Cat show takes center stage at Olympia hotel

If you slept late at the Red Lion Hotel Olympia on Sunday and thought you heard “meow,” you weren’t dreaming.

For the second day, the hotel’s Forest Ballroom was filled with about 140 cats of varying breeds, all of which were competing in a cat show sanctioned by The International Cat Association, said show manager Elaine Weitz.

The weekend cat show, which attracted cat owners from throughout the region, Canada and even the East Coast, had the theme of “It’s a small world,” partly because some of the judges were from France, Austria and Russia, she said. Twelve judges — six on each day — judged the felines throughout the day.

For spectators, there were plenty of breeds to see, such as the Bengal, Ragdoll or Maine Coon, one of the largest breeds, said Weitz.

Weitz, of Edmonds, said she didn’t grow up with cats because her father didn’t care for them, but after she moved out of the house at 18 she made them pets.

She praised them for being highly intelligent, sensitive and loyal. They’re also much more independent than a dog and provide comfort, she said.

“There’s nothing like a cat purring in your lap,” Weitz said.

Susan Silva of Bothell brought Merlin, a nearly 2-year-old Selkirk Rex — a breed that has curly hair, making it look a bit like a sheepdog with a haircut. (Sorry about the dog comparison, Merlin).

Silva said she shows the lilac-and-white cat about once a month. Merlin is playful, she said, but not so playful that he knocks stuff off shelves at home. He also wants to be with you, but not necessarily on you, she said.

“It’s a nice blend of everything,” said Silva about Merlin’s personality.

The hard-to-miss cat on Sunday was a ball of fur named Asimi, a 21/2-half year-old Black Silver Shaded Persian who was being shown by Melanie Chapman, 27, and her mother, of Coquitlam, British Columbia.

She said her mother has been showing cats since the 1980s, including the last several years in the states, Chapman said.

Asimi, a male, was a Triple Grand Champion on Saturday and was aiming to be a Quad Grand Champion on Sunday, she said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what that distinction meant; however, Chapman said every cat received a ribbon, plus additional stickers on the ribbon for various accomplishments.

Asimi’s Triple Grand Champion ribbon had several such stickers.

Chapman said Asimi purrs like a motor and is friends with everyone.

In addition to the cat show, the event raised money from spectator ticket sales to benefit Community Cat Coalition, a Mukilteo, Washington-based nonprofit that offers spay and neuter surgeries, vaccines and medical assistance for injured or sick free-roaming cats.