Cats join­ing the fray at an­nual NYC dog fête

Global Times - Weekend - - TRENDS - AFP

Or­ga­niz­ers of the West­min­ster Dog Show are mak­ing room for a po­ten­tially con­tro­ver­sial ad­di­tion to this year’s fes­tiv­i­ties: Cats.

About 40 fe­line breeds are set to ap­pear at an event af­fil­i­ated with West­min­ster the week­end be­fore the dog show it­self.

The event, “Meet the Breeds,” gives the pub­lic a chance to talk with pure­bred breed­ers and con­nect with the an­i­mals.

About 130 dog breeds are also sched­uled to par­tic­i­pate at the all-day Fe­bru­ary 11 event, which is jointly or­ga­nized by the West­min­ster Ken­nel Club and the Amer­i­can Ken­nel Club.

News of the cat ad­di­tion to the iconic dog fête prompted quips on so­cial me­dia about “the apoc­a­lypse;” how­ever cats will not be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the dog show it­self.

Po­ten­tial pet own­ers will have free reign, but or­ga­niz­ers plan to strictly en­force a sep­a­rate-but-equal pol­icy be­tween the species. Sev­eral hun­dred cats and dogs are ex­pected in to­tal.

“It is not a ‘when doggy meets kitty,’” said AKC spokes­woman Brandi Hunter. “We’re tak­ing the proper safety pre­cau­tions to make sure both cats and dogs feel com­fort­able and safe and at ease.”

“It is a lot for peo­ple to come at them so we don’t want to put them in any other stress­ful sit­u­a­tions,” she added.

The West­min­ster show dates to 1876 and is the na­tion’s most pres­ti­gious pure­bred dog com­pe­ti­tion. In re­cent years, or­ga­niz­ers have added agility and obe­di­ence com­pe­ti­tions opened to mixed breed dogs in a pe­riod known un­of­fi­cially as “West­min­ster Week­end.” Other ca­nine friendly events also are held dur­ing the pe­riod, in­clud­ing a dog fash­ion show, which ben­e­fits char­ity.

Un­til 2015, the AKC held “Meet the Breeds” later in the sea­son around Oc­to­ber. Cats par­tic­i­pated when the event was held in the fall, but this year will be the first time they will be part of the Fe­bru­ary events.

West­min­ster con­cludes on Fe­bru­ary 14 with the award­ing of “Best in Show.”

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