A cat show is composed of a number of separate, concurrently running, individual shows held in the various judging “rings” throughout a show hall. Each “ring” is presided over by a different judge, who presents his or her own awards independent of the decisions of other judges, for this reason, a cat that is chosen “Best” by the judge in one Ring, may not final in another Ring. 

Every cat entered in the show is evaluated by each judge, and judged according to a written standard for its breed (with the exception of the Household Pet Class, for which there is no written standard). The breed standard is precise enough to allow judges to evaluate cats accurately, and flexible enough to leave room for differences in interpretation between judges of keen eye and good intention. 

Individual rings can be classified as either Allbreed (AB) or Specialty (SP). In an Allbreed ring all cats, regardless of coat length or type, compete for various awards. In a specialty ring only those cats of similar coat length, either; longhair or shorthair, compete for awards. The same judges will also judge Household Pets (HHP). 

The cards on top of the cages will correspond to the cat’s entry number in the show catalog and on its benching cage. In the judging ring, blue cards are used for males, and pink cards for females. 

After a judge has judged all the cats in the Allbreed ring - or Specialty ring - it is time for finals. This is where the judge presents the top ten cats in show - the top fifteen if there are enough entries. The moment every exhibitor lives for is that moment of exhilaration when your cat is held aloft and proclaimed "Best Cat in Show"! 

The Household Pet Class. Household pets are judged in one group without regard to sex, coat length, age, or color. There is no written standard for Household Pets, although the CFA Show Rules state that they may NOT be declawed, and if they are over eight (8) months of age they MUST be neutered or spayed. All Household Pets MUST be inoculated by a licensed veterinarian against feline enteritis, feline rhinotracheitis, calici virus & rabies and tested for FeLV before entry. Cats must be free of fungus, fleas and ear mites. All claws of all entries must be clipped prior to benching! They are judged instead for their uniqueness, pleasing appearance, unusual markings, and sweet dispositions. Each cat reflecting good health and vitality receives at Merit ward (red/white), and at the end of the judging, the best Household Pets are presented in a final. 

How to Enter a Cat Show

ENTRIES SENT BY MAIL: According to the Show Rules, the entry fee must accompany the signed entry forms. Entry forms and fees are to be sent to the entry clerk for each individual show. A form can be found on line at http://cfa.org/Portals/0/documents/forms/entry-form.pdf 

IF FAXING AN ENTRY: It is wise to always include a cover sheet that tells how many entries the entry clerk can expect to receive. You may also want to call the entry clerk to confirm receipt of your fax. If you get an answering machine, it will be less time consuming for the entry clerk if you suggest that s/he NOT call you back if they have received your entries (being sure to specify how many you sent). All Fax entries must be paid in full within 10 days of receipt or prior to the start of the show, whichever is first. 

ONLINE ENTRIES: Many clubs have an online entry form available, usually through the regional web site or their own club site. If you are using an online entry form, it is recommended that you email the entry clerk after submitting the entries to confirm that they have received. It is the exhibitor's responsibility to make sure that the entry clerk has received the entries. The use of the online entry form is interpreted as an official entry in this CFA show, and your email address on the online entry form is considered to be your signature per CFA Show Rule 4.05. All online entries must be paid in full within 10 days of receipt or prior to the start of the show, whichever is first as per CFA Show Rule 11.08a. A copy of the show rules is online at http://cfa.org/Portals/0/documents/forms/16-17show-rules.pdf  

How to Complete a CFA Entry Form

According to CFA Show Rules, all entries for a show must be submitted on an official Show Entry Form. You can use the form in this package or enter online. 

Name of Your Cat: Maximum 35 characters. 

CFA Registration # ONLY: leave this blank

Birthdate: In the Month/Day/Year format. 

Sex: Neuter or Spay 

Eye Color: (required only for white cats) Blue, Copper, Odd, Gold, Amber, etc. 

Color Class #: Household Pets Color Classes: 0892 for male cats and 0893 for female cats. 

Breed: OTHER-Household Pet

Color Description: Describe your cat as best you can using color and pattern, e.g. Blue Tabby, Calico, Black & White, Chocolate Point, etc. 

Sire: Leave this blank

Dam: Leave this blank 

Breeder: Leave this blank 

Owner/Lessee: Maximum 40 characters. 

Phone: A phone number where the owner/lessee can be reached in case there are any questions

Street Address for Owner/Lessee: Street address of the owner or lessee

City: City 

State/Province/Nation: State; Province and Country if not USA 

Zip/Postal Code: Zip Code; Postal Code if not USA 

Name of Club/Show: Name of the Club sponsoring the show you are entering - "National Capital Cat Club"

Location of Show: City and State/Province where show is to be held 

Date of Show: Dates of the show you are entering

Agent Info: Fill this out if someone other than you is showing your cat. 

Send Confirmation To: Circle either OWNER/LESSEE or AGENT, depending upon whom you wish to receive the entry confirmation and directions to the show. 

Circle Number of Region of Residence: The USA, Canada, Bermuda and Puerto Rico are divided into 7 geographical regions (1-7). To find your Region go to http://cfa.org/AboutCFA/CFARegions/RegionalMap.aspx  

Cat to be entered in: Check Household Pet

Special Requests: 

- Double Cage: All entries in a show receive a single cage (or one half of a double cage). If you wish to have the full double cage for your entry, check this area. There is usually an additional charge for the extra cage space. It is required by Show Rules that the size of the cages at the show be printed on the show announcement, most single cages are 22” long, 22” high and 22” deep (a full cage is 44” long, 22” high and 22” deep). If you enter a single cat and choose not to purchase a double cage there may be a cat benched in the other ½ of the cage. But no need to worry, each cage has a divider which will able you to separate the two sides. Cages must be draped on 3 sides and the top (please see “supplies” below). 

- Security Cage: If you will be bring your own security cage to the show, please check and initial this area, so that the club will know not to set up a wire cage for you. If you only enter 1 cat and are bringing a Security Cage you will be required to purchase a Double Cage Space. 

- Grooming Space: 44”x22”x22” space next to your cage. There is an additional fee. 

- End of Row: If you would specifically like your cage to be on the end of a row of cages at the show, check this area. Unless handicapped, there is usually an extra charge for this special benching request. 

- Benching: If you would like to have your cat’s cage beside that of your friends, or in the same area, write their name in this area. It’s best that you limit your benching requests to one or two people. 

Signature of Owner: The owner or lessee must sign the entry form. If the cat is co-owned, the signature of one owner is sufficient. 

What You Will Need to Bring to the Show

Unless you have indicated on the entry form that you are bringing your own cage the club will provide a cage for your cat. An entry includes ½ a cage (22”x22”x22”) it is possible that you will be asked to share the other ½ of the cage with another exhibitor who also entered 1 cat and who did not purchase the other ½ of the cage. There is a divider in the cage which will separate the two sides of the cage. If you want the entire cage (44”x22”x22”) for your cat you will need to check the box for “Double Cage Space” and include the additional fee with your entry. 

3 sides and the top must be covered; you will also want to bring something to cover the table the cage is placed on. Towels work well for covering the cage and binder clips will keep the towels in place. A bathmat or small rug (remember you are working with a space of either 22’x22’ (½ cage) or 22’x44’ (whole cage) so keep those measurements in mind when picking out your supplies. There are many types of portable cages and cage curtains that can be purchased online or at a show. In addition to something to cover the cage you might want to bring a cat bed or pad for your cat to lay in. The club will provide cat litter, but you will need to bring a litter box, water and food bowls, and your cat’s food and favorite treats. You can also bring toys, a blanket or other items that will make your cat comfortable. 

Show rules state that your cat must be transported in and out of the show hall in a carrier. 

How to Prepare Your Cat for the Show

A cat show is a “beauty contest” after all, so make sure your cat is in good condition. Your cat should be healthy and fit, and most important he/she should be clean and groomed. Brush your cat and if needed give him/her a bath, if a full bath is not possible wash the paws and any stained areas with warm water and a washcloth. The show rules state that your cat’s claws must be clipped prior to benching, so do this at home. Also clean your cat’s ears. You might want to pack a small bag with a brush or comb, Q-tips, baby wipes and other grooming supplies. 

More Information

CFA New Bee Program - a Cat Fanciers' Association program for new exhibitors