To clear up a common misconception, if you are a cat owner, don't bring your feline friend to a Cat Fanciers' Association show.
The only cats brought to shows are ones who are preregistered to compete.
"We have people who show their mixed breeds in the household pet category, but only if they're registered in advance," said Marci Baturin of Carpentersville, the show manager. "This is a true competition, just like a pedigreed dog show."
However, cat lovers of all ages are welcome to watch the judging of purebred and household pet cats, browse vendor booths for pet-related products, and maybe even purchase or adopt a kitten of their own.
The Purr-a-Pawlooza Lincoln State Cat Club Feline Expo and 53rd annual Allbreed Benefit Cat Show will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17, in building M at Harper College, Palatine.
Baturin, a member of the club who has been breeding Russian Blues since 1970, said people who have never been to a cat show are in for a treat.
"This is one of the largest cat shows in the Midwest," she said. She said first-timers should walk around, look at everything and ask questions.
"We'll have 12 breeds showcased in our meet-and-greet place where visitors can get to touch cats," Baturin said.
The Cat Fanciers' Association is the world's largest registry of pedigreed cats, according to its website, www.cfa.org. All CFA cat shows have rings in which cats are judged, and rows of cages in which entered cats are benched while they await their turn in the judging rings. This show will have eight rings.
Cat show judging is different from dog show judging in that the cats aren't expected to perform. The judges examine them one at a time to determine how well they meet the breed standard, and are awarded ribbons and points (toward their championship or grand championship) accordingly. The top 10 cats in each ring will go on to the finals.
"One of our judges, Annette Wilson, will hold a mock judging ring at 11:30 a.m. Sunday to explain to the public how it works -- the ribbons, etc.," Baturin said.
As important as the judging is, there's plenty more to do at the show. There will be an education ring with speakers such as Dr. Edward Hoover, a veterinarian who Baturin said developed the rhinotracheitis vaccine.
"He will talk about what it means when your cat sneezes," Baturin said.
Other presenters will cover topics such as care of elderly cats, the latest trends in feline medicine, animal communication and how to groom your cat.
Author Kay A. Clark of Lake in the Hills will be at the show to sign copies of her book, "Sebastian and Me, a Rite of Passage and Spiritual Journey," along with her cat Sebastian.
Nearly 40 vendors will offer feline related items for sale, including cat furniture, beds, toys, grooming supplies, food; cat-themed jewelry and clothing; and area shelters and rescues will have booths where you can learn more or possibly adopt a new friend.
Baturin said the show organizers have planned activities for children as well.
"Garfield the Cat will be here; you can have your photo taken with him each day at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 and 2 p.m.," she said. "There will also be a kids' coloring contest with prizes in each category, including a bike." The cutoff for submissions is 1 p.m. Sunday, she said.
At 2 p.m. Sunday, dancers from Deer Park's Center for Ballroom and Dance will perform a number from "The Little Mermaid" and other pieces.
The show runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17, at Harper College, 1200 W. Algonquin Road, Palatine. Admission is $8 for adults ($12 for a two-day pass); $6 for children 6-12 and seniors ($10 for a two-day pass); free for children younger than 6. For details, visit lscats.org.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.