By Darla Sheldon
On Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, ThunderKatz, an Oklahoma City based cat club, will host their 17th Annual Championship All Breed and Household Pet Cat Show. Nearly 200 purring felines will compete for titles awarded by The International Cat Association (TICA).
The two-day event is open to the public from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. It will be held at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in the Centennial Building, 608 Kiamichi Place in Oklahoma City. Show admission is $5 for adults, children 12 and under are free.
This year’s theme is “Cat-A-Palooza,” meaning all things related to cats.
“Everyone knows there are horse and dog shows but a vast majority of the public is unaware of cat shows,” said ThunderKatz President, Janis Larson. “Even fewer know of the newer breeds in TICA, such as, the Bengal that has rosettes like a leopard; the hairless Sphynx, and the tiger look-a-like, the Toyger.”
The Cat-A-Palooza show is a family friendly event that allows attendees to view a wide variety of exotic and domestic cats under one roof. The event will include a game where spectators and exhibitors can win prizes. There will be a raffle table and vendor booths selling cat and non-cat related items not readily available to animal enthusiasts at other venues.
“Showing isn’t just for purebreds,” said ThunderKatz Secretary Deborah Keith. “Household pet cats can also be shown in TICA. They are judged on health, condition and personality. At times, their turn in the rings is even more competitive than the purebreds.”
Both days will feature seven demonstration rings running simultaneously. Each cat will show in each ring during the course of the day. When not in the ring, cats can be viewed in the benching areas where their owners will be available to answer questions regarding their specific breed.
As a special feature during the lunch break on Saturday ThunderKatz will introduce Elaine Zalewski, from Furry Agape Pet Therapy in Grove City, Pennsylvania. Assisted by her own certified therapy and service cat, Cocoa Marbles of Marbleglen, Zalewski will present a pet therapy seminar on the subject of Therapy Cats.
Zalewski and Marbles travel extensively conducting an average of 25 animal-assisted therapy visits per month. These informative sessions educate the public about the variety of animals that can provide service not only as therapy pets, but as service animals as well.
Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy (AAT) and other animal-assisted activities. AAT is a growing field that uses dogs, cats or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such heart disease and cancer.
One of the earliest studies, published in 1980, found that those who owned pets lived longer than those who didn’t. Another found that petting a cat or dog could reduce blood pressure.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, working with four-legged friends, such as horses, dogs, or cats, may help some people cope with trauma, develop empathy, and encourages better communication.
“Putting on a show of this magnitude is not easy,” says ThunderKatz Treasurer Pat Rusche. “It takes hard work and money, but we have a group of extremely dedicated people who manage to pull it off every year.”
Proceeds from the show are donated to one or more rescue organizations to help offset the cost of spaying and neutering abandoned or feral cats. Rescue cats will be available for adoption at the show.
ThunderKatz Cat Club members meet once a month throughout the year and their main focus is putting on the cat show each year. Anyone interested in becoming a member can visit the ThunderKatz website where they will find additional information regarding the membership application and yearly fees.
For more information, visit www.ThunderKatz.org or contact Marty Young, show manager at 405-213-5612 after 2:30 p.m.
Cat show is the purrfect family event
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