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Should I enter my cat in a cat show?

Should I enter my cat in a cat show?

by Michael
(London, UK)

Daniel F3 Bengal cat - Photo by Michael Broad. Free to use but please provide a credit.

I was out in the garden yesterday and saw Daniel. Daniel lives with his human companion, Pierrot. They are my neighbors. Nothing exceptional there you might think. Not quite the case because Daniel is a rather exceptional cat, an F3 Bengal cat and he has masses of what I call bling and zing! He is also very athletic and must the fastest cat over a 50 meter sprint in London! And he is a pet cat, no more no less. So should he be, could he be a show cat?

I just snapped the photo in the garden. He looks enormous but is not quite as big as he looks in the photo. I think he was seriously thinking of running up the tree for a second. As it happened he sprinted down the garden after a pigeon that was a full 50 yards away.

I suggested to Pierrot that Daniel is good enough to enter a cat show and would probably win something. So should he?

I thought I would see what it takes to enter a cat show from scratch, without any connection whatsoever with the cat fancy show cat world. It looks a bit daunting to be honest and that is just for the humans! What about the cat?

And there, I think, is the crux of the matter. When people enter a cat for a cat show they are doing it for themselves, aren't they? They must be. The cat doesn't want to win a prize and therefore has no reason to be there.

In fact there are some downsides to showing a cat for the cat! Before I mention them, though, there are probably some upside stuff too.

Some problems/considerations when entering your cat in a cat show:

  • Will your cat enjoy the show? I think your cat has to be pretty confident and relaxed in strange situations and in a cage if he or she is to get something positive from a cat show. There is a lot of cage time for a cat what with transporting the cat to the show and then waiting around to be judged. Also nervous and shy cats are less likely to win because temperament plays a big role in deciding winners. It seems only confident relaxed cats need apply. The show cats I have met are almost invariably extremely confident and relaxed around people.
  • You are going to have buy the rule book because neither the GCCF nor the CFA publish the rules online which I find a bit irritating. They could at least publish the rules in outline. For example, if you are showing a random bred cat (a moggie) do you have to register your cat with the cat association concerned? I am not sure. If your cat is a purebred you will need to register. The GCCF will let your cat enter a show provided the application to register is pending.
  • Is your purebred cat of good enough quality to make it worthwhile entering? I think Daniel is good enough but what do I know? It is probably necessary to ask a person who has shown cats for their advice first.
  • Expense is one factor. You will need a fancy cage for your cat to sit in at the cat show. These are like little cat apartments so they can't come that cheap. Then there are those famous curtains. Cat show curtains are startling to newcomers. They look extraordinary and they are certainly very fancy. Curtains are placed around the cage to make the cat feel calmer and prevent cat arguments neighbour to neighbour! Of course they don't have to be fancy and I am sure some competitors (the human half of the team) prepare their own curtains. There is all the other expenses too, such as travel costs, registration costs, entry fees, parking costs, and the bits and pieces that go in the cage etc. plus grooming equipment.
  • An important consideration is the faint risk of your cat catching a disease at a cat show. There are lots of cats and they are close together. When I first went to a cat show I was told not to place my hand through the cage and touch a cat. I presume this was to prevent the spread of disease, perhaps things such a ringworm but I am not sure.
  • The rules and hoops and hurdles that both cat and human need to go through are quite complicated and time consuming. They would put me off. Perhaps they could be simplified? You will need a copy of the rules and a list of cat shows so that you can contact the show administrators to enter your cat.

I have probably been a bit harsh on the downside. There is of course an upside to cat showing but is it all to do with the person?

A person showing their cat can get a lot of pleasure from it; meeting people, learning about cats and hopefully winning awards. What does the cat take away from the experience?

I have to ask that because I consider this website, the voice of the cat. Well, I am sure some cats actually enjoy it too. After all it is a change of scene and stimulating for a cat. That must be a good thing.

But it would seem to depend on the cat and his or her personality. It is down to us to make a good judgment on that one. The first question that we should ask is, "Will my cat be OK with this?"

Back to glamorous Daniel. He could do well at a cat show I feel. A Bengal breeder will know better. But I know Pierrot won't show him at cat shows. He is happy for Daniel to be his companion and no more. And that, bottom line, is what cat caretaking is all about. Cat showing is a human concept and a human activity.

Two external links for more from the experts (these open in new tabs or windows):

In the UK - GCCF - Would you like to Show your Cat?

In the USA - CFA - Ready... Set ... Show

Should I enter my cat in a cat show? to Cat Facts

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Should I enter my cat in a cat show?

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Aug 16, 2010
Do Animals Enjoy Cat & Dog Shows?
by: Sylvia Ann

Maybe a few of the extroverts do – which is to say, more dogs than cats - but most probably find them distressing. Yet the owners enjoy them, and people have a right to some pleasure - but less of a right (do you agree?) when that right infringes on animal rights.

Garden club members look forward to showing off their flourishing flowers and vegetables to other members. The competition is fun, they learn from each other and form pleasant friendships.

With regard to exhibits of animals, though, I dislike county fairs with livestock for people to oooh and ahhh over: most of these innocent cratures are doomed (and yes – I know – cats and dogs are obligate carnivores).

The snuppies & kitties in dog and cat shows are dazzlingly beautiful (in my opinon, the most beautiful dog of all is the Borzoi). My only objection is that these hybrids are ‘manmade,’ which can risk the animals' health and comfort. Years ago, a sight that soured me was seeing a dog owner sprinkling something that looked like cornstarch on her powder-puff poodle, then blow-drying the dog. He looked so abject.

But I’m far more opposed to Lipizzan Spanish-Viennese shows, where the horses are trained in classical dressage - i.e., forced to do little mincing-step dances and strain every muscle standing on their hind legs, etc. Such spectacles inspire in me the sizzling sentiments PoC Troops cherish for Declaw Proponents. Evens of this kind are beautiful, and sickeningly immoral, as far as I can see. Can’t stomach such sights,just as my skin crawls at the sight of bonsai trees crammed in a two-inch pot.

While waving my arms on the soapbox, I’m also outraged to see circus animals and amusement-park dolphins, Namus and seals forced to entertain people devoid of all feeling for these animals.

I also dislike seeing over-trained dogs. I wouldn’t want a dog that was totally out of control, but it’s sadder to see one whose owner is so salute-snapping-heel-clicking power-mad, the poor dog is robotic. I also feel sorry for service dogs, those guardian angels to folks who rely on them. Their lives are truncated – and yet I suppose they know they’re loved, and learn to adjust. As for rabbit fanciers who adorn their shelves with ribbons and loving cups galore while their abbits live out their lives in steel coffins -- well, I won't go there. This is a family website.

As for physical beauty – some of my best pals, cats and dogs, were hopelessly homely. But never mind. Vern, Vera, Bertil, Fusser, Sven and Lena were all heart and soul. ('I've known more animals than people who deserved to go to heaven,' to quote one of the former national directors of the SPCA.)

Bet some of the happiest dogs around are hunters and pointers, Australian sheepdogs, movie star dogs, dogs that guard herds, dogs that guard (and baby-sit) kids, police (drug-sniffing) and rescue dogs. The happiest cats are probably those not made to do anything they don’t want to do.

Three cheers for Pierrot.

Aug 16, 2010
hes awsome
by: kathy

What a beautiful cat. But then of course I am partial to Bengals. I too wanted to show my Savannah kitten Aurora. The rules and fees were too much for me. Also I had and still am having problems finding their rules for the hybrid cats. Then there was the driving to the show. Nothing too nearby where I live. Also Aurora isnt too social when it comes to other cats besides her brother and sister family cats. Not too many people come to visit us and she really doesnt like to be picked up. If you plan on showing I would suggest socializing with people and strange cats right from the start. I used to show dogs. Its a lot different.

Aug 16, 2010
Should i enter my cat in a "Cat Show"?
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

I am just hoping that professional "Cat Shows" are organised in Indian city's akin to "Dog Shows", a real venue to meet like minded pet owners besides improving the quality of your pet breed. I remember the years of fun and enthusiasm during the 1980's when i owned dogs and my dachshund bith "Lucky" won numerous prizes whenever entered.Personal living conditions forced me to keep cats as pets and i am a happier person for doing the same. My "traditional persian cats" have made the house livelier with their antics, but, i definitely miss the pleasure of exhibiting them in a "Cat show".Winning or losing is a secondary matter, the most important being the pleasure of viewing different cat breeds besides meeting some colourful owners. some of the "Dog owners" whom i met during the 1980's and 1990's in Mumbai have still left vivid memories of their devotion and care towards their pets. Mumbai should form a "Cat fanciers association" and organise "Cat shows" as i am sure there are manny cat owners.I still attend the "Dog shows" in Mumbai and have posted their videos on "Youtube", although not a dog owner anymore.

Michael Broad

Hi, I am 70-years-of-age at 2019. For 14 years before I retired at 57, I worked as a solicitor in general law specialising in family law. Before that I worked in a number of different jobs including professional photography. I have a longstanding girlfriend, Michelle. We like to walk in Richmond Park which is near my home because I love nature and the landscape (as well as cats and all animals).

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