The Happy Ring Clerk
BY KATHY DURDICK, Ristokat Himalayans & Persians

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Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a ring clerk at a cat show?

Maybe you even thought about being a ring clerk?

Perhaps you have been guilty of complaining about a ring clerk at one time or another?

Well . . . like most things in life, the people who are ring clerks come in all shapes, sizes and personalities.

One of the best ways to become more sensitive to the concerns of other people, is simply to walk a mile in their shoes. So let's take a look at the average day of a ring clerk at the cat show . . .

A Day In The Life of A Cat Show Ring Clerk.

The ring clerks arrive well before the start of the show . . . because not only do they need to set up their benching cage for any cats they may be exhibiting themselves, but they also need to organize the ring in which they are clerking.

Here is just a partial list of what a person is responsible for doing during the course of performing their duties as a cat show ring clerk . . .


The clerk begins by organizing the ring cards, sorting them numerically and removing the numbers of any absentees.

At the same time, the clerk is making sure the color of the card matches the sex of the cat, pink for girls, blue for boys.


After organizing the numbers according to sex the ring clerk then puts up the numbers on each cage, making sure boys are never put next to one another.

After a judge completes the judging of each section of cats, the ring clerk marks the catalogue and takes down the numbers . . . replacing them with the next "batch".




The ring clerk must call each section of cats up to the ring.

As cats arrive, the clerk places a second call for anyone not present... or a third call for the truly tardy . . .




As the judge hangs the ribbons, the clerk marks each placement in the catalogue including transfers and absentees.




At the end of the show, the clerk gives the judge a fully marked catalogue.





The ring clerk checks the numbers on the judges finals sheet for mechanical accuracy to make sure that each cat is eligible for its award.


Before the finals are awarded, the ring clerk organizes the rosettes ready for the judge to award


You can see that the ring clerk has a lot of things to juggle in the course of a show. Plus, the clerks supervise the stewards, act as a liaison between the exhibitors and judge, and most ring clerks are also showing a cat or two of their own! And while they do get paid for clerking, usually $35/day, no clerk does the job for the bucks ;-).

So . . . what can YOU do to make the ring clerk's job easier?

Be Prompt To the Show Ring

Please try to bring your cat up promptly after the first call. It's easy to get distracted or involved in conversation and occasionally be late, and we do understand that – but please don't start the habit of always being "fashionably late" for every ring. If your cat is called just as she has decided to answer a call of nature, or something similar, just let the ring clerk know that you've heard the call, and will be up to the ring as soon as possible.

Absent Your Cat

If you end up leaving the show early, or perhaps don't bring a cat back the second day, please let the ring clerk know in advance. It saves us from making 3 or 4 calls for the cat, as well as helping know how many cages we really need to bring up a class of cats at a time.

Special Requests

Are you showing a male cat who's been getting all fussed at the girl next to him who's in heat? Or perhaps your kitty and the neighbor kitty have just taken a dislike to each other in a previous show ring? Please feel free to make special requests for your benching — just remember to make the request well in advance of the class being called up so that the ring clerk can adjust accordingly.

Questions or Comments for the Judge

Please direct any questions or comments for the judge through the ring clerk. We can then figure out the best time to pass them on without interrupting the flow of judging.

Wondering what you have to do to become a licensed Ring Clerk?

  1. Attend a clerking school
  2. Complete the appropriate number of "assist" assignments, with a satisfactory rating from the ring clerk - 4 assignments under 3 different clerks (US & Canada)
  3. Complete the appropriate number of "solo" assignments, with a satisfactory rating from the judge - 8 assignments under 6 different judges (US & Canada)
  4. Pay the annual licensing fee
  5. Take and pass the biennial clerking examination

About The Author: Author Kathy Durdick and her husband, Jon, breed and show Himalayans under the Ristokat prefix in Vancouver, WA.

Kathy became a ring clerk in CFA in May 1997.

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