Jacqueline Monahan



By Jacqueline Monahan

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High Roller$ Cat Show in Henderson: A Purr-fect Kitty City

Feline Fever descended upon the Henderson Multigenerational Center on August 27-28 when the organization known as Cats and Sin City (CASC) hosted the High Roller$ Cat Show, a TICA (The International Cat Association) sanctioned  All Breed and Specialty cat show.  That news should give you paws – lots of them.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of attending a cat show, you may have to pace yourself.  There’s enough slinky magnificence, size and color and fur-length variation, and even direct access – some owners will allow you to hold their cat, but you may have to hand sanitize first - to keep a cat fancier enthralled.  Open-mouthed exclamations are as common as teasers here, those wand-like, spellbinding cat toys that engage and distract them so well.

Cat Show 811
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Held in the Multigenerational Center’s gymnasium, the large square space featured two walls dedicated to judging while two others sported vendor displays filled with cat accessories (toys, beds, carriers, towers, litter).  The center area of the room resembled a colorful little tent city filled with the stars of the show and their two-legged owners who were NOT afraid to bring the bling.  Sparkly cage covers, teasers, and even owner apparel glittered with added light that served to heighten the elegance and regal presence of the various breeds on display.

Cat Show 788
Kitty City
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

TICA recognizes 63 cat breeds, several of which were represented at CASC.  You’ve probably heard of the Persian and the Sphynx; one has a cascade of fur and a flat face, the other is hairless (actually covered in down that feels like suede) with a triangular head longer than it is wide.  Other breeds are lesser known.  The Bengal is a small cat with a “big cat” look, due to his spots or marbling.  The Norwegian Forest Cat and the Maine Coon are large breeds that both sport luxuriously long coats.  Sleek, velvety, short-haired Abyssinians will check you out as much as you will them, and the one at this show came all the way from Argentina (it IS an international show).

Cat Show 796
Maine Coon Cat
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

The high-cheekboned Peterbald is a rare breed of hairless cat from Russia.  It can also be covered in a soft down (flocked coat) 1 mm hair (velour coat) up to 5 mm hair (brush coat) and regular short hair (straight coat).  The breed was very recently developed, and this show featured the #3 cat in the world. (pictured)

Cat Show 830
Peterbald (Russian) #3 in the World
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


Cat Show 827
Black Peterbald
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

CATegories and Classifications
In the Championship category, cats are classified as Kittens, Adults, or Alters (spayed/neutered).  The Household Pets category features Kittens or Adults and NBC (non-championship breeds - both kittens and adults). Kittens are 4 to 8 calendar months of age; adult cats must be 8 calendar months of age on the opening day of the show.  Adult household pets must be altered.

Cat Show 842
This Abyssinian came all the way from Argentina
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

The cats are called up according to breed, division, and color/pattern. One division example might be “Solid” in regard to a breed’s color within the standard (black, white, blue, grey, etc.)

Cat Show 838
A Forest of Fur:  Norwegian Forest Cat
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Each cat or kitten is judged by their breed standard which is a written standard of perfection for that particular breed.  Judging takes place in a ring, either designated as Specialty or All Breed. Specialty rings will feature only longhair cats judged together for example; same with shorthair cats.  An All Breed ring will have shorthair and longhair cats judged together and against one another.  You get the idea.  If you don’t, TICA.org will answer every technical question you may have on cat breed standards, judging, classification, and other competition criteria.

Cat Show 840
A Savannah Cat Named Zombie
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

As a first-time attendee, your humble correspondent can confirm that judges hold, stroke, inspect, lift, and manipulate cats extensively.  They engage them with teasers so that they might note head profile, length, playfulness, or facial characteristics. In this show, caged, waiting cats were brought to a small, white surface under a bright fluorescent light for judging.  The surface is disinfected after each cat’s debut.


Cat Show 800
Checking for Kitty Symmetry
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Cat Show 804
The Tale of a Tail
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Cat Show 813
Using a Teaser
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Cat Show 852
Such a Pretty Puss!  Facial Features Matter
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Walking the Aisles
Friendly owners show their passion for the cats by displaying them with pride, and housing them in raja-like splendor.  Colorful tent-like habitations contained food and water bowls, small litter boxes, hammocks, and blankets.   Your humble correspondent did not encounter any owner who did not willingly make their cat available to pet or even hold.  They’ll tell you kitty’s personal history, accomplishments, the breed’s history, and gladly answer any question put to them.  There’s a story in every cage and a universal love of the feline form throughout the entire show.

Cat Show 823
Beautiful Bengal
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn


Cat Show 836
Matching His Surroundings
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

CASC Board of Directors President Susanna and Treasurer Steven Shon, along with Vice President Jackie Rose, among many other dedicated individuals, ensure the safety and enjoyment of cat and fancier alike, with helpful dissemination of TICA rules and information for exhibitors and spectators.

Example – Exhibitor:     
•    All claws of each entry shall be clipped prior to benching.
•    An exhibitor shall not groom an entry while it is in the judging ring.
•    You should not speak to the judges while they are looking at your cat, unless they ask you a question.
•    You cannot put anything in the judging cages with your cat. No teaser, no special bed, no favorite toy.

Example – Spectator:
•    Do not touch anyone's cat without specific permission, and do not be surprised or offended if someone says no.
•    Please be quiet while watching judging.
•    Do not yell or startle the cats.  This also includes sticking fingers in or poking at cages.
Additionally, and with each successive show, the trio works to promote responsible pet ownership, raise the value of all cats, educate the public about the pedigreed breeds and how each differ in personality, and provide a venue to work with local animal welfare/shelter/rescue groups to have cats available for adoption at the show. (Fees vary)

Kittens and cats are also available for purchase from owners and vendors.  A pair of pedigreed Sphynx kittens (wearing shirts!) were for sale at this show for $1500 each.  That’s $1500. Each.

Cat Show 809
$1500 Sphynx Kittens and their Father
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

Even that amount pales in comparison to show sponsor ViaGen’s $25,000 fee to clone a cat ($50,000 for a dog).  The US-based company specializes in genetic preservation so you can create that perfect companion over and over again.

There’s something oh-so-divine about a feline.  They stretch and purr and slink and parade; they demand with insistent paws.  They love and approve with head butts and even silent, bored, disdain-filled amusement at the baffling array of bipeds that worship them.  It’s as if they’re saying, “It’s all about ME(ow)!”

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