World Cat Congress Meeting

Christchurch, New Zealand 4 – 5 June 2005

WCC 2005 delegates

WCC 2005 delegates from left to right back row: Kay de Vilbiss – President TICA, Eric Reijers – Vice-President WCC and General Secretary FIFe, Allan Raymond – International Liaison Officer ACF, Albie Jobson – Vice-Chairman NZCF. Front row: Pam Delabar – President WCC & CFA, Anneliese Hackmann – President WCF and Penny Bydlinski – Secretary/Treasurer WCC.

The annual meeting of the WCC was hosted by the New Zealand Cat Fanciers Inc. and held in Christchurch, New Zealand over the weekend of 4/5th June. Delegates from CFA and TICA in the United States, FIFe and WCF in Europe and ACF as well as NZCF itself were present.

This was a long weekend as the NZCF National Show was to take place on the Saturday and Sunday with the National Awards Dinner on the Saturday evening to which the delegates were invited. Amongst the visiting delegates Pam Delabar (CFA), Kay de Vilbiss (TICA), Penny Bydlinski and Eric Reijers (FIFe) were also judging at the show.

The seminar and open meeting was held on Monday, 6th June which was a national holiday in New Zealand. It was well atteded and an interesting programme had been planned. Mickael Deboise, the marketing director of the WCC Sponsors, Royal Canin was in attendance together with Dr Elise Malandain who gave a very interesting lecture on coat colour acquisition and nutritional influence; she reported that coat growth and loss was seasonal and 75% of hair loss would have occurred by July (January if one lived in the southern hemisphre) with the peak growth period being September (March). Hair growth is about .03 mm daily. She also recommended Vitamin B for dry skin and dandruff, this being found, for example,in fish oil; she also recommended brewers yeast as an excellent source of Vitamins A & B and particular useful in cats for Vitamin B which the cat is unable to convert itself.

WCC 2005 delegates

John Blythe (left), retiring WCC President & Dara Robbins (right), Chairman of the host organisation NZCF

in response to enquiries about her research into artificial insemination in cats, Dr Malandain also gave an unplanned review of the current situation in that area. AI has first been described in cats some 40 years previously but although there had been some results they were, generally, rather poor. In the 80's in Paris, they had concentrated on AI in endangered species. Twenty year old semen had also been used in Paris on domestic cats. There were still some problems to sort out with regard to collection of semen and establishing the specific time of ovulation.

Amongst the other speakers were:

WCC 2005 delegates

Mrs. Kay de Vilbiss pointing out some of the characteristics of a Bengal's coat pattern.

Mrs Kay de Vilbiss, the TICA president gave a well documented lecture on the Bengal which she was able to illustrate with some specimens of the breed which were present. She emphasised a need to reward features which differ from those of domestic cats, for example the whited areas, the straight profile, the ears set back on the head and the low carriage of the tail. She also said that TICA had changed its standard to give 35 points on coat and with more emphasis on type.

Ms Pam DelaBar, CFA President and a former breeder of Maine Coons gave an informative presentation of her breed, beautifully illustrated with a superb silver tabby Maine Coon which she had bred as well as some New Zealand live examples. Ms Delabar also spoke about disaster relief; she is very active in this area within CFA. Referring to major disasters, she pointed out the fact that there were also hundreds of pets which need to be rescued and described some of the actions that could be taken.

Penny Bydlinski, retired FIFe General Secretary and Secretary/Treasurer of the WCC gave a Power Point presentation of the Norwegian Forest Cat and Eric Reijers, retired FIFe President and the new General Secretary spoke about public relations in the cat fancy referring to the need to make ourselves and our cats more accessible.

Rod Hitchmough, a genetecist from NZCF gave a presentation of an exclusively New Zealand breed, the Mandalay. This was, in effect, a self-coloured Burmese and had been recognised since 1990. Dorothy Horton presented some examples of the breed, all of which displayed sweet temperaments.

Allan Raymond, the ACF International Liaison Officer presented the painful subject of the trade in cats and dogs for fur and meat in Asia. Animal Asia, whose web site address is www.animalsasia.org is working hard to educate the populations on this horrible practice and have mounted a campaign under the title “Friends… or Food?” The delegates were urged to support this action through their own governments where possible.

The meeting was very well attended by New Zealand breeders, many of whom had changed their flights home from the National Show to stay for the Seminar. There were also judges in attendance from both the two Australian bodies as well as New Zealand. Many New Zealanders also felt that that the WCC open meeting had been very valuable and had brought them into contact with the rest of the cat world.

The two day show was an enjoyable and new experience for most of us. The venue was Addington Raceway in Christchurch and occupied two large halls. There were some very nice touches, such as the judges being announced and escorted to their judging rings by attractive young girls dressed as cats with very long tails. It was a busy show, the halls seemed to be crowded on both days and there were some beautiful cats.

On the Saturday evening the National Winners Awards took place at a gala dinner which was extremely well attended. The food was excellent, the Master of Ceremonies was entertaining and a very good evening was enjoyed by everybody.

The Closed Meeting took place on the Tuesday, the meeting was constructive and the whole weekend was very well organised by the NZCF. The Congress’s second trip ‘down under’ was indeed a memorable and enjoyable experience.

The delegates also had the opportunity of visiting the charming city of Canterbury and travelling in its ‘olde worlde’ tram which meanders through the old town. It was winter there and rather cold but some of us braved the elements and took the cable car up to Bob’s Peak high above Queenstown with its fabulous, if windy, views across Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountain ranges.