- a site all about the domestic cat



























~ Showing Cats ~

Oil painting of a Siamese Cat.

Breeders of pedigree cats are constantly striving to produce the finest cats within the standards of their chosen breed. The rules for entering a cat show and how shows are organised vary around the world. In the UK, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, (GCCF) is responsible for show rules. In the United States, the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) establishes the breed standard and dates of shows. Showing cats can also be a very enjoyable, rewarding and educational experience.

This page will try to give the beginner an idea of what to expect at a cat show. Most of the things discussed here apply in general to cat shows, but you should always check with a show manager if you are uncertain about anything relating to the show you are exhibiting in. Show managers are always happy to help and advise the beginner.

I've divided this page into sections so please choose a subject in the table of contents.
Preparing for a Cat Show
How a cat show is organised
Arriving at a Cat Show
The Judging at a Cat Show
After the Judging at a Cat Show

Preparing for a Cat Show

Preparing for a cat show should begin several weeks, or even months beforehand. If your cat has not been shown before, you will have to get your cat accustomed to being handled and confined in a pen. Show cats also need daily grooming and good nutrition to maintain perfect health.

Your cat should be up to date with all vaccinations. If your cat is due it's vaccinations around the show date, ensure that you vaccinate your cat at least fourteen days in advance to the show date in case of any bad reactions. The day before the show clip your cats front paw claws.

You will also need to send your entry form complete with entry fees several weeks before a show. Check with the show manager for the closing dates. You can send away for a show schedule weeks before the show date. The show schedule will tell you everything you need to know. Always include a self addressed stamped envelope in all correspondence with the show manager.

For the show day itself, you will need certain items such as a white litter tray, white food and water bowl, a blanket, grooming equipment and a ribbon or collar to display your cat's number on. You may also wish to bring some of cat's favourite toys.

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How a Cat Show is Organised

There are four main classes in a cat show. The kitten class, neuter class, open class and household pet class. Any cat can be shown provided it is at least 14 weeks old.

The kitten class is for cats under ten months of age. The neuter class is for altered cats where they are judged according to the same breed standards as entire cats. The open class is for all breeds represented at a cat show. The household pet class is for neutered cats of unknown or unregistered parentage. There is no standard for this group. Cats are judged by their uniqueness.

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Arriving at a Cat Show

On arrival at the show hall, you should check your cat in with the clerk on the door and get an envelope with the numbers to be attached to your cat's neck and your entry pass.

Most cat shows require a vetting in process. This is where a vet checks over your cats for signs of ill health and where you show your vaccination certificates. The vaccination date must be within one year of the show date and at least 14 days before, except in the case of a booster vaccine which must be at least seven days prior. Afterwards, you will get a slip bearing the word "vet" and the number of your cat to display on your pen.

After the vetting in, you proceed to the hall to find your cat's pen. Your cat's number and pen number is written on your envelope. On the pen will be your cat's number. Once at the pen, you can set it up and see that your cat is comfortably settled in.

It is also a good idea to find the judging ring where your cat will be judged. A list of the cats that will be judged is displayed in each ring. There are usually four empty pens to place the cats in when brought to the judging ring.

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The Judging at a Cat Show

When the judging begins, the cats are either brought to the judging ring by a steward or you can bring your own cat to the ring and hand it to a steward. The judge will then examine the cat thoroughly and write a report. It is advisable never to talk to a judge during judging as your cat could be disqualified.

Nominations and written reports are sent to the show secretariat, where a team of workers record the results to the individual exhibitors, together with their respective rosettes and prepares the papers for the Best in Show.

The highlight of the day at most cat shows is the Best in Show nomination. After all nominations have been recorded, the nominated cats are brought up to the panel of judges who then vote for the cat of their choice. They write the number of the chosen cat up on a board which they hold up for all onlookers to see.

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After the Judging at Cat Show

After you have watched your cat being judged, you may wish to walk around the show hall and look at the stalls and other exhibitions.

You should always stay until the end of the show with your cat. If you do have to leave early for any reason, check with a show manager if it is permissible.

Even if your cat does not do well at the show, you should enjoy the experience and give your cat lots of love and attention for participating in the show.

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