Thirty-one years ago, a group of cat-lovers in Gettysburg got together to create a club that would celebrate all things feline.

The name, just as any cat club's name has to be, would be fitting for the location of the Gettysburg residents - a playful spin off the word confederacy - the Catfederacy Cat Club.

Dorie Eckhardt, a founding member of the club, said that the club put on 14 shows through the 1980s and '90s, but the costs got too expensive to do any more shows.

But just three years ago, the club members worked to raise funds to continue the shows, and now they're back for their third year.

This Saturday and Sunday, Gettysburg's Catfederacy Cat Club will put on a cat show with an estimated 100 cats entered into the competition.

The cats will be separated into four different categories: kittens, household cats, purebred and "altered" cats that have been spayed or neutered. The judges, who are being brought in from all over the country, will pick the top 10 cats for each of the four categories.

If you stop by the show, you will see more than 52 different breeds of cats, all considered among the top of their breeds in the country. Or, you can take a look at the venders selling a variety of cat-related products, including cat toys, food, art, stationery, jewelry and more.

"The best thing about this show is just that it's a time where a group of people who love cats get together and enjoy each others' company," Eckhardt said.

Eckhardt, who has been raising her own Maine Coon and Egyptian Mau cats for years now, said there is just something about cats that draws her in.

"If I had to describe it, I would just say that, especially with the Maine Coon cat, they're just so people-oriented, friendly and lovable," the Gettysburg resident said. "And some of the cats, like the Egyptian Maus, are so exotic and beautiful looking. You just can't help but admire them."

Coming out to the shows where you see only the best of a breed is something

Eckhardt said she can't get enough of. While some of the cats may be shy and hesitant around the crowds, there are some cats who just soak up the attention and really take center stage.

Such was the case of Frosty, a big white Maine Coon, was one of the highest scoring in his category last year.

"We had spectators come from all over just to see Frosty," Eckhardt said. "He just loved all the attention and really impressed everyone with his showmanship."

"He helped us pay our bills," she added with a chuckle.

Eckhardt said Frosty impressed the crowds with his flawless, snow-white coat texture and perfect frame and build. He was perfect by every standard of his breed - people just couldn't take their eyes off him.

This year, Eckhardt said she's sure there will be cats just like Frosty that will impress the crowds.

"I just encourage everyone to come out and see for themselves how special these cats are," Eckhardt said. "It's a fun event the whole family can enjoy."

- Jenna Welsh,
FlipSide staff

If you go

What: Catfederacy Cat Club show

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25

Where: Lincoln Elementary School Gym, 98 Lefever St., Gettysburg.

Cost: $3 for adults, $2 for students, and $1 for children 5 years old and younger.