15th annual Lawrence Cat Show
• Continues today from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, 19th and Harper Streets.
• Judging occurs throughout the day and categories include purebred and household cats.
• More than 100 cats of various breeds are participating in the event.
• Various vendors are at the show featuring unique and homemade cat products.
• Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for children, seniors, and members of the military.
• Organized by the Kansas City Midwest Cat Club.
For your average house cat, there are a few universal qualities people desire in their feline companions: Friendliness, playfulness, litter-training and being well-behaved.
But for the dozens of cat breeders at Saturday’s American Cat Fanciers Association cat show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, cats are held to a completely different standard: How well their cats exemplify the physical characteristics of a particular cat breed.
The cat shows are part social event, part business and part competition for breeders who travel across the country so that cat judges can assess factors such as the shape of a cat’s ears, the trimness of their waistline, or the roundness of their face.
Cat breeder Alan Harding drove 1,300 miles from Tampa, Fla., with his wife, Gloria, to show his purebred Sphynx and Russian Blue cats. Harding said he comes to Lawrence every year for the show, which is in its 15th year locally. Harding said the breeders at the events form a community of sorts, as they become friends at the shows and sometimes even travel together.
Carl Galka from C-Dreams Cattery in Sun Prairie, Wis., travels to about 25 cat shows annually and said that the shows are a way to meet people and keep in touch with old friends.
“I enjoy the people. ... It’s a social event for me,” said Galka, whose Maine Coon purebred cat “Wolf” took home the award for best cat of its breed in the country last year.
The cats entered in the various shows accumulate points throughout the cat show season when they place at events. At the end of the year, the cats with the most points in their category take home national honors.
The shows, while friendly, can get competitive.
“We all want to win,” Harding said. “We’re still friends, but we’re still competing.”
Winning awards at shows helps breeders sell cats, and some of the purebreds at the event can sell for as high as $1,500.
But Lyla Fauble, a British Shorthair cat breeder from Minneapolis, said people don’t get into cat breeding to make money.
“It’s a hobby,” Fauble said. “You don’t make money. … You do it because it’s fun.”
The event is also a way for the community to enjoy some of the more exotic-looking cats, said show manager Brian Hanson.
Debbie Goldberg brought her two daughters, Sophie, 10, and Emma, 8, to the show and said her family was learning a lot about cats and the various qualities that the judges look for during the shows.
Emma, however, was less concerned with the specifics of the breeds and more interested in how adorable the animals were.
“There’s a lot of cute cats,” she said.