Those inexperienced with show cats sometimes believe that just because a kitten can be registered, it can be shown. This may be true, but there is a fundamental difference between purchasing a show kitten and purchasing a kitten that can be shown. Even a kitten that is said to be show-quality, and is sold at a show-quality price, may not be good enough to be shown with any degree of success.
If you are seriously interested in purchasing a show cat with the potential to win, consider a young adult or older kitten, rather than a newborn. Some breeders will show their kittens, and then later sell them, so you might be able to get a kitten with a win or two on its résumé. If you don’t mind missing the pleasure of watching your kitten grow into a cat, then an older kitten or young adult cat might be a better choice than an untried kitten. Be aware that you will likely pay more for a kitten that has shown a potential for winning in the show ring.
Whether you want a kitten or an older cat, you should wait until a kitten is more than twelve weeks old before committing to buy. Kittens can change overnight, and no breeder can guarantee anything at only three months old. Regardless of what the breeder might tell you, a kitten that is six months old is less likely to change unexpectedly.
Before purchasing a show kitten, do your research. Visit shows, talk to breeders who work with the breed you’re interested in, watch that breed being judged, and make sure to sit through several finals in order to see what the show-winning representatives of that breed look like. Consult the breed Standard, as provided by the association with whom the kitten will be registered, and take that Standard with you when looking at kittens. Ask the breeder to show you where the kitten meets that Standard, and where it might fall short.
Remember that kittens are a genetic product of their parents, and their parents before them. Ask to see the pedigree of the kitten you’re considering, then look up each ancestor. Study the titles and awards the cats have won, especially in the first two generations. Cats without titles were either not shown or did not do well. If they were not shown, make sure you know why. A kitten with no champion or ‘grand’ in its pedigree might not be the best investment.
Beware of too much inbreeding. If your kitten was inbred (as can be discovered by studying the pedigree), check out any littermates of your potential kitten. Also ask to see pictures of any previous kittens from the breeding. If any of these kittens had abnormalities, then you should probably consider another litter.
Buying a show cat takes effort and a little investigation. Buy a kitten with an impressive pedigree, a pedigree that is stronger than either of its parents’ pedigrees taken alone, and you will not only obtain a quality show kitten, but you will assist in the enhancement of the breed.