What is a cat show? A cat show is composed of separate yet concurrent, individual shows, each of these smaller shows is called a Ring. Each ring will have a different judge, who will present his or her own awards independent of the other judges in the other rings. This means that a cat chosen as “Best in Show” in one ring may not be given the same award in another ring by another judge. Usually a one day show is comprised of either four or five rings.
Each cat is judged against a breed standard, (see Ragdoll standards from various associations: CCA, CFA, TICA, ACA, CFF, ACFA, AACE, FiFe, GCCF). The standard describes what the ideal cat of a breed should be like. A breed standard is precise enough to allow judges to evaluate cats accurately, yet it is flexible enough for differences of opinion between judges.
The only category for which there is no breed standard, is the Household Pet Class (HPP) as each cat is an individual and very unique in its own way. These cats or kittens are judge on cleanliness, overall appearance, temperament, personality, balance & proportion and so forth.
Rings (or the smaller individual shows within the cat show) can be classified as either All Breed or Specialty. In the All Breed ring, cats regardless of coat length or type compete for various awards. In the Specialty ring, only cats of similar coat length or type compete against each other for awards.
After a judge examines all the cats, it is time for the Finals. In the finals, the judge presents the top ten cats, this is the moment every breeder lives for. The excitement builds, as the judge counts down, 10th, 9th, 8th … and my 2nd best cat … and the “Best in Show” is …(and you hope this is your cat).
Every judge is assisted ringside by what is known as a Ring Clerk, their responsibilities include calling the cats to the ring and recording the awards as they were given out by the judge. Lastly, the Ring Clerk supervises the Ring Stewards, who sterilize the cages with disinfectant and deodorizer after each cat is removed for the next showing. Quite often service organizations, like Girl Guides or Boy Scouts are happy to be the stewards as a means of earning money for their particular group.
How do I enter a Cat Show? This is a fairly simple procedure, first order a set of show rules and the Ragdoll breed standard from the association whose show you wish to enter. Then download the entry form from their website, fill it in and submit it along with the appropriate fee for the particular show you wish to enter. (*a tip for the novice, a double show cage will provide you with twice as much space and usually two or more cats may be in the same cage; if you opt for a single cage, another exhibitor will be sharing the cage with you).
how entry forms for the CCA and the CFA are available here. You will need Acrobat Reader installed to view and print these forms, the reader is available as a free download from Adobe.
What do I need to bring to the show? Pack the entry form copy, a map of the show location, your kitten’s papers and proof of vaccinations, grooming supplies, cat toys, books, cage curtains, litter box & scoop (litter will be supplied), food dishes & food, pen & paper, business cards, grooming table (if required), hand sanitizer and finally … your cat or kitten in their carrier.
Preparation before the show. Assuming that when you purchased your Ragdoll kitten, you knew you would wanted to show him/her, and therefore bought a Show Quality Kitten, you will have to start training it for cat shows once you have accustomed the new kitten to its home. By this I mean, that you will have to get it used to loud noises (turn up the radio or T.V.) or another way to do this is to take the kitten in its carrier to a busy mall, place the carrier in a cart and walk around awhile. Then take kitty for a ride in the car or bus, more than once. Socialize your new kitten with other people, friends and family (be safe regarding the possibility of diseases). Then a day or so before the show date ensure that your cat or kitten is absolutely clean. Always bathe your cat before a show (special bathing tips for Ragdolls provided by RaggleRock). Towel dry your cat or blow dry with a hair dryer and thoroughly comb and fluff up the coat. Cat’s claws must be clipped, both the front and back.
What are Show Curtains? Do I need them. First of all, show curtains are required at all cat shows. The cat shows provide you with benching cages, these are cages placed on long rows of tables, the cages are reused by the show every time, so there is no need to bring a cage. I strongly recommend requesting a double cage to increase the space for you and your Ragdoll (cages fill quickly with a litter box in them, food dishes, toys, a pillow and a Ragdoll). Show curtains are used to provide your cat with privacy from the cats/kittens in the neighboring cages and also as a means of decorating these cages. They can be as simple as towels, bed sheets, rugs and/or a mat or as elaborate as sewing your own curtains or ordering a custom set. Cage curtains must cover the two sides, the back, and the top of the cage as a minimum requirement. For more information about custom cage curtains available from RaggleRock send us an email.
I’ve arrived, now what? When you first arrive at a cat show, check in. After you have checked in, a show catalogue will be provided, your name and cat’s number will be printed on a label on the outside cover of the catalogue. Find your number inside the catalogue, as this is the information you will want to review and you will see other exhibitors listed whom you will be up against in the rings. Find the rings for the day (usually near the back of the catalogue) and highlight your category in each ring (example HHP, All Breed, Specialty). Wherever your category appears first amongst the four or five rings listed, this will be the first ring you will be called to. Remember to listen to the announcer as he/she will call your number (from the label) to each ring over the P.A. system. Go to the required ring and place your cat in the cage with its number on top of it. Then sit down and wait until the judge is finished viewing all the cats. When your number is turned down collect your Ragdoll and its ribbons and return to your benching cage. After the completion of each category, the category will have a Finals or in other words the Top 10 cats, if your number is recalled to the finals you know you are definitely walking away with a rosette (big ribbon), the question is will you place 10th, 4th, or 1st. After all the rings are completed for the day, there is the “Best of the Best” judging, these will only be the Top 3 cats in each category and being recalled for this is a great honor (and an even bigger rosette)! Remember, the most important thing about cat shows is … win or lose, have fun, meet people, talk to other breeders, educate the public about your breed of cat … now this is showing.
Please enjoy, and love your cat no matter what … we know that we do!!