courtesy of Leslie Carr
You’ve made it to the show hall, checked in your cat and set up in your benching area. So what comes next? Judging!
When you checked in to the show, you were given a catalog and schedule. The schedule may be the back of the catalog or a separate piece of paper. It will list each ring and the order cats will be judged in that ring. Sit down for a minute and look that over. Identify where each ring is located. Then mark (circle, underline or highlight) your cat’s class in each ring. Championship classes will break down the breeds on the schedule, but Kittens, Premiership and HHP just list the category. They are normally judged in catalog order, so LH Kittens will start with entry #1.
Ring clerks will make announcements when cats are needed in the ring. They may announce “all longhair kittens to Ring 2”, “cats numbered 51-62 to Ring 3”, or maybe “Birmans through Maine Coons” to Ring 6.” It’s a good idea to occasionally check what cats are being judged in each ring to have a better idea when your cat will be called up.
Once you hear the announcement that the ring is ready for your cat, take him from the benching cage and do a last minute check that eyes are clean and cat is groomed. Carry him up to the ring and locate your cat’s cage within the ring before you enter. It will have your cat’s number on top of it. If your cat is male, it will have a blue card with the number, if it’s female the card will be pink. Quietly enter the ring and place your cat in its cage. If you’ve brought a toy with you, you can spend a few seconds playing with them to get him to relax. Then quietly exit the ring to go stand or sit in the audience.
When the judge has completed judging the class, the ring clerk will turn the number on top of the cage down to release the class. Do not remove your cat until the ring clerk releases the class! Enter the ring, quietly open the cage and remove your cat and head back to your benching area. Now might be a good time to reward your cat’s good behavior with a treat!
What not to do during judging:
- Draw attention to you or your cat when placing it in the judging cage
- Make comments about your cat that the judge can hear
- Wave a toy while waiting in the audience to get your cat’s attention
- Make comments about any other cat in the ring. Exception to that is laughing at a cat’s antics or commenting how cute an entry is being
After all the cats of a category are judged, the ring will hold a “final” where the judge announces their top 10 (or 15) cats along with best champions/premiers. Cats are called up by number. Do not leave the show hall until all the finals for your cat have been completed! Very often a cat has left and the judge will call a different cat to take its place.