The International Cat Association is home to a steadily growing membership of people in the cat fancy world who share their love of cats and competitive cat shows. But cat shows aren’t just for diehard cat fans who have been grooming their feline friends for elite competitions since day one. In fact, most people don’t realize how simple it is to get involved in the show world! TICA recognizes more cat breeds than any other cat fancy association does, and we have competitions specifically for non-pedigree household cats, where they can compete for the same prizes as their pedigreed counterparts! Read below to learn more about what cat shows are, how they work, and how your cat can participate. You can also come visit a cat show without entering a cat! It’s a fantastic chance to observe the fun and learn more about the feline fancy world. 


What are cat shows? Cat shows are exhibitions where cats are judged by breed standards, condition, and beauty. As you might know if you’re a cat owner or have been in the past, cats have a lot more personality, grace, and agility than they’re given credit for in the media. Cat shows are every bit as interesting and exciting as dog shows are - and they’re a great way to connect with other owners, learn more about our feline companions, and take home a prize or two.

When you arrive at a show, you’ll find yourself in the midst of several exciting competitions. A cat show is actually composed of several separate smaller shows that run concurrently in various judging rings throughout a show hall. Judges preside over each ring, and every cat entered in the show is evaluated by each and every judge. These judges evaluate cats and give awards based on which cat best represents the written standard by which they are being assessed.

Judges are assisted by Ring Clerks, who are responsible for calling cats to the ring, recording the awards, and supervising ring stewards who clean the exhibition cages after each cat is called.

New to the show world? We love to welcome people to the community through our Junior Exhibitors Program and our Mentorship Program, where newcomers are paired with experienced TICA members/breeders to get the lay of the land.

Pedigreed Cats

For pedigreed cats, the judging standards outline ideals for each breed, and they’re approved by the TICA Board in advance, based on submission from Breed Committees. Breed standards are specific and precise enough to allow judges to evaluate cats objectively and accurately, but still flexible enough to allow for differences in interpretation between judges of keen eye and good intention. Check out our upcoming events. >>

Household Pets (HHP)

For household pets (HHPs), the standards are based primarily on condition, beauty, and show presence. We know that Mother Nature makes cats of all shapes, and sizes with great attitudes and charming talents — household pets in our HHP categories compete for standardized awards just like our Pedigreed Cats. We want to see your feline friend at one of our shows! Check out our upcoming events. >>

Categories and Classifications

In our Championship (pedigree) category, cats are classified as kittens, adults, or alters (neutered male or spayed female). The Championship classification is reserved for a male, female, neutered or spayed cat that is registered as a recognized breed and color in TICA. In our Household Pets (HHP) category and our NBC category, cats are classified as either kittens or adults based on their age. Kittens are 4 to 8 calendar months of age, whereas adults must be at least 8 calendar months of age on the opening day of the show. HHP cats and kittens are mixed breed/random-bred cats, half-pedigree “oops” cats, and pedigree cats that are not registered or do not meet the breed standards.

Provisional New Breeds, Advanced New Breeds, And New Traits

These exciting classes are for new breeds and new colours or traits in established breeds. These cats are registered with TICA, but have not yet met the requirements for Championship status.

Genetic Registry

TICA is a genetic registry, recognizing hundreds of different colours and patterns.


Cats are classified as Kittens, Adults, or Alters (Championship), Kittens or Adults (Household Pets), and NBC (both kittens and adults). Kittens are 4 to 8 calendar months of age; adults must be 8 calendar months of age on the opening day of the show.

Judges Books

A TICA judge does not know the cats name, the owner, the breeder or the stats (Novice, Champion, Grand Champion, etc.) of the cats being judged. The judges book contains the entry numbers, breeds, categories, divisions, colours/patterns, age of the cat on the day of the show, classification (kitten, adult, alter, etc.) and the sex of each cat to be judged. Judges books do not contain genetic information.

In TICA, for example, a Siamese produced from two Oriental Shorthair parents would be shown as a Siamese. To the judge, this cat is a Siamese.

The cats are called up according to breed, division, and colour/pattern. TICA does not have Best of Breed ribbons; nor are any title points given for breed awards. Judges will announce their best, second best, and third best of breed, however, and will so note in their Judges Books.

TICA Colour and Division Awards follow:

Colour, Place, Points, Division
Blue / Black 1st 25 points
Red / Purple 2nd 20 points
Yellow / Orange 3rd 15 points
Green 4th10 points 
White 5th 5 points

In order to obtain the title of Champion, Champion Alter, or Master (HHP), your cat must earn 300 points plus one final award. Points are accumulated from color. division and final awards.

  • Best of Color (BOC): The judge will choose 1-5 Best of Color Awards. EXAMPLE: Seven black Persians present; the judge awards 1-5 Best of Color to five of the seven competing.
  • Best of Division (BOD): From the BOC winners, the judge will select the best, second best, and third best of division.
  • EXAMPLE: Our seven black Persians belong to the Solid Division. Other solid colors of Persians, (white, blue, red, etc.) may also be entered in the Solid Division. The judge will select a best, second and third best of division from the BOC winners in the Solid Division.
  • Best of Breed (BOB): The Persian Breed is accepted in all divisions of the Traditional, Mink and Sepia Categories. Solid, Tabby, Tortie, Silver/Smoke, and Particolor. The judge will select the best, second and third best of breed.


This the Big Moment!!! Final numbers are not announced; the clerk will announce kitten finals in Ring 4" and exhibitors must go to Ring 4 to see if their cat(s) numbers are up in that ring. Final awards are selected from breed winners, although it is possible to have fourth and fifth place color awards in the finals, provided the first, second and third place winners are placed above them.

In the finals of an allbreed ring, the judge will select the top ten eligible cats (longhairs/shorthairs) based on 25 cats competing in the ring. If there are only 24 cats competing, the top nine are selected; 23 competing, eight are selected; 22 competing, seven are selected; 21 competing, six are selected; 20 or less, five are selected. Finals are awarded to Cats, Kittens, Alters, Household Pets, Household Pet Kittens, and NBCs.

In the finals of a specialty ring, the judge selects the awards above for both the longhair breeds and the shorthair breeds.