They traveled from across the continent. Each one was primped and pampered to look its best, and by Saturday, they were ready to claw their way up the ranks in the cattiest competition Akron has held in over 15 years.

The Great Lakes Region of the Cat Fanciers’ Association held its regional cat show Saturday and Sunday, attracting 225 fancy felines and their humans to the John S. Knight Center for the competition.

Spectators roamed the convention hall looking at the multiple vendors and, of course, the felines themselves, most of which were often perched on pillows in their cage taking a cat nap. Laura Rose of Portage Lakes was there with her son, Oonchie.

“We just wanted to pet the cats,” said 7-year-old Oonchie as he gazed into every cage he passed. “I wish I could pet them all.”

Competitors showed up from all over the country, and in some cases, even farther.

Joel and Camelle Chaney from Sharon Township in Medina County were two of the few local competitors with their Maine coons, Mira and Sevress. Mira took home the prize for best kitten in her final competition.

Sandra Nabeta and Dawn Benaim, on the other hand, came in from Ontario, Canada, to compete with their exotic cats.

Nabeta brought her Cornish Rexes, cats with lanky bodies and a short, curly coat, while Benaim brought her Japanese bobtails, which have short pompom tails.

“There’s just something very appealing about them,” Benaim said of her cats’ breed. “They make it known that they think you’re the best thing since sliced bread.”

While pompom tails, minimal hair and smushed faces may seem odd to onlookers, those are defining assets judges look for in particular breeds.

Melanie Morgan, who has been a judge with the CFA for more than eight years, said there is a written standard describing what each breed’s purrfect cat should look like.

Every cat at the show was judged based on a myriad of criteria and ranked on a 100-point scale to earn points to compete in national and international competitions.

“This region’s competition has some of the most competitive cats in the world,” Morgan said.

While good judges stick to the written standard, Morgan said great judges know the standard can be subjective.

“There has to be an artistic intuition,” Morgan said about judging. “When you look at a cat, it should make your heart sink.”

When judging, Morgan brings each cat to a table and dangles a toy in front of it. It’s not for their entertainment, though.

“As a cat is moving, I’m assessing what’s going on,” Morgan said. She checks out everything from balance to the cat’s “paint job.” Judges do this to analyze each cat naturally instead of making it feel uncomfortable.

Also at the show was an agility course where speedy felines could earn more points for competitions based on their completion times.

“The obstacle course was really cool. [Cats] don’t want to do anything, so it’s funny,” said 16-year-old Jessica Rathbun, a spectator from Akron. “They just kind of lay there. It’s kind of like me. Cats are me.”

Theresa Cottom can be reached at 330-996-3216 or tcottom@thebeaconjournal.com.