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Military theme highlights annual cat show this weekend

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The Minn-Kota Feline Club will be offering up the 66th and 67th version of their annual Cat Show emphasizing the theme “Camo Cats” A Salute to Our Military” during its two-day run Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7, at the Ag Building at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, West Fargo. Show times each day will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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The 2013 event will feature well over 100 cats, representing approximately 30 different breeds entered in a variety of competitions, according to club member Lisa Ferguson, who has helped out in a variety of capacities at the show. Among some of the more unusual breeds expected to be present this year are the Tonkinese, American Bobtail and Bengal.

Not only purebreds get to compete however. The Household Pet class is one of the most popular, judged on appearance such as colors, markings, unique features, their condition including weight, muscle, etc., and their personality. Ferguson noted that this “is a very fun class to compete in and watch.”

Each year organizers also rely on a different theme with decorations specific to it setting the tone. “This year’s theme is a salute to our men and women who are serving in the armed forces,” stated Ferguson. “We have several people in the cat show world who are veterans themselves, so this is a special one. And one of our judges on Saturday is our show manager Lil Borg, of Valley City, who has completed her intensive training and passed her tests to earn the title of judge from the American Cat Fanciers Association. We’re all very proud of her and the hard work she has put into this goal over the years to reach this title.”

All in all, Ferguson noted the show will be similar to ones participants and spectators have grown accustomed to in the past. “We hope to put on another good show. We will have various vendors here again selling cat beds and furniture, decorative cat craft pieces, t-shirts, air cleaner systems, you name it.”

A part of the action will be the owners auction conducted on Sunday morning, which has become a big hit, using fake money won on Saturday.

Ferguson encourages former visitors and anyone new to the show to take it all in. “The best part is the camaraderie. This is a great family event; where you will see people of all ages here. Many good friendships develop through our interest in cats.”

Those attending are also urged to ask as many questions as they like. “If you are sitting at a ring watching the judging, ask people around you to explain what is happening. Several of the judges will also explain what they are looking for as they judge the various cats.”

Questions regarding various breeds and their personalities are also welcome in the “benching area” where cats and owners are waiting to be called up to the show ring; however visitors are asked not to touch any of the cats without the owner’s permission. Some will be more than happy to oblige, but some may have very good reason not to, especially if it’s a cats first time at a show and they are nervous.”

Ferguson said one of the main questions always asked is “how do they judge cats?” A cat show is very similar to a dog show or even any livestock show. Each cat is examined by the judge and compared to the written breed standard. Then the judge awards Best of Breed and 2nd Best of Breed to the cats who come the closest to the written standard. After the judge has examined all the different breeds of cats, he/she will pick his/her top ten. Again, they are not compared to each other, but to the written standard - and the cat who comes closest to their own standard will win. The cats will be judged in eight rings over the weekend - four each day,and it’s a new game in each ring. That’s the fun of it - one never knows what each judge may think.”

With a presence at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds since the 1980’s.Ferguson said the West Fargo location has proven to be an excellent site choice. A few years ago the club made a move into the Ag Building which is the perfect size for their needs. Ferguson added the club is “very happy with the management at the Fairgrounds and their cooperation in setting up the show each year. The location is terrific for competitors also, right next to the Interstate for easy access and lots of good parking.”

Ferguson repeats that anyone with an interest in cats or who would like to learn more or is simply looking for something interesting to do should head on out to the Fairgrounds this weekend.

Admission will be $6 for adults, $4 for children six through 12, and free for children under six. Onsite concessions will be available throughout the show. Anyone interested in more information can visit the website at http://www.acfacat.com.

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