The World Comes to Cleveland

The world of cats that is.

The Cat Fanciers Association held the International Cat Show at the IX Center in Cleveland. Almost a thousand cats from all over the world came to show. Of the 45 breeds CFA recognizes, all but the LaPerm had a representative. Ten thousand feline enthusiasts stopped by over the weekend to appreciate the cats and enjoy all the activities that go on during the show.

CFA banner with cats at international show

Plush and I went for the first time this year and let me tell you it is an experience like no other. CFA sure knows how to throw a party to celebrate our love for our cats. It’s an extravaganza sponsored by Royal Canin. 

I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve driving out there. Just the words 1000 cats of all breeds from all over was exciting. My household pet class alone had 37 cats registered. It’s the biggest event and the longest trip we’ve ever done.

Fellow exhibitors from all over that I talk to on social media would be there (and maybe I could pet a cat I have a huge crush on.)

I really was just excited to be a part of it but since one of Plush’s favorite judges was evaluating our class I hoped to maybe get a final.

The Show

We had to stop on the side of the road to take pictures of the venue when we arrived. I expected a big place but not this big. They used to assemble 747s in this place. It’s huge!  If you go to the show wear comfortable shoes, you will definitely get your steps in. (Don’t mind my EZ-Pass in the photo.)

  • Outside shot of IX Center where CFA International Cat Show was

There are two complete 8 ring shows running simultaneously over the two days. You can follow a favorite cat or breed or watch your favorite judges.

The long walks to the rings and back was the worst part for Plush. He’s not usually nervous at shows anymore but the sheer size of the space and the crowd got to him. He’s never been in a show this size before.

Male judge evaluates a black Persian


What do you see besides 1000 cats being judged? How about an agility competition? Several cats competed for best time around the typical course over the two days. The winning competitor was an occicat from my region with a time of 9.28 seconds.
Silver tabby cat performing in agility ring

If agility and well trained cats are your thing, the Savitsky Cats of America’s Got Talent performed both days. 1000 people watched the cats perform at the Saturday afternoon show. I got a third row seat Sunday morning. They were very impressive. The cats can do some really involved tricks. The part I liked best was when they introduced the cats. They really understand their personalities and respect that sometimes they just aren’t in the mood.

Savitsky Cats performing at the CFA International Cat Show two cats leap frogging on a beam with woman handler


As you walk back to the benching areas, you’ll go through the vendor area. Hopefully you brought your credit card and some cash. Definitely be prepared to shop from the over 70 vendor booths.

Woman shopping from cat toy vendor

You can find everything from cat trees, toys of all sorts for your kitties, new beds and health and wellness products. I spent a while at a grooming booth where a girl was doing a demonstration on a very pretty calico Persian.

If cat themed jewelry, clothing, gifts or home decor is more what you’re looking for you’ll find that too. I was probably lucky I simply didn’t have the money to spend because there were many things I wanted.

Shopping at the CFA international show

Fun Activities

Plan to spend the day. There’s so much to see. You could get your cat (or yourself) caricatured by an artist, take the perfect selfie with the CFA mascots, visit with 4 celebrity cats, and get your face painted. If you’re worn out by all the activity there’s a reiki booth. I probably should have the animal communicator reassure Plush.  

Both days featured a costume contest for cats and their people. I couldn’t get it together with a costume for me and Plush (he’s probably thankful for that!) but one of my friends won second place for her Toy Story portrayal.

Lots of visiting kids brought their stuffed animal friends to be judged in a special ring all their own on Saturday. There were crafts and coloring activities for the younger set as well.

Pet Me cats were benched throughout the arena for a cuddle from the spectators.

Learn About Cats

Two of CFA’s All-Breed judges presented in the Education Ring all weekend. I took a lot of notes, I’ll be sharing some of what I learned in future posts.
Two women judged behind a table presenting about the history of cats

Learning the history of the cat and development of the breeds is interesting even if you never plan to own a pedigreed cat. Did you know Queen Victoria was involved with the development of the Persian breed because of her fascination with geometry?

Is there a breed you want to learn more about? Start at the CFA booth and pick up the breed flyers. Then follow the big signs overhead to find the breed booth and benching area for your favorite breed.

The breed booths are presented by the various breed councils and a good start to learn more about each breed. Talk to the breeders and exhibitors participating about what it is like to live with, care for, and exhibit their cats.

Next year I’m going to go early or stay late so I can tour the CFA Feline History Museum and stop by Cleveland’s cat cafe, both of whom had booths in the vendor area.

Companion Cat World

What about our household pets? CFA is in the process of rolling out a new program called Companion Cat World. For $13 you can register your kitty. He gets an ID membership card and you’ll get care and welfare tips as well as invites to special events. It’s not just going to be about cat shows, but it is a great gateway if you think your fur baby might be the next household pet star.

As always, CFA supports the work of rescue organizations and at least three groups were present with cats for adoption.

For more on how cat shows work, read our FAQ here.

So How Did it Go For Us?

Our class was huge. There were cats of all ages and stages present. A 19.5 year old cat came out of retirement and flew cross country to show. She was beautiful to watch, you could tell she was older but in good shape for her age and she still loved to show. She presented herself better than some of the younger cats. There was a 4 month old kitten at his first show. Longhairs, shorthairs and all colors. Breed cats with faults, off standard cats like Plush and just plain cats. It was a great variety. 

Black Persian with 4th place rosette

Oh, did Plush bring home a ribbon? He sure did – 4th place in his first ring. That cute little Persian in the grooming booth? She went best of the best in show!  And I did get to pet that Norwegian Forest Cat – twice. (Isn’t he amazing?)

Woman judging a beautiful Norwegian Forest Cat

I can’t wait until next year. If you get a chance to go next year do it! If you’ve never understood what showing is all about, look for the next show in your area and visit. You never know where it might take you.

photo collage of the CFA International Cat Show

For more sights and sounds of the show check out CFA’s Facebook Page for some of the live-streams and photos. If you watch the household pet livestream Plush is judged at 5:58. They interviewed me after and I didn’t look too dorky I don’t think.

The local media put up videos and stories too. This slideshow is a pretty good start.

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9 thoughts on “The World Comes to Cleveland”

  1. Wow, I’ve never been to a cat show and I have to say that they look like a lot of fun! I’d love to see the agility cats – and all the different breeds. Cats are so very beautiful – and their different styles are so amazing! You are fortunate to have gone – I’ll have to plan a trip!

  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful time! That is so exciting that Plush got 4th place. I would especially enjoy watching the cats complete the agility course.

  3. Great Post! The International Cat Show looks like lots of fun. The kitty competitions would be cool to watch! I like how there was also some educational info about cats for cat lovers to enjoy. Congrats on your win Plush.
    (From Ava Jaine, Dachshund Station)

  4. It sounds like so much fun and although I am not into buying from breeders would love to go to a show like that out of curiosity. Best to leave the credit card at home LOL as you could go broke at the vendors 🙂

  5. How fun! That many cats under one roof has to be an adventure. I’d love to go to something like that, to see some of the amazing cat breeds that I’ve only ever seen pictures of. Congrats to Plush! Norwegian forest cats are one of my favorite breeds, and probably what I’d go for if I could have a cat of my own. Sadly my fiance is very allergic to cats. An event like this would probably be a nightmare for him, haha. It sounds like it was a lot of fun, though.

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