Carissa Altschul

Persian Breed Council Secretary Candidate

CFA Breed Council Secretary Job Description taken from CFA’s Website… "Adopt[ing] the role of guardian for your breed standard . . . would be considered a primary responsibility of a Breed Council Secretary."

I declared for Persian Breed Council Secretary because I believe strongly in the importance of this guardianship role. A guardian to a breed does not divide loyalties among other breeds, but focuses on the sole breed represented. While aware of potential conflicts with other breeds, the main focus is to better the breed by heeding the wishes of the Breed Council Members who work so hard and take such delight in that breed.

DEDICATION: I was practically born into the Cat Fancy and CFA. My parents started breeding and exhibiting in 1971 and achieved their first Cacao GC with a homebred cat the same year I was born. My earliest childhood memories are of cats and cat shows. Raised in a worldview that respected and honored pedigrees, history and breeding of cats, I can’t imagine not belonging to the cat fancy. It is who I am; I grew up in this fascinating world. In the 90's, as I began to be more active in the Fancy, I found myself increasingly wanting to share what I knew with others, and to somehow help enable their successes. When CFA officially implemented its Mentor Program, it was a natural fit; I have been a mentor since the inception of the program and am the current Mentor Program Representative for Region 3. Good mentors, like good representatives, do not so much impose ideas (or assume they can “improve” others from some elevated platform) as much as they listen, suggest, offer support and guidance.

EDUCATION: The future for any breed lies in welcoming and educating new breeders. The Persian breed as a whole lacks cohesiveness in this area, and that is one cause of the recent erosion of retention rates. We have enjoyed decades as CFA’s most popular breed, which helped keep the flow of new breeders high, but we are losing ground now. I believe we can better utilize our Breed Council website as a resource for breeders to share information on grooming, health, genetics, and much more. While some of this information is available on the web, our Persian BC membership is a particularly rich resource we can tap. I have written several articles that have been published in Cat Talk, PandEcats, etc. I want to collect and categorize information on our own website to make it a “One Stop Shop” tailored specifically to Persian breeders. You do not have to travel the world to be well informed or to share ideas and viewpoints; just turn on any computer. In fact, electronic communication is vastly more efficient today for learning and exchanging ideas and I intend to take full advantage of that in order to listen to – and build from - my breed constituents, if given the privilege.

PRESERVATION: The Persian, with its long, flowing coat, is CFA’s original signature longhair breed, from which the foundation for several other hybrid breeds has come. It is critical to recognize, particularly given the shrinking retention rate, that protecting the Parent Breed from mergers with the Hybrid Breeds that it has helped to create is vital to the survival of the Parent. The forced merger of the Himalayan in 1984 was one of the most controversial acts in CFA history. The membership was so infuriated by this merger that 9 amendments were presented at the next Annual to prevent the Board from overriding a “No” vote of the Breed Council again. I believe this ideology is still in place, and that no sidestep, including manipulating show rules, should be used as a way to bypass a Breed Council “No” vote. As your Breed Council Secretary, I will ask the Board to remove the show rules which currently impact our breed: Specifically, to allow the Exotic breed to forge their OWN destiny, to exist separately -- as a true Breed -- from their Parent breed, the Persian. According to our last majority vote, the Persian Breed Council wishes to keep the Exotic breed separate from the Persian. So my question to you, as you vote, is this: Do you want to preserve the Persian as a breed? Or are you comfortable with witnessing it splinter via hybrids and eventually disappear as a breed?