The world’s most prestigious pet show has been exclusive to dogs for over 140 years. But this year’s annual Westminster Dog Show finally decided to add cats. The cats made their debut in an event called “Meet the breeds,” where attendants could learn about and interact with many different types of dog breeds.
Due to an overwhelming demand by the public, the event finally decided to give cats their own booths.
The event was a partnership between AKC and the Masters Agility Championship, where 40 cat breeds took part—each with their own booth. The cats primarily decorated their booths, and interacted with the public to answer questions the people had. But these cats weren’t your everyday felines. They included designer breeds such as Maine Coons and toygers, Nebelungs and Bengals — one of which was a huge hit at the Westminster news conference. The event ultimately gave the public another reason to show up this year and cat breeders a chance to show off.
The exhibition also included some fancy footwork from the felines. A cat agility exhibit demonstrated cats being led through an obstacle course. Handlers lured their cats with a toy on a string, as they must be motivated through different methods as opposed to dogs that aren’t allowed to be touched or enticed for their efforts. Although the cats did not officially compete, the additional crowd at this year’s Westminster Dog Show certainly didn’t go unnoticed.
This article originally appeared at: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/01/512901179/westminster-dog-show-welcomes-new-species-cats