The Meaning of The Ribbons At A CFA Cat Show

Spanish Translation / Traducción Español

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Spectators and new exhibitors are often confused by the parade of ribbons hanging on a cat's cage after a judge is done... How often have you heard someone say in a confused voice, "But how can they ALL be first place?"

So, let's take the mystery out of the process, and look at things step by step...

Each breed of cat at the show is first judged separately.

  • The cats within a breed are divided into classes.
  • The classes are grouped by color.
  • Within each color the cats are divided by sex.
  • As adults, each color and sex is divided into 3 classes: Whole cats compete in the Championship category and are divided into Open, Champion and Grand Champion. Neutered and Spay cats compete in premiership and are divided into Open, Premier and Grand Premier.
The first thing a judge will do is to judge all the cats that are the SAME color, SAME sex, and SAME competition class.

Once a judge has handled all the cats in a given category, he will hang up to three ribbons:

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Kittens, Championship cats and Premiership cats are each judged completely separately from one another.

KITTENS: All kittens are between the ages of 4 and 8 months and are divided within the breed by sex and color only.

OPENS: Once a kitten turns 8 months of age, it is considered to be an adult and begins its adult show career in the OPEN class in either the Championship or Premiership Classes, divided into its appropriate class by color and sex. The winner of the OPEN class, both male and female, receives the blue first place ribbon AND a red-white-and-blue striped ribbon called a Winner's Ribbon.

CHAMPIONS: Once an open cat receives 6 winner's ribbons it has earned its Champion/Premier title and moves into the Champion/Premier class.

GRANDS: Once a champion earns 200 points or a Premier earns 75 points, it becomes a Grand Champion/Premier and is judged in the Grand Class.

Once the judge has hung the 1-2-3 placements in each class of all the various sex/competition of a particular color, he will go back and look at ALL the cats of that particular color. He will hang 2 ribbons: Best of Color and 2nd Best of Color

Best of Color
(Black Ribbon)

2nd Best of Color
(White Ribbon)

The judge repeats the process for each color division in the breed. Once the judge has finished handling all the cats in a particular breed or division, then the fun begins!

The judge will now choose his best of Breed and 2nd Best of Breed.


Best of Breed/Division
(Brown Ribbon)

Second Best of Breed/Division
(Orange Ribbon)

Best Champion/Premier
(Purple Ribbon)

In addition, if there are any champions or premiers in the class, the judge will select the best one and hang a Best Champion/Premier ribbon.

Upon completion of judging all of the cats in a category (Kittens, Championship or Premiership), the judge will hold a FINAL during which rosettes will be presented to the Top Ten Cats or Kittens.

As you can see, a winning cat can earn quite a few ribbons!

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