If you’ve never been to a cat show, here’s how they work:

The contestant cats wait in their own cages in the benching area. The cages often are outfitted with blankets and other personal belongings. Spectators are free to roam up and down the rows of cages to admire the cats.

When a cat comes up for judging, its name is called over the loudspeaker, and the owner carries the cat to the judging areas.

In the judging areas, there are more cages where the cats wait.

Unlike in dog shows, where dogs are paraded before the judges, the judges come to the cats. They remove one cat from its cage and place it on a table for a closer look. The judges examine the cat’s eyes, coat and ears and look for specific features of the breed.

“The judges like a healthy cat,” explained Linda Mae Baker, manager of the Saintly City Cat Show, and a former judge. “I pick the cat I would most like to take home. They have to be clean, healthy, nonthreatening. If they bite the judge, the judge isn’t going to be happy.”

Allie Shah