Once again, I welcome readers to my Cat Chat column. First off is news from Liz Mills and then news from overseas. Do keep in touch!
Charity Stall - all change
For several years I have run a small charity stall mainly at North West venues. Each year I am able to donate small amounts of money to my favourite welfare groups.
Sadly almost two years ago my dear friends Alan and Maureen Benson who like me took to stall holding after showing, were struck a devastating blow when Alan suffered a severe stroke. After a time in hospital and with very little improvement Maureen decided to nurse him at home. This meant a full-time commitment so her stall was on hold. I agreed to ‘take it out’ in order to reduce the stock. I ran my charity stall alongside it.
I would like to thank all the show/hall mangers for their support during this time. Paperwork was not always in place and sometimes I was very late booking, the logistics of getting paperwork and stock etc was sometimes difficult. Mo’s stall had always been an Aladdin’s Cave of fascinating items and my charity stall did suffer a little because of that so donations were low last year.
The time has now come to stop trading Mo’s goods Catty Collectables and she has offered the remaining stock at a generous rate to the charity. Combine this with my limited stock and recently a very generous donation of new goodies from a closed-down shop, and my charity stall will rise like a Phoenix at the start of the new Cat Show Year!! Ok, this is really corny but I have called it
THE ‘ALAMO’ CHARITY TRADING POST
Alan & Maureen will not be forgotten!! The stall will look pretty much the same
All I need now is a cowboy hat and maybe spurs to wear!!
Again this year I am supporting -
West Riding Pet Cat Club; Shropshire Cat Rescue; 3 Owls Bird Sanctuary;
South Ribble Pet Cat Club
LIZ MILLS - Cloudfall Catinabox
or rather, THE ‘ALAMO’ CHARITY TRADING POST
Yucca Valley’s Cat Show
The following article was written by Mark Wheeler and first published in the Hi-Desert Star:
Cat shows purr with contentment all their own, and the proof of it was more than evident at the recent show at Yucca Valley when the Cat Fanciers’ Association Inc. (CFA) turned Yucca Valley High School’s gym into a palladium of feline wonders, rare and beautiful to behold.
CFA is an international organization for the registry of pedigreed cats. In the United States, it incorporates several hundred individual clubs throughout seven regions.
The shows, according to Southwest Regional Director Regina Shaffer, serve an educational purpose for the CFA. “They help raise interest in the general public,” she noted, but stressed also, “they give breeders, exhibitors and enthusiasts alike an opportunity to meet and exchange information about anything and everything related to cats.”
At the heart of every show is the competition. For, even as the information exchange among participants may indulge their desire to be educated about their cats and about cats in general, it’s the opportunity to stand their cats against breed standards that brings them out.
Sibyl Zaden, whose Siamese was judged “Best in the Nation” by CFA in 2004, fairly thrives on the competition. “Shows are like beauty pageants,” she enthused and spoke in some detail about the thrill she feels every time her cat goes onto the judging table.
Framing the same sentiment somewhat differently, she described her cats as “living art,” going on to liken their appraisal on the judging table to the appraisal of a great painting or piece of sculpture.
Assuredly, it takes something of a finesse of appreciation to take a cat all the way to nationals and “Best in Nation” titles. According to CFA all-breed judge Bob Salisbury, it costs about $40,000 per year to compete for top honours, and this involves just the travel and grooming necessary to place in enough shows to earn a place in the national arena.
Not all show contestants are on the title trail, though, and many exhibitors are happy to enjoy the thrill of competition just a few times a year. Salisbury, for instance, joined the cat community in 1971 with an interest in the Burmese breed. It wasn’t long, though, before cat shows became a favourite family activity.
Although CFA shows do focus on pedigreed breeds, they also judge a “Household Pet” category which is open to any feline regardless of parentage. Naturally, the judging criteria is different. The competition, though, can be just as stiff for award, and many owners of championship pedigrees now got their first touch of cat-show fever when they innocently entered the family tabby in a local show just because they thought he or she was a prize-winner.
For many breeders, on the other hand, cat shows are an important business expense, and the business can, indeed, get expensive. Take Dee Dee Cantley from Rowland Heights, for instance.
Cantley breeds the very unusual sphynx cat. This is a heavily engineered breed, derived from two hairless mutations born to a Canadian litter in the early ‘50s.
Show-quality specimens for this breed sell for $5,000 and up, according to Cantley, and that doesn’t count the cost of finding and delivering the animal. Although Cantley didn’t divulge the price she paid for two champion-bred kittens she just bought, she did mention it is costing her quite a bit to pick them up? - in Moscow. That’s Moscow, Russia.
Cat-show people are not that much different from any other group of people with an enthusiastically shared interest. Nevertheless, it’s hard to ignore some vague sense of “mystique” when watching a lot of them devoting so much attention and doting care to their animals, especially when the animals, in characteristic cat fashion, only seem to be vaguely impressed.
But then, what else should we expect from “living art?” Cats have always told us in their own way that their only job in life is to be adored.
America’s Vaccine Policy
The American Association of Feline Practitioners and the Academy of Feline Medicine will publish updated feline vaccination recommendations later this summer. Updated guidelines will be posted and reside on the www.AAFPonline.org website in summer 2006.
Kittens grill up a surprise!
I came across this story by Olga Borodulin, writing in the Pulse Journal, Ohio, USA and thought it was an interesting item for this page.
Spring, known for its blooming beauty and the foundation of new life, recently turned into a celebration of feline life for one Mason family. On a brisk Saturday morning, the Karl family decided to hold a barbecue — but it came with a surprise. Little did the family know that another family was residing in their outdoor grill — a family of four kittens and their mother. Arthur Karl, 35, opened the grill cover to discover a large black cat jumping out at him, and found four young kittens underneath the grill.
The troupe of kittens consisted of one solid black, two Siamese and a black and white mixed kitten. Arthur’s wife, Shannon, wanted to keep the kittens, as did 5-year-old son, Spencer. However, their home is already home to two grown cats. The family contacted Purrfect Friends, an organization that prepares kittens for their adopting families. However, the Karls ran into some trouble delivering the cats when the mother cat relocated the kittens four days after they were discovered.
“We were very worried. We had no idea where she was taking them and had concerns about the rainy weather, construction in our area and predators,” Shannon said. However, the mother cat and her kittens returned to the grill within the week. For Shannon, this experience provided insight into the lives of homeless animals. “I think the best part of this experience has been the surprise of seeing the kittens returned safely after a week of worry about how and where they were,” she said. “It’s also fascinating to see how well a dedicated homeless mother cat can take care of her kittens under less-than-perfect circumstances.” Now, the Karls look forward to finding a home for the kittens and mother cat.
Pet Trust Funds
GABRIELLE BIRKNER, writing in the New York Sun, says New York has no shortage of “trust fund babies”. Now, some city residents are also leaving five- and six-figure bequests to their pets. Sizeable pet trusts ensure that pooches like Freebo and Bumper won’t be pound-bound should anything happen to their guardians, Richard and Patti Brotman. According to a 2003 trust agreement, the dogs and their six feline roommates stand to inherit a cool $200,000 collectively should their owners die.
“We thought it was important to plan ahead for an unfortunate eventuality,” Mr. Brotman, 51, a filmmaker who lives about a half-block from ground zero with his wife and their pets, said. “We saw what happened right across the street.” In a two-page legal document, the couple specifies a caretaker for their animals, as well as a trustee to dole out money for food, grooming, toys, medical bills, and other pet-care expenses. The Brotmans are among the growing number of New Yorkers making formal contingency plans for their pets, according to several area lawyers specializing in trusts and estates.
In New York State, pet trusts are legally binding documents that, unlike wills that name pets as beneficiaries, can be enforced in the courts, the Brotmans’ attorney, Frances Carlisle, a longtime pet trust advocate, said. Ms. Carlisle, who has four cats and two horses of her own, estimates that about one-third of her practice is devoted to estate planning for animals. Most of her clients have two or more pets, she said, and trust funds average between $50,000 and $100,000. Also specified in these trusts are the people or organizations that would receive any funds remaining after the pet or pets die, Ms. Carlisle said.
“If you’re not an animal lover, you might say, ‘Why are people worrying about their pets as if they were children?’” she said. “What they don’t understand is that, for many animal lovers, their pets are their children.” Ms. Carlisle will be a panelist during a session on pet trusts this summer at the annual American Bar Association conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.
A lovely thought
Finally, before I close for this time, I wanted to add how very touched my husband Mike was by the lovely card he received from Majorie Stafford, Club Chairman of the Manchester & District Cat Club. Mike had volunteered to help at the show by looking after the Award Boards.
Following the show, Marjorie sent a card depicting a Monet painting and she wrote a personal note of thanks to Mike, which he thought was very kind and of course, how could he refuse her invitation to repeat his performance next year?
Shows depend so much on volunteers to help with table work and 101 other jobs – it is so heartening to feel appreciated and Marjorie’s example is a good one to follow!
Bye for now.
Chris Stalker V.N.