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Attending your first cat show as a spectator

Pam Flachs

Savannah Super Cat
If you already own a Savannah, or want to, I highly recommend you attend a cat show, whether Savannahs are competing there or not. The cat show atmosphere is fun and highly charged with excitement, with many beautiful breeds cats at their best, not to mention the vendors with cat toys and other goodies :) Most, but not all cat show venues offer food for purchase.

To find a show in your area, check TICA's list of sheduled shows:

...or if a CFA show is nearest, check them out. While CFA rules do not allow Savannahs or other hybrids to be shown or exhibited, you still can see many other breeds.

Most shows (if not all) have an entry fee for spectators, usually less than $10 per person. Allow for parking fees, too. Plan to arrive some time after the show has begun, around 11:00 a.m or after 1:30 p.m., as lunch breaks for the judges and exhibitors are sheduled then. Don't wait until the last day of the show, or too early or close to the advertised opening and closing times. Most shows begin at 9:00 a.m, and close around 3:00-5:00 p.m., depending on the size of the show. Showing cats is a lot of work, and by the end of the last day, cats and their owners are tired and may be already starting to pack up to go home.

Bring your children only if they are well-behaved. Be advised that some show halls may not be able to easily accomodate a large stroller down the aisles. Keep children near you and not allow them to run around touching the cats or yelling. Seniors especially love cat shows, so ask Grandma or Grandpa if they'd like to go. Teens and young people enjoy seeing the cats as well. Leave the dog and your own cat at home :)

Never touch or pet a cat at the show without the owner's permission, and never reach into or open a show cage to touch a cat even if no one is around to stop you. Never offer a show cat a treat or toy of your own without permission. Don't be offended if the owner refuses to let you pet or touch, or asks you to apply hand sanitizer. Many owners will refuse politely, as there is a risk of disease transmission between the cats. I allow people to pet my cats on their back after using hand sanitizer.

Most cat exhibitors LOVE to talk about their cats! Wait to ask questions if they seem to be extremely busy, or are running their cat to a ring.

Some cats will be exhibited in wire show hall cages, and decorated depending on the owner's taste and talent...some are pretty elaborate and amazing! Others will be in ready-made show cages made of canvas or other materials. The long-haired breeds often have an additional table for grooming them before their class---a must see! Breeds are usually benched together in rows. The owners will have a chair in front of their cage, but if they are like me, I am usually standing, talking to spectators when not at the judging rings. Most exhibitors will have business cards or other information available for spectators to take home.

Be sure to watch a few classes, too! Many judges are very informational while judging. Cats are taken from their show cages to a cage at the judges ring. Owners and spectators are not allowed to speak to the judge during judging unless asked. And don't forget to check out the vendors with their displays of cool cat toys.

So go.....and enjoy! You just might be bitten by the cat show bug! They can be addicting :)


Savannah Super Cat
Thank you for posting this, i have recently attended two local shows so far. They were smaller shows though, but still a great experience. We actually got my newest little girl at one of the shows and have established a great relationship with her breeder. I will say, that I couldn't agree with you more with the stroller aspect, I realized how difficult it is to move around with my two year old. He loves the cats and will do okay around him, but I really think that until he gets a but older he may have to stay home next time... I am interested in eventually showing, by actually going to a show it's great to see how it works and in my opinion, the actual experience makes it even more appealing!


Site Supporter
I will be attending, as a spectator, my first cat show in 2 weeks. I can hardly wait. I feel like I have learned so much about Savannah's on this forum that this is a natural next step. I wonder if I'll get bitten by the bug...

Michelle Anderson

Savannah Super Cat
I'm so excited, I'll be going to a TICA cat show on May 5th...not to far from where I live. The breeder I got Shyla from will be there showing some of her kitties! How exciting! I've only been to one other cat show, a few years back; and it was so much I'm very excited about this one!!


Site Supporter
Be sure to tell us how your first cat show visit went!

It was fun! I saw many different breeds and was able to talk to some of the owners about them. Many of the cats including the Savannahs that were there were huge! When I came home (of course with a sackful of new toys ;)) I looked at my sweet petite 5 1/2 lb 5 month old Matojo and dubbed him mini-cat! I will definetly attend more shows! Watching the judging was interesting but I couldn't hear all the comments and didn't really understand what was happening.