PRETTY kitties had animal lovers flocking to Cricklade on Saturday when the annual cat show returned to the town.

Visitors travelled from as far as Manchester to see the perfectly preened Persians, well behaved British shorthairs, and pedigree and non-pedigree household cats in the show at the town hall.

The event was organised by the Black and White Cat Club, which was founded in 1902 and is one of the oldest cat clubs in the country.

As the furry felines arrived in the morning they were checked by a vet before going into pens to be critiqued by the seven judges, who were looking for personality and temperament among other things.

Doors opened to the public just after 12 midday and more than 200 people came to admire the 71 cats before the winners were announced on stage.

One proud pet owner to leave with a trophy was retired nurse Jean Lovesy, 58, who has 16 cats. She brought along Persilus Mr Bigglesworth, an imperial grand champion and premiere three-year-old Persian.

The snow white feline picked up numerous awards and had onlookers swooning over his fluffy appearance.

Jean, who lives in Somerset, said: “I bred Mr Bigglesworth as a baby and he loves going to the shows. He’s very relaxed and loves being handled.

“I show all over the country and on average I go to one a month. He does usually win something and has had countless best in shows – he’s a very, very special boy.”

Terry White, 60, travelled to the show from Manchester with her mum Helen White, 81. She has 21 cats and her mum has eight.

Two of her white Persian pride and joys – Precious and Mr – joined her and had youngsters and adults cooing over them.

Terry said: “I’ve come because it is a nice little local show and people are friendly and they get a lot of visitors.

“I am pretty obsessed with cats. I started off with a rescue one and I went to a show and I was smitten so got more.”

Terry also travelled especially to Amsterdam to pick up five-year-old Precious and brought her home on the ferry, while Mr, four, is German. One of her other cats featured in a Christmas McVitie’s advert.

Issy Grenville-Payne, 22, who works for the Swindon dog rehoming charity SNDogs, was with her sister Dru Bascombe, ten. They brought along five of their eight cats and competed in the household cat category. They scooped nine rosettes.

During the day there was also a raffle, craft stall, silent auction and homemade cakes.

Show managers Barbara, 62, and husband Stuart McEwan, 64, who have 20 cats and live in Norfolk, were delighted with how the day went and the number of entries.

“We are only one down than we had last year," said Barbara. "It’s has been busy and everybody seems quite happy.”