Speaker: Rene Knapp, Approved Allbreed Judge, The International Cat Association
State your name and your current judging level. Briefly explain what that level means, please.
Rene Knapp: Hi, my name is Rini nap and I am an approved Aubrey judge for Tikka, which means that I can judge all cats no matter their hair length against each other. And it takes a while to get there and I'm very proud to be part of this association.
How long have you been involved in the cat fancy? What did you breed/show before you became a judge?
Rene Knapp: We've been involved with cats for a very, very long time. We started with our rescue helping paws, which we have continued on since 1996. We also went to our first cat show. Shortly after that, we had a public access television show about cats and cat care. And we also had um I had a Newspaper column, which I did for 15 years for a few city newspapers, joining the cat fianc, becoming part of Tika was really a new life for us. We went into the judging program, We read Abyssinian for 25 years. We continued our rescue and we just really became part of the cat world, and it was a great part of our marriage is a great part of our marriage.
What prompted you to want to become a TICA cat judge? And what advice would you give someone wanting to be a judge?
Rene Knapp: There were a lot of reasons. I wanted to become a judge I guess starting by saying just being able to handle all the beautiful cats in the world and doing something special for those cats. It was hard and becoming a judge is something that you really, really have to want. You need to learn about the genetics of cats. You need to learn about the diseases and you have to be willing to sit in airports, which is what my husband and I are doing right now because we travel all around the world, which is another plus that we get to see beautiful places and meet wonderful people. So you just have to have patience when you are traveling and you are greatly rewarded. In the end, if you want to be a judge, my advice is start from the beginning, Don't be in a hurry, learn everything you can about clerking about getting the colors, getting things that you really need to know and enjoy every minute of it and do not ever feel that you know everything. Because after 20 years of judging, I don't know everything we learn every day.
What benefits are there to being a judge?
Rene Knapp: No. So what are the benefits of becoming a judge? Well, you have to first realize that this is not a job because you're not gonna get paid a lot and it's going to cost you to travel and learn all the things that you're going to learn. But the benefits are what you're doing for the cats and the people, you're teaching people what they need to put into their breeding programs to improve their breeds. You're helping people understand the different genetic problems and how to test for them and how to breed them out. You have the knowledge to tell people. One of the best things that I love to do is when I evaluate a litter of kittens or an exhibitor is to pick the kitten and say, I think this is going to be an international winner. And then a couple of years down the road, they bring that cat to me and say, guess what? You were right. It's just really feels good that I can help people in cats and that is the benefit of being a judge for the people. The benefit for me is that I do get to travel and I do get to learn new things, even learn some new languages sometimes and become part of something that's much bigger than all of us.
What is the best registry in the world?
Rene Knapp: What is the best registry in the world? Well, that's really easy to answer. It's the International Cat Association. We have the best group of people. We not only do we take care of and work for the breeds, but we believe that the domestic cat is as important as your pedigree cats. We have our own area where you can show your household pet, you can show your rescue, you can get the same type of awards that you can for a pedigree cap. You don't have to go out and spend a lot of money or breed. If you just want to have fun and show your cats, we make that possible. We love all cats. That's who we are. Everything is about the cats and that's what we try to make sure we have really good training, best training, good mentors of which I am now one and we are just so grateful to be able to give back and do for the organization what they have done for us. My husband and I are extremely proud to be taken judges