I sometimes get inquiries from people who have never shown a cat, but are interested in exploring the idea. I encourage the activity, whether with a non-pedigreed cat (yes, there is a division for that) or a pedigreed kitty. It’s a fun way to spend a day or a weekend. Showing is about the cats, but also so much more. Spending time in the show hall with friends is a social event. Being surrounded by people who love cats like I do makes for lots of conversation. There are quite a few families and couples that enjoy the cat show hall as a hobby.
Looking to start out with a cat one already has is easy. But, be warned, if cats have not been exposed to the show hall and the handling at a young age, they may not like it. There are exceptions, of course. As fellow cat lovers, we ALL want our cats to have a good experience at a show. In some cases, cats just say no and it is up to us to listen.
A good way to start is by showing a Premier ( neutered cat) that is a retired breeding/show cat. Some of these cats had successful show careers early on in championship ( unneutered ) class. A Grand Champion RagaMuffin can do very well as a Premier for years in competition. A cat that has already granded in one division has been handled by numerous judges and recognized as an exceptional individual.
Getting a show quality kitten from a breeder is another way to start. While all RagaMuffins are sweet and beautiful, not all are show quality to succeed under judges’ scrutiny. And, even the best will not always win. Evaluating a kitten for show takes experience and under any circumstance, is a gamble. What looks like a great ear set as a kitten may not appear as good as they mature. Temperament is another coin toss. A kitten may be a doll at home and go to a show and love the atmosphere; or may go to a show and freak out.
An important factor in starting a show career is having a mentor, somebody to show a newbie the ropes. Sometimes this can be the breeder a potential exhibitor acquires the show cat from. Other times, it can be fellow exhibitors one meets at a show. CFA ( Cat Fanciers’ Association) actually has a Newbie group to answer questions and help get new exhibitors started, CFAnewbie