How to Show Your Ragdoll Cat

by Rob on February 6, 2016

Rag Doll Cats

Do you think your ragdoll is worthy of a first-place ribbon at a cat show? Many owners are intimidated by the thought of their first show, and most are apprehensive about doing the wrong thing or making a mistake. Taking a chance is the best thing to do, and getting your feet wet sooner than later will help you overcome your fears. (Oddly enough, your ragdoll will probably have fewer worries than you will about the big day!)

If you can, attend one or more shows as a spectator before you enter your own cat. You’ll get a better understanding of what occurs and the format of the day’s events. The internet is a great resource for shows to attend and shows to enter!

The judges will be looking for the “perfect cat,” so it’s important to know about the various color definitions and any features that may disqualify your pet from competing. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) publishes rules and the Show Standard for the ragdoll breed. You’ll need to read and understand the various points regarding eligibility, procedures and your responsibilities as an exhibitor.

Once you’ve decided which show you’d like to enter, find the contact information for the entry clerk (again, use the Internet as your resource). The CFA has an Entry Form you’ll be required to complete and submit by a specific deadline along with a fee. (There is usually a category for Household Pets. Even non-registered pets may be shown.) You’ll receive a confirmation that your entry has been accepted and your fee received. If you don’t hear back, contact the entry clerk before the date of the show.

All cat shows require that your cat’s claws be clipped in advance. (Sometimes your cat can be turned away at the door if you forget this!) If you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself with a pair of claw clippers, be sure to schedule a visit with the groomer or veterinarian beforehand.

In order to make sure your ragdoll is relaxed prior to the show, you’ll want the car trip to be as comfortable as possible. Use a pet carrier with good ventilation and plenty of room for him or her to stretch out.

You will need to purchase and bring “show curtains” with you to place in your cat’s cage (you can get the cage dimensions in advance from the show organizers). If this is your first show, towels and pins will work fine; the purpose is simply to prevent your cat from seeing other competitors in nearby cages. No one wants hissing and scratching the day of the big show! If you have the time and inclination, you can certainly design and sew your own true curtains from a single piece of durable, easy-to-clean material. While blue velvet curtains may show off your ragdoll’s eyes for the judges, they’ll be impossible to clean.

Imagine that you’re taking your ragdoll to the kennel for boarding. A cat show is similar in terms of what items you’ll need to bring to make him or her comfortable. Food and water in familiar dishes, a litter pan (the show usually provides litter), and toys and blankets will make your cat feel more at ease during the show.

Finally, you’ll want the judges to see your cat looking terrific, so don’t forget a comb or brush. There’s no need for a claw clipper; you’ve already taken care of that.

In order to properly prepare, be sure to arrive at least an hour before judging begins. When you check in, you’ll receive a benching row designation and a specific cage number. Set up your cage and get your ragdoll “dolled up” as quickly as possible. It’s vital that you check the judging schedule and locate the various rings so you won’t hold up the proceedings or, worse, miss the ragdoll judging completely!

While it is tempting to spend the day looking at the other cats (and you should do this to see what the competition is doing to make themselves stand out in a crowd), spend as much time as you can with other ragdoll owners and learn from them. Do more listening than talking during that first show and pick up pointers for your judging experience and for information about other shows.

If you go in expecting a ribbon, rosette or trophy during your first show, you run the risk of being disappointed. Instead, enjoy the day, learn a lot, and take pride in your ragdoll cat. Be sure to give him or her a treat regardless of the outcome – they’re sure to be hungry after a long and exciting day.

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