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Showing Your Cat

Entering your cat into a cat show can be a fun and social time for both yourself, your family and for your cat. Your cat does not have to be a high class pedigreed cat to enter a show, in fact Domestic or moggy cats are encouraged to enter. But please ensure your cats vaccinations are up to date and that you trim the claws of your cat in case of injury to the handlers.

In a pedigree section you can enter your cat as an entire or even if it has been desexed (neutered or spayed). In the domestic section all adults cats must be desexed. A pedigree cat should be registered with a Governing Body, the breeder where you bought your cat from will verify for you if they have registered the kitten for you, if it has you will receive a registration certificate from the Governing Body your kitten was registered with.

You don't have to be a member of a club or association to enter your cat into a show. For SA show dates please see below or for further information please contact the GCCFSA (The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy SA) on 8254 1917 or FASA (Feline Association of SA) on 8236 3314 in South Australia.

You will need a proper cat carry cage to transport your cat to and from the show. These can be bought from a pet store, vet clinic or from the RSPCA (8231 6931 - 172 Morphett Street Adelaide)

The First Show

Once your receive your show schedule, which you would have received from the show manager of your chosen show, read it carefully and keep it for future reference. It will tell you where the show is and what time to be there by.

Fill in your schedule clearly and correctly, referring to your cats registration certificate for the details. Make sure you understand which classes your cat is eligible to enter. Contact the breeder of your cat or the show manager, they will be able to help you.

Post your entry early.

Don't forget if entering a kitten it must be 3 months old or older to enter.

Before the Show

Grooming should not be left to the last minute. Regular brushing or even frequent grooming with the hands should keep the cats coat smooth and shining. If the coat is harsh and open make sure that the cat is not infested with worms and also that it is getting enough fluid in its diet.

Check that the cat's ears are clean and that it is free of fleas. Every exhibit must pass a veterinary inspection before it can be benched and it would be a shame to be refused entry for something which is easily prevented.

The night before the show

Give your cat a last minute grooming session. Check that the eyes and nose are clean.

Don't forget to trim your cats claws. You will most probably be refused entry at the vetting table until this is done.

Gather together the gear you will be taking with you.

You will need:

  • The carry basket
  • A plain white cushion for the bottom of the cage
  • A covered litter box
  • Plain white curtains for the 3 sides of the cage
  • Food and drink for the cat, after the judging

If for any reason you think your cat is not well, don't take him to the show. The stress of showing will make him worse and if he is infectious you don't want to spread anything around to the other cats. If the cat is showing obvious systems, eg watery eyes, sneezing, coughing etc., the cat would more than likely be disqualified at the vetting in stage.

On the morning of the show

Be punctual, but if it's in-line vetting be prepared for a wait. So dress warm in winter.

Join the queue for veterinary inspection, in case of in-cage vetting, you may place your cat directly in the cage. Your show schedule will say if it's in-line or in-cage vetting. For in-cage vetting the vetting of all cats will be performed in the cats' cages. You will all be asked to leave the area while this is being done.

Collect your vetting slip as your enter the actual show area. There will normally be a desk set up to the side of the door as you enter. Just give the person manning the desk your name. Also inform them if any of your entered cats were unable to attend, (scratchings). The slip will have your cats details and cage number on it.

The vet who will be assisted by a Stewart will check your cats eyes, ears and mouth. He will check the coat for fleas and will also check the cats anal area. The vetting table will be sprayed after each exhibitors cats have been checked to help stop the spread of any infection between cats. After your cats are vetted in the vetting slip will be initialed by the Stewart if everything is okay.

Find your numbered cage and place the cushion and curtains in it. Give your cat a last little cuddle and wish him luck, then place the cat in the cage as well.

If you are showing a kitten you can leave his uncovered litter box in the cage with him. But no toys or coloured rugs etc.

Most shows now allow you to view the judging. There will be seats set up for your comfort, but please do be quiet during the judging and the show committee request that you turn your mobile phone off.

After judging has been completed, you may now go to your cat and give him a big cuddle. And don't forget to tell him 'well done'! Shows are normally one ring or two ring shows. Make sure all the judging for your cat has been completed before feeding him.

If you want to decorate your cats cage with coloured curtains etc., this can be done now too. Some shows now allow you to put up coloured curtains before the judging. But if you are not sure just put up your white ones, you don't want to be eliminated for the wrong coloured curtains.

Don't forget, if you have any questions just ask one of the other exhibitors. Most are very friendly people who like to help.

After The Show

Whatever precautions are taken at the show to minimize the chance of infection from cat to another, there is always a slight risk of bringing something unpleasant back home with you. In a multi-cat household do take care. Some exhibitors will isolate any cat returning from a show, especially if there are young kittens in the home.

A quick dose of flea powder before the cat is allowed inside will ensure that none of these unwelcome visitors will get any further.

An old-fashioned idea that I have heard off, is to soak a cotton wool ball in whisky or a similar alcohol and swab the inside of the cat's mouth, pads of feet and the anal region. Now, I don't think I would like my delicate areas swabbed with whisky so please do take care if you are going to use this method. Alcohol kills most germs but I do not think it would be a pleasant experience for the cat.

It is also a sensible precaution for exhibitors to wash their hands thoroughly with a little disinfectant and remove their shoes before touching any cats in the home. Even better, a change of clothing will not go astray.

Visit Tai & Leigh's blog on more information on showing cats in SA
and even more information on cats, especially Tai.

(Cat show in London, 1871)

Show terms for the Novice Show Person

Cat Fanciers Dictionary

BENCHING REQUEST (bentching rikwest) noun
A tactical maneuver employed by exhibitors with a devout interest in social climbing, self-preservation or both.

BLOW (blo) verb
What a cat does when it turns ballistic in a ring and goes after a judge the way China goes after its dissidents.

CONTRACT (kontrakt) noun
Attempted legalese in which the party of the first part, through sedulous disregard of the first and other amendments, seeks to hog-tie the party of the second part in a transaction involving a cat.

CATALOG (katuhlaug) noun
An often over priced, confusing, hard to use exhibitors necessity. Contains all the information on all the cats entered in the show; however, this information is frequently incorrect due to no fault of the exhibitor or the entry clerk. Designed to fall apart by the third ring of the day. Unlike the hand, is easily misplaced. Most frequently disappears when your cat has done very well and the information it contains is badly needed.

DESIGNER CAGE CURTAINS (dizainer kaej kertinz) noun
A triumph of platitude over practicality whereby once-utilitarian items have been elevated to the status of status symbols. Spiritual kin to the velvet Elvis painting, designer cage curtains sometimes cost more than the cats they surround.

DIRECTIONS TO THE SHOW HALL (direkshunz, sho haul) noun
In legal parlance, sufficient cause for justifiable homicide. No jury has ever convicted a person for assaulting the committee member who put together the directions to the show hall.

DISCRETIONARY INCOME (diskreshunaree inkum) noun
What an exhibitor has left for the mortgage, the kids' orthodontist, the utility bills after paying entry fees, plane fares and dinners charged to Mastercard for the last four shows.

DISINFECTANT (disinfecktnt) noun
A sacramental ointment used by judges to wash their hands of their decisions.

END-OF-ROW-BENCHING (end ov roe bentching) noun
Prime show hall real estate paid for by exhibitors who are incapable of ignoring people on both sides of them at once.

ENTRY CLERK (entre klurk) noun
A person of questionable judgment who suffers fools, phone calls, and inane questions, though not always gladly or with grace.

FRESH WATER (fresh wahtr) noun
A luke-warm, murky substance at least one-quarter mile and two doorways from an exhibitor's benching cage.

FUR (fer) noun
What some exhibitors and judges wear to cat shows in colder months to demonstrate their concern for all animals great and small.

GATE (gaet) noun
A collective noun applied to a collection of individuals, at least half of whom interrupt your grooming to announce that they "have a cat just like that at home".

GENETICS (junetiks) noun
An arcane, tedious discipline, little understood, yet much discussed by cat breeders, the knowledge of which has nothing to do with producing a good cat. Unlucky breeders resort to genetics to explain their failures, lucky breeders embrace it to explain their successes. Both are generally wrong.

HAND (hahnd) noun
An appendage, with an opposable thumb, provided by providence so that exhibitors will have something to write their cats' entry numbers on that, unlike the catalog, they won't be able to misplace.

HOUSEHOLD PET CLASS (howshoeld pet klas) noun
A congregation of cats of allegedly unknown origin who sometimes outnumber their pedigreed cousins at a show.

ITCOULDGOEITHERWAY (itkudgoeeethurwae)
A plea of Nolo Contrendre entered by a judge who is about to do something that a goodly percentage of the audience is sure to disagree with.

JUDGES DINNER (judgz dinur) noun
A secular version of the last supper in which the haves are pursued by the would-haves. An enterprise to which the average exhibitor is not always invited despite the fact that he or she is subsidizing the dinner with an entry fee.

JUDGING TABLE (judjing taebul) noun
A place where fleas, mats, ear mites, and suspicious looking bald spots, miraculously appear for the first time in a cat's life.

LUNCH BREAK (luntch braek) noun
An interval in which exhibitors repay judges for their many transgressions by asking them questions while they are trying to eat.

MASTER CLERK (mastur klurk) noun
A person with a keenly developed tolerance for drudgery, a head for transcribing figures under extreme duress, and a determination to become a judge at any cost. A fondness for self-flagellation and hair shirts may be substituted for the judging fixation.

NOVICE EXHIBITOR (nahvis exibitur) noun
A natural mutation of the human species. Equal parts "golly-gee" enthusiasm and endless questions.

PEDIGREE (pedugree) noun
A document listing the known (or alleged) ancestors of a cat. Much studied by persons with a fondness for cryptograms.

PEOPLE FOOD (peepul fud) noun
What exhibitors subsist on at shows. Differs from cat food in that the latter must conform to certain government standards.

POLITICS (polutiks) noun
Why your cat was defeated by a cat belonging to someone on the show committee, or by a judge.

PREPOTENT (preepoetunt) adjective
What a male cat automatically becomes after he's produced one good litter with a mediocre outcross female.

PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM (publik ahdres sistum) noun
An instrument of torture that argues (loudly) on behalf of selected repression of freedom of speech.

RAFFLE (rafl) noun
Legalized petty larceny, sanctioned by show committees, in which children are authorized to shake down their elders in the spirit of trick or treat.

RIVAL ASSOCIATIONS (raival asosseeaeshunz) noun
Beknighted assembles with no redeeming social value, where the cats are inferior, the judges are incompetent, and the exhibitors eat their young.

ROSETTE (roezet) noun
A garish wall covering. Prized by cat fanciers the way scalps were prized by warlike Indians.

SHOWABLE BREEDER (sho-abul breedur) noun
A cat with a better chance of producing than defeating grands. Distinguished from the garden variety of breeder by the price.

SHOW BATH (shoe bahth) noun
A very painful and needlessly complicated process which removes a quantity of dirt and hair from a cat, multiplies it by ten, mixes it with steam and applies it to every surface of a room.

SHOW COMMITTEE (shoe kuhmitee) noun
The ship of state of fools, depends on who's at the helm and how treacherous the sharks in the surrounding water are. Note the word commit, as in certifiably insane.

SHOW FLYER (shoe flie-ur) noun
What the serpent concealed in the apple he presented to Eve.

SPECTATOR (spektaeur) noun
See "GATE"

STANDARD (standurd) noun
A work of fiction that artfully combines the exactitude of the constitution with the literary flair of a blueprint. Difficult to read, nearly impossible to apply, and frequently ignored by the judges.

STEWARD (stoo-urd) noun
An underage and under duress member of the juvenile set wearing at least one item of clothing you've never seen before and looking at a bunch of cats he or she hopes never to see again.

THIRD CALL (thurd kawl) noun
The earliest call heeded by those exhibitors who believe the last shall be the first, as long as the judge sees them putting the cat in the ring.

THISISTHEWAYISEEITTODAY (thisisthuhwaeiseeittooday)
A porous disclaimer that the judges use when they aren't convinced of the certitude of their decisions and suspect that you aren't going to be either.

TIEBREAKERS (tei-braekrz) noun
What a judge does to stall for time and pray for guidance when itcouldgoeitherway. These services are usually conducted just before the judge intones thisisthewayiseeittoday.

TITER (tietur) noun
A number that when squared and divided by 10,000 reveals your chances (expressed in percentages) of wiping out your entire cattery, if you buy the cat the titer describes.

TRAINEE (traenee) noun
An extremely nervous individual who holds up the show while trying to guess how the judge is going to hang the ribbons in any particular class.

WEDNESDAY (wenzdae) noun
The first day of the week which exhibitors regain full use of their faculties. Unfortunately, the day of the week on which exhibitors begin preparing for their next show.