The cats meow

metroDayton Fanciers’ 61st cat show in Beavercreek

By Erin Callahan

Photo: The Russian Blue is one of the breeds competing at the 61st Dayton Cat Fanciers Show Nov. 12

When you think of dogs, how many breeds can you name off the top of your head, or recognize when you see them? Probably at least a handful, right? Is it the same for cats?

Whether you identify as a cat person or not, there’s plenty to learn about the different breeds of cats and each of their unique qualities. Walking into the Dayton Cat Fancier’s 61st Annual All Breed Cat Show on November 12, you could see several of them; a Maine Coon, the breed that averages up to 17-pound males; the Sphynx, the hairless feline with wrinkles and a noticeable potbelly; or maybe a Silver Persian, one of Wilma Van Scoyk’s favorites.

Van Scoyk is the secretary and treasurer for the Dayton Cat Fancier’s cat show and says she got involved with breeding and exhibiting cats the way many others do, by falling in love with a cat of a particular breed. She’s shown several cats, many that have been recognized nationally, and she has been involved with Dayton Cat Fanciers for nearly 45 years.

Dayton Cat Fanciers was founded in 1956 and is a part of the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), a non-profit organization that licenses 400 cat shows each season worldwide, has over 600 member clubs, and has registered over two million pedigreed cats.

For years, the Dayton cat show was a two-day event held at Hara Arena, but due to Hara’s closing, the show has been relocated to the McAfee Sports Center in Beavercreek this year and will only be one day. Despite the new location and format, Van Scoyk has high expectations.

“[McAfee] has been very nice to work with so far,” she says. “In past years, I would say the ’80s, ’90s, and upper 2000s, you had 350 cats, maybe, in a show hall for a two-day show. But as the economy has suffered, the Cat Fancy has suffered. Now, if you can pull in 225 for a two-day show, you’re doing good. We’re hoping to get our 225 this year.”

For this show, there will be six judging rings, and each cat is judged in each ring.

“Each breed has their own standard, and when they are on the judging table and the judge is judging them, they are looking to meet that standard for that particular breed,” Van Scoyk says.

In other words, an exotic longhair does not have quite the same standards as say, an Abyssinian. Some standards include coat, color, eye color, weight, and boning while other standards call for refinement of boning.

“For those achieving the breed ribbon and/or champion ribbon, they then have a chance to get into a final,” she continues. “This is where the points are and it is like climbing the ladder. To become a champion you must receive six winners’ ribbons, and as a champion you must accumulate 200 points to become a grand champion. To receive a regional win at the end of the season, this is based on the highest down—the top 25—which in turn is the same for a national win. Your regional and national breed wins are based the same.”

Kittens, between four and eight months old, and household pets are also invited to the show, so cat lovers can enter many breeds, of nearly any age, to be a part of the competition.

“[Officials] judge that household pet on no standard at all like a purebred,” Van Scoyk explains. “It’s just like a judge’s preference, in other words, whether the judge likes this particular kitty over this particular kitty.  So, they do not have a standard—some of them are really very nice. [As of] this year at our annual meeting, household pets are now as competitive as your purebred cats,” she says. “In other words, they are scoring for points now, too, for a regional win. So, the household pets have come a long, long way.”

While anyone can complete an entry form to enter a cat, Van Scoyk says, breeding and exhibiting cats can be a very exciting, yet expensive hobby—if you have the right cat.

“You can keep your costs down if you don’t do a lot of traveling,” she says, “but once you start, say if you have a spectacular cat and you’re making points and you want to try for that regional win, then you start branching out to other shows in other states.  So, yeah, it can get expensive, but that’s with anything else.”

For those just interested in attending, and maybe finding a furry friend of their own, you can find another group of cats at the show—those needing homes. Breeders often have kittens for sale, and the Dayton Cat Fanciers have a strong partnership with the Humane Society, who they always welcome to join them at the shows.

“We usually have what we call a stand-alone household pet ring, and this was strictly for anybody that brought a kitty in that afternoon or somebody wanted to sponsor one of the Humane Society’s kitties in order to try and see if we could find a home for it,” Van Scoyk says. “And if at all possible, if we have made a little bit of money, we always made a donation to the Humane Society.”

Van Scoyk encourages anyone to attend the show to see the variety of cats and talk to the breeders, who are always willing to chat. So come one, come all—you’re in for a show, and the opportunity to see and learn about a wide range of breeds you may have never known.

The Dayton Cat Fanciers 61st Annual CFA All Breed Cat Show will take place Saturday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the McAfee Sports Center, 1321 Research Park Dr. #100 in Beavercreek. Judging starts at 9 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 5 and younger, and $15 for families. For more information, please visit CatShows.us/DaytonCatFanciers/. Could not confirm on website the info in red.

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Erin Callahan
Reach DCP freelance writer Erin Callahan at ErinCallahan@DaytonCityPaper.com

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