By MONICA BOND
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
BAZETTA -- Felines from all over Trumbull County lay in luxury Thursday morning at Trumbull County Fair, as cats and owners prepared for the junior fair 4-H cat judging.
Members of the Silver Claws 4-H Cat Club and two girls from Feathers 2 Fur Variety Club, displayed their well-groomed cats and elaborate cages.
The competitors, ages 9 to 18, built and decorated the cages with some fatherly assistance.
"It took me and my dad a week to build the cage," said Tara Jo Carano, 17, of Brookfield, a member of Feathers 2 Fur. "The theme is John Deere -- it kinda went with the fair."
The competitors are separated into three levels according to the child's age, and are judged by a panel of three judges.
One judge examines the cat, and the other two ask the child questions. Cats must be well groomed, have no fleas, their ears must be clean, and their claws must be trimmed; the children answer questions about cat breeds, diseases and care.
There are very few regulations for the cat show. Any cat of any breed can be entered, and it doesn't have to be spayed or neutered.
"We encourage it, and I think most of them are" spayed and neutered, said Karen Herubin, an advisor for Silver Claws. "The one stipulation is that the cat must be here the whole week."
The children must fill out a project book and a record book, which includes the cat's vet care and diet, for the judging.
Grand champion winner in the cat judging was Chico, owned by Emily Miller. Reserve champion was awarded to Sheba, owned by Lindsay Brainard. Both girls are from Gustavus.
Across the midway in the junior fair exhibit building, only three reptiles occupied the reptile room: a bearded dragon, an eastern box turtle, and a giant millipede.
"Reptiles are hard because some years we have a lot, and some years we don't have any," said Gary Boley, an adviser for Brookfield 4-H Friends.
Boley's daughter Jessica, 18, owns the three reptiles. Jessica also has a rabbit, two guinea pigs, a hedgehog, and a mouse at the fair.
"People joke with me, because without me there is no reptile room some years," she said.
Jessica hopes more people will take an interest in reptiles.
"There is not really much involved. You just bring and set up a cage, and are judged on knowledge and how clean the cage is," she said.