Susan Rivero’s mobile dog grooming company may keep her lights on, but it’s her cats that earn her airline miles.
When she’s not prettifying pups and pooches in Nassau County, the Island Park resident circles the country visiting cat shows with her felines in tow.
On Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and 4, she will bring two of her Maine coons to The International Cat Association’s Cat Show during the Long Island Pet Expo at Suffolk County Community College.
The expo — run by Family Pet Shows — consists of live entertainment, agility demonstrations, seminars and petting opportunities. This year’s production takes place over two days instead of its usual three and promises a reptile show, butterfly experience and a continued focus on responsible pet ownership and adoption.
PETS MAKE THEIR OWN SHOW
Family Pet Shows is run by husband and wife Dennis and Karen Garetano of Huntington Station and their son, Joe.
The company has hosted pet expos annually since 1994, when it launched in Pennsylvania.
The Long Island leg of the cat show hasn’t quite reached nine lives: It was only in 2016 that the dog-centric expo — which has visited Long Island for more than a decade — began showcasing some of the area’s most popular feline breeds.
Rivero, a member of The International Cat Association, owns more cats than she is willing to disclose. The cat breeds that will be featured at the expo — including her 5-month-old and 11-month-old Maine coons Jessy and Justus — are all rare.
CATS ON DISPLAY
Maine coons, whose common nickname is “gentle giants,” are one of the largest domesticated cat breeds, says Rivero, 56.
Other sorts that will be represented at the expo include: Ragdolls, a cat breed with blue eyes; Bengals, a domesticated variety that resembles exotic jungle cats; Savannahs, a cross between a serval and domestic cat; Persians, a long-haired breed characterized by its round face and short muzzle; Toygers, made to resemble toy tigers as their name suggests; the short-haired and intelligent Devon Rex; the Scottish Fold, whose dominant-gene mutation affects cartilage throughout the body and causes the ears to fold forward and down, and the Sphynx, which is known for its lack of coat.
Between 100 and 125 cats will be featured at the two-day event, says vendor coordinator David Nudleman. The cat exhibitors are from all over the country, Nudleman says. Attendees are typically from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, according to Nudleman, a judge with the New York division of The International Cat Association. Nudleman, a Massapequa resident, says he has been involved in the expo for 10 years on and off.
This year, he is among 10 judges tasked with ranking felines in 16 rings throughout the weekend.
“There are specific breed standards that the judges will use to judge the cats against,” says Nudleman, 53, a Ragdoll breeder. “The cats will be placed on how well they fit the standard for that breed.”
The ribbons and rosettes are just a portion of the priority of the expo.
“The pet expo and the Long Island Biker Cat Club seek rescue groups to bring adoptable cats and dogs,” Nudleman says. “There will be a dedicated area for these pets.”
More than 100 pets are adopted each year throughout the weekend, Dennis Garetano says.
LONG ISLAND PET EXPO
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, March 3, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at Suffolk County Community College Sports and Exposition Complex, 1001 Crooked Hill Rd., Brentwood. Cat show runs throughout both days of the event.
ADMISSION $13 ($11 advance), $6 ages 4-12 ($5 advance)