How to show your cat

Your cat is beautiful, and you'd like to enter it for a show. How? What happens?
You do not have to be a member of Western Province Cat Club to enter our shows, but there is asurcharge for non-members. You might as well join the Club, and receive our newsletters.

Cat shows have two sections: registered cats, and domestics.


The domestic section is open to any cat who is not registered, with just a few provisions, such as that it must be vaccinated, and adults must be sterilised. There is a breed standard for domestics, just as there is for each of the breeds. It basically says that the cat must be well presented and be easy to handle. Kittens must be over four months old.

Domestic pets at Western Province Cat Club shows can earn titles: Master, Grand Master, and finally Supreme Master. The cats have to convince the judge that they are sufficiently beautiful and charming! The Domestics who do best during the year will be invited to compete in Cape Top Cat, and to represent the Western Cape in the national Cat of the Year competition.

Judges in this section are cat lovers. They do not need to have any other qualification. This is often the hardest class to judge, as there are no guidelines re physical appearance (colour of eyes, shape of ears, length of tail). The cats do indeed need to woo/wow the judges.

Registered cats

This is the section for purebred cats. For Western Province Cat Club shows, they must be registered with the Southern Africa Cat Council. The breeder will have handled this. If they registered your kitten with another registering body, you can register it with SACC. Contact Johan van Rooyen on 011 616 7017 or for details of what is required, or go onto SACC’s website, under Registrar, scroll down to Registration Forms and complete Form SACR F3 ‘Registration of ASAA Cat’. Or follow link

In this section, your cat will be judged by a qualified judge, who has spent a long time learning how to compare a cat to its breed standard, noting its best points and where it doesn’t match up to the breed standard. The cats are not judged against each other; rather each cat is compared to its breed standard. The winner is the cat who most closely matches its standard.

Cats in this section are campaigning to become Champions (for sterilised cats the title is Premier), then Grand Champion (or Premier), and maybe even Supreme Champion (or Premier). Points are awarded, based on the outcome of each show, and the cats with the most points at the end of the show season will be invited to compete in Cape Top Cat. The national finals of the Cat of the Year competition is organised by a different Club in July or August each year, and your cat may be invited to represent the Western Cape, if it has done extremely well at shows during the previous twelve months.

The standard for every breed which is recognised by SACC is available on You will also find all the provisions that apply to all breeds.

Entering for the show

Entry forms for both sections are available from the show manager, on Please take note of the closing date for entries. You might be surprised by the organisation that goes into a show: it is essential that the show manager has all the information before the closing date.

If you are entering the domestic section, the entry form will basically require a description of your cat: name, age, gender, colour, and coat length.

In the registered section, the information required will be on your cat’s pedigree. The name that you use must be the cat’s registered name, not a pet name. Its registration number, date of birth, breeder’s name, parents’ names, and breed codes must be copied from the pedigree.

The breed code will tell the show manager what breed your cat is (essential as your judge must compare your cat to the correct breed standard!) and colour, as for some breeds, the Open classes are split by colour. The first three letters of the breed code identify the breed. The next two numbers identify the colour. Thus, if you write the breed code as, for example, RUS05, the show manager will know that your cat is a Russian Black, whereas if you write RUS06, your cat will be identified as a Russian Blue. There are additional codes which indicate the various tabby patterns, other colour patterns, eye colours, etc, which only apply to some breeds.

As this will be the first time that your cat is being shown, you will enter either the Kitten class (if your kitten is between sixteen weeks and nine months of age) or the Open class (if your cat is nine months old, or older). You will see that entry form also includes classes for Grand and Supreme.

Your cat works up to these – please see further below, under “How Judging Works”.The next time you enter a show, the entry from will require any certificates already awarded in the class entered. If these are not recorded by the exhibitor, your cat may unnecessarily lose out on an award.

Sterilised cats (referred to as neuters) are shown in separate classes from unsterilised cats (known as entires, or adults). On the entry form you will tick the relevant box, and the show manager will put your cat into the correct class.

Our shows have several rings. This means that your cat will be judged multiple times. For example, if there are three rings, it will be judged three times, by different judges. Cages may be decorated, in accordance with the theme for the show (which will be on the entry form). There is usually a prize for the best decorated cage. It is probably best to put decorations only on top of the cage, but if you do go further, please make sure that it is possible to see your cat past the decorations.

Please read all of the forms carefully.

Preparing for the show 

Show preparation begins with teaching a young kitten to enjoy being handled by a variety of people. This will also be an advantage when a vet needs to examine your cat. Much of your show preparation consists of basic cat care: your cat’s eyes, nose and ears must be clean. There must be no fleas or other parasites, and your cat must be neither overweight nor underweight. Grooming will depend on your breed. Any cat will benefit from regular brushing, but a shorthair will need far less than a longhair. As for bathing, your cat’s breeder can advise you, but do also check your breed standard. For example, you should never bath a cat if the breed standard calls for a close-lying coat – bathing will make it fluffy.

Just before the show, trim your cat’s claws – just take off the translucent tips. Check that your carrying basket is ready: clean bedding, all the fastenings working properly. If your kitten has been growing, is the basket still big enough for it to be comfortable?

Pack a bag with blankets for your cat to sit on during the show (including a spare, just in case), a litter tray and litter, a water bowl and water, and maybe food. Don’t feed your cat until judging is finished. Even then, it may not want to eat. Take whatever grooming equipment you normally use. Don’t forget your cage, unless you have arranged to hire one from the Club. If you want to decorate your cage, remember to pack the decorations. A few days before the show, you will receive an email from the show manager. This will give your cat’s number, and a list of what breeds will be judged by what judges.

At the show

Find the space allocated to your cat (the number that the show manager sent to you), set up your cage, and settle your cat in it. Then you can relax and chat with fellow exhibitors until judging starts. Do not leave valuables in or under your cat’s cage. The Club and show management will take no responsibility for anything that goes missing.

If you can’t stay at the show all day, please make sure that someone else will keep an eye on your cat. Cats may not be removed from the hall before the show closes. It is a show rule that cats must have water available them to all day. Bedding may need to be changed during the day. Things like these are the owner’s responsibility.

Be ready to take your cat to the judge when it is required. If you are not available, a steward will take your cat. While the judge is judging your cat, please do not tell them about the cat, unless they ask you questions. Definitely don’t tell the judge that it was Cat of the Day at its last show! You may see the judge discussing your cat with someone else. There are two main reasons why they might be doing this. Firstly, the other person may be a student judge. Our judges undergo lengthy theoretical and practical training, some of which takes place at shows. Secondly, if the judge is struggling to make up their mind about some aspect of the cat or cats that they are judging, they may consult with another judge. Both situations are completely acceptable.

When judging is finished, before you go home, please clean up after yourself: your litter, cooldrink tins, food debris etc must either go home with you, or put it in the bins provided.

How judging works

In the Kitten, Open and Grand classes, all of the cats in one class will be of the same breed. Classes may also be split according to gender and colour, and kitten classes may be split according to age, depending on how many entries there are.

The judge will assess all of the cats in one class, and will place them from first to fourth. In the Open and Grand classes, they will also decide whether those cats who placed first and second are good enough to receive certificates. In the Open class, this would be a Challenge certificate (unsterilised cats), or Premier certificate (if the cats are sterilised). Once the cat has received three of these certificates, from different judges, it qualifies for the title of Champion (or Premier). You may apply to the Registrar for a certificate confirming the title (see

Once your cat has become a Champion (or Premier), the next time you enter your cat for a show, you will enter the Grand class. Your cat will now be awarded Grand Challenge (or Premier) certificates, but the judges will be stricter than they were in the Open class. To become a Grand, your cat needs to be awarded six certificates by different judges.

It then moves on the Supreme section. In this section, there are no classes. Each cat is judged individually, and is not placed. The only question is whether or not it is good enough to be awarded the very high award of a Supreme Challenge (or Premier) certificate. Once it has received six certificates from different judges, it qualifies for the title of Supreme Champion (or Premier).

Once the judge has finished judging all of the cats in one ring, they will nominate the best cats that they have seen for finals. If the show is, for example, three rings, the cats will have been judged three times. The nominations from the three judges will be totalled according to a sliding scale, and the cats who scored best will compete for the titles of Best Kitten, Best Neuter and Best Adult on show. Again, each cat is judged against its own breed standard. The winners of those three titles are judged again, to find the best cat on show. During the year, cats will be awarded points towards the Cape Top Cat competition. The top ten adults and neuters, and the top five kittens and domestics will be invited to compete.

From July to June, points will be awarded towards the national finals of Cat of the Year. This is hosted by a different club each year, so it moves around the country. The top eight adults and neuters, and the top four kittens and domestics will be invited to represent the Western Cape.

For the current show rules, please follow link

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