Life

Halloween Cat Show brings best feline breeds to Halifax

'Everybody's a crazy cat lady'

Guthrie, contestant Melanie Tillman's Russian Peterbald, dressed as a pumpkin for the Halloween Cat Show.
Guthrie, contestant Melanie Tillman’s Russian Peterbald, was dressed as a pumpkin for the Halloween Cat Show.   Delaney MacKay

What do a vampire; pumpkin and devil have in common?

All were furry felines, waiting on stage to be judged in the costume portion of the Halifax Halloween Cat Show.

The Fundy Fanciers Cat Club hosted the Halloween-themed show at the Halifax Forum on Saturday. The two-day show will be the club’s third event in four months.

Cat judge Eleanor MacDonald says the real business behind the competitions she judges is the “prize” of respect in the breeder community.

“The value is in that sire or queen that you’ve showed to a grand champion,” she says. “People buy your kittens, they get known from seeing you at the shows.”

The cat shows host more than 25 breeds, anything from a British shorthair to a Bengal.

Halifax contestant Melanie Tillman and Guthrie, her one-year-old Russian Peterbald dressed as a pumpkin, have participated in two of these shows. She says her favourite part is the diversity of cats.

“Everyone is so accepting of every different breed. It’s just a fun day and everybody’s a crazy cat lady.”

The shows are run through the Canadian Cat Association, which provides a registry of purebred cats and show rules and standards. The association has more than 190,000 cats registered.

MacDonald, who has judged cat shows in the Halifax/Dartmouth area since 1975, says if a cat doesn’t fit a standard it “doesn’t go up in her final” round of judging before picking a champion.

MacDonald judges a sphinx cat.
MacDonald judges a sphinx cat.   Delaney MacKay

One problem breeders can have is the expense of “campaigning” a cat – the cost of travel, hotel and themed supplies, such as a costume.

“There are a lot of people here from away; Kingston and Montreal,” says MacDonald. “When you’re campaigning a cat you’re spending big money.”

For Tillman, the biggest problem was getting Guthrie to stay still in his costume and behave for the judges.

“At the beginning of the day he’s really good but as the day goes on he’s like, ‘come on, let’s go.’ There’s too many people so he’s a little freaked out.”

The Ottawa Valley Cat Club will hold the next show registered through the Canadian Cat Association next weekend in Ottawa. The next Halifax show has yet to be scheduled.