Fancy Felines

Dayton hosts its 62nd Annual Cat Fanciers’ Cat Show

Photo: Ohio State Persian club’s 2001 Best Cat

By Katie Fender

The Dayton Cat Fanciers’ Association will host its 62nd Annual cat show this November. Since 1956, cats and kittens from all sorts of breeds compete from all over the country. The show secretary treasurer, Wilma Van Scoyk, is looking forward to participating with her Persian cats, something she has done since 1972.

“I started in 1972 with silver and golden Persians and have had the pleasure of achieving many awards,” Van Scoyk recalls.

As treasurer, Van Scoyk is in charge of getting the judges lined up to come to the show and the hospitality and transportation of the judges. However, this is much more of a passion for Van Scoyk than a job.

“A couple years before my son graduated, I lost a little house pet and while grieving it, my husband told me that I need to get another cat. Then one Sunday, he drove me to Columbus and marched me up to the door and we went into the living room of a woman’s house and walked out was this silver Persian and that was it, I was hooked,” Van Scoyk says.

Van Scoyk took her new cat to shows, but realized after the cat received no achievements that this cat was from a backyard breeder and not a pure breed. So after two years with this silver Persian, Van Scoyk went to a reputable breeder and that is what really got her started into shows.

“It is a hobby which brings you happiness and heartache, sort of like children,” says Van Scoyk of her passion and long-term dedication to cat shows.

The show is affiliated with the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). “The purpose of the show is to not only promote the breed and strive to improve the breed [but also] another thing is when the spectators come in, they learn about the cats. So we are a teaching organization too. We are also helping to place kitties into good homes. However, we are not a kitten mill association,” Van Scoyk says.

Paul Ruzinsky, the show manager, is another passionate person who has been dedicated to cat shows for over 30 years. Ruzinsky has three cats, two of them household pets, and has been showing and participating in cat shows since 1972.

After doing shows for three decades, Ruzinsky has a couple of special memories that stick out in his mind. One of his show cats, a calico exotic named Pele, was a two-time national champion.  Ruzinsky explains that Pele also became somewhat famous during her championship reign.

“Her picture is on a national product of a company right near Dayton called Kitty Bloom. They do horses, dogs, and cats but they chose her to be the cat on their name product,” says Ruzinsky.

For many years Ruzinsky quit showing cats but continued to do set up for the shows.

“When people looked at products at the show, they kept asking if I knew anything about cats. Well, I got tired of getting that question, so I took our cat back out and she took fourth best cat in show and in year 2006-2007 she was best cat in show. She was 14 years old. Then people quit asking if I knew anything about cats,” Ruzinsky says.

Ruzinsky also explains that cat shows are a bit different than dog shows, as many people are familiar with watching dog shows seeing all the dogs prance and walk around all at once.

“At cat shows when you come in, you don’t have to look where you are walking. But at dog shows, the dogs are always walking around on leashes and they sometimes have accidents. The cats are in cages and stay in the cages beside the judges and are looked at one at a time,” Ruzinsky says.

There will be around 200 cats at the show and many different breeds of cats ranging from long hair to short hair and bald. Cats are put into four categories: kittens (four months to 8 months old), adult cats or championship cats, premier cats, and household pets. The show cats must first be awarded the breed ribbon in their class and then hopefully make a final where they can earn points. To achieve the title of Grand Champion, the cat must earn 200 points. Then, the competing cats can try for a regional award and also a national award. These cats are the top 25 in each class.

There will be a designated vendors area with boutique shops and other items. The proceeds from this event will help support local cat charities.

The Dayton Cat Fanciers’ 62nd Annual Cat Show will be held at the McAfee Sports Center, 1321 Research Park Drive in Beavercreek on Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult admission is $6, seniors are $5 and $15 for families. The show is free for children 5 and under. For more information visit the Dayton Cat Fanciers’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DaytonCatFanciers/.

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Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Fender at KatieFender@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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