The internet might be the only space more pro-kitty than a cat show. Lucky for Dallas, then, because not only doth our Wi-Fi cup overflow, but this weekend, 175 real, live, analog kitties will be in town for the Turkish Van Cat Connection's Gingerbread Cats cat show in Waxahachie.
With a name like Gingerbread Cats, it's bound to be a barn-burner. The Ellis County Youth Expo Center is North Texas cat breeders' home turf, so expect fireworks in the background and deadly lasers shooting from the eyes of every feline entrant in the ring. It's just like a football game when you think about it: You don't come into my house with that weak kitty litter and expect to take my ribbons.
Oh, that's not how a cat show works? Well, here are 14 of the cutest, best-groomed local participants vying for The International Cat Association (TICA) points, ribbons and accolades, anyway.
1. Lanacats Ratibor
Let's start with the cat show naming convention, which can be something of a head-scratching barrier to entry for the uninitiated. The first name listed in the bulk of these entries is the name of the cattery from whence the cat came. The second name is a show name; the cat may well go by something totally different in really kitty life. This is, after all, show business.
Ratibor is a 5-month-old Somali that hails from Mother Russia (seriously) and will be shown in the kitten ring by Turkish Van Cat Connection President Kerry Dolan, a Johnson County resident also showing another kitten, HowlingCoyote Meet Me in Malta. Coming into the show, Ratibor is currently the Best of Breed Somali kitten in TICA, which includes competitions on five continents.
2. Kayserai Setareh
Caddo Mills resident Barbara Lindsey founded Turkish Van Cat Connection, which is the host organization for the show in Waxahachie. She also runs the Kayserai Cattery, where she specializes in breeding Turkish van cuties like 7-month-old Setareh. Just one more month in kitty competition until this one graduates to the big leagues.
3. Branbarrel Rumor Has It
Time for some fun cat facts, with your floofy host Rumor Has It, who also goes by Roux. The Cymric is a long-haired Manx. Manx cats originated on the Isle of Man. The Manx' tailless gene was a naturally occurring mutation. Manx kittens can be born with no tail, short tails or long tails.
It's also time for some bad cat jokes. Rumor Has It that Roux was born without a tail. Get it? Yeah, you get it.
You may have noticed Zoompurr has just the one name. That's because this little feller wasn't bred to be a show cat. No, Zoompurr is a true started-from-the-bottom-now-we-here, rags-to-riches story; a shelter cat from the Wichita (Kan.) Humane Society that graduated from the School of Hard Paws to become an International Winner. He's like Pip from Great Expectations, but with whiskers! Gripping.
Which brings us to the PSA portion of the show: Both Recycled Love Animal Rescue of Fort Worth and the Ellis County SPCA will have cats available for petting, fawning over and adoption at Gingerbread Cats. So consider adopting; you may have a star on your hands.
Just one question for owner Kerry Dolan's son Reeve, who was his TICA region's top junior exhibitor in 2013 and 2014. Where do interested consumers procure those Cat Man hats? Asking for a friend.
5. Dawntreader Duchess
It's written somewhere in the TICA bylaws (it's not) that competing at every cat show, there must be at least one cat named Duchess. Checking that box this weekend in Waxahachie is the hometown kid from Dawntreader Maine coons, Dawntreader Duchess.
This 8-month-old special little gal has only been competing in the adult ring for the last three weeks, but owner Mistelle Stevenson sees something in this rookie after Duchess earned double grand champion status in her adult debut in Louisiana and then triple grand last week in Corpus Christi.
It's very much a Jerry Jones-Dak Prescott type phenomenon. Yeah, that's a perfect analogy.
6. Kayserai Rahmi
Rahmi is another of Lindsey's Turkish Vans that proves that kitties don't choose show life, and not just because kitties lack high-level reasoning and problem-solving skills. It's because show life chooses kitties.
Look at the coat. The swagger that could only come from being named a regional winner and a supreme grand champion. That come hither stare. Or is that an "I just heard the can opener pop open a can of wet food" stare? The two are remarkably similar.
7. Dawntreader Gaston
Back to the kittens. Gaston is a polydactyl Maine coon kitten, and the extra toes do a couple things for him: 1. Super-kitty death grip, and 2. The extra kitty beans vault him into the top 1 percent of cutest kitties in the known universe. Behold.
8. Dawntreader Hercules
Gingerbread Cats will be little Hercules' first run through the kitten ring. Soak it all in little guy. This is your life now.
9. TTCats Ginger of Dawntreader
Welcome to the big show, Ginger and Cambree Stevenson. Gingerbread Cats will be the Maine coon's debut in the adult ring after a successful run on the kitten circuit. Ginger and her 5-year-old co-owner, who is breeder Mistelle Stevenson's daughter and whose lot in life as cat-lady-in-waiting is already in motion, have been strutting their stuff in the TICA Junior program. This weekend will also be Cambree's first go-round in the adult ring.
10. Comix Zen Master
Devon rex cats are nature-made mutants born with curly, soft coats and without all that guard hair. That makes them perfect for all those haters who claim they're "allergic" to cats. Zen Master here goes by Buddha at home and raises the question, when are these judges going to start giving awards for dreamiest eyes?
11. Legendtales Chancellor Esteban
This pixie-bob, which are bred to resemble bobcats, came from Lynwood, Washington, but now calls Dallas home and calls Todd and Michelle Richards roommates.
12. Alec Xander the Greeter
You wouldn't know it to look at that face, but Xander is full of cat piss and vinegar. Perhaps it stems from his origin as part of an "oops" litter, when mom (a Somali) got out for a night and was "entertained" by a ragdoll male.
It makes a kitty like Xander want to prove himself time and time again on his way to that elusive grand master title. Owner Helmi Flick is one of the preeminent cat show photographers around these parts, based in Bedford, but has been showing Xander in the household ring as well.
13. Gulfcats Mr. Miyagi of Starlas
Look at Mr. Miyagi in his blue eye during long conversations. The brown one don't work so good no more since the accident. Just kidding. He's obviously perfect and is owned by Paul and Starla Harrison, who also breed Scottish folds in Garland. Mr. Miyagi is a Supreme Grand Champion and was the 23rd best alter, a term used to describe show cats who have been spayed or neutered, in the world last year.
14. Starlas Geillis MacKenzie
Speaking of breeding Scottish folds in Garland, MacKenzie is one of Paul and Starla Harrison's stars. MacKenzie, like every other Scottish fold, can trace her lineage back to a single white Scottish barn cat with folded ears named Susie.