Cats are Back! returns to Little Rock following 20-year hiatus

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas Feline Fanciers and Mid-South Cat Fanciers of Memphis are partnering to present a one-day All-Breed Cat Show licensed by the Cat Fanciers' Association, Cats are Back! at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock on Saturday, according to a news release.

Cats are Back! will be held at the Hall of Industry on the Arkansas State Fairgrounds. The entry fee will be $12 for adults, $6 for children and seniors, or $24 for a family of four. The show hall will be open to spectators from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tickets will be sold at the door.

The cat show competition will feature six judging rings for pedigreed cats, which are judged on breed standards, and household pets, which are judged on health and appearance, by judges from across the United States.

Exhibitors enter cats in four different categories, including Championship (breeding cats), Premiership (for spayed and neutered pedigreed cats), Kittens (4-8 months old), and Household Pets (mixed breeds), the release said.

"Established in 1982, the Arkansas Feline Fanciers produced an annual cat show in Little Rock throughout the '80s and '90s, presenting the last cat show in Little Rock in 2001. CFA All-Breed judge Pamela Bassett took over ownership of the club at that time in hopes to one day return to producing shows in the city after the retirement of the club's former president," the release said.

Bassett has bred Persian cats since the 1980s and currently holds the record for having bred more Grand Champions than any other longhair cattery in the history of CFA. "The 40th Anniversary show will be presented in loving memory of her mother, Jean Bassett, and each judging class will be presented with a special 'Jean Bassett Award,'" it said.

Little Rock native Kate Sain started showing Exotic and Persian cats with CFA one year ago while having some free time during the pandemic and immediately made it a personal goal to "bring back" the Little Rock cat show.

"After having met Ms. Bassett at a show in Kansas, they decided to join forces to make the historic Little Rock show happen for the 40th Anniversary of the club," the release said. Sain now serves as the club's president.

"As I child, I loved attending the cat show in Little Rock every year," Sain said in the release. "It was a huge event for the city, and now that I'm involved in reviving it, I keep hearing people say how they remember the show and are so thrilled we're working to bring it back."

The cat show will feature 52 breeds of pedigreed cats being judged for confirmation and titles, with "lots of fun activities for spectators and families." There will be a "Meow Mall" with vendors selling fabulous items of all types for cats and their people, face-painting, a cat costume contest judged by a surprise guest, and a rescue organization with cats available to adopt.

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