Rose Valley girl will show you how to enter a cat show

2012-04-01T20:00:00Z 2012-04-03T19:02:41Z Rose Valley girl will show you how to enter a cat showBy Cathy Zimmerman / The Daily News Longview Daily News
April 01, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

It wasn't enough that MacKenna Goldsbary of Rose Valley raised $200 for the Kelso School District's outdoor school.That she showed her pet kitty Gracie at a Cat Fanciers Show here in October, and sewed fuzzy pads for cats as a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Cowlitz County, and held an animal food drive for the Humane Society at Coweeman Middle School in March, and made a presentation at an Adoption Event at Three Rivers Mall several days later.

But no. MacKenna, who is 11, wants to do more.

She plans to share what she's learned about showing feline pets at "Cat Show 101," a workshop she will present for youthful cat lovers Saturday at the mall.

The seminar will help kids like MacKenna enter cat shows, too — including the one to be held a couple weeks from now at the Cowlitz County Convention Center.

MacKenna got into cat shows partly because her mom, Angela King, and her grandmother, Maureen Clark, are vendors at the shows, which means they sell products to people who have cats.

What really got MacKenna involved, however, was Grace.

The Coweeman Middle School sixth grader, her 9-year-old sister, Hailey, and some other kids were roaming in the woods of Rose Valley last summer when they came upon a tiny, abandoned kitten wobbling down the middle of the road.

"Our cousin Cody is the one who found it," said Hailey.

The kitten was yelling, MacKenna said — the cat actually has a quick high yelp instead of the typical long-winding whine of a pleading kitty.

MacKenna named her "Grace."

They took the tiny black mackerel tabby home, bottle fed it and cleaned it up.

They also realized they should have looked around to see if there were others. "Usually, litter mates don't leave each other," MacKenna explained.

The kids went back the next day and found the rest of the litter — six more weak and mewling kitties, in a box right next to a big burn pile in a clear cut.

According to MacKenna, evidence showed that Gracie was a hero. "She saved her litter mates. She clawed and chewed her way out of the box and walked down the road."

The litter had been left in the clear cut over the hot Labor Day weekend, and the kittens had had no milk for three days.

Since then, Gracie has grown into a glossy, healthy, 1 1/2-year old tabby who "loves to explore," MacKenna said.

When Gracie was a year old, MacKenna joined the Youth Feline Education Project (YFEP), the youth division of the Cat Fanciers' Association, and entered her cat in the household pets category.

She will enter Grace again April 14 and 15 at the Convention Center. And she'd love to get other kids to do the same. "Most kids have dogs," MacKenna said, "but the ones with cats really love their cats."

Why should youngsters bother their independent cats with a the rigors of a pet show?

Cats, who are more independent than dogs, don't have to do lots of tricks at the show.

"All she has to do it sit there," MacKenna said of Gracie. "The judges will pull her out of the cage, look at her eyes and nails."

Taking part in cat shows, as well as getting involved in YFEP, has lots of benefits, MacKenna said. Learning more about felines, and grooming and showing your cat, "helps you bond with your cat," the girl said. "You do different activities, and you meet people."

Kids who also join YFEP can earn points that could help them win scholarship bonds. They have to make presentations, which helped Mac-Kenna bloom from a very shy girl into a confident speaker. "I've become more outgoing," she said.

She put on the fundraisers to earn YFEP points, and she earned money to pay her own entry fees by working as a "ring steward" at the cat shows, disinfecting cages and cleaning up. Now Hailey has started being a ring steward, too.

Like most hobbies, this one costs money, but Clark said it teaches kids responsibility when they have to think up ways to earn it.

At MacKenna's workshop, kids can learn how to groom their cats, how to enter shows, how to make presentations, "what you need and what you don't need," the girl said.

She will have handouts about YFEP, but no one has to join either organization to enter a cat in a CFA show.

To entice people to come, MacKenna is offering prizes: goodie bags filled with "lots of stuff," and reduced fees for entering a cat show.

It costs $10 to attend, and the money goes to the Humane Society. "It's all for the animals," MacKenna said.

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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