Your First Cat Show

What a wonderful time you have ahead of you. We hope that, like a lot of other people, you discover that the world of cat shows is a fun world – one that you will want to continue to be a part of. Your cat does not have to be a show stopping pedigreed cat. It may be your loveable Household Pet. Each have equal chances of winning rosettes within their class.

First things first! You can get information on shows in your area on the ACFA web site Entries must be made no later than one week before the show. You will receive acknowledgement of your entry with what is called a confirmation. When you receive that, check it over to see if there are errors. If there are errors in the information, and there is still a week or so before the show, call the Entry Clerk and correct the errors. If it is only a few days until show time, make a note to yourself to correct the errors with the Entry Clerk when you check in on show morning.

Before the Show! First, make sure your cat’s shots are up to date. All cats should be vaccinated for enteritis, rhino and calici. You may want to give it rabies shots as well. The needs for longhair and shorthair cats differ in getting them ready for a show. Longhair cats should be combed each day, starting long before the show date is near. Then a day or so before the show the cat should be bathed. Shorthair cats are more the wash and wear type. Brush the coat to remove any dead hair and bathe a few days before the show to allow the natural oils to return to the coat and give it a sheen. In each case, be sure to rinse all the soap out thoroughly. All cats should have the nails on all four feet clipped and the ears cleaned.

What to take to the show.  Other than the cat

1. Carrier – you must transport your cat to and from the show in a sturdy carrier for its safety and security.

2. Cage curtains – something to cover 3 sides, top and bottom of the cage to give your cat privacy and a sense of security. Only the front should be open. As fancy or plain as you like. Sheets, towels or specially made. Washable material is best. Don’t forget something to fasten them on with. The club will provide a single cage for each cat. If your cat needs more room you can pay extra for a double cage. Most cages are 22 x 22 x 22 single and 22 x 45 x 22 double. The show flyer will tell you if the cage sizes are different.

3. Litter pan, food, food dish and water dish. Most shows furnish litter. Bottled water is a good idea to prevent tummy upsets caused by strange water.

4. Grooming aids – the combs, brushes, chamois or other articles that you need to put the finishing touches on your cat’s grooming before taking it to the ring.

5. Odds and ends – your confirmation, in case of error. A pen for recording your cat’s results in the show catalog. Snacks, books or anything else for your needs and comforts during the show.  Most show halls have concession food for sale.

Its Showtime!  Check the flyer for check-in times and plan to arrive at least an hour before judging starts. Check in with the Entry Clerk. Find your benching cage, set it up with cage curtains, litter pan, food and water and settle your cat in. Check your cat’s information in the show catalog and correct any errors with the Master Clerk. Check the show schedule so that you will know where and when to go when your cat’s number is called.

Listen for your cat’s number to be called to each judging ring. Be prepared with last minute grooming before the number is called so that you can be prompt in getting to the ring. Between rings, talk to the cat, visit the vendors, meet the other exhibitors – most of them will be happy to help you out if you need it or answer questions – but  most of all, have fun! When all the cats in your division [Kitten, Adult, Alter, HHP] have been judged in a ring, Finals will be called. When that is announced, go to that ring to see if your number is posted. If it is, take your cat to the ring for its Final rosette. Your very first Final is always exciting. All rings done? Time to pack up, clean up and go home – probably tired but excited about your first show and, hopefully, looking forward to the prospect of your next show.