Mystre Bengals


A TICA Cat Show Explained

A Cat Show is a number of seperate little shows all running at the same time in various "rings" throughout the show hall. Each ring is run by a different cat show judge and who judges each cat based on its written "standard" for its particular breed. (Example of a Standard for a Bengal) The Judge then presents her/his awards for cats in those rings based on their interpretation of that standard and independent of what any other judge might have thought of that cat. Each of these shows can be classified as either All Breed or Specialty. In an All Breed ring, all the cats present compete for the various awards, regardless of the length of the coat. In a Specialty Ring only the cats of similar coat length compete against one another.

After the judge has looked at and handled all the cats that are present, if its an All Breed, or of similar coat length if a Specialty Ring, the judge will award his/her choice for the best cats. Depending on number of cats present this will be the top 10 (less if the total numbers in show dont warrant that many according to a set of rules for that)

While each cat and its owner are waiting to be called up to be judged they are all seated and caged at their benching spaces. This is generally in the middle of the show hall area. Surrounding them on the periphery are the vendors.

You can find a great deal of information on your breed on the Breed page at








Above- All Breed Judge, Fate Mays in Waco, Tx.





What is the Show Hall and what will I see there?

The show hall is facility where the cat show is being held. The location will be found on the summary sheet when you go to enter your cat in the show. Inside the hall are various areas that will be clear when you see them. Generally around the perimeter of the interior are the Judging rings. These are normally either U or L shaped area of cages with a judging table in the middle and audience chairs in front of them.

You will generally see three individuals in a Judging ring, the Judge, Ring Clerk and Steward.

The Judge undergoes a very long and difficult process learning each breed of cat and how to apply what they see to a written standard for each cat and then evaluate and rank each cat they handle against all the others present that day. They record their findings in their judges booklet for an official record of their evaluation.

The Ring Clerk is the ring record keeper. As stated above the judge records their findings in their judges book, the clerk then records those results in the show catalog and double checks the judge to make sure they havent overlooked a cat or any other possible errors involved in the record keeping part of the ring. The clerk keeps the ring running smoothly and keeps everything moving. They put the cats numbers up on each cage where the cat will be placed temporarily while in the judging ring. The clerk also announces to the exhibitors when to bring up their cats as well as tells them when the judging is finished and the exhibitor cat then remove their cat and return to their benching area or go to the next ring for another judge to see. The Ring Clerk also handles all communication between any exhibitor and the judge.

The Steward is a big help to the Ring Clerk. These can frequently be young children or anyone else who desires to help in one of our shows. They will spray each cage with a disenfectant and wipe them dry. This is to reduce the possible spread of any illness that might be present and unseen.


Above is a fun look at judging in a typical TICA cat show.
(Thank you to Helmi Flick for her permission to use her specatular photography)



Understanding The TICA Cat Classes

In order to start to understand what all is going on we have to explain how everything is broken down and categorized. To begin with TICA has 8 classes that cats can compete in and each of these classes are judged separately. There are 55 different breeds that TICA recognizes. See them at

All cats in the showhall that are being shown are assigned a number. This entry number is in each exhibitors catalog that they all get. Each of these numbers is in a range for that particular class (i.e.- Longhair Kitten Class is 1-50, Shorthair Kitten Class is 51-100) Sometimes a cat will be entered late and necessitate a letter following it.

You will frequently hear ring clerks calling numbers of cats to their respective rings. This is how exhibitors know where to go and when. The judges dont know who the cat belongs to, only the number, breed, age, sex and color of each cat. Checking inside your catalog will tell you what number your cats are and what to be watching and listening for.

Showing your Cat in TICA - Page at on showing your cat. a ton of great information here. Make sure to look at this page


Kittens have to be between 4 through 7 months as of the day the show begins. They can be any breed or color that TICA accepts. It does not matter if the kitten is whole or spayed/neutered. Again an All Breed judge judges long and short hair and awards finals out of all kittens. A Specialty judge will award finals for short hair and long hair seperately.

This is the class for adults that are not spayed or neutered. The cats must be 8 months are older on the first day of the show. These can be of any breed or color that TICA accepts for championship status. And as in above, an All Breed judge judges long and short hair and awards finals out of all adult cats. A Specialty judge will award finals for short hair and long hair seperately.

Alters Photo by Helmi Flick
This is the class for adults that are spayed or neutered. The cats must be 8 months are older on the first day of the show. These can be of any breed or color that TICA accepts for championship status. And as in above, an All Breed judge judges long and short hair and awards finals out of all adult cats. A Specialty judge will award finals for short hair and long hair seperately.

Household Pet Kittens
The Household Pet Kitten Class is for kittens that are not pedigreed kittens or for whatever reason cannot be shown in the Kitten Class. For example, a pedigreed kitten that has had to have a tail removed for some reason could compete in this class. As with the Kitten class they must be between 4-7 months old on the day the show begins. Just not over 8 months.

Household Pets Photo by Helmi Flick
The Household Pet Class is for cats that might either be non pedigreed or for whatever reason cannot be show in the Championship class. They must be at least 8 months old the day the show begins. Also the cats in Household Pets adult class must be spayed or neutered.

Advanced New Breed
The second level of the Championship Advancement Class Program. These breeds are eligible to be shown in TICA sanctioned shows but do not earn titles or points towards Annual Awards and must follow specific rules to be eligible for championship status.

Preliminary New Breed photo by Helmi Flick
The beginning level of the Championship Advancement Class Program. These breeds are eligible to be shown in TICA sanctioned shows but do not earn titles or points towards Annual Awards and must follow specific rules to be eligible for the next step in achieving championship status.

New Traits - Sometimes established breeds have traits that are not currently accepted for championship status, such as certain hair lengths or perhaps new colors. The New Traits class allows exhibitors of these traits towards the eventual recognition of these traits.

** All photos above are with permission of the owners** If your cat is shown and you would like it removed please contact webmaster.

**For a complete written set of show rules click here

Judging the Cats

Each cat has an entry number assigned, those correspond to their "class" as described above. The ring clerk calls each class of cat up in order of breed and within the breed is also broken down by division. For example: The Bengal Breed has the Traditional Tabby Division which includes Brown Spotted and Brown Marbled Tabby., Then would be Traditional Silver/Smoke Division which would include Black Silver Spotted Tabby. There are many variations but all fall into their own division and within the divisions their colors. (This can be confusing at first, but in very short order it becomes more easy to understand and anyone at the show will be happy to help you understand if you ask)

As another example, all solid Persians judged in the solid division. The judge would look at all solid whites, then blue solids, black solids and red. Then he would select the top of each color, then the top three of the solid division.*

Fate Mays, TICA All Breed Judge

Once the cats that are called up by the ring clerk are in their respective cage, that has the cats number on top of it, the judge can begin examining the cats. The judge takes the cat from the ring cage, places it on the judging table, evaluates the cat against their knowledge of the written standard, returns the cat to the cage and continues on.

*(If you are curious as to a detailed explanation of cat colors here are the Uniform Color Descriptions)

Mystre Mojo Working as a kitten at Waco, Tx
  Joe Edwards, TICA All Breed Judge  

You will note that the judge cleans the judging table and his or her hands with a disinfectant before handling the next cat. Just like the steward's job to disinfect the cages, the disinfection of the judging table and judge's hands is vital to the health and well-being of the cats being shown.


Judging is basically a series of eliminations for each Judge in each ring. They first judge all cats of a particular color against each other and then award each of them (up to 5 places) a "color" award. Do note that they are judged against the entire standard, not just the "color" of the cat. For example if there are two Brown Spotted Tabbies in the Siberian Traditional Tabby Division the judge judges against the whole standard not just which has the nicest color on its coat.


When the Judge is examining the cat, they are comparing the cat to a written standard on each breed. This standard clearly defines the way the cat should look. This includes head shape, eye shape, size and placement. Also includes many other things other than coat and color. However you will see the first award the Judge gives is one called a "Color Award" The small ribbons they put on the cages are the indication of the place they were awarded the color award. Again, "Color" is the first of the series of eliminations the judge will go through.

After the Color awards are all hung on the cages for an entire division, the judge decides which of that division within the breed should be awarded the top 3 places. For example, all solid Persians would be judged in the solid division. After judging all the white Persians, blue Persians, black Persians and red Persians and selecting the top Persians of their respective colors, the judge will now look at the the solid Persians and select the top-3 of the solid division. These are indicated by the judge with colored ribbons.

(**cats in Advanced New Breed, Provisional New Breed and New Traits are not awarded Division awards)


There can be a number of seperate division within each breed. Once the Judge has looked at each division in a breed she will award the top three of the breed from within all the divisions. The judge may or may not hang a marker on the cage, it is not required she do so. She might just hold her hand over the cage of which one is 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The Clerk will note this in their catalog.

(** Household pets are not awarded for breed. Cats exhibiting in preliminary/advanced new breed or new trait are awarded breed placements. The judge will also award one merit rosette to the overall best example exhibiting in each of these three classes. )



The last of the eliminations for each judge is called Finals. This is where the Judge takes into consideration all the cats they judged. This is where the judge gets to point out which cats he/she feels are the best representations of their breed. Numbers of cats in each final will vary depending on the total number of cats that are in the competion for that class.

Finals will either be Allbreed or Specialty. In Allbreed finals the cats chosen are the ones the judge feels are the best of both the longhair and shorthair cats in that class. In a Specialty final the judge only takes into account the longhairs or shorthairs of the class. (i.e.-an Allbreed cat final may have both longhair and shorthair Cats in it. Whereas a shorthair specialty cat final would only have shorthair cats.)


Award of 1st - 5th 20 or less in the class at show
Award of 1st - 6th 21 in the class at the show
Award of 1st -7th 22 in the class at the show
Award of 1st -8th 23 in the class at the show
Award of 1st -9th 24 in the class at the show
Award of 1st -10th 25 in the class or more at the show


Links to other articles in the series
A TICA Cat Show, Explained How do I prepare for a cat show?
How do I enter a cat show? Day of the show


Videos are to be added very soon  


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