Cat shows

Cat shows

Cat shows a spectators guide.

Going to a cat show can be very exciting. First decide on a show to attend. The International Cat Association’s (TICA) website, has a show calendar listing all their shows around the world and where they are located. A Bengal congress is always a favourite choice for Bengal enthusiasts. Hopefully you will also be able to meet silver Bengal breeders. So find a show near you or a place where you would like to visit!
Here I will discuss TICA cat shows.

Once you’re at the show

Once you are there feel free to browse the show hall and look at the cats. Please don’t touch the cats without the owners permission though.

Judging rings

There are typically four to twelve rings, depending on the show. If there is a congress, find out when the congress will be judged to avoid missing it. Behind the judging table you will find the cats that are currently being judged in that ring. In front of the judging rings there are chairs for spectators and exhibitors to watch the judging.
Some judges will address the crowd and even allow questions, but others will not. Let the exhibitors and judge guide you before asking questions during the judging.

Each cat is judged according to the written breed standard. Each judge has learnt the standard in order to make the best evaluation of the cat presented. The standard is worth a total of 100 points. It is broken down into sections and a set number of points is allocated to each section.
How well the cat meets the breed standard determines how well the cat does in the judging ring. TICA’s points allocations are as follows:

HEAD                                               35 

Shape                 6

Ears                    6

Eyes                    5

Chin                    3

Muzzle               4

Nose                   2

Profile                6

Neck                   3

BODY                                              30

Torso                   5

Legs                     4

Feet                      4

Tail                       5

Boning                 6

Musculature       6


Texture                 10

Pattern                  15

Colour                   10

The judge will assign points based on how closely the cat meets the written description for each section.



Brown Tabby, Seal Sepia Tabby, Seal Mink Tabby, Seal Lynx Point, Black Silver Tabby, Seal Silver Sepia Tabby, Seal Silver Mink Tabby, Seal Silver Lynx Point, Spotted, marbled, charcoal spotted and charcoal marbled patterns ONLY.




Broad modified wedge with rounded contours. Longer than it is wide. Slightly small in proportion to body, but not to be taken to extreme. The skull behind the ears makes a gentle curve and flows into the neck. Allowance to be made for jowls in adult males. Overall look of the head should be as distinct from the domestic cat as possible.


Medium to small, relatively short, with wide base and rounded tops. Set as much on side as top of head, following the contour of the face in the front view, and pointing forward in the profile view. Light horizontal furnishings acceptable; lynx tipping undesirable.


Oval, almost round. Large, but not bugged. Set wide apart, back into face, and on slight bias toward base of ear. Eye colour independent of coat colour except in the lynx points. The more richness and depth of colour the better.


Strong chin, aligns with tip of nose in profile.


Full and broad, with large prominent whisker pads and high, pronounced cheekbones. Slight muzzle break at the whisker pads.


Large and wide; slightly puffed nose leather.


Curve of the forehead should flow into the bridge of the nose with no break. Bridge of nose extends above the eyes; the line of the bridge extends to the nose tip, making a very slight, to nearly straight, concave curve.


Long substantial, muscular; in proportion to the head and body.



Long and substantial, not oriental or foreign. Medium to large (but not quite as large as the largest domestic breed).


Medium length, slightly longer in the back than in the front.


Large, round, with prominent knuckles.


Medium length, thick, tapered at the end with a rounded tip.


Sturdy, firm; never delicate.


Very muscular, especially in the males, one of the most distinguishing features.



Short to medium. Allowance for slightly longer coat in kittens.


Dense and luxurious, close lying, unusually soft and silky to the touch.


Spotted, Marbled, Charcoal Spotted, Charcoal Marbled Spotted. Charcoal spotted/marbled

Spots shall be random or aligned
horizontally. Rosettes showing two distinct colours or shades, such as paw print shaped, arrowhead shaped, doughnut or half-doughnut shaped or clustered are preferred to single spotting, but not required.

Contrast with ground colour must be extreme, giving distinct pattern and sharp edges. Strong bold chin strap and mascara markings desirable. Virtually white undersides and belly desirable. Blotchy horizontal should streaks, spotted legs, and spotted or rosetted tail are desirable. Belly must be spotted.

MARBLED: See TICA Uniform Colour Description (
CHARCOAL SPOTTED/MARBLE: See TICA Uniform Colour Description (71.8.3).


Brown Tabby: All variations of brown are allowed. Markings various shades of brown to black. Light spectacles encircling the eyes and a virtually white ground color on the whisker pads, chin, chest, belly and inner legs are desirable.

Seal Sepia Tabby, Seal Mink Tabby, and Seal Lynx Point Tabby:

Pattern can be various shades of brown. There should be very little difference inbetween the color of the body (pattern) markings and point color.

GENERAL: The goal of the Bengal breeding program is to create a domestic cat which has physical features distinctive to the small forest dwelling wildcats, and with the loving, dependable temperament of the domestic cat.
Keeping this goal in mind, judges shall give special merit to those characteristics in the appearance of the Bengal which are distinct from those found in other domestic cat breeds. A Bengal cat is an athletic animal, alert to its surroundings; a friendly, curious, confident cat with strength, agility, balance and grace. It is a medium to large which exhibits a very muscular and solid build.

Its wide nose with prominent whisker pads and large oval, almost round eyes in a slightly small head enhance the wild appearance and expressive nocturnal look. Its very slight, to nearly straight, concave profile and relatively short ears with wide base and rounded tips add to the Bengal’s distinctive and unique appearance.

The short, dense coat has a uniquely soft and silky feel. The coat may be glittered or not glittered, with neither type to be given preference. A thick, low-set, medium-length tail adds balance to the cat.

ALLOWANCES: Smaller size, in balanced proportion of females. Slightly longer coat in kittens. Jowls in adult males. Eyes slightly almond shaped. Mousy undercoat. Paw pads not consistent with color group description.

PENALIZE: Spots on body running together vertically forming a mackerel tabby pattern on spotted cats; circular bulls-eye pattern on marbled cats; substantially darker point color (as compared to color of body markings) in Seal Sepia, Seal Mink, or Seal Lynx Point cats EXCEPT in the case of any Charcoal Sepia, Charcoal Mink or Charcoal Lynx Point cats. Any distinct locket on the neck, chest, abdomen or any other area.


Belly not patterned. Temperament must be unchallenging; any sign of definite challenge shall disqualify. The cat may exhibit fear, seek to flee, or generally complain
aloud but may not threaten to harm. In accordance with Show Rules,

Belly not patterned. Temperament must be unchallenging; any sign of definite challenge shall disqualify. The cat may exhibit fear, seek to flee, or generally complain aloud but may not threaten to harm.

The Judge will often check the confirmation of the cat and be sure that the cat is structurally sound. Cats that are not structurally sound will be disqualified and the owner will be asked to see the judge after judging has been completed to discuss any problems noted.


A silver cat being held out by a judge at a cat show. The judge is smiling.

Silverstorm Wild boy being judged by US TICA judge Francine Hicks.


The judge will confirm  that the cat is not cow-hocked (knock-kneed and make sure that the cat is in optimal condition and well groomed.

The tail must be free from any structural faults, for example kinks, as well as meet the standards description.

Cat shows. A judge is feeling a silver bengals tail for kinky, at a cat show.

Judge Francesca Gagern checking RW SGCH Silverstorm The Maharajahs Cat’s tail.


If we read through the breed standard above, it is easier to understand exactly what the judge is looking for while judging each cat. It becomes clearer what the criteria is for the cat to place in a certain order and possibly go on to receive a ribbon or be disqualified.

Not every judge will see things the same way , despite the fact that the standard is the same for each cat of the breed. Each person may interpret things a bit differently. Perception comes into play as well as personal definitions of words and phrases, and personal preferences.

A judge will use teasers and wands in order to relax and also to place the cat in a desired position to evaluate him or her. There is also a tall pole on the table for the cats to stretch out on, making the experience a fun one. A show cat is generally complacent to the components of judging and a good temperament is a must for a show cat.

Bengals are also judged according to divisions (colour and pattern). Therefore, all brown spotted tabbies are judged against each other. All brown marbled tabbies are judged against each other. All seal spotted lynx points are judged against each other, etc. After the divisions  are all judged and the cats have received their placements, then the judge once again goes over his or her notes and determines which cat was the best over all divisions.

Once the points are tallied, the judge calls the “finals”. This is where all the cats in the show with the highest scores from his or her ring, including cats of all other breeds, come back to the ring for their overall show placements according to this judge. the finals will typically have cats of various breeds, unless it was a Bengal congress . In a Bengal congress all the finals would go to the top scoring Bengals in order of their placement scores.

Ribbons (rosettes) will then be awarded to each cat in the final starting from 10th position 10th Best cat, to 1st position, 1st Best cat.

I have shown many of my cats with TICA including RW Supreme Grand Champion Silverstorm the Maharajahs Cat.

Rajah achieved 17th Best shorthair cat of the year and Best silver spotted Bengal in Western Europe region in 2013

He was also 3rd Best black silver spotted Bengal in the world in 2012 and 2013.


cat shows. A silver Bengal standing in front of a wall hung with different coloured rosettes which he won at cat shows.

Rajah showing off some of his rosettes!







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