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The First Cat Show:

A British man, Mr. Harrison Weir, got the idea for the first cat show. He was a Fellow of the Horticultural Society, and artist, and a cat lover. He developed a schedule, classes, and prizes for the show. He also created the "Points of Excellence" -- a guideline for how the cats would be judged.

The Crystal Palace, in south-east London, was chosen for the site of the first show. (Dog shows had already been held there). A man named Mr. F. Wilson was appointed manager of the show for setting up the Crystal Palace. The judges were Mr. Weir, his brother John Weir, and the Reverend J. Macdona.

The show was held on July 13, 1871. Nearly 160 cats were shown. The cats were mostly short-haired, and were divided into different color groups. Pedigrees were not around at this time. It wasn't until 1887 that the National Cat Club formed in Britain and began tracking the parentage of cats. The prize cats did not have their photos taken, but were drawn by an artist to record them.

The show attracted a great deal of interest. Cat shows soon became fashionable in Britian, particularly because they were patronized by Queen Victoria, who owned a pair of Blue Persians. In the 1870s, larger and larger cat shows were held in Britain. In 1895 the first official cat show was held in Madison Square Garden, New York.

Source: A Standard Guide to Cat Breeds, Richard H. Gebhardt, Grace Pond, and Dr. Ivor Raleigh, Eds., McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1979, pp. 7-11.