You might be more familiar with dog shows than with cat shows. After all, it seems a little crazy to parade cats around a ring on a leash. Even still, your cat is fancy, gorgeous and loves attention. Shouldn’t she get the admiration that she deserves? If you’ve ever wondered how to show your cat, then be sure to stick around. This article will give you a glimpse into the lives of show cats.
The Quirkiness of Cat Shows
Dog shows often seem like serious, momentous events. Cat shows are a little more lighthearted. They attract some eccentric characters, and we’re not just talking about the cats. Cats typically stay in their cages during cat shows unless one manages to escape. The judges take the cats out one at a time to examine them. The atmosphere can be loud and boisterous as judges yell out numbers and the audience oohs and aahs over each amazing contestant.
Believe it or not, show cat cages are elaborately decorated and personalized. The CFA requires entrants to line the cages with show curtains. If the feline participants can see their neighbors in the cages next to them, they’re more likely to hiss, growl, and mewl. A show cat likes to think that it’s the only beautiful cat in the world. Most show cat owners use bright and colorful fabrics for their curtains to complement their cat’s appearance.
Show Cats Must Live up to Labels
There are different cat show categories. The Championship class is for unaltered and pedigreed cats. The Premiership class is for spayed and neutered pedigreed cats.
The Non-Championship class is separated into six categories:
Kittens – between the ages of 4 and 6 months
Any Other Variety – cats that don’t meet specific breed standards
Provisional Competition – breeds that haven’t attained Championship rank
Miscellaneous – new breeds that haven’t reached Provisional status
Household Pet Competition – spayed or neutered non-pedigreed or non-breed cats
Exhibition Only – the cat is registered for the show but will not be removed from the cage.
The life of a show cat involves constant judgment and labeling, so your cat’s ego must be capable of bearing this immense pressure if they want to succeed. Furthermore, your cat must be pedigreed as a breed that’s accepted by the organization hosting the show (unless it is entered in the household pet competition). Sometimes, declawed cats are not accepted. Show cats must be healthy and up to date on vaccinations.
Knowing Your Show Cat
The decision to show your cat involves a lot of research. You should understand what characterizes an ideal example of the breed you want to show. Going to shows can help you research what it takes to be a show cat. You can also familiarize yourself with different breeds by looking at show cat pictures. Even small details and aspects of your cat’s physical appearance (like an unusually dark patch of fur or a slightly bent tail) could make it ineligible for competition, so be sure to do your homework.
The Cost of Showing a Cat
Cat shows are relatively affordable. The average entry fee is $35 to $50. You may get a discount for certain cat breeds or colors, and you can often get early bird deals. You’ll want to adjust your show cat schedule depending on your budget to ensure that you don’t spend too much.
Show Cat Life
Show cat owners spend a great deal of their pet’s life grooming them. If your cat resists grooming, chances are it’s not going to cut it as a show cat. Show cats should be bathed a few days before the show. This allows their natural oils to get back in balance before the big day. Some owners blow-dry their cat's’ fur or use mousse, conditioner or other products to achieve a particular look. However, using certain products may disqualify you. For example, you’re not allowed to use color-enhancing shampoos that leave a visible residue. Your show cat’s eyes, ears, and hindquarters should be meticulously cleaned before a show, too. Judges can spot dirty ears from several feet away.
Before a show, a cat’s nails must be clipped, and they must be completely free of fleas, ticks, and parasites. Furthermore, according to Fanciers.com, each contestant must have the following vaccinations:
Because show cats must keep up a certain appearance, their owners may not allow them to go outside. Therefore, show cat life involves lots of leisure in between shows. However, a fat cat is a no-no at a cat show. Make sure that your cat is in optimal health and at an ideal weight. This involves giving your cat enough activity to maintain its svelte physique.
Ultimately, showing your cat is a difficult process that requires more than just a pretty face. It takes research and knowledge, an even temper (on the part of the cat and the owner), and the funds to be able to procure a high-quality cat in the first place. Being part of that world is exciting. However, facing rejection can be tough. At the end of the day, make sure that you give your kitty lots of affection no matter how many ribbons he or she has won.
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