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The Yankee Express

It’s the Cat’s Meow

 By Patty Roy

If you’re a fan of furry felines, make your way to the American Legion at 156 Boston Post Road, Sutton on November 25 and 26 where you can admire the finest of the species at an accredited Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) show competition.
The doors open at 11 a.m. both days and the show is expected to last until 3 or 4 p.m. 
“We’re excited about it because we have two CFA judges who will be judging on Sunday,” said Barbara Genatossio, show manager of Cat Fanciers.
About 60 entrants are expected, she said. 
The exhibitors come with their cats and while there are cages setup for each cat, some cat owners will bring their own.
The exhibitors then get down to the serious business of grooming the entrants with combs and cotton swabs (“really fun to watch” said Genatossio).
There are four rings for four categories : Kitten; Altered Cats (neutered and spayed, not from breeding programs); Championship (whole cats who are able to breed) and Household Pet division for cats that do not have a pedigree with judging based on personality and overall looks, rather than conforming to a breed metric.
“Children enjoy showing their cats off and it’s also good for people who maybe can’t afford a show cat,” Genatossio said.
Some cat breeds are fan favorites. Generally, these are Maine Coon cats, the fluffy and affectionate gentle giants of the cat world, she said. Ragdolls, with their distinctive coloring and blue eyes are another much loved breed. 
“They’re beautiful, floppy, gentle cats,” Genatossio explained.
You can also expect to see Persians, probably some Scottish fold cats with their forward-folded ears (another popular breed), Abyssinian, hairless Sphinx cat and of course, household pets.
The purebred cats are judged according to a breed standard, not against each other, she said. 
“In other words, they’re judged against a perfect cat,” Genatossio said. “For instance where a Persian has a big, fat face, the head size carries more points than an Oriental shorthair where the body has to be very long.”
The point system is broken down, how the head compares to the perfect standard or the body, she said. Coat and color, eye color and balance can all come into play with varying points assigned to each characteristic.
“Personality and behavior do not come into it, unless the cat cannot be handled, then it cannot be judged,” Genatossio said. “The judges have to be able to handle or touch the cat, to feel its body, to determine where it will rank in terms of one through 10 for one of 10 prizes awarded.
In the household division, the cat’s personality might sway a judge, especially if the cat is really cute or personable, she said.
If a judge is comparing kittens, they are one at a time removed from their cages, handled and ranked. After all the kittens are back in their cages, the top 10 kittens will be chosen.
With four rings and four judges, there will be 16 prizes awarded over the weekend.
All the points are totaled with the Cat Fanciers Federation (CFF) prizes in mind. The CFF in New England is over is 100 years old, according to Genatossio in New England. At the end of the show year in April, points are totaled from various competitions and the cats with the most points are honored at a banquet in September.
Exhibitors are welcomed and cat lovers are invited to attend for  a nominal fee. 
Chairs will be set up at the different rings and attendees can watch the judging, talk to the exhibitors and maybe take a look at kittens for sale.
It’s a relief after Covid and shutting the competition circuit down for a few years, Genatossio said. Upcoming shows will be held in Fairhaven in December and one in Cumberland, Rhode Island in January. There’s usually one competition a month.
“Kids love cats, the elderly love cats,” she said. “We just want to get the word out that cats are great.”