August 2008

The show season of 2007-2008 has to be one of the most memorable in CFA history for the quality of Siamese shown across the country.  Regionally, 34 Siamese achieved honors in the categories of Championship, Premiership and Kitten.  Two regions, the Southern and Southwest, had four Siamese in their top 25 in Championship.  The Great Lakes region had three Siamese in the top 25 Kittens.  And almost every other region had at least two Siamese place in the regional awards. 

The Southern region was definitely the place to be if you relished competition this year.  Breeders in the Southern region owned the top three finishing Siamese.  GC BW NW New Moon Lexington of Shimasu, was bred by the legendary Georgia Headley, and owned by Debbi Stevenson.  Lexie finished as Best Cat in the Southern region, and 7th best Nationally.  GC NW Teysha’s Charmed Prince of Chocolado, bred by Robyn Browne and owned by Robyn and Cindy Yanez, finished as second best cat in the Southern Region, and 10th best cat Nationally.  GC RW CherMa’Ki’s Princess, bred and owned by Cheryl Matteo-Kerney, was sixth best cat in the Southern region, and just missed a National win, coming in 26th best cat nationally.  GC RW Alexy Dafina of Kwazy, our fifth best Siamese, rounded out the Southern region slate by finishing as 19th best cat in Championship.   And to complicate the picture even more, all four cats are sealpoints!  

Our fourth best Siamese, GC RW Minghou Shazam of Davisiam, also a sealpoint, lead the pack in the Southwest region, finishing fourth in Siamese Championship and fourth in the Southwest region.  Two other cats from the Southwest region’s top 25 also made our top ten Siamese, GC RW Davisiam Cappuccino of AcatamiAward, 6th best SW region and GC RW Toshi-Kin Tsunami of Kadabra, 12th best SW region. And a newcomer, Marilyn Moriaty, also received a regional win with her first show cat, GC RW Teysha’s Princess Grace of Haute-Ming coming in 25th in the Southwest region and 13th best Siamese overall.  GP RW Davisiam Dude, owned by another newcomer, Mary Ann Martin, was 6th best in Premiership in the SW region, as well as 3rd best Siamese in Premiership.

In the Great Lakes Region Virginia Wheeldon and Susan Perkins came sweeping in to receive three Regional wins on their outstanding kittens.  GC RW Thaifong Raisa of Ayuthaya, our best Siamese kitten, missed a National win by just the slimmest of margins (about 30 points), coming in 28th best Nationally and 8th best Regionally. Raisa was also our 9th best Siamese in Championship and our Best Lilacpoint.  Their other two Regional winners, GC RW Thaifong Azari and GC RW Thaifong Brazil! Of Ayuthaya, were our fourth and ninth best Siamese kittens.  The second best kitten, GC RW Mezetique Roxy of Katsmith, is a chocolate point bred by newcomers Melissa Horn and Brittany Stevenson, and owned by Kathryn Brady.  Roxy, who now lives in the Southern region, received her kitten win in the North Atlantic region, before the harsh winters drove her owner to escape to a more temperate part of the country.

Premiership competition was also at its fiercest in the Southern region.  GP NW CherMaKi’s Ariel, the bluepoint brother of GC RW CherMaKi’s Princess, found himself on the right side of the National points, squeaking in by 2.95 to become the 25th Best Premier Nationally, and our Best Siamese Premier.  Close behind him was CH GP RW Alexy’s Moonlight and Roses, a lilacpoint bred by Dianne and Bruce Alexy and owned by Betsy Dark, who finished 32nd Best Nationally and 7th in the Southern region.

While the cats above illustrate the depth of quality overall in the Siamese breed this year, when take a closer look you really begin to understand the strength of the breed in competition in the past show season.  Of our top ten in each category, seven kittens received regional wins, as did the entire top ten of Championship and Premiership.  The points accumulated by the tenth best Siamese in Championship were 2863.65, making our Breed Council awards a very competitive challenge.  We should be extremely proud of the amazing job we have done as breeders and as exhibitors, to have our breed be so dominant this past year.

In other news, the Board Meeting with the Breed Council Secretaries focused mainly on how to increase registration.  The Siamese breed was singled out for the increase we have made in pre-paid registrations, with one of the biggest increases of 24%.  This is only a start however, and we must continue to increase the pre-paid registrations to not only help CFA, but to reinforce with the Board members the importance of our breed to the bottom line of CFA.  Along with committing to pre-paying our registrations, we need to make sure that the new owners send in those yellow slips.  CFA is tracking new owner statistics, and these are used to promote the most popular breeds with industry.  In order for the Siamese breed to get special recognition from major companies, such as they now receive from Royal Canin, we need to increase the number of actual kitten registrations so that our breed will appear as one of the most popular with the American public in the statistics that CFA collects and makes available to the groups responsible for promotion of products. 

One way to do this is to send in the yellow slip yourself, rather than trusting the pet buyer to do so.  Once the new family has chosen a name for their new Siamese kitten, all you need to do is to complete the yellow slip and send it to CFA.  The actual registration papers will be returned to new owners, and you will be helping to promote our breed in numerous ways.  Let’s see if we this year we can increase both the pre-paid and the actual kitten registrations, and make our breed the most popular in CFA!

The Siamese Breed Council was also asked to participate in the Judges Workshop this year, for the first time in over fifteen years.  We were given the old PowerPoint presentation from the previous workshop, with the idea that it be updated.  What we found was that it had to be redone completely, almost from scratch.  Virginia Wheeldon and I worked very hard during the month of May to come up with a presentation that would be professional and show our breed in the best light.  The bulk of the work was done by Virginia, who had to find current pictures of not only quality Siamese, but also Balinese/Javanese and Colorpoint Shorthairs, who were also part of the presentation.  I worked on the text, rewriting and adding to it to ensure that the most current issues were covered.  When we presented it on Thursday, we got an overwhelming response from the judges present.  They were all struck by the quality and thoroughness of the presentation, and plans are already in place to use it for future workshops.  Thanks again to Virginia Wheeldon, whose talents and time were so well spent in the promotion our wonderful breed.  She has created such a great visual of the three breeds, that it will shape and influence the way the judges look at our cats for a long long time.

One item will be on our ballot this year.  The Colorpoint Shorthair Breed Council is asking its members to strike the outcross cutoff date for the Siamese breed.  Currently the Siamese will no longer be able to be used as an outcross for CPSH in the year 2019.  While this is over 10 years away, CPSH breeders have come to recognize that their gene pool is not large enough for them to sustain the breed without the continuation of the outcross.  This creates a dilemma for us as to whether we should agree with them or not on the striking of the outcross.  CPSH breeders were the first of the hybrid breeds to agree to a time for ending the use of the Siamese breed, and so far they have been the only one.  These breeders have never asked to create a class to show their AOVs, but have consistently recognized that their cats owe everything to their Siamese ancestry and that they were created in order to have new colors that look like Siamese, not to “be Siamese”. 

A co-issue that we need to consider is that if the CPSH lose the outcross to the Siamese, and find that they need to increase their gene pool, their only alternative may be to turn to the Oriental Shorthair breed.  Should the two breeds combine, in the manner of the recent Balinese/Javanese example, the OSH breed would for the first time contain a pointed division, and open the door to the showing of Siamese colored OSH.  There is a lot at stake in whether or not we should support the striking of the outcross cutoff date, and I hope that all of you will take the opportunity to discuss this with each other, on the Siamese breeder lists, and with CPSH breeders whom you know.  Our ballots don’t have to be in until December, so there is time for us to review all the reasons to both support and not support this ballot initiative, before we cast this important vote.

The last subject that I need to inform everyone about is a very painful one.  As most of you know we lost our treasurer, Kathy Baron, in May of this year.  Kathy had served us as treasurer for a number of years, and was well known for her dedication to the Breed Council awards.  It was one of her greatest joys, to fuss over ordering the awards, and take charge of the organization of the Breakfast.  Those are the good memories.

Kathy was not what she seemed however; in fact she hid quite a bit from people who were much closer to her than I was.  It turns out that she had been embezzling from several treasuries, including ours, since at least when her husband died two years ago.  She had also borrowed money from quite a few close friends, using excuses such as a leaky roof or some other necessity, and she owed these friends between 10 to 15 thousand dollars.  The money missing from the two cat clubs and the Breed Council amounts to another 15 thousand. 

This has been an extremely difficult situation for the people most directly involved.  Kathy’s living conditions had severely deteriorated, and when she died her cats had to be rescued before her body was removed, or they would have been confiscated by law enforcement and been taken to a shelter. It was very hard on the people involved due to the conditions and the smells.  Checking account ledgers for the clubs and breed council were found in her home, along with debit cards for each account, which immediately caused alarm.  Once the bank records were obtained the truth was very apparent, but nothing has given us a clue as to where the money went.  Kathy did not spend it on clothes, a car, or her home.  A diary was found with entries that indicated that Kathy was very well aware that she had taken money that needed to be repaid, but there was nothing in the diary to give us any indication of what the money was spent for.  

Currently the two cat clubs and the breed council are pursuing the possibility of filing a claim against the bank where Kathy worked or against her estate, such as it is.  We don’t have a really strong chance of being reimbursed, but we are investigating every possibility.  Kathy did not have any heirs, which complicates the picture.  If she had a will its possible we could have placed a claim before the probate court. 

For the future things will be done differently.  Carolyn Self has agreed to take the position of treasurer.  She is working with the IRS to restore our EIN tax number, which Kathy had allowed to expire, and as soon as she receives the reinstatement letter, she will open a bank account.  This account will be set up so two people will have electronic access to it, and it will be monitored on a monthly basis by myself.  We were able to pay for our awards this year, as Kathy had not spent any of the money which came in for sponsorship.  We also received an extremely generous donation from Marilyn Moriaty, which will cover the considerable expenses (estimated at about one thousand dollars) involved in updating the Breed Booth.   

In closing, while we will be starting all over again to build a strong treasury, we have had a terrific year, and have much to be proud of.  Our breeders are producing some of the highest quality Siamese seen in many years.  Our breed dominated the show season last year, and had even Persian breeders talking.  The presentation at the judges’ workshop was professional, outstanding and impressive.  It’s the type of workmanship that can represent our breed for years to come.  And once again our Siamese Breed Council awards were the talk of the Annual.  No other Breed Council comes close to what we have accomplished in encouraging competition and rewarding our outstanding cats. 

I wish each of you a really good year and hope that our Siamese will carry on from last year’s winners.  And on a personal note, I want to say that it has been a great honor and privilege to be able to show a cat bred by Georgia Headley.  Georgia epitomizes the “breeder’s breeder”, quietly sitting back and combining the lines she thinks will give her the ideal Siamese, never seeking the spotlight for herself, but letting her cats do the talking.  Thirty-six years have passed since GC NW BW New Moon Eclipse of Rogers Hts., DM received 5th Best Cat nationally in 1972.  Georgia did not go to that Annual to watch Clipper receive his award.  But she was able to go to Louisville this year and be part of all of Lexie’s triumphs.  It is fitting that in this year of years of exceptional Siamese cats that it should be Georgia Headley’s cat that achieved the title of Best Siamese.  It is a tribute to the art of breeding, and to a lady who is a true artist.

Debbi Stevenson
Siamese Breed Council Secretary