• Tinkerbell relaxes on the shoulder of her owner, Kelly Sarles.


    Tinkerbell relaxes on the shoulder of her owner, Kelly Sarles.

  • Judges Catherine Burns (from left) and Katherine Loeffler evaluate a contestant.


    Judges Catherine Burns (from left) and Katherine Loeffler evaluate a contestant.

STUTTGART, Germany - Nearly 20 fluffy felines gathered inside the Patch Community Club recently to partake in the Feline Fun Show and do what they do best - purr and look pretty.

The feline show was a first for U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports and Fitness personnel, who are more accustomed to hosting two-legged, rather than four-legged, events.

"We thought we'd give a cat show a try," said Oliver Stith, the Sports and Fitness director. "It was a different type of event for us and presented interesting adjustments."

Such adjustments included getting animal judges versus sports officials, locating concessionaires who cater to animals instead of people and accommodating four-legged, not two-legged, participants.

"Three people volunteered as cat judges, the Stuttgart Veterinarian Clinic set up a table with pet information and cat treats, and crafters from the Arts and Crafts Center offered cat-related products," said Stith. "As far as the cats were concerned, the biggest requirement was on their owners, and that was to bring their cats in pet carriers."

Carrier after carrier bearing such VIPs as One-Eye Willy, Sweetie-Pie, Beuwolf, Chico and Stinky, to name a few, were escorted by their owners into the community club. Each feline was given a 'swag bag' gift instead of a T-shirt.

The event was all about the cats. Although cats may not make things easy when it comes to judging - they don't jump over logs or run around obstacles like dogs do - the judges sized them up in categories such as the most toes, longest tail, most colors, loudest meow and fattest cat.

"It was fun being a judge," said Katherine Loeffler. "All the cats were well behaved, and deciding the best in each of the categories was difficult. It was nice to have a checklist to follow."

The judges were not the only ones checking out the cats. More than 200 people, young and old, were on hand to view the felines and exchange cat stories.

"It was a lot of fun showing my cat off and seeing so many cats in one place," said 12-year-old Gabi Putnam, whose cat, Benny, tied for first place with Tinkerbell for the most toes. "I learned a lot about cats - like Benny has 18 toes; how many toes is a cat supposed to have'"
The fattest cat category seemed to draw the most attention, probably because cats aren't suppose to be as big as dogs. The top two, Chico and Sasha, could easily dwarf many canines.

Chico, a charcoal-colored cat who tipped the scales at 17 pounds, was outdone by Sasha, a Maine coon mix weighing in at 18.2 pounds and still growing, according to owner Renate Cook. "Sasha is a furry bundle of joy, granted a heavy, furry bundle of joy," she said.

One-Eye Willy (who actually owned up to his name) won judges' choice. Bishop and Patch took longest tail at 12.5 and 11.5 inches respectively. Midnight and Murphy won for loudest meows. Tinkerbell and Sweetie Pie won for most colors and Pumpkin took people's choice.

"It was far more successful than we had expected, said Stith. "We may even consider conducting a dog show."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16