Finding a Show Cat: QFA Inc and its affiliate clubs run championship cats shows on a monthly basis throughout the year. Registered pedigreed cats, domestic cats, part pedigreed cats and even unregistered pedigreed cats can all be shown. Domestic, part pedigreed and unregistered pedigreed cats are shown in the category of Companion Cats and compete for prizes and titles just like registered pedigreed cats do.
If you would like to show a pedigreed cat, it needs to conform as closely as possible to the official breed standard for that breed (link to ACF standards page). If you decide that you would like to do this, you should tell the breeder that you want to buy a show quality cat. Many kittens are born to breeders that do not quite meet the exacting requirements of the breed standards and these are sold as pets, not for showing.
If you would like to try showing but don’t necessarily want a pedigreed cat, you can always try showing in Companion Cat section. You may already have a cat or you may consider adopting one from an animal welfare organisation. A kitten usually takes to showing more readily than an adult. It is a QFA Inc requirement that the exhibits shown in the Companion Cat section must be desexed by 6 months of age.
Companion Cats can also be purebreed and/or pedigree cats. It is a QFA Inc requirement that all pedigree kittens must be registered. However, if a cat does not meet the breed standard for showing in the pedigree section, you may also show it in the companion section. However, in order for it to compete for titles, it must be separately registered as a Companion Cat. The form for registering a Companion Cat can be found on our Forms page.
Preparing a Kitten for its First Show: A few early lessons can make the whole process more comfortable for you and your kitten.
Show Schedules: Show Schedules for coming QFA Inc shows are placed on the show calendar page of this website and distributed by email. The schedules list the judges for the show and detail any specialty rings or supreme awards being offered as well as sponsorship provided. Most shows offer at least 3 rings which means your cat can be judged 3 times by 3 different judges. All of our shows provide a block entry price which covers your cat’s entry in all rings. You can choose not to enter all rings in which case you pay the prices listed for each individual ring. Print off the whole show schedule including show rules and entry forms. It is important to read all the show rules. If you have any queries or concerns phone or email the show secretary or show manager whose contact details will be on the schedule.
Entering the Show: Be sure to get your entries in by the entry close off date stated on the schedule and that you provide complete, accurate and legible entry forms and documentation to the show secretary. Your entry will not be accepted at all if it is too late. If you know you would like a show catalogue be sure to order it on your entry form as there are limited numbers available for sale on show day.
Grooming:All cats, whether longhaired or shorthaired, should be groomed regularly, but special preparation is often done in the few days immediately prior to a show. A longhaired kitten should be bathed and groomed from an early age so that it becomes used to the routine and will actually learn to tolerate this without complaint. Specific grooming techniques vary from breed to breed, even from cat to cat. When you are starting out in showing, talk to the breeder of the cat about how they groom their cats and also look at the cats on the show bench that attract the most comments for good grooming and ask their exhibitors what their secrets are. Most will be happy to share their knowledge and experience with you. Your cat must be scrupulously clean and must never be shown with fleas or other parasites. Apart from a clean, well groomed coat, the cat must have clean ears and eyes.
Claws must be clipped - this is a show rule. Your cat will be handled by several people during the day and clipping the claws will minimise the potential for injury to handlers. The breeder or your vet will show you how to safely clip the claws and you and your cat need to get used to doing this all of its life, not just when showing. Claws must be clipped one or two days before each show as they grow very quickly.
First and foremost, the cat show is a beauty contest and a badly groomed cat will be penalised in the show ring. It is not unusual to hear a judge comment, “this cat would have placed higher if it was better groomed”.
Cage Decoration: Under QFA Inc show rules, coloured curtains and bases are permitted in show cages. These can be made at home or purchased at shows from exhibitors who make these as a hobby, or even purchased over the internet. The curtains and bases will need to be washed after every show so choose easy care fabric. Avoid intricate detail that cannot be cleaned or that your cat could get caught up in. You do not need to spend a lot of money – a plain curtain in a colour that complements your cat’s coat or eye colour and a folded towel as a base is fine.
Packing for the Show: As you generally have to leave home early to get to the show it is a good idea to be packed the night before. A bag that everything can be packed in that fits neatly under the show bench is useful. Below is a list of items which may be of some assistance:
Show Day: To help prevent travel sickness and discomfort at the show, it is not recommended to feed your cat on show morning. A healthy kitten or cat can skip breakfast on show day and will enjoy its dinner all the more on arrival home. Before you put your cat in its carry cage, try to encourage it to use its litter tray - you may like to get up a bit earlier to wake the cat and make sure it has a clean tray to use. Be sure to allow sufficient time to arrive at the show venue before the end of the scheduled benching time. Your cat must be in its show cage well before the scheduled judging start time. It is a good idea to plan on arriving at the venue about one hour before judging starts so you are not rushed in getting your cat settled.
At the door you will be given a slip with the name(s) of your cat(s) and their cage numbers. Place your show cage in its allocated place and fit your base and curtains. If you are using a QFA hire cage, fit your base and curtains to your allocated cage. Place the cat in its cage and offer it a litter tray, particularly if you don’t think it has used one before you left home. Except in the case of young kittens, litter trays must be removed from cages whilst judges are in the ring.
You can then do a final grooming touch up before judging starts. Grooming powder is not permitted to be used in the vicinity of the show cages so if you have used any powder on your cat, brush it out before you arrive. Floating powder coming out of your cat will be frowned upon by the judge and will not be appreciated by neighbouring exhibitors. There is usually an allocated grooming area in the show hall so use this area if your cat has an accident and requires a major clean up. You should not groom cats in toilet areas as this is against health regulations. If there is no allocated grooming area seek advice from the show manager.
Once your cat is settled you can take advantage of the excellent kiosk facilities that are available at most show venues. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, hot and cold drinks are available at reasonable prices or you may prefer to bring your own.
You may stay at the venue all day watching judging and taking the opportunity to chat with other exhibitors or, once judging starts, you may go away and come back later in the day. However, if you leave the show venue or are occupied in some way in the running of the show, you should arrange for someone to watch over your cat in case it has an accident in its cage and also to remove any prizes and awards between judgings. The Show Committee accepts no responsibility for prizes once they have been placed on an exhibit's cage.
Judging: When judging is due to commence, you will normally be given a few minutes notice to leave the ring. Make sure you have not left anything on top of the show cage. You should place your grooming gear and litter tray out of sight well under the bench below your cage. Most exhibitors like to take a seat ready to watch the judging. You may leave a small water bowl in the cage of any exhibit and a litter tray for those exhibits under four months of age. If you have bought a catalogue you can record results as they are announced by the judge firstly in colour section, then best of breed. When the judge has assessed all the breeds in that section they will decide on and announce their Top 10 or Top 5. If your cat makes the top two or three, you may be asked to come out and hold your cat while the judge announces the best in show and runner-up. Not all judges ask this. A decision not to do this may depend on whether the next judge is waiting to come into the ring or if the cats are tired after a long day of handling. If rosettes/prizes are awarded they will be placed on your cat's cage but you must remove them between judges. Put them somewhere safe and out of sight. You can put them under the bench or take them out of the ring with you. Once all judging is finished for the day, you can put any rosettes/prizes back on your cage if you wish.
Placings and Awards:
Championship: Your cat will be judged in each ring in which you have entered it . In each ring it will compete in its colour, breed and then against other breeds for a placing in Top 10 or Top 5. Kittens do not compete for Championship status until they are nine calendar months old and move into adult class. Entire and desexed kittens are judged against each other but once they reach adulthood, desexed cats compete separately from entire cats.
Registered pedigreed cats compete for the titles of Champion, Grand Champion etc and Companion cats which have been registered as such for the purposes of gaining titles become Champion, Grand Champion etc.
Up to status of Gold Double Grand Champion, pedigreed cats compete in the Open class for a Challenge award against cats of their own colour and sex within their breed (in some breeds cats compete in groups of colours eg Agouti, Agouti and White). A cat which receives a Challenge award receives 11 points plus one point for every cat they compete against in that class up to a maximum of 20 points. If a cat is awarded Best in Show it receives 20 points on its Challenge award regardless of how many cats were in its open class. Points accrued at any ACF or CCC of A recognised show, either in Queensland or interstate count towards higher status.
Once a cat achieves Gold Double Grand Champion it competes for Gold Challenge awards which must be obtained at QFA Inc affiliated shows. At this stage it competes against all Gold Double Grand Champions of its own sex. It requires QFA Inc 10 Gold Challenge awards to progress to Platinum Double Grand Champion.
All cats of the same sex that are Platinum Double Grand Champion or higher compete for a single Platinum and above Challenge award in each ring. Once again, these awards must be obtained at QFA Inc affiliated shows.
All exhibits placed in the Top 3 of any ring at a QFA Inc show gain points towards QFA Inc Cat of Year Awards.
Pedigreed Points Required for Higher Status.
Champion, Grand Champion, Double Grand Champion:Male – 70, Female – 60 points, Neuter-60, Spey - 60 points
Bronze/Silver/Gold Double Grand Champion:Male/Female/Neuter/Spey – 100 points
Platinum/Sapphire/Ruby/Emerald/Diamond:Male/Female/Neuter/Spey – 10 x QFA Inc award Certificates
If a judge does not feel that a cat sufficiently meets the standard for the breed they may withhold awards including Challenges. Cats may also be deemed to be not in show condition if they are dirty, have a flea infestation or are considered to be unhealthy.
Companion Cats which are registered with QFA Inc or other body compete for Awards of Merit instead of Challenge awards.
Companion Points Required for Higher Status.
Champion, Grand Champion, Double Grand Champion: : Neuter/Spey – 60 points
Bronze/Silver/Gold Double Grand Champion : 100 points
Platinum/Sapphire/Ruby/Emerald/ Diamond : 10 x QFA Inc award Certificates
Downloads for forms to claim these titles can be found here.
Other Awards: Australian Cat Federation Inc (ACF) Awards are given to the highest placed Male, Female, Neuter and Spey adults in Group 1 (Longhair) Group 2 (Siamese/Oriental) and Group 3 (Other Shorthair) in each ring, providing these cats are of sufficient merit (95% of standard). Ten of these awards are required to achieve each level of this title scheme.
Cat of the Year: QFA Inc awards a Best, Reserve and 3rd placing at our Annual Awards.The top three kittens, cats and desexed, longhair and shorthair and the top three companions will accrue points towards their respective sections. These points will be in two separate parts. The first are the standard points:Best in Show - 100 pointsReserve in Show - 75 pointsThird in Show - 50 pointsIn addition to this, a bonus point will be awarded for each exhibit beaten in the ring where a cat achieves a Best, Reserve or 3rd placing.
Points can be accrued for Metropolitan Cat of the year at Metropolitan QFA Affiliated shows. Points for Northern Cat of the Year can be accrued at Northern QFA affiliated shows. Cat of the Year points are not accrued in specialty rings.BEST OF BREEDIn every ring at every Metropolitan QFA Affliated Show and at the Royal Queensland Show (from 2013), judges choose a Best of Breed between the kittens, cats and desexed exhibits for each breed. Where two judges share a longhair or shorthair assignment they confer for Best of Breed. The exhibit is allocated one (1) point for each Best of Breed that they achieve plus an additional point for each exhibit of their breed entered in that ring. These points are accumulated throughout the show season. An exhibit must gain Best of Breed in three separate shows. Best of Breed points can be accrued in specialty rings as long as all exhibits for that particular breed are being judged, eg specialty Birman ring at Birman Cat Fanciers of Qld show.
PREFIX OF THE YEAR (METROPOLITAN)
QFA Inc will award a Best and Reserve Prefix of the Year to the highest scoring QFA Inc Registered Prefixes in the metropolitan area. This will be an accumulation of the points for all exhibits for the prefix exhibited in Metropolitan QFA Affiliated shows.
PREFIX OF THE YEAR (NORTHERN)
QFA Inc will award a Prefix of the Year to the highest scoring Northern Region QFA Inc Registered Prefix. This will be an accumulation of the points for all exhibits exhibited in Northern QFA Affiliated shows
Judging Comments: It is up to the individual judge how much they say about each exhibit whilst judging. This may depend on their audience or their own personal style. Some judges make comments about each cat as they go along and others reserve their comments for when they get to their Best of Breed awards or even their final Top 10.
Identification of Exhibitors: Judging of cats is more anonymous than would be seen in a dog show for instance. Exhibits are only identified in the judge's book by cage number, breed, colour, sex and age. Accordingly, you should not identify yourself as the owner/breeder of a particular cat whilst judging is in progress. Very occasionally a judge may call for the owner to get a nervous cat out of its cage for judging.
Speaking with the Judge : After a judge has completed their ring, you may politely approach them to ask for a more detailed opinion on your cat. Most judges will be happy to give you a brief, honest appraisal of your cat and offer any advice they may consider helpful especially in regard to condition and grooming.
Helping at the Show: A show involves a lot of work to be done before, during and at the completion of the show. The show secretary receives the entries in the weeks leading up to the show processing them to produce a show catalogue and judges' books. Judges and sponsorship need to be organised months beforehand, rosettes purchased and prizes sorted and labelled. These tasks are usually done by the club’s show committee. The day before the show, the venue is set up and volunteers are always welcome to share the many tasks. Tables are placed to make up judging bays and decorated with sponsors bunting, cage space allocation must be measured out and hire cages are put in place before being numbered.
On the day of the show you will see some workers with specific jobs. In particular there will be:
Note: QFA Inc conducts Steward and Ring Clerk courses on a regular basis for interested people. Undertaking this training and working in these roles is a good way to learn more about how cat shows are run. .
Dealing with the Public: Cat shows are open to the public and people from all walks of life come to have a look. Some are seriously considering purchasing a kitten or cat and use the visit as an opportunity to look at the different breeds and talk to breeders and exhibitors about their cats. Others visitors are just enjoying a family outing. Visitors pay to come in to look at the show and must always be spoken to politely and considerately. Where you cannot assist them, please refer them to someone who has the information they require, perhaps another exhibitor or the Show Manager.
The End of the Day: All cats must remain in their cages until the show has ended. This will be after judging of all exhibits has been completed and all prizes awarded. Even though judging may have finished in your cat's section, there may still be judging taking place in other sections.
Once you have heard an announcement or been told the show has finished, you are free to pack up. Put your cat in its carry cage, remove your cage curtains and bases and pack up all your belongings and any prizes you may have won. The show committee is not responsible for any items left behind. Be sure to dispose of any rubbish around your benching area. If you are able, any amount of time you can give to assist with the show pull down and clean up will be appreciated by the show committee and this is another good way to get to know other exhibitors.