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The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy

Логотип - The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy
Телефон: +44 (0)1278 427575
Email: officemanager@gccfcats.org
Время работы: 9:00 - 17:00 (Monday - Thursday), 9.00 - 16:30 (Friday)
Рабочая неделя: Monday-Friday
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History of the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy

It all started in the late 1800s. People were becoming aware that in the farmyard and the backyard the cats that appeared there varied in colour, pattern, shape and the length of their coats. Kittens with long, fluffy hair became very sought after and adult cats that were known to produce longhaired kittens were treasured by their owners. At the same time, in an era when the sun never set on the British Colonies, people were visiting or working in countries across the globe and many of them were making pets of the local cats. Many of these were of shapes and patterns that had never been seen in the United Kingdom and when their owners were ready to return to the UK, obviously they wished to bring their pets with them. This resulted in the import of Seal Point Siamese from Siam and from then on new breeds have continued to appear in the United Kingdom until the present day. Enthusiasm grew for the different shapes and colours of cats.

Obviously, there was a need to control both breeding and showing of cats if the various breeds were to develop properly and cats were not to be exploited. At first there were a variety of cat clubs, most of whom held their own cat registers. Many problems arose because different clubs had different systems of registration and not all clubs recognised the registration systems of their rivals and by the early 1900s something had to be done. One of the most influential clubs of the time was the National Cat Club and officials of the club decided that the only way to resolve the problem was to sit down with the officers of the other major clubs and try to come to some solution to end the rivalry and to set up an organisation to hold the registers and to oversee the running of cat shows. It was agreed that the organisation must be a democratic one, allowing all participating clubs a voice in the way in which the Cat Fancy (as it came to be known) should be administered.

In 1910 the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy was formed with the aims of keeping the registers, licensing and controlling cat shows, looking after the welfare of pedigree cats and ensuring that the rules set up were not broken. The GCCF has now been in existence for over 90 years. In the earliest days the number of cats registered each year was thought to be in the low hundreds; now the GCCF registers about 32,000 pedigree cats each year.

The GCCF and registration
The first cat registers had already been set up by several cat clubs, including the National Cat Club, and information from these registers was passed to the GCCF to enable them to set up a new registry. At this early stage the definition of a pedigree cat had already been decided as one with registered parents, grandparents and great-grandparents - a definition which is still recognised by Trading Standards Officers today. The second principle was that in order to have a place on the Full Register cats must not only have the necessary number of registered generations but that the generations should be of cats within their own section of the register and at that time there were four sections: Longhair, Shorthair, Abyssinian and Siamese.

The GCCF has none of the original documentation in its records but record cards going back to as early as 1925 are lodged at the GCCF office. The Fancy publishes a Stud Book and copies of this go back to 1910 and provide the only information of the early years. The Stud Books list all cats that have been placed at Championship cat shows giving information about them and their sires and dams. Until recently only adult cats were included but in the last few issues neuters are also represented. This is the only information available to members of the Fancy to help them check pedigrees and research the background of their cats.

The method of record keeping changed very little over the years except that the number of registrars was increased and in the early 1980s there were four registrars dealing with the following sections: Longhair, Shorthair, Siamese and Burmese. At this time difficulties were beginning to develop in some sections because the work of registration was becoming too much to be dealt with by a single registrar and the splitting of registers was almost impossible because common records needed to be held between one register and another. It was finally decided to look at the possibility of computerising the registration system and the full computerisation was finally achieved in 1988 when the last register, the Siamese, was added to the computer records. Computerisation of the register has made it a great deal more flexible and very much more information is readily available through the records than there had ever been in the past. The important point about the register is its accuracy because obviously a register which does not have a true record of the cats is not of any great value. It is very difficult to confirm the accuracy of the information given by the breeder and owners who register cats; however, as many checks as possible are built into the computer system to prevent incorrect registrations. Even the genetic background of breeding cats is built up on computer from the kittens that they produce and a very sophisticated system now exists.

Pedigree cats and cat shows
The whole purpose of the pedigree breeding is to attain cats of a specific shape and colour. Breeders have decided over the years exactly what colours and shapes of cats they wish to aim for and this information has been written down in a Standard of Points for each colour and breed. Cat show judges use these Standards of Points to assess the cats on the show bench and slowly the various breeds of cat have become more diverse in shape particularly. In old books showing pedigree cats the difference in head shape between the Persians and the Siamese is relatively small but if you went to a modern cat show you would find that there is little resemblance between these two breeds which are at each end of the cat shape spectrum.

The Persians have relatively flat faces with very little nose, large round eyes, small ears, short legs, a short fairly thick tail and a proportionally shaped body. The Siamese show the very opposite with a triangular head shape with a long nose, oriental shaped eyes, large ears, a long whipped tail, long legs and a slim long body. The development of these diverse shapes has resulted from the decisions of breeders to set down the Standards of Points and their use by judges at cat shows.

Cat welfare

The GCCF consists of 146 affiliated cat clubs; all of these clubs have a very strong interest in the welfare of cats, both pedigree and non-pedigree. Most clubs hold welfare funds and deal with the care of cats that have been neglected or deserted by their owners. The GCCF itself has a more specialist interest in welfare: firstly, by supporting research work into feline illness, through its Charity, the Cat Welfare Trust, and by educating breeders in the ways in which diseases may be avoided in their catteries; secondly, by ensuring that infection between cats is not spread at cat shows; thirdly, by monitoring the Standards of Points to ensure that the requirements of the Standard do not cause cats to be bred that are unhealthy because of the shape or configuration of their bodies and finally, by giving as much information as possible to anyone wishing to buy a pedigree cat, to ensure that their new kitten is healthy and that they fully understand how to treat it and bring it up to be a healthy, happy adult cat.

If you are unable to get the information or help that you need from your local area clubs, the breed club for the breed you are interested in, or on this website, free information about pedigree cats is available from the Office at:

GCCF, 5 Kings Castle Business Park, The Drove, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 4AG Tel: 01278 427575.

Much of this information is free and a telephone call to the Office will provide advice and help on all pedigree cat matters.


5 King's Castle Business Park
The Drove

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