Australian Cat Titles
& Annual Awards

(Note: This is a reprint of an article that appeared in The Abyssinian Breeder in 1997,
with some commentary removed and a small amount of updating.
It will in due course be supplemented to indicate how titles are acquired
elsewhere in Australia.)


For those who are just starting, or who live in another part of the world and would like to know, here is, firstly, a brief treatise on how cats in NSW become Champions and higher. The title sequence is much the same as elsewhere in Australia but the conditions differ under the various governing bodies. Secondly, I’ll explain how the national CCCA titles are acquired; this time the manner of acquisition is the same throughout Australia, but the degree of difficulty varies because there is a lot more competition in some places than others. Thirdly, I’ll provide an outline of the NSW Annual Awards system.


Kittens officially become cats at 9 months, and nothing they may have won below that age (like Supreme Exhibit at a show or perhaps Kitten of the Year) will count toward gaining Championship. To become a Champion, a male cat must gain a total of 70 Challenge points; for females, neuters and spays, this total is 60 points. I can find no valid reason for this points difference. A cat who wins an open class may be awarded a Challenge, and in our part of the world Challenges are seldom withheld, because judges generally withhold only on faults (e.g., unbroken necklace, white locket or polydactylism) rather than on a whim or because they just don’t like a cat. An open class is a class in which all the entire adults of that breed, colour and sex are entered, regardless of whether they already have titles or are rank novices. Tawny Aby males comprise one class, Tawny Aby females another, Cinnamon Aby females yet another, and Tawny Somali males another class again.

A Challenge carries a number of Championship points equal to 10 plus the number of cats in the class. An unopposed Challenge is thus worth 11 points, whereas a win out of five is worth 15 points. A win out of 10 or more cats is worth 20 points, that being the maximum allowed number of points for a Challenge. A cat that wins a Challenge worth less than 20 points but then goes on to be the best male or female cat in show in that Group has the Challenge points increased to 20. There are three Championship groups in NSW (and most Australian) shows. Group 1 contains longhairs; Group 2 consists of the Siamese, Colourpoints, Orientals and their corresponding semi-longhairs like the Balinese; Group 3 contains the remaining short-hairs and their corresponding semi-longhairs. The most numerous breed in Gr. 3 is the Burmese, followed by the British and then either the Abyssinian (and Somali) or the Rex. At a typical 350-exhibit show in NSW, there will likely be 100 exhibits in Gr. 1, 70 in Gr. 2 and 180 in Gr. 3. Of these, 20-35 will typically be Abys and Somalis.

Interstate Recognition

NSW titles are invariably recognized interstate, and vice versa. But in NSW they cannot be built upon, so that a cat who comes from say Victoria where he is already a Champion, cannot then use that as a platform for becoming a NSW Grand Champion. He must start from scratch in NSW to do that, and if he succeeds, he becomes "Gr Ch (& VIC Ch)".

Whereas NSW (and ACT) Challenges are invariably recognized interstate, the reverse applies only if the NSW conditions and scoring method were used. This means that a large proportion of interstate Challenges cannot be counted, generally because we have a rule which says that all cats of a "denomination" must be entered in the open class, but in other states they are often taken out of the open class as soon as they become Champions. They then compete in Champion, Grand Champion and higher classes, in all of which Challenges are awarded, reducing competition for Challenges and making progress easier than for us. Where interstate Challenges are recognized, there is a limit on their number. The rule is that for any title, NSW Challenge points must be in the majority.

Grand and Double Grand Champion

A cat becomes a Grand Champion by repeating the procedure required to become a Champion. Once a Grand Champion, it will become a Double Grand by repeating that procedure again. Until this year, spare points could not be carried over from one title to the next. Thus, a male cat sitting on say 69 points and winning a Best in Show award at his next outing would have 69 + 20 = 89 points. Of these, 70 would be needed for the title and the remaining 19 would be lost. From 1998, it will be possible to carry over any spare points.

Becoming a Ch, Gr Ch or Dbl Gr Ch is no really big deal any more. Any good (let alone very good or excellent) cat should be able to get all three in one season, noting that the number of two-ring, and occasionally three-ring shows has grown to the point that an assiduous exhibitor could get her or his cats to about 45 rings per year if they also attend ACT shows. The only fly in the ointment would be running into (and losing to) the same top cat every time, but even that is avoidable 5-6 times per year when there are city and country shows on the same weekend. A cat in a rare class could get to Champion in 4-5 shows by picking up 11-point (unopposed) Challenges in six (female) or seven (male) rings. At the other end of the scale, a really good female could go from say Gr Ch to Dbl Gr Ch in two shows, by picking up three consecutive Best in Show awards and thus 3 x 20 = 60 points.

Higher State Awards

The conditions governing the acquisition of Bronze, then Silver and finally Gold Dbl Gr Ch awards are the same as for the lower awards, except that 100 points are now required for each title, regardless of whether a cat is male, female or desexed. Nonetheless, I am not aware of an entire cat (it is generally easier for desexed cats because opposition is often of lower standard) that became a Gold Dbl Gr Ch in NSW without being at least very good, and picking up a number of Top-5 in Show Awards during its career.  Indeed we have had only about a dozen entire Abyssinians become Gold Double Grand Champions in NSW altogether during the 10 years since the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards became available.

National Awards

There are two "umbrella" cat bodies in Australia, trying to bring some cohesion and consistency into the cat fancies. The bodies (including those in NSW and the ACT) affiliated with CCCA (Cat Co-ordinating Council of Australia) represent a significant majority of the nation’s breeders and showers. Some dozen years ago CCCA instituted a system of national awards, and ACF followed suit recently. They both depend on cats with state titles acquiring national Challenges at state shows, and becoming national Champions and higher when they have won enough of these Challenges. Let me now explain the CCCA system.

CCCA Championship

Under all the bodies affiliated with CCCA, a cat is entered (at no cost) in the appropriate CCCA class. This is (titled) male, female, neuter and spay in that group (for Abys and Somalis this is the largest Gr. 3). Male cats from all Gr. 3 breeds then compete for the one CCCA award, the females compete for another, and so on for neuters and spays. A set of awards is available in each ring, but they are not available at breed-specific shows. When a cat wins 10 CCCA awards, it qualifies to become a CCCA Champion. The title now becomes double-barrelled, e.g., "CCCA Ch & Brz Dbl Gr Ch …". Untitled cats quite seldom get to be Best in Show, and accordingly, a CCCA Champion is a cat that went best in show at least eight and probably 10 times after it became a state Champion.

Higher CCCA Awards

A CCCA Champion can become a CCCA Grand Champion if it wins 10 more CCCA awards. Progress to CCCA Dbl Gr Ch and then Tpl Gr Ch is identical. To help you gauge the degree of difficulty, let me tell you that in Australia as a whole, only about 6 entire cats have become CCCA Grand Champions in the dozen or so years since these awards were constituted. In 1997 we had the first CCCA Tpl Gr Ch, a Tawny female, and in 1998, a Cinnamon male became the second CCCA Tpl Gr Ch. A Tawny male became the 3rd CCCA Tpl Gr Ch in 2000, at the very early age of just over 2 years. 

During 2000 CCCA got up a real head of steam  and added four more layers of titles, each with 10 awards required as for all the other CCCA titles. These highest titles are Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald and Diamond Tpl Gr Ch. The Tawny male mentioned in the preceding paragraph became the first CCCA Diamond Tpl Gr Ch of any breed.. As at mid-2014, he was still the only Aby to have gained that title.

Annual Awards

Like most if not all Australian governing bodies, NSW has a system of annual awards for cumulative performance at shows throughout a calendar year. With awards for kittens starting in 1996, there are six awards for each Group: male and female kitten; male and female cat, neuter and spay cat. Each NSW show now has official Top-5 placings in those six categories (in each group) in each ring. Curiously enough, we don’t always have a Best Gr. 3 Cat, Kitten or Desexed Cat in Show, but we do have the Top-5 male kittens, female cats and so on.

A first placing in the Top-5 gives 10 points, regardless of the numbers of exhibits in the class (which I think is grossly unfair), 2nd gives 7, 3rd = 4, 4th = 2 and 5th = 1 point. There are no bonus points for Best (Cat, Kitten or Desexed Cat) in Show nor for Supreme Exhibit. There are no Exhibit of the Year (cat and kitten points added up for the one exhibit) awards, nor any for stud cat, brood queen or breeder, but I hope that this is only a matter of time — our Annual Awards are still evolving.

Abys have been doing very well in the NSW Annual Awards for several years. One of the best  performed recently has been a Tawny female (the one who became CCCA Tpl Gr Ch in 1997). She was Gr. 3 Female Cat of the Year in 1995, and again in 1996 and 1997. One of her sons was Gr. 3 Male Cat of the Year in 1998, and another son did it in 1999, 2000 and again in 2001. Yet another son was Gr 3 Neuter Cat of the Year in 2000 and again in 2001. Other Abys have won since, including one Tawny female in 2011 and 2012.

George Kennedy

This page was last updated on 19-Aug-14

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