Time to purr: Show pleases cat fancy
It was a day filled with whiskers, raffles and love at the Bergen County Animal Shelter. The FOCAS Annual Cat Show hosted more than 30 cat owners and lovers and offered a day to celebrate their feline friends.
For more than two decades, FOCAS (Friends of the County Animal Shelter) has been offering these yearly cat shows to local residents. FOCAS is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping abandoned, homeless and injured animals in Bergen County.
FOCAS President Carol Burrows began last Sunday’s cat show by thanking everyone for coming.
"You are all a blessing for caring so much about your animals to take them to events like this and support our cause," she said. "All of the proceeds from this event will benefit the animals — from our Spay/Neuter Program to our Angel Fund, you’re helping by supporting us."
The event then turned to the friendly cat "competition." Two FOCAS volunteers judged each of the 19 registered cats on criteria such as "Nicest Whiskers," "Nicest Eyes," and "Judges Pick." After each cat was presented, the judges deliberated while a tricky tray auction took place. Most of the auction prizes were donated to FOCAS throughout the year and ranged from kitty socks to a pet stroller.
According to Jennifer Skrapits, co-chair of the event with Natasha Mouzytchenko, "About 90 percent of all of the prizes were donated to us this past year. From businesses to individuals, so many people contributed to these great prizes."
Helen Barden, treasurer of FOCAS, added: "This really is a year-long project. As we received donations, we put them aside and both Jenn and Natasha work so hard to put these baskets together."
After the auction, the competition winners were announced, though each of the 19 entrants received a prize. Special mention was also given to some cats that have passed away in the last year and were unable to make to this year's show.
John and Cynthia Hamilton, who have lived in Hackensack for more than 20 years, are no strangers to FOCAS events. They have been regulars at the FOCAS Cat Show since 1985 and have been attending with their two cats, Dewey and Schuyler. Though the cats both passed away this year, the Hamiltons attended the event with their other cat, Leila, who is 2 years old.
"We've been coming to these events for such a long time, and they're really great," said John. "This is the only event like this that I know of in the area and we look forward to it every year."
Cynthia added, "Although we're sad that Dewey and Schuyler are not with us this year, we still wanted to come for Leila. It's a really nice day. We're looking forward to FOCAS' Mrs. Claus pictures in the winter."
Palisades Park resident Darlene DeSantis is also mourning the loss of her furry friend. Her cat, Cheeseburger, recently passed away, but that did not stop her from attending the cat show. Cheeseburger's name and presence was noted by FOCAS, as organization members presented DeSantis with a present, acknowledging Cheeseburger's memory.
"I've been coming here mostly every year since Cheeseburger was one year old," DeSantis said. "It's a really nice event, and a great way to raise money for animals who need it.
"Cheeseburger was such an important part of my life, and it's so nice that FOCAS has acknowledged him. It helps ease the pain of his loss a little bit and makes me feel better," she added.
My daughter April and The Keenie Bunny
This is the picture that appeared in the newspaper.
Dee holding Meechi - my daughter's boyfriend's cat.