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Abandoned Sacramento shelter animal named best in the world

Adopted Sacramento shelter cat Feral Faucet wins top prize internationally
Helmi/Valerie Heimerich

It is hard to imagine going from homelessness to the peak of global success, but one abandoned kitten fom the Front Street Animal Shelter has done just that. After two years of internationally sanctioned competition, the cat that someone else discarded was named the best in the world.

“Feral Faucet” was adopted in 2011 when ten Sacramento shelter felines were allowed to compete against professional show cats in a two-day show put on by The International Cat Association (TICA). TICA is the world’s largest registry of purebred cats, and the show was put on by Jazzy Cats, the local TICA chapter.

TICA competitions feature animals in two general categories, either as registered, pedigreed cats or as household pets (HHP). The latter are also professional show cats, it is just not necessary for them to be purebred.

Jazzy Cats invites shelter cats and kittens to compete so they can be seen by a large number of potential adopters; there is no expectation that they win any awards.

Never one to be limited by expectations, Feral not only won, she won a lot. She clearly adored all of the atention she received when competing, so her doting new owner took her to more shows.

She kept winning awards, and began travelling all over the country to compete in more shows.

This January, owner Ken Kershaw brought Feral to another Jazzy Cats show in Sacramento, and let her hang out with other adoptables from Front Street and Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode.

There were 28 adoptable shelter cats and kittens competing in that show, along with several noncompeting adoptables. By the end of the event, the shelter felines earned 138 awards, and 26 had found new, permanent homes.

Although Feral Faucet stayed with the shelter cats at the 2014 show, she had come as a guest rather than as a competitor. She had just retired from the show circuit at only 2-1/2 years old.

There was no reason to keep competing, as she had already earned the top international spot. Feral retired as the 2013 number one HHP cat in the world.

Kershaw shows several cats in TICA competitions, and he brought her to the 2014 event as a special nod to the Front Street Shelter.

She is a perfect example of how special a shelter animal can be,” says Kershaw, who praises Front Street constantly when talking with other animal lovers around the world. “It’s not often that a shelter can say they saved the life of the best cat in the world.”

Kershaw notes that Feral is enjoying her retirement “but she is getting fat from not showing.” Unlike most cats, Feral enjoys travelling, so Kershaw brings her along when he goes from their Santa Clara home to Las Vegas when his other cats compete.

Since 2011, more than 250 Sacramento shelter cats and kittens have been adopted at Jazzy Cats shows. Volunteers from local rescues and shelters have donated thousands of hours to the cause.

Kershaw presented one of Feral’s major awards to Nicole Barnett of the Front Street Shelter, as thanks for rescuing his beloved “once-in-a-lifetime cat.”

But Kershaw may have struck gold again when he adopted another tiny Front Street kitten named Fleur de Lis at the 2014 show. The fuzzy little kitten with a Grumpy Cat-ish face, now called Tailor Swiff, just won top honors at a TICA competition in Southern California.