Showing your Household Pet!

At a cat show, have you ever noticed that in spite of the gorgeous, exotic, and sometimes rare breeds being shown, the largest crowds are watching the judging of the household pets? 

These beautiful, healthy, and much-loved animals are everyone’s favorite.

Your own special cat can be part of this too. Don’t be afraid to give it a try.  If your cat is friendly, not easily frightened, and likes attention, chances are it will do well and you will have a good time showing it off.

To be shown, all household pets (HHP) must be at least 4 months old, not declawed, and in good health with no evidence of fleas, ear mites, etc.  Cats 8 months of age or older must be spayed or neutered. Nails should be clipped on all four paws before leaving for the show. If you are unsure about this, ask your vet.




The best place to begin is by contacting the entry clerk for the show. The entry clerk can be very helpful in walking you through the process of filling out the entry form and can help answer any questions you may have as you prepare for the show. The entry clerk’s contact information is on the show flier or can be found on the show listing in the online show schedule at the Southern Region website or on the main CFA show schedule site (see “Resources for Exhibitors” at the bottom of this page).


HHPs are judged on condition (general good health and cleanliness), uniqueness, temperament, and grooming. Of course you will want your cat to look its best, so most people bathe their pet one or two days before a show. This makes sure the coat is clean and allows time for the natural oils to return.

  Once you have sent in your completed entry form, you are ready to prepare for the show. Be sure you have a carrier to transport your cat.  The best carriers are the molded plastic type available at most large drug stores or pet supply places. They are inexpensive and last forever.  Cardboard carriers can be used, but cats can escape, so make sure it is tightly closed with plenty of ventilation.




Your entry fee includes the use of a single wire show cage per cat. (In areas where double cages are used, you may wish to pay to use the second half of the cage if you do not want to have another exhibitor’s cat benched in the other half of the cage. ) The cage must be covered by “cage curtains.” These are for covering the cage to prevent your cat from seeing its neighbors. Some people who show regularly have spectacular curtains and decorations for their cages.  Most keep their curtains simple but attractive. One large piece of material to cover the back, sides, and top of the cage will do just fine. Twin size sheets work well for double cages. It’s a good idea to securely fasten the curtains with binder clips or safety pins.  You will also want something to cover the bottom of the cage. A piece of carpet, towel or bath mat the size of the cage works well.
Cat litter is provided, but you will need to bring a small litter box. Sometimes samples of food are available at the show, or supplies may be available from one of the many vendors at the show. You know better than anyone what your cat likes, however, so it is best if you provide your own. Many people have a small “ice chest” in which to keep opened cans of food fresh. (Note that bringing “people food” may be prohibited in some show halls) Your cat might also appreciate any special kitty treats it loves. But don’t worry if it doesn’t eat or use the litter box, it is probably just nervous. A small dish for food and one for water should be on your list of essentials. You might want to include something to scoop out the litter box as needed. Now consider you own cat’s personality and add a small pillow, bed, favorite toy, or anything else to make it feel more at home.








If this is your first show, it is wise to arrive at the hall at least an hour before the scheduled starting time. This will let you check in, set up your cage, and make your cat comfortable.  When you arrive, there will be an entry clerk at the door. He/she will check you in, give you an entry number and show catalog, and tell you the row in which you have been assigned a cage. Locate the row, and your name will be on a cage. Set up the cage with your curtains, water, litter box, and bed, before putting in your cat. Now check the catalog to see when and where the judging will take place. When your number is called, take your cat immediately to that ring and put it in the judge’s cage under your cat’s number, sit down with the audience and be proud. This same thing will happen several times during the day depending on the number of judges. In HHP, the judge will award red and white “merit” ribbons to those cats which deserve recognition for participating in the show.  As the judge finishes with each group of cats, your number will be turned down or removed as a signal that your cat can be returned to its own cage. You will then take your cat back to the benching cage, along with you cat’s merit award. Each judge will see all the HHPs and then choose a few to return for what are termed “finals.” If you hear your number called for this, take your cat immediately back to the ring for a special award.
  There will be a lot of time between judging when you can enjoy visiting vendors or touring the show, seeing all the different breeds, and talking with their owners. It’s always a good idea, though, to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your cat when you’re away from the cage. Do not hesitate to ask questions. If the exhibitors are not busy at the ring or grooming their cats, they will be happy to help you or discuss their cats with you.
  Whether or not your pet receives any rosettes or awards, it is a special time to share with your pet.  You will feel much pleasure and pride when your cat receives the admiration you have always known it deserves, and most cats actually enjoy the pampering and extra attention. So if you have been considering showing your pet, “go for it!” A cat show is fun, educational, and most gratifying.


Show fliers for upcoming CFA shows may be available in the show hall or at other CFA cat shows.  Listen for announcements as to upcoming shows or ask the show manager. Fliers from other associations shall not be distributed at CFA shows. Some cat magazines, such as Cat Fancy will list show dates for CFA cat shows. Below are some links to online schedules of shows:


click on "Regional Shows"
Click on “Cat Shows” >> “Show Schedule”
listing for many US shows with entry information
Great source of information and resources for the new exhibitor in CFA
listing for many local shows with entry information
This is an informational site for SR HHP exhibitors and spectators alike. 
yahoo e-group
 This yahoo group is for anyone interested in promoting, exhibiting, and the general acceptance of the HHP within CFA.
yahoo e-group
 This yahoo group is for anyone interested in promoting, exhibiting, and the general acceptance of the HHP within CFA.  

This information comes from a pamphlet prepared by Valley Vista Household Pets. We gratefully acknowledge help from a variety of sources. Please feel free to share the information in this pamphlet with anyone. However, commercial use of the information contained herein is prohibited without written permission from Valley Vista Household Pets. ©1992-2002

 Some material has been modified for use in the CFA Southern Region.  Additional materials copyright © 2009 CFA SW HHP Scorer. All rights reserved