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TOP CATS VIE FOR AWARDS.

Byline: Mark Baker The Register-Guard

Big Cats. Skinny cats. Hairless cats.

Cats that purr. Cats that sleep. Cats that leap.

Shorthairs and longhairs.

Cats named Simone and Rambo and Princess. Cats named Tweedledee and Oliver Twist and Harry Potter.

Blue cats. Cream-colored cats. Cats the color of chocolate mousse and cats with eyes the color of copper.

It's the McKenzie River Cat Club's annual show at the Lane County Fairgrounds and some of these cats will walk away with an aCATemy Award today. That's what they are calling this year's cat show, you know - the aCATemy Awards.

It's put on every year in conjunction with the Cat Fanciers' Association, the largest cat club in the world, said Al Phillips, a member of the McKenzie River Cat Club and the director of this weekend's show, which opened Saturday and runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.

The association sponsors cat shows all over the world, Phillips said, "to promote healthy, well-bred animals and to try and place some of them in responsible pet homes. And to educate the public to care for their cats."

Cats are judged on conformation, color, size and temperament.

"It's kind of a beauty contest," said Betty Denny, who founded the cat club in Roseburg in 1958. She moved to Eugene in 1965, and changed the name to the McKenzie River Cat Club.

All cats were scored by four judges Saturday, and they will be evaluated by four more judges today. They are judged on a 100-point scale, Denny said, and those cats with the highest point totals in their divisions will go home winners today, she said.

Cats accumulate points as they go from show to show, and the goal of many cat owners and breeders is to get to the nationals in Houston, which are held each November.

That's what Paul Meeker of Caldwell, Idaho, wants for his cat, Harry Potter. Harry is a British shorthair, and he weighs 16 pounds. He is gorgeous and gray, and has big paws and copper eyes. However, in the cat world, his color is blue, Meeker said.

"Any cat you see here that's gray is blue," Meeker said.

Don't ask. No one here seemed to know why, that's just the way it is and the way it has always been, Meeker said.

Harry Potter is in the running to be one of the top 25 cats in the nation, Phillips said.

Pat Kelty of Edmonds, Wash., has been breeding cats for 27 years. She has 14 cats and brought Masako and Takara, both Cornish Rexes - the greyhound of the cat world - a breed that originated in Cornwall, England, to the show.

"I've been loving cats all my life," said the 78-year-old Kelty, who was wearing a matching magenta-dress-and-shoe outfit with cat embroidery. "I was probably 5 years old when I dragged every cat in Pittsburgh home with me."

Kelty said there is one reason, and one reason only, why she comes to cat shows.

"For the love of it," she said. "It's pure fun."

aCATemy Awards

What: McKenzie River Cat Club's cat show

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today

Where: Exhibition Hall at Lane County Fairgrounds

Admission: Adults, $4; seniors and students, $3; children under 6 and seniors over 65, free

CAPTION(S):

Pat Kelty of Edmonds, Wash., holds her Cornish Rex cat named Takara during the McKenzie River Cat Club's all-breed show at the Lane County Fairgrounds on Saturday. Cats: Breeders set sights on nationals Continued from Page C1
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Title Annotation:An annual Lane County show brings out an array of breeds to compete for honors in a pageant for felines; Features
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 9, 2003
Words:588
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