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By Vermel Thomas

Equality for strays, rescued and adopted felines

If your family cat is not a purebred, but it is so adorable that you believe that it could show in a cat competition – then do it! The International Cat Association (TICA), The American Cat Association (ACA) and The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) each have a category called "household" pets, which will allow you to do just that! [i]

The TICA is the world's largest genetic registry of both pedigreed cats and household pets. The ACA has been in existence since 1904 and features breeds from the United States and Canada. The CFA was formed in 1955 and carries the reputation of being the Fairest, Friendliest and most Fun feline association.

Mission and criteria

Each cat association states that their mission is the well-being for all cat breeds, better education for owners and gathering a record of each cat's genetic markers. For showing, professional cat associations have a category called "household" pet class for adult cats and kittens. Just like pedigreed cats, household pets compete against each other for awards, points and titles.

Household cats are judged in a class of their own and in one group. The general rule for entering your family pet is centered around their grooming, if they are well-mannered, unusual markings, and uniqueness. Household cats are judged without regard to coat length, age, sex or color.

Two general rules state that if your cat is over eight months of age, they must be spayed or neutered. Also, a CFA rule states that declawed cats cannot be shown, but the TICA allows a declawed cat to enter showing categories. With each pet association, household cats which emulates good health and vitality, automatically receives a Merit award.

The minimum age is four months and there is no maximum age. Handling is very important which is where being mild-mannered comes in. If your cat tends to be a little scrappy when handled, this will not go over well with the judges.

Try it – you and your cat might like it

If your cat or kitten fits into these criteria – as my grandparents would say – "nothing will fail you but a try!" Contact one of the professional cat associations, and they will put you in touch with a local or Regional Director for the necessary entry forms and rules.

To help you prepare for showing your adorable little pet, you must prepare your feline. Ask an experienced cat trainer for advice. You will soon learn if your cat or kitten has the right temperament. Cat trainers generally train pets with special treats, toys or a familiar object that will keep your cat calm and which can also be used when they show.

Do not be surprised if the CFA asks you to be a part of their Household Pet Recording Program. This category allows owners of household pets to create an official recording of their cat. No, you do not need this requirement to enter your cat or kitten into a show.

Entry fees are very minimal for both members and non-members. Household cat owners have discovered that after you have participated in a few shows, your name will be automatically entered onto a mailing list for future shows around the U.S. and internationally. There are shows held all around the country every weekend.

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