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What Is A Cat Show?

The International Cat Association is home to a steadily growing membership of people in the cat fancy world who share their love of cats and competitive cat shows. But cat shows aren’t just for diehard cat fans who have been grooming their feline friends for elite competitions since day one. In fact, most people don’t realize how simple it is to get involved in the show world! TICA recognizes more cat breeds than any other cat fancy association does, and we have competitions specifically for non-pedigree household cats, where they can compete for the same prizes as their pedigreed counterparts! Read below to learn more about what cat shows are, how they work, and how your cat can participate. You can also come visit a cat show without entering a cat! It’s a fantastic chance to observe the fun and learn more about the feline fancy world. Check out our upcoming events. >>

Cat Shows 101

What are cat shows? Cat shows are exhibitions where cats are judged by breed standards, condition, and beauty. As you might know if you’re a cat owner or have been in the past, cats have a lot more personality, grace, and agility than they’re given credit for in the media. Cat shows are every bit as interesting and exciting as dog shows are - and they’re a great way to connect with other owners, learn more about our feline companions, and take home a prize or two.

When you arrive at a show, you’ll find yourself in the midst of several exciting competitions. A cat show is actually composed of several separate smaller shows that run concurrently in various judging rings throughout a show hall. Judges preside over each ring, and every cat entered in the show is evaluated by each and every judge. These judges evaluate cats and give awards based on which cat best represents the written standard by which they are being assessed.

Judges are assisted by Ring Clerks, who are responsible for calling cats to the ring, recording the awards, and supervising ring stewards who clean the exhibition cages after each cat is called.

New to the show world? We love to welcome people to the community through our Junior Exhibitors Program and our Mentorship Program, where newcomers are paired with experienced TICA members/breeders to get the lay of the land.

Pedigreed Cats:

For pedigreed cats, the judging standards outline ideals for each breed, and they’re approved by the TICA Board in advance, based on submission from Breed Committees. Breed standards are specific and precise enough to allow judges to evaluate cats objectively and accurately, but still flexible enough to allow for differences in interpretation between judges of keen eye and good intention. Check out our upcoming events. >>

Household Pets (HHP):

For household pets (HHPs), the standards are based primarily on condition, beauty, and show presence. We know that Mother Nature makes cats of all shapes, and sizes with great attitudes and charming talents — household pets in our HHP categories compete for standardized awards just like our Pedigreed Cats. We want to see your feline friend at one of our shows! Check out our upcoming events. >>

Categories and Classifications

In our Championship (pedigree) category, cats are classified as kittens, adults, or alters (neutered male or spayed female). The Championship classification is reserved for a male, female, neutered or spayed cat that is registered as a recognized breed and color in TICA. In our Household Pets (HHP) category and our NBC category, cats are classified as either kittens or adults based on their age. Kittens are 4 to 8 calendar months of age, whereas adults must be at least 8 calendar months of age on the opening day of the show. HHP cats and kittens are mixed breed/random-bred cats, half-pedigree “oops” cats, and pedigree cats that are not registered or do not meet the breed standards.

A Note About Exhibition Cages

Many clubs have begun encouraging exhibitors to bring their own show cages. Several companies offer “ShowShelters,” temporary cages that can be used at cat shows. Alternatively, if you’re not comfortable with the wire cages that many clubs provide, you can also bring a “security cage,” which is a sturdy nylon-type fabric cage with mesh or plastic doors that have zipper openings. Security cages are available in a wide variety of colors and fold down easily to fit into a nylon carrying case, making them a convenient and accessible option to show your cat. Make sure that you have curtains in your cage - they can be simple or elaborate, but it’s important to design them to loosely fit around the back, sides, and top of the cage in order to give your cat some privacy.

Management officials at our shows will provide a single benching cage for each cat entered. Double cages and grooming spaces may be available at an additional cost. Cage sizes can vary based on the show, so make sure you check the show flier.

How To Enter A Show

Interested in stepping into the cat fancy world? Visit the Show Calendar page to find a show in your area. All relevant entry information and additional details will be listed on the event link, including our Show Rules.

Things To Bring To The Show

  • Cage curtains and clips for hanging them.
  • Kitty Litter. Litter is often provided by the Show Committee, however, a litter pan, water and food dishes will be useful, and your cat might also appreciate its preferred litter.
  • Something soft for the bottom of the cage.
  • Nail clippers and any other grooming equipment that is necessary for your cat.
  • Confirmation slip received from the Entry Clerk.
  • Vaccination records for each entry.
  • Pedigree and Registration papers if applicable.

Curious about cat shows? Have more questions? Feel free to contact us.

Provisional New Breeds, Advanced New Breeds, And New Traits:

These exciting classes are for new breeds and new colors or traits in established breeds. These cats are registered with TICA, but have not yet met the requirements for Championship status.

Genetic Registry:

TICA is a genetic registry, recognizing hundreds of different colors and patterns.

TICA cat showEntry Information:

Check the flyer for: Closing Date and entry fees. HHP adults must be altered to be registered and/or shown. Unregistered cats may be shown only once in TICA without a registration number. All points and/or wins for titles and/or Annual Awards acquired by an unregistered cat, kitten, alter, or household pet adult in the second and/or subsequent shows shall be irrevocably lost. The exhibitor is obligated to furnish the registration number to the entry clerk or master clerk and the Executive Office. In order to obtain credit for any points and/or wins received at the first show where the cat was shown as unregistered, the owner must notify the Executive Office in writing requesting the first show be credited and stating the name, date and location of the show, and the name, breed (if applicable), registration number, and the entry number.

TICA Show Rules:

TICA expects that all of our exhibitors will follow our registration rules and bylaws, and maintain a commitment to communal safety and well-intentioned show spirit. Our show rules are below.

  • All claws of each entry shall be clipped prior to benching. Failure to do so may subject entry to disqualification.
  • Exhibitors shall not sit in the ring holding cats prior to or during judging except with the explicit permission of the judge.
  • An exhibitor shall not, in any way, make known to an officiating judge which entry(ies) belong to them.
  • An exhibitor shall not, in any way, make it known to an officiating judge where their entry(ies) have placed in any other ring.
  • An exhibitor shall not request that their entry(ies) be judged separately from the regular class(es) for the entry(ies).
  • A
  • n exhibitor shall not take any action which might cause physical harm to a cat or a person, during the show.
  • An exhibitor shall not groom an entry while it is in the judging ring.
  • If a cat requires special caging in a judging ring, the exhibitor shall relay this information to the ring clerk before the cat's number is posted and in time for special arrangements to be made without inconveniencing any other cats and/or exhibitors.

Classifications:

Cats are classified as Kittens, Adults, or Alters (Championship), Kittens or Adults (Household Pets), and NBC (both kittens and adults). Kittens are 4 to 8 calendar months of age; adults must be 8 calendar months of age on the opening day of the show.

Exhibition Cages:

TICA cat show 2The Show Management provides a single benching cage for each cat entered. Double cages, and grooming spaces, may be available at an additional cost. Cage sizes vary, so check the show flyer. Cage curtains are important to give your cat some privacy and may be simple or elaborate but should be designed to fit loosely around the outside back, sides, and top of the cage. More elaborate curtains cover the inside as well.

Show Time:

Try to arrive early; the Check-In line may be long. Check the flyer for the time. The Check-In table is usually at the Show Hall Entrance. Have your confirmation slip(s) available for Check-In. You will receive your cats catalog number. This number is used in the catalog, as your benching number and as the number that appears in the Judges Books for scoring.

Buy a catalog if one is not included as part of your entry fee. Check your entry information immediately; if incorrect, contact the Master Clerk and write to the Executive Office.

Find where your cat is benched; set up your cage curtains, litter pan, water dishes. Dont wait until the last minute. Allow yourself plenty of time to set up the exhibition cage for your cat. You will want to make your cat as comfortable as possible as quickly as possible. You and your cat will then be able to relax and enjoy the show.

Look at your catalog; there should be a judging schedule (usually on/near the back cover). Locate your breed on the schedule to find out which judging ring you will go to first.

What To Bring To A Cat Show:

  • Cage curtains and clips for hanging them.
  • Kitty Litter. Litter is often provided by the Show Committee, however, a litter pan, water and food dishes will be useful.
  • Something soft for the bottom of the cage.
  • Nail clippers.
  • Any necessary grooming equipment.
  • Confirmation slip received from the Entry Clerk.
  • Vaccination records for each entry.
  • Pedigree and Registration papers if applicable.

Judging:

Your cat will be called to the Judging Ring, using the catalog number given to you. When you hear the number being called, take your cat to that ring. Look for your cats number on a judging cage and place your cat in the cage and be sure the cage door is secure; then leave the ring. When judging is completed, the judge or the clerk will dismiss the cats, and you may pick up your cat.

Judges Books:

A TICA judge does not know the cats name, the owner, the breeder or the stats (Novice, Champion, Grand Champion, etc.) of the cats being judged. The judges book contains the entry numbers, breeds, categories, divisions, colors/patterns, age of the cat on the day of the show, classification (kitten, adult, alter, etc.) and the sex of each cat to be judged. Judges books do not contain genetic information.

In TICA, for example, a Siamese produced from two Oriental Shorthair parents would be shown as a Siamese. To the judge, this cat is a Siamese.

TICA cat show 3Exhibitor Etiquette:

Exhibitors are expected to be familiar with and comply with all TICA Show Rules, Registration Rules and By-Laws.

Some of the rules governing exhibitors follow:

  • All claws of each entry shall be clipped prior to benching. Failure to do so may subject entry to disqualification.
  • Exhibitors shall not sit in the ring holding cats prior to or during judging except with the explicit permission of the judge.
  • An exhibitor shall not, in any way, make known to an officiating judge which entry(ies) belong to him.
  • An exhibitor shall not, in any way, make it known to an officiating judge where his entry(ies) have placed in any other ring.
  • An exhibitor shall not request that his entry(ies) be judged separately from the regular class(es) for the entry(ies).
  • An exhibitor shall not take any action which might cause physical harm to come to a cat or a person, during the show.
  • An exhibitor shall not groom an entry while it is in the judging ring.
  • If a cat requires special caging in a judging ring, the exhibitor shall relay this information to the ring clerk before the cat's number is posted and in time for special arrangements to be made without inconveniencing any other cats and/or exhibitors.

Ribbons:

The cats are called up according to breed, division, and color/pattern. TICA does not have Best of Breed ribbons; nor are any title points given for breed awards. Judges will announce their best, second best, and third best of breed, however, and will so note in their Judges Books.

TICA Color and Division Awards follow:

Color Place Points Division
Blue 1st 25 Black
Red 2nd 20 Purple
Yellow 3rd 15 Orange
Green 4th 10  
White 5th 5  

In order to obtain the title of Champion, Champion Alter, or Master (HHP), your cat must earn 300 points plus one final award. Points are accumulated from color. division and final awards.

  • Best of Color (BOC): The judge will choose 1-5 Best of Color Awards. EXAMPLE: Seven black Persians present; the judge awards 1-5 Best of Color to five of the seven competing.
  • Best of Division (BOD): From the BOC winners, the judge will select the best, second best, and third best of division.
  • EXAMPLE: Our seven black Persians belong to the Solid Division. Other solid colors of Persians, (white, blue, red, etc.) may also be entered in the Solid Division. The judge will select a best, second and third best of division from the BOC winners in the Solid Division.
  • Best of Breed (BOB): The Persian Breed is accepted in all divisions of the Traditional, Mink and Sepia Categories. Solid, Tabby, Tortie, Silver/Smoke, and Particolor. The judge will select the best, second and third best of breed.

Finals:

This the Big Moment!!! Final numbers are not announced; the clerk will announce kitten finals in Ring 4" and exhibitors must go to Ring 4 to see if their cat(s) numbers are up in that ring. Final awards are selected from breed winners, although it is possible to have fourth and fifth place color awards in the finals, provided the first, second and third place winners are placed above them.

In the finals of an allbreed ring, the judge will select the top ten eligible cats (longhairs/shorthairs) based on 25 cats competing in the ring. If there are only 24 cats competing, the top nine are selected; 23 competing, eight are selected; 22 competing, seven are selected; 21 competing, six are selected; 20 or less, five are selected. Finals are awarded to Cats, Kittens, Alters, Household Pets, Household Pet Kittens, and NBCs.

In the finals of a specialty ring, the judge selects the awards above for both the longhair breeds and the shorthair breeds.

Visitors:

It is very important that visitors behave responsibly. Loud noises upset everybody, including the cats; children must be kept under control. Fingers, toys, feathers or anything else should never be placed in or near cat cages. Judging rings are reserved for judging and exhibitors' cats only, however, visitors are welcome to view the cats in the benching areas and the judging from the seating areas in front of the ring.

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