Contact details:

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22 Zambezi Street, Rhodesdene
Kimberley, South Africa
8301
Wendy: 083 633 3344
Suzette: 083 294 6433
Carol: 082 719 1465
Tel: 053-861 2334 (after hours)
Fax: 086 536 4742
ncfscatclub@gmail.com


www.ncfscatclub.co.za

Steering Committee:

Liezl Kotzé

Chairperson


Carol Kotzé

Secretary


Suzette van den Berg

Treasurer


Elri Neervoort

Committee Member


Elmada du Plessis

Committee Member


Jane Vermeulen

Committee Member


Dil Leask

History

How it all started ...

The whole idea of a club really started after Carol Kotzé from Kimberley purchased two registered Oriental cats from Dill Leask during the last half of 1997. Her son Johann had a Manx (moggie) who died and he wanted another Manx. That was a few months before Johan Lamprecht imported “Big Ben” and there were no Manx breeders in S. A. While searching for his next choice - - an Abyssinian or a Bengal - - and not being able to find a kitten old enough (typically he didn't want to wait), they finally found Dill and a spotted tabby Oriental. They ended up buying two kittens - a spotty for him and a lilac for Carol.

Johann then decided that he wanted to show his cat and the hunt for a club began. They soon found out that there had never been a cat club in the Northern Cape and that the Free State club (SACC) no longer existed. The nearest club would therefore be in Gauteng. They joined Transvaal Cat Society and the Rand Cat Club but after some discussion decided to find out how much interest there might be for a club in the Northern Cape/Free State area. They put up posters and had a small article placed in a local newspaper after which a local radio station also did a short interview on one of their late afternoon shows.

They were quite surprised at the number of people that phoned to make enquiries and so it was decided to try to start a club for this area. They also contacted the SACC to find out what the requirements were to start a club. They were told the number of members that would be required and that they would need to hold three auspice shows with a minimum of 50 registered cats on show on the day of the show.

They were sure that there were lots of “cat-a-holics” in both Kimberley (and the Northern Cape) as well as Bloemfontein (and the Free State), but the only registered breeder in the Northern Cape was, at that time, in Frazerburg (near the Cape). There were, however, quite a number of breeders in Bloemfontein and the Free State.

Challenges

We knew that a club would first have to introduce the different breeds to the public to get their interest started, but anticipated that this goal should not be a problem. However, the Northern Cape is not densely populated and the region is a relatively poor province. The main obstacle would be the financial viability of a cat club and cat shows in the region.

The decision to try to start a club was also largely influenced by the need to educate the general public in the region about cats. In the Kimberley area the majority of the public only knew the Persian and Siamese breeds. There was also a great need to dispel some of the myths and old wives tales that still prevail in most of the rural areas. A lot of education was also needed about cat care, inoculation and sterilization.

First Steering Committee

On the second Saturday of January 1998 a meeting was held at a local school hall and a steering committee for the Northern Cape/Free State Cat Club was selected. This committee consisted of Carol's eldest daughter, Liezl, as Chairman, Carol herself as Secretary (and “general what-ever-needs-to-be-done”) and Beverley Theron as Treasurer.

In March 1998 Carol and Liezl traveled to Johannesburg to a show to try to learn as much as they could about what was required to hold a cat show. Neither of them had ever been to a cat show before! Carol's younger daughter, Mariska, and son, Johann, had to stay home to look after the cats! Carol and Liezl found the Gauteng ladies to be marvelous - giving advice, support and plenty of encouragement and more than willing to teach them everything they needed to know.

In 2001, when Beverley Theron found she could no longer act as treasurer due to academic pressures, Suzette van den Berg took over as Treasurer. Two other members joined the steering committee at this time as well, namely Elri Neervoort and Elmada Du Plessis.

The First Shows

A Pleasant Surprise

In May 1998 we held a very small local show along with the annual Animal and Hobby show that was held at the show grounds in Kimberley. Much to our surprise (and that of the other show groups) we had a queue waiting outside our tiny hall and we had to let some people leave before the next could come in! We only had about 53 cats on show and half of those were domestic pets. Jane Slabbert (Cape Town) was our judge. Our cages were old rabbit cages hired from the show grounds. These cages were fairly flat and had doors on top of the cage. The doors had unfinished edges which gave us nightmares of cats trying to get their heads out and impaling themselves! Luckily all went well with our “dry run”. The public interest encouraged us to try for an auspice show in 1999. We submitted our constitution later in the second half 1999 and it was approved.

First Auspice Show

In May 1999 the NC/FS Cat Club held their first auspice show under the Transvaal Cat Society. The show was again held at the Kimberley show grounds with the Animal & Hobbies show, but this time in a larger hall. Again, the show was well attended by the public. There were 83 registered cats and 17 domestics on show. The club hired 50 new “chicken” cages and the old rabbit cages from the show grounds. The week before the show, Carol, her son and one of his friend spent cutting new doors for the old rabbit cages. These were cut from some of the oldest cages. Carol sustained cuts on her hands from the rusty wires, and had to undergo emergency treatment for blood poisoning the night before the show.

However, the show went on and the judges were Dina Freitas, Gail Nel and Jane Vermeulen with Dill Leask judging the pets. The Cat of the Day was a locally owned red and white bi-colour exotic, Surabaia K C, bred by Su Jacobs and owned by G M Piotrowski.

Second Auspice Show

The second show was under the auspices of the Capital Cat Club in May 2000 and was a championship show. Again it was at the Kimberley show grounds and well attended by the public.

The club needed their own cages and as there was no money to have them made, Carol decided to make some herself. She bought some wire and masonite and the “fun” began. She found that the steel wire could not be cut with ordinary wire cutter. She did not have an angle grinder and invested in a really strong steel-wire cutter. The huge roll of wire was carried into her lounge at home where she sat every evening cutting the wire and masonite by hand. These sections were then held together with electrical ties. Carol's cages were a vast improvement on the rabbit cages! By show date she completed 50 useable cages and the club only had to hire the 50 “chicken” cages.

The second show had 73 registered cats and 12 domestics entered. The judges were June du Buisson, Su Jacobs, Jane Vermeulen and Dina Freitas. The Cat of the Day was a black and white bi-color exotic - Gr Ch Surabaia Goliath owned and bred by Su Jacobs.

Third Auspice Show

In May 2001 the 3rd auspice show was held at the McGregor Memorial Museum (Lady Oppenheimer Hall) in Kimberley. Cages were still a problem and as the club would not be using the show ground’s chicken cages, they needed at least another ± 50 cages. Once again the cages were carted into Carol's lounge and taken apart. As the backs had been made of wire, she had at least one section for a new cage if she replaced these with masonite. Another roll of wire and more masonite was bought and the cutting began all over again. Paint was bought and Saturdays were spent painting all the masonite sections. All the wire sections were ground down with an angle grinder which Carol managed to acquire. Everything was put together again in the evenings in the lounge with split rings (key rings) and ties. All visitors had very surprised and bemused looks on their faces when they tried to make their way to a chair around half finished cages. All the household felines, of course, had to inspect every inch of the work being done at all times. Every piece of work needed their approval!

This show was also the club's first 3-ring championship and was under the auspices of the Transvaal Cat Society. The judges were Gail Nel, Clare Coutinho, Karen Pepler, Dina Freitas, Ingrid de Wet. Helen Griffiths judged the domestics. There were 72 registered cats and 11 domestic cats on show. Once again our Cat of the Day was a local cat - Vande Bald's Classytouch Franny, a chocolate Sphynx owned by Suzette van der Berg of Kimberley. Franny went on to represent the Northern Cape/Free State at the Cat of the Year show held on 7 July 2001 in Johannesburg and won the title Best Entire at this prestigious event.

We couldn’t have done it without you!

A number of people played key roles in helping with all the ins-and-outs of how to establish the club and also in teaching us everything there is to know about the holding of a show. Although we cannot possible name them all we would like to especially thank the late Dil Leask who had the patience of a saint in teaching us not only how to manage a show, how catalogues and classes work, the rules of a show but also all the paperwork and organization that goes hand in glove with a show. Dina Freitas, who was always willing to bring those much needed "cats for numbers" we needed to get the club shows off the ground and the public interested in showing. Jane Vermeulen and Dr Johan Lamprecht who spent so much time teaching us correct procedures and were always willing to give sound advice. Also all the others who helped but are too many to name .... Thank you!

Remembersing the past ……. The early days