My First Show
Welcome to your first Australian National Cats Inc Show.
This booklet has been created to help exhibitors who are either new to showing cats, or who are new to ANCATS, and is designed to give you an overview of what happens at an ANCATS Show.
This information is relevant to showing both pedigree and companion cats.
What is ANCATS?
Australian National Cats Inc is Australia’s only national cat registration body. ANCATS is dedicated to the promotion of both pedigree and domestic cats in Australia; and actively promotes responsible cat ownership through education and provision of information. ANCATS conducts cat shows throughout Australia that allow members to exhibit their kittens and cats and have them assessed by both International judges visiting Australia, and ANCATS own internationally recognised judges.
Can I show my cat in a show?
The registered breeder you purchased your cat from will tell you if your kitten is of show quality, and if so, will have registered your cat with ANCATS. After purchasing your registered kitten the breeder will complete a transfer form. You need to send this along with the appropriate fees to the ANCATS head office and a new Certificate of Registration will be issued to show you as the new owner of the kitten. You may show your cat at one show without joining ANCATS, but you need to become a member if you wish to continue showing.
If you wish to show a part-pedigree or companion (domestic) cat you will also need to register your cat with ANCATS. You will be asked to provide details such as colour and age if known.
How do I show my cat?
You show your cat by entering him/her into a cat show that is run by ANCATS. This might be a cat show on its own, or a cat show run as part of an agricultural show or pet expo. You then take your cat to the show and it is judged by a registered judge against other cats entered in the same show, in various classes and groups. Shows normally run from 9am to 4pm, and exhibitors are expected to stay until the Supreme Exhibit in each ring is announced.
How do I enter my cat in a show and what show do I enter first?
The easiest way to enter a show is to do it online. All shows will be listed on the ANCATS website at www.ancats.com.au under “Cat Shows”. Click on each show name that is underlined, and it will give you all the information about the show, who is judging, where it is, what time it starts, etc. It is advisable to enter shows that are relatively close to home for your first couple of shows, so you and your cat can get use to travelling and everything that goes on. Shows can be tiring for both you and your cat, so you don’t want to have to travel a long way home after your first show or two.
After you have looked at the shows on the calendar and decided which show you are going to enter follow the link to “Entering Shows Online”. This will bring up an entry form which you can complete online. To do this, enter all the relevant details in the areas provided. Most of the information is provided on your cat’s registration papers, which you will have received from the breeder, or if you have a companion cat, from ANCATS. Most of the sections are self explanatory, but there are a few that might be confusing for the first time exhibitor:
Select the show you wish to enter: This is a drop down list of all shows currently open to entries.
Select which rings you wish to enter this exhibit: If you wish to enter all rings that your cat is eligible to compete in, click on “ALL”. If you have purchased your kitten/cat from a judge who is judging at the show, you cannot enter that judge’s ring for 6 months after the purchase date. Each judge is allocated a ring number, so click on all the ring numbers in the show, except for the judge you have purchased your cat from. The information on who is judging which ring is on the show
Sex: This is a drop down list which allows you to choose the sex and state of your cat. Cats that have not been desexed are described as entire and desexed cats are described as alter.
Will you supply your own cage: For your first shows, click on “NO”. For a small fee, a cage will be provided for you at the show. Your breeder may also supply you with a cage if you discuss this with them before entering. As you become more involved, you can purchase your own cage from ANCATS.
Cage Size: Click on this and another drop down menu appears. A double is the standard size cage for most kittens/cats.
Payment: At the bottom of the form there is another drop down menu which allows you to select your payment method. These include posting a cheque, direct deposit via internet banking or credit card. If you wish to use credit card you will need to contact the office and provide your credit card details before submitting the entry.
What equipment do I need to show my cat?
Cage – borrowed or hired
Curtains and a base for the cage - borrowed or made
Water bowl - bird bowls that screw onto the cage bars are very good, or small plastic bowls are fine.
Kitten/cat food – dry or wet
Vaccination papers - (first show only and only for companion cats)
Litter tray & litter - preferably Breeders Choice or similar. Fine clumping litters may get caught in the coat if your cat decides to sleep in the litter tray.
Grooming kit – e.g. brush or comb, tissue, baby wipes, baby powder, extra towel, plastic bags etc.
Favourite small toy to put in the cage with your cat.
You can put all your equipment in a small suitcase on wheels, or a large carry bag.
The show cages are decorated with coloured curtains and a cover to fit on the base of the cage. For your first show, talk to your breeder about borrowing some curtains, or contact the club. There are normally spare curtains available for a show. Once you become more involved in showing, you can make your own curtains, or have them made for you.
Curtains can be in any colour, but should compliment your cat. For instance, you wouldn’t put a black cat on black curtains. They can be as simple or elaborate as you like, but remember that a judge must be able to see your cat clearly when judging. Curtains are attached to the cage with ties.
The base of the cage can be a towel or pillow case, but we suggest a padded cushion that matches your curtains. It can be a long day for a cat to spend on a hard cage floor. The cushion may be the same size as the cage, or only half the size of the cage. You can put a round bed in your cage, but this sometimes makes it difficult for the judge to see your cat.
I’ve entered my first show. Now what?
It all depends on your breed. Some breeds need a bath and others don’t, as it changes their coat. Check with the breeder you purchased your kitten from for the best way to prepare your cat. Most longhairs are washed a few days beforehand, some shorthairs the day before, and some weeks before!
Your cat must be clean to be judged. Don’t forget to clean in their ears and check for fleas. If your cat has any injuries or cuts or scratches, it’s best to check with your vet before you bring him or her, as this may affect whether your cat is judged on the day.
Very importantly, please clip your cats’ claws front and back. This is to stop them accidentally scratching the judge or steward, and to make it easier to get them in and out of their cage.
On the day of the show.
Ensure you have the address of the show venue, and know what time benching commences. This is the earliest time you will be allowed access to the venue. If you are unsure of the location a useful website to get directions is www.whereis.com.au . Benching normally starts up to ninety minutes before a show; and all cats must be benched 15 minutes before judging is scheduled to start. If you arrive late your cat may be denied entry into the show once judging has commenced.
Cats and kittens must travel in a secure carrying box in the car. Ensure you have everything you need and leave yourself enough time to get to the show. Don’t do what some new exhibitors have done in the past; they’re in such a rush to get out the door to the show they grab everything including the carrying box… zoom off… get to the show… and guess what? Poor old kitty is still at home – they forgot to put him in the carry box!
There will a desk at the front entry with ANCATS members present. At this point you will receive a Benching Slip showing the cage number your cat has been assigned. This is a very important number because all his awards will be organised under that number. You may also obtain a copy of the Exhibitor’s List which will tell you about the other cats in the show, or a full catalogue if you ordered one when you submitted your entry.
If you’re feeling a little nervous at this time don’t be afraid to ask if someone can assist you for a little while. We have many members more than willing to assist a newcomer.
Find your cage number, they placed within groups in numerical order around the show venue, and organise your curtains, feed and water bowls and litter tray. Once this is all set up, place your cat in the cage and close the cage door. Let your cat settle in and have a look around before getting him out again for a final grooming. It’s all very new to your cat, different smells and lots of people; so don’t worry if he decides to hide behind his curtains, or sits in the litter tray. Just talk to him quietly and he will settle in. Try and time your arrival so your cat has at least 30 minutes, preferably one hour, to get use to his cage before judging starts. If everything is fine then you can stay with your cat until the judging commences.
What to do if your cat has had an accident in his travelling cage. Don’t panic. There will be someone around to help you clean up any mess. This is where baby wipes, extra towels and baby powder come in handy. If it’s a longhair, then powder, powder,powder. Rub it into the mess, then brush out. It it’s shorthair, then use the baby wipes to clean up the coat and rub till dry. Don’t forget to clean up the carry crate as well.
It’s show time!
Judging will normally start around 10am. Before judging starts, the show organiser will introduce the judges to the public and exhibitors and say which cat groups they will be judging.
At ANCATS shows, kittens and cats are divided into five groups:
Group One contains Longhairs, such as Persians and Exotics.
Group Two contains Semi-Longhairs, such as Ragdolls, Maine Coons and Australian Tiffianies.
Group 3 contains Siamese and Orientals.
Group 4 contains All Other Shorthairs, such as Bombays, Devon Rex, British Shorthairs, Bengals, and Australian Mists.
Companions contains Part Pedigree and Companion cats.
Part pedigree cats are defined as cats that strongly resemble a recognised breed but are not registered as such and can’t be shown for various reasons such as being a colour that isn’t recognised with their breed, or not having registration papers. Companion cats include long and short haired domestic cats, often lovingly referred to as moggies.
Groups 1 – 4 are then each divided into sections:
Companions are divided into 2 sections:
Part Pedigree/Companion Kittens
Part Pedigree/Companion Cats
Note: all companion cats must be desexed.
The cages are arranged in these groups, starting with entire kittens. Numbers start from number one from Group One, then continue depending on how many kittens and cats there are in each group. So, all Group One entire kittens will be judged, followed by Group Two entire kittens, then Group Three, Group Four. Alter kittens will then be judged, in the same groups, followed by Entire Adults, then Alter Adults, and finally Companion Kittens and Companions Cats. Cages may sometimes be slightly out of numerical order because they are arranged so that two males are not next to each other, as they may become upset.
There are normally two or three judges at a show, and all judging usually starts at the same time. Ring One will start with Entire Kittens and Ring Two with Entire Adults. If there is more than two judges, then Ring Three may start with Companion Cats, or even start judging after lunch. If the judges are All Breeds judges, they will judge every cat entered in the competition. The exception to this is if a kitten or cat entered has been bred by the judge and sold within the previous 6 months. The kitten or cat is excluded from that judges’ ring, but will judged in the other rings.
Each judge is assisted by one or two stewards. The judge will use a table placed in front of the cages. On the table there may be a judging stand if the judge requires it, a spray bottle of disinfectant, paper towels, and the stewards’ box. The steward’s role is to assist the judge in any way needed such as opening cage doors or taking cats out of the cages. The judge will clean their hands between each cat, and the steward will clean the judging table.
You can sit at the front of the judging table and watch the cats being judged. The judge will examine each cat by mentally comparing it against a written standard that describes the ideal specimen of each breed. The standard assigns points to all aspects of the cat including body shape, coat, colour, pattern and overall condition with the ideal specimen achieving 100 points. The judge decides how closely each cat matches this ideal, deducting points where the cat differs from the ideal.
The judge will talk about each cat as he/she examines them but will not usually state a numerical score for each cat. The judge will privately rank the cats and kitten within a section then make the following awards.
Best in Section - The best cat of a recognised colour with the breed
Best in Division - The best cat of a recognised pattern with the breed
Best of Breed - The best cat within the breed overall, regardless of colour or pattern
Best in Section - The best cat of a recognised colour within the breed
Best in Division - The best cat of a recognised pattern within the breed
Challenge - Challenge points are awarded to a male and female in each colour section by breed. These points apply to male and female entire and alter cats in the Pedigree Classes and male and female alter cats in the Companion Classes.
Best of Breed - The best cat overall, regardless of colour or pattern
WNCA Award - Given to the highest placing cat with the status of Champion and above.
After all the kittens/cats in each Group are judged, the judge then awards:
Top Five in Group - The Best of Breed winners of each breed compete for first place in Top Five and the other four places are filled according to the judge’s rankings.
After all the kittens/cats in all Groups are judged, the judge then awards:
Top Ten in Show - The winners of First Top Five in each Group compete for the first place in Top Ten and the other nine places are filled according to the judge’s rankings.
All entries receiving a Top Ten placing are awarded points that accumulate throughout the year and are used to determine the winners in the Cat of the Year competition.
First Top Ten = 10 points
Second Top Ten = 9 points
Third Top Ten = 8 points, through to Tenth Top Ten = 1 point
The first place getter in each Top 10 of the pedigree groups is awarded Best in Show in each ring.
First Top Ten Kitten is Best Entire Kitten in Show
First Top Ten Alter Kitten is Best Alter Kitten in Show
First Top Ten Entire Cat is Best Entire Cat in Show
First Top Ten Alter Cat is Best Alter Cat in Show
The 4 Best in Show cats and kittens then compete for each ring’s Supreme Exhibit in Show.
Part Pedigrees and Companions compete in a similar manner within their group.
First Top Ten Part Pedigree/Companion Kitten is Best Part Pedigree/Companion Kitten in Show
First Top Ten Part Pedigree/Companion Cat is Best Part Pedigree/Companion Cat in Show
The Best in Show companion cat and kitten then compete for Supreme Companion Exhibit in Show, in each of the rings.
After the judge decides his/her placing, award cards are placed on top of each cage by the stewards. These must be returned near the end on the show, and are exchanged for ribbons. A Multi-Awards card is printed a placed on top of each cage. This is your record of where yourcat has placed in each ring during the day.
After all the judging is completed, the Best of the Best awards are presented. Each judge will present the First Top Ten placegetters in each ring with a rosette, and the Supreme Exhibit will be announced. The Show Organiser will call out the cage numbers of the cats that are required, and these cats are then brought up to the awards table by their owners to receive their awards. Judges may, at their discretion, awards Special Judges Awards to cats that they feel are deserving.
Once all the awards have been given out, the show is over. It is very much appreciated if all exhibitors assist in packing the show equipment up and picking up any rubbish that is around.
Hopefully you will have enjoyed your very first cat show, and will be looking forward to the next one. Cat shows can become addictive, and sometimes competitive, but the most important thing to remember is that shows are fun and a social outing with lots of people who love their cats like your do. At the end of every show, the cat is always the winner.
If you have any questions or queries, no matter how small, please do not hesitate to call the ANCATS Central Office on 02 9544 1910.