Kathy Black, Cat Fanciers Association Judge
Tuned into the community cats podcast. Ready. Let's go. Welcome to the community cats podcast I'm your host Stacey Lebaron I've been involved helping a homeless cats for over twenty years with the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. The goal of this podcast is to expose you to amazing people who are improving the lives of cats I. Hope these interviews will help you learn how you can turn your passion for cats into action. Today we're speaking with Cathy Black. Kathy is a CFA cat fanciers association, all breed judge, and she has been for nineteen years. She's bread and shown cats for thirty years. She's a current chairperson for CFA's companion cap world a program to celebrate our rescue and non pedigree cats around the World Kathy I'd like to welcome to the show. Thank you for having me is my pleasure to be here. So first and foremost if you WANNA share with our listeners and tell us how did you become passionate about cats? Well I have always been an animal lover from dogs, hamsters, birds, fish cats you doesn't matter I've always loved animals and I. Guess what I got out on my owned my landlady would not let me have a dog and saw she had a couple of Kittens as you gave me some caps and that led to another cab that looked like a coon and then when. That died I wanted to maintain. So then I got a Maine coon and then you know just one thing led to another ended up showing that cat falling in love with another breed called the Somali that upgrading Somalis for twenty five years then got into showing and judging and sandwiches it's been a progression but I've always been a big advocate for cats and all animals What was it about showing cats that really intrigued you. Well. I've always been super competitive. I played a lot of sports. My family likes to play Board Games. Card Games said we're all very super competitive. And when I got into showing I, think my competitive side came out in me. It's a fun thing to do I really had a life changing event happen right about that time and it just felt like I fell in love with a family family that loved cats as much as I did. and. They all became my friends and live long. France and so showing just became an whole nother aspect of my life and then the cats you know I love the we an so when the cat does well, then I feel like I've met my achievement because I put a lot of effort into grooming and the conditioning and the temperament and the different aspects that go into helping that cap be the. Best. It can be Tony a little bit about the cat fanciers association and what it's all about. It was founded in nineteen. Oh six I'm from Oklahoma Oklahoma became a state in one, thousand, nine, hundred, seven. So I always say this is a year older than even the Homa and it's while the world's largest registry pedigree cats in nineteen, sixty, nine, it started registering the random bred cats they called household pets. And we registered household pets almost all that time since nineteen, sixty nine. Until out. Two. Thousand. Fifteen that the board decided to let those cats are titles. So they become grant household pets they can be the top winning regional cats in their region. Or they could even be top national cat of the entire world CFA consist of member clubs. Those member clubs have been preserving and celebrating and protecting cats, and they could on catch shows which allow people to the income and exhibit their cats at the cat shows. That even though we are mostly registry pedigree cats, we've always been there to enhance the wellbeing all cats. And promote education responsible can't ownership and proper care for millions of cats worldwide only about two percent of the population of cats are pedigree cats. So there's ninety eight percent of the cat world do not know about C.. F. A. Do not know about lot of the pedigree breeds. So that's why we started this program a couple years ago called companion cat world to introduce people to see fa let them know who we are. If I say, AKC YOU'RE GONNA know what I'm talking about. You're going to know that C. American Kennel Club but if I say CFA to just anybody they're not going to know what I mean I haven't heard about us. They don't know who we are. So that's one of the goals that we started for a companion. Cat World is to reach out to the ninety eight percent of all the cat people out there that have never heard about us. Let them know who we are and what we stand for and what we work for and let them know that they're lovely can't that they have that maybe a rescue shelter astray, they can be part of our organization also so are. The people that register their cats do they all show their hats or do they register them for other reasons? Well, before we started this companion cat role program, el-sisi W, all the cats have registered pretty much where registered four showing purposes but not all cats are show cats I mean cats may not have the temperament maybe the owner doesn't have the temperament for showing it may not be something married in doing, and so we started CCW for all the cats whether you want to be a cat or not. Now of course, you can always take your cat. To a show because registration will earn you titles because of that being registered through cf but we are looking to do education to do fun events for people that may have a cab that may not qualify. For example, the Hasselbeck competition at cf show you cannot be declawed see if they does not promote decline of animals and so if you do happen to have a rescue shelter cab that has been declawed, then it will be eligible to come to our CCW fund shows. It just will be able to compete at a cf I shall as a household pet. Yeah that's great. That's wonderful because I mean many of us who've adopted cats from rescue you know is someone may have surrendered their cat that was already declawed. So if there's still an option for variety different cats to participate I can think of some very beautiful cats that I have owned, but they were semi ferals and they're not gonna be ready to show any time soon. But there beautiful beautiful cats. So if I registered them, do I get anything for that registry. It's a one time fee of thirteen dollars per cat, and that gives you your unique registration number hit you into the legacy of our database which has been around since one, thousand, nine, hundred, six. Also, you get lots of different discounts that are available to you from several of our vendors and you get a really cool card with your cats picture on it, and his has your name who the owner is. You can get luggage tags you can get key rings as Ed additional items to purchase, but everybody gets their membership card and you part of our program. So you're going to be getting newsletter that helps educate you about. Care and cat welfare as well as are pedigree breeds to introduce you to some of them you have sort of thoughts and ideas on the cat overpopulation situation in United States or across the World I mean ucf as it goes beyond the United States right? It's worldwide or is it just in the United States? Where worldwide, in fact, our number one breed rag doll is registered mostly out of China. We have shows in Malaysia. We have shows all across Europe Russia United States. Of course, we're not in Australia we promised Australia we would not compete against their organizations they have down. There were pretty much everywhere else in the world, and so when you think about the overpopulation, of course, we promoted SPAG neutering of your cats, but we also want to preserve are pedigree breeds when you look at the number of litters and kittens that are born with many of are pedigree breeds. They would be considered extinct or on the extinction list. The numbers are so small and these breeds deserve to be preserved. They've been around for many many years and so we want to recognize those braids and preserve those breeds responsibly. I like to call it intentional. We do intentional breathing's purposeful breathing's to better the breed and preserve that breed. But of course, we're going to promote spaying neutering any cats that are not to be used in a breeding program, and of course, any random bred cats well, and it's actually quite interesting. Now, this conversation it's coming up in. The rescue world because we are transporting a lot of cats around the country now because there are certain sections of the country where there's actually two few kittens available for adoption in those areas, and then there are parts of the country where there's too many cats and kittens that are up for adoption, and so there's become this sort of great shuffling of cats or I sort of call it cat solitaire that goes on where we're moving cats and kittens around the country to try and find the right supply and demand balance that's going on but now organizations you. are leading cats go to term to have their kittens. So they can adopt out the KITTENS, which is a different behavior that may have happened. You know several years ago when they were would spe them beforehand and it's just it's a fascinating question around breeding that's going on in the rescue world and I think we're GONNA have to have that conversation about how to provide our community with the pets that they want not even pedigree pets pets in general and I wish there was a magical solution out there I don't know if you have any thoughts on that issue. Well, that's an interesting concept. I think the covid everybody staying home i. know the shelters have been emptied out with dogs and cats because everybody's been home so much they thought well been considering getting a pet. Let's go get a pet that happened to me. I got a puppy 'cause I'm not traveling so much. So that's an interesting concept. Cf I, of course, is mostly about the pedigree cats but they've always been for the welfare of all cats and I think that everyone needs to be a responsible pet owner. And people that cats can just survive outdoors on their own. That's a very risky proposition. The average age of an outdoor cat is like nine months. The average age of an indoor cat is over nine years. So I think that you may have other issues that you're facing that I'm not familiar with in that part of the world where you're dealing with people looking for animals are looking for a cap is not available that this is something I'm not that familiar with. Yeah it's an interesting. Challenge that we have here in in New England and it's one that's you know we're trying to address it but we're seeing people putting kittens on craigslist for five or six hundred dollars. So it's showing that there's a market out there for them but it's interesting. We'll see how we all figure this out. We'll. We're all it one day at a time, and our first focus right now is making it through sort of Cova period. 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Simple cloud. We'd like to thank our sponsor the community cat coalition of Clark County Nevada in the decades since the group began see five has trapped over thirty seven thousand cats providing them with spay neuter vaccinations, and then returning them to call any caretakers in the greater. Las Vegas area. See Five is a volunteer organization that believes they can eliminate the senseless euthanasia feral and free roaming cats that live in the Las Vegas Valley they are a caring and dedicated group. Whose goal and purpose are the wellbeing a feral cats and their community they feel an obligation to provide Farrell and free roaming cats a better life. While at the same time humanely reducing overpopulation, they believe their actions will improve their community by reducing feline diseases. They have a passion and a belief in a cause that is morally right, and that will make a difference to learn more about C. Five them at www dot c five, dash t N. R dot org. HOW HAS COVA IMPACTED CFA? Well, it's really impacted us. We shut down all of the cat shows in March worldwide. The Board decided later on a couple of months later to open it up to each individual club if it's safe in their region, we were thinking that maybe some of the Asian countries might be able to come back to having shows, and in fact, we just had a show last weekend in Asaka, Japan. So. That was the first CFO. Since March. So most of the shows are not going on right now, another cat association were like religions. We all have our own idea of what the what the organization should be. So there's multiple cat organizations out there another organization did have a show a couple of weeks ago and I haven't heard a lot about it. They did everything social distancing and wearing masks and extra precautions, and so I think they kinda laid the groundwork that maybe some of the other clubs can look at what they did and we can try to think about moving forward but. A lot of people that are in the high risk either with age over the other underlying health complications, and so they're just kind of sitting back and not wanting to really risk going to show right now other people are chomping at the bit. They've got these beautiful cats. They've got kittens that are going to end up aging out kittens are anywhere between four months and the day before they turn eight months. So any kittens? That were born in the spring they're going to pretty much go you know those four months without ever seeing a cat show and getting kit is very important to let them know and experience. What can't show is when they're young, it can be a little more stressful on an older cat go into an environment where there's all these noises and a big high ceiling and a large room and lots of different sounds and smells. So, typically, we try to get our kittens to show a couple of times while there is still on a kitten class. To get them used to it so they're missing out on data. So we have a lot of people who really would like to have a show. That, you know with the local regulations and the laws and the number of people that are congregate and the facilities are very expensive. So if you can't get enough income from either the exhibitors and without spectators than the clubs really can't look at putting a show on Sunday. It's definitely impacted are showing and our ability to have shows and we're looking for the day when that all is over with and we can get back to seeing our friends and showing our cats again. So you haven't adapted in done like zoom virtual show or anything like that. Yes we have. We've had several fun shows through virtual means either the pictures were omitted and the judge the judges, the cats in the pictures I did a very interesting show for Moscow where they actually setup somehow a program with a video mix where they would patch me into the person's house the. Outer. Shell. Me Their cat I could speak to them and tell them what portions of the cats I wanted to see like you can show me the profile show me along the hair is you know different things like that? I can't see the color can you have the cat kind of look directly into the camera and so and of course, it was really fun because it all took place at two o'clock in the morning my time. But yeah, that was an interesting show of course, these virtual shows because you're not actually handling the cats just fan they're not really for any kind of titles or awards. But Yeah we've had several deals going on in fact club in. Florida. Put on a show and got over five hundred entries, and then there's been some lunden laughing London had show they put on the Berman owners are exhibitors or putting on a show with just Berman's right now. So, there's lots of different virtual shows that cropped up to try to keep everybody engaged. Let everybody gotTa have some fun. Do Little fundraising for your or for an event that you may have coming up and just try to keep everybody involved. But now see if I the only one show we've had is just last weekend in Japan. So you know many of your folks are breeders and I'm assuming that they're doing adoptions and it sounds like there may even be like a generation of Cats that have missed out on this training period or early show period when they're young getting them used to be around people and in the shows and everything. So you know I'm assuming that they'll be some adoptions happening in the rescue world. We've really adapted to contact lists or virtual adoptions where we use video to show the cats and pretty much folks are adopting cats sight unseen has. That been a conversation at the FA, not necessarily at cf I but I'm sure the individual breeders are having to find coping mechanisms to deal with this situation. I mean the cat have cats are if you've got a breeding program with pedigree cats, then they're going to need to be bread or at either spam or neuter them are or breed on. That's the only options you have and then There's going to be resulting kittens that need to find homes as pets. So I'm sure there's a breeders out there that are working on different ways of showing off their kittens and I know when I was breeding cats had a long waiting list. I was bred cats for me not for the general public, but I would always end up having pets that were available not enough to fill. The demand. So I always had this long waiting list of people that were waiting, and so I would contact them say okay and this is what I have now are you still interested and they'd say, yes, we blading two years you know or something like that. So when people are get their mind set on a particular look or particular breed than there, always going to be pretty much willing. To do whatever it takes to find that special cat adding to their life, and we definitely want to tap into those people that are involved in adopting a rescue and just WanNa bring up one point about CCW we had our member clubs identify a rescue shelter group. In each region, we have seven regions domestically in continental United States, and each of those seven regions identified one rescue. Shelter Group, and our CCW program is donating a portion of our registrations to that shelter group. So if I'm, let's say we have five hundred cats at are registered in the Arizona Southern California Utah Area than the rescue group that's been identified from that area. We'll get a portion of those proceeds and we may switch it around from year to year we may pick a different shelter or if. We have only one that we really identified. That's helping both tell their people that are risking cats about us and also enjoyed working with them then may stay with that one shelter group. But that's one of the ways they were giving back to the rescue group and the to the shelter groups by giving them a portion of our proceeds. That's great. Also I had the opportunity to go. To a a show, one point in time, and there were certainly quite a few rescue groups there, and also they often the rescue groups walked out the door with lots of food donations or product donations either from the vendors that were there or you know at the door, they were accepting donations of food. So the individual events are really quite supportive of of a variety of different groups. Yes, we really enjoy having a working relationship with the rescue organizations that's usually down to the club level, but it it not only wards off people that are anti pedigree or anti breeder because we show them how we do partnership with rescue groups and that local area but it also like you said, it people come to see the cats and they also come to see the the rescue cats and many of them get adopted. Right there at the show most the time, the breeders will not have kittens for sale a show either they're not old enough or didn't bring the ones that they're not showing. So the people that come to the show have the opportunity, meet the breeders and see their pedigree cats and not fall in love with a particular look of a breed, and then they can start the conversation with that breeder about a potential pedigree cat that when people come and they're ready to get a cat that day you know is nice to have the rescued. Cats, their summer skew groups won't even have cats present. They just had pictures because they have a vetting process they got through with the new owners, but we enjoy working with the local shelter groups, and that's one of the goals of our CCW. Program is also to start tracking that we've never really tracked those numbers. So I'm putting plans in place to actually get hard numbers of how many cats are adopted at our local shows because we have, you know, maybe three hundred shows in a year so it's hard to keep up with all that. So, we've started putting mechanisms in place to get those numbers. So when we go to people that we are living, be looking to sponsor s or something like that we need some hard numbers to prove to them. Kabir working with the local shelters and risky groups. So it folks are interested in finding out more about companion cat world and CFA, how would they do that? Well, the best way to go is to our website CFA dot org, and the CW program is available there under the drop down or you can type the ncfei dot org slash cw. and. There's lots of information about our breeds finding a breeder, you can read all about C C W if you have a beautiful cap that you would like to register and become part of our program, the link is right there with a big turquoise batances join now and for a one time fee of thirteen dollars, you get a pdf of your cats registration and you'll get your membership card and a couple of weeks make sure that you submit a really good picture make sure that it's a picture. That includes most all the cats. Sometimes, we get pictures of just feet or legs and things like that. So get a really Nice Picture and upload that picture in a couple of weeks you will get your beautiful CCW card, and then you'll get access to our newsletter our blogs, and you'll learn all about the different discounts that will be offering to you also, and that like I said, it's a one time fee thirteen dollars per cat cathy is there anything else you'd like to share with our listeners today? How Stacey, we've covered a lot of different mostly just that we are there for all the cats we are for the welfare of all the cats and we want your beautiful kitty at home to be a cartel member of our organization and we welcome you whether you could show your cat or not. We welcome you to become part of the FA Cathy I wanNA. Thank you so much for agreeing to be a guest on my show, and also I would like to do a shout out to CFA for sponsoring the online kitten conference and really appreciated their sponsorship. They were wonderful partner to work with and thank you so much and I look forward to having you on again in the future. Stacey enjoyed it. That's it for this week. Please head over to apple podcasts. Leave a review. We love to hear what you think at a five star review really helps others find the show. You can also join the conversation with listeners can't caretakers. 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