Arrival and Vetting In
When you arrive at the venue, look out for the signs to ‘Vetting In’. This will take you to the entry desk where someone will take your name, check you’ve got all the cats with you that you planned and hand you a card with your cat number(s) and pen details on. They will also give you a show catalogue and someone will check your vaccination card(s) to ensure your cats inoculations are all up to date. Note that there needs to be at least 15 days between your cats last injection and the show date.
Once this is done, you can join the queue for the vet. When it is your turn, hand your booking in card to the vet or vet nurse, and take your cats out one at a time to be looked at. The vet / vet nurse will do a basic check for fleas, mites and injuries and, if you are showing an ‘intact’ male they will check that ‘all is as it should be and there are two’. It is unlikely that your cat will fail vetting in, however if they do, the vets judgement is final.
In the show hall
Once you’re through vetting in and into the show hall it’s time to find your pen and get set up for the day. Your booking in card will have a pen number on it – normally a letter and a number (eg. H6). Find your pen and unpack your cat and its accoutrements. At FB shows you can decorate your pen as you wish, or if you would rather bring your own ‘sturdi’ pen you may do so for most shows at the Show Managers discretion, but be sure to check this with your entry. Make sure your cat has a litter tray and water at all times.
Check your cats show number – this will be on the booking in card – and find your entry in the catalogue. Be sure to check the catalogue is correct (even Entry Clerks make the occasional typo!), and if there is an error tell the Secretariat immediately. Any errors that aren’t notified before judging may result in your cat not being awarded its certificate.
Next, check to see who will be judging your cat – this is in the catalogue – and check which table this judge will be at. There is normally a ‘judging order’ on the front of the judges table, but note the judge doesn’t have to stick to this order, so be sure to listen out for your cats number being called.
The Show Manager will normally announce that the show is open and that colour assessments are about to start. If you have asked for your cat to be colour assessed, be sure to listen out for their number being called. When you hear your number take your cat up to the chairs in front of the appropriate judging table and let the steward know you are there.
Once all colour assessments are complete there will be a short break to allow the Show Team to amend any paperwork following the assessments. If you have a cat that is going to be judged early in the day this is a good time to do any final grooming.
Once judging starts listen out for your cat number to be called, then take your cat up to the chairs in front of the appropriate judge and let the steward know you are there. Cats will be called three times, any cat not in the judging area after this may be disqualified. At many shows however, the steward will come to your pen to look for you if you haven’t appeared after the second call. Whilst stewards are happy to do this, please bear in mind a steward having to leave their judge to hunt down a missing cat and exhibitor delays judging so should be only done as the exception and you shouldn’t rely on this.
Exhibitors are not allowed to approach the judge with any questions or queries, you have to talk to the steward.
You may either sit / stand holding you cat whilst you wait to be judged, or you can ask the steward for a holding pen to put your cat in.
Once your cat is called forward to the judge you may no longer groom the cat. Take the cat to the judges table and allow the judge to examine your cat. The judge will produce a written critique and will normally talk to you about your cat as they are doing so. You will receive the written critique and accompanying certificate later in the day once it has been processed by the Secretariat.
If there are sufficient cats in the class the judge will award a Best in Variety or BIV. There must be a minimum of three cats for a BIV, neutered cats are treated separately from adults, juniors and kittens who may all be judged together for BIV.
When the judge has finished each category they will do their ‘nominations’ for the Best in Show Panel. The stewards will call out the numbers of the cats that the judge has asked to see again to consider for nomination. Some judges use notes they have made throughout judging and don’t call back all the eligible cats.
The side classes are judged after the main judging has finished. The steward will announce that they are calling cats and will give the name of the side class. Be sure to listen out for your cats number if you have entered a side class. Normally cats will only be called twice for side classes and stewards will not come to find missing cats – this is because unlike normal judging, in a side class the judge will want to see all the entered cats at the same time and the steward will be required to be in the judging area arranging this.
Most show venues have catering available. If nothing is available it will have been clearly marked in the show flyer.
The judges normally break for between 45 minutes to an hour for lunch, this time enables the Show Team to prepare the paperwork for the Best in Show panel and allows the judging area to be rearranged with the BIS podiums.
The Best in Show Panel
The BIS panel is the culmination of the FB day. Cats are called up by category and are allocated a holding pen. When your category or cat number is called, take your cat up to the holding pens and look for the one with your cats number on it. You must then leave your cat in the capable hands of the stewards.
As your cat number is called, the steward will take them to a podium where the judges will consider the cats and chose a winner in each section. The BIS panel normally starts with house hold pets and ends with category II (as that is normally the largest category at FB shows).
For each category the judging normally goes in the following order:
Female neuter, Male neuter, Best neuter
3-6 month kittens, 6-10 month juniors, Best kitten / junior
Adult female, Adult male, Best adult
Best in category
Once all the categories have been judged, the winning cat from categories I to IV are compared and the ‘overall best in show’ is awarded.
After Best in Show
If your cat has been in the BIS panel and has won something, don’t forget to collect your trophy and take your certificate to the Secretariat to have ‘Best in Show’ stamped on it.
Remember to pack up all your belongings and get rid of any litter / food / water that you are not planning to take home. There are litter bins at the end of the pen rows, so please use them rather than leaving your rubbish by your pen.
You are not allowed to leave the hall until after Best in Show. If you do so without the Show Manager’s permission you risk forfeiting any awards your cat has achieved at the show.
If it is a two day show and you are returning for the second day, you may leave your pen set up and may leave belongings in the hall (but please note FB cannot guarantee their safety).
For a two day show there are often many people staying over and if you want to, you can ask a member of the Show Team if there have been plans made to meet up for drinks or for dinner.