Attending a Cat Show can be a Fun and Educational Experience

Last weekend my husband Marty and I were so excited about attending the first ever cat show held in Ormand Beach, Florida. I really love the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s (CFA) shows and one of the main reasons I truly prefer attending CFA sanctioned shows is that their registry does not allow declawed cats in any division in competition. By not allowing any declawed cats to participate in their sanctioned cat shows this sends a very important message to the folks who are planning to show their cats, that the organization does not approve of declawing surgery because it is cruel and harmful to kitties.

Unfortunately there are still other cat associations that do not penalize declawed cats, allowing them to compete in all divisions. I don’t understand why those organizations continue to tacitly supports declaw surgery, and by allowing these cats to compete, I believe it sends a subtle message that it’s okay to declaw cats. Since there are many people who show their cats under the sanction of the organization, if declawed cats are not penalized and permitted to compete alongside of cats whose paws are intact; it seems to me that it gives the kitty owners permission to mutilate their cats.

Keiger and Exotic Long Hair. Photo credit: Jo Singer
Keiger and Exotic Long Hair. Photo credit: Jo Singer
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I do understand that many cat lovers abhor just the thought of a cat show. They truly believe that it is cruel to “force” a cat to be handled by strangers in oftentimes crowded, show halls that can get somewhat noisy and may be frightening to the cats. But from my experience as a former breeder and show person, cats that become fractious and afraid are pulled from the show ring by their owners and not made to “suffer” under the capable hands of cat show judges. As a matter of fact, cats that are upset and afraid generally don’t show well, even though they may be perfection, meeting the breed standard to a “T”.

The cats we saw observed last weekend truly seemed to be enjoying being shown off. I so enjoyed watching CFA All Breed Judge Teresa Keiger handle the cats in her ring. I fell in love with each and every one of the cats being shown in the Premier class (the class for neuters and spays) and I think I wanted to take home a few of them. I was particularly enamored with the Japanese Bobtail with a great sense of humor. It was fun to watch Judge Keiger play with the kitty with a feather toy and to see the cat enjoying their interaction.

Aki. Photo credit: Jo Singer

Do the judges fall in love with the cats they are handling? Perhaps they don’t all the time. But in my opinion watching Judge Keiger handling the cats in her ring, it was totally apparent that she loved the cats she was judging. And that love was infectious because I too fell in love with the Exotic Shorthair based upon the way she was enjoying handling the cat. As far as I was concerned that cat was a total knockout with a matching purrsonality.

Most of all cat shows have been good to me. Several months after Dr. Hush Puppy died, we began thinking of getting an Oriental Shorthair kitten, but we weren’t aware of any local breeders. Thankfully, Judge Keiger suggested that we attend a cat show in DeLand, Florida, and chat with some of the Oriental breeders. It was there that we were able to hook up with Barbara Fraizer who did have a kitten available. Had we not attended that show we wouldn’t have been lucky enough to find Aki.

What are your thoughts about cat shows? I personally think they have a lot of merit- do you? Share your thought in a comment.

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28 thoughts on “Attending a Cat Show can be a Fun and Educational Experience”

  1. ndia has had its first cat registry and cat show in 2013 through the “Indian Cat Federation” affiliated to the “World cat Association” of Germany.Mr Michael.Broad of “P.O.C” did play a important role in encouraging cat owners like me from India to have a “Cat Club” and finally thanks to a lot of internet correspondence that the “Indian Cat Club” was formed. I personally feel a “CAT SHOW” helps in creating awareness anout various cat breeds as well as a common platform for cat owners and fanciers to meet and discuss their pets.Irresponsible breeding of cats is a product of human greed in accumulating wealth as well as trying to play “GOD” to lesser beings by creating new cat breeds through controlled breeding.This is one of the negative aspects of “CAT SHOWS” as it encourages the creation of new breeds while at the same time discarding the original parent breed from the “Cat Show ring”.The Original Persian and Siameses cats have fallen victim to the cat fanciers breeding programme and hence toaday we have the “Ultra Face Persian” and the slim”Siamese cat being representatives of their breeds with the originals being discarded in the “House hold pets” category.More new breeds might emerge in the future and this has to stop by every “Cat Association” refusing to recognize any “New Breed” of cats produced by a breeder or fancier.”Cay Shows” are relevant and important akin to “Dog Shows” but a strict no should be observed on introduction of new cat breeds.

  2. Doesn’t matter at all to me, actually, but Beverly Hills is known as a very high-end place as well as a very self-absorbed consumerist community, so it is entirely possible that he did find himself on the streets even though he may well have been “purebred” — he could have gotten out accidentally, for instance. Anyway, what DOES matter to me is that we had 7 wonderful years together, and before that, he had 14 years of love with his first human family.

  3. Not a fan of cat shows; went to one when I was a small girl and a lot of the people were SMOKING so the entire room was a trap for second-hand smoke, much of which the cats were inhaling. And though a lot of the “purebred” cats are lovely, so are the generally healthier and so deserving of loving forever homes non-“purebred” cats. I did enjoy seeing the cat items for sale, and my folks bought me one little picture with a poem under it, which is here in my office. It’s about homeless cats, and it’s informed my life and touches me deeply. No, as “RESCUED” is my favorite “breed”, I’ll leave the shows for those so inclined. Aki is a very fine feline, though 😉

    • I have similar feelings. Emotionally I find it very hard to adopt a deliberately created cat when there are beautiful random bred cats with great characters waiting to be adopted or killed by shelters.

      • I would, too. Our beloved Sammi, whom we adopted through a mutual friend from an elderly couple, was pure Maine Coon as far as I know, but rescued as a kitten off the streets of Beverly Hills (!) according to the story. Everyone else has either been rescued from streets or adopted from rescue or shelter. Most from the streets. No one will ever tell street cats don’t make loving family members. Youngest is a feral who is bonded to me only. She is my “feral laptop” 😉

        • All of the cats I’ve ever had were regular cats from shelters, but I do go to cat shows and know a fair bit about purebreds. If your cat was rescued as a kitten from the streets, it’s not a purebred. In general, no papers = not a purebred. Purebred kittens are not thrown to the streets as they cost money, even if an owner cannot keep them, they can return them to breeders or even resell. The adults could be found in shelters since people may have relinquished them, but then, they’d have papers. In fact, there are very few purebreds in shelters, but cats are routinely mislabeled as belonging to a particular breed. For example, every large long haired cat is labeled Main Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat, but they are domestic longhair, they are unlikely to even be mixes. Similarly, every solid gray cat is often labeled by shelters as “Russian Blue” when none of them really are Russian Blues, they are gray domestic shorthairs. Sure, if a breed has very distinctive look e.g. Persians, you could guess that the cat has Persian origins. But Main Coon looks are not that distinctive.
          By the way, a rescue labelled my two cats as “Bengal Mixes”, but they really are just regular tabbies.
          While I don’t think purebreds are in any way superior, I actually prefer regular moggies since they tend to be healthier, I think it’s important to understand that. Purebreds often have certain genetic problems, and if you think your cat is a purebred you can worry for no reason.

          • Sorry. But, I believe that all of this is arrogant.
            I can’t understand why anyone would want a cat with predisposed health maladies. Why they would want a bald cat (which was purposely created that way) is bizarre.
            Selling a cat is ridiculous, since any cat can be spotted in parking lots or behind malls.

            • I clearly stated that I personally prefer regular domestic cats to purebreds, to me the more natural the look the better.

              Now, why some people buy purebreds? I have a friend who likes Persians and Exotics, though she takes rescue adults that people dumped instead of buying kittens. She currently has two rescue exotic shorthair she got from a rescue, pedigree and all. There are two reasons she likes them – she likes their flat faces they seem baby-like to her, but she also likes their laid-back personality. The preference for certain looks and certain personality traits is what drives people for example some breeds are laid back, some active, etc. Some, like Siberians, naturally have less of the protein that causes allergic reaction in people and some of them lack this protein, so some of the people who are allergic to cats can tolerate Siberians.

              Unfortunately, many people just go by looks and don’t get that say Persians are very high maintenance, that Somalis are very active. As to the health issues, obviously not all cats have it, my friend’s Persians lived long lives, it’s just that some breeds have increased risk of some conditions. Of course, breeding cats with genetic problems is very wrong.

  4. People don’t usually comment on any of my articles unless it’s a happy ending type story or I make them really mad. It appears I have no middle ground and only prompt comments when I report extreme goodness or extreme evil. I do think a lot of people read the articles and just don’t comment. Everyone is in such a rush these days.

    • Yes, it takes a certain type of person to comment. Most people visit to read the article and don’t wish to contribute through commenting.

      • Don’t confuse human visits with web-bot, web-crawler, and web-spyder scripts that just go around collecting data for one reason or another (for their financial gain, never yours). Many desperate-for-traffic and computer-illiterate website owners often make that mistake and are so proud when 500 web-spyders only visit their site per day, but no humans ever do.

        • I am fully aware of these issues, believe me. I don’t confuse anything with anything thanks very much. The figure quoted is genuine people. The figure would be much higher if I included all traffic. This site had 1m page views per month at one time.

    • Yes, Dee. I agree with you. I’m afraid those days appear to have gone although we do get some discussion still in comments but there are less comments. This really is because I stopped in effect paying for comments by donating to charity for every comment made. Also, we have lost one or two other regulars who made lots of comments for one reason and another. These things happen. In respect of visits to the website, the fact that there are less comments makes no difference because the truth of the matter is that very few people do in fact make comments. Around 3000 different people visit the site every day and let’s say that there are about 15 comments every day which gives you an indication as to how few people wish to make comments. I’m sorry because I do like comments but that is the way life is sometimes. Most people don’t want to contribute but they wish to take something from the website.

      To be honest, also, a lot of the comments in the past were not really adding to the page but was simply reciting what was already said and praising others for saying the same thing.

      • I’m so sorry if you are offended Michael.
        But, I feel the loss of those who felt betrayed by your lack of support when an uncredentialed “feline diabetic expert” battered them.
        I feel for my most loved friend, Dorothy, who got no support from you when she lost her beloved Yellow. And, you probably don’t even know that she lost her Bigfoot as well.
        So many came to your side when Charlie was in such straits. But, you didn’t reciprocate when a beloved member’s Walter struggled with his health.
        The comments from loyal visitors weren’t reciting what had already been said.
        They were heartfelt and trustworthy.
        Because I know the names: Missie, Benny, Charlie… it is important.
        Do you know what cat names belong to what people? Damon? Jozef? Monty? Marvin?
        Again, I apologize; but, I miss the “family” feel that was once here.

  5. Sorry, Jo.
    But, I can only assume that cat shows are for displaying bred cats. I abhor that.
    I am participating with a group right now that is demanding a suspension to breeding.
    I consider breeding to be a selfish, inhumane, and brainless thing to do when so may cats are in such need of homes.
    Actually, I would like to attend a show like this, with all other supporters, just to have a say.
    I’ll have to register at Cat Fanciers to find out the dates of events.

    • Dee, in fact cat shows have incredible Household pet classes and also agility classes. In fact also many shelters have cats up for adoption at different shows. So the shows are ALL about the cats and introducing people to this remarkable species. There is a wealth of information about cats in general, care of kitties, explaining why vet care is so essential. It is not JUST about pedigreed cats at all. So talk up adoption because there may be folks with cats up for adoption at the show you are attending!

      • Thanks Jo.
        I’m happy to know that such educational things go on at shows.
        But, I wish that one of the educational things included the arrogant breeding of cats.
        Again, I apologize if you are offended.

        • I’ve been to TICA cat shows – by the way, TICA doesn’t allow declawed cats either. They have a yearly cat show in my area and I usually go there to watch the cats and to buy stuff at their market. They have a lot of really good toys you’d not find in the stores, very good sturdy cat trees and some other stuff. My cats are regular mixed breeds from the shelter, by the way.

          A few good things about cat shows:
          1. All of the proceeds go to the local shelters and rescue groups. People are also encouraged to bring cat food and items to donate.

          2. Shelters representatives are there too selling some of the donated or homemade cat stuff – toys, pictures with cats, calendars, etc. to raise money, they also accept donations. People do donate. I usually give to several rescues there.

          3. There is a large area where the shelters can show cats for adoption. A lot of time people come with an idea to buy a purebred and adopt instead when they see how beautiful the regular cats look too.

          4. As Jo said, there is a lot of educational material, there is “ask a vet” table.

          • I agree there is more to a cat show than pedigree cats. Anyone who loves cats can find something they like. Be it rescues, toys, educational information or clothing. Selfless people are those who never spay or neuter their cats and allow them to breed, people who have a sick cat and allow them to sill roam outside spreading disease. People who drop or dump cats because there is an issue like not using the litter box or biting after de-clawing. Not researching what that does to a cat. Breeders will educate and most are always there for you and your questions. A good breeder will test their cats for any health problems and these test can run hundreds of dollars. The will back up any kitten sold with guarantees of health and the kittens have had their vaccines, wormed and vet checked before leaving the breeder. There is a contract to protect the kitten, breeder and new parents. Enough on this. A cat show is the place to do your homework on a breed if you want one or just to enjoy all the beautiful cats pedigree and rescues. Not much different than a dog show, showing off what is the best of the breeds. Cat shows you mostly take home ribbons no money for show a cat you spend money to show your cat and walk away with ribbons and the knowledge that your cat is of standard or not because there are others better than yours this time. There is enough room in this world for both rescue and pedigree cats as long as the owners are responsible owners. Spay and neuter and get them to the vet if they are sick. How does anyone allow their cat to breed and not take care of the litter and momma making sure the kittens get all that a breeder provides and does for the litter.

    • Sure agree 100% and applaud both your comment and your activism, Dee. Not taking away from very caring dear friends like Jo, who I know would never do anything negative regarding cats! but I just don’t believe in the “pure bred” cat industry.

        • *Good on ya, Michael* Having had ancestors who were unwillingly “owned” by others, I’ve got a huge chip on my shoulder on this issue, and believe, as you do, that living beings should not be bought, sold, or “owned”. And “selective breeding”? Well, that has very disturbing connections in history, as most of us know. ;(

        • Agree. Each and every cat is so beautiful/handsome in his/her own right, and until all of the streets, ACCs, rescues, sanctuaries, etc. are completely EMPTY of cats and kittens, I say, “UNTIL THERE ARE NONE, ADOPT ONE (or preferably more than one)” Anyway, most “experts” say that non-“purebred” cats tend to be a lot healthier than “purebred” cats, another reason they are preferable to me. Why would anyone deliberately choose to continue traits that put the health of those they love at risk? *rhetorical*


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