Minutes of the June 2005 Breed Council Meeting

The Persian Breed Council held a breakfast meeting at 8:00am on Saturday, June 18, 2005, in conjunction with the CFA Annual Meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. There were 41 people present.

Breed Council Secretary Susan Henry opened the meeting with an announcement that anyone wishing to submit an item for inclusion in the next breed council poll should submit it to her by August 1, 2005. This will provide Mrs. Henry with time to review the submissions, contact the person who submitted the item(s) if she has questions or comments, and forward them to CFA's Breeds & Standards Chair by September 1, 2005. (As a point of information, the new Chair for Breeds and Standards is Annette Wilson, with Debbie Kusy and Peg Johnson serving on the committee.)

The Secretary wanted to know if those present at the meeting wanted to re-poll on the question of requiring an 8-generation pedigree for cats imported to CFA from another association. An explanation was provided for why it was not polled this past year. Based on a vote of those in attendance at this meeting, it will be included on the next Persian Breed Council poll. Also, the Secretary pointed out that there is an addendum to our Standard (for informational purposes only - registration prefixes) which refers to "(torbie)" behind the Patched Tabby color names. This term is used in other associations, but is no longer a part of CFA's color description in the standard and should be removed as a housekeeping issue.

The Persian Breed Council Website will undergo an editing/enhancement program over the next few months. Thanks to Mark Hannon and Linda Mercer for the original concept and initiation of our website three years ago. Jennifer Springer has offered her abilities and experience in making upcoming changes, as she currently manages several other websites. The Persian Breed Council is currently independent of the CFA website, and is not directly linked as a result (although the BC website does have a link to CFA.) This could change in the future, as our website is augmented. Current year winners and photos (when received) will be added as soon as possible.

Michael Schleissner (International Division representative) from Germany and Chris Braun, President of Cat Friends of Germany, were present at the meeting and explained the registration practices of various European registries regarding Persians with Exotics in their background. There is no centralized registry in Europe but rather many small registries. In most cases, the cats are registered as Persians which makes it impossible to identify from the registration number those Persians with Exotics in their pedigrees. Lorraine Shelton explained her position that refusing to accept such cats will cause CFA to continue to lose a major source of revenue from European breeders. It was also brought up that currently, CFA registers (or should register) LH Exotics as AOV - however, there is only one set of registration prefixes for Exotic AOV, and as a result, color description is lost on these individuals.

The Secretary discussed the meeting held the previous Thursday with the CFA Board of Directors and the Breed Council Secretaries. A committee has been formed to facilitate a two-way dialogue between the Breed Councils and CFA's judges. Jennifer Springer suggested a good topic for this dialogue would be the presence of "ear wisps" (most often found on kittens). Some judges have expressed the opinion that they should be removed or trimmed as part of the grooming process. Those present felt it was inappropriate to deliberately remove/trim them and that this should be explained to the judges as part of the above-mentioned dialogue. Nancy Sullivan suggested another topic for discussion with the judges is the tendency for some kittens to carry their tail up while on the judging table. This is not your typical "squirrel tail" (where the tail carried over and flat against the back) and should not be penalized. Although the standard states as part of the tail description, "Carried without a curve and at an angle lower than the back," the tendency for kittens to show their excitement by holding their tail straight up is acceptable if it is temporary in nature. Betty White explained that she will check the kitten back in its judging cage, when more relaxed, to insure that the tail is not permanently suspended in the air and that when relaxed the kitten carries its tail as described in the Standard. It was also mentioned that when a judge is feeling a head for underlying structure, it is not necessary to unduly smooth or slick back the fur on a Persian's head without making an attempt to restore the head fur for a proper assessment of expression enhanced by the exhibitors' prior grooming and presentation.

The Secretary provided an update on the initiative to obtain a discount from Veterinary Genetics Lab (VGL) in conducting PKD testing. There had been an ongoing discussion between VGL and CFA regarding the possibility of a $10 discount per test if CFA would serve as the liaison between the cat's owner and VGL. Tom Dent indicated that CFA now has a partnership with another genetics group (not involved with genetic testing) which would prohibit further contractual agreements with VGL or any other similar groups, so the matter has been dropped.

The CFA Mentoring Program has a need for mentors for new Persian fanciers. The greatest need is with those working with Himalayans. Anyone available to serve as a mentor should sign up. This can be done using the online application form.

Betty White discussed the terms "Balance and Refinement" as they apply to the Persian. Some of Betty's comments were that what breeders do is not a sport as some have commented. What we do is more serious than sport -- it is art. When someone comments upon seeing our Persians, "What gorgeous creatures!" that is artistic triumph.

The Secretary followed-up Betty's presentation with a group exercise, which included a "compare and contrast" session in reference to photos of a variety of cats. A sheet containing photos of two different cats was placed on each of six tables for a comparison and discussion at individual tables before being talked about in general by the group. A third and separate photo of a cat whose image represents a total package of balance and refinement was also on each table. (Thanks to Linda Acomb for providing photos of GC, NW Scrimshaw Turbulence - the Black Persian who served as this "glamour shot" example.) Other photos (of cats bred and/or owned by the BC Secretary, with no concern for comments either positive or negative) were very interesting in the features they displayed including refinement ~~ or lack thereof ~~ in particular areas of the standard, such as muzzle, ear size/set, eye shape/size, etc. The exercise was well received as an educational tool, and was helpful to several people who so commented to the group and to the BC Secretary personally. The attendance and participation of several judges in this discussion was much appreciated. It is hoped other educational programs along these lines can be developed for future BC meetings. The Secretary noted that by sharing ideas and being more open with our lines, we can bring the Persian breed back to greater interest and higher numbers than those we have seen in the show halls in recent years.