The FIFE Maine Coon Breed can be considered as the United Nations of Cat Federations. In fact, it is a federation of national members representing, at present, 40 countries with 42 full members and 3 countries with a probational member, but whose numbers continue to grow. These member organizations have chosen to follow the same rules with regard to the breed standards, cattery names, shows, judges and student judges. This common interest has, over the years, been consolidated to create the high standard and international reputation of the FIFe.
One lady’s dream becomes reality
The idea of an international European cat federation was the dream of Madame Marguérite (Miggy) Ravel, a French cat lover, who first began working towards her goal in the early thirties. Finally, at a meeting in Paris in 1949 between the Royal Cat Society of Flanders, the French Cat Federation and the Italian Cat Society, her efforts bore fruit with the unofficial founding of the Fédération Internationale Féline d’Europe (FIFE).
The first FIFe show was held in Paris in 1949 at which over 200 cats were present with the exhibitors coming from France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. By today’s standards, 200 cats would be considered a very small show—one of the FIFe World Shows had nearly 1400 entries with exhibitors coming from all over the world.
The site of the 1st FIFe show in Paris, 1949
On 10th December 1950, the new federation held its first General Assembly in Ghent, Belgium and, with the acceptance of its statutes and rules, was officially founded. To mark the occasion, Madame Ravel presented each delegate with a cat, sculptured in pink sandstone, which she had specially commissioned from a French artist, Jean Martel.
The FIFE becomes the FIFe
The federation grew considerably over the years. With the acceptance of the Brazilian Clube Brasileiro do Gato in 1972, the FIFE had expanded beyond Europe and thus had to change its name, which it did at the following year’s General Assembly, becoming the Fédération Internationale Féline (FIFe).
Each of the national members of FIFe retains its own identity, with the FIFe guaranteeing their complete uniformity with cat registrations, shows, judges and judge training.
The accent within FIFe is on healthy and happy cats which are reflected in its rules with their emphasis on health and welfare.
The Executive Board of the FIFe is the co-ordinating body on the international level. The board is made up of six people from the member countries who are elected by the members; they manage the organization according to its statutes. There are five supporting Commissions whose responsibility is to implement the decisions of the General Assembly and the Board. These are the Judges & Standard Commission; Breeding & Registration Commission; the Show Commission; the Health & Welfare Commission; and the Disciplinary Commission. The democratic structure of the organization guarantees each member equal voting rights at the General Assembly, which convenes annually to discuss and vote upon the proposals of the members, to elect new officers, debate new regulations and accept common strategies.
FIFe has always had good relations with all the major cat organizations of the world. Its official seat is in Luxembourg and its official languages are French, German and English. The Secretariat is administered by the FIFe General Secretary, who handles the daily affairs for all the members; these include the co-ordination of show dates, the processing of cattery names data and the administrative work of judges examinations.
The name of FIFe is synonymous with quality and unity
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