Cats and their people: ‘It’s a real partnership’

The 38th Annual Saintly City Cat Club Show set up shop at the RiverCentre over the weekend, attracting cat breeders and lovers from around the country and naming winners in four categories. Top prize was awarded to “Best Cat,” an honor most attendees believed belonged to their personal fine feline friend:

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Mary Jane Tesdall and Missy Moon, Des Moines, Iowa. “She’s an exotic short hair, a blue patch tabby, about 10 months old. I like this breed of cat because I like the round Persian face and the short plush coat, though this one is not particularly cuddly.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Nancy Peterson, Mona Lisa, and Gamer, Solon, Iowa. “My first word was ‘kitty,’ and obviously my folks took me to the dairy barn too often when I was growing up, because we never had house pets so the only place I would have learned the word ‘kitty’ was in the milking parlor. I’m 67 now, and I’ve had cats all my life. These two are just the best. Her color is so beautiful and he just comes up to me at night, so soft, and pets my face.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Janet Poulsen and Atchawa, Minneapolis. “I have been fascinated with odd-eyed white cats – cats with two different-colored eyes – in particular since I was a little girl, because when I was a little girl I had white blonde hair and one blue and one brown eye and I thought I was the only creature in the world that looked like that.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Mark Vollmer and Josephine Baker, Woodbury. “My cats mean a lot to me. I’ve gone through a really trying year this year, with my wife passing from cancer. The cats have helped me through that, just being there with me, getting on my lap, coming and looking for some attention and affection. I have over a dozen cats right now, all my cats outside of Josephine — who I didn’t name — are named after songs: Rhiannon, Stairway To Heaven, Penny Lane, Crystal Blue Persuasion, Cracklin’ Rosie, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Bohemian Rhapsody, Summer Breeze.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Melissa Udomah, Gregory Clater, Mary Udomah, and Johnny Cash, June Carter, and Finnegan, St. Francis. “We have seven people in the house and seven animals,” said Melissa. “We have five teenagers and two children with profound and significant disabilities, and the animals have helped both of our sons who have autism learn how to communicate and have a caring relationship with animals.”    

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Gena Garton, Blake The Red, and Red Wing, Milwaukee. “I have a Corgi, but dogs are so much more work than cats. It’s nice, as a single person, that cats are so self-sufficient. You put out their food and water and litter box, and they’re good. You can even go away for the weekend and they take care of themselves. When you get to know cats, they’re really loving animals and they’ll seek you out. I mean, when I sit down in my recliner at night, I end up with about four or five cats lying on me, because they want to get next to me, they want to see me, sniff at me and know where I’ve been. It’s not the dog mentality of, ‘Can I please you?’ It puts me in partnership, it’s a real relationship.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Cathy Mandelbaum, Lucy, Annie Dhir, and Shamgar, St. Louis Park. “They are like Velcro,” said Dhir. “They want to be with you wherever you are. They’ll follow you into the bathroom; there’s no privacy anymore. On these cold winter nights, they crawl into bed with you and it’s really cute with their little heads sticking out from under the covers and resting on the pillow like humans.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Jo Newton and Rusty, Eagan. “He’s 15 months old and 22 pounds, and he brings me so much happiness. When I’m stressed out, this cat comes up to me and tells me it’s all right. He’s a really mellow, happy cat. He puts up with me. He just says, ‘I’m a really cool, real happy cat,’ and I just love him to death.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Kat Doring and Riley, Farmington. “I run a child care and the kids love the cats, and I take my cats to nursing homes and the children’s hospital so people can see that cats are kind of like dogs. They say that owing an animal lowers your blood pressure, and [the nursing home residents] love it because it kind of reverts them back to their childhood of holding a kitten.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Dana Drew and Rosalie, Oakdale. “Burmese are bred for companionship. I mean right from day one, those cats want to be your friend. Cats grow up in our house, they interact with us, and they just pick a person to spend time with. My personal cat, Lily, from the moment she was born has been my best friend since she’s been alive. She’s not here today, she’s at home, she’s 4 years old now, and I wouldn’t trade her for a million dollars.”

MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

Peggy Jensen and Jamocha, Crystal. “This guy, when you’re lonely, he’s there. If you’re crying, he’ll lick the tears off your face. They’re better than people sometimes, is how you feel. They’re more empathetic, they can kind of sense your moods, whereas people are, ‘Oh, you’ve had a hard day, I’ve had a hard day.’ These guys haven’t had a hard day. They’ve been waiting for you to come home all day.”

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