Showing and exhibiting: cat shows explained

Cat show

Cat shows and exhibitions can be found all over the world. These shows and exhibitions are organised by different cat associations and organisations and are a place for cat lovers to meet each other. It is possible to register your cat during these events and let it participate in different competitions. Are you curious about what is involved in a cat show or exhibition? You can read it here!


What is a cat show?

Many people enjoy breeding and having cats. Cats are very special and intellectual animals, and every cat is unique. For real cat lovers breeding and keeping cats is a real hobby to which they devote a lot of time. Cat shows and cat exhibitions give these lovers the opportunity to meet each other and share their knowledge. At these shows and exhibitions, it is also possible to participate in competitions. Here the cats are judged on their appearance and character traits.

You don’t have to participate in these competitions for the money. The entrance fee for these competitions is often quite expensive and prize money is not common. It is mainly about the honour. When the cat of a cat lover wins a prize, the owner is very proud and will proudly display the corresponding ribbon or cup in the living room. There is a lot involved in a cat show and a good preparation takes quite some time. This will be discussed in more detail later on.


The first cat shows

Cat shows are an old phenomenon. The first recorded cat show was in 1598 and was held at the St. Giles Fair in Winchester. This first cat show looked very different from the cat shows of today. At that time there were no breed standards available for different cats, so the cats were judged very differently than today. The first cat show with the same setup as nowadays was in 1871 in the Crystal Palace in London.

This show was immediately a huge success and attracted more than 20,000 visitors. The year 1871 is also known as the year of the cat, because people have viewed cats differently since then. Previously, the cat was mainly a practical animal that helped against vermin, for example. Partly thanks to the cat show in 1871 the beautiful appearance and the character traits of cats were looked at more from now on. In the United States the first official cat show took place in 1895.

This cat show was held in the Madison Square Garden in New York. Despite the fact that after this first show more attention was given to the good looks and the character traits of cats, the cat show spread slowly over the rest of the world. At the beginning of the 20th century there were only a few cat shows in the world.

Cat exhibitions

Cat Shows Today

Nowadays, there are hundreds of different cat shows. In different countries large groups of cat lovers come together and form organisations that organise official cat shows. There are different rules and guidelines for each organisation regarding breeding, registration and showing cats. Most organisations have an online website where these rules and guidelines are published. On these websites you will also find the breed standards for different breeds.

How a cat show proceeds and what aspects are important differs per cat show. The organisation has a big influence on this. Although show procedures can be different at the different cat shows, the end result is the same. Cats are judged by different judges. The judges judge the cats according to official standards – which can differ per organisation – and place the cat in a certain class. For each class there is a winner who gets a title that belongs to that particular class.

For example, there is the “Best in Show” and “Best Over All”. At some cat shows there is also a separate category where ordinary house cats can participate. These ordinary housecats are judged by their personality, condition and appearance. This is because there is no breed standard available for these cats.


Different cat associations

There are many different countries in which pedigree cats are bred and exhibited. In these countries there are often several associations that determine the rules for registration, breed standards and breeding. The United States has the most cat associations. The largest cat association in the United States is the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). This association also has related associations in Canada and Japan, for example. In Great Britain, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy and The Cat Association of Britain are the largest cat associations.

There are also various organisations and associations in Europe, Australia and South Africa. The Fedaration Internationale Feline (FIFe) is the largest and most influential cat association in the world. The FIFe is a kind of umbrella association where generally one organization per country is a member. The FIFe has a lot of members and is responsible for judging cats on a high level.

Bengal at a cat show

How do you get involved with cat shows?

If you would like to learn more about the world of cat shows and eventually enter this world it is wise to read a lot of magazines about cats. There are a lot of cat show magazines out there that give a lot of information about upcoming shows and certain requirements that come with them. The Cat World magazine is a well-known example of this. It can also be interesting to watch the preparations of a cat show.

The world of cat fanciers is generally quite open and there are plenty of exhibitors who want to tell something about their cats and the way shows are run. Moreover, as a guest you can attend a certain show. At shows there are often a lot of information stands with flyers and information. Here you can get all the information you need to be able to participate in a cat show yourself in the future. It is often also possible to join a cat association here and stay up to date about current events.


Need more information about showing and exhibiting?

This article has tried to give more information about cat shows and exhibitions for people who are interested in them. Are you looking for more information about cat shows? Or do you have any tips for people interested in participating in a cat show? Let us know by leaving a comment on this article!

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