Judging procedures – info sheet

A judging ring is usually made up of an L- or U-shaped arrangement of cages, one or moretables placed in front of these cages, and rows of chairs in front of the table(s) for exhibitors and spectators to sit and watch the judging

Three people normally work in each judging ring: the judge, clerk, and steward.

The judge is an individual who, after a long and rigorous training process, has been thoroughly trained to evaluate the different cat breeds according to a set of written standards and rank the cats in order of how well they represent their individual breed standards.

The clerk is responsible for the accuracy of all the records of the ring. The clerk keeps a marked catalog of the results of the ring and validates what the judge writes in his records .

Note: A smooth running ring is the clerk's responsibility. Discuss with the clerk any any concerns you have with the ring or if you have a piece of information that needs to be passed to the judge. The clerk handles all communications between the exhibitors and the judge and is responsible to rectify any problems with the ring.

The steward has the most important, and usual most unsung, job. The steward sprays each judging cage with disinfectant and wipes down the cage in between cats. This is very important since germs can spread from cat to cat causing disease.

Judging procedure

TICA recognizes cats for competition in 8 classes:


Kittens of breeds and colors recognized by TICA for championship status. Kittens must be between 4 months and 8 months old on the day of the show. Kittens may be whole or spayed/neutered.


Adult cats of breeds and colors recognized by TICA for championship status. Cats must be 8 months of age or older on the day of the show. In this class the cats can not be spayed or neutered.


Adult spayed or neutered cats of breeds and colors recognized by TICA for championship status. Alters must be 8 months of age or older on the day of the show.

Household Pet


Non-pedigree kittens or pedigree kittens that can not be shown in kitten class for some reason. Household Pet Kittens (HHP Kittens) must be between 4 months and 8 months old on the day of the show. HHP Kittens may be whole or spayed/neutered.

Household Pets

Non-pedigree cats or pedigree cats that can not be shown in an adult class for some reason. Household Pets (HHPs) must be 8 months old or older on the day of the show and must be spayed or neutered


Each class is judged separately. For example, alters are not judged against kittens.

TICA's breed standards, can be found at

Each cat in the show is assigned an entry number. This number can be found in the show catalog which is provided to each exhibitor. TICA assigns ranges of numbers for each of the classes being shown. The ranges of numbers makes it easier to listen for your number when it is called from the rings.

Longhair Kittens 1-50

Shorthair Kittens 51-100

Longhair Championship 101-200

Shorthair Championship 201-300

Longhair Alters 301-350

Shorthair Alters 351-400

Longhair Household Pets (Kittens & Adults) 401-450

Shorthair Household Pets (Kittens & Adults) 451-500

Preliminary New Breed 501-550

Advanced New Breed 551-600

New Traits 601-650

The cats are called to each judging ring by their entry number. The only information provided to the judge about the cat is its:








Note: In some associations the cat's title (For example, Grand Champion) is also known by the judge. In TICA, all cats are considered equal in the judging ring. The judge has no way of knowing if the cat he or she is judging is at its first show, or if it has been considered by other judges to be one of the best of its breed.

The judge handles each cat placed in the judging ring. 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. 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 a pyramid of eliminations within the class:.

First all cats of the same breed and color are judged against the written standard for that breed. Up to 5 cats are selected as the best-5th representation of their breed - looking only at cats of that color. The judge awards these cats ribbons with colors indicating their placement.


Note: Judges judge the cats against the whole written standard, not just the color. For example, if there are two red Persians, the two red Persians are judged against how they fitthe full written Persian standard. The "best of color" does not necessarily mean that that cat has the best red color. Instead, the best of color red Persian best fits the entire written Persian standard including head, structure, coat, etc.

Household pets, and household pet kittens are evaluated against a written standard as well. That standard states that the cat should be in good condition, well groomed, be of the right weight for his or her frame, have clean ears, and trimmed nails. The judge then uses his orher opinion as to the household pets he or she feels are the best. Unlike cats in all other classes, if a household pet meets the basic requirements of the written standard, it will receive a best of color (or HHP merit) award - even if there is more than one HHP of the same color.


There are 32 divisions for championship competition in Tica. These are determined by combining four color categories with five pattern divisions.

Categories :







Tortoiseshell (Tortie)


Silver / Smoke


Next, the judge looks at all the cats, within the breed, within the same division. 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.

Household pet adults are also selected for division awards. For example, all shorthair tabby household pets will compete for best, second, and third of the tabby division.

Cats in preliminary/advanced new breed, new traits, and household pet kittens are not selected for division awards.

Next, the judge will look at his best cats of each division and select the top-3 representatives of the breed. In our example with the Persians, now the best solid Persians would be compared against the best Tabby, Silver, Tortie, and Particolor (any color and white) Persians in the show.

The judge is not required to name his best of breeds but he must write down his top-3 best of breed in his judge's book. If he does tell the audience how he placed the cats within breed, he may name them, without hanging anything on the cages, he may hang ribbons of the following, or similar, colour, or he may have some other indication of best of breed. These are not given to exhibitors but are for judge's use only.

Household pets and household pet kittens are not awarded breed placements.

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 very end of this process is the finals. During the finals the judge names the cats he feels are the very best representations of their breeds in the class. The number of cats the judge may final depends on the number of cats in competition for the class:

Best - 5th Best  -  20 or less in competition

Best - 6th Best  -  21 in competition

Best - 7th Best  -  22 in competition

Best - 8th Best  -  23 in competition

Best - 9th Best  -  24 in competition

Best - 10th Best  - 25 or more in competition

Note: The only exception to this rule is Household Pet Kittens. A maximum of 10 places are awarded regardless of the number of kittens in competition. So, if only 7 Household Pet Kittens are competing, the judge will award 7 placements. With the exception of the one merit award per class, finals are not awarded in preliminary/advanced new breed or new traits classes.

Finals can be allbreed or specialty. Allbreed finals are the cats the judge feels are the very best of both the longhair and shorthair cats for that class. Specialty finals only take the longhairs or shorthairs of the class into consideration. For example, an allbreed kitten final may have both longhair and shorthair kittens in it. A shorthair specialty kitten final would only have shorthair kittens.

Each judge judges every cat in the show. TICA judges can see a cat twice in one day.

one day. Clubs may offer special cumulative awards for the highest scoring of a particular breed, color of cat, or other special end of season awards. Check your cataloge for information on special awards that may be presented.

Note: Best of the best and other special awards are not included in international or regional awards scoring, nor are they scored for titles. These awards are only used to honor the best cats within the show.

In the spirit of good sportsmanship, it is a good idea to stay, applaud, and cheer for the cats presented in the best of the best. These cats and their owners have a significant accomplishment to be proud of. Help them celebrate as you would like others to help you celebrate in similar circumstances.