By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Ken Cribbs and his Siamese.
Finest felines flaunt their furrBy Burl Burlingame
It's difficult enough to judge cats without feeling, somehow, that they're judging you. Are you a suitable playmate? Will you provide shelter? Are you worth stalking, pouncing on and rending? Or are you edible?
Cats -- independent, highly evolved, singular and stand-offishly regal -- have only been domesticated a few thousand years. Unlike pack-animal dogs, who seek only to figure out who the alpha animals is and how best to serve it, cats view life with humans as an accommodation.
All this has to be taken into account when judging cats. It's not easy grading such independent actors, so judges will have their hands full at the Aloha Cat Fanciers Cat Show this weekend.
President Ken Cribbs' organization is the local chapter of the national Cat Fanciers Association, whose president, Craig Roth-ermel, will be one of the judges. "This is quite a coup, and helps bring Hawaii's level up to national standards," said Cribbs.
Other judges include Robert Salisbury, George Summerville and Diana Rothermel, wife of Craig. "It's actually quite common to have husband-wife judging teams for cats," said Cribbs.
Unlike dogs, of which there are hundreds of breeds, there are only 33 recognized pedigreed cat types, plus three "miscellaneous." About a third of these will be entered in the Hawaii show.
"It's very difficult to get a young cat through quarantine, so no one ever brings in a kitten" of an odd breed, said Cribbs. But the popular breeds that are already here include Persians, Siamese, Abyssinian and Somali.
"Plus poi cats, of which there are all sorts. Aluraphiles -- cat lovers -- enjoy their cats no matter what their background. That's because cats have such personality."
And personality is what sways judges. After ticking off the various physical "points" essential to each pedigreed breed, the judges interact with each animal, looking for sociability and cleverness.
"Last year, it was a household domestic cat that won," said Cribbs.
Until they're handled by the judges, they're kept in their carriers. The parades seen at dog shows aren't known at cat shows. "They're all tigers at heart," said Cribbs. "There's no such thing as a vegetarian cat, and their hunter personality reflects that."
Aloha Cat Fanciers Cat ShowTime: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Place: Amfac Center Exhibition Hall
Admission: $4; $2 for children
Web site: http://www.cfainc.org