Edinburgh & East of Scotland Cat Club

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Everything you wanted to ask (and more!) about shows

What happens at a show?

Adult and Neuters are 9 months or over on show day.  As ‘neuter’ implies, those cats are neutered whereas Adult cats are not – they are ‘entire’.

Kittens are under 9 months on show day regardless of if they are neutered or not.

The GCCF divides pedigree cat breeds into 6 sections: Each breed is in a specific section, for example Siamese are in Section 6.

There is also a Household Pet section, comprising Pedigree Pets and Non-Pedigree pets.

If you want to know more about which breed is in which section, visit the GCCF: https://www.gccfcats.org/breeding-cats/new-to-breeding/registration-policies/gems-codes

Almost any cat or kitten can be shown as long as it is confident and outgoing, so being handled by strangers, the presence of other cats, and the public won’t distress it.  This applies equally to Pedigrees and to Household Pets.

Pedigree cats are judged against their Standard of Points.  In addition, they must be well-groomed and in excellent condition.  For them, it’s first and foremost a beauty show.

Household pets are judged on temperament, and again condition and grooming – it’s a purr-sonality contest!

It is!  However, we have software to help.  Our show uses the GCCF’s STAR system, which is fully integrated with their registry of cat details.

There is a huge amount of additional information on the Shows and Events section of the GCCF’s Website.

How do I get ready to show my cat or kitten?

If your cat or kitten is a pedigree this isn’t a problem – he or she will enter as an Adult.

However, if he or she will be shown as a Household Pet and will be 6 or over months on show day, he or she must be neutered before show day.  We recommend doing that as soon as you can

Make sure you have transferred ownership to yourself at least 10 days before the show.  You must have their Registration Certificate (an A6 card) to hand, and there is a small fee.  Methods of transfer are:

  • Online via your GCCF account;
  • Phone the Office on 01278 427575. Make your you have his or her Registration Certificate to hand as you will have to provide some information from it.  You pay the transfer fee by card;

Fill in the back of the Registration Certificate and post the card with the current fee of £12 to the office address on the back of card.  If you use this method, allow time for the card to reach the Office.

If you haven’t transferred ownership of your cat or kitten to yourself, you should do that first – see above.  Then:

  • Log in to your GCCF account, go to ‘My cats’ and click their green ‘Select’ button;
  • Click the orange ‘Mark as pedigree pet’ button’;
  • Follow the instructions;

All Household Pets over 6 months must be neutered, so you might need to mark your cat or kitten as neutered first.

  • Log in to your GCCF account, go to ‘My Cats’ and click the green ‘Add household pet’ button;
  • Follow the instructions;
  • If you don’t know the exact date of birth you must add an approximation;

The GEMS code can be complicated – see below!

If you add a Household Pet you will have to give a GEMS code for it – when marking as cat as a Pedigree Pet it is filled in for you.

There is a ‘Help on GEMS’ button, but if GEMS codes are new to you it might be confusing.  So, here is a basic guide for Non-Pedigree cats and kittens – these are cats and kittens which do not resemble a Pedigree Breed:

  • A GEMS code is a series of codes separated with a space, for example NPS n 03 – this cat is a black & white shorthair.  Another is NPS f – this cat is a black tortie;
  • The first code will be NPS for a Non-Pedigree Shorthair or NPL for a Non Pedigree Longhair / SLH;
  • The next code is a lower-case letter for its colour:
    • If your cat is black, or black or brown tabby (with or with white) use an ‘n’;
    • If it’s blue (grey) or blue tabby use an ‘a’;
    • If she is a black tortie or calico, use an ‘f’;
    • If she is a blue tortie or calico, use a ‘g’.
  • If he or she has white, add ’09’.
  • If he or she is a tabby or tortie-tabby, add ’21’.

If you have any problems with this, contact the Show Team and we will help.  We may well need to see a photo or photos of your cat or kitten but most owners have lots and lots of these and love sharing them!

Don’t worry if it’s wrong, we can get it changed.

We strongly recommend that you create one as:

  • You can enter our show (and all other STAR shows) directly;
  • You can manage the details of your cats without needing to make phone calls and/or send letters;
  • If you are a breeder, you can register your kittens online.

Creating your account is both easy and free.  Go to the GCCF’s website and follow the instructions.  You will receive an activation email with a link you need to follow before you can log in to your new account.

Make sure his or her vaccinations are up-to-date – see the GCCF’s Vaccination Rules for Shows.  Note that they will check the cat’s details vaccination card matches those on the vetting-in envelope.

If your cat is a neutered male it’s worth writing that on the card as well, as it saves the vet trying to check for their non-existent testicles at vetting in!

Make sure you have a secure cat carrier.  We recommend the wire top-loaders, like your vet uses.  They are not only secure but very long-lived – we know of one going strong after 25 years.


If you are thinking of bringing more than one cat or kitten, each should have their own carrier, and a trolley or a friend helps get you and your felines to the show.

Some sort of bag to take your show kit in is pretty well essential.  Cabin bags with wheels are popular, and not overly expensive.

Cats have ‘show whites’ in their pens – white blanket(s), a white litter tray and a white water bowl.  If you don’t have any ‘show whites’ you can buy them online, or at the show.

If your cat is being shown as a Pedigree, he or she needs the correct coat preparation.  The best person to advise you is his or her breeder.

Shorthair Household Pets must be clean – white areas might need washing – and their coats should be combed right through the day before the show.  Be wary of over-grooming though, as it can bring some cats out in showers of dandruff especially in the spring.

Longhair Household Pets may well need an all-over bath a few days before the show to ensure each hair is separate.  However, before any cat is bathed it must be free of knots and mats as getting them wet makes them worse.  These cats need regular – usually daily – grooming to prevent them forming, especially in the ‘problem’ areas – underneath, ruff, tail & britches.

How do I enter your show?

The Schedule lists all the classes and allocated judges.  It also contains a lot more information about entering the show, and what cats and/or kittens can enter various types of class.

We will have some printed copies of the Schedule.  If you want one, please contact the Show Team.

As long as your cat or kitten appears in ‘My cats’ in your online account, entry is very easy, and the GCCF provides online instructions.  The process is the same for both Pedigrees and Household Pets.

Once your entry is complete you will receive an acknowledgement by email.

If you have any problems with this, please contact the Show Team.

Please contact the Show Team and we will post you a copy of the Schedule, which includes the entry form.

Fill them it and return it, including payment.  If you prefer you can pay by BACs using ‘SHOW’ plus your surname as the reference.  Please do that before posting your entry.

If you want an acknowledgement, please include a SAE (or postcard).

If you are entering via STAR, it’s very easy as you are presented with the right breed and higher classes.  The only classes STAR can’t do that with are the Debutante – first show under GCCF rules – and Radius / Visitor.  Radius is for exhibitors living in Edinburgh, Fife and the Lothians.  Everyone else is a Visitor.

Also, you must be a member of the Club to enter your cat(s) in a Club class.

If you have entered but not yet paid, you will get a reminder 72 hours after entering, and also on the closing date of the show.  If you have paid via BACs or a cheque, please contact the Show team.

What happens just before and on Show Day?

The day before.  Make sure you have:

  • Your cat or kitten’s vaccination cards;
  • Some of his or her usual litter;
  • Some feed, though most many & kittens don’t eat at shows;

Our venue has catering, but you might prefer to bring your own lunch, drinks and snacks.  You might also want a lightweight portable chair so you can sit with your cat in the afternoon.

Vetting in (see below) starts at 8am and continues until 10am.  Arriving by 9am gives you plenty of time to get through vetting, and find and setup your pen.

On your way in to the show you will go past someone sat at a table handing out envelopes.  Each envelope is printed with your name, address, and a list of the cat(s) you have entered complete with their pen number(s) and the classes they are entered in.

The vet starts by checking you cat’s vaccination card.  Then they give the cat a brief health check – eyes, ears, mouth, coat, bottom, and for entire males that they can feel two testicles.  They also check there are no sharp tips on claws, and if necessary will remove them.

The pens are all numbered, and at the end of each row is a poster with what numbers are in that run.  Once you have found your pen put the show kit in before putting your cat or kitten in.  Make sure they have some water – they probably won’t drink any but it’s required.  Give them cuddles and a final quick groom.  At 10am you have to leave the hall for judging.

Contact the Show Team

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