By Ronny Reyes and Marshall Cooper
Over 10,000 people attended the Long Island Pet Expo this past weekend at Suffolk County Community College, which included the expo’s first cat show, organizers said.
The cat show came together as Family Pet Shows partnered with The International Cat Association (TICA) to bring out over 20 veteran and amateur contestants, officials said.
With their own section closed off from the dog-heavy expo, members of TICA brought their cats to show off their breeding talents to four judges as Long Island locals were welcome to see all the different breeds competing.
“Getting ready for these events take months and months of work,” Shirley Peet, an entry clerk for Steel City Kitties who set up the stages for the cat show, said.
Peet set up four different rings, with each judge looking at different breeds of cats, checking their eyes, body structure, color, shape of head and muzzle as the owners looked on.
“The exhibitors are right there in front of the judging table,” Marylou Anderson, the TICA judging administrator, said. “You can see hands on what the judge is doing. The actual owner or agent places the cat in the judging cage and can watch everything really hands on up close.”
“The judges are all looking for the ideal standards of the cat’s specific breed,” Peet explained. Among the crowd favorites was the Maine Coon breed.
“They’re known as the gentle giants,” Grace McAdams, a member of the TICA who brought her own Maine Coon, said. “They’re huge, but they’re also patient and playful.”
Although he is only 13 months old, McAdams’ cat, Doyle, is a Cat Fancier’s Association champion, McAdams’ said, showing off the ribbon.
Another popular breed at the show was the Siamese cat, who should have a straight profile, almond eyes, sharp ears and a tubey yet muscular body, Hisako Yamada, one of the judges, said. This sole focus on breeding is what sets apart cat shows from dog shows.
“The difference, I believe, is that at the dog shows it is much more focused on kinesthetic features, whereas, the cats are more sedentary,” Christine Lupo, president and show manager of the Coastal City Cat Club, said. “It is rare that there will be an agility ring at a cat show.”
Lupo, whose club is chartered through the TICA, was the one who contacted Family Pet Shows in order to book the cat show at the expo since New York does not host many.
“The occurrence of a Cat Show in New York through any of the large feline organizations has been far and few between,” Lupo added.