Pet and Show Quality Cats – What is the Difference?

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 that describes the ideal characteristics of each particular breed.

The standard of points is a scoring system in which points are assigned in a number of areas which includes the head, eyes, ears, tail, coat and body condition.

Show quality vs pet quality

  • 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). This may be a kink in the 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 was show quality.

Pet quality cats are perfect for pet homes that are not looking to show their cat. If you are looking for a cat to show,  let the breeder know. They will be able to 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 into your name.

Can you show a pet quality cat?

Pet quality cats can also be exhibited in 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 and the temperament. 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.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio

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