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Results of the Editor’s Forum in OUR CATS
18 November 2005

Imperial Classes - you have your say!

Questions YES NO
Should Grands be permitted to enter ONLY the Imperial Class
and the Miscellaneous Classes? 88% 12%

Should Grands be permitted to enter BOTH the Imperial Class
and the Grand Class? 4% 96%

Should Grands be permitted to (as they currently are) enter two
classes - choosing from the Imperial, Grand or the Open
and compete for Best of Breed? 4% 96%

Should Grands compete for Best of Breed at all? 72% 28%

Once cats gain the Imperial Title, should they compete in a class of
other Imperials, for an ‘Imperial Best in Show Award’ (not a
certificate)? 90% 10%

OUR CATS was delighted with the response to the recent Editor’s Forum on the current eligibility for titled cats entering two of the three ‘Open Classes’ at shows. Thank you for responding to the forum by returning forms and emailing.

Now that the results are here in ‘black and white’, it seems appropriate that exhibitors should be approaching their clubs to put these ideas forward, via their delegates, to the GCCF. There is no point in moaning about the current rules and not doing anything about them.

If you now want these changes to be put into effect - then it is up to you to take action by writing to your Club’s GCCF Delegates.

For example, if you want to see the reality of Grands entering their own, single class and competing for Best in Show Imperial Grand Champions/ Premiers, then SAY SO!

Please see the Editor’s Forum Viewpoint below for this week’s correspondence on this subject.

Chris Stalker

Grands in the Imperial Classes only?

I STOPPED showing under GCCF shows before the Imperial Classes were brought in because Grands were allowed in the Open, and knew I had wasted money in entering but now with the new class, it has made the situation worse.

There are a lot of people feel the same way and, like myself, now show under FB shows where the system is a lot fairer for all.
Disillusioned Exhibitor


HAVING only been showing for about 18 months, I was pleased to see the survey in OUR CATS.
I couldn’t believe that in Open Classes my cat could be coming up against others that had already gained Premier or Champion status. What do the owners gain other than another piece of paper they don’t require, or perhaps stopping another cat gaining its Title.

I was beginning to get the feeling with GCCF shows of, “oh no, why have I wasted my money coming here”, so will admit to joining, and now showing a lot more with the FB. Cats with them are automatically moved up into the higher classes after the required amount of wins are obtained, so it is fairer to everyone.

Let’s hope something will be done to attact, not only me, but a lot of others back to the GCCF again.
F.B. Exhibitor


WITH regard to your questionnaire on Imperial Classes. I think that once your cat has gained a Title - Champion, Premier, Grand Champion, Grand Premier - it should not be allowed to compete for any extra certificates.

They don’t count towards anything, it’s just ‘gilding the lily’.

It blocks other cats from gaining a certificate and creates a lot of bad feelings amongst the exhibitors.

You can’t do it in the dog world, so why should cats be able to? Also, you can’t do it at the Supreme, so there’s no reason why all shows shouldn’t be the same.

Perhaps once a cat has gained a Title, when it tries for a higher award it could just enter the relevant class and be charged a smaller fee for entering the show.
Sarah E. M. Helm


IN REPLY to the letter in OUR CATS regarding the Imperial Classes, I’d like to put my own point of view.

I’m not the only person who, having read the schedule, was under the impression that two of the three classes had to be entered. Having now been made aware of the facts, I will only enter the appropriate class for my cat.

The other point I wish to draw attention to is entering for BOB. Nowhere in the schedules does it state how to enter for BOB. It was only by asking other exhibitors that I discovered I had to put a cross in the Open Class box. Now it it is even more confusing.

Some of the entry forms now have a BOB box. Do I put a tick in the box, a cross in the box or ‘Yes’ in the box?
What about the Open Class box? Do I still put a cross in that?

Please help. Please explain. Would it not be possible to standardise all entry forms?

Let’s try to make life easier for all exhibitors, especially the ‘slow on the uptake’, ones like myself.
Mrs E. Orbell-McQueen, Beaunouveau British


IN RETURNING the questionnaire about the new Imperial award, I would like to add a few comments:

Although the scheme only opened officially on 1 June 2005, and it was thought that it would take some considerable time to earn five certificates from five different judges, announcements of gaining the Title are already beginning to appear in Our Cats. This is after five months.
As the Title was meant to be the ultimate achievement for superb cats, where can they go from here?

I agree that to enter five shows, 13 days apart, AND to win the Imperial Class every time takes huge determination and effort, plus an element of luck that the cat stays on top form. Speaking as a judge and a Club Delegate to Council Meetings, might some certificates be won a bit too easily?

Exhibits should be allowed to compete for Best of Breed, which means exactly what it says, the best cat of its breed present on that day, and sets a benchmark for all those there, but not for Grands as well, because they must be titled to compete for the Imperial, and its like ‘two bites of the cherry’.

I shall be interested to read the outcome of your survey when it is ready. The chance to see superb senior cats brought out again when their show career has been thought to be over is one I am looking forward to.
Patsy Knight


IN RESPONSE to your ‘Editor’s Forum’ concerning the Imperial Classes, I really think this class should be permitted as the ONLY option for cats that have already reached ‘Grand’ status and once gained the ‘Imperials’ should not then be entered, except for an ‘Imperial Best in Show’ type of award.

However, I do think that the ‘Best of Breed’ must include all those entered in competition.
In addition, I think all Champions should ONLY enter the Grand Classes plus Miscellaneous Classes and Grand Champions ONLY enter the Imperial and Miscellaneous Classes. In this way, a progression for each individual will be then clearly seen and each breed will benefit from the fact that more owners will be encouraged to continue to show their cats.

Let us all encourage people to shows, not discourage, by continuing to enter classes already gained.
Diana Hall

I AGREE with what Peggy Paris of Pegavi Burmese had to say in her letter in 18 November Our Cats Viewpoint.

Some breeders and owners take the same cats time and again, entering them in the Open and for BOB, Miscellaneous when they are already Grand or Imperials therefore giving other exhibitors no chance when they are against Grand Champions or Premiers, now Imperials.
I know of owners and breeders who do this every time, expecially when their favourite judges are at the shows who know them.

I think, like Peggy Paris, they have no more to prove and should retire that cat until such time they are neutered or speyed and then there are new classes to enter, but once they reach the dizzy heights in those classes, the cat should be retired altogether.
Iris O’Connell, Oci Burmese


THE recent negative press regarding the Imperial Classes in this column overlooks that the rules governing entry to these classes are entirely consistent with those framing the entry of titled cats to the Open Class.

Whether titled cats should be entered in the Open Classes they are eligible for, is a different question. This has always been a contentious issue, but until the GCCF alters the rules to provide separate classes for Pre-Champions/Premiers, for Champions and Premiers and for Grand Champions/Grand Premiers, as at the Supreme, the issue will remain. To campaign for different rules for the Imperials to all the rest however, is to argue for double standards. Mistakenly, it places the blame on the Imperial exhibitors who compete within the system, rather than attempting to overhaul the rules that govern the entry of all titled cats.

Rather than moan about their presence, we should instead be celebrating the Imperial classes and the cats competing in them. The classes ‘raise the bar’ in terms of the number of certificates required and, at least for Burmese female neuters, have brought out a set of girls that would grace any Supreme BOV line-up, and more. Take a look at them and appreciate them for what they are; cats that define the standard and that epitomise what every breeder should be aiming for. To get a certificate in this level of competition is a real achievement.

Consequently, the title is hard earned, not the walkover that many seem to want for their money. The Imperials are what showing used to be about: tough competition with no guarantees about winning, strength in depth and a return to a camaraderie amongst exhibitors that had all but disappeared. They are the best thing to have happened to the show scene in years!
Nicky Gregson, Cobatel Burmese


THE introduction of the Imperial Class now means that the ‘Grand’ Class has grown out of proportion.

The last show I attended had 13 in this class, with six already Grand Champions! It is impossible, even for a good cat, to get any certificate, so I am now changing to FIFe where it is a fairer way of judging.

Just for the record, one cat that is frequently in the Grand, went on to win the Supreme this year...
Disappointed SLH Owner


WHY is it in our little world of cats everybody seems to expect to have the right for their cat to win every time. A cat show is a competition. We do not want to go down the road that so many schools have done, that is, do not have a sports day because some of the little dears may not win. Hopefully, the best exhibit will win the Open Class (and by Open that means available to all) and obtain Best of Breed it it is the best exhibit of that type at the show. How can anyone suggest that once an Imperial Title is won that cat cannot even compete for Best of Breed (see Our Cats Forum).

There is no other fancy that appears to penalise success in the way that people in our fancy want to stop those exhibits who win from competing any more. When Red Rum had won the Grand National, did any other horse owner moan that it was “unfair” to enter him in another National?

Did other rowers at the Olympics say I haven’t ever won a medal but Steve Redgrave has, so he should not row any more? In activities where success is judged by physical performance, of course you can have differing levels of competition, but a cat show is a beauty show, and the cat best adhering to the standard must come out on top, and not be penalised for its beauty by being prevented from continuing to appear. If all the moaning exhibitors who harp on about it not being fair that good cats enter the same competitions that they do get what they want in the end we might as well just send off a cheque to the show manager and get a Challenge Certificate sent to us in the post.

One of the most interesting reasons for showing is in the element of competition. If all the cats who win are removed from further competition, you will inevitably reduce the standard. A good cat will get its Title in the end. There are so many cat shows these days the choice if enormous. If your cat keeps coming up in competition against the same (better) cats, you can always go to a different show. It only takes a minute to talk to the owner of the cat next door to yours and find out their plans. Other exhibitors are not enemies, we are all in the same game (I hope!), that is to learn and improve the standard of our exhibits. You never know the exhibitor next to you may turn out to be a friend for life.

If you are lucky enough to own a good exhibit and it is successful, you want to be able to show it for a good few years. If you cannot continue to compete then are you going to have to bring out a different cat every year and ending up having too many cats or become one of those people who are constantly “rehoming”. If you love your cat and it is successful, why should you have to find another home for it so you have space for another so you can continue to enter shows. We cannot afford to lose exhibitors because their cat has succeeded and can no longer enjoy competition any more. Now, I can hear the moaners saying “put your cat on exhibition”.

Well, having a cat just on exhibition is, frankly, boring. We enter shows for the excitement of competition. Half the fun of shows is seeing who has beaten whom, discussing the judges’ placings and judges opinions differ. Titled cats do not win every time, just because one judge gives an Imperial to a cat, another one will not. If Champions and Grands are barred from Opens, there will be far too many “empty” Open Classes and far too many poor exhibits gaining meaningless titles just because they turned up for the day.

Keep the Open open to all, let us continue to have the pleasure seeing all cats in competition. There will always be a young contender who beats even the most famous cat. Let us continue to have the choice of which classes to enter. Often if you decide, for whatever reason, to take your cat to a particular show, you may not like the judge doing the Imperial, then why should you be barred from entering the Open instead. The cat fancy has been running competitions for more than a century based on the not unreasonable premise that cats are entered in a class for its breed and the judge decided the order of merit.

Rather than trying to change the rules of our shows, what the moaners need to do is study the cats that win and then try to breed a better one.
Sue Miller, Pashtan Siamese & Orientals


I think that the Supreme Show’s system of classes is the fairest of all. I wish that all shows would follow the same system - only allowing cats to compete in the classes for which they are qualified and then, in addition, to enter the miscellaneous classes.

Once cats become Imperial Grands, I think that it would be better if they went on to compete (in a separate class) for a “Best in Show Imperial Award”. This would add another dimension to the day and encourage exhibitors to continue to exhibit.

I am a ‘good looser’ (having had quite a bit of practice over the years) and ‘a good sport’ (I always make a point of congratulating the winning exhibitor) but I suspect that the falling numbers at shows are a direct result of people feeling that their cats will never get their certificates whilst the present system persists. If we want to halt the deflection from the GCCF shows to those held by Felis Britaninca etc then we need to look at ways of attracting exhibitors and not leaving them feeling constantly frustrated and disillusioned.

Are any clubs brave enough to try adopting some new formats for their shows and would GCCF council (made up of delegates from the cat fancy) listen to their pleas?

Those who say they are happy with the present system are also happy to exhibit at the Supreme – why not make the best of both worlds?
An optimistic exhibitor


I WOULD just like to say that once a cat has gained the Imperial Title, could it just be entered at a show in the BOB only, plus Side Classes.

The cat would not be entering an Open Class (Grand or Imperial) so therefore would not be challenging for any certificates but it would still allow you to enter a show and compete.
I’ve enjoyed taking Trinity out, but now aged two years four months her showing days are numbered. E.G. The Supreme or on exhibition. She is still a very young cat and never in my wildest dreams did I expect her to gain the Title so quickly.

Trinity has been awarded eight consecutive Imperial Certificates; going in for Best of Breed only. She has not been entered in the Open or Grand Classes.

Yes, she has done well, but she has also been put last in Side Classes!
Sandra Bridges