Clawing their way to the top

Cat show entries include sexy shelter cats contending for ribbons — and perhaps a new home

Barbara Fritzsche grooms her pure breed Persian Casanova in preparation for judging at Saturday's Platinum Coast Cat Club Cat Fanciers Show in Fort Myers on Saturday, July 24. The event continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Araba Shriners Hall, 2010 Hanson St., Fort Myers.

Photo by Stephen Wright

Barbara Fritzsche grooms her pure breed Persian Casanova in preparation for judging at Saturday's Platinum Coast Cat Club Cat Fanciers Show in Fort Myers on Saturday, July 24. The event continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Araba Shriners Hall, 2010 Hanson St., Fort Myers.

Cassio, an 8-month-old male Russian blue mix cat, will be one of several entries in the Platinum Coast Fanciers Cat Show in Fort Myers on July 23-24 from the Humane Society Naples. The shelter is hoping he will secure a win and an adoption.

Cassio, an 8-month-old male Russian blue mix cat, will be one of several entries in the Platinum Coast Fanciers Cat Show in Fort Myers on July 23-24 from the Humane Society Naples. The shelter is hoping he will secure a win and an adoption.

If you go

20th Annual Platinum Coast Cat Fanciers Association Cat Show

Where: Araba Temple, 2010 Hanson St., Fort Myers

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 23

Cost: $5 admission

More information: Household-cat entries, call (239) 772-5399

On the Web: www.catshows.us/platinumcoast, humanesocietynaples.com, www.brookeslegacyanimalrescue.org

Cassio, an 8-month-old male Russian blue mix cat, likes to primp and prance around the Humane Society Naples, showing off his gray and white coat while entertaining the shelter’s staff.

So, when it came time for them to enter a cat in the annual Platinum Coast Fanciers Cat Show in Fort Myers this weekend, they knew exactly which one to pick.

“He has personality plus,” said Ericka Basile, the marketing manager of the shelter. “He loves people, and he’s just a show cat that ended up at here. This is his time to shine.”

A Marine who couldn’t take Cassio with her when she moved left him at the shelter three months ago. Since then, the seven-pound kitty has made quite an impression on the shelter’s employees.

“He likes people and loves interacting with them,” Basile said. “He gives great eye contact and is very easy to handle, so we think he’s going to be a good contender.”

Almost every year, the Humane Society has entered a cat in the show’s Household Pet category, which has cats from households and shelters competing against each other. The organizers of the event have even waived the $50 fee for shelter cat entries.

“Not everyone can afford a $900 cat,” said Janice Hughes, an organizer for the Cat Fanciers Association-sanctioned show. “With this, people can see that there are really nice kitties for much less, and some of them can go home with you for a few dollars.”

Panzy Priss, a petite female tuxedo black and white short hair, is not only pretty but has a great personality, too, said Karen Hill, the operations manager for Brook’s Legacy Animal Rescue in Naples. The one-year-old feline, who was saved minutes before euthanasia, will be the organization’s first ever contestant in a cat show.

“She absolutely loves everybody,” Hill said. “She is so outgoing. She likes dogs, cats and people. She is really happy and a real sweetheart.”

While the household cats compete, about 150 rare and exotic breeds from all over the southern U.S. —including types such as Siamese, Persians and Himalayans — will vie for the coveted grand prize of “Best in Show.”

“The best cats in the world compete here,” said Charlene Campbell, another event organizer. “We’ve even had some national winners come through.”

There will be a panel of eight judges considering 150 pure-breed entries and about seven household-cat contestants. Winners accumulate points to further the feline along in regional and national shows.

Lori Piper knows all about the competitive show cat world. For 14 years, she has bred and showed Abyssinians, a breed of domesticated cat with a distinctive ticked coat. Since retiring from shows two years ago, she has volunteered to help household cat owners with their entries.

“It feels good to help out rescue kitties,” said Piper who is now the lead organizer of the Collier County Cat Coalition. “It is rewarding to know that I’m helping a cat find a home.”

Before taking the stage, Piper will teach owners the ins and outs of showing felines, such as how to clean the cat, how to handle the kitty during judging and how to present the cat to judges.

“For household pets there is no standard, like for pure breeds.” Piper said. “It’s all in the eye of the beholder. You just want to make them look their best.”

Piper specifically advises owners to make sure their cats are clean and their coats are shiny. It also helps to tell the judges a good story about the cat.

“It gives them a feel for where the kitty came from and their personality,” Piper said.

Cassio has plenty of charm and charisma, and the Humane Society is hoping his story will captivate the judges enough to secure a win — and an adoption.

“Sometimes just a distinguishing feature or something special will be that extra push to get a cat adopted,” Basile said. “We’re hoping a winning show cat title will get him adopted.”

© 2011 gonaples.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Sessions