IF YOU GO
• What: Cotton States Cat Show
• When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
• Where: Gwinnett Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth
• Cost: $8 per adult, $5 per child and senior
• For more information: www.cottonstatesc...>
DULUTH -- This weekend the Gwinnett Center will be invaded by furry felines. Purebred and household cats are competing to win blue ribbons, "Best in Show" and extra treats at the annual Cotton States Cat Show.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to see the best of the purebred cats to learn more about them and see the differences from one breed to the next," said C.A. Folds, member of Cotton States Cat Club. "You get to see breeds that you never knew existed and their characteristics."
At the event, there will be more than 300 cats representing a variety of mixes and breeds, including the most popular, the Persian.
"I think people like them because they're elegant with long hair and have the sweetest dispositions," Folds said. "They lie around all day and look pretty."
The second most popular cat is called a Maine Coon. Owners usually choose this breed when they "want a dog but can't have one."
The felines who enter the contest are divided up in three categories: kittens (four to eight months old), champions (eight months and older, not fixed) and premiers (eight months and older, spayed or neutered). Eight judges examine each cat during the two-day show, giving awards out in each class. They each choose the top 10 cats and kittens to look at for "Best in Show." The judges will individually give out awards and some cats may win more than once.
The felines rack up points that accumulate over the year. At the end of the judging season, points are tallied and the cats with the highest marks win within separate categories. The top award is the Cat Fanciers' Association's "Cat of the Year," which was won by a Persian named Kozy last year.
"This is nothing like a dog show," Folds said while explaining the nuts and bolts of the show. For two days, the cats will be judged nose-to-tail without an agility course.
Cotton States Cat Club is expecting more than 1,000 spectators to show up for the competition. Attendees have a chance to join raffles to win cat prizes, like toys, treats, clothes, mats and more.
Vendors will set up shop offering items "that you can't get in a regular retail store," and eight different no-kill shelters will be present with animals to adopt and information about each shelter.
Cats not participating in the show cannot enter the premises.