The delegates and attendees from left to right back row: Kaai Deplessis (SACC), Kitty Angel (CFA), Albie Jobson (NZCF), Annette Sjödin (FIFe), Eric Reijers (FIFe) Front row left to right: Julia May (GCCF), Allan Raymond (ACF), Julie Schuller (ACF), Penny Bydlinski (Secretary), Pam Delabar (President), Anneliese Hackmann (SCF), Cheryle URen (CCCofA),
Seated: Kay DeVilbiss (TICA).
This year’s meeting took place in the north of London, England. The event was, once again, sponsored by Royal Canin who had held a Feline International Convention immediately prior to the WCC event.
The weekend commenced with an Open Meeting and Seminar which was held at the Royal Veterinary College’s Hawkshead Campus in North Mymms near Hatfield on Saturday, 11th March. This is a prestigious venue and the seminar took place in the purpose built lecture theatre. The Royal Canin team were in attendance and the theatre was decorated with their attractive banners
At the start of the very full programme the WCC delegates were introduced by Ms Pam Delabar who is the President of WCC as well as being President of CFA. Each of the WCC members was represented: FIFe by its President, Mr Eric Reijers, TICA by its President, Mrs Kay DeVilbiss, ACF by its International Liaison Officer, Mr Allan Raymond, NZCF by its Vice-President, Mr Albie Jobson and WCF by its President Mrs Anneliese Hackmann. Delegates from the three organisations applying for membership were also present. These were Mr Kaai Duplessis from SACC (South Africa), Mrs Cheryle U’Ren from CCC of A (Australia) and Mrs Betty Shingleton from GCCF (UK). The Seminar was well attended by people not only from the UK but also from the USA, the Continent and Scandinavia; it was a truly international gathering.
The first speaker was the ever popular Dr Susan Little who is currently the President of the Winn Feline Foundation. Dr Little gave a very interesting lecture on the current situation on Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). For an oversight of this lecture .
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Notes on Determination of Colour by Lorraine Shelton
Cat color is dependent on the interaction between a variety of different genes. The purpose of this presentation will be to expand upon the typical cat breeder understanding of feline genetics as an alphabet soup of lower case and upper case letters and present the chemistry and embryology involved in creating a cat's color. Receptors, ligands, cellular communication, and enzymes define a cat color. The melanin pigmentation metabolic pathway and the development and migration mechanisms of melanocyte (pigment producing cells) are getting better defined with every passing year of research in this field.
There is a receptor on the surface of melanocytes called Melanocortin Receptor 1 (MC1-R). When a protein called Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) interacts with this receptor, eumelanin (black or brown) pigment is produced. When there is no MSH present (the gene for MSH is the current best guess for the "orange" mutation on the X chromosome), only phaeomelanin (orange) pigment can be produced by the melanocyte.
Agouti signaling protein (ASIP) competes with MSH for a place in MC1-R. When it displaces MSH, phaeomelanin is produced. This creates a hair with a black tip (when MSH is in the receptor) and yellow at the roots (when ASIP is in the receptor). This is the mechanism that creates our tabby cats. The interactions between MC1-R, MSH, and ASIP are reversible, creating banding on the hairs, as eumelanin production cycles with phaeomelanin production.
When ASIP is defective (the "A" to "a" mutation), MSH stays in the receptor and only eumelanin is produced. This creates the coloration of a "solid" cat.
Tyrosinase is the primary enzyme needed to create pigment of any type from the amino acid tyrosine. When this enzyme (created at the C locus) is defective, you get the genetic variants cb, cs, and c (in decreasing order of function of the enzyme). This creates cats with pigment only at cooler areas of the skin and, in its most extreme form (c), albino cats.
Further down the metabolic pathway is the enzyme Tyrosinase Related Protein-1 (TRP-1). If this enzyme (created at the B locus) is broken, the eumelanin pigment doesn't get fully formed and you get chocolate (b) or cinnamon (bl) coloration.
Lastly, there is a protein that causes the pigment to be distributed evenly in the growing hair (D). When it is broken (d), pigment deposition is disrupted, and there is a "stuttering" of pigment deposition in the growing hair.
The tabby pattern genes create proteins involved in communication between the melanocyte cells and surrounding cells during migration to the skin and hair follicles. The white and white spotting genes create proteins essential for melanocyte development and distribution throughout the skin, eyes, hair follicles, and a layer of cells in the inner ear essential for sound hearing.
This presentation will also describe the various DNA tests currently available to breeders, how they can be used in a breeding program, and how breeders can contribute to future genetic research.
Mrs Lorraine Shelton, another well-known and respected speaker on feline genetics joined in this lecture with an update on various other DNA tests which were currently being developed.
The next speaker was Dr David Maggs, an Australian by birth who has spent some time in pracice both there and in the UK. He is currently attached to the University of California-Davis. Dr Maggs inimitable style gave his rather gloomy subject of Feline Herpes virus infection great impact and reduced many of the fears which are attendant on this virus by speaking on supportive care, antiviral treatment and the “voodoo” approach; the use of L-lysine and arginine in a balanced mix.
Dr David Maggs speaking on Feline Herpes Virus
After lunch which was served in the College Refectory, Dr Elise Malandain who is attached to the scientific communication team at Royal Canin spoke about feline reproduction and the new reproduction treatments including artificial insemination. Dr Malandain is well known to the WCC delegates as she has been a contributor at other WCC Seminars. Her knowledge and charm are memorable and we wish her all the best for her impending motherhood.
A presentation of the Sphynx Cat was made by Lesley Morgan-Blythe, a well-known Australian judge who is often seen judging in Europe and the UK. She was well backed-up by a number of Sphynx cat which had kindly been provided by Jennifer Briggs and Nicola Loughran of the Nudedudes Sphynx prefix.
Jennifer Briggs with one of the Sphynx she brought to the Seminar
The judge delegates were asked to assess all the cats cats using their own body’s standard and to come up with their winner, which interestingly resulted in the same cat being declared best according to the 6 different standards. This gave a little light relief. Lesley also had the use of a Power Point presentation which had been kindly lent by Blake Gipson, of the USA. The highlight of this presentation was a cinefilm of the acknowledged Sphynx expert and TICA judge Aline Noel. In the film Mrs Noel spoke about various points of the Sphynx which she illustrated with her own cats, including the famous Amenophis Clone.
Dr Little and Lorraine Shelton also both spoke briefly about the genetics and health of the Sphynx.
The next item on the programme was which was to have been given by Lorraine Shelton and Julia May. Sadly at this point Mrs Shelton was unwell and Ms May was obliged to carry on alone, which she did very adequately and amusingly, dealing with the dilute modifier colours. Mrs Shelton mentioned that she feels the NFO ambers are agouti modifier rather than black modifier, as supposed.
The final item was the presentation of Royal Canin’s new book “A Practical Guide to Cat Breeding.” This was presented by Dr Malandain.
There was then a question and answer session with the speakers in the Chair; this was lively and interesting but sadly had to be curtailed as time was running out.
All who attended were given a parting gift of a bag of the newly launched Queen 34 food as well as an ataché case in the Royal Canin colours which contained a copy of the newly published book in the English language version.
This was generally considered to be a very successful Seminar and the WCC is indebted to its sponsor, Royal Canin for all their support on this occasion.
Saturday evening saw a gala dinner at the Ramada Hotel in Hatfield where the delegates were staying. It was an enjoyable evening and gave an opportunity for the delegates and others attending the seminar and the show to meet in a more relaxed environment.
During the evening Felis Britannica’s President, Mr Neil Gardner was presented by the WCC with a commemorative cup to mark their hosting of the annual meeting. Mr Gardner, thanking the WCC, said that the cup would be presented to the Best in Show the following day and he asked if the President of WCC would choose the best exhibit at the end of the show, which she agreed to do.
Albie Jobson judging an Aby at the show
The international show on Sunday, 12th March which was presented by Felis Britannica, the FIFe member in the UK, was held under FIFe rules. WCC delegates Pam Delabar (CFA), Kay DeVilbiss (TICA), Albie Jobson (NZCF), Eric Reijers (FIFe) and Allan Raymond (ACF) officiated as judges, which was much appreciated by the exhibitors who are always pleased to see new faces judging their cats and particularly judges from other organisations. The overall Best in Show was chosen by Pam Delabar and was Ch. Zehnder’s Stella by Starlight, a blue Abyssinian owned by Mrs Valerie Davidson (UK) and bred by Monica Zehnder of the USA. Mrs Davidson was duly presented with the WCC trophy.
Pam Delabar judging a Maine Coon at the show.
On Monday, having spent a quiet evening at the hotel, the delegates met for the business part of the weekend. The meeting was held at the Ramada Hotel and was attended by all the delegates. This year the President called for an Executive session in order to consider the new applications for membership. These were from the Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia (CCC of A), represented by its Vice-President Mrs Cheryle U’Ren, the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) in the UK, represented by its Vice-Chairman Ms Julia May BSc., BvetMed, MRCVS and the Southern African Cat Council (SACC) of South Africa represented by its President Mr Kaai Duplessis who was accompanied by its secretary, Mrs Zolita Harper.
The new applications were all accepted and the WCC is pleased to see that it has now grown to incorporate a total of nine members in five continents.
The Minutes of the meeting are available for download.