Now is a great time to consider becoming a judge.  The CFA Executive Board of Directors and the Judging Program Committee have approved some changes in the rules that make them more flexible and attainable.  There is now an option for those who do not care to breed, but love to exhibit. Please thoughtfully consider the CFA Judging Program as part of your future in CFA.

The latest edition of the rules can be found here: Judging Program Rules.

Here are some of the questions we are frequently asked:

1. How long must I have been active in CFA prior to applying?  
For the Breeder option, 5 years of active breeding, for the Exhibitor option 7 years of active exhibiting.

2. Do I have to be a licensed clerk?  
YES, with Master clerk preferred. However, if you are a clerk and do not want to be a master clerk, you can test out of that requirement.

3. Do I have to belong to a club?  
YES, and you must be active in the club.

4. When can I apply for a Judge Mentor?  
When you have been breeding a minimum of 3 years or exhibiting a minimum of 5 years.  A judge will stay with you as your mentor up until the time you become an Approved Allbreed judge.

5. What can I be doing to ensure I am on the right track while waiting to be paired with a mentor?

a.      Join a CFA club and become active in show production.  Assist in hosting a CFA cat show, from planning the event, setting up the show hall, organizing the judging rings, assisting throughout the show and finally, closing the show and cleaning up the hall.

b.     Become known in your breed, and show excellent examples of the breed.  Work on attaining the required number of Grand Champions or Grand Premiers.

c.      Attend a Clerking school and become a licensed clerk.

6. Where can I get answers to my questions?  
The application administrator or any member of the Judging Program Committee will be happy to answer questions.

7.  Do I need to attend a BAOS (Breed Awareness and Orientation School)? 
YES but there is a time limit, it must be within 2 years of submission of your complete application.


We are so glad that you are considering entering the Judging Program.  That is the first step.  Below are a few guidelines to help make the best use of your time in meeting these requirements.

Starting down the Road.

  • Read and understand the Judging Program Rules.
  • Decide which breed is going to be your primary breed.
  • Determine if you are going to Breed and exhibit or Exhibit only. There are different requirements for each.  Be sure to read and understand the Judging Program Rules.
  • For either option read and understand the CFA Show Standards and begin showing your cats in your primary breed to Grand Champion/Grand Premier status.  You need to be well versed in this breed and demonstrate your knowledge of the standard by exhibiting cats to become Grands.
  • Join a CFA club and become an active member. Help put on CFA cat shows including planning the event, setting up the show hall, assisting where needed throughout the show and finally closing the show and cleaning up the hall.  Read and understand the CFA Show Rules.
  • Obtain your Clerking license and if interested your Master Clerk license. (Master clerking is not required but a test on the knowledge of a Master clerk is required if not licensed.)  Read and understand the Clerking Manual.

Becoming a Pre- Applicant:

Once you have met the above requirements AND have been breeding for at least 3 years or exhibiting for 5 years, plus having met at least half of the grand champion/premier requirements ( 5 years  for breeding, and 8 years for exhibiting). You are ready to contact the Application Administrator to help you obtain a mentor. That mentor will guide you through the entire process.

You will then be ready for Breed Focused experiences, attend the Breed Awareness and Orientation School (BAOS) , and start to exhibit other breeds to complete a well -rounded application.

Submitting the Application

Your mentor and the Application Administrator will assist you in preparing your final application.  Once accepted by the CFA Executive Board of Directors, you will begin your training.

Applying to the Judging Program

CFA’s judges are respected worldwide and sought after for their knowledge, expertise and handling abilities. Prior to applying to the Judging Program, applicants are expected to have a solid foundation in their knowledge of breeds. Unfortunately, there are no programs available such as Abyssinian or Persian 101 for judging program applicants to take, so CFA offers the following suggestions for obtaining this expertise.

Actual breeding and exhibiting is the best personal experience, and CFA suggests working with at least two of our most popular body types, the short and cobby as well as the oriental style. The majority of our exhibits fall within these two body styles. Added experience with one or two moderate body types with consideration to coat length would be helpful.

Breed seminars and presentations are frequently given at Breed Club level as well as at shows where a particular breed is honored. These can provide an in depth study of the standard and its application.

Agenting can provide hands on experience to the various breeds and the subtle differentiations of approach to achieve favorable handling response vital to the examination and presentation of the exhibit in the judging situation.

Cattery visitations – a day long visit in a casual, relaxed atmosphere where cats can be carefully amined and viewed in their usual habitat has proved invaluable to the learning process. Many of our most successful breeder-exhibitors enjoy discussion of their breed standard and will openly share the good and bad points of their show and breeder cats. Cattery visits/ agenting. Longhair applicants must submit a minimum of five (5) cattery visitation reports. Shorthair applicants must submit a minimum of seven (7) cattery visitation reports. In all cases, a variety of breeds is recommended. The owner of the visited cattery must belong to the Breed Council of the breed to be examined. Agenting forms (signed by the owner of the agented exhibit) will be part of the Exhibitor’s Resume. Complete care and custody of the cat is required by taking the cat to the show, grooming the cat at the show, having the cat in your care the nights at the show, taking it to and from the rings. If possible, the agent should also be responsible for before-the-show bathing and grooming of the cat.

Clerking is one place to learn about breeds. Once you have established yourself as interested in judging, and have the ability to maintain the confidence of information shared with you, many judges will gladly share their experiences, and you will have a close up view of all the cats at a show.

Education rings are becoming ever popular events at our shows. Depending upon time and availability of exhibits, these may provide cursory and in depth knowledge of a breed.

Note: be sure to reference the current Judging Program Rules for detailed requirements, particularly sections 1 and 6. Both sections include options for both breeder and exhibitor applications.

Before considering applying to the judging program, please be aware that all requirements must be met before applying.  Some basic requirements to start are:

  • Be of good reputation, both in the cat fancy and your community.
  • Have a complete understanding of the most current CFA Standards, CFA Show Rules and the CFA Judging Program Rules.
  • Be at least eighteen (18) years of age.
  • Think about a mentor – a CFA Allbreed judge to help guide you through the process and program from the very beginning until Approved Allbreed status is attained

Application forms and information:

If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please contact the current Applications Administrators:

Leslie Carr — Region 1-9 Applicants
13224 Wellington Hills Dr
Riverview, FL 33579

Jodell Raymond — International Division Applicants
70 Beekman Place 
Rochester, NY 14620
585-233-0368 cell
585-442-8237 home

Or for general questions, contact:
The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc.
260 East Main Street
Alliance, OH 44601
Tel: (330) 680-4070