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Cat show returns to Little Rock this weekend

One of the stray cats at the facility, Maki, who was rescued from a Kabul hotel, gets some attention from manager Louise Hastie before feeding time in the cat shelter.
David Gilkey
Maki, a stray cat who was rescued from a Kabul, Afghanistan hotel, gets some attention before feeding time in a cat shelter.

Cat lovers from across the country are descending on Little Rock this weekend. The Cat Fanciers’ Association Gulf Shore Regional Cat Show is set for Saturday and Sunday at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds.

Show manager Kate Sain says visitors can expect a much larger show this year.

“Last year, we had a one-day cat show. This one is two days. We almost filled with cat entries; a maximum capacity show is 225 cats, and we got 211 entries which is huge,” she said.

Sain says more than 15 vendors will also be on-site, as well as a pop-up veterinary clinic. She says the show is especially important for participants, since it’s near the end of the annual cat show season which ends in April.

“The top 25 cats of the year get what’s called the National Winner title, and those are the top 25 cats in the world,” she said. “Right now, the cat that’s ranked number one will be at this show.”

Cats of all different breeds will be judged compared to their “breed standard.” The show’s rescue partner, Community Cats of Central Arkansas, will also be on-site with animals available for adoption.

According to a news release, pedigreed cats compete in four different divisions; Championship (breeding cats), Premiership (for spayed and neutered pedigreed cats), Kittens (pedigreed cats 4-8 months old), and Household Pets (mixed breeds and companion cats). Cats from more than 40 different breeds will be examined by judges from the U.S. and Europe.

While it’s an important event for cat fanciers seeking national and regional titles for their furry companions, Sain says the show will still be accessible for those without extensive feline knowledge.

“For starters, it’s fun! There’s a ton to look at, you get to see these breeds of cats that you don’t see in the everyday world,” she said. “I love seeing kids walk through the show hall and their eyes get wide and they smile, and you get to see these animals really up-close and personal.”

In addition to breed-specific judging and an agility competition, Sain says one of the highlights of the annual event is the costume contest.

“Some of them are really over-the-top. I saw a cat once, they were sitting in a washtub with bubbles coming out of it, sort of like a cat bubble bath,” she said. “I have entered a cat that was Dorothy from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and she had ruby slippers, and that was a lot of fun.”

The show is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds Hall of Industry in Little Rock.

Daniel Breen is News Director of Little Rock Public Radio.