What a Standard Cat Pose should look like

A show pose is the position that a cat sometimes jumps into when you take its picture, or when you take it out of the door. We've all seen them do it, and that's what they're doing, they're posing. The trick is to get them lined up perfectly straight when they do it. Here's what the pose should look like:

There are three basic elements to a cat's pose: the front legs, the tail, and the eyes. Contrary to what you may have seen or heard, the back legs really do NOT matter. I'll explain this in a minute.

1st - The Front Legs. This is the most important part of a cat's pose. The front legs must be fully aligned, so that they appear to be one leg. The off front leg should not be showing at all. This is very important because: if the front legs are correct, the cat's entire body will be correctly placed. The back legs will be spaced as far as they can go with a straight body, the back will be as straight as it can be, the head will be level. (Unless the cat decides to shake its head as you take the picture...grrr...). A good judge always looks at the leg, not the foot, which can be deceptive.

2nd - The Tail. This can be tricky. The tail should be curved nicely toward the cat's back, NEVER away! A cat with a tail curved away from its body has never placed in my show and never will. It's sometimes hard to tell with fluffy tails, but all tails can curve toward the back.

3rd - The Eyes. This part is nearly impossible with Calicos, and quite easy with all other breeds. The cat's eyes should be level with each other and the eyelids should be even mirror images of each other. It does NOT matter whether the cat poses with wide open eyes, lids at half mast, or even angry eyes. Each breed has its own eye position that it will always use when posing. The important thing is that the eyes are identical mirror images.

To demonstrate, we have the lovely Tuppence (SGCh. JFC's Two Cents' Worth), star of stage and (computer) screen. Tuppence has a very nice pose and rose to Supreme Grand Champion very quickly. Here she shows you why:

Tuppence has a Fold personality, therefore she poses with eyes wide open. Her tail is fluffy, but still curved toward her back.

The wonderful Cashmere (SGCh. JFC's Oriental Rug) will now demonstrate how NOT to pose, in three easy steps:

The eyelids aren't too bad here, and the tail is absolutely lovely, but look at the front legs. You can clearly see the second leg...they're so far apart there's almost a space between them! Notice the back legs, see the nice spread? That's why the back legs don't matter! Someone judging only on back leg spread would consider this a terrific pose, where it is clearly a very bad one.

Um...look at that tail. This shouldn't even be considered a show pose. (Shame on you, Cashmere!) The eyelids are uneven as well, and the front legs are a joke...

Cashmere has a Calico personality, so he likes to wink. A lot. Contrary to popular opinion, Calicos CAN pose with even eyelids, it just takes a lot of work. His front legs and tail here are really pretty good, but he still wouldn't place in my show because of his eyes.

See what I mean? I have seen poses like all three of these actually place in shows, simply because many judges don't know what to look for in a pose. Hopefully this page will help. ;)

Here are some examples of other good poses:

Lazarus was a very popular cat during his show career. His tail has a beautiful curve. Even though he has Alley eyes, they are still considered even because the eyelids are in the same position.

Beautiful Erikita was one of my best show cats and rose quickly through the ranks. She has a Tabby personality, and Tabbies love to pose! Note the nice curve of her tail and the straightness and evenness of her front legs.

Tori is a big cat, and some big cats have eye troubles (their eyelids will absolutely not sit evenly) so I used love potion to pose her. Some judges don't like the "scared" eyelid position, but the eyelids are nice and even and should be considered good. Her tail has a nice curve and her front legs are very even.

I hope this little tutorial was helpful! With a little patience, you too can be taking BIS-quality show pictures. ;)

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