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The World Cat Congress 2006
Sponsored by Royal Canin

Report & Photos by CHRIS STALKER (With additional info from www.worldcatcongress.co.uk)

The World Cat Congress Seminar and Open Meeting was held at the Royal Veterinary College, London on 12 March 2006. The attending delegates were truly International with representatives from Europe, USA and Russia.

The programme included:

Dr Susan Little’s & Ms Lorraine Shelton’s presentation, “The Current situation on DNA Tests, including HCM”.
Dr David Mags’ presentation, “An Update on Feline Herpes virus infection in Cats”.
Dr Elise Malandain’s presentation, “Artificial Insemination and new reproductive treatments in the cat”.
Lesley Morgan-Blythe’s presentation, “The Sphynx Cat”.
Lorraine Shelton & Julia May’s presentation, “The Determination of colour in different varieties”.

World Cat Congress opening

The Launch of Royal Canin’s new publication, “A Practical Guide to Cat Breeding”, and the launch of their new Queen 34 diet for cats during their heats, gestation and lactation.

The RVC venue was very comfortable with an excellent lecture theatre. We began the day with a welcome cup of coffee and biscuits. We were then warmly welcomed by the President of the WCC, Pam Delabar. Pam introduced the officials from the various organisations and said how pleased she was to see so many attendees.

WCC delegates

The morning’s scientific presentations from the eminent speakers were of a very high standard and were extremely informative. All delegates were presented with congress notes from the speakers and a pad and pen to record their own observations.

One of the Sphynx kittens

The Sphynx
After lunch, Lesley Morgan-Blythe introduced us to the Sphynx Cat. Lesley’s talk included a PowerPoint presentation courtesy of Blake Gipson (Bemisu) and a video presentation by a TICA judge, Aline Noel.

l An adult Sphynx

The Sphynx has its origins in the early 1900s and the development of the breed has been a long process, finally culminating in the Sphynx being accepted for registration, and competition, in the Miscellaneous Class by The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) in February 1998.

The day’s proceedings then took an entertaining twist as two Sphynx breeders (Jennifer Briggs and Nicola Loughran) had brought some of their cats to the congress.

The judges assessing the cats

Judges from the different cat associations then gathered together to assess the cats according to the different breed standards. The very cute kittens produced lots of admiring ‘ahhs’ from the audience!

Finally, we were introduced to Royal Canin’s new publication, “A Practical Guide to Cat Breeding” and the launch of their new Reproduction diet range for cats. The book and product was then presented to the delegates at the end of this wonderful day.

I would like to thank Royal Canin for sponsoring this superb event and the WCC’s Secretary/Treasurer, Penny Bydlinski, for her hard work and the entire organisation involved to make the day possible.

Favourable Feedback
Everyone I spoke to agreed that we had had a very worthwhile and entertaining day at the WCC. I interviewed one of the speakers and two of the delegates after the day and include their comments below:

Lesley Morgan-Blythe

Lesley Morgan-Blythe said, “By accepting as member bodies the GCCF, Southern African Cat Council and CCCA (the second Australian body), WCC is achieving its goals. The partnership the previous President of WCC (my husband, John Blythe, of Australia) set up with Mickael Deboise in 2005 has been of enormous mutual benefit to WCC and Royal Canin. This year’s WCC seminar was rather different from others, when breed presentations have dominated proceedings; this time the emphasis was on veterinary and nutritional concerns. It was a most informative and enjoyable event.”

Roeann Fulkerson (director of Marketing and Public Relations for CFA) said, “My assessment of attending the World Cat Congress was that it was both rewarding and enlightening. The overall experience was fun and very worthwhile.”

Albie Jobson said, “The WCC is really just finding its feet. This is the second closed meeting I have attended and I must say I think the aims are very worthwhile.

Sphynx video presentation

Three more registries have been accepted into the WCC, being GCCF, SAF and CCCA and I’m sure we will be able to do some good work between us. The Australian Cat Fancy announced at their meeting that they have already been successful in lobbying their government into banning products containing animal fur into Australia.”

World Cat Congress

The World Cat Congress was established to promote better understanding and co-operation among the world’s major cat associations in matters of mutual interest and concern such as cat legislation and feline welfare which affects all cat lovers, from the pedigree breeder to the pet owner.

Since the first meeting in 1994, the World Cat Congress Annual Meeting has become a regular event (with the exception of 2003). The meeting is hosted by one of the Member organisations and scheduled to coincide with a cat show at the meeting site.

In 1994 the Italian cat club, Associazione Nazionale Felina Italiana, organised a major event in the cat fancy under the title “Cats and Man”. This event took place in Venice in June of that year and consisted of a Seminar in which some distinguished Italian scholars from the fields of art, literature and science took part. There was also a meeting between the visiting heads of organisations as well as an international show.

The event was well attended by representatives of world cat associations; from the United States - Don Williams, President of the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA); from the United Kingdom - Brenda Wolstenholme, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF); and from Europe - Alvia Uddin, President of FIFe and Anneliese Hackmann, President of the World Cat Federation (WCF).

At the meeting in Sirmione, Italy in 1996 a “Mission Statement” was prepared and agreed. This statement summed up the purpose of the WCC:

The object of this Congress is to work openly and honestly together in a spirit of co-operation to improve the health and welfare of all cats and encourage the sharing of resources to promote the interests and to educate the participant of the ‘Cat Fancy’ throughout the World.
The area in which this co-operation would take place was identified as follows:

1. Open Shows
2. Co-operation in Registration
3. Health in Cats
4. Legislation regarding Cats
5. Educational Material
6. Recognition of Pedigrees
7. Co-operation on Show Dates

These matters have been continually addressed at subsequent meetings and progress has been made in some of the areas. The work will continue but as long as the will for co-operation for the mutual good of the cats exists, the WCC has an important part to play.

Towards Better Understanding and Co-operation
The purpose of the congress was to promote better understanding and co-operation among the world’s various cat associations in matters of mutual interest and concern such as cat legislation and feline welfare which affects all cat lovers, from the pedigree breeder to the pet owner.

Most of those taking part in this first meeting saw the importance of international co-operation and it was decided to establish a regular meeting of the presidents of the associations, to study and to seek solutions for problems of common interest.

Establishing Tradition
A pattern for these meetings, based on the original one, was maintained and they were held in conjunction with seminars, covering topics such as veterinary matters, micro chipping and breed presentations, as well as an international show at which the participating heads of organisations were invited to judge.

In 1999 a Charter was accepted and in 2001 a Constitution was established and accepted.
Traditionally the weekend consists of a seminar which includes an open meeting where the public have an opportunity to raise specific points of concern for discussion with the visiting delegates, a cat show and a closed meeting of the delegates. Wherever possible the visiting delegates have been invited to judge at the cat show.

The costs of participating at these annual meetings are borne by the member organisations except for those delegates who are judging - their expenses are met by the show organisers.
WCC 2006 saw the acceptance of three new members to the World Cat Congress:
Co-Coordinating Cat Council of Australia (CCC of A), Australia
Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), United Kingdom
Southern African Cat Council (SACC), South Africa

World Cat Congress Members
The membership of World Cat Congress is comprised of the world’s major cat fancies, including the founding members; Fédération Internationale Féline - FIFe, Cat Fanciers’ Association - CFA, The International Cat Association - TICA, World Cat Federation - WCF and Australian Cat Federation - ACF, as well as, New Zealand Cat Fancy - NZCF which joined in 2001 and the three newest members; Co-Coordinating Cat Council of Australia - CCC of A, Governing Council of the Cat Fancy - GCCF, United Kingdom, and Southern African Cat Council - SACC, which joined in 2006.

In order to apply for membership a body must be nominated and seconded in writing by two of the foundation members. The requirements to qualify for membership are set out in the World Cat Congress’ constitution.

Whilst the members are often competitors on the international cat scene, each has enthusiastically embraced the forum provided by the World Cat Congress to promote the health and welfare of cats, encourage the sharing of resources in the interests of the cats, and educate the participants of the global cat fancy.

The President is Pam Delabar, also President of CFA, who was elected in June 2005 for a period of two years. Ms Delabar is an all breed CFA judge and has successfully bred several breeds, including Singapuras under the cattery name Alsace, and is President of the United Singapura Society. She is also heavily involved in disaster rescue and relief for animals.

Eric Reijers, is Vice-President of the WCC. Mr Reijers is currently the General Secretary of FIFe, a FIFe International Judge and a well-known breeder of Cornish Rex, under the cattery name Pendragon. He has been active in the WCC since 2000 and was elected to his present office in March 2004 for a period of two years.

The Secretary/Treasurer is Penny Bydlinski, former General Secretary of FIFe, who was appointed in September 2003 for a period of two years. Mrs Bydlinski is also an international judge of the FIFe and has been the unofficial secretary of WCC since 1995. With the acceptance of the Charter in 1999, she was formally appointed as Secretary/Treasurer.

© World Cat Congress www.worldcatcongress.org