Category Archives: Cat Fanciers Association

Cat Shows Are Not Just for Pedigreed Felines!

By Julia Williams

I’ve only been to a handful of cat shows, but I found them interesting and a lot of fun. It never occurred to me to inquire about showing my own cats, for two reasons. First, I don’t have a purebred cat. More importantly, my cats are rather shy with strangers and would either try to run away from the judges or scratch them to bits. I can’t change their temperaments, but I recently learned that nearly every cat show has a Household Pet class. So owners of outgoing felines who are either non-purebred or without papers, can “prettify” them and let them strut their stuff at a cat show. Who knows, your beloved garden-variety housecat might even take home a title!

The Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), The International Cat Association (TICA) and the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) are the main cat registries and hosts for cat shows. Although some of the rules and eligibility requirements vary between these organizations, all three have a Household Pet category for their cat shows.

The Household Pet cats compete in one group, without regard to age, sex, coat length or color. Unlike the Pedigree classes, there is no written standard for Household Pets, although most organizations require that cats over 8 months be spayed or neutered. The cats in the Household Pet class are judged instead on their condition, uniqueness, physical beauty, health, and show presence. Judges look for cats who have a pleasing appearance, unusual markings, a sweet disposition and a calm demeanor. However, since “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” the judging for this class tends to be more subjective.

Should you show your cat?

Entering your feline friend in a cat show could be fun and rewarding for both of you, but it’s definitely not for every cat. First and foremost, you must decide if your cat’s temperament is suitable to being in the cat show environment. Would they enjoy the experience, or would it frighten them and stress them out? A good “show cat” will have a friendly and unflappable disposition. This is especially important for the Household Pet class, since temperament is one of the main judging criteria.

For shy or nervous cats, being at a show would be more of an ordeal than something they would enjoy. Is your cat outgoing enough to tolerate the crowds, noise and being handled by strangers? A good show cat loves being on display and doesn’t mind being handled by lots of different people. If your cat is relatively friendly and well-adjusted, they might do well in the ring, although there is really no way to tell for certain aside from giving it a try.

Is your cat in good health? To be entered in a show, your cat must be fit and well, with no fleas, ear mites, bare patches of skin, runny eyes or sneezing, and vaccinations must be current.

How do you find a cat show to enter?

Cat shows are held all around the country every weekend. You can see the show listings for CFA here and for TICA, here.

If you see a show near you that you want to attend, contact the person listed for entry forms and information. Be sure to ask if the show you are interested in has a Household Pet division. Entries for cat shows close several weeks before the actual show date to allow time to create the catalog and judges’ books, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get your forms in.

Once you’ve decided to take the leap into cat shows, you should start by doing some research. It’s much better to know the rules than to find out you’ve broken them and been disqualified. Catsinfo.com has a lot of information for beginners interested in showing their cat, whether pedigreed or not. The internet is a good place to do some research, but a far better idea is to go to a cat show as a spectator so you can see first-hand how they work and what’s involved. You can also chat with the other cat owners to get advice. You may even find one who lives near you who would be willing to be your mentor and help you learn the “cat show ropes.”

So you see, your furry friend need not possess a pedigree to become a cat show champion. If you think your feline has the good looks and calm demeanor to take the cat show world by storm, why not have a go at it?

Photos by Krzysiu “Jarzyna” Szymański

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Tips on Finding a Reputable Breeder


By Ruthie Bently

If you’re looking for a new dog or cat and want a purebred, do you know what to look for? Do you know which questions you should ask to help you choose the right pet? If you’re not sure what breed you want, going to a dog or cat show is a great way to find out. At a show you can look at the different breeds, talk to the breeders and find out if a pet you are considering would be a good fit for you. If you have already decided on a certain breed of dog or cat, finding a reputable breeder is fairly easy. The best advice I can give you is to remember to do your homework.

Don’t buy a particular breed simply because your children are begging you for the dog they saw in a movie. You need to make sure that the breed you choose is going to fit into your family and your lifestyle. Many Dalmatians ended up in shelters after the 101 Dalmatians movie came out because people found out that they didn’t have either the patience or energy to keep up with that breed.

Go to your local library and check out a cat or dog breed book and read about the breeds that are available. A reputable cat breeder won’t let you purchase a cat if they know it will be spending its time out in the barn hunting for its food. And no reputable dog breeder is going to let you chain one of their dogs to a dog house and leave it to fend for itself. A good breeder wants their animals taken care of; you should be aware that you are bringing home an animal for their lifetime and need to provide for them in a proper manner.

If any of your friends or family members have a purebred you like, ask them where they got it, how the pet’s health is and what they think of the breeder. Check with your veterinarian and ask them if they know of any reputable breeders. CANIDAE has links to reputable breeders on their website. You can also check the American Kennel Club website for a list of dog breeders. If you are looking for a purebred cat, the Cat Fanciers’ Association website can help.

Beware of “backyard breeders” (also called puppy mills). They breed dogs and list them in newspapers and on the Internet to make an easy dollar. The problem is they are not looking to breed a quality dog; they are breeding for quantity because the more dogs they breed the more money they make. While I have not heard much about “kitty mills” I am sure they exist. These animals can have many genetic and health issues because of their breeding, and that cute bundle of fluff you bring home can cost you thousands in vet bills down the road.

Reputable breeders can be found in the classifieds of your local paper, but they will have a list of qualifications for you; they don’t sell their animals to just anyone. They want to make sure you can take care of the pet you choose in a manner that is up to the standards they themselves will approve of. They also want to make sure you can handle the dog or cat you purchase.

Once you find a prospective breeder, there are several things you should ask them. Such as, are the parents on the premises, and can you see them? How old does your pet have to be, before you can take it home? Does the pet come with a health guarantee? (See my previous article for more questions you should ask a prospective breeder.) A reputable breeder will have requirements for you as well. Will the breeder want you to show this dog or cat? If the answer is yes, and the dog or cat becomes a champion, will the breeder want to breed the pet you have chosen?

I have had American Staffordshire Terriers since 1981. I had a personal relationship with the breeder before I ever considered getting one, and though I enjoyed all the dogs she and her husband brought into my store to socialize, I never thought I would give my life to this breed. Once I had my first one, however, I couldn’t imagine sharing my life with any other breed.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Breed Profile: Burmese Cat


By Ruthie Bently

I got a tiny kitten for a Christmas present in 1981, and he was a sable Burmese I named Sam. It has been said that they are “little people in fur,” and I agree. Since then Burmese have become available in four colors that are recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA): sable, platinum, blue and champagne. Sam had an apple head, which is a rounded head; now there is a controversy about the head shape, and the apple head is not allowed to be imported into England. The first Burmese cat, a female from Burma named Wong Mau, was brought into the United States by Dr. Joseph Thompson of San Francisco in the early 1930s.

The British Burmese cat has a more triangular head (like the Siamese) and oriental look, and the available colors are greater than the cats here in the States. The history of the Burmese in Britain is a bit different, and didn’t really get started until after 1945 when soldiers coming home from Burma brought them home. The breed was recognized in 1952 by the Britain’s Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF). The colors that are acceptable in Britain are the blue, lilac, chocolate and brown tortoiseshells, and the cream, lilac, chocolate, blue, brown and red. None of the allowed colors should have spots or barring, and all colors should be shaded darker on their backs and lighter underneath.

The Burmese has a short coat that feels like silk, and they are a sturdy cat for their size. They are very playful, even as adults. They will tolerate dogs, they like children, and do well riding in a car if trained early. They love their humans and often act more like a dog than a cat, as they will follow you around the house. Burmese cats are extremely loving, and a free lap is one of their favorite places to be – unless you get them involved in a spirited game of fetch! Sam’s favorite toy was the plastic ring from the top of a milk bottle, and he could play fetch until your arm gave out; his energy never did.

Burmese cats are vocal, like their Siamese cousins, and love to talk if allowed. Their voice (even when complaining) is a softer voice than most cats. They will sulk if they get upset, but don’t stay mad for very long. The males are supposed to be more laid back than the females, but all the Burmese cats I met at the breeder’s were very friendly. Sam loved to cuddle like most Burmese and would sleep next to my head on the pillow unless it was a cold night, in which case he was under the blankets.

Most breeders let their Burmese kittens go between three and four months of age, when they’ve had their first set of shots and have had time to become socialized. You will want to visit the cattery to see the conditions the kitten has been raised in. The kitten should be friendly, easy to handle, curious and energetic. Their coat should be healthy looking, their ears should be clean, and their noses and eyes should be clear.

A reputable breeder should give you a health guarantee with the kitten, and will usually provide you with papers of registration after the kitten has been altered. The breeder should be willing to discuss the health and care of the kitten and provide you with their medical records for your vet if asked. If you are purchasing your Burmese cat to show, the CFA disapproves of declawing. The Burmese was recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association in 1936.

If you are interested in getting a purebred cat, a Burmese is a wonderful choice that will bring you years of joy and laughter. They are nowhere as aloof as most cats are accused of being, and truly live up to their reputation as “little people in fur.”

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

AKC “Meet the Breeds” in New York City


By Linda Cole

Looking for a fun October outing for the entire family? Head to New York City October 17 and 18 for the AKC Meet the Breeds event which will be held at the Javits Center. The American Kennel Club® and Cat Fanciers’ Association® have joined together to host this one of a kind event, which is the world’s largest showcase of dogs and cats.

You will meet 160 breeds of dogs and 41 cat breeds. This is a perfect opportunity to interact with specific breeds and have your questions answered by the breeders who know these pets best. If you’ve ever wondered how a certain breed would be as a pet and how it could fit into your family, you will have ample opportunity to see them, pet them, and chat with the experts.

Each breed will be highlighted in their own uniquely decorated space where you will be able to learn about the pet’s heritage and specific attributes. If you are a pet lover, this is one event to put on your calendar for the entire family. Each booth will be manned by representatives from the national breed club for dogs (e.g., the Siberian Husky Club of America) or the council for cats (e.g., the Maine Coon Council) who can tell you everything there is to know about a specific dog or cat.

Be sure to stop by the CANIDAE booth (no. 419) for free product samples and $3 off coupons good toward any size bag of CANIDAE or FELIDAE All Natural Pet Food. While you’re there, enter the raffle for a chance to win an awesome Felt X-City 5 bicycle, valued at $500. All of the money raised in this charity raffle will be donated to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation to fund cancer research in pets. (See the CANIDAE News story for more information.)

In addition to being able to meet hundreds of breeds at this two-day event, you can enjoy shopping and ongoing demonstrations such as law enforcement K9s, grooming, agility, rally and obedience. Also on the agenda will be an educational cat show and fun children’s activities.

A variety of booths will be set up where you can meet and talk one-on-one with trainers, vets, groomers and pet experts who are happy to answer your questions. They love their pets as much as you do and want to ensure the best care possible for all pets. If you have a Cub Scout or Girl Scout in the family, visit the respective booths to learn how they can earn their Responsible Pet Ownership patch at Meet the Breeds.

Be there Saturday to receive a ballot and vote for your favorite “Best Dog Booth in Show” or “Best Cat Booth in Show.” The winning booth in each category will be presented with a check for $500.00 in a special ceremony on Sunday.

You can see a display of art work by school children ages 6 to 17 from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, who entered a contest to help celebrate this event. Come see almost 150 beautiful drawings, paintings and computer generated artwork of purebred cats and dogs. Many of these young artists will receive recognition for their work during the Meet the Breeds two day event.

The AKC Meet the Breeds event is presented by PetPartners, Inc., a pet healthcare provider. Buy your tickets now to ensure a special pre-event price of just $10 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. Use your AKC Rewards Visa® Card and get one ticket free. To order tickets, click here. For directions, more information and details, click here. Tickets bought at the door will be $12 for adults and $8 for kids 12 and under.

Join the fun, and bring the entire family. After all, kids, puppies and kittens were made for one another!

Read more articles by Linda Cole

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

The Ancient and Exotic Abyssinian


By Julia Williams

All of my cats have been the garden variety kind (i.e., free). But if I ever did decide to get a pedigreed cat, the Abyssinian is high on my list. The beautiful Aby has been one of the most popular short hair breeds for quite some time, and it’s easy to see why. This regal feline is highly intelligent, loyal, loving, extroverted and active. Abyssinians also possess an unusual ticked coat, a delightful “purrsonality,” and an intriguing history. What more could any cat fancier want?

Abyssinian History

Although the Aby is one of the oldest known cat breeds, its origins are still something of a mystery. While many different stories and theories exist as to where the Abyssinian came from, the truth is that no one really knows for sure. Some believe they originated in Egypt, largely because they resemble the paintings and sculptures of ancient Egyptian cats, typically depicted with an arched neck, a svelte body, well-cupped ears, long legs and almond-shaped eyes.

Another Egyptian theory claims that the Abyssinian originated from a female kitten called Zula, who was taken from Alexandria to England by a British soldier. However, this theory is unsubstantiated. There are also stories that wild Abyssinians live in parts of North Africa today. This likely stems from the fact that today’s Aby still has that exotic “jungle look” of the African wildcat (felis silvestris lybica), generally believed to be the ancestor of all domestic cats.

The earliest identifiable Abyssinian cat resides in a taxidermy exhibit in a Holland museum, labeled as “Patrie, domestica India.” From this, some theorize that the breed may have been introduced into England from India by colonists or merchants who frequently travelled between the two areas.

Abyssinian Temperament

Although the Aby is a very people-oriented cat that relishes human company and attention, they are the opposite of a lap cat. The Abyssinian is far too preoccupied with playing and exploring every inch of its “habitat” to sit still for long. They’re fond of climbing and may appear to defy gravity at times because no summit is too high for them to scale. Obviously, Abyssinian cats have no fear of heights. Given their love of high places, Abyssinians make good use of towering cat trees, multi-level cat condos and the like.

Abyssinians have an insatiable curiosity, and when their interest in piqued (which is pretty much 24/7) they tend to be captivated by whatever is happening. A window perch that looks out into a yard frequented by birds and squirrels will hold the Abys attention indefinitely.

In the Abyssinian Breeders International “Kitten Buyer’s Guide,” Carolyn Osier describes the Aby as “… a cat that likes to be with people, a cat that wants to know what you are doing – that wants to help. There is probably no breed anywhere more loyal than the Aby. Once you have acquired an Aby as a companion, you will never be able to complain that no one understands you.”

Abyssinian Physical Characteristics

The Abyssinian’s head is broad and somewhat wedge-shaped, with eyes that can be gold or green. They have rather large ears that are cupped at the base and pointed at the tips, where tufts of hair are commonly seen. Some Abys have an M-shaped marking on their forehead. The Abyssinian’s lithe body is medium length, with well-developed muscles, slender legs and small paws. They have a fairly long tail which is broad at the base and tapers to a point.

The defining feature that sets the Abyssinian apart from other cat breeds, however, is the richly colored “ticked” tabby coat. Each hair is ticked with four to six bands of color, dark at the tip, lighter at the roots, alternating dark and light. This iridescent ticked coat adds to the Aby’s wild appearance, and seems to make them shine.

Abyssinian Colors and Markings

There are four Abyssinian colors recognized by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, which is the world’s largest registry of pedigreed felines. The original Abyssinian coat color is known as Ruddy. The coat has a warm reddish-brown base; the darker bands of color are dark sepia to black and the lighter bands are bright orange, which gives the impression of a burnt sienna iridescent cat. Red has chocolate brown in the darker bands of color, giving the impression of a red iridescent cat. The Blue Abyssinian has slate blue darker bands of color alternating with warm beige. Fawn has light cocoa darker bands and rose-beige lighter ticking. Abyssinian kittens are all born with dark coats that get progressively lighter as they mature. It can actually take several months for the final coat color to be established.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.