The Supreme Cat Show is the most important cat show of the year, something like the Crufts of the cat world. It is held every year at the National Exhibition Centre, near Birmingham, and the 2017 show took place on Saturday 28th October. Here is a report on what it was like and what were the main results.
'The Supreme' is unlike any other GCCF show. At most shows the cats are judged in their pens, and the pens look very plain, as they must have no features which will enable the judges to know the identity of the cat being judged. Also, both the exhibitors and the public are kept out of the hall during the judging. But the Supreme is different. The cats are taken from their pens to the judging ring, and judged in front of anyone who wishes to watch. Of course, that usually includes the owners, but other people can have a look too. And the pens can be decorated. Most people use coloured drapes and cushions, and often have some details about their cat on the top of the pen. But there is also a Decorated Pen Competition every year on a particular theme, and some exhibitors take part in this. This year the theme was 'Felines in Fiction'.
Each cat is judged with others of its breed, and the same way as at other cat shows. Then later in the day the Best of Variety is chosen, ie Best Persian, Best Semi-Long Hair, and so on. Then finally the Best Adult, Best Neuter, and Best Kitten are picked, and these are judged on the main stage for the Supreme Best in Show. Winning this is the absolute highlight of any cat's show career. As well as the pedigree cats, there are similar titles for Household Pets, with a Supreme Winner of those too.
With the theme being 'Felines in Fiction', there was a great deal of scope for individual interpretation. One entrant had used the poem 'The Owl and the Pussycat', with a suitably decorated pen, and the whole poem written out and displayed on top of the pen. Another had used the lion 'Aslan' from the Narnia books of C. S. Lewis as their theme, and had a very ornately decorated pen. I also saw pens decorated as 'Hello Kitty', 'Top Cat', and various cats from T. S. Eliot's 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'. And there were many others.
Sometimes there are other 'fun' competitions too, and these vary from year to year. In 2017 there was a Fun Kitten Class, open to all kittens under nine months. This was so popular that the entrants had to be spilt into four groups for the judging, and then the overall winner was chosen from the winner of each group. There was also the 'Celia Leighton Memorial Tabby Class', for all tabby cats of any breed, held in memory of the manager of many previous Supreme shows, who sadly passed away during the year. This too was very popular, with around 80 entries. Then there was a Cuddly Toy Competition, in which any adult or child could enter their own cuddly toy.
There were also regular cat grooming demonstrations throughout the day. Then there was a section called 'Meet the Cats', where representatives of all the breed cat clubs could be found, ready to give advice on their particular breed, and often with examples of that breed on display. And there were a few cats on exhibition, often cats which had done very well in the past and were now retired, and sometimes examples of new breeds.
Many people visit the Supreme, as it is a great day out for cat lovers. Some come to look at the huge selection of retail stalls, others to find out about a particular breed, some just to view the beautiful cats. This year there seemed to be a lot of people interested in Maine Coons, and the cat I was showing had an admiring audience around his pen most of the time, with many people asking me about his breeder. He took it all calmly, as though it was what he expected!
The Supreme is great fun, but showing cats there is hard work! 'Vetting in' takes place between 7 am and 9 am, but most of us got there very early to have time to decorate the pens, before the public were allowed in at 9 am. Some people had set up their pens the day before, as the hall had been open for a couple of hours on the Friday to allow for this. Then most of us had a lot of waiting around, as we did not know exactly when our cats would be judged, and while being present is not obligatory, most exhibitors would like to be there for the judging.
Most of the judging had finished by lunch time, apart from the Best of Variety onwards. But at this point, as is usually the case, the show hall became very crowded, with many members of the public arriving for the afternoon. Most of us found we had a very busy afternoon – showing our cats to interested people, answering their questions, and of course trying to meet up with friends and fellow exhibitors, for the Supreme is a great social occasion too. And late in the afternoon, it was time to judge the overall winners...
Many people congregated round the stage for this exciting finale, and at last the 2017 winners were announced. This year the Supreme Adult (ie entire cat) was an Oriental called Athelstan Sauvage. The Supreme Kitten was a Persian called Cullykhan Bellini. And the Supreme Neuter and Supreme Best in Show was IGrCh and OS IGrPr Cullykhan Vivaldi, a brown tabby and white bicolour Persian.
In the Household Pet section, the Supreme Pedigree Pet was OG IGMC Sr Joshua Purrkins, a red curly longhair. The Supreme kitten was Tilly Tiptoes, a black and white shorthair. And The Supreme Non-Pedigree and Supreme Household Pet Exhibit was UK & OG IGMC Rainbow Dreamcatcher, a tortie and white domestic shorthair.
So that was it for another year. The owners of the cats mentioned above went home quite ecstatic, others were delighted to have won a rosette or certificate, and I think everyone had had a great day out. And we're all looking forward to the Supreme Cat Show 2018!