The Internacional Cat Association (TICA)
The International Cat Association was organized established Friday, June 22, 1979 in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.
From The Beginning All We Had Was Our Word
The International Cat Association was organized/established Friday, June 22, 1979 in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. The village of Branson (near Point Lookout) was the birth place of our illustrious Association. Historical markers were never put in place, but most certainly the spontaneous dream of a handful of cat enthusiasts, reinforced by their courage, foresight, and intestinal fortitude that inspired the establishment of TICA are worth remembering. They have served as the endowment of the most progressive, flexible, and innovative cat registry in the world.
As the newly elected President of ACFA, I called a Board Meeting at Point Lookout, Missouri for Wednesday, June 20, 1979 to enable the elected members of the Board of Directors to observe firsthand the workings of the Central Office, to review established policy, to meet the employees, to establish a preliminary budget, to work out some existing irregularities, and to establish a congenial working relationship with the entire Board; our first Annual Meeting was scheduled in less than 3 months. It was extremely important that the group work harmoniously, address the issues causing concern with the membership, and be aware that ultimate changes were vital. Over a 2-day period all attempts to establish an amenable working relationship, to go forward with a hard bound yearbook, to work on a revised judging system, to promote recognition for Household Pets, and to present a budget for the Association were discussed at length, and subsequently rejected. By noon of the second day we had definitely reached a stalemate.
The Board Members that attended this meeting were: Vice-President, Larry Paul, South Central Regional Director, Arthel Scheuermann, Southeast Regional Director, Jim Costello, Southwest Regional Director, Les Hight, Northwest Regional Director, Jacob Ash, Canadian Regional Director, Jeanne Jeffrey, Executive Secretary, Cora Swan (this position had voting privileges on the Board of Directors), Bulletin Editor, Ed Rugenstein, previous President, Lila Rippey, and myself. Additionally, we were encouraged by the presence of some other stalwart supporters, Jack and Barbara Reark from Florida, and Nancy Beamer of Texas.
We reconvened after lunch and experienced the same hard-nosed resistance, making it evident no compromise was possible and would never materialize. At this point Jim Costello said he was convinced that it would be impossible to fulfill his obligations to the membership, and then he resigned. This action was followed by the resignations of Arthel Scheuermann, Larry Paul, Les Hight, and myself, all stating the same reason: we could no longer fulfill our obligations to our constituents. Jeanne Jeffrey and Jacob Ash stated they would discuss it with their membership (a few weeks later Jeanne Jeffrey joined our group). When the dust started to clear after the explosion, leaving only the debris, it suddenly hit home we were through, at least for the moment.
I must admit some of us had lofty ideas, perhaps a vision or a dream, at least in our minds about how the "Ideal Cat Registry" should function. Quite naturally we were met with staunch resistance and learned quickly there was a major difference in the philosophy of the newly elected group and the "old guard". How do you say immovable object?
We decided to go back to our rooms, get some rest, collect our thoughts, ponder about our immediate future in the cat fancy, and reconvene over dinner. What we actually did was return a myriad of telephone calls, relaying the most recent episodes in this scenario which sounded like a soap opera, using scratching posts and humor as prompting cards. Of course the cat fancy being what it is (basically the same in 1979), the news spread faster than a hurricane, which of course created absolute chaos with the telephone lines into Branson, Missouri: hundreds of friends and cat fanciers had been jamming the Motel switchboard the entire week to keep current on the latest developments. Remember - we only had "Hot Air Balloon" service at our location. During our conversations, each of us "tested the waters", so to speak: WHAT IF, we decided to establish another association - would you be in agreement - are you interested??? The overwhelming positive response was beyond our wildest dreams.
We deliberated during dinner, reviewing and discussing our options (not many at this point): organize a new association (we certainly were of the opinion that the cat fancy didn't need another registry), join an existing group, or make a hasty retreat and leave the cat fancy. Make a hasty retreat, absolutely not, consequently we never entertained the idea of leaving the cat fancy. Collectively, we decided joining an existing registry had all the appeal of a western hoe-down for ballet performers. We were far too innovative and progressive to be satisfied with joining an existing registry, besides they would have run us out of town on a rail. So that left only one solution: organize another cat association designed to include the most attractive features from current registries, implement professional management, establish an Annual Awards extravaganza, start a Genetic Registry, produce a hardback Yearbook, and eliminate political rhetoric from the official publications. Only one problem: no finances. No matter how you cut it, the decision to go for it was made Friday evening June 22, 1979 - the die was cast. So head first we took the plunge.
Now the hard work commences. HOW, WHEN, WHERE? We needed an office, an Executive Secretary, a location, a name. Wouldn't you know Larry Paul recommended TICA (The International Cat Association) and fortunately we all agreed. We decided to retain the position and title we held upon our arrival two or three days earlier, and function in interim status until an official election could be held. While Larry, Arthel, Jim, and Les were on the phone recruiting judges, and volunteers to serve the other three regions, and an Editor for our publications, I was organizing and planning the Executive Office.
Recalling a recent conversation with Bob Mullen, concerning his employment with "Let's Make A Deal", his interest in becoming Executive Secretary of ACFA, and knowing that he maintained an office in Burbank, California, gave me an instant thought - maybe, just maybe Bob would be interested. So I called him Saturday night, June 23, 1979 from Springfield, Missouri, and asked if he were interested in a new cat association, and more importantly, the position of Executive Secretary of that association (The International Cat Association). He said yes, and accepted the challenge without a moment's hesitation. Since the thought of another cat association had been spontaneous; we certainly didn't have a treasury, and no legacy, not even enough to rent office space or pay an employee (in fact not one red cent). So Bob agreed that until we had acquired a cash flow, he would run the office for the paltry sum of $200.00 a week (Starvation Wages).
By this time with the Executive Office issue a reality, the rest of our group had secured a Northeast Regional Director, Helmi Ehrhart, a North Central Regional Director, Dr. Patricia Hevenor, a Northwest Regional Director, Dan Gornan, an Editor, Roland Lindsey, a slew of judges (see the list of judges below - this almost doubled by the printing of the second volume, including ten from Japan, seven from Canada, one from Hawaii, and one from Alaska), and an unbelievable number of clubs had made a commitment to join our "Gusty Clan".
Bob Mullen organized, and managed the first Executive Office, and furnished his own office equipment. He had the Office open and operational at 211 East Olive, Suite 201, Burbank, California 91502, even including a telephone, by July 5, 1979. The Office was inundated in less than a week after opening, with an avalanche of documents for processing, which included cat registrations, membership and cattery applications, letters, applications for club charters and show licenses ... enough paper to fill a box car. This deluge was the result of an introductory offer of $1.00 per cat for registration, an offer almost no one could refuse. Of course, with the fee at $1.00 per registration, after processing, typing, mailing, etc., it was virtually impossible to maintain a salaried staff.
During the ensuing weeks, which crept into months, Bob's staff (made up of his enthusiastic friends) came to sort mail, maintain records, prepare membership cards, type, code the cats, preparatory to typing registration certificates, and whatever else needed to be done. CODE the cats? Yes, a completely new theory, and a new system - a genetic registry - designed, developed, and furnished by Solveig Pflueger (later appointed as chairman of the Genetics Committee), which was eventually implemented. Mind boggling? Try phasing in and making a new system operational, just when you have opened a new office, with literally hundreds of cats to be registered, letters to be answered, forms to be developed and printed, membership records to be prepared, new clubs waiting for their charters, show supplies to be shipped ... remember, our first TICA show was held July 28, 1979.
Upon my return home from Missouri, and just committing myself to God only knew what, I didn't have a free moment, neither did anyone else, and still don't, believing that very day there would be a breather. But, aside from the constant ring of the telephone (day and night), I made time to compile, copy and mail the first TICA communication (see below). This was mailed to every person who was or who had ever been in the cat fancy. The price list appeared in the first issue of the TICA Trend (see below). This memorandum was captioned "TICA - A TREND TO THE FUTURE IN THE CAT FANCY", and a closing remark "JOIN THE TREND TO TICA". In a matter of days, Roland Lindsey, our newly appointed volunteer Editor was already preparing the first issue of our newsletter. During one of our many telephone conversations, he asked, what will we call the newsletter, and almost instantly I said call it the "TICA Trend". He agreed and so did the rest of the Board members. So you can see first hand what inspired the name of our "TICA Trend". Little did Roland know at that moment that he would (with the able assistance of his wife, Linda Lindsey) also be the Editor of the first TICA Yearbook.
The International Cat Association, the world's largest genetic registry of purebred and household pet cats and one of the world's largest sanctioning bodies for cat shows, has the following mission:
To encourage its members to be caring, responsible owners and breeders of cats who work together to promote the preservation of pedigreed cats and the health and welfare of all domestic cats.
To have the most accurate and comprehensive certified pedigree registry in the world.
To provide sanctioned cat shows which promote both pedigreed and non-pedigreed cats in a professional manner and which are both enjoyable and educational for exhibitors, judges and the general public.
To encourage its members to take an active role in the community to foster responsible spay/neuter awareness through public education, to become active in voluntary service at local animal shelters or outreach programs for schools and/or senior or disabled citizens, and to become involved in citizen advisory groups to foster responsible legislation regarding the health and welfare of cats.
To promote friendly relations between breeders in this country and other countries around the world.
To disseminate information to breeders, owners, exhibitors, and the general public concerning breeding, exhibition, improvement of breeds, the care and welfare of all cats and to provide materials and information regarding feline issues of regional or national importance.
To set up a foundation to encourage research on feline health issues and to provide readily available lists of resource materials on health issues to its members.