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Sherri Richards, Published May 10 2009

Cats face judges at annual show

Frequent meows punctuate the national anthem. Then the judges call for the cats.

Longhairs, shorthairs, purebreds and pets are all vying for ribbons. Best of color. Best of breed.

This weekend marks the annual Minn-Kota Feline Club Cat Show at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds. The event was rescheduled from April because of flooding.

Judge Jim Mendenhall holds up Andromeda, a white-coated Birman cat owned by Dick Prucha of Cambridge, Wis. She’s the only one in her class, so the paper ribbons are placed on her cage immediately.

Prucha says he’s been showing cats for 15 years. His wife is one of the judges today, so he showed his three cats only on Saturday. He was also clerking for Mendenhall, the judge.

“My job is to keep him in cats,” Prucha said.

Mendenhall tries to brush the fur from his black shirt. “Four cats and I’m already covered,” he said.

Over the course of the day, each judge inspects all the cats from each class. Nearly 90 were registered.

The human participants say they show cats because it’s a fun hobby, and they meet people with similar interests.

“We have our cat show friends. About the only time we see them is at shows,” said Patti Day of Carver, Minn.

She and her mother, Lyla Fauble of Apple Valley, Minn., go to at least one cat show a month, as far away as Indiana and Missouri. They’ve been on the circuit since the early ’90s.

Both show British shorthairs, but for the West Fargo event, Day brought Guinevere, a tortoiseshell shorthair, and Wyatt, a Selkirk, which are known for their curly coats.

“He kind of looks like you gave a cat a perm,” Day says. Maine coon cats were a common sight at the show.

Tim and Carol Cruff of Fargo sat with their two, Gunny and Bella, waiting for another turn in the ring.

Carol said they started attending cat shows to see the different breeds, then bought a cat and started showing it. Soon they had two, and Carol became the president of the Minn-Kota Feline Club.

“She’d go to gun shows with me, so I figured I’d go to cat shows with her,” Tim Cruff said.


Info: Admission: $5, adults, $3, children ages 7 to 12; free, children ages 6 and younger.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 235-7311