1st elected CFA BENGAL BREED SECRETARY - 5/1/19 - 4/30/19
It is my hope that the Bengal Breed continues to lead the World in it's popularity and that all Bengal Breeders find an Association that celebrates their vision for the Beauty, Strength and Unique Temperament of the domestic Bengal Cat!
The Bengal is a man-made breed - all of you already know this. To me, this means that there wasn't an already established "Design" or phenotype for our breed at the beginning (like Maine Coons or Abyssinians). This means that there is not a single "incorrect" Bengal out in our world. Every Bengal Breeder has the right to their own style, traits, colors, temperaments that they want to create - if you find it beautiful, then your clients will too! Bengals were inspired not just by the Asian Leopard Cat (ALC's) but by all of the Spotted Cats (Mostly Rosette Spotted Cats) in the wild! - A few examples are:
African Leopards (Jean Mills original idea)
Ocelots and the list goes on....
It's an incredible opportunity for all of us to be a part of this breed at this time because of the wide variety in our breed. I personally like to celebrate the diversity of beauty that is unique to the Bengal as it's impossible to get bored breeding them! :) With that said, there are associations like CFA, where a Breed Standard has been created based on the direction that Breeders within their association are taking. In this way, CFA Judges can compare each Bengal against one another to determine which Bengal best represents our Standard (in the judges opinion) at a CFA Cat Show.
This breed has grown quickly in popularity that it has brought us so many styles, colors, traits and aspects of these cats that can be wonderful to one person and undesirable to another. As the saying goes "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Luckily, our breed is the most diverse in it's beauty, elegance, temperament and structure. We are now working with approx. 3.3% wild ALC DNA on average (in our 4th generation + Breeding programs) which I believe illustrates why we are so diverse and still have a wide range of variety in our litters.
One of the main reasons for me to choose to run for Bengal Breed Secretary is that I don't belong solely to either of the polarizing factions within our breed group. The Bengal group has turned into something that reminds me of the "Hatfields vs. Mccoys" and I believe we are best served with someone who can connect with a majority of our Breed Group and not be limited to just one Faction. I believe that having a more neutral party who has personal interests aligned with both factions is a strong positive for me as a candidate so that I can help to bring everyone together for the benefit of CFA and our Bengal Group.
I am asking for your vote to elect me as Breed Council Secretary so that I can represent each of your voices as equally as others in our committee. If you've found this webpage, it is dedicated to illustrating some of my achievements and visions for our breed. Here are some of the reasons I believe that I'm qualified for the position of Breed Secretary:
1. SHOWN INTERNATIONALLY: I've shown Bengal Cats in TICA in the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, Austria and France - I have experience seeing many different styles of Bengals from around the World.
2. SHOWN IN 20 STATES: Within the North America (USA and Canada), I have shown cats in: WA, BC, AB, OR, CA, NV, AZ, TX, NM, MA, OH, IN, FL, GA, PA, MD, MO, MI, IA and North Carolina. I have met so many amazing and passionate Bengal breeders in our Country!
3. LOTS OF SHOWS: I have shown Bengal Cats in over 100 TICA shows since 2010 (most of them in the last 4 years). I have personally shown in over 35 CFA shows since they have been accepted into Championship. I hope to meet all of you while I travel the US and get an ideas of aspects of our Breed that you think are of high importance.
4. HIGH SHOW ACHIEVEMENTS: I have shown (or bred) cats with the following title achievements:
CFA 2019: TICA 2011-2019:
National Winner: 1 International Winners: 3
Breed Winner: 1 Supreme GC's: 8
Grand Champions: 4 Quad. GC's: 6
Champions: 4 Triple Grand CH: 2
Premiership: 1 Double Grand CH: 5
Champions (CH): 18
This is a high level of experience and recognition in showing Bengals - within my region, my country and the rest of the world. The past 3 years in a row, I have had an International Winner either in the kitten or adult categories with TICA. I strive to create beautiful, healthy, good temperment bengals with gorgeous rosetted patterns and some with the ALC Phenotype. My program of "Supreme's" is diverse and is a good representation of how I strive to combine Pattern with ALC Phenotype. But - for me, there isn't just one single phenotype that I enjoy working on.
5. GENETICS PIONEER: I have close working relationship with Dr. Chris Kaelin at Stanford University and provided him with 100's of kitten DNA cheek swabs for his pattern research along with a photo file for his use on all of them. Chris has shared genetic profiles for over 80 of my cats/kittens that shows where their ALC dna lies within their profile. This helps to show percentages of "Wild ALC" dna in my kittens/cats as well as helps to identify inbreeding issues (where the ALC DNA comes from both the Sire and the Mother is duplicated sections.) The samples that I have provdied to Dr. Kaelin have helped him confirm his theory on the Marble Pattern and we have hopes to uncover other traits that can be identified in the near future. I have also done Optimal Selection genetic testing on over 10 of my cats proving that none of the additional 30+ disease alleles (that are now available to us in a single test) are in my Studs and a few of my queens (You can see these reports under all of my Stud Pages).
6. USFW - CHANGING THEIR POLICIES FOR INSPECTIONS OF BENGALS: I have helped Anthony Hutcherson and many others in an attempt to get the USFW service to stop requiring Bengal inspections while crossing the US border - Especially, when just going to a cat show 2.5 hours from my home!
I wrote my congressman and complained about the way that USFW was handling the Bengal border crossings in coordination with Anthony to add more pressure to USFW in order to bring about change. This, together with additional pressure from people who have had cats confiscated by USFW is moving our goal forward.
Note: Last year, a border agent told me that USFW is considering stopping the inspection requirement for 4th generation and later Bengals! This representative hopes that this will happen!
7. CITY OF SEATTLE - BAN ON BENGALS: I'm engaged with the City of Seattle in the process of an attempt to get them to change their decision on making Bengals Illegal with the city limits of Seattle. Since it is not a rule that they enforce or that they have on their website, they should change it. I hope to partner with them at future CFA Cat shows to help place many of their shelter cats while putting on a CFA Show for pedigreed and household pets in the City of Seattle.
8. EXPERIENCE ORGANIZING SHOWS/BANQUETS: I am a founding executive member of Seacats club (TICA) and now the Secretary for the Pacific Rim Allbreed Cat Club (CFA)- I have experience in putting on shows as well as running the Banquet Dinner for the NW TICA Region in 2017.
9. STRONG BUSINESS/MARKETING CAREER: The main part of my career, I worked in both field sales and sales management by representing research products to University, College, Public & School Libraries in 19 states and provinces for about 18 years. My renewals were well over 10 million per year. Also, I brought the 1st "State wide" magazine and newspaper online subscription product in the mid 1990's to my company for WA state by coordinating the groups of Universities, Colleges, Public Libraries and High schools in the state - 1 million annually. In 2000, I was director of Sales for an internet start up company for High school Advance Placement courses online. I understand customer service, sales have the ability to bring groups of diverse people together in order to create "win/win" situations. I am experienced in presentations to small and large groups of people as well as the complicated process of building, reviewing and signing contracts and RFP's. A smaller part of my business experience is in Real Estate where I was a Broker and investor in WA and ID for over 10 years. My word is my bond and I always stand by my contracts (and many times will "over-deliver")
I believe that diversity in our breed is a tremendous positive. Not only will it help us to create the beauty that each of us sees in our own definition of the perfect Bengal Cat, but it creates a solid genetic base for the breed going forward as we try to stay away from inbreeding issues and other health concerns that are seen in many "closed" breed groups (Dogs and Cats) or when everyone is working on the same definition of "beauty".
With the current amount of genetic tests available to all of us, we can all choose the traits, styles, colors, personality etc. that we are individually drawn to and stay away from traits that are un-desireable to us as individuals.
I know this makes it hard to show cats to a "higher level" when it comes to awards and titles, but since we are a breed created by man, "Perfection" is different for most all of us.
There are positive traits for every Bengal in our World -
Most importantly, I fully understand that I am simply the person who represents the opinions of our committee and the CFA Standard. It is not the place for my own personal viewpoints and I will not influence judges with cats and opinions that are not representative of the CFA Standard.
1. I would like use a format where each individual committee member has a voice that is equal to each of the other voices on our committee. I believe in using formats like email and polling that can get all voices tallied with equal weight. (Using email to get opinions & feedback from committee members is actually a requirement for CFA Secretaries)
2. I would like to offer options for group discussions (like Facebook or Group phone calls) for those that wish to participate in a discussion format style. (But this should not be our primary tool as it leaves too many voices behind due to schedules and where they live in the World). This format is also not enjoyed by everyone and I still want to understand their opinions and priorities.
3. I would like to create a place where we can all go to as a breed and see what "hot topics" we are engaged in discussing and possibly changing in our CFA Bengal Breed Standard. I have an idea where each of us is assigned a unique ID that only the individual (and myself) knows. I would like to gather the opinions of the people that wish to participate in making their voice/vote known and yet remain anonymous to the others. This way, the loudest voices don't overshadow the smaller voices yet we get a chance to see where the group stands as a whole.
4. I would like to create a website for CFA Judges to go to if they are interested in seeing our Breed Standard described with examples. This can also be duplicated in a presentation format if needed. In a Website format, it can be used by anyone in the World interested in CFA Bengals and not just judges!
5. I believe that aspects of our CFA Bengal Breed Standard need to be changed. I have discussed this quite a bit with judges and others in CFA and overwhelmingly, I have been advised to do standard changes in pieces rather than an all-encompassing change. If we do this is pieces, we need 60% of us to agree to a single change vs. keeping as it is today. To me, this is logical and the best way to work away at the individual segments that need work in the standard - It's truly the best way to get some aspects changed.
6. I am traveling around the US currently to many CFA cat shows and have already begun to gather opinions and suggested priorities from individual committee members. Since I don't have contact information for many of the people on the breed committee, I encourage you to reach out to me with your Top 3 - 5 issues/suggested directions for our breed. I have started an excel spreadsheet to gather all of these together so that I can get a true representation of what the priorities could be for change.
Past CFA Vice-President
Past CFA Allbreed Judge
Current Bengal Breed Committee member:
"At this time I want to state my full support of Teresa Seling. To say that I was impressed when I first met and talked with her is an understatement!"
Update: As of 7/13/19, I have launched a new website for CFA Bengals. I initially built this for my own clients, but have decided to lease it to the CFA Bengal group for my term as Secretary (Until 4/30/19). It provides examples of most of the aspects of the standard. Now, it also provides public and transparent place where the Breed Council can propose ideas, list the positives/negatives of any idea etc. They will be able to access this site when it comes time to voting and can therefore see all sides to any proposed change. This is where I will pull proposals from for the vote that occurs annually in Nov/Dec. I encourage all of you to take a look at it and pass on any feedback that you have to me (especially corrections!) Thank you!