Somewhere in the midst of Sunday’s roaring crowd and applause, nestled away from the insecure meows of fellow felines, Madi a short-legged Napoleon from Topeka, was making history, simply by cuddling and snoozing on her owner’s chest.
The 2-year-old cat is among the newest breeds accepted to the International Cat Association. The Napoleon breed produces short, pudgy cats with 4-inch legs and whose lineage is descended from Persian and Munchkin cats. They were accepted to the association May 8.
Madi was one of 28 breeds among 125 cats represented this weekend at the KansasKatz Cat Club Championship and Household Pet Cat Show at the Sunset Banquet Hall in south Wichita. The show, which ended Sunday, featured breeds such as Peterbald, Scottish Fold, Norwegian Forest Cat, Havana Brown and Savannah.
And even though the show was about cats; there were also cat toys and cat litter, cat cages and cat gadgets.
Still, the focus was on cats: Baby cats, hormonal cats, cats that were soft and furry; and, some not so hairy.
Terry Decker of Kingman took four Sphynx to the show – the type made famous in the “Austin Powers” movies.
“These cats are just my heart,” Decker said. “I started raising and playing with cats when I was big enough to hold them. And although I’ve had many different breeds, I just fell in love with these. People either hate or love them. And if they hate them, they haven’t met one.”
And indeed, as one of her Sphinx kittens lay in her arms, it reached out a wrinkled paw – that more closely resembled a tiny hand with fingers.
“I love the beauty and integrity of what it is supposed to be,” Decker said. “This is a result of many years of careful and selective breeding to get a gorgeous animal. You look at this guy – at this little pudgy tummy and how precious he is. This is something that doesn’t show up at the back door.”
Most all domestic cats are descended from a few African wild cats, but the breeds vary widely.
“Each registered pedigree cat has its specific type of style and character,” said Toni Meisberger of Bangs, Texas and breeder of Savannahs and Bengals. “As each person has different folks for different strokes, this is what each person is attracted to. A Persian will lie on your lap and love you differently than a more high energy cat. These Bengals, I call the Peter Pan type. They never grow up. They want to play their entire life. They will play fetch by the hour.”
The whole idea of breeding cats is to fall in love with a breed.
“It makes you want to develop and improve it,” said Jonna Inman of Oberlin. “It is not to populate the universe with cats. With each breeding we do, we try to breed up. There is a standard of points that describe the breed. And, when the judges look at the cats, they see how closely the cats meet the individual breed.”