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All You Need to Know About the World of Cat Shows

If you've ever flipped through daytime television in aimless boredom, you’ve likely stumbled on a publicized dog or cat show.

And since your cat is the most adorable one you’ve ever seen – right, cat parents? – you may have thought about entering your gorgeous fur baby in a cat show.

Why not? Seems like a great place for like-minded cat lovers to congregate and celebrate cat beauty.

Before you put yourself and your cat on the podium, here’s what you need to know about the cat show world and what it's really like to step into the ring.

What It’s All About

Here in the United States, cat shows are largely hosted and governed by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA). The CFA is the world’s largest registry of pedigreed cats and hosts the most prominent cat shows each year.

Founded in 1906 in Buffalo, New York, the CFA has grown into something that only true cat lovers can appreciate. In 2011, CFA moved their Global Headquarters to Alliance, Ohio, where they now share a stunning multi-story granite office building with the CFA Foundation Feline Historical Museum.

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Clearly, these people know (and adore) cats. Today, CFA has more than 600 member clubs around the world and now licenses 400 cat shows globally each year. The registry that started CFA more than a hundred years ago now includes more than 2 million cats.

But the CFA and their shows represent more than just the feline version of Ms. Congeniality.

In all, the CFA and the cat shows they host stand for some powerful values that we can all get behind – like promoting the welfare of cats, advocating for legislation for feline research, supporting breeders, ensuring ethical and high standards for breeding cats safely, and providing a forum for cat lovers to come together.

Pedigreed or Moggy?

If you’ve ever considered showing your adorable feline friend but are concerned that she’s not “pure blood” or pedigreed, we have some good news for you: cat shows aren’t just for the royale elite of the cat world anymore!

There are two different kinds of cat shows today: pedigreed and moggy.

pedigree cat show winner

Pedigreed cat shows are based on breed standards. The CFA has developed a set of standards for each breed. When you enter your cat into a pedigreed show, your cat will be judged according to those textbook standards. The cat who represents those standards in real life most closely wins the top award.

In order to qualify for a pedigreed show, a cat must be registered and her lineage must be traceable. This usually means you purchased your cat from a breeder who has professionally and rigorously kept records of your cat’s heritage.

Moggy cat shows are a bit more fun, in our opinion. Rather than being all about the pedigree and a meticulous cat family tree, moggy cats are mixed breeds that may not hold any information about their ancestry.

According to the CFA
, moggies (also known as “companion cats” or “household pets”) are judged “for their uniqueness, pleasing appearance, unusual markings, and sweet dispositions.” In an effort to promote positive cat parenting choices, the CFA only allows moggies to enter competition if they are not declawed and, if they’re over the age of eight months, they’ve been spayed or neutered.

As an added bonus, the CFA awards a special Merit ribbon to each moggie contestant who is in good health and vitality. While cat shows used to be all about purity of breed and superficial appearance, the CFA and cat shows around the world have gone out of their way to ensure that these events prioritize good cat health and include cats of all breeds – because diversity is the cat’s meow.

Step Right Up

Even if your cat isn’t pedigreed, you and your fluffy friend can get in on the cat-lovin’ action. Download the show rules and 
fill out an entry form with CFA today and you could be stroking your cat’s ego with plenty of adoring onlookers in no time.

Want to know more about your cat’s lineage before signing her up to strut her stuff? You can get your cat’s DNA tested through CFA’s partner, In addition to finding out fun facts about your cat’s ancestry, you can also find out crucial health information that can help you plan ahead to ensure your cat has a long, healthy life.


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