Thinking About Showing Your Cat? Here’s What You Need to Know

entering your pet in a cat show

Everything You Need to Know About Showing Your Cat

If you love your cat even half as much as Jack Byrnes loves his Himalayan, Mr. Jinx, in Meet the Fockers, then chances are good that you’ve thought about professionally showing your cat. And why not? If your cat is a majestic, well-groomed beauty, showing your cat is a great way to invest even more love and attention into your furry companion animal.

Thinking of parading your little cutie? I’ve learned that when it comes to showing pets, not all pet shows are created equal. There are a few quirks and differences when it comes to showing a cat versus showing a dog, and here’s what you need to know!

What Should I Expect From a Cat Show?

When I attended my first cat show, I was pleasantly surprised at the over-arching fun atmosphere. Yes, I said it – fun! – even though cat shows are technically competitions. While dog shows require tens of thousands of dollars for each entrant (just think of the purebred dog cost, training, handler salaries, and kennel fees), cat shows tend to be far more accessible.

Often, those attending cat shows are hobbyists — the events are “exhibition[s] of their animal husbandry talents.”  Don’t believe me? If you need some proof, just know that the city of Santa Monica recently hosted a Tiki-themed cat show… so if Hawaiian shirts and shorts don’t say casual, then I don’t know what does!

How Do I Enter My Pet in a Cat Show?

Alright, so now you’re sold, and you’re feeling ready to take the next step and enter your beloved feline in a cat show. Each year, different organizations including TICA (the International Cat Association) and the CFA (Cat Fancier’s Association) host a range of cat shows nationwide.

If you’ve heard about a cat show in your area, here are a few steps to follow to enter your cat in a competition:

  • Study the show rules of the competition you want to enter, as each show is a little different, and the show rules will help you determine if your cat is eligible.
  • Once you’ve determined the show date and location, you’ll often need to contact an entry clerk to fill out a bit of paperwork. Reach out to the show’s clerk and ask for a show flyer (a quick reference for all the information you need on showing your cat) and an entry form.
  • Make sure you send in your cat show entry form and your fee before the show’s closing date — the competition may not be as steep, but the slots usually fill up!

entering your pet in a cat show

What’s With All the Cages at Cat Shows?

If you’ve attended a pet show, then you already know that the lines of cages might deter you from subjecting your own cat to a day spent in a cage. Fortunately, cat shows make “exhibition cages” more friendly than the spooky metal bars you’ve probably seen elsewhere.

At cat shows, most organizations provide a single benching cage for each cat, but you’re welcome to upgrade your cat’s quarters with double cages and grooming spaces. And another necessity to consider when attending cat shows? Cage curtains.

At cat shows, pet owners take pride in designing elaborate curtains to adorn the inside and outside of the cat’s staging cage. The curtains give your cat a bit of much-needed privacy, but they also help show off your animal’s unique personality. Now that’s a cat mom craft I can stand behind!

Final Steps Before Entering Your Cat in a Pet Show

If you’re curious about entering your cat into a pet show, here’s my pro tip: attend a cat show as a spectator first. The best way to understand the flow, energy, and demands of a cat show is to attend one in person. So what are you waiting for? Grab a friend, and spend your next Saturday ogling the local cats that are almost as show-stopping as your own!

[images via: CFA International Cat Show]

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