GCCF Cat Shows and Classes

Nearly all GCCF shows are Championship shows. They range in size from those put on by small clubs for a single breed, to some that cater for a collection of breeds and/or colours, perhaps based on a breed group such as Persian, or hair length or type, such as the Short Haired Cat Society or the Rex Cat Association; through to the largest known as All Breed Shows which must cater for breeds in all sections recognised by GCCF, to be classified as such.


The Championship Shows are organised by the GCCF clubs. The type will depend on whether the club is a breed club, catering specifically for the single breed or breed group designated in the club name, or an area club, which are the type usually responsible for the larger All Breed Shows and welcome cats not only from the immediate locality but from throughout the country, and abroad if owners wish to make the journey.


On a number of occasions there may be ‘back to back’ shows held at the same venue. A single breed club, or collection of small clubs, may share a venue with an area club, or two area clubs may hold their shows at the same place on the same day. Each show is under its own show management and so awards its own certificates to count towards titles. The clubs share facilities, costs and judges; and exhibitors are able to enter two shows consecutively and achieve awards at each. They have proved popular.

Exemption Shows

These can be considered "fun" shows and are held by special license with GCCF, such as when an Agricultural Show wishes to include a competitive exhibition of cats. They are usually small and they do not have to put on separate classes for all breeds. This means that they may have a single Open class for all colours of Persian, or the Siamese and Burmese might find that they are competing against one another!


There are no certificates to be awarded, no titles to be won, but you will often see Champions or even Grand Champions supporting an Exemption Show, especially if it is being run by a specialist breed club, just to enjoy the relaxed, fun atmosphere and a great day out.

Awards at Championship Shows

Championship Shows are the serious shows of the Cat Fancy whether they are All Breed Shows with classes for every breed recognised by the GCCF; or specialist shows with classes for a breed group or just a single breed. There are certificates to win that count towards titles, Best Of Breed awards (BOB) for the best adult, kitten and neuter of each breed and often Best of Variety (BOV) for section winners and/or Best In Show (BIS) for the overall winners of the day.


Each breed has its own Breed Classes. There are separate classes for Male and Female in Adults, Neuters, and Kittens. Kitten classes are for kittens with a minimum age of 14 weeks up to nine calendar months old when they become adult. These kitten classes may be split by sex or age at larger shows, or even both ways if there is a big entry. At specialist breed shows kittens may also be split by colour.


Adult and Neuter Open classes are not split further at Championship Shows, no matter how big the entry, unless this split has been approved in advance by the GCCF Board when the club applies for its show license. The cats in these classes are placed in order of merit, from 1st to 4th; in big classes even 5th, 6th, Very Highly Commended, Highly Commended and Commended may be given if the show offers prizes for these placings and the judge wishes to give them.


The winners of the Adult Breed classes will, if considered by the judge to be of sufficient quality, be awarded a Challenge Certificate. Similarly, the winners of Neuter Breed classes are awarded Premier Certificates. Three Challenge or Premier Certificates awarded by three different judges make a cat a Champion or Premier respectively.


Once a Champion or Premier the cat must be entered in the Grand Champion or Grand Premier class. There are not "Grand" classes for each breed - just one or two per show section - and only a Grand Challenge/Grand Premier Certificate and a Reserve Grand Challenge/Grand Premier Certificate are awarded per class - provided the judges consider the cats worthy of these high awards. Three Grand Challenge/Grand Premier Certificates from three different judges make the cat up to Grand Champion or Grand Premier.


Grand Champions and Grand Premiers must compete for the title of Imperial Grand Champion/Premier. There is just one class for each category per section, and to obtain the title a cat has to gain Imperial Certificates from 5 different judges. Imperial winners can aim higher still and compete for an Olympian Certificate. These cats will be against other Imperial Champions or Imperial Premiers with just 4 certificates offered per show, as males and females compete separately in each category. In pursuit of an Olympian title, and bronze silver and gold can be obtained, a cat must win 4 of the 5 certificates needed for each level at All Breed Shows, and all 5 of the certificates at each level must be awarded by different judges.


The second placed cat of the class is eligible for a Reserve Grand, Imperial Grand or Olympian Certificate. This means that if the winner is disqualified, the Reserve Certificate winner will be awarded the appropriate Olympian/Imperial/Grand Certificate, which will count towards a title. No further placings are made in these classes, even if the certificates are withheld.


A cat keeps any titles achieved when it is neutered, but start again at premier level, however high its title gained as an adult.


When the appropriate number of certificates has been won from the specified number of judges, the owner has to apply to the GCCF Office for their title giving details of their cat's name, breed number, breeder's name, owner's name and address together with the names and dates of the qualifying shows and awarding judges' names. All claims are acknowledged and, periodically, a list of title winners is published on the GCCF's website. http://www.gccfcats.org/claims.html


Cats of Provisional status breeds also have their own breed classes. The certificate on offer is an Intermediate Certificate. These cats of Provisional status may also enter a show to be considered for Best of Breed only. This does help to keep the top quality cats of a provisional breed in the public eye and these cats may also be considered for Best of Variety or Best In Show.


Preliminary status breeds compete in Assessment Classes, where each cat is judged against its standard of points and awarded a Merit Certificate if it is good enough. They will also be placed and a Best Of Breed awarded and with the winner of this considered for BOV and/or BIS.


Again, these certificates help the new breed to progress. They also compete in Miscellaneous and Club classes against other Provisional or Championship breeds in their section which is very useful when applying for promotion as it is a clear indication of the viability of a new breed to succeed in general competition at a show.

Household Pets at Championship Shows

Since June 1st 2009, the Household Pet Section can be divided into two groups. These operate independently and affiliated clubs are able to include one or both groups at their Championship Shows.


The Non-Pedigree Pet group is comprised of unregistered cats from unregistered or unknown parents. They are of traditional "moggie" appearance either Long, Semi-Long or Shorthaired.


The Pedigree Pet group is comprised of cats of pedigree appearance with known or unknown pedigree, full or half pedigree background. These are cats that are as well loved and cared for as any other Household Pet and can now be shown and compete for titles under rules agreed in Council The requirements for showing BOTH groups of Household Pets is that all are judged by the same criteria for the quality of their Presentation, Condition, Temperament and Personality. In the Pedigree Pet section no prefixes or titles are to be used. Cats will be entered either by their pet name or, if registered, the registered name without the prefix may be used. No reference will be made to breed numbers or descriptions and all Household Pets aged 6 months and over must be neutered. The classes provided in both groups are defined by coat length, colour and pattern.


The classes offering titles are administered by Lesley Szwed, 35 Potton Close, Barn End, Coventry, CV3 3EA and it is to her that exhibitors make their claim for titles. Owners must include their cat's name, colour, sex and age, together with the names and dates of the qualifying shows, the awarding judges' names and photocopies of the relevant certificates. All claims are acknowledged and, periodically, a list of Master Cats etc will be published on the GCCF website.


The GCCF titles in the Household Pet Section are:




The title Master Cat (MC) shall be attained by the awarding of three Master Cat certificates by three different judges at participating Championship or Sanction shows licensed by the GCCF.




The title Grand Master Cat (GMC) shall be attained by the awarding of three Grand Master Cat certificates by three different judges at participating Championship or Sanction Shows licensed by the GCCF.




The title Imperial Grand Master Cat (IGM) shall be attained by the awarding of five Imperial Grand Master Cat certificates by five different judges at participating Championship or Sanction Shows licensed by the GCCF.




The title Olympian Imperial Grand Master Cat is won when five Olympian IGM Certificates are gained from different judges. At least 4 of these must be gained at All Breed Shows. Once five are achieved then the cat is a Bronze Olympian IGM. If five more are achieved to the same criteria (though the judges may be the same as at the lower level) then the award is Silver, another five and the cat becomes a Gold Olympian Imperial Grand Master Cat; the highest accolade.


It is important for Show Managers, Judges and Exhibitors to remember Household Pets do not have a standard of points but are judged on condition, presentation and temperament. If all the cats in the class are in tip-top sparkling condition and purring their heads off, the winner is the one the judge likes best!


Some shows have elected not to include the GCCF Household Pet Classes and in these cases the club or show committee choose their own Open Classes but no certificates are offered and no GCCF recognised titles can be won.

The GCCF Supreme Show

Unlike most other shows the GCCF's Supreme Show has no miscellaneous or club classes; it does, however, have classes other shows do not have. There are four Adult Open classes for each championship status breed: Champion Male and Female classes for full Champions, the winners being eligible for Grand Challenge Certificates and Pre-Champion Male and Female classes for cats with one or two Certificates or who have qualified as kittens, competing for Challenge Certificates. The same applies to the neuter classes which are split into Premier and Pre-Premier classes for males and females.


Cats which are already Grand Champions do not compete in these classes but in special classes for Grand Champions, Imperial Grand Champions, UK Grand Champions and UK & Imperial Grand Champions only, the winner being eligible for a UK Grand Challenge Certificate. Grand Premiers, Imperial Grand Premiers, UK Grand Premiers and UK & Imperial Grand Premiers compete for a UK Grand Premier Certificate. In these classes several breeds may compete together. UK Grand Certificates are only awarded at the Supreme Show; two such Certificates from different judges give the cat the title of UK Grand Champion/Premier or UK & Imperial Grand Champion/Premier if it has additionally gained that title. There is no Reserve UK Grand Challenge/Premier Certificate.


Even a UK Grand Champion starts afresh when he or she is neutered, hoping eventually to gain the coveted new double title of UK & Imperial Grand Champion & UK & Imperial Grand Premier - something to aim for now there are several cats holding the title UK Grand Champion & UK Grand Premier! Best of Breed winners at the Supreme Show do not get certificates but compete against the other BOB winners in their section for Best of Variety and be one of the 21 top cats of the day.


The seven Best of Variety Adults (Persian, Semi-Longhair, British, Foreign, Burmese, Oriental and Siamese) compete for Supreme Adult, the seven kittens for Supreme Kitten and the seven neuters for Supreme Neuter.


Finally, the Supreme Adult, Supreme Kitten and Supreme Neuter compete against each other for the honour of being judged Supreme Exhibit. The Adult and the Neuter can add the coveted word "Supreme" to their title, for the kitten, there is no title - just the honour, a very large rosette and a silver trophy to hold for a year!


Provisional Status Breeds at The Supreme


Cats of Provisional status breeds also compete at the Supreme Show, but as they cannot win titles their classes are not divided into Champion and Pre-Champion. The Intermediate Certificate winners and Kitten class winners are considered for Best of Breed, as with the Championship status breeds, and the BOB winners go forward to compete against the Championship status breeds for Best of Variety.


Preliminary Status Breeds at The Supreme


As at other Championship shows, there are Assessment classes at the Supreme Show, with Merit Certificates on offer. The cats are also placed with the best awarded a BOB and going forward to compete in the Best of Variety ring.


Household Pets at the GCCF Supreme Show


Household Pets also have their own section at the Supreme Show for both Pedigree and Non-Pedigree Pets. As in the Pedigree Section there are special Open Classes unique to the Supreme Show. There are Pre-Master Cat, Master Cat and Grand Master Cat Classes in both sections for cats to enter at their relevant level. For the first time in 2009 Household Pets with the title Grand Master were able to compete at the GCCF Supreme Show to win a UK Grand Master Certificate!


The winners of their Open classes will compete for Best of Breed and then for Best of Group with special prizes offered for these categories in both sections.


There will be two Overall Best in Show winners for the for the Household Pet Section at the Supreme Show, they will be Supreme Non-Pedigree Exhibit and the Supreme Pedigree Pet Exhibit and each will win a Supreme Trophy. The winners will also be able to include the coveted "Supreme" in their title. It is the ultimate accolade that a Household Pet is called a Supreme, UK and Gold Olympian Imperial Grand Master Cat!