The 4-H Cat Project provides youth a fun and hands-on learning experience that develops life skills, as well as teaches valuable information about properly caring for their animal. Subjects such as general care, nutrition housing, and health care are presented in the curricular materials, through workshops and in preparation of an exhibit. Youth also have the opportunity to develop responsibility, decision-making, nurturing, and communication skills through active participation in the 4-H Cat Project.
Level 1 (grades 3-5)
Level 2 (grades 6-8)
Level 3 (grades 9-12)
State 4-H Cat Website - Cat Vaccination Form
Cat Level 1: Purr-fect Pals
Cat Level 2: Climbing Up!
Cat Level 3: Leaping Forward
***Manuals can be purchase at the Education Store or the Lake county extension office
General Exhibit Requirements
Manual Required (3 Activities) and Cat Show Record Sheet
- Cat(s) to be exhibited must be listed on the Cat Entry Form which is to be submitted to the 4-H office by June 15. Cat Manuals and Cat Educational Notebooks are due June 15.
- Cat Educational Posters are due at the 4-H Cat Show. See “General Rules” for poster requirements.
- Each member may show only his/her cat, a family cat, or a cat being fostered through an animal rescue/welfare organization.
- All cats must be owned and cared for by the 4-H member by May 15.
- Cats must have a valid current Health Certificate provided by Indiana 4-H and Board of Animal Health, signed by a licensed veterinarian (form 4- H-777). Cats are required to have a negative fecal exam within 6 months of exhibition. All cats must have had vaccinations for rabies and upper respiratory diseases within 1 year of show and must have been tested for feline leukemia within 180 days prior to show or have had feline leukemia vaccination within 1 year of show. Vaccinations must have been given at least 2 weeks prior to Cat Show.
- In order to promote responsible pet ownership, it is required that all 4-H cats 5 months of age or older be neutered or spayed, except purebred, papered cats with documentation brought to show. Pregnant or lactating female cats will not be permitted to show.
- All 4-H cats must be de-clawed or have had their claws clipped.
- All cats must be free of fleas, fungus, ear mites, and other communicable diseases.
- All 4-H cats must be transported to and from the show in carriers. Carriers must have a cover draped over them, which can be the carrier decorating cover or a sheet or towel. 4-H cats must be on a leash at all times. Cats brought to the show without carriers will not be accepted. 4-H cats will be removed from their carriers only when preparing to be judged and during judging. Exhibitors must remain in the immediate judging area and present their cats for judging.
- Dress code for cat show is as follows: Girls: dress, skirt or dress pants with shirt/blouse. Boys: slacks, button-down or polo shirt. No jeans, tshirts, or low-cut tops (see 4-H Dress Code).
- Exhibitors are encouraged to participate in Cat Showmanship/knowledge, which will include oral and written questions, as well as ability to show his/her cat.
- All 4-H cat project members are encouraged to exhibit a Cat Educational Poster, which will be judged at the Cat Show. Topics can be found but are not limited to 4-H cat manuals and should be age-appropriate.
- All cat project members are encouraged to complete a Cat Educational Notebook. Notebooks will be judged in Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories. Members should use hard three-ring binders. Notebooks should have an outside or inside cover with a 4-H exhibit label attached to the lower right-hand corner of the outside of the notebook. Notebooks should include an index, Health Certificate from previous year’s cat show (if applicable), vet records, a list of cats showing this year, a Cat Care Record Sheet which can be found on the 4-H county website (may also include receipts, labels, etc.), a 1-page nonfiction story about member’s cat or cats (may include how member got his/her cat, interesting facts about one’s cat, what happened to member’s cat this year, etc.), a two-page research paper that the member writes on a topic that can be found in, but is not limited to, the 4-H cat manual (topic should be age-appropriate and include a bibliography), and a photo section of member’s cat or cats (include captions and dates with each photo). Pages should be placed inside plastic sheet protectors. Labeled dividers should be used between sections of the notebook. Notebook can include previous year’s cat show experiences (photos, score sheets, etc.). It may include all past years’ cat educational notebook information (place a labeled divider between these and the current year’s Notebook).
- There is no limit to number of cats member may show in classes 1-4. Cats will be classified according to predominant characteristics.
- In order to participate in the Costume Class, a 4-H member must show one of his/her cats in classes 1-4. Judging is based upon the creativity of the 4-H member and cat together while emphasizing the safety and comfort of his/her cat. The Costume Class will be judged as one class group.
- Members may decorate their carriers or cages for fun. Top three carriers will be recognized.
- To receive a Special Cat Project Award, member must show cat, complete a Cat Educational Poster, participate in showmanship/cat knowledge, and submit a Cat Educational Notebook.
- Poster exhibits must include a reference list indicating where information was obtained, giving credit to the original author, to complete the 4-H member’s exhibit. This reference list should/might include web site links, people and professionals interviewed, books, magazines, etc. It is recommended this reference list be attached to the back of a poster or display board, be the last page of a notebook, or included as part of the display visible to the public. A judge is not to discredit an exhibit for the manner in which references are listed.
Class 1 Kittens, 4-8 months
Class 2 DSH (Domestic Short Hair)
Class 3 DLH (Domestic Long Hair)
Class 4 Purebred Varieties
Option 1- Cat Educational Notebook
Option 2- Cat Educational Poster
Activity 1- Costume Class
Activity 2- Showmanship/Cat Knowledge
Activity 3- Carrier or Cage Decorating
Interested in sponsoring a trophy or award for this project? Please contact the project superintendent or Extension Office at 219-755-3240 to learn more!