Not a dog person? How about a cat show? Unlike dogs, cats were not bred for working or handling specific tasks. Thus, cats do not exhibit the wide variety of body sizes and shapes that dogs do. Nevertheless, like dogs, cats are judged within the standards of their breeds and win points towards a championship. The Cat Fanciers’ Association, considered the most conservative and prestigious cat registry, established breed standards for cats. In cat shows, there are four main classes: Kitten (between 14 weeks and 10 months); Premiership (“altered”, or neutered, pedigreed cats); Championship (unaltered, pedigreed cats) and Household Pet (non-pedigreed cats, neutered or spayed if not a kitten, and pedigreed cats with disqualifying features).
In the last class, Household Pet, cats cannot be judged within the standards of their breed, because there are none. Thus, cats are judged in a single group based on their personality, general health, and uniqueness. Competitions in this class are more unpredictable, and generally more relaxed – they’re just for fun, there are no stud fees or future kitten prices at stake.
Pedigree cats are judged first within their color group, and a male and female winner is chosen. When all the cats in a color group have been shown, the judge will award Best of Breed or Division and Best Champion of Breed or Division. After judging all cats in a class, the judge holds a Final, during which he or she presents rosettes for the Top Ten awards.
Now that you’ve been introduced to the world of cat shows, here are some tips for beginning spectators:
• Don’t touch the cats at the show without the owner’s explicit permission – like dogs, they are being groomed for judging. Touching the cats can also spread germs from one to another.
• If you would like to take a photo of a cat at the show, ask for the owner’s permission first, especially if you’re using a flash (it might spook the cat).
• If you want to ask a breeder questions, wait until their cat is finished being groomed and judged. They will be less preoccupied and more willing to answer your questions.
• Feel free to ask questions of a judge as long as he or she is not currently handling and evaluating cats. Show managers will also be happy to help or advise you.
• Listen to the announcements to find out which breed will be judged next. You can also ask a show committee member to see a copy of the judging schedule.
For more information visit: www.cfainc.org.
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