With help from the American Kennel Club, the International Cat Association gets cats on the center stage at a companion event to the storied Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.
Who says that canines and felines can’t get along?
The nearly 200 breeds showcased at the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) “Meet the Breeds” event on Saturday didn’t fight like cats and dogs. Instead, they kept to their booths, tables, and cages, wagging their tails and purring as attendees paid them visits. Their owners played nice, too.
A companion event to the famous 141-year-old Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Meet the Breeds educated attendees about the various pedigrees, as well as the responsibilities that come with pet ownership. Although some dog people wonder if pedigreed cats should be slinking into the limelight with purebred dogs, Roeanne Fulkerson, marketing director at the International Cat Association, said that the felines were back this year by popular demand.
Several years ago, TICA joined forces with AKC for Meet the Breeds when it was a standalone event. However, when it became a companion event to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, there wasn’t space for the pedigreed cats.
But, according to Fulkerson, people kept asking where the cats were. “AKC was really our champion in conveying, I believe, to the Westminster Kennel Club that there was really a public demand for the pedigreed cats to return to Meet the Breeds,” she says
TICA’s participation in this year’s event helped it up the attendance numbers from last year. Attendees seemed particularly impressed by the feline agility competition—an obstacle course that included stairs, poles, a tunnel, and more.
“A lot of people know dog breeds,” said former TICA President Vickie Fisher to USA Today. “People aren’t familiar with cat breeds and there’s a lot less literature available. This is an incredible opportunity for us. We want people to understand the value of cats as a different companion animal.”
“We were very honored in being asked to participate with the Westminster Kennel Club dog show pre-events,” Fulkerson said. “And the American Kennel Club championed for us to attend, and we appreciate their loyalty to the pedigreed cats.”