Titles in the Cat Fanciers' Association

Or, what DOES 'CH, PR' mean, anyway?

In the Cat Fancier's Association (CFA), cats are shown in the following four major groups. Cats in one group never compete against cats from another group. Within each of these groups (except HHPs), there are divisions called 'longhair' and 'shorthair', but they're not quite what you expect. As shorthair versions of longhair breeds (eg, the Exotic) were accepted, they were accepted into the longhair group, on the grounds that longhair specialty judges would already understand the structure of the cat because they were already familiar with the parent breed. The same was done with longhair versions of shorthaired breeds. Thus, we have Exotics (shorthaired Persians) and shorthair American Curls shown in the nominally longhair division, and Somalis, Balinese, Javanese, longhaired Japanese Bobtails, and longhaired Manx (Cymrics) shown in the nominally shorthair division. This is confusing to spectators and novice exhibitors alike, and I wish they'd rename the darn divisions. (Better yet, add a third division, call it the Persian division, put the Persians and the Exotics in there, leave the semilonghairs in THEIR division... but I digress.)

In a 'specialty ring', the longhairs and shorthairs do not compete against each other. In an 'allbreed ring', they do.

There are three levels of titles in the CFA system: open, champion, and grand champion. (The premiership titles parallel: open, premier, grand premier.) These titles are generally abbreviated as OP for open, CH for champion, and GRC, GC or GCH for grand champion. Premier is abbreviated PR, and grand premier is GRP, GP, or sometimes GPR. Kittens and HHPs do not compete for titles.

The smallest unit of judging is the 'class': cats of the same breed, sex, color class (color grouping -- varies by breed), and title level are in the same class. For example, a brown mackerel tabby and white Maine Coon open female and a red classic tabby and white Maine Coon open female are in the same class. (Their color class is tabby and white.) These two cats will compete for the blue ribbon (first). Second is red, third is yellow. Since they are both opens, the blue ribbon winner will also receive a winners ribbon (red, white and blue vertical stripes). A cat must earn six winners ribbons to advance to the next level, 'champion'.

Next, all the cats in a given color class will compete for best and second best of that color class. Eg, our blue-ribbon winning open female above might be competing with a silver tabby and white champion male, a blue tabby and white champion female, and a brown tabby and white grand champion female. The best of these cats will earn the black ribbon, and the second best will earn the white.

Finally, the best and second best of breed (brown and orange respectively) will be chosen, along with the best *champion* (purple). The purple ribbon carries one 'grand point' for every cat defeated. In our sample Maine Coon class above, there were two champions, so the winner of the purple ribbon gets one point.

It takes 200 points from at least three different judges to earn a grand championship.

Ouch, you say? Well, there are other ways to get grand points, fortunately. In each allbreed final, the judge will present her best and second best shorthaired champion, best and second best longhaired champion, and best and second best allbreed champion. So a minimum of four champions will earn grand points from the final. A typical small show around here might have thirty champions present, so the best allbreed champion would get 29 points, and the second-best allbreed champion would get 90% of 29, or 26. Say those were both longhairs: the best shorthair champion would get a point for every shorthair champion defeated, and the second-best shorthair champion would get 90% of that. (You only get points from the highest award earned in a given ring.)

In fact, at least one final is required for the title of grand champion. You can't grand a cat on purple ribbons alone.

In a specialty ring, of course, the judge can only present her best and second best of that specialty.

Additional champions can get points if the judge decides to use more than two champions in her top ten final. Third-best allbreed champion would get 80% of the points that the best champion got, and so on down the line.

Premiership works similarly, except that the purple ribbon is not presented (there's rarely any competition for it in premiership classes), and since the classes are so much smaller, only 75 points are required for the title of grand premier. (A typical premier count around here is 3 longhairs and 5 shorthairs. Earning that title can take a *long* time.)

I've glossed over some of the gory details (like color classes, or divisions within breeds), but this is basically how it works in CFA.

There are three other titles that can be earned in CFA: two, (Regional Winner, abbreviated RW; and National Winner, abbreviated NW) are for placing in the annual regional and national competition among all cats shown in a given show year (May 1-April 30). The third, Distinguished Merit (abbreviated DM, and placed after the cat's name) is for producing cats who earn the title of Grand Champion, Grand Premier, or Distinguished Merit. A female must produce five different grands to earn the title; a male must produce fifteen.

From here, you can visit the pages of Ambar Cattery or Online Feline Fanciers.

Jean Marie Diaz // Ambar Cattery // ambar@clock.org
Last modified: Sat Jun 26 18:44:53 PDT 1999