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
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.
WHERE TO START
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).
BEFORE THE SHOW
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
WHAT TO BRING
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.
AT THE SHOW
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
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.
WHERE TO FIND FUTURE SHOWS
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:
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
material has been modified for use in the CFA Southern Region. Additional
materials copyright © 2009 CFA SW HHP Scorer. All rights reserved