Showing CFA

Pedigreed cats in CFA are shown as kittens (four to eight months old), champions (8 months + of age, still intact) and premiers (8 months + in age, neutered or spayed). The rules apply to all of them - with the exception of the purple ribbon, which is only for adults. Males are judged first, then females, for each title and each color within that breed. 

Cats in Championship and Premiership enter their first show in the Open class. These are cats that have no title in CFA. Once they are in six rings without disqualification, they attain the most basic title - that of either Champion or Premier. Opens are judged in the ring as either Champions or Premiers – the judge’s book shows them as CH or PR. The exhibitor catalog will list them as OPN – but the judge only sees CH or PR, because Opens are eligible to earn Grand points (see below).

Champion and Premier titles are won separately. That means if a Grand Champion is neutered and then shown in Premiership - it starts all over again as an OPEN in Premiership. Kittens are shown basically as all having the same title.

First, Second, and Third Place. There is a First, Second or Third Place for each gender, each category, and each color class, within a breed. This means there can be four first place ribbons in a ring of four cats of the same color - if you're looking at four white Turkish Angoras, and there is one male Champion, one female Champion, one male Grand Champion, and one female Grand Champion - they ALL get a blue ribbon. They each were first place for their gender, title, and color class. However, if you're looking at four white female Grand Champions in that same ring - only one will receive blue (first), one red (second), one yellow (third) (the fourth gets no ribbon, but that in this case is not a DQ, just no ribbon hung). Kittens do not have the Open/Champion/Premier/Grand distinction in the first level of judging; they are judged by gender within color classes.

Breeds are segregated, into what is called "color classes." Generally, most breeds have one class of solid colors, one class of smoke colors, one class of Bi-color (two colors, or something and white), one class of Parti-color (torties) and one class of tabby pattern cats. Some breeds have exceptions, but those are the basic classes.

One thing to always remember about ribbons - no cat receiving second, third or lower (no red, yellow, or no ribbon) may later be placed above the cat in first (blue) in that ring. That means, sensibly, that judge cannot then make his second place cat his best of color, and first place second best of color.

Best of Color is a black ribbon, and Second Best of Color, a white one. As you might expect, this is determined by color class. In these categories - ONLY the color class is judged. So in the aforementioned four white Turkish Angoras, 2 Champions and 2 Grand Champions - only one will get Best of Color, only one Second Best of Color. The judge in this case can give it to any cat in the color class in this example - no matter Champion, or Grand - as they all were given First place.

However, in the second example of all female Grands - the best and second best must follow the First and Second placings. (Kittens fall into this category - again, consider they all have the same title for judging.) This is the second "layer" of getting to the top cat of the breed - a cat who has not gotten the blue ribbon cannot suddenly "leapfrog" over the cat that beat it and be given the black Best of Color. So in those four female Grand Champions – the one that got the blue First place, MUST get the black Best of Color, and the one that got the red Second place, MUST get the white Second Best of Color. 

Here is a catalog page featuring all female silver spotted Egyptian Maus of various titles, to illustrate.
All catalog pages are from an old catalog and marked for illustration only. They do not indicate the actual placement of any cats.

Here you can see there are two Champions (CH) and two Grand Champions (GRC). Color classes are judged by title, then age, so in this case the two CH first, then the 2 GRC, the older after the younger. The two female Champions compete for the First Place ribbon for their title - one gets the blue first, the other the red second. Then, the GRC are judged against each other for the same First and Second place ribbons. After that, all four females in the color class compete for the black and white Best of Color ribbons. Everywhere you see the 1/B, that means that cat got the blue First Place and black Best of Color for that color class. The 2/2B indicates that cat received the red Second Place and the white Second Best of Color ribbons. 

They then go on to compete for 
Best of Breed (brown) and Second Best of Breed (orange). This is from all cats, all titles, all colors (or division – we’ll get to that in a second). The Turkish Angora example here is a bad one - as the cat in both examples with the First place and Best of Color must then get Best of Breed, as again, no other lower placed cat can "leapfrog" over it. Here you can look again at the Maus above to see this demonstrated in one color class. Once a judge placed the Best of Color ribbons, the Best of Breed MUST go to the cat that placed Best of Color, because a cat not winning the black, cannot jump over the cat with the black. And since the older GRC got Second Best of Color - it MUST be Second Best of Breed.
However, let's say you have a ring full of Cornish Rex. There are 2 whites, 2 tabbies, and 2 bicolors, so three of those cats have blue and black ribbons on their cages. At this point, the judge picks the two that were the best, and gives them brown and orange ribbons. The Best of Breed must be one of those blue/black winners - but second can be another blue/black winner, or the cat that took second place to the eventual Best of Breed. 

This page of Tonkinese demonstrates this - there are 3 color classes represented, a GRC Platinum Mink female, two GRC Pointed females, and one Solid color CH female. The singletons both get the 1/B for their class, and the Pointeds compete for 1/B and 2/2B in their class. If a judge places the 1/B Pointed as the Best of Breed - they can still use the second place Pointed as their Second Best of Breed. The only thing they can't do is place the Second place Pointed, above the First place Pointed.

A quick word about "Divisions" as opposed to “Breeds”- Divisions are first and foremost used by the Persians, and it's because they largely outnumber other breeds at shows. The Persians only compete within divisions, and do not technically have a best of "Breed" - they have a Best of Division in Solid color, Best of Division in Smoke or Shaded color, Best of Division in Silver or Golden, Best of Division in Tabby pattern, Best of Division in Bicolor and Calico, Best of Division in Particolor, and Best of Division in Himalayan or Pointed pattern. They do then have color classes within those Divisions. 

Here's an example of how the Persian breed uses color classes within a division. Each color class in the Solid Persian division, will compete for the First Place and Best of Color ribbons.

Hopefully you can expand this, but here you have the Solid Color Persian division. There are four color classes competing in this show - a Blue-Eyed White, an Odd-Eyed White, two Black males, and two Red males. The color classes were designed a long time ago when there were much, much larger numbers of Persians at shows, which is why in this case, the White class is broken up to include the eye color. Then a Best of Division, rather than Breed, is chosen.

Other breeds use Divisions differently - primarily, as an alternate hair length within a breed. Breeds that have a Longhair and Shorthair division include the American Bobtail, American Curl, Burmilla, Exotic, Japanese Bobtail, LaPerm, Manx, Oriental*, Scottish Fold, and Selkirk Rex.

*CFA is unique in the world, I think, in how we treat the so-called slinky breeds. There are 2 divisions of Oriental Shorthair, and Oriental Longhair. The OSH and OLH have a pointed color class, that includes all colors except the 4 Siamese colors, or those 4 colors with smoke. Siamese stand alone as only SH and only in 4 colors. What breed the Siamese-type cats are depends on their pedigree in CFA, rather than on their type. So long as their pedigrees meet the requirements of registration, generally non-Siamese point color. shorthair type cats are Colorpoint Shorthairs; longhaired Siamese point color and type are Balinese; and longhaired non-Siamese point color and type are Javanese. (Simplified for the purpose of this article.)

Scoring Regional/National ring points. A cat who gets a brown ribbon earns Regional/National points for each other cat of its breed that it has beaten. The orange Second Best of Breed, gets 95% of what Best of Breed got. For example, you have these six Cornish Rex in your ring. A bicolor gets the brown, a solid white gets the orange. The bicolor has just earned 5 Regional/National points, for defeating five other Cornish Rex cats (no matter their title); the white has earned 95% of the bicolor's points, as it beat the others, but not the bicolor. The other cats earn no Regional/National points. 

Last but sometimes most important is the purple ribbon, Best Champion or Premier. To become a Grand, whether Champion or Premier, a cat must beat a certain number of cats with their title. For a Champion, it is 200; for a Premier, it is 75. This is not because it is easier in Premiership - the counts are vastly lower, and therefore fewer chances exist for Grand points. 

Hop back up to that Mau page - in this case, the Best Champion MUST go to the Champion with the blue First Place ribbon. If there had been another color Mau Champion, let's say a black smoke which got its own blue and black ribbons - that silver First Place winner could compete with the black smoke - but NOT with the silver Second Place CH, as it has already been defeated. Only Champions with blue ribbons will compete for the purple. On the Solid Persian page, only the cats getting the First Place - in this case, the Blue Eyed White, the Red Persian Open, and the Black Persian 53 compete for the purple - because cat 53 defeated cat 52 for the First Place ribbon in the Black color class - 52 is not eligible for the purple.

Now, how to score it. Let's say you have a Champion. You want that purple ribbon. If you get it, you get a point for EVERY *CHAMPION* (Champions and Opens, but NOT Grands) defeated in that ring. Their color or gender does not matter - only one champion per ring gets that purple ribbon, and only that cat will get Grand points for that ring. Note: same rules apply regarding not allowing one Champion to go over another for the purple – so with those 6 Cornish Champions, if the bicolor gets the Brown, it must also get the purple. The white can’t get the orange, and the purple, because the bicolor has been placed above it.

Next up are the Finals - the chance for more Grand points and Regional/National points. You'll first hear it called the "bottom half" or "first part" of a final - in champions, this is three longhairs, and three shorthairs; premiers are only two of each hair length. Keep in mind ONLY Champions/Premiers (including Opens) are eligible for this part of the final - they compete against ONLY Opens/Champions/Premiers of other breeds at this point for more Grand points. That is all this final is for.

Best Champion will get a point for every Champion beaten at the show - from either all breeds or all longhairs/all shorthairs - if they make the final. (Cats who make a final cannot also count their breed win points - you get only the highest total. Let's say that same Cornish Rex who got 5 points gets into the Champion final and beats 20 other Champions - he leaves that final with 19, not 24, Grand Points.)

A quick note on what tripped me up about this - here is one situation where it may *appear* to not follow the mechanical rules. Let's go back to those Cornish Rex and change things up. Let's say the bicolor (best) Cornish was a Grand Champion, the white (second best) a Champion. The white Champion makes the "first part" of the final - the Champion portion (NOT the top 10). The bicolor does NOT necessarily need to be in the top 10 - think of the Champion portion of the final as entirely separate from the "rest" of the cat show. It does not affect the top 10 - unless one of the Champions is in that top 10 (so if the white Cornish Champion is 10th Best Cat - the bicolor Grand MUST be somewhere in 1-9th Best Cat.)

The scoring in the Champion/Premier final is also varied from the other scoring – Best Champions get a point for every Champion/Open defeated in the show. Second best, gets 90% of what Best got, and 3rd Best, 80%, and on down the line. Points again only count for the larger gain – so let’s go back to the Best Champion Cornish Rex in a ring of 6 Champions. The bicolor Cornish was Best Champion in the ring, gaining 5 Grand points. Then, let’s say it got called up for a final in an Allbreed Ring. First, the judge awards their 3 Best SH Champions in show – and the Cornish is Best Shorthaired Champion. If there are 31 SH Champions in the show – that Cornish now gets 30 Grand points, and the 5 ring points disappear. Then, the judge awards their Best Allbreed Champions, and the Cornish again is Best. Let’s say there are 20 LH Champions, for 51 total AB Champions – so now, the Cornish gets 50 Grand points, and the 30 SH points disappear. Second Best Allbreed Champion gets 90% of 50, so it gets 45 Grand points. Only Best, Second and Third Best Champions and Best and Second Best Premier, are awarded in this final.

Another note – although in the ring scoring only the purple Best Champion/Premier winner gets Grand points, that does NOT mean a judge cannot go 2 deep in a final. So again in that class of 6 Cornish Rex – the bicolor that got the purple gets finaled, the judge can also use the white that got the orange ribbon. The white just cannot go over the bicolor in that final. And if the judge so chose, they could award 3d SH CH to whichever of the four remaining Cornish Champions they liked best. As long as they aren’t out of order from the ring judging – Best must be first, Second must be second – there is no problem. See why you should wait until every cage in a final is full?

And the best part - the "top half," normally the top 10 (top 15 kittens if over 100 have entered, in championship for over 115, and in premiership over 60). These cats can be opens, Champions/Premiers, or Grands - just keep in mind no cat may be placed "out of order" - if both the bicolor and white Cornish Rex make the final (top or bottom) the white CANNOT be placed above the bicolor. Best cat in the top half of a final will then get one Regional/National point for each cat defeated (in all categories, open, champion/premier, or grand). Second will get 95% of what Best got, Third will get 90% of Best, and on they go by 5 declining percentage points. Those points go toward end of year awards, including Regional Wins, National Wins, and Breed Wins.

Household Pets. Household pets each earn a ribbon for merit, which is red and white. They're usually cloth - any cloth ribbons, you are welcome to take with you. Any plastic ones, leave behind (there will be cloth ones on the judge's table for you to take). If they appear healthy and are at least of reasonable temperament - and yes, give them a bath - they will be given a ribbon. Pedigreed cats with disqualifying traits (like a tail kink) can be shown here, as well. Your breeder will appreciate you not entering her full show name and pedigree information. (There is now debate about this – but I contend that a cat with a disqualifying trait is NOT otherwise eligible to be shown, and can be shown in HHP. It should also be noted that the rules against wild outcrosses in show halls prevents the class from including cats like Bengals, Savannah, etc.)

Household Pets are now scored by CFA. In the finals, HHP will get Grand points just like the pedigreed cats – Best gets a point for each cat defeated; Second gets 95% of what Best earned, Third gets 90%, and on and on. So in a class of 101 HHP, Best would get 100 points (all HHP minus themselves); Second gets 95% of 100, or 95; Third gets 90%, or 90, etc. 200 points later, you’ve got a Grand Household Pet!