What is the difference between Show and "Pet"?
While even the most outstanding representative of the "Breed Standard" can be a wonderful pet, not all pets can be show cats. There are obvious and not so obvious differences between the two.
All breeds that are recognized by CFA have a "Breed Standard", which is a detailed description of what the ideal cat of that breed should be. When reading the breed standard, a vision of what this "ideal cat" should be develops in your mind. What is so neat though, is that all people have different interpretations of what this ideal cat looks like. Above all else the cat should be healthy and there should be harmony in all parts of the cat with no particularly extreme areas that it throws off the overall balance.
A detailed description of the Persian breed standard can be found here.
A detailed description of the Exotic breed standard can be found here.
While adhering to the standards each breeder adds a certain "flavor" that reflects their own vision of the standard. These "flavors" change constantly too, as our generations get closer and closer to our own interpretations of the standard.
With all that said, let's get down the nitty gritty! Looking at a cat, how can you tell the difference? It depends on the breed but with the Persian/Exotic breeds some more obvious things that classify a cat as a pet can include, a nose that is below the bottom of the eye level, ears that are large, pointy or on top of the head to much instead of on the side. Certain things like kinks in the tail and long tails can also make a cat a "pet". There are other things that aren't as obvious like the boning, head bumps and the structure of the cat that can be felt when handling the cat.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a "pet" quality kitty. The things listed above are only "skin deep" and won't, of course, effect the wonderful personality within though!:-D All cats have a beauty about them whether purebred or domestic and all can make excellent pets if brought up responsibly. If given the love they deserve, they will return the love ten fold.