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In both cat and dog shows you entere a new world when going and it is easiest to get to know when entering with a person that knows how it works,  while  going for the first time. Personally, I am happy to guide and advise in the world of exhibitions and, if possible, I can be a support at the first time. In the membership group of my puppies and kittens on the Facebook site, I sometimes ask if anyone is interested in going to a particular show and we might deside to go in larger group, which is a good opportunity to get to see the grown relatives.


As in all beauty contests, appearance is the a and o of everything, which is why washing is often in place before the show. The quality of the fur should be taken into account when considering the time of washing. For example, an border collie coat dries slowly and is therefore recommended to be washed a few days before the shows, the Norwegian forest cat needs a hint of roughness, so the coat just washed the day before may not succeed in the show while the ragdoll has to be taken almost right from the shower. 

In addition to the appearance, there are other things that should be considered when going to the exhibition. For dogs, this thing would be a standing practice, it can be taught to a dog as an easy trick, was this a straight to stand or set breed. Another thing is trotting, for all dogs that does not come naturally and it is good to practice at what pace the dog trottes and how the cooperation goes when the human trot next to it is involved.

In cats, on the other hand, the demonstration position is called stretching and this practice goes well with pressure relief. Once the cat is nicely in the position and does not wiggle, it gets away and gradually the time is extended. That way the cat doesn’t start rattling when presented to a judge. Judges can sometimes have tougher grips than how you handle your cat yourself, so it’s also a good idea to get used to how the judge goes through the cat, looking at the shape of head, length of tail excetera.

At the dog show, it is also important to dress yourself, in which case it is recommended to invest in it as well. Straight pants and a neat shirt already go a long way. In the cat show, not so much attention is paid to the owner's dressing, so you can go dressed how you wish.

When you go to the show for the first time, you shouldn't try to sweat too much, there is enough to digest in the show world even without it. Let the more experienced guid take care of that, then progress slowly. You will learn everything in time, don’t stress too much. Exhibitions are a hobby that is meant to be nice and fun. So don't take it too seriously.

1. The pet itself, without it you can of course go to admire the show, but you can't take part in the show without your pets.


2. A very, very important thing to remember is the vaccination certificate, you need it so that your pet can even participate in the show, please check that the vaccinations are up to date


3. For a dog show: Show leash, it is typically a thin (far too thin for my own taste) semi-strangling or strangling retriever leash
For the cat show: Curtains and base or sturdi. Your cat needs either curtains that are placed in a raised cage, instructions on how to make curtains can be found online (e.g. here:, if you are not handy they are also for sale (e.g. here: Another option is to bring a Sturdi - or exhibition cage with you. However, it must be remembered that the cage space is a certain length and a cage of any kind is not suitable for it. The cat should also be clearly visible so that spectators of the shows can come to admire the love packs.


4. Carrying case/Cage. You are not allowed to go to the toilet with your dog, so you have to have your own cage or booth, where you leave your dog for that time - hopefully under someone's control. A cat is not recommended to carry in your lap, even if a cage is available there. And it’s not worth taking a harness, even if it’s not actually banned. Admittedly, your progress may be quite slow and your cat may (quite certainly) get dirty along the way.


5. Water bowl. No animal should be left without water for long periods of time, so a bowl is needed. A bottle of water is also good to have, but not mandatory if you are willing to go up the toilet to fill the bowl when needed.

6. A litter box for cats. Stress can either increase the need for a toilet visit or decrease it, every cat should have possibility to go to their toilet. Of course, the box doesn’t have to be kept on display all the time to avoid the worst clutter (especially just before the evaluation). With a dog, instead, you need dog poop bags, in general, dogs have their own designated outdoor area in shows, it is worth finding out as soon as you arrive at the show.


7. Food bowl and food. Many shows share sample bags, and not all cats eat at the show (too stressful), but the food is still worth offering because it is very unhealthy for a cat not to eat for long periods of time. However, a yummy bag and yummies are enough for dogs, their digestion is slightly different from that of cats, and dogs tolerate being without food for longer periods of time.


8. Brush. It is recommended to brush their coat despite the preparations before going for the evaluation. At least in the case of a long-haired or semi-long-haired pets.


9. Lunch. You are going to stay in the exhibition site for a long time and usually the food there is expensive. Of course, if you can afford to pay for expensive food or can, in good conscience, leave a cat or dog under someone’s control and go eating somewhere further, then no worries. However, because of the exhibition, it is not worth fainting or starving.


10. Cash. If you want to buy something at the show, you should have at least some cash. Most of the points also carry a card mashine, but many still have a cash policy. If you are thinking of shopping it is miserable to find that exactly what you would like to buy is only available for cash and the vending machine is several miles away.


However, if you want to start hibernating, then the list of things needed in the show will grow quite a bit.

  • Kitchen paper and wet wipes are useful in many situations (when disinfecting a table, if a pet vomits, the coat gets a little dirty from something, if you eat something yourself and your fingers get dirty - although hand washing is better, etc.)

  • Towel and hair dryer if the wonderful hairball gets diarrhea just before the review and has to be washed. If these aren’t there at the moment then I can say with experience that crying is about to get away. In a dog, a full wash may not work as well, but the paws may need to be wiped.

  • Talc. When you handle a pet with nervous hands, it may be that your palms are sweating and the coat will look greasy - looking like it hasn’t been washed at all. Oh, the joy if, as such, you take your pet to the show. That's why it's good to have talc. NOTE! It should be fat free.

  • Don’t pet the cat - tag or give space - notice, it’s amazing how many adults ’fingers are also penetrating inside the cage unless there’s a tag that says touching a pet is forbidden. And even so, someone may be eager to make contact with your pet. Also, when passing people, the dog is easily pawed if it is on a leash. Even if the dog is kind, it is not fair that hands may suddenly come from every direction to touch without the dog having time to be prepared.

  • Disinfectant, a table with a cat cage, is recommended to be disinfected just because of the risk of disease. For the same reason, before and after contact with other animals, it is good to use a disinfectant.

  • Sähköisyydenpoistaja. Oh, those wonderful winter shows, when your pet gets all electric and the hair gets upright even if the hair ball doesn't  rattle / growl or tension.

  • Something that attaches the number tag to both yourself and the cat's cage. Even without it, many of the exhibition venues have rubber bands or metal wire to attach the tags, but of course it looks cooler if the tag has its own plastic case that can be attached to the sleeve. At a dog show, this is even more important as the number plates are distributed in advance and must be printed yourself.

  • In the summer heat a fan. The show venues are surprisingly hot, and cats, like dogs, don’t have very many means of chilling.

  • Hide. Some cats are stressed by shows and a nest where they can hide can help - a dog with its own cage or mat that has been trained to it to calm down.

  • Toys. The cat can be entertained with toys and this way it also relaxes better and gets a better experience from the show, the same goes for dogs. One rope toy or ball can save a situation, but it can also ruin it - think carefully about the situation in which hiring a dog with a toy is good. In shows, not all dogs are quite as well trained as one might hope.

  • Tour chair. The day is long, at some point it can be nice to sit and lean against something.

  • You can always ask someone if you don’t know something and discuss things, in my experience there are always people on site who are happy to help and borrow items when needed. So don’t stress too much but enjoy the new experience. However, the most important things to bring in are a happy mind as well as patience. Much of the show is waiting, and impatience won’t help. 

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