I've been asked a few times about cat shows;
How do I get started?
Where do I find where shows are being held?
How do I prepare?
What are the judges looking for ?
What is expected of my cat?
What is expected of me?
I thought it might be easier to post a blog about it then just refer people to it rather than risk leaving some information out.
First and foremost.. CAT SHOWS ARE FUN..!!!!!
You need to go to have a good time, if your cat wins a prize, well that's a bonus.... if it's not fun for you or your cat.. don't go. Presently I have 5 cats - I only show 3, the other 2 don't like it.
I love them.. I have met some great people, I laugh every time I go, I've learnt some very very valuable information about cats, not just mine, about what happens in the breeding world etc. For me taking my cat to shows is about enjoying my day.
I get to spend time with some likeminded people who don't roll their eyes because I want to talk "cat" all day.. :)
At most shows you will find stalls with cat "stuff" that you wouldn't find anywhere else..
So.. down to the nitty gritty.. :)
Please keep in mind I can only give you examples of where I live - If you live in another country the rules may vary.
How do I get started:
Firstly in order to show your cat in Australia (this may be slightly different in other countries) your cat must first be registered within the state you are living. For instance - I live in Queensland, Australia, my cat could be registered under a number of councils - QFA (Queensland Feline Association), CQI (Cats Queensland Incorporated), QICC (Queensland Independent Cat Council) FCCQ (Feline Cat Council of Queensland) - my cats are registered with QFA.
To register you cat, if your cat is pedigree and you have bought it from a registered breeder (I hope you did) then it should come with papers and already be registered.
If you have purchased your cat from another state you will have to transfer the registration papers to the state you live in. (this is a simple process)
If you did not buy your cat from a registered breeder - or it did not come with papers, your job is a little more difficult to get the cat registered as a "specific breed" the cat council you choose to go with can help you - OR you can register you cat as a Companion and still attend shows in the Companion classes.
How do I find out where cat shows are being held:
Well, this depends on where you are situated, if you are situated in Queensland you can just google - cat shows in Queensland (or whatever state you are in) generally, Google search will bring up links to the cat councils - on these pages somewhere in the menus you will find "Show Schedules" - this will give you dates and a link the schedule for you to enter.
How do I prepare:
To enter a cat show, you cat MUST be at least 3 calendar months old (13 weeks).
Your cat MUST be vaccinated twice and have a valid certificate to prove this.
Your cat MUST be free from any internal or external parasites.
You do not need to have your own cage, you can hire one from the show committee (there will be an option for this on the entry form) - you will however want to pretty the cage up with curtains - some overseas shows do not require this.
Remember the show is fun - but given you have paid an entry fee you want to prepare you cat the best you can to show off just how beautiful it is.
What are the judges looking for:
Each cat breed must adhere to a "Standard" this standard outlines what the judges look for in a particular breed - for example - Siberians are all about roundness, the judge will check for head shape, profile, boning, coat texture, ear placement, eye shape.. whatever is on the standard.
Remember if your cat does not place in the first show it does not mean that you have chosen a bad example - it could mean the other cats of the same breed were slightly closer to the standard on the day - at a different show with different judges your cat may actually get a Best In Show (BIS) - it's all about the judge’s opinion on the day - whatever the decision the judge make YOU still get to take the BEST cat home. :)
You can Google your breeds standard.
What is expected of my cat:
Your cat is expected to be well groomed - I bath and blow dry my cats before each show - some people do not - as long as they are clean. Most times people with similar breed cats will help you or give you tips on how to best present your cat.
Free from parasites or diseases - Regular parasite control will ensure your cats are free from both internal and external parasites. If you find fleas on your cat you can give it a capstar pill or similar the night before the show. Always read the instructions on the pack before administering any medication.
Be well socialised with people - It cannot bite or scratch the judge or steward.
For most shows you will be asked to clip your cats nails - If you’re not sure how to do this someone from a cat show will either show you or help you do it.
What is expected of me:
Not a lot really :)
Turn up on the day with a good attitude and your day will be great.
If you have questions - ASK - most people at the shows are only too happy to help share information or tricks they have learnt along the way - I have made some fantastic friends and learnt so much.
Most importantly - if your cat shows signs of really not liking the show scene, please listen to it.
Sometimes cats will hide under mats or behind curtains, this is fine, they often just want to pretend to be invisible and are still quite relaxed on the bench - if your cat comes out of the cage and is stiff or looks extremely frightened, or bites or scratches the judge, it is telling you it does not like the situation it has been put in. If your cat displays these traits then it's best for all concerned to leave it at home - great excuse to buy another cat.. :)
I hope this answers some of your questions - if you have a specific question that is not covered here please email me and I will do my best to answer it for you and if I do not know the answer I will try to find you a link to resources where you can find it.
Remember - Cat shows should be FUN.. if you get to take a rosette or prize home at the end of the day that is a bonus.
Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season to you all..