Showing Your Household Pet

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Description of the Process
Scoring Household Cats
Technical Information
Show Schedules


Description of the Process

At a cat show, have you ever noticed that in spite of the gorgeous, exotic, and sometimes rare breeds being shown, the largest crowds are watching the judging of the household pets? These beautiful, healthy, and much-loved animals are everyone's favorite. Your own special cat can be part of this too. Don't be afraid to give it a try. If your cat is friendly , not easily frightened, and likes attention, chances are it will do well and you will have a good time showing it off.

To be shown, all household pets (HHP) must be at least 4 months old, not declawed, and in good health with no evidence of fleas, ear mites, etc. Cats 8 months of age or older must be spayed or neutered. Nails should be clipped on all four paws before leaving for the show. If you are unsure about this, ask your vet.

HHP's are judged on condition (general good health), uniqueness, temperament, and grooming. Of course you will want your cat to look its best, so most people bathe their pet one or two days before a show. This makes sure the coat is clean and allows time for the natural oils to return.

Once you have sent in your completed entry form, you are ready to prepare for the show. Be sure you have a carrier to transport your cat. The best carriers are the molded plastic type available at most large drug stores or pet supply places. They are inexpensive and last forever. Cardboard carriers can be used, but cats can escape, so make sure it is tightly closed with plenty of ventilation.

Wire show cages are provided for each entry. They must be covered by "cage curtains". These are for covering the cage to prevent your cat from seeing its neighbors. Some people who show regularly have spectacular curtains and decorations for their cages. Most keep their curtains simple but attractive. One large piece of material to cover the back, sides, and top of the cage will do just fine. Twin size sheets work well. Colorful beach towels are another possibility. It's a good idea to securely fasten the curtains with large safety pins. You will also want something to cover the table under the cage. A piece of carpet, towel or bath mat the size of the cage works well.

Cat litter is provided but you will need to bring a small litter box. Sometimes samples of food are available at the show, or supplies may be available from one of the many vendors at the show. You know better than anyone what your cat likes, however, so it is best if you provide your own. Many people have a small "ice chest" in which to keep opened cans of food fresh. (Note that "people food" may be prohibited at some show halls.) Your cat might also appreciate any special kitty treats it loves. But don't worry if it doesn't eat or use the litter box, it is probably just nervous. A small dish for food and one for water should be on your list of essentials. You might want to include something to scoop out the litter box as needed. Now consider your own cat's own personality and add a small pillow, bed, favorite toy, or anything else to make it feel more at home.

If this is your first show, it is wise to arrive at the hall at least an hour before the scheduled starting time. This will let you check in, set up your cage, and make your cat comfortable. When you arrive there will be an entry clerk at the door. He/she will check you in, give you an entry number, a show catalog, and tell you the row in which you have been assigned a cage. Locate the row, and your name will be on a cage. Set up the cage with your curtains, water, litter box, and bed, before putting in your cat. Now check the catalog to see when and where the judging will take place. When your number is called, take your cat immediately to that ring and put it in the judge's cage under your number, sit down with the audience and be proud. This same thing will happen several times during the day depending on the number of judges. In HHP the judge will award red and white "merit" ribbons to those cats which deserve recognition for participating in the show. As the judge finishes with each group of cats your number will be turned around or removed as a sign that your cat can be returned to its own cage. You will then take your cat back to the benching cage, along with your cat's merit award. Each judge will see all of the HHPs and then choose a few to return for what are termed "finals". If you hear your number called for this, take your cat immediately back to the ring for a special award.

There will be a lot of time between judging when you can enjoy visiting the vendors or touring the show, seeing all the different breeds, and talking with their owners. It's always a good idea, though, to ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your cat when you're away from the cage. Do not hesitate to ask questions. If the exhibitors are not busy at the ring or grooming their cats, they will be happy to help you or discuss their cats with you.

Whether or not your pet receives any rosettes or awards, it is a special time to share with your pet. You will feel much pleasure and pride when your cat receives the admiration you have always known it deserves, and most cats actually enjoy the pampering and extra attention. So if you have been considering showing your pet "go for it". A cat show is fun, educational, and most gratifying.


Scoring Household Cats

You may already know how the Cat Fancier's Association Southwestern Region (Region 5) scores Household Pets. If you do, please excuse this basic lesson. If you do not know how to score HHP, read on.

In CFA, Household Pets are scored regionally. The Southwestern region includes Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. This region uses the same basic scoring table used for national and regional scoring in the other classes. Under this formula the top cat in any ring receives a point for every cat officially entered who that cat "defeats" in the ring. For example, if there are 100 cats in the class, the top cat would receive 99 ring points. If there are 20 cats in the Household Pet class, the top cat in each ring receives 19 ring points.

The second place cat gets 95% of what the first place cat receives. The third place cat gets 90% of what the first place cat receives. The fourth place cat gets 85% of what the first place cat receives. The fifth place cat gets 80%; and the score continues to drop by 5% for each place until the tenth place cat gets 55% of what the first place cat receives. The eleventh place cat and below get zero. If only top five are scored (i.e. receive rosettes) in a show, only the top five receive points. Unlike other associations, there is no set rule for the number of HHP entries necessary to score top ten instead of top five; it is up to the club hosting the show.

Most people use a chart to figure the percentages, usually called the regional or national point calculator. To use the chart, go down the left side until you reach the number of cats in your class in the show. Then proceed to the right until you reach the column for your place finish. For example, if your cat placed sixth of 20 cats, go down the left margin to 20. Then proceed across to the column under sixth place. This will yield the number 14.25, which is the point score for your cat for that ring. You then total all of the rings to get your cat's total points for that show. Add all of your shows together to get your total points for the season. In CFA the show season runs from the beginning of May to the end of April.

Note that the number of cats you would use would be the number officially in the show. If a cat is in the catalog, but does not appear for any judging, it does not count for scoring purposes. However, if a cat is in the catalog, and appears for judging IN ANY RING the cat is in the show and counts for all rings. For example, in the typical two day show, if there are 18 cats on Saturday, but only 15 are there on Sunday, the Sunday scoring will still be based on 18 cats in show.

Once a cat has been judged in 100 rings the scoring gets a bit more complicated. Only the best 100 rings are scored, for any given show. So long as the cat has less than 100 rings, simply add up all of the points. Once it has over 100 rings you begin to "throw away" rings with fewer points.

Trophies, awards and prizes at a show (other than the merit awards and rosettes) may be given on any basis so long as all advertised awards are given. Some clubs use the Regional Point Calculator for special show awards. Other methods, such as the result in a particular ring, a balloting of the judges, or even voting of the spectators have been used. When in doubt as to how special prizes or trophies are to be awarded at a particular show, ask the show manager listed in the catalog or show flyer.


Technical Information

HOUSEHOLD PET DEFINED: A household pet is any cat not eligible to be entered in another class at the show. A registered purebred which could be entered as such can not be entered as a household pet. A registered purebred may be shown in one of three categories: Kitten Class (at least 4 months of age but under 8 months of age); Championship Class (8 months of age or older and unaltered); and Premiership Class (8 months of age or older and spayed or neutered).

AGE OF PETS: Household pets must be at least 4 months of age or older on the opening day of the show. There is no upper limit for age. Household pets 8 months of age or older must be spayed or neutered to participate in the show.

AGE OF OWNER: Exhibitors should be at least 18 years of age. Children under 18 must have the permission of a parent or guardian to participate.

HEALTH: Most cat shows are non-vetted. All entries must be free of disease, fungus and parasites. It is strongly recommended that all cats entered in the show be inoculated for protection against Feline Enteritis, Rhinotracheitis, Calici viruses, and tested for FeLV. Adult (8 months or older) household pets must be spayed or neutered. ALL ENTRIES MUST HAVE CLAWS CLIPPED ON ALL FOUR PAWS. Pets should be bathed before the show. It is recommended that the ears be gently cleaned before exhibiting and that teeth be cleaned if necessary.

DECLAWED CATS: Declawed cats are not eligible for entry in CFA cat shows.

CAGE SIZE: The usual cage size is 36 inches wide, 24 inches deep, and 27 inches high. One cat or two kittens are allowed per cage. Some shows use the "double cages" which are partitioned into two single cages. In this arrangement, a single cage is 26 inches wide, 22 inches deep, and 22 inches high; and a double cage (extra charge) is 54 inches wide, 22 inches deep, and 22 inches high. No more than one cat or two kittens may be benched in the same cage.

CAGE COVERS: Cages must be covered on the two sides and back. It is recommended that the cages be covered on the top and bottom as well.

SHOW HOURS: Check-in time for exhibitors is usually from one hour to one-half hour before the advertised show hours on the opening day of the show. Exhibitors are expected to be in the show hall with their cats during the advertised show hours. Permission to leave the show hall early may be requested from the show manager.

AMENITIES: Litter is generally provided. Bring your own litter trays and food. Bring your own food and water dishes, as well as any toys, blankets or bed you may desire for the comfort of your cat.

OTHER PETS: Cats not entered in the show shall not be brought into the show hall. If you need to bring another cat it may be entered as "exhibition only" and not shown, usually at a lesser charge. Animals other than cats shall not be brought into the show hall for any reason.

AWARDS AND ROSETTES: Ribbons and rosettes are awarded in accordance with CFA Show Rules. For a copy of the current CFA Show Rules, send $7.00 to the Cat Fanciers' Association, P.O. Box 1005, Manasquan, New Jersey 08736-1005. Presently, top five household pets must receive rosettes. Sixth through tenth best cats may be awarded rosettes at the discretion of the club sponsoring the show. Awards, trophies or rosettes advertised in the show flyer must be awarded.

ENTRY INFORMATION: Contact the entry clerk listed in the show flyer.

VENDOR INFORMATION: Contact the person listed in the show flyer. If no person is listed, contact the show manager.

OTHER INFORMATION: Contact the show manager if you have any other questions.


Upcoming Shows

Show flyers for upcoming CFA shows may be available in the show hall at other CFA sanctioned cat shows. Listen for announcements as to upcoming shows or ask the show manager. Flyers from other associations shall not be distributed at CFA shows. Some magazines, such as The Cat Fanciers' Almanac, Cats magazine and others, list show dates for CFA cat shows. Here are some on-line schedules of shows:

* Region 5 (southern CA & AZ)
* National schedule


This information comes from a pamphlet prepared by Valley Vista Household Pets. We gratefully acknowledge help from a variety of sources. Please feel free to share the information in this pamphlet with anyone. However, commercial use of the information contained herein is prohibited without written permission from Valley Vista Household Pets. ©1992-2002



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