Cats make good pets because they’re independent, intelligent, discerning, cuddly, soft and they purr. You can’t beat that,” she said. “Every breed in this room is bred to a standard which includes looks and personality.”
For example, Ardolf said, if someone wants a cat that “just wants to be on you,” then a Sphynx would be a good choice. For a smart, active, exotic-looking cat, a Bengal would be good.
“If you want a blue-eyed, pretty couch potato … then a Ragdoll would be good for you,” she said.
Ardolf’s Selkirk-Rex cat, Gigi, made it to the top 10 in the altered class, which included cats of various breeds. She said the judge, Vicki Jo Harrison, regional director of the South Central Region for The International Cat Association, was judging each cat against the breed standard.
Harrison narrowed the field to two, and then chose Chester, a British Shorthair, as the top cat. Chester’s owner, Priscilla Kohutek of San Antonio, said he’s the number two British Shorthair in the world.
Kohutek entered Windleaves, an American Shorthair, in another pedigree category. She said she’s been showing cats for about three years.
“I’ve always been a dog person,” she said. “I became interested in domestic cats. We go to Africa every year, and I loved watching the big cats. I became interested in cat behavior.”
“I’m amazed at how trainable they are,” Kohutek said. “They learn up to 100 words. The more you talk to them, the more words they learn. You can train them to come when they’re called.”
There’s a saying, she said. “Dogs come when they’re called. Cats take a message and get back to you later.”
D‘Ann Kovic, judging another category, picked up one of the cats, stroked it and gave it a treat. Ardolf pointed out that she was playing with the cat.
“We want it to be fun for the cat,” she said. “She has toys. She plays with him, but she’s also looking at him.”
Becky Brown of Waco carried one of the more exotic-looking cats, a hairless Sphynx named Ruger. It’s his first show, and he’s six months old, but he likes everybody, she said.
“He’s pretty smart for a Sphynx,” she said. “I have five Sphynxes.”
The advantage is there’s “no hair in the house,” she said.