Updated: Feb 14, 2022
In the dog world if a breeder doesn't show their dogs or have champion lines most people will disregard that breeder. This line of thought is understandable. If you aren’t showing and receiving evaluation and criticism on standard and confirmation by a trained judge, do you really understand the standard and are you breeding quality stock? Of course this is valid however whether dogs or cats there are many reasons why a breeder may not show. COST
Cost is one of the biggest factors of showing. First you have entry fees. Sometimes you will find an awesome deal where each cat is only $50 to enter but this is rare and usually is reserved for anniversary shows or something special. Depending on the show and location, each cat could be $150-$300 with slight discounts for each additional cat being entered. However that is just the start.
You may live in a location where shows aren’t as readily available so you may have to travel as well as get a hotel to stay for the show days. Most shows will list a hotel that the judges are staying at which is also close to the show hall. These hotels often have special pricing for exhibitors. From my personal experience however, these hotels seem to be more expensive than other options in the area.
You’ll be with friends, often without a kitchenette in your hotel and will be tired from showing after the long days so you’ll probably like to eat out, maybe grab a few drinks. You’ll also want snacks or money for lunch sometimes provided by the show for a fee or a food truck will be located outside the show hall.
Shows may also sponsor a banquet or group dinner which will also come with a fee sometimes $30-$60 if not more. If you are in a fun location (which often many shows are) there may be other entertainment options that you will want to participate in. Often the start up costs of showing will be the most but you will probably have to replace things here and there or want to get new supplies depending on the show throughout the year. My show bin essentials usually include:
Food and Water (as well as bowls)
Anxiety and relaxation products
Grooming materials (clippers, comb, wipes etc.)
Cleaning supplies (paper towels, cleaning spray, hand sanitizer etc.)
Litter and waste (puppy pads, litter, litter pans, trash bags, hand broom and dustpan etc.)
Lots of toys (balls, catnip, various teasers etc) Business related materials (cards, brochures, signs etc.)
Set up Material (pop up kennels, curtains, blankets, table clothes etc.)
Other Things (pens, highlighters, stud pants etc.) Clubs earn money via entry fees and donations but many will also host raffles or auctions that raise money through donated cat related gift baskets, beds, trees, wheels and other awesome accessories which you may want to buy tickets for. Costs outside of the show itself should also be figured in. For some in order to go to a show they may need to hire a pet sitter or someone to clean the cattery while they are away even if it is a short 3-4 day weekend. Most pet sitters for catteries are not $10 a visit most charge much more typically at least $50 per day or visit because feeding and cleaning can be much more involved than for the average pet owner. This cost needs to be factored in as well.
While you will spend some pretty pennies on showing, you won’t be making money at shows. Unlike beauty pageants you are not awarded money for winning. Unfortunately you have to pay for your awards/titles in most cases.
So in conclusion costs of showing include: Entry fees Hotel Travel (gas, flights, RV parking fees) Food and snacks (including banquets) Material costs (for pop ups, toys, teasers etc.) Raffles, Banquets and Entertainment Cost for titles and awards POLITICS Just like any group of people there can be drama and cat showing is no different. Exhibitors, judges and people in general can be very catty (pun intended). Some people can brush it off, others just aren’t people oriented (that’s why we have cats ;) ) Cat shows may just not be the social gathering for some breeders.
There are two main cat registries, The International Cat Association (TICA) and Cat Fanciers Association (CFA). Each has various clubs run by members of those associations that put on the cat shows. They are located all over the world typically Friday through Sunday or just two day weekends. Some breeders have the resources to show on a weekly basis others have to pick and choose based on where the show is located. Personally in North Carolina we have 1-2 shows a year via TICA all others are located in other states. Obviously this can be restrictive and may impair how often breeders may show. PERSONALITY
Many breeders socialize their cats very well but some cats no matter how pretty they are just really don’t like cat shows. After all there are tons of new smells, sounds and people. You have strangers touching your cats for 2-3 days for 6-8 hours. Not to mention the car or plane rides and hotel stays. This can be stressful. While many cats thoroughly enjoy this, some would rather just stay home to be loved by their owners. In addition, some cats just don’t get along or are affected by the other males and females in the show hall (yours or other exhibitors), most of which are intact and have raging hormones.
NUMBER OF CATS
For the most part as long as you pay for the entry fees you can bring as many cats and kittens as you want but there are some things that limit this. Personality of the cats you are bringing and who gets along can be one factor, a male that sprays on everything may be another, you are unable to show pregnant or nursing mothers so that will restrict the females you may bring and some breeders may have just retired several adults or have kittens that are not old enough yet to be in the ring. Furthermore unless you have help from family or friends it can be different to run you cats all over the show hall if you intend on bring many.
In the end if you only can show one cat it may not be worth the cost of entry fees, hotel, food etc to show until you have several more cats to bring with you.
ILLNESS AND DISEASE
Almost all shows are not vetted; this means that there is no veterinarian examining animals coming into the show. Unfortunately there are people who do bring in cats and kittens that may have fleas, have a cold, carrier of any number of diseases, parasites/worms or other illness and disease that may be able to be hidden easily. No, most breeders aren’t being vindictive and most don’t want to bring illness back home but it happens and unfortunately if you can’t attend a show, you don’t get your money back for entry fees which means some may be more inclined to show anyway.
Breeders can even carry illness and disease on their shoes, clothing, toys or other things brought to a show even if they don’t bring the specific cat(s) or kitten(s) that are ill. Cats that recently have been vaccinated may shed the virus they are vaccinated against too.
Judges are required to clean off the judging stand (often excluding the cat scratchers and toys however) after each cat and each kennel is cleaned after each ring but often this is done by children ring assistants so there is room for error of course. At a show hall of typically 200+ cats it certainly doesn’t take much to spread something unfortunately. I would never blame someone for not wanting to expose their companion to such an environment especially because they can also bring that home to the rest of their cattery where pregnant moms and young kittens can easily become ill.
Most breeders have a regular job and a family including spouse and children. Some breeders take their children to shows but others may not be able too. Some may have trouble finding a sitter or don’t feel comfortable leaving their children that long at home especially if a show is further than driving distance each day. While like dog shows, you can have a handler or agent that campaigns your cat for you, this isn’t as common and can become costly if you don’t have a close friend willing to show your cat(s) for you. As one can see it's not as simple as the breeder is bad or hiding something and that is why they don’t want to show. Many factors can come into play including costs to show a cat, the social aspect, location of shows, individual cat personality, illness and disease concerns and family all can affect whether a breeder shows or not.
We love showing our cats. Not only is it fun and we get to hang out with friends we don’t always get to see, but our cats are judged by a plethora of judges meant to evaluate our cats against their designed standard. Unfortunately due to our location it has been hard to find local shows as well as help while we are away to take care of the remaining cats and kittens at home. Unfortunately for us showing is only a hobby at this time. That being said we do breed to the standard, we continuously use the standard and pictures as reference as we breed, plan our pairings, evaluate and price kittens and keep kittens back for our program. We are also active in our registry by voting on important matters, helping to propose and make changes to the standard and encouraging our kitten owners to show. Showing is absolutely important for the fancy and we definitely encourage it. It’s a wonderful place to not only have your cats evaluated by numerous judges and earn awards for confirmation, but to network with other breeders, attend educational seminars and have fun with show friends.That being said, ask and take into consideration why a breeder may not show or show as often as others. Breeders that don’t or cannot show as much aren’t always breeders one should dismiss.