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Felines take center stage at Ag Expo

July 25, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

karenh@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - Amanda Lee is proof you don't have to like something to do it well.

The 4-H member's cat placed first in its class for black-and-whites, but don't mistake Amanda for an animal lover.

"Like, he's OK. He's one of the calm cats, I guess you could say. He doesn't so much annoy me," Amanda, 15, of Sharpsburg, said after exhibiting one of her family's cats during the 25th annual Washington County Ag Expo.

Friday the cat endured the attention of his fans - children and their parents stopped to admire some of the show's award-winning cats - as he rested on the lap of Amanda's mother during Sunday's mid-afternoon heat.

For Matt Leatherman and his little gray calico, the show was a triumph. Since bringing Cali in about 10 months ago, Leatherman, 18, of Boonsboro, has found a best friend.

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"She was like 4 months old when I found her. I found her, or she found me, whatever you want to say. She wouldn't stop following me around, so I took her home," Leatherman said.

Briana Lee, 14, said she, unlike her sister, is fond of cats. She hopes to be a veterinarian someday, she said.

She held 20-some-pound Jill, the show's biggest winner. Both Jill and Cali, who competed in an open class, were grand champions.

Briana said behemoth Jill always has carried an eye-popping girth.

"It's the fact that she was big when we got her, and we put her on a weight-control food and she actually gained weight," Briana said.

Tail twitching, Jill's yellow eyes studied the people who wandered in and out of Building 2. Once on the floor, all that cat nervousness - and the heat and confusion of too many strangers - pushed 3-year-old Jill to the brink - she clawed desperately to get back to her own carrier, which was adorned with purple and blue ribbons.

"She's got a problem, I can tell you that much, she's having a conniption," Amanda said as Jill grabbed claws and feet around the metal bars on the outside of her cage.

Amanda, who is not particularly fond of animals, said she does not like to hear cats constantly meowing. Friday is different - he's quiet, she said, and mostly just likes people he knows.

She can tolerate a cat as laid-back as casual Friday.

He slept on.

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