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American Cat Fanciers Association - the First Democracy for
the Cat Fancy
The American Cat Fanciers Association was formed in 1959 in
Dallas Texas as a non-profit organization. At the time the
only existing cat associations were very rigid with their
rules and regulations. These didn't allow much room for that
standard breeder or cat lover. The American Cat Fanciers
Association set out to change that and create a more
democratic association that would be more inviting to the
average cat fancier.
The association made huge leaps in opening up the Cat Fancy
arena to a much wider audience. For example, instead of a
one ring show that would only even allow a small percentage
of cats to participate, the ACFA started a 3 ring show that
allowed for competitions for all breeds of cats, not just
those deemed to be the most aristocratic.
Another big difference between the ACFA and other
associations at the time was the way its rules and
regulations were decided. Rather than a small group creating
a set of very stringent rules to include a few, which had
been the case, this association is managed by a democratic
process. No changes to rules, regulations or bylaws are
allowed without the approving vote of the membership at
large. In the beginning standards for each breed were
decided upon and those standards were either accepted or
rejected by the breeders themselves.
Although today the American Cat Fanciers Association is not
as different as other associations, most of the changes they
put into place, though radical at the time, have become
commonplace for most other cat associations today. The
multi-ring shows, which can now include up to 8 rings in a
weekend, now are widely practiced by most cat fancy
The ACFA is still a very open process that allows for any
type of felines, from a top of the line bred show cat to a
common house cat. Every cat has a chance to compete with
other cats in its categories. The American Cat Fancier
Association also uses a point system for end of the year
awards that allows for every cat to compete on equal footing
without preference for cats that have been shown every
weekend all year long.
In conclusion, the American Cat Fanciers Association did a
lot to further cat fancy in the United States and around the
world. It allowed a much wider group of people to
participate and to actually become a part of the process,
which has been very good for the cat show industry.
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