shows licensed by the Governing
Council of the Cat Fancy are closely governed by
rules for the protection of both exhibitors and exhibits.
It is therefore essential for every exhibitor to buy a copy
of the GCCF rules before entering a show.
official GCCF publications are available for sale from the
GCCF office at 4-6 Penel Orlieu, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6
3PG. As well as the rules, these include the constitution,
standards of points, list of breed numbers, stud books, show
list, list of affiliated clubs, list of judges and list of
club welfare officers. Pedigree cats must be registered with
the GCCF at least three weeks before they are shown and if
they have been transferred, this must also have taken place
at least three weeks before the show. Applications for registrations,
transfers, certified pedigrees or prefixes must be sent to
the office. Cats registered with the GCCF may never be shown
at non-GCCF shows without special permission.
most important shows are championship shows. All breed championship
shows cover every pedigree breed which is recognised by the
GCCF: each breed which has full or provisional recognition
has its own open class while breeds which only have preliminary
recognition may be seen in assessment classes. There are also
specialist championship shows which cover a single breed or
group of breeds. Many shows have classes for non-pedigree
cats which, of course, are not registered. Some also put on
classes for half-pedigree household pets.
shows are run exactly like championship shows, but cats do
not compete for challenge certificates, while exemption shows
are usually small shows where, again, challenge certificates
are not awarded. The novice exhibitor would find these smaller
shows excellent for introducing their cats and kittens to
the show world, particularly as the judges often have a little
more time to spare after completing their classes and are
more than willing to give helpful advice to beginners.
you can enter a show you will need a schedule and entry form.
The GCCF show list gives names and addresses of show managers
to whom you should send a stamped addressed envelope with
your request for a schedule. When you receive the schedule,
study it carefully and decide which classes your cat is eligible
adult open class is the one in which a challenge certificate
can be awarded at a championship show. There are separate
open classes for males and females of all fully recognised
breeds. Three challenge certificates under three different
judges make the cat a Champion. Cats with provisional recognition
compete for intermediate certificates and cats with preliminary
status may be awarded merit certificates.
Champion may be shown in the champion of champions class,
where it competes for a grand challenge certificate, as well
as, or instead of, its open class. Three grand challenge certificates
under three different judges makes a cat a grand Champion.
The same rules apply to neutered cats, but the title of Premier
is used instead of Champion. A neuter can only compete in
classes for neuters and these are clearly set out in shows
schedules. Kittens, including non-pedigree kittens, may not
be shown under fourteen weeks of age. A kitten becomes an
adult at nine months of age (ie. a kitten born on 1st January
becomes an adult on 1st October). All adult non-pedigree exhibits
must be neutered.
are various miscellaneous classes, definitions of which you
will find in the schedule, for instance, novice classes for
a cat, kitten or neuter which has not won a first prize at
a show under GCCF rules. Prizes won as kittens do not count
when it becomes an adult, and prizes won as an entire kitten
no longer count when the cat is neutered.
you have completed your entry form, you must check it carefully
before sending it to the show manager of the show you are
attending. Make a note of the shows you enter, as it is a
breach of the rules to enter two shows less than two weeks
apart. If you have more than one cat, also note which one
you have entered so that you do not take the wrong one to
the show. Send a stamped addressed envelope with your show
entry so that the show manager can acknowledge the receipt
of your entry and you can be certain that it has arrived.
standards at championship shows are extremely high, so do
study your standard of points carefully before you decide
to exhibit. If a cat or kitten is obviously only 'pet type'
it is a waste of time and money entering a top show and can
only lead to disappointment. However, the novice has to learn,
so try your luck if you consider that you have a fair type
cat or kitten and do not be too disappointed if you are not
successful at your first attempt.
your cat for a show
kitten can be trained at home to get it used to showing, using
a pen similar to the type it will be placed in at a show.
Put the kitten in the pen for a short period only at the start
of training and gradually increase the time in the pen until
it is happy in there for the eight hours required at a show.
If the cat or kitten is nervous in a pen on its own at home,
a show would probably terrify it.
kitten can also be trained to travel by leaving the basket
around for it to investigate, then taking it for very short
journeys in the car so that a trip in a basket is nothing
unusual and has no unpleasant implications. Cats must always
be under full control when travelling in a car; it is illegal
to have an unrestrained animal in a car because it is dangerous.
If the car is in an accident the cat will be terrified and,
if unrestrained, may contribute to the driver's difficulties
before escaping from the car and disappearing. Cats are also
keen to explore and many cats have arrived at shows with ample
evidence that there is plenty of grease and dirt under the
car seats; this is most embarrassing for the owner as it destroys
all the careful grooming and preparation and gives little
chance of returning the cat to a suitable state before judging
starts. Do not use newspaper in a basket to travel to a show,
the newsprint may stain the cat.
is a good idea to ask friends and visitors to handle the kitten,
taking it out of the pen and putting it back so that it gets
accustomed to handling by strangers. You should also open
the kitten's mouth (giving it a treat afterwards so that it
does not think that mouth opening equates with worming pills!)
and look in its ears so that it will accept both of these
procedures calmly at vetting in. Always wear a white coat
for these training sessions so that the cat becomes used to
it and does not associate the garment with its veterinary
cat, whether longhaired or shorthaired, should be groomed
regularly, but intensive preparation may be necessary in the
two weeks immediately prior to a show, remembering always
that a cat's appearance is largely dependent on its state
of health. Good quality food and, if necessary, a multivitamin
preparation, should produce gleaming coats and bright eyes.
It is never advisable to show a cat which is not in tip-top
condition - not only is it unlikely to do well, but it is
more likely to become ill. If you do some work in advance
you may well be commended by the judges on the preparation
and presentation of your cat. Preparation for longhairs and
shorthairs is very different - see below.
cats need daily grooming with a wide-toothed metal comb (no
more than 10 teeth to the inch) and a natural bristle brush.
Nylon brushes can build up static electricity in the fur and
encourage tangling. This daily grooming is important, to remove
dead hair and any knots and to keep the skin healthy; it has
the additional benefit of preventing the cat from ingesting
loose hairs with the consequent formation of hair-balls in
the stomach. A daily brush and comb need take no longer than
five minutes; ignore the coat for three days and it will take
more than 15 minutes to restore the coat to its former glory.
If the coat does get matted this will cause the cat discomfort
and often the only remedy is the use of scissors; use scissors
with curved blades and ensure that the points are facing away
from the cat. A cat's skin is extremely mobile so take care
that it is not snipped along with the fur.
the winter months when the Persian coat is thick and heavy
and the weather wet, special attention should be paid to the
task of grooming. If the cat has been out and returns damp
with twigs or leaves in the coat, do not attempt to groom
it until the coat has dried out, then comb gently and the
twigs will fall easily from the coat.
kitten should be groomed from an early age so that it becomes
accustomed to the routine and learns to enjoy it. Be gentle
but firm. Stand the kitten on a table facing away from you,
making sure that it is on a non-slip surface so that it feels
secure. Start at the head and comb gently 'against the grain'.
For the sides of the body, lift the fur and comb downwards
a little at a time. Brush from tail to head and upwards on
the sides, flicking the coat up so that each hair is separate.
for special attention are behind the ears and elbows, on the
flanks and abdomen and under the tail. Any knots should be
teased out very carefully to avoid leaving any bald or sparse
patches. Once a week, whilst grooming pale coloured cats,
part the coat and sprinkle with baby powder, then brush out
all the powder. This acts as a dry shampoo and removes excess
grease and dirt from the fur.
the day before a show the cat should be given a powdering
and a final grooming. It is most important that no trace of
powder remains in the coat when the judge examines the cat
as this will lead to disqualification. Darker coloured cats
will rarely be improved by powder as the least trace may mar
the colour or markings.
cat may need bathing a week before the show, especially if
it is a pale colour. If the bathing is carried out nearer
to the show date the coat may be too soft and floppy. Use
a mild baby shampoo and make sure that it is all rinsed from
the fur before drying. Never use a shampoo which contains
any colouring matter as any trace of artificial colour in
the coat will lead to disqualification and possible disciplinary
action; if in doubt, avoid any shampoos which are said to
be suitable for a particular colour of cat.
rinsing, rub the cat in warm towels and, using a hairdryer
or fan heater, dry the cat thoroughly, combing the coat all
the time. Start using the hairdryer on kittens when they are
quite young as an older cat may be terrified by the noise
and the rush of warm air when it meets it for the first time.
After this special grooming the cat should be confined to
the house until the day of the show. If it has a tendency
to dribble when nervous, a little 'bib' will help to prevent
it wetting the coat on the way to the show but, again, it
should be accustomed to this in advance.
cats do not require the same attention as Persians, especially
during the summer, but they do require regular combing and
brushing to keep their coats in good order and free from knots.
If the coat has become dirty or greasy a bath may be necessary
before a show, allowing time for the coat to settle down afterwards
in those breeds where it should be silky and flowing instead
of fluffed out.
is considerably easier to prepare a shorthaired cat for the
show. However, a pale coloured cat may still require a bath
if the coat has become stained, the bathing and drying being
the same as for a longhair except that there is no need to
comb the coat whilst drying it.
Burmese and Orientals can be given a bran bath two days before
a show; this makes the coat gleam as it removes dirt and excess
grease. To give a bran bath, 6ozs bran (such as that used
for horses) should be warmed thoroughly in a moderate oven.
The bran should then be rubbed into the coat, rubbing against
the growth of the coat, left for a few minutes and then gently
brushed out. White or pale coloured cats may benefit from
a little talcum powder, but all traces of it must be removed
before the show.
cats do not need a full bath but have grubby areas such as
unwashed noses or feet, chin acne or greasy tails. These areas
will need special attention before a show to ensure that they
are scrupulously clean. Acne and greasy tails should have
regular attention to prevent a build-up which may lead to
hair loss and rejection from the show.
ears and claws
for the coat is a major part of the grooming procedure, but
eyes, ears and claws should not be forgotten. Some cats may
produce a little pinkish-brown matter in the inner corners
of their eyes, so long as the lids and whites of the eyes
are not inflamed, this is quite normal, but if allowed to
accumulate can look very unattractive. To prevent this from
happening, dissolve a little boracic powder or salt in warm
water, gently bathe the eyes with a very mild solution and
pat dry with cotton wool. Persians may have problems with
tear drainage and there are a number of products on the market
which may be used to remove tear staining from the fur.
ears can be cleaned gently with cotton wool without probing
deeply, to remove dust and slight wax. If a cat has dark wax
or a lot of debris in the ears it is probably suffering from
ear mites and would be rejected from a show. Veterinary help
must always be sought in cases of ear mites.
cats strop and nibble at their nails to keep them trim but
some are more efficient at it than others. Old cats, and cats
with dental problems are particularly likely to have overgrown
nails, sometimes to such an extent that the nails grow round
into the pads. Obviously if this happens, the cat will need
veterinary attention, but it will not happen if you keep the
nails trimmed. Cats which strop on the furniture also need
their nails trimmed regularly; not only does this reduce the
damage but the cat finds the stropping less satisfactory.
cats should have their nails trimmed before a show. Not only
can long nails catch in the show blanket, making it more difficult
to remove the cat from its pen, but a wriggly cat is more
likely to scratch the judge or steward if the nails are long.
You can, of course, take your cat to the veterinary surgeon
to have its nails cut but it is a relatively simple job provided
you know where to cut.
gently on the top of the toe to push the nail forward out
of its sheath. It is easy to see the 'quick' which contains
the nerves and blood vessels; this shows up as a pink triangle
within the nail. Cut off the semi-transparent hook of the
claw beyond the quick, taking care not to cut so close that
you pinch the quick as this will hurt the cat. Use strong
sharp scissors or nail clippers, as blunt ones will crush
instead of cutting smoothly and will therefore put pressure
on the quick.
to cut all the nails in one operation, but if the cat struggles
it is better to abandon the job until another day. Do not
forget to cut the dewclaws at the sides of the front paws.
If you have a non-pedigree polydactyl (with extra toes) check
for extra nails between toes as these cannot wear down and
can cause severe problems.
cats and kittens must have completed a course of vaccination
against feline infectious enteritis, feline viral rhinotracheitis
and feline calicivirus ("cat 'flu") and have their
booster vaccinations up-to-date before being shown. Vaccinations
must have been given, by a veterinary surgeon, at least one
week before the date of the show. Take your vaccination certificate
to the show with you. The GCCF does not accept 'homoeopathic
vaccinations' for show purposes.
cats are examined by a veterinary surgeon before being allowed
into a show and if they are not perfectly healthy they are
liable to be rejected. Examine your cat thoroughly the day
before the show and again on the morning of the show; if it
is not completely healthy you must not take it. Any exhibitor
whose cat is rejected from a show will receive a rejection
form - read this carefully.
are four sections under which a cat may be rejected; section
A covers such reason as fleas, wounds, cats showing signs
of having been given drugs (NEVER sedate a cat for a show!),
pregnancy, lactation, absence of two testicles in the scrotum
in an adult male, poor condition or undersize, distressed
cats or cats which cannot be handled at vetting in. There
is no need to get a clearance certificate for cats rejected
under this section, but the cat cannot be shown again until
the condition for which it was rejected is no longer present.
B is for cats rejected for ear mites or dirty ears; section
C covers cats which show signs of infectious diseases, and
section D is for cats rejected for skin lesions which might
be due to ringworm. Cats rejected under these three sections
will need to be examined by the owner's own veterinary surgeon
and the owner will have to obtain a clearance certificate
before showing any cats again. If your cat is rejected under
section B, C or D you must read the rejection form very carefully
and take both it and the clearance form to your veterinary
surgeon. These forms set out clearly what is required in order
to complete the clearance procedure.
you enter your cat for a show you must sign the declaration
on the show entry form. This has sections concerning the ownership
of the cat, its entry in other shows and its health, as well
as an agreement to abide by the ruling of the examining veterinary
surgeon at a show. Read part (c) carefully and if your cat
has been in contact with any sick cats, do not take it to
a show until the stipulated quarantine period has been completed.
The wording of this section also appears in section 4 of the
during the show
may be sent your "tally" or you may collect it at
the entrance to the show on the day itself. The tally is a
disc with your cat's pen number on it (and you will also find
a card with this number on the pen itself). The tally should
be hung round the cat's neck with narrow white tape, ribbon
or elastic; ensure it fits comfortably and does not cause
any discomfort, make sure that it is not tied too loosely
or the lower jaw may get entangled, with quite unpleasant
results. Many shows permit you to hang the tally on the front
of the pen instead, but it should be available to be put round
the cat's neck if necessary.
particular care in penning your cat. Disinfect with a suitable
disinfectant and make certain that the pen is secure.
Read the schedule and the GCCF rules very thoroughly and please
abide by them. Only plain white blankets or white vetbed-type
material with a green or white backing are allowed, which
means that lacy blankets or fur fabric will lead to disqualification.
cat or kitten shows to great advantage in a comfortable pen,
and a hot water bottle or heat reflecting material hidden
underneath the blankets gives added comfort unless the weather
is very hot. In very hot weather longhaired cats, in particular,
may be more comfortable if a well-wrapped ice pack, with non-toxic
contents, is hidden under the blankets. The number of blankets
needed will vary; a longhaired adult in the summer may only
need a single blanket spread on the floor of its pen, whereas
a Siamese kitten in winter will need at least two substantial
blankets to create a warm and comfortable 'nest' in which
water, in a white container, must always be provided, but
food must not be left in the pen during judging. Cats and
kittens may be fed at lunchtime and this is a good opportunity
to replace soiled litter trays and tidy up the pen. The litter
tray must also be white although you can use whichever litter
the cat is accustomed to.
not stand near your pen whilst your cat is being judged; this
is embarassing to the judge and stewards and may lead to disqualification.
If you wish to consult a judge, wait until he or she has finished
all classes and then ask your questions - do not 'demand'
information. You will find your polite questions answered
willingly, but do remember that the judge has had a long tiring
day. If your cat does not show well, is nervous of being handled
or appears terrified, do not continue to show it. If you return
to your pen at lunchtime to find that your cat is upset, ask
the show manager if you can withdraw it from its other classes;
if it is really distressed you may be allowed to take it home
instead of waiting until the end of the show but, of course,
there will be no refund of entry money for the classes you
miss. Some cats love their days at shows, others hate it.
Any cat which bites a judge or steward will be reported for
this and if it bites on a second occasion it may never be
hope that your cat has a happy and successful show career.