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
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.”