This article is for anyone who is thinking of showing their pedigree cat, but is wondering if it is a good idea. Many people wonder if any pedigree cat can be shown, and then if their cat is 'good' enough to be shown. Well, you can show any pedigree cat if you want to. But there are some cats which should definitely not be shown, in the best interests of the cat and everyone else. And other cats which might do better if shown in a different way. Let us look first at cats which should really not be shown...
A cat show can be quite stressful for many cats. The cat has to be prepared, groomed, perhaps bathed. Then he has to travel in a carrier in the back of a car or by public transport, possibly over a long distance. He will then be kept in a pen for a large part of the day, handled by a number of people, and looked at by many others. There will probably be crowds, and a lot of unaccustomed noise. Many cats enjoy all this, particularly if they have been shown from kittenhood. But for other cats this is all quite terrifying, and they hate it. At every show, there are a few cats who look as though they would much rather be at home. Sometimes this feeling becomes so extreme that they hiss at judges and stewards, and even lash out. If your cat is like this, it would be kinder not to show him. And if he is inclined to be aggressive, it would definitely be preferable for those who have to handle him if you don't bring him to a show!
So if your cat is shy, timid, or in any way nervous of people, he is probably not suitable for showing. It is fine to try one or two shows to see, as he may get used to it. But if he still seems unhappy, or if he spends the whole day trying to hide, maybe you should think twice about it. Also, if your cat is a bad traveller and invariably gets car sick, perhaps you should give up, or maybe just take him to shows close to home. If he does not enjoy the show preparation, you may be able to work around this – groom him very gently and not for long, and clip his claws over several sessions. But again, if this whole procedure really upsets him, it might be better to let him stay at home.
You may have a cat has a perfect temperament for showing, lets you bath and groom him, looks lovely, and is very sociable. Wouldn't he be the perfect show cat? Well, he might. But when it comes to showing in the Pedigree classes, there is more to it than this. Each breed has to look a certain specific way. There is a Standard of Points for each breed, and judges compare each cat with this standard. So even if your cat is incredibly beautiful and has the perfect temperament, he will not do well if he does not conform to this Standard of Points. What does this mean? Well, it varies for each breed, but the Standard of Points defines the shape of the cat, the colours which are allowed, the type of fur, and so on. Sometimes awards can be withheld if the cat has a specific 'fault' and examples of these 'withholding faults' can be an overshot or undershot jaw, white colouration in the wrong places, or a nose which is a the wrong shape, for example. If your cat has a fault like this, there is nothing to stop you showing him if you really want to. But he will not do well, and it can be a bit depressing if your lovely cat is marked down in every show. What can you do if this is the case? The best thing may be to take him out of the Pedigree classes entirely, and show him as a Pedigree Pet.
The Pedigree Pet classes are for cats of pedigree appearance which for some reason should not be shown in the Pedigree classes. This includes pedigree cats with no official papers, half pedigrees, and pedigree cats with faults...as described above. The Pedigree Pet classes are part of the Household Pet category, along with the non-pedigrees. There are classes for them at every show, and they are judged in the same way.
This means that your cat will now be judged purely on presentation and temperament. Indeed, his breed will not come into it, and will not even be noted when you enter him – he will simply be a 'red tabby longhair', 'smoke shorthair' and so on. Pedigree Pets – and indeed all Household Pets – are treated exactly the same as Pedigree cats and can win similar awards and titles. Where the titles for Pedigree cats are Champion, Grand Champion, and Imperial Grand Champion for entire cats, and Premier, Grand Premier, and Imperial Grand Premier for neutered cats, Pedigree Pets can gain the titles of Master Cat, Grand Master Cat, and Imperial Grand Master Cat. After this they can enter Olympian classes in the same way as Pedigree cats – though separately from those pedigree cats of course.
It is possible to move your cat from the Pedigree classes to Pedigree Pets if you wish, or the other way. But there are specific rules for how often you can do this – so you can't change your mind about where to show your cat for every show!
These categories are for GCCF shows. TICA and FIFe shows work differently and have different titles and awards. If you wish to show with either of these, you will need to find out if they have equivalent categories.
Finally, to reiterate – if your cat does not enjoy showing, then please do not show him. To do so is unfair on him, and on the judges and stewards who need to handle him. He can still be a beautiful and much admired cat....but at home with his family.