What is the proper etiquette for spectators at a cat show?

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The rules of behavior expected of spectators at a cat show are extremely important. The first commandment is quite simple: “Look. Don’t touch.” You’ll be seeing absolutely gorgeous cats, and the urge to pet them can be overwhelming. Don’t even think about it.

Without realizing it, you’re carrying dangerous bacteria and viruses on your hands that can infect the cat or cats you touch and then be spread to others. Even the judges disinfect their hands before they touch one of the contestants. If an owner is kind enough to invite you to pet one of the cats, expect to be asked to wash your hands first, and do so without complaint. You’re being paid a very high compliment, and one that is not often conveyed.

Secondly, be aware of the right of way in the show hall. Exhibitors have to be able to move quickly when they are called to the show ring. Do not block the aisle, and make way for anyone carrying a cat.

If you hear the announcement, “Loose cat,” freeze. Don’t try to help. The doors of the hall will be instantly closed. Let the show people deal with the animal. If you spot the errant feline, point it out to the search team, but do not approach the cat.

When you are close to the judging ring, be quiet. Do not speak loudly, or do anything that will disturb the cats or distract the attention of the judges. No matter how fascinating you find the whole show, remember, this is serious business for the participants.

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