When looking for a purebred cat you may hear the terms pet or show quality. These descriptions refer to the breed standard. The breed standard is a set of guidelines which describes the ideal characteristics of each particular breed. Points are assigned in a number of areas such as head, eyes, ears, tail, coat, condition etc. This is known as the standard of points.
• A show quality cat (or kitten) is an outstanding example of the breed and meets the "breed standard" closely.
• A pet quality cat (or kitten) may have a minor cosmetic flaw (or fault) such as a kink at the end of his tail, a locket of white fur, a misplaced marking or some other characteristic that doesn't meet the breed standard.
Both show quality and pet quality cats should be in good physical health, and these cosmetic flaws have no impact on the health or the temperament of the cat. Pet quality just excludes the cat from becoming a show cat. In most cases, the pet owner won't even be aware of the reason the cat wasn’t show quality. In some cases, a show quality kitten will even be sold as a pet because there are just not enough show homes!
Pet quality cats are perfect for pet homes that are not looking to show their cat (which is the majority of pet owners), but if you are looking for a cat to show, you should let the breeder know you are looking for a show quality cat and he or she can pick out the cats that best meet the standard. Show quality cats usually cost more than pet quality and you may have to wait for one to become available. If you do want to show, you will need to join a cat council and have the cat's registration papers transferred in to your name.
Pet quality cats can also be shown, but should be entered into the "Household Pets (HHP)" group. This class is for mixed breed cats and purebred cats who don't meet the standard. As these cats can come in all shapes and sizes, there is no breed standard. HHP class judges on the health of the cat, the overall condition (coat, eyes etc), and the temperament of the cat. Almost all cat councils and clubs will require that household pets be desexed (spayed or neutered) past six months of age, be up to date on their vaccinations, free of parasites and have all their claws intact.
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Show Kitten vs. Pet Kitten - What's the Difference?