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Photos: Feline lovers show off their furry friends at East of Eden Cat Fanciers in Monterey

Judy Freidman holds her orange and white Maine Coon named Cherry Bomb.
Judy Friedman of San Diego holds her Maine Coon named Cherry Bomb at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)
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Bobby San Miguel holds up his Bengal named Orestes with one hand under its chest.
Bobby San Miguel of Soquel, Calif., holds his Bengal named Orestes at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Carol Barton’s multi-decade run of showing cats might not have happened if not for a rainy day.

Barton, now in her 70s, is the current entry clerk and co-show manager for the East of Eden Cat Fanciers in Monterey, Calif. This weekend, the show celebrates its 44th year and she has been involved since four years after the show’s inception. She currently lives in Pacific Grove with her husband and their five cats.

In January 1977, Barton’s sister was going to take her horseback riding for her birthday, but it kept raining.

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“She told me it wasn’t going to stop raining and mentioned there was a cat show at the {Monterey] fairgrounds,” Barton says. They met for brunch first.

Barton had always had cats as pets but never considered showing them until that day.

“There were all these household cats that were not pedigree cats, but had ribbons all over their freakin’ cages!” she says. “I thought, ‘Well, my cats are as good as those cats! Why can’t I show my cats?’ ”

As they left the showroom, Barton saw a flier for the upcoming East of Eden show.

Bobbi Temple holds her Highlander cat named Troy Sloane.
Bobbi Temple of Sussex, Wis., holds her Highlander named Troy Sloane at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

“I entered four cats that first year and ended up getting two finalists,” Barton says. “My sister-in-law thought the whole thing was silly. Two weeks later, I was at a club meeting joining up.”

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The East of Eden show, while smaller in size compared to other shows around the world — this year there are 65 entrants showing over 100 cats — is one of the oldest remaining clubs that is still putting on shows in the International Cat Assn.

“The people who come to this show generally come back, because it’s known as the fun show,” Barton says with a laugh. “These are my friends. These are my peeps. I’ve known some of these people for 30 or 40 years.”

Barton says one of the club’s newer goals is to address the demographic of participants, as it is generally an older crowd with the trope of the “crazy cat lady.”

“We are aiming to get younger people in the club.”

While many of the show’s regulars are professional breeders with pedigree cats, Barton says anyone with a household pet is more than welcome to enter.

Julie Supple holds her Ragdoll cats, Chuck Bass, left, and Mary Tyler Meow.
Julie Supple of Scottsdale, Ariz. holds her Ragdolls named Chuck Bass (left) and Mary Tyler Meow at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Jentry Hendricks holds her Ragdoll cat named Cosmo.
Jentry Hendricks of Springville, Utah, holds her Ragdoll named Cosmo at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

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Karen Walsh of Hollister, Calif. holds her Ragdoll named Mateo at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Anne-Charlotte Joseph holds her Persian cats Lunabelle, left, and Babybel, both wearing ruffled collars.
Anne-Charlotte Joseph of Santa Clara, Calif., holds her two Persians named Lunabelle, left, and Babybel at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Ken Kershaw, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, holds his Oriental Shorthair cat Ibeeza Little Dragon.
Ken Kershaw of Las Vegas, Nev holds his Oriental Shorthair named Ibeeza Little Dragon at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

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June Colwell holds her Chocolate Point Siamese named Little Sis.
June Colwell of Mira Loma holds her Chocolate Point Siamese named Little Sis at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Grace Ruga, wearing an American flag ascot, holds her American Curl named Curlniques It Is No Secret.
Grace Ruga of Perris holds her American Curl named Curlniques It Is No Secret at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Bobbi Wilfon holds her Persian cat named Isabella.
Bobbi Wilfon of Orange County holds her Persian named Isabella at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Aaron Prince holds his Toybob cats Tootsie, left, and Nokia.
Aaron Prince of Auburn, Calif. holds a pair of Toybobs named Tootsie (left) and Nokia at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Honey Bunny, a Minuet cat, looks over Karolyn McCall’s shoulder with its tongue touching its nose.
Karolyn McCall of Dobbins, Calif., holds her Minuet named Honey Bunny at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Denise Spraker holds her Selkirk Rex Variant named Gigi.
Denise Spraker of Fort Collins, Colo., holds her Selkirk Rex Variant named Gigi at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Joan Stewart holds her Exotic breed cat named Rocky.
Joan Stewart of Sacramento holds her Exotic named Rocky at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Jeff Muss holds his Maine Coon named Caesar and a toy with ribbons on a stick in front of the cat.
Jeff Muss of Sacramento holds his Maine Coon named Caesar at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Lynzcey Rkein holds her Maine Coon named Ragnar.
Lynzcey Rkein of Oakland holds her Maine Coone named Ragnar at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Bobbi Temple holds her Highlander named Leroy Sloane.
Bobbi Temple of Sussex, Wis., holds her Highlander named Leroy Sloane at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

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Mariano Cane holds his Maine Coon named Evsei.
Mariano Cane of Buenos Aires holds his Maine Coon named Evsei at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Kevin Kuhn holds his Sphinx cat named Groot.
Kevin Kuhn of Susuin City, Calif. holds his Sphinx named Groot at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)

Stoffel the cat looks over the shoulder of Esther Su, who is wearing a hoodie that says “Cat Lady Squad.”
Esther Su of Seattle holds her Household named Stoffel at the 44th East of Eden Cat Fanciers.
(Nic Coury / For The Times)


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Nic Coury