The World Cat Congress was established in order to promote better understanding and co-operation amongst the world’s major cat organisations. The first meeting, from which the idea grew, was held in Venice, Italy in 1994.
Since then, with the exception of 2003 when no meeting was held, the annual meeting has taken place in different countries, hosted by one of the member’s affiliates. The majority of the meetings have been hosted by FIFe and have taken place in Europe but in 2001 ACF Inc. hosted the meeting in Sydney, Australia and in 2004 it was the guest of TICA in Houston, USA. In 2005 it moved back to the antipodes where NZCF hosted the meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Photo from the WCC meeting earlier in 2005 - WCC President at the time, John Blythe (right) with the President of the host Club, NZCF, Dara Robbins.
The Meetings follow a certain format in that there is normally a seminar and an open meeting in conjunction with a show. The delegates of the member organisations take part in both activities and also hold a closed meeting after the other events have taken place. With some exceptions the date for the annual meeting is fixed in the early part of March.
The Membership has grown from the original ‘founding’ members who were FIFe, CFA, WCF, TICA and ACF Inc., to include NZCF of New Zealand which joined in 2001. This year the closed meeting will be dealing with three further applications for membership from the GCCF, the South African Cat Fancy (SACC) and the Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia (CCCA).
In 2004 Royal Canin agreed to sponsor the WCC and this year it is using the annual meeting as an opportunity to launch its new book "A Practical Guide to Feline Breeding." This book includes their latest scientific and technical knowledge and is supported by the Winn Feline Foundation. Some of the contributors will be taking part in the seminar:
Dr Susan Little DVM BSc, Diplomate ABVP (Feline) received her BSc from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia in 1983 and her DVM in 1988 from the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario. She has been in feline practice since 1990 and achieved specialty board certification (ABVP) in Feline Practice in 1997.
Dr Susan Little
She is part owner of two feline specialty practices in Ottawa, Ontario and a feline consultant for the Veterinary Information Network (www.vin.com). Her main areas of interest are feline infectious diseases, feline reproduction and paediatrics, feline genetic diseases, and management of stray and feral cat populations.
She is President of the Winn Feline Foundation and serves on the Editorial Advisory Committee of Pets Magazine.
Lorraine Shelton is the co-author of the fourth edition of "Robinson's Genetics for Cat Breeders and Veterinarians". A frequent lecturer to the lay public on the subject of genetics for more than 15 years, she raises Persian, Himalayan, and Selkirk Rex cats under the Featherland cattery name.
After obtaining her BS in Biological Sciences and a BA in psychology from UC Irvine, Lorraine worked in the bio-tech industry, developing one of the first in-office tests for Feline Leukemia and developing genetically engineered proteins and animal models of human diseases.
Dr Elise Malandain DVM, graduated as a veterinary surgeon at the National Veterinary School of Lyon in 1998.
She then joined Dr Fontbonne’s Lyon-based team in canine assisted reproduction. After achieving a thesis on cat breeding, in 1999, she joined UMES, the Unit for Medicine in Breeding and Sport, led by Professor Grandjean at the Veterinary School of Alfort, where she developed extensively the cat breeding department.
Dr Elise Malandain
There, Elise led clinical trials related to parasitic and respiratory problems in breeding catteries. After completing a Master of Science on Physiology of Reproduction, she focused her research work on the follow up of a queen‘s cycle and developed feline artificial insemination. In 2003 she joined the scientific communication team at Royal Canin.
Elise is also the Vice-President of the SFC, the French Felino-technical Society, an association bringing together cat breeders and veterinarians. She has written several scientific papers and is the co-author of the Practical Guide to Cat Breeding.
The Open Meeting which follows the Seminar gives an opportunity to meet the Presidents of the organisations, or their delegates, and allows for matters of concern in the cat fancy to be discussed amongst the participants. This year the attending delegates are:
Pam Delabar, President of WCC, President of The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), founded in 1906 and based in New Jersey, USA, with members world-wide.
Kay De Vilbiss, President of The International Cat Fancy (TICA), founded in 1979 and based in Texas, USA with members world-wide.
Eric Reijers, Vice-President of the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe), founded in 1949 and registered in Luxemourg with members world-wide.
Anneliese Hackmann, President of the World Cat Federation (WCF), founded in 1988 and based in German with members world-wide.
Allan Raymond, International Liaison Officer of the Australian Cat Federation Inc., (ACF) founded in 1972, Australian wide.
Albie Jobson, Vice-Chairman of the New Zealand Cat Fancy Inc., (NZCF) founded in 1930 but organised in its present form in 1972, New Zealand wide.
Also attending will be Mrs Betty Shingleton and Ms Julia May from the GCCF, Mr Kaai Duplessis from the SACC and a representative from CCCA.
Mickael Deboise, the marketing manager of Royal Canin, will also be in attendance together with Dr Malandain, as mentioned above.
It is fitting that in 2006, the year in which the GCCF are applying for membership, the WCC will be held in England where 136 years ago the first cat show was held in July 1871.
There have been many changes since that first show in the Crystal Palace but the love of cats has remained and grown in the intervening years to an extent which is reflected in the international scope of the world cat congress.