Different Breeds are Different
or "Walk a Mile on My Paws"

Mockingbird Persians & Exotics


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One of the advantages of the wonderful world of the Internet and cat email lists is that cat fanciers of different breeds are now easily able to share their opinions and experience with fanciers of other breeds.

Mostly this is a wonderful thing.

But sometimes it can create a great deal of misinformation and resentment.

Because different breeds are... different. And that means that while something may work with your breed of cat, it may not work with a different breed.

This is probably even truer if the two breeds being compared are far apart in physical, mental and emotional "styles". A Persian has much less in common with a slinky breed like a Siamese than it would have with a breed like a British Shorthair simply because the Persian and the BSH shares some physical characteristics.

No matter how innocent the original intention may be, when a person makes a comment about a breed they do not raise and show, it is easy for them to be saying something that is true for them and the breed they raise, but which may be quite inappropriate for other breeds or breeders.

For Example:

Recently, there was a discussion on a cat list regarding a grooming product used (mostly) on Persian cats to prevent eye staining. Strong negative opinions were made by a non-Persian breeder. Persian breeders were upset by some of the comments. But even more, they resented some of the assumptions the non-Persian breeder was making about why Persians have eye stains in the first place... making it a health issue rather than a grooming issue.

People deeply involved in their breed will always understand better any issue having to do with their breed. People outside the breed may think they understand - but it is somewhat like being a back-seat driver or an armchair quarterback. Being an onlooker just doesn't give you the same experience or knowledge that DOING it does.

Until you walk a mile in my shoes, you will never really know me.

The same can be said about cat breeds...
If you don't raise a certain breed,
you will never know how different it may be
from the breed you do actually raise.

There is no such thing as "One Size Fits All" in the cat fancy.

Different breeds have different inherent health issues. Similarly, their grooming challenges are very different. So it is smart to never assume that you know more about someone else's breed than they do :-)

Although in my role as editor of PandEcats.com and ShowCatsOnline.com and with my B.Sc. in zoology, I am perhaps better informed than the average cat breeder, I still choose to exercise restraint (and humility) when commenting about grooming or health issues of any breed other than my own. Regardless of how informed I believe myself to be in a general sense, if I don't personally raise a breed, I would hesitate to comment on the specific issues faced by that particular breed.

While that is my choice, it may not be everyone's... and that is okay too.

So... how do we share our own experiences and opinions with other cat breeders without seeming to be riding a high horse?

Tell people about your experience with your breed or cat. But be careful about assuming that something that works for one breed will work for another breed... or even that something that works for one breeder will work for another breeder. And of course, there are times when something that works for one cat does not work for another cat.

Where does that leave you when reading about the experience of someone who doesn't raise your breed?

As a reader and a consumer of information, you need to decide how much "weight" to give to the things you see posted on the cat lists. The reader must consider the accomplishments, experience and character of the author of every post... along with the subject they are discussing. Too many people make comments as if they are facts, when they are really only an opinion. If you want to share your opinion, make sure you make it clear that it is an opinion NOT a fact.

Enjoy your "conversations" on the cat list. Send a post when you have something positive to contribute. Accept that some people will have opinions that differ from yours. Don't waste energy trying to make everyone agree with everything you say, just accept that you see things differently. Keep an open mind.

Every cat exhibitor is entitled to their opinion :-) - and every person gets to choose what they wish to believe... and what they prefer to do. The fun part is that we all can have the choice to try something - or not...

Isn't it great that we each have the freedom to make the decision that is best for us personally - and for our cats.

Share information generously.
Share your opinion sparingly.

I like to make note of the names of people who post to cat lists... I look to see which people are informed and present they opinions in a positive way. I give those people more "weight" when looking for information or opinions on an issue.

On the other hand, there are people who always seem to have something negative to say - or who always assume the worst of other people. I always take anything these people say with a grain of "salt".

Pay attention to the different approaches to issues that are determined more by the personality of the writer rather than the facts. :-)

Good Luck to everyone - and may your cats always be healthy and beautifully groomed!

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