Minutes of the July 2015 Breed Council Meeting

Notes provided by Tracy Bayarena

Meeting was started at 10am Susan Cook Henry presided over the Annual Persian Breed Council Meeting held July 4, 2015 in Toronto, in place of Breed Secretary, Carissa Altschul, who could not attend.

Reminder of upcoming deadlines:
Breed Council renewals, Ballot items due Aug 1st 2015.
Aug. 15th Breed Ballots will be sent out electronically. If you want a paper ballot mailed, you must request it from Central Office.
Dec. 15 deadline for Ballots to be returned to Central Office.

Susan discusses article in July issue of Cat Talk written by Teresa Keiger on the subject of competition. How can we further the breed by helping others?

  • Diane Castor relayed an experience she had in show hall being called an “old breeder” and how it made her feel.
  • Tracy Bayarena commented that she values the older breeders and the pedigrees they created. Older breeders have a wealth of knowledge and should be respected and listened to.
  • Susan Cook Henry- new breeders have a totally different mindset. They want to succeed by using their resources and may put more value on winning than they do on pedigrees and creating a lasting line.
  • Leslie Carr- relayed experience Pat Lichtenberg had at a show when a newer breeder asked why Pat didn’t DNA test her cats.
  • Tracy Bayarena commented on how no one specializes anymore. Because Smokes and Silvers don’t mix well with other divisions, they tend to be the exception.
  • Leslie Carr- We have “Exhibitors versus Breeders”.
  • Nancy Petersen discussed how other breeders do not want to share their pedigrees. Cats are sold with restrictions that hurt the breed.
  • Susan Cook Henry- no one should be afraid to sell a cat to someone else who might use that cat to produce something better. We should not be afraid of the competition it may create but rather proud that we helped produce a better cat. Susan went over the problems that not sharing and restrictions has created- smaller cats due to line breeding/inbreeding. We must share in order to correct this trend. We must guide newbies in the right direction before they go astray.
  • Diane Castor noted that new breeders have less free time and there are more things for people to do.
  • Jeanne Nangle pointed out that all of the great catteries we see in our pedigrees shared their cats. General discussion on catteries of the past that made their mark in the Cat Fancy by sharing their cats with other breeders to further the breed ensued.
  • Susan Cook Henry notes that the Persians have also taken wrong turns in the past- ie: pig faces/Peke Persians and it was corrected by the breeders of the day.
  • Beth Grant-Field – health issues that could be identified helped breeders make corrections. PKD was given as an example. There is more that we can do to improve the health of our cats. General discussion on how PKD affected lines and change the face of the Persians at the time.
  • Susan Cook Henry- DNA testing may or may not be a part of the future as far as registration is concerned. Cost concerns are an issue. Finding an outcross is harder now than it used to be because of lack of specialization. Europe has some nice cats, but they are protective
  • Bob Belfatto commented that pedigrees from Europe are questionable.
  • Diane Castor pointed out that it was the breeders who funded the original PKD research and test thru the Winn Foundation.
  • Nancy Petersen talks about the need to Blood Type Persians for recessive “Type B” blood. Many Persians carry “B” type blood and breeders are not aware of it. Kitten loss may result from it. Nancy relays her experience with losing kittens due to Type B incompatibility. This is different than “Fading Kitten Syndrome”. Kittens must be hand fed for 16 hrs and then they can be put back with the Mother to avoid losing them.
  • Susan Cook Henry- we should be passing this information on to new breeders. We must foster a sense of “Welcoming” the same way CFA is trying to with their Ambassador and Mentor Programs.

Bob Belfatto liked the Winn Foundation presentation at the Annual but felt the number of things they research should be narrowed down due to money constraints.

Diane Castor talked about the Calendar Cat Tracks is selling to raise funds for the Winn Foundation HCM research and shows it to the group. $20 is the cost of the Calendar.

It was pointed out that there seem to be no Persian Ambassador cats in the Annual presentation. The two programs- Ambassador and Pet Me Cat were discussed. Susan Cook Henry suggests that exhibitors might want to take an extra cat a long for the public to interact with.

Susan Cook Henry let everyone know that the Persian Breed Booth will be at National Capital and the International (former World) Show. She suggested that we work on having designated Pet Me Cats stationed at the booth for those shows. Beth Grant-Field commented that the Exotic Ambassador cats have passed the Persians in popularity with the public and the Persian needs to catch up because we are the most likely to not want to be touched.

Jeanne Nangle – I have a rule that anyone in a wheel chair gets to hold any cat I have.

Susan discussed Judges Workshop held Thurs night at the Annual. Three breeds were represented- Oriental Shorthairs , Persians and the Exotics. Feedback from the judges attending was good and the presentation will be linked to the Persian Breed Council site in the future.

Susan went thru the entire program:

  • First slide- Sketch of the Persian head drawn by Richard Gerhardt in 1960. Persians didn’t look like this in 1960. The standard has changed very little over the years.
  • Susan Cook Henry: We went over the standard. 30% of the points are in the head, 20% by the body type, and color is 20%.
  • Color in Tabby is divided: 10 for pattern and 10 for color. Color and Pattern should be there on a Tabby with big hair. Photographs were presented showing examples of good color and pattern on Tabbies.
  • Susan Cook Henry: It’s really hard to find good type on Tabbies. Red Tabby is probably one of the hardest Tabby colors. A judge pointed out that you can penalize a Red Tabby shown as a Solid less than you can if it were shown as a Tabby.
  • Dilute Tabbies are also difficult due to coat texture, but you can get good contrast in Dilute Tabbies. Pattern and Color is something that must be worked towards. Examples of poor pattern and color in Tabbies were shown.
  • Susan Cook Henry- Another point that was made is that we see judges holding cats at arm’s length, but with Tabbies, sometimes it’s a better idea to go in front of your ring and look at the class from a distance to see the pattern better. In kittens, pattern is very easy to see because of the short coat. Examples of Tabby kittens were shown.
  • The agouti gene doesn’t necessarily mean there with be clear pattern.
  • It was also brought up that some exhibitors fluff the coats of Tabbies up too much, making it difficult for the judge to see the pattern. The coat should be smoothed down on a Tabby. Examples of Mackerel Tabbies were shown.
  • Susan Cook Henry- some Spotted Tabbies are shown as Mackerel. Spotted is not a pattern that is recognized in the Persian breed. Spotted cats in the Persians are not permitted. There was a question from the audience that asked, “What if it’s a Long Hair Exotic?” Long hair Exotics are to conform to the Persian Standard so a spotted LHE cannot be shown in the Persian Breed.
  • Beth Grant-Field- I have seen one side of the cat be Mackerel and the other be Spotted but a fairly high percentage. This can change at different times of the year.
  • Susan Cook Henry- when you see a Tabby with proper pattern and color, it is a huge achievement. This ends the Tabby discussion.
  • Jeanne Nangle- I’ve had judges look at my high white bicolors and ask “How do you know it’s a Classic Tabby?” The way you know is by the pedigree because the Classic pattern is recessive.
  • Jan Rogers congratulates Susan Cook on a well done slide presentation for the judges
  • Susan Cook Henry- next we had a review of the Persian head- emphasizing that it should be evaluated with your hands to feel for faults. Judges should not be afraid to touch the Persian’s head. Judges commented that head problems are increasing.
  • Eyes and eye aperture were discussed next. Bob Belfatto pointed out that a cat ’s eye should be closed when you check to see if they are biased. Pictures of eyes are shown.
  • Judges at the workshop disliked seeing heavily sculpted cats whose eye whiskers had been cut off. Oversculpting of Persian heads was a major topic of discussion at the presentation. Cats use their eye whiskers for navigation and the judges would like to see less of this type of sculpting and didn’t like to see the cheeks cut in with scissors because it makes the cat look unnatural. Cats should be finger plucked to make the smile line look natural.
  • Tracy Bayarena- There are a number of videos that are coming from overseas, which show how to do this extreme style of sculpting with scissors.
  • Susan Cook Henry- when the profile is being evaluated the head should not be peeled back like a banana, because it creates a biased to the eye that may not have naturally been there. Wayne Travathan was our handling judge for the presentation and demonstrated how the profile should be evaluated. Wayne’s judging style is discussed. A good handling judge should be able to get a head on look from the cat.
  • Tracy Petty noted that exhibitors need to train their cats to be held up in front of the judge and she no longer does this because of behavior problems she’s encountered.
  • Nancy Petersen commented that fewer judges are playing with the cats or try to get the cats attention.
  • Examples of tear drop eyes and a hooded eye were shown.
  • Susan Cook Henry- Biased eyes are considered a serious fault by most breeders and we are seeing a lot of it.
  • Eye color on Silvers was discussed and pictures showing proper green eye color are shown. Improper eye color on Silvers is a DQ. Pictures illustrating improper eye color are shown.
  • Muzzles and Chins were discussed- crooked jaws. Symmetry of the head is very important. This is more difficult to see in certain Bi-colors. Examples of refinement were shown. Muzzles should be flat.
  • Pictures of tails showing the tail faults followed. Judges are seeing a lot of cats with fused vertebrae at the end of the tail. The tails are stiff at the end. Squirrel Tails were discussed. The tail should hang down.
  • Judges cannot be afraid to withhold ribbons for poor quality. Pictures of pet quality cats with ribbons on their cages were shown.
  • Jeanne Nagle commented that she felt the judges should tell the exhibitor personally when they DQ a cat and why.
  • Diane Castor suggested that exhibitors should allow newbies to feel the heads of their winning cats in order to educate them on the proper structure.
  • Jan Rogers – unless the exhibitor comes up and specifically asks me, I tend not to volunteer with the information.
  • Susan Cook Henry- The next topic was size. Some judges incorrectly thought the Standard had been changed from a Large to Medium cat, to a Medium to Large cat. They felt if a cat was large it was “coarse”. A large cat can still be proportional. Our Persians are getting too small. Miniature cats should not be awarded.
  • Conditioning and grooming were discussed. Judges said that cats have come to the ring with dirty faces and mats on their bodies.
  • Presentation was concluded by asking the judges to not to handle to cats roughly or drop them on the table.
  • Other judges’ comments during the presentation were that they are seeing depressed sternums, flat rib cages and slipping patellas.

General discussion over these conditions and the presentation continued. It was concluded and agreed that the Standard as it presently stands is good and that we shouldn’t dumb it down in order to permit cats that don’t fit the Standard to be shown. Meeting was concluded at 11:51am.