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Introduction to Showing

If you have the opportunity before your first entry to a cat show, attend a few as both a visitor and if possible helping a friend or breeder who is exhibiting.  This would give you a good insight on what to expect, and will help to reduce the worry.

All Show Birmans will be judged against the Standard of Points as set by the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) and the Birman Breed Advisory Committee (BBAC.).  The following is the general type standard of points for the breed numbers SB1n to SBI j 21.

Head: Skull strong, broad and rounded. Nose medium in length (no “stop” but with slight dip in profile).  Cheeks full and round.  Chin full and well developed, slightly tapered but not receding.
Ears: Medium in size and spaced well apart.
Eyes: Almost round but not bold.  Blue in colour; the deeper the blue the better.
Body: Long, Large, well-boned and of good substance for age
Legs and paws: Legs of medium length and thick-set.  Paws short and strong.
Tail: Bushy and in proportion to the body.
Coat and condition: Coat long, silken in texture; full ruff around neck; slightly curled on the stomach.  The cat should be well grown, the frame (skeleton) should be strong, well covered and muscular.  Eyes bright and temperament good.
Colour: The distinguishing colours of the Birman are those of the Siamese.  Mask, ears, legs and tail dense and clearly defined (except in kittens).  On reaching maturity, the mask covers the entire face including whisker pads and is connected to the ears by tracings.

The white feet are characteristic of the Birman:
Front paws – Have pure white symmetrical gloves ending in an even line across the paw and not passing beyond the angle formed by the paw and leg.  Colour of the paw pads irrelevant.
Back paws – Have pure white gloves (gauntlets) covering the entire paw and tapering up the back of the leg to finish just below the point of the hock. Colour of the pads irrelevant.

            SCALE OF POINTS
HEAD and EARS                                    20
EYES                                                     15
BODY, LEGS and PAWS                         20
GLOVES and GAUNTLETS                    20
TAIL                                                       5
TOTAL                                                   100

Withhold certificates and first prizes in kitten open classes for:
1. Coloured toes / spots in the white area.
2. The complete absence of a gauntlet on one or both back legs.
3. Incorrect eye colour.
4. Siamese or Persian type head.
5. Runners (streaks of white) on the front of the front legs or extending   beyond the “stopper” pad on the sides and / or back of the front legs.
6. Grossly asymmetric foot markings.
7. Spots or patches of white (excluding the gloves and gauntlets) appearing anywhere on the body, particularly chin and chest with the exception of the fur in the immediate area around the genetalia.

Note: since the colour of the paw pads is irrelevant, an area of white on the front feet that is attached to a large pad, which is itself coloured, should not be viewed as a spot.
8. Any other defect as listed in the preface of the GCCF Standard of Points booklet.
Additional withholding Fault: Lack of pigmentation on the nose and/or philtrum (philtrum) with the exception of Red and Cream Points.

Obviously there is a specific standard against each of the Birman breed number which relate to coat, points colour and nose leather.  For a complete up to date issue please contact the GCCF The following are general standards for each Birman Colour:

Tortie Point Birmans:  The colour should be seal brown or chocolate intermingled with shades of light and dark red, or, blue or lilac intermingled with shades of light and dark cream.  The presence or absence of a blaze is immaterial.  The points need not be evenly broken but each point must show some intermingling of the colours.

Note: Patching is considered to be a serious fault but is not a withholding fault.

Additional Withholding Fault:  Complete absence of any of the required colours from one or more points.

Tabby Point Birmans:  There should be a clearly defined ‘M’ marking on the forehead, light coloured ‘spectacle’ markings around the eyes with spotted whisker pads.  Ears solid with no stripes. Clear ‘thumb marks’ which are less apparent in dilute colours and mottled in the Tortie tabby point. The legs should have clearly defined, varied sized broken stripes and / or rings with solid markings on the back of the hind legs above the gauntlets.  The tail should have many varied sized, clearly defined rings ending in a solid coloured tip.

1. The nose leather should be pinkish outlined in pigment or to tone with the points.
2. Markings in kittens are less well defined.
3. A ringed tail is desirable but a solid top-tail, ringed on the underside, is not a fault.

Tortie Tabby Point Birmans: These colours show the normal tabby pattern which is overlaid with shades of light and dark red or cream.  The extent and distribution of the Tortie areas are not important providing that both elements, Tortie and tabby are clearly visible.

Note: The nose leather should be mottled pink and pigmented or to tone with the points.

Old Numbers                                                                            New Numbers
13c1 – Seal point                                                                         SB1 n
13c2 – Blue Point                                                                        SBI a
13c3 – Chocolate Point                                                               SBI b
13c4 – Lilac Point                                                                        SBI c
13c5 – Red Point                                                                          SBI d
13c6 – Seal Tortie Point                                                              SBI f
13c7 – Cream Point                                                                     SBI e
13c8 – Blue Tortie Point                                                             SBI g
13c9 – Chocolate Tortie Point                                                   SBI h
13c10 – Lilac Tortie Point                                                          SBI j
13c11 – Seal Tabby Point                                                           SBI n 21
13c12 – Blue Tabby Point                                                           SBI a 21
13c13 – Chocolate Tabby Point                                                  SBI b 21
13c14 – Lilac Tabby Point                                                           SBI c 21
13c15 – Red Tabby Point                                                             SBI d 21
13c16 – Seal Tortie Tabby Point                                                 SBI f 21
13c17 – Cream Tabby Point                                                        SBI e 21
13c18 – Blue Tortie Tabby Point                                                 SBI g 21
13c19 – Chocolate Tortie Tabby Point                                        SBI h 21
13c20 – Lilac Tortie Tabby Point                                                 SBI  j 21

Lists for the various shows throughout the year and across the country are available from the GCCF  website. The start of the show year, which runs from 1st June to 31st May.  Usually if you are a member of a cat club who hold a show, they will automatically send you a schedule along with an entry form.  If you are not a member of a Club for a show you wish to enter, write to the show manager, or their contact enclosing a stamped addressed envelope requesting a schedule or go online to the GCCF website (www.gccfcats.org) look at the show list and schedules and download an entry form to the show of your choice.  Remember to allow enough time to get your entry in before the close date.  Under GCCF rules, you are not allowed to enter shows within 14 days of each other.

Where possible always complete your show entry form from your GCCF registration or Transfer document for the cat being exhibited to minimise the risk of errors.  Print the details carefully to avoid any misinterpretation of your handwriting.  If at the time of entry you do not have the transfer or registration documents, then put TAF or RAF in the Regd. No. Box to indicate Transfer of ownership or registration applied for.

Each exhibit must be entered in a minimum of four classes. Before a title can be gained the cat must be entered into the relevant Breed Class, once a title has been gained the cat can progress through the appropriate title classes and may also be considered for Best of Breed (BOB) in the Breed Class. 

The completed entry form along with the required entry fee should then be sent to the show manager, with enough time to reach them before the entry close date.  To be sure that your entry has been accepted, it is a good idea to enclose a stamped addressed post card, with detail of your cat and classes entered on it.  The show manager will then sign this and return it to you, as receipt of entry.

Breed: This is the only class in which your cat will be judged only against other Birmans of the same colour, so this is the one in which the result is so important.  The winners of this class can be awarded Champion / Challenge Certificates.  When three of these have been awarded at shows under three different judges, your cat can be called Champion or Premier depending if the cat is entire or neutered.

Grand Champion or Grand Premier:  In these classes your cat will be will judged against Birmans of all colours. There are only two awards in this class – Grand and Reserve Grand, three Grand Certificates awarded under three different Judges gives your cat the right to be called Grand Champion or Grand Premier.

Imperial Grand Champion or Imperial Grand Premier: In these classes your cat will be judged against all Semi-Longhaired cats of the same status. There are two awards in this class, Imperial Grand and Reserve Imperial Grand Champion/Premier, when five of these awards have been obtained at five different shows from five different judges your cat can be called Imperial Grand Champion or Imperial Grand Premier.

Olympian:   There are three different levels of Olympian titles: Bronze/Silver/Gold this is the highest level of achievement.  In each section your cat will be judged against all breeds recognised by GCCF that are eligible to compete for this title; with awards for Olympian and Reserve Olympian. At each level five Olympian certificates must be won under five different judges at five different shows. These must be all breed shows, only one certificate of the five at the three different levels can be won at a single breed show.  When your cat attains any of the above titles they must be claimed from The GCCF Office giving the shows and the judges awarding the certificates.

The condition of your cat is of great importance, as it is a waste of time to show a cat or kitten unless it is in good condition.  If your cat requires a bath, this must be undertaken when you cat is still a kitten as bathing at a very early age gets the cat used to being bathed and show prepped. The timing of the bath is down to the individual cat/kitten depending on how their coats react after bathing, some need to be bathed at least 3 days prior to the show, some the night prior to the show, This is down to experimenting to see when your cats coat looks its best after his/her bath.  Do not use human shampoos as these can be poisonous, use a cat shampoo which can be purchased at cat shows or pet shops.  Some cats do not mind being dried with a hair drier,(especially if you start form a very young age) although if your cat does not like it, towel dry it as much as possible, then put it in a basket a safe distance in front of a fire.  This natural method may take up to five hours.  Keep you cat free from fleas by using a proprietary flea preparation, these can be obtained from your Vet, pet shops or online, this is extremely necessary to ensure that you do not get any visitors prior to or at the show. If a vet finds evidence of fleas at vetting in your cat will not be allowed into the show.  Pay particular attention with your grooming to behind the ears and under the chin.  A toothbrush is ideal for use in these areas.

Brush the fur under the chin up towards the chin, and the cheek area and ruff should be brushed toward the nose and top of head respectively.  By brushing the coat the wrong way should ensure that every hair will stand individually and not appear to be clumped.  On the night of the show, rub magnesium chalk block onto the top and bottom of the feet to keep them nice and white, also use in the morning before you put the cat/kitten into its travel carrier, by the time you have arrived at the show any residue of magnesium chalk will have dissipated and his/her feet will be sparkling white.  Prepare your show bag and cat basket the evening before checking you have everything available for show day.


(White show equipment can be purchased on the day of the show at the various stalls if you forget anything).

Current Vaccination certificates, issued no less than 7 days prior to the show.
Squeeze bottle of pet safe diluted disinfectant.
Two small cloths, one for applying, the other for wiping the disinfectant.
Two white show blankets, the second is in case of accidents.
Bags for rubbish.
Sealed container with enough water for the water dish.
White drinking dish, with hooks to secure over the pen wires.
White cat litter tray (Approx. 12”x9”).
Small bag of white cat litter.
Litter scoop.
Child’s brush and dustpan.
Comb, Brushes and Cotton wool.
White food dish.
Fresh meat or timed food in a container and/or dry biscuits
Small fork
Wet flannel, in case of accidents.
Safety pins, plastic bag ties.
A pen to mark up the catalogue.

Entry to the show hall usually starts at around 8.00am and large queues start forming from around 9.00am, so on your first solo show, it is advisable to arrive at the hall early.  Some exhibitors feed their cat a light meal before leaving the house; you need to make that decision depending on how well your cat travels.  On arrival at the show hall, you will be directed into the vetting in queue, and will be given your vetting in card.  Check the details printed on the card are correct for the cat’s names, exhibitor and classes entered.  If any of these are incorrect, notify the show manager when in the hall.  During vetting in, the Veterinary surgeon will inspect the cat for clean ears and any sign of fleas and its general health.  Given the all clear, the vet will sign your vetting in card, allowing you into the hall.

You are now ready to pen your cat. Each pen is numbered and your cat’s pen will be shown on the vetting in card.  Find your pen, and your first job will be to disinfect it with the diluted pet safe disinfectant.  Wipe it dry and then check that the wire frame of the pen is secure, if any seem loose, secure them with the tie wraps.  Put the blanket, water and cat litter tray in the pen.  Now you can get the cat out and give it its final grooming.

Check all is well. When the judging starts and “All” exhibitors will be asked to leave the hall.  On leaving the hall, collect your copy of the show catalogue, find your cats entry and check the details.  Any errors must be brought to the attention of the show manager immediately, by requesting permission from one of the show assistants for entry back into the hall.  If all is well now is the time to find the results board, as these will keep you in touch with your cats progress through the day.  Class result slips are pinned on this board in numerical order.  The position in the class is marked next to the pen number on the slip, namely 1,2,3, ABS (Absent).  If you mark these into your catalogue then you will slowly build up a record of your cat’s progress and position under different judges, helping you to asses which ones like or dislike your cat.

Usually by 12.30 – 1 o’clock you can return into the show hall as the open class judging is usually completed by then, shortly after this the hall is opened to the public for entry.

It is usual for the open class rosettes to be given out and placed on your pen, these are usually given out for 1st, 2nd and 3rd but check your catalogue.

Most of the judges will make themselves available to exhibitors at the end of the day, when they have completed their judging engagement.  If you would like to here what they think of your cat, approach them, ask politely, and they will be willing to discuss with you the good and bad points.  Remember however, do not approach a judge whilst they are still working, as this could lead to disqualification.

Each judge has to complete a write up of the classes and send this to the GCCF website. These write ups give a full critique on your cat on the day from the judge, and will enable you to compare how different judges see your cat, and of course others that you are competing against. These reports must appear within four weeks of the show date, some are usually appear very quickly others a little longer, however, they must not be any later than four weeks.