The World Cat Congress in 2000 took place in Vienna, Austria around the wekend of 3-6 March.
The programme for the weekend was an interesting one. The delegates had an informal lunchtime meeting which was followed by an Open Meeting in the Veterinary Department of the University of Vienna in late afternoon of Friday 3rd March. This was followed by a buffet supper. This event had been sponsored by Masterfood.
The meeting was well attended by interested breeders and members of the host club. The purpose of the meeting, as explained by the WCC President, Mrs Alva Uddin was to put questions to the various delegates and any matters arising would be discussed by the WCC delegates at the closed meeting.
The delegates each presented themselves and their respective organisations:
Mr Don Williams. President of CFA said that his organisation was the largest cat registry in the world. He explained that it was also the most restrictive and conservative in regard to accepting new breeds. The CFA not only took the health of a breed into account but also required, before acceptance, that it would have no resemblance to any existing recognised breed. Registration was on pure breeding and not phenotype and CFA strived to maintain only pure-bred cats.
Mr Larry Paul, the President of TICA said that the Association was only 20 years old and had been founded by himself and the last president, Mrs Georgia Morgan. They had started a new genotypical registry. He felt that in the past TICA had been too liberal in recognition of breeds. Today Siamese, Orientals and Balinese had the same standard; this was also true of other breed types, e.g. Persian and Exotic. The gene pool and the health of the cats is now being taken into account.
Mrs Anneliese Hackmann, President of the WCF, had been ill and had almost lost her voice. She was also representing Euro GUS. She briefly stated that WCF had 560 clubs world-wide and operated under standards similar to those of FIFe.
Mr John Blythe, the President of the ACF Inc. explained that within ACF the President is required to be impartial and may not be a judge or a cat breeder. Since 1953 ACF had been represented all over Australia. Their standards were also similar to those of FIFe. Potential new breeds were examined by the Judges Guild. Normally the Federation recognised the standard of a breed from its country of origin.
Mrs Uddin speaking as President of FIFe said that FIFe had 34 members in 32 countries and four members under patronage. There were some 55,000 individual members and in 1999 75,000 pedigrees had been issued. On average 350 shows a year were held world-wide. She explained that each member has only one vote irrespective of its size. The FIFe had held a World Show since 1990, Its Annual General Assembly was held in a different member country each year. It was an umbrella organisation, the members being the federations. One of the difficulties of administration was that the FIFe Board could not interfere in national matters although it had total responsibility for the registrations. Members may have national rules that are stricter than those of FIFe itself but not easier ones. There were, therefore, some differences from country to country, for instance Sweden only allowed Siamese in a Siamese pedigree. The FIFe education programme for judges had been revised in the last few years and the organisation was presently investigating being recognised as an ‘International organisation.’
Amongst the subjects discussed;
Mr Williams spoke of looking to the future of the cat fancy; CFA had introduced a ‘Junior Showmanship’ group hoping to get young people involved and trying to stimulate interest from more groups. He pointed out that legislation was tending to make the cat fancy decline in size. He felt that the WCC meetings were very important as the standards were coming closer. CFA was using some FIFe ideas in order to make their shows more interesting. He added that there was difficulty with the media as, unlike dogs, cats cannot be paraded around on a lead. There were, however, more cats than dogs in private ownership in USA.
CFA have elections in June and they have a mail ballot to clubs. He noted that some FIFe breeders were registering with CFA.
One difference in the system was that in the USA showing or registering a cat was not dependant upon an individual being a member of a club. CFA has 650 clubs but some were small as a club could be formed with a minimum of 10 people. The WCF and ACF require an individual to be a member of a club before they can register or show. In TICA one can belong to TICA or to a member club and individual members have votes.
A question was raised regarding FIFe members showing in other organisations. This was of course possible under open doors although some individual members did not allow it. Mr Williams pointed out that WCC’s purpose was to unite the fancy and he felt that a lot of inroads had already been made.
The subject of neutering at 6-8 weeks was discussed and it was reported that a pilot scheme had been going for 8 years and no bad health effects had been reported.
Talking about promoting interest in the cat fancy, John Blythe did not agree with the exclusion of the public from a show whilst the judging was going on. He thought that judges had to be able to speak in front of the public and to create an interest if people were to attend shows.
Larry Paul spoke of the camaraderie of meeting old friends from different organisations and
Alva Uddin mentioned the idea of a joint show in Europe, to which Don Williams added that the breed standards had also grown closer so that it did not matter in which organisation a cat was registered.
This led to further comparisons; Mrs Uddin in the context of the Mexican Hairless pointed out that in the dog world it was not permitted to change a standard without the agreement of the country of origin. Regarding the Norwegian Forest Cat, ACF reported that it had adopted the FIFe amended standard but CFA had 5 points on length and texture, as well as colour of coat. There were also differences in the age that a cat was regarded as an adult. In CFA and TICA it was 8 months. In ACF 9 months and in FIFe and WCF 10 months.
After a break in the lively discussions, Mrs Uddin presented Mrs Emmenegger from Datamars who presented electronic identification of cats. It was a presentation which showed the simplicity of the procedure. The microchip was only the size of a grain of rice and could be implanted from 6 days old. There were scanners available which could read all with the ISO standard and also compatible with previous 7 systems. The ISO standard was now Worldwide. It was recommended that the microchip be placed to the left of the neck between the 5 & 6th vertabrae and it was confirmed that they could move a little. This systm would soon be available in the USA.
On the Saturday and Sunday the hosts, ÖVEK held two international shows with breed seminars taking place concurrently in which several of the visiting judges took part.
The closed meeting took place on Monday the 6th March and the Minutes are available in the library.