BY CHERESE COBB, FREELANCER
Whether you’re a cat connoisseur, a crazy cat lady in training or a dog person transitioning into a cat person, the Fox River Valley Cat Club (FRVCC) can help you publicly proclaim your “cat-mance” to the world.
The half-century-old organization has 15 to 20 members. Their motto: care, advocate, teach and share. For their Paws to Talk About Claws initiative, they’re teaming up with Almost Home Kitty Rescue in Neenah, Wisconsin to educate the public about the dangers of declawing, such as infection, tissue death and lameness.
“Honestly, there isn’t a lot of representation for cats,” says Olycia Larson, one of the club’s household cat exhibitors. “When we’re at the WBAY (Green Bay) and Winnebago Pet Expos, we get a lot of comments about, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that something existed for cat people like us.’”
Part of the American Cat Fanciers Association’s (ACFA) North Central region, the FRVCC organizes two cat shows every year. The first is a Household Pet show, held in the spring. “It’s a small show. This year, we only had 25 cats and several of them were 4-H based,” says Barb Steele, the President of the FRVCC. “The judges look at the household pet’s personality—not necessarily breed standards.” No points are awarded.
The second is an American Cat Fanciers’ Association Pedigree and Household Pet cat show. “We usually have cat owners from six or seven states show up and eight different judges from around the United States,” Steele says. “A couple of years ago, we had a couple from Florida when there was a hurricane. They had no power, but they still got up here to attend our show.”
While there aren’t any breeders in the club, half of the members show cats. Larson exhibited her barncat named Khan for four and a half years before retiring him. “The most challenging part of being an exhibitor is traveling. You have to figure out the logistics of having a cat in a hotel room because they don’t normally behave as well as a dog does,” she says. “We’ve had a few people have to take apart beds or get behind fixtures or furniture to get their cats out because they squeezed into those places.”
Becky Markvart has been a member of the FRVCC for three years and currently owns one Maine Coon and nine Ragdolls. “I showed my Maine Coon for two seasons. We call him Princess because he cries at every little thing,” she says. “He hates baths and being combed. He decided that he didn’t like being shown anymore. He’s very happy to be retired.”
Markvart started showing her Seal Bicolor Lynx Point Ragdoll, Duncan, at 6 months old in Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Minnesota. “You can only show kittens from four to eight months old. Duncan ended up being the sixth-best kitten in North America,” she says. Though he was diagnosed with seizures before his first birthday, last year he was the sixth-best alter in North America and the year before that, he was ninth-best. “That’s how I ended up meeting a lot of the AFCA cat people. I didn’t know much about all the different breeds,” she says. “You get to learn about what makes each breed different from the other and how to tell a good representation of the breed from a bad one.”
If you’re interested in joining the FRVCC, please call
(920)-979-3427, or visit foxrivervalleycatclub.com.