From the amateur competition at the local fete to the grand national occasion, cat shows are very popular events. However, entrants do need to do a good deal of hard work in advance and to make detailed plans. A good way to begin is to enter one of the many local cat shows that are held throughout the country. The atmosphere will be much more relaxed, and you should be able to pick up pointers from judges and other competitors.
Winning top prizes at shows is hard work —both for the owner and the cat. If you are competing for pleasure, rather than business, start by exhibiting at amateur shows.
In the United Kingdom the main umbrella organisation which regulates rules and registers breeds is the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). The GCCF licenses clubs
affiliated with it to hold shows. These are classified as: exemption; sanction; and championship. Of these three, the championships are the major show events, and they culminate in the
National Cat Show held in London. Championships, unlike sanctions, issue challenge certificates in different classes and attract some of the top breeders and competitors in the country.
Ocal agricultural shows often hold ‘exemption’ shows for cats, where the rules and regulations that are strictly adhered to in the more professional shows are less rigidly applied. You can enter your first competition in such a show and, as you gain confidence, work your way up to championship level.
NOT JUST PEDIGREES
Cat shows are not just for pedigrees. One of the classes represented in most shows is the household pet class, and you can enter this is if you have a neutered cat of unknown or unregistered parentage. However, you will still have to go through many of the same procedures and preparatory work that you would if entering a registered pedigree.
At major shows, you will have to leave your cat in a cage to be judged (under clinical conditions) by the professional judges.
Before you enter any cat show you must ensure that your cat has had all the appropriate vaccinations and a thorough medical check-up to make sure it is in good health. After that, you can contact the organisation holding the show and ask them to send you a copy of the rules and regulations and an application form. If you are interested in entering a show but do not know where the nearest ones are held, look in cat magazines, and in the events columns of your local newspaper. You can even find details of cat shows on the internet, if you have access. Further information can be collected from regional and national breeders’ clubs. Alternatively, make enquiries at your local veterinary surgery.
The first important cat show was held in London at Crystal Palace in 1871. However, early records reveal that a cat show was held in Winchester during the St Giles Fair in 1598.
In 1976 a new type of cat show was held, the Supreme cat show. Organised by the GCCF, only cats that had won open classes at other championship shows were eligible to enter. This show is now one of the most prestigious in the United Kingdom and is held annually in November at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
The GCCF recognises about 55 breeds of cat. At a large cat show, more than 2000 cats representing these breeds will be entered for competition