The fur-face parade

By Qi Xijia Source:Global Times Published: 2016-5-3 17:48:01

Invasion of house cats, purebreds and the humans who adore them

Curious about purebred cats? Want to find a blind date for your cat? Cats Invading Earth, a cat show in Shanghai, promises to be a great party for cat lovers. And there's nearly 100 cats under the roof.

The main event is a competition held by The International Cat Association (TICA). The club maintains the world's largest genetic registry of pedigreed cats, and the largest registry of household pet cats and kittens.

Founded in 1979 by Georgia Morgan and a handful of cat enthusiasts in the US, it aims to promote the preservation of pedigreed cats and the health and welfare of all domestic cats.

The Texas-based association holds hundreds of cat shows annually in over 100 countries, allowing both household pet cats and pedigreed cats to compete for titles and international and regional awards. This is the second TICA competition to be held on the Chinese mainland.

"There are nearly 350,000 registered cats in China. We want to offer them a chance to compete and promote the idea of pedigreed cats and the lifestyle of owning pedigreed cats," Li Rong, president of TICA Big Bang Cat Club and the show's organizer, told the Global Times.

"Our cat shows attract owners from different cities to compete. This year we are planning to have seven competitions in China," Li said.

The breeds in the competition include Ragdoll, British Shorthair, American Shorthair, Oriental Shorthair, Garfield and Maine Coon. The groupings include sterilized cats and kittens. Felines are scored by judges accredited by TICA.

Get to know the cats

Li said that the concept of owning and caring for pedigreed cats has become popular in recent years.

"They hold a certificate. You can know the parents and the grandparents of the cat. Compared with household cats, they have a more fixed appearance," said Li.

The price of pedigreed cats is very high, usually over 10,000 yuan ($1,548). Jin Gui owns about 20 Ragdoll cats. One of them won first place in the longhair group.

"There are different ranks of cats. Competing cats, breeding cats and pet cats. Generally, my Ragdoll cats are worth 50,000 yuan. If a cat holds a title, it's worth over 100,000 yuan," said Jin.

But if you envy the cat owners, hold on. They also spend a lot on their furry friends.

Jin said he budgets at least 20,000 yuan per month to take care of all his Ragdoll cats. All the imported cat food, medicine, and healthcare and beauty costs add up.

To prepare for the event, Jin said he spent 3 hours washing his cat, using a cat shampoo especially made for longhairs.

"The smallest bottle costs 1,000 yuan," Jin said.

Alyona Trofimova's 5-month-old Maine Coon, Claudie, wins second place in the kitten group. Photos: Qi Xijia/GT

And the cat show's appeal isn't limited to locals. Alyona Trofimova, from Russia, has lived in Shanghai for more than 10 years. Her 5-month-old Maine Coon, Claudie, won second place in the kitten group.

"We brought it from Russia. This is our first time to TICA," Trofimova said. "We spend a lot of time on the cat. You need to feed them, give them some medicine and some vitamins. We brought most of the stuff from Russia."

American Laurie Patton is one of the show's judges. She has been a breeder since 1983 and became a judge in 2011. Over the weekend she has seen roughly 40 cats.

"In TICA, we have a standard that is written for every single breed. When I pick a cat for that breed, I have to remember the standard and see which one is closer to the standard. For a Maine Coon, for example, the main thing is that they are very long and rectangular. They have very tall ears and very bushy tails," Patton told the Global Times.

When a lot of people gather and a cat gets scared, she teases it with a stick to relax it.

If they're cooperative, it usually takes about a minute for Patton to check her criteria. But if they're really scared, she puts them back in their cages.

"They were amazing cats. The Oriental Shorthair was magnificent. It was a really long white cat. Very beautiful. I would take that home," Patton said.

Patton said that TICA holds an annual event in San Diego, California, where all winners from around the world fly in for awards and a banquet.

"I think we have more different breeds when we come to shows because we've been doing it longer. This is only their second show. As soon as you get other breeds, it is exactly the same," Patton said.

Although the competition has ended Monday, other events are still ongoing.

There are two rooms with dozens of pedigreed cats for visitors to pet. You can lie down on the fluffy carpet with the cat, feed them and tease them with a stick. The cats are meek and picked out especially by the organizer.

There is also a cat market where you can find products and accessories from soap to paw-shaped cakes.

Date: Until Sunday, 10 am to 9 pm

Venue: Shanghai Global Harbor

Address: 3300 Zhongshan Road North


Tickets: 58 yuan

Call 5108-0888 for details

Posted in: Metro Shanghai, About Town

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