Cats of All Stripes to Seek Ribbons

From fluffy cats to hairless cats and small cats to fat cats, a plethora of felines will be preening, prancing and pouncing their way down the catwalk today and Sunday at the Orange County Fairgrounds.

More than 400 cats representing 35 breeds will compete in the Cat Fanciers Assn.'s annual Cat Show.

Pet owners and vendors were busy setting up for the show Friday while some cats, including 6-year-old Haley, a Maine coon, rested in carriers.

The event serves as the group's Southwest Regional Qualifier, and cats that qualify will be eligible to attend the association's International Show in Atlanta in November.

"These shows are beauty contests--for cats," said George Eigenhauser, a San Diego lawyer who spends many weekends at cat shows.

"My wife and I got interested in cat shows after we bought Haley six years ago," Eigenhauser said. "Friends kept telling us that, with her personality, they thought she would do well in shows."

And she did.

In one of her first events, Haley beat out 75 cats to take home the honor of Grand Premier Cat.

Eigenhauser said preparing a cat for a show is a big job. "About two months prior to a show, Haley starts getting two baths a week. We use special shampoos and conditioners, comb her out, blow-dry the hair. It takes about three hours each time."

The show runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at the fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children under 14, seniors and military members. Children 6 and under are free. Information: (619) 267-0787.

The Cat Fanciers Assn., a nonprofit organization founded in 1906, is one of the world's largest registry of cats.

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