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|Hayley Matthews • 12/15/16|
The Short Version: Cat fanciers unite via The International Cat Association (TICA) to promote and celebrate all that is feline. Over 6,000 members browse the site’s calendar for opportunities to mingle at local cat shows, conferences, and agility tournaments. If you’re a single cat lover, you can attend TICA’s shows to find dating prospects who already have something in common with you: a love of cats. The organization licenses hundreds of events hosted by clubs in more than 104 countries, so, as their motto says, “wherever you are, you’re in TICA’s world.” To meet new people who share a common passion, household cat owners can become respected cat exhibitors at TICA cat shows around the world.
When singles assess the date-ability of a new acquaintance, it can feel like going through a checklist. Same religion. Check. Good job. Check. Sense of humor. Check. Whether it’s physical, practical, or personal, we all have certain markers we look for in a date. High on my priority list, for example, is the question: “Are you a cat person or a dog person?” If you answer wrong on that one, you might end up in the doghouse.
For cat people, finding someone with the same enthusiasm for cats can be like trying to trap a laser — just when you think you’ve nabbed a keeper, they turn out to have a cat allergy and slip away.
To widen her cat-friendly social network, cat owner Liz Hansen started showing her Maine Coons at cat shows across the country. In a show ring in California, she met a fellow exhibitor and developed a friendly relationship with him, staying in touch even though they lived thousands of miles apart.
Their cat-centric hobby bonded them as a couple, and, after competing against each other for years, he uprooted his life (and his cats) to live in domestic bliss with Liz in Chicago.
Since the organization’s founding in 1979, The International Cat Association, or TICA for short, has served as a rallying point where cat fanciers (and their pets) come together. Today, the association holds the title of the fastest-growing and largest genetic registry of pedigreed cats in the world.
TICA promises members a community dedicated to “fabulous felines, fun, and friendships.” No matter where you are in the world, you can connect with local cat lovers by using TICA’s resources. The association’s calendar frequently dishes up cat-friendly events ranging from pet shelter conferences to cat agility tournaments.
If you’re single and looking to date someone who adores cats as much as you do, TICA’s events will be like catnip to you. These friendly gatherings give cat owners a place to network, bond, and build lasting relationships. Giving you both plenty to talk about, TICA makes connecting with cat lovers in your area that much easier — with your cat as your wingman!
“Multiple TICA activities can involve everyday people who love cats,” said Roeann Fulkerson, TICA’s Director of Marketing and Business Development. “We all believe our cats are beautiful — because they are — and at TICA shows your household pet will be respected and admired at the same level as the pedigreed cats.”
People from all walks of life come together at TICA events with one important thing in common: a love of cats. From all corners of the country, cat owners flock to the organization’s social gatherings to celebrate all that is feline and fabulous. Anyone can join TICA’s worldwide network simply by entering his or her name, email, and password.
TICA’s membership is currently more than 6,000 strong and growing all the time. The far-reaching organization provides many opportunities for cat lovers to share their enthusiasm with like-minded people around the globe.
Volunteers, exhibitors, and event attendees can come together to enjoy a cat-centric atmosphere. These caring cat fanciers love discussing, applauding, and helping cats, and TICA leads the way with a full calendar of engaging events.
TICA is all about love for their furry friends. “Cats are my reason to get up in the morning,” Roeann told us. “I love what I do. It’s really not a job — it’s a passion.”
The staff sends out a monthly newsletter to keep members abreast of upcoming events, new health developments, and all TICA does on behalf of cats everywhere.
TICA licenses competitive cat shows in 14 regions in the U.S. and 104 countries around the world for pedigreed and household pets. The website frequently updates their show calendar to highlight events put on by organizations like Jazzy Cats, Londoncats, Southern Sophisticats, and Thunderkatz. No matter where you are, you can find a group and an event in your area — or in distant locations like Budapest, Tokyo, or Moscow.
“This hobby awards us with worldwide friendships, which is one of the very best benefits.” said Carol Lawson, a Judge for TICA’s cat shows.
Longtime TICA member and cat breeder Anthony Hutcherson has seen firsthand how a compliment can lead to a conversation that leads to a lasting relationship. He told us how Susan Adler, a Siamese cat enthusiast, met her husband Larry Johnson, a cat photographer, through TICA events. “I was really honored to perform their wedding ceremony, and it was purrfect,”Anthony said. “TICA cat shows allow you to see people — and the cats they love — in unguarded moments, affirming a connection rarely seen in public.”
According to Roeann, the cat shows are particularly popular in big states like New York, Florida, California, and Texas. Since 1979, over 20,000 catteries and over 300,000 cats and kittens have been registered with TICA, and over 63 breeds are recognized on their Breed page.
Following standards set by TICA, the show’s judges award the cat with the most impressive look, condition, and show presence. Household cats of unknown ancestry are allowed to compete alongside pedigreed cats.
Accessible to all, the exhibitions maintain an open and inviting atmosphere where seasoned folks often give a hand to anyone new to the events. Cat owners intermix freely during the shows, so singles can get acquainted with many cat people in one afternoon.
“A shared passion — like a love of felines — gives people the opportunity to strengthen personal relationships,” Roeann said. “We try not to have the shows in the same area conflict with each other so no one gets left out.”
TICA promotes volunteerism to ensure cats are getting the care and attention they need to live happy, healthy lives. If you want to make a difference in this cause, you can volunteer at different cat-related conferences held around the world. So far this year, TICA has set up their booth at eight pet-friendly conferences.
The organization’s booth often becomes a popular socializing spot, in Roeann’s experience, because often the volunteers bring their cats to hang around with them. Conference attendees looking for some cuddles often linger around the booth chatting with the volunteers while petting the cats. At some events, TICA has even themed their booth as a “Kissing Booth,” inviting people to come give their cats a smooch.
If you want a casual way to meet animal-loving professionals, consider lending a hand at a vet or pet shelter conference near you. By volunteering with this cat-friendly association, you can join a good cause and meet altruistic people who share your passions and interests.
TICA also engages their membership in activities like feline agility tournaments. These fast-paced events are every bit as fun as they sound. You can admire the speed and grace of a cat on the move and mingle with cat lovers during the timed trials. “Feline agility is just plain fun,” Roeann said. “We’re very much interested in engaging the public.”
Whether you’re a stereotypical cat lady or a casual cat enthusiast, TICA offers a worldwide community for all types of cat people. When you attend a TICA event, you’re in good company. You can check “enthusiastic cat person” off your list of desired traits and flirt freely (with no dogs in sight). The association’s members fawn over cats in a supportive and charitable network of cat lovers.
“Watching a person extend gentle caresses toward their cat affirms a kindness that no number of emails, texts, or phone calls can,” said Anthony, “and that happens more times than can be counted at a TICA cat show.”
At cat shows, conferences, and other cat-related events, TICA connects individuals who love their furry friends. You can engage with people and admire cats at numerous pet-friendly functions held around the world. If love of cats is a must-have trait in your significant other, you’ll find options aplenty with the help of TICA’s calendar.
“The TICA shows are super friendly,” Roeann said enthusiastically. “We’re known as the most friendly registry in the world.”