Between the state fair’s prize hogs and show cows—the unexpected house cat –

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By Claire Castillo

INDIANAPOLIS — Every year during the Indiana State Fair, you can see hundreds of farm animals including chickens, goats, cows, and even llamas.

There is one thing you may not expect: domestic cats.

Kelsey Frick goes to the judges’ table with Oliver during the 4-H cat show. Photo by Claire Castillo,

But also this year, on August 4th, there was again a house cat show at the fair, which gave two young girls the perfect opportunity to present their furry friends. Kaitlyn and Kelsey Frick competed with their two cats Nick and Oliver.

Kaitlyn and Kelsey are from Plymouth, Indiana, a small town south of South Bend. Kaitlyn is 12 and Kelsey is 8. Both girls also showed dogs at the state fair during the 4-H program. This is a program for children and adolescents to “complete practical projects in areas such as health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in a positive environment where they are guided by adult mentors,” it says on the organization’s website.

Both girls stood proudly at their decorated cages and seemed excited to compete – although the same couldn’t be said of their cats exactly.

The cages were decorated with purple and green construction paper for Nick and stars that imitate Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” were decorated for Oliver.

“I always wanted a cat, and [the contest] That sounded like so much fun, so we tried it in our county and became champions and division champions, ”Kaitlyn said.

None of the girls left the state fair empty-handed. Kelsey competed in the first round of shows with Oliver and was named the Grand Champion in her class. Kaitlyn became Grand Champion with Nick in their Division Reserve Grand Champion.

The judges for the house cat show are 4-H volunteers from counties across the state. House cat shows are nothing new, but this year was the first year since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was part of the [4-H] Extension by seven years, and every year there was a cat show at the state fair, ”said 4-H volunteer Mindy Mays.

Within the cat category there are several competitions that 4-H participants can participate in, such as: B. Kitten show, adult cat show and pedigree cat show. Most of the furry candidates didn’t seem interested in being looked at by the judges, which made many of their owners especially nervous.

“I think 4-H in general teaches children skills that they will use later in life. Take showmanship, for example: you interview a judge – you will literally use that skill for the rest of your life, ”said Mays.

Claire Castillo is a reporter for, a news website operated by Franklin College journalism students.

Kelsey Frick listens to the 4-H cat show judges talking about their cat, Oliver. Photo by Claire Castillo,

Kelsey Frick shows off her Grand Champion ribbon. Photo by Claire Castillo, The

Nick, the cat flag on his decorated cage at the 4-H cat show, calls him to the king – if not the grand champion. Photo by Claire Castillo,

Kaitlyn Frick, 12, holds her cat Nick. Photo by Claire Castillo,

Kaitlyn Frick’s cat Nick poses in his decorated cage at the 4-H cat show at the Indiana State Fair. Photo by Claire Castillo,
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