A cat fight broke out at the 43rd annual Saintly City Cat Show on Sunday, but it was settled before fur could fly.
A last-minute scoring mix-up resulted in two felines being crowned king Sunday afternoon at the St. Paul Winter Carnival event, an outcome as unprecedented as one of the winners, a one-eyed cat.
“You never know … who’s going to end up winning,” said Linda Mae Baker, manager of the show. “Usually the cats have all their appendages and their orifices.”
Competition was fierce at this year’s Saintly City Cat Show, a two-day affair that ends with the naming of two cats in the “household pets” category as king and queen. The two winners then don fuzzy gold and white capes and crowns adorned with pompoms, posing for pictures with their human counterparts, King Boreas and Queen of the Snows.
This year, the queen competition went as planned. But a tie emerged between Spirit Walker William, an elegant, cream-colored Maine coon, and Commander Wolffe, a Selkirk Rex with just one golden eye. Things got confusing when judges were breaking the tie, Baker said, and an error was made.
“It gets to be real rushed at the end and real crazy,” said Baker, who has been coordinating the show for 30 years.
One of Commander Wolffe’s owners was initially upset. But in the end, everyone agreed that both cats will share the title of king. Commander Wolffe will receive his cape, crown and plaque by mail once a second set is made.
“We don’t want to take that away from the other cat,” said Karen Overholser of Pine City, who owns Commander Wolffe with her son, Matt. “We asked if there could be two kings.”
Commander Wolffe, who lost his eye as a kitten when his mother picked him up, can really put on a show, Karen Overholser said.
“He’s really kind of a ham,” she said. “He’s like, ‘Hey, look at me, I’m pretty special.’ ”
The Overholsers had plenty to celebrate Sunday, as their cat Rosa took home the queen title. Rosa, also a Selkirk Rex, is Commander Wolffe’s sister, though part of a different litter.
There are four main categories in the Saintly City Cat Show, and this year a total of 139 cats entered. While looks matter in three of them, the “household pets” division is less intense, Baker said, with many rescue cats in the running. There’s no one standard in the category, so all it takes to win is a “clean, healthy cat,” Baker said, along with the judges’ favor.
The Overholsers breed and show cats regularly, but the Winter Carnival show is the only one where Commander Wolffe can compete because of his eye, Karen Overholser said.
“In the ‘household pets’ category, being a one-eyed cat is kind of a benefit to him,” she said. “Even though he has a handicap, he doesn’t let it slow him down.”
Matt Overholser, 29, said Commander Wolffe is not only his best friend, but his emotional support animal. He has autism, and the cat calms him down when he’s traveling.
He’s wanted to win the contest — the only one where the feline winners dress up like royalty — since he first entered his cat at age 12, his mother said.
Having two cats win was doubly special, even with the uncertainty surrounding the tiebreaker.
“It’s a good feeling,” Matt Overholser said. “It’s like winning the gold medal, or like being on the … Minnesota Vikings and winning the Super Bowl.”