The claws are out and the competition is fierce. "When she was born you could tell by that little round head and little nose that she was a show cat," said Shelby Hollabaugh, a breeder competing in the Fancy Felines cat show.
Holly made the trip from Virginia with her owner Shelby Hollabaugh. This long-haired persian is one of more than 150 cats competing at The Vermont Fancy Felines annual cat show this weekend. "I love it," explains Hollabaugh, "I love the competition. These cats are my babies. It's almost like seeing your kid play soccer. That's how it is. When you see them win, it's amazing."
Like beauty pageants, these cats are judged in different categories, and based on a point system, they can make regional or even a national title. Points earned here in Vermont will count toward Holly's quest for a national title. She's within paw's length of the top 25.
Each breed, of which more than 50 are competing, has its own written standards. And let's just say, these kitties need pampering to win. "Right before the cat show at 6:00 in the morning, you get up, wash them, and sit there to dry them with a dryer. You have to trim their face, trim their ears, and fluff their cheeks," said Hollabaugh.
"You know all of these people at the show, all of us have professional lives outside of Cat Fancy but on the weekends it's all about the cats. Everything else doesn't matter," said Marilyn Conde.
Marilyn Conde is the Vice President for Club Feline Alouette. That makes her an organizer and competitive breeder. She says all those who enter, professional or amateur, share a common passion. "This is a common denominator we love cats, we come from all different walks of life, but put us in a room with our cats and we're all on equal footing," said Conde.
"We came to see the cat show, we've never actually seen one. I really like cats a lot," said Annie and John Bingel, two young spectators at the cat show. Organizers hope successful shows will breed even more interest in the future.