WELLINGTON -- Livestock isn't the only thing being judged at the Lorain County Fair - cats are, too.
"The hardest part was getting the cat to hold still," said 12-year-old Liberty Jordan from Huntington Township about her cat, Princessa. "She wanted to go play with the bunnies."
Along with Princessa, nine cats competed Tuesday for Junior and Senior Fair gold. Surrounded by caged rabbits munching on hay, the competitors and their cats demonstrated showmanship in Barn 15 at the fairgrounds.
According to Aimee Ackerman, the fair's feline judge, the kids must know their cats' medical histories and general knowledge about the species.
While asking these "maintenance questions," Ackerman examines as a vet or state fair judge would. Some choose to take their cat studies further and participate in the optional skill-a-thon, which tests owners on more detailed facts about the animals.
"There's a wide swing of knowledge," said Ackerman, who credits the disparity to the contestants' varying ages and experiences.
Although a handful of Tuesday's cat competitors were new to the competition, they were determined. For example, first-time competitor, 14-year-old Nick Romanini, feeling "excited and nervous" before the event, snagged the silver in the Senior Fair competition.
"Ruggles is interesting because he acts like a monkey," Nick, of Columbia Station, said about his cat.
But others, like this year's Senior Fair gold medalist Autumn Brubaker, 14, of Wellington, had competed for several years and expressed confidence in their show abilities.
"I feel good, I think I'm going to get first place," predicted Autumn, who showed her "spoiled" cat Dixie Mae.
Contact Elizabeth Kuhr at 329-7126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.