All About Cat Shows

A cat show is composed of a number of separate, concurrently running, individual shows held in the various judging rings throughout a show hall. Each ring is presided over by a different judge, who presents his or her own awards independent of the decisions of other judges. Hence, a cat which is chosen Best in Show by the judge in Ring 1, may not always be given the same award by the judge in Ring 2.

Every cat entered in the show is evaluated by each judge, and judged according to a written standard for its breed (with the exception of the Household Pet Class, for which there is no written standard). The standard is part blueprint because it describes the ideal specimen for the breed, and part constitution because it can be revised by the members of the breed council. A breed standard is precise enough to allow judges to evaluate cats accurately, and flexible enough to leave room for differences in interpretation between judges of keen eye and good intention.

Individual shows can be classified as either allbreed or specialty. In an allbreed show all cats, regardless of coat length or type, compete for various awards. In a specialty show only those cats of similar coat length (or type) compete for awards.

After a judge has examined all the cats in the allbreed competition – or all the cats of similar coat length (or type) if he or she is doing a specialty show – it is time for finals: the curtain call wherein the judge presents the top ten cats in show. The moment every cat breeder lives for is that moment of exhilaration when your cat is held aloft and proclaimed “Best Cat in Show”!

The judge is assisted in the ring by the Ring Clerk, whose responsibilities include calling the cats to the ring, recording the awards as given by the judge, and supervising the ring stewards.

Print a Spectator Guide

A spectator guide that will help you to understand a cat show is available for printing. The PDF brochure is a bi-fold one that can be printed back-to-back or as two separate pages.

Spectator Guide
Spectator Guide translations: Chinese | French | Russian | Slovenian
(Note: translated files are not as up to date as the English version)