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Archive for Sunday, June 24, 2001

Feline fans flock to cat show in Lawrence

June 24, 2001

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Brian Curtis went to 10 cat shows last year and spent about $20,000 on cats.

Felines are his full-time hobby.

Ringmaster Jim Mendenhall examines a Himalayan cat during the
Midwest Regional Cat Show. Jody Lawson, manager of the show, said
110 cats are being shown this weekend. About 300 people attended
the show Saturday in Lawrence.

Ringmaster Jim Mendenhall examines a Himalayan cat during the Midwest Regional Cat Show. Jody Lawson, manager of the show, said 110 cats are being shown this weekend. About 300 people attended the show Saturday in Lawrence.

"It's actually quite insane, but we like what we do," he said.

Curtis was just one of many cat fanciers who came this weekend to the Kansas City Midwest Cat Club show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Curtis, along with his wife, Sonia, raise purebred Himalayans, which originated from a mix of Siamese and Persian cats.

Their efforts paid off last year when one of their cats, a male named Dream Catcher of Arctic Eyes, became a four-time grand champion and was named the 10th-best cat in the country by the American Cat Fanciers Assn., or ACFA.

This weekend, Curtis was in Lawrence "campaigning" another Himalayan, a female named Star Spangled Banner.

"If you're gonna go out and try to get a cat in the upper 20s, you've got to get the cat in front of judges," he said.

The top-20 cats are showcased in magazines as the ACFA's Parade of Royalty, Curtis said. His goal is to get Star Spangled Banner a grand-champion rating, then begin breeding her with Dream Catcher. A show-quality Himalayan, or Himmy, can sell from $1,500 to five or six thousand, he said.

Jody Lawson, manager of the show, said 110 cats are being shown this weekend. About 300 people attended Saturday.

"We've had a really good day," she said. "There are a lot of lovely cats here."

Ann Quayle, of Jamaica, Iowa, came to the show with two friends. She started showing cats more than two years ago after entering a kitten in the Iowa State Fair on a whim. She won the kitten competition.

"I was hooked," she said.

Now, Quayle shows purebred Birmans.

Last year, Quayle and her friends came to this show for one day, but this year they stayed for two.

"We love it," she said. "The people here, they've always got something going."

This year's theme was a big top circus, and many of the judges dressed for the occasion.

Jim Mendenhall, a judge from Brandon, Manitoba, took the top costume prize for his blue and gold jester's shirt and black wig. He has been judging cat shows for about four years.

Although Mendenhall's favorite breed is Singapura, he said people with normal house cats can also enter competitions.

"There's really a place for just about everyone," he said. "It's just a hobby like anything else."

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