When its good its really really good, but when its bad…….

When cat people come together, and volunteer their time, for the betterment of their community or club, a remarkable force is unleashed. The collective power of united cat fanatics goes beyond what individuals could achieve alone, creating a positive and transformative impact on the community they serve. I’ve recently been curious as to what makes this community so sensation. I believe there are several key aspects that highlight the extraordinary power of the volunteer efforts that make the cat community just exceptional.

Lets first talk about the strong network and support system: When cat people are unite as volunteers, they create a web of connections that fosters collaboration, idea-sharing, and empathy. This network becomes the foundation for driving change and addressing community challenges effectively. I have seen this many times when there have been cats that need rehoming, or cats that are missing. Everyone rallies around and shares with their networks to solve problems. I’ve also seen this with finding sponsorship for cat shows, and for supporting cat owners when they are having a hard time physically or mentally.

There are so many different people involved in the cat world, and I think the diverse perspectives are a rich treasure that is often overlooked. With different ages, cultures, and so on being attracted to the cat world for many different reasons, it brings diverse perspectives to the table, reflecting their varied life experiences, backgrounds, and interests. This diversity enriches the decision-making process and leads to more holistic and inclusive solutions for community issues. Now in saying that, there is a large number of ladies in the cat fancy, however, they are all very different and there is definitely an abundance of knowledge shared. The crazy cat lady stereotype is something that we need to change. Why is this a stereotype, and how can we be more inclusive to everyone.

I have often said that people who love and understand cats are good people. Now I am not saying that there are some in the cat world that are in it for their ego or to make a buck, but the majority often possess strong empathetic qualities and a deep sense of compassion. These qualities enable them to connect with the needs of their community members, understand their struggles, and respond with genuine care and support. There is nothing sexier than a man with his cat in my opinion. If your partner in life can have a success relationship with a cat, where they put the needs of the cat above their own, then you know you are on a winner.

The cat community often includes successful people who can tackle problems with a solution-oriented mindset. As volunteers, they take initiative, identify issues, and work collaboratively to implement practical and sustainable solutions. Today’s workplace has taught many how to work together collaboratively for the common good of all. This often also includes the nurturing and mentoring of others. They empower others by providing guidance, education, and mentorship, thereby fostering a new generation to get interested.

I’m always amazed at how the cat community can mobilise when there is a job to be done. Whether it’s through fundraising, organizing events, or leveraging personal and professional networks, they can rally support for critical projects.

 

But………

There has been less and less people wanting to stay connected to the cat show world. And I’m sure this is nothing new. But the cat show world is getting smaller and smaller. The cat show world is just one small part of the cat community in general, but it is a part that seems to be getting smaller and smaller every day. And I think I know why.

Almost any cat community I talk with have expressed a serious divide within their community. Some are inspired by the success of others and work together to uplift each other, while others resort to destructive tactics. The first group is made up of those who genuinely draw inspiration from the success stories of their fellow cat people. They understand the power of unity and cooperation, striving to build a strong community of empowered individuals. They are not looking for recognition, but looking to make a difference. Then there are some that choose to resort to sabotage, using tools such as rumors, lies, and innuendo. This group often are not the empathetic cat owners that I spoke of earlier, but have their egos so wrapped up in their importance in the cat world that they become intimidating and alienate potential newcomers. They have an elitist mentality about them.

Why is an elitest mentality a bad thing? An elitist attitude creates a sense of exclusivity, making certain members feel unwelcome or inferior. This can lead to the formation of cliques within the club, resulting in division and a lack of camaraderie among members. A clique is much different to a group of friends. True friendships are built on trust, empathy, and genuine care for one another. Friends support each other through both good and challenging times and foster a sense of belonging. Being part of a clique can provide a sense of belonging and validation within a specific group. They will often recruit new members to the cliques to strengthen their numbers. A larger powerbase allows rumours and the like to be spread and believed. It can also lead to the exclusion of others and potentially create a negative or competitive environment. An elitist attitude fosters an environment of superiority and condescension. Such an atmosphere impacts the overall morale, making it less enjoyable for everyone. It can erode this passion by shifting the focus from enjoyment and learning to competition and comparison.

Newcomers or less experienced in the cat world may feel intimidated and discouraged from participating or sharing their interests. This can stifle the growth of clubs and the cat world in general and limit the influx of fresh ideas and perspectives.

People who perceive the cat world as elitist may become disengaged and less likely to actively participate in activities, events or contribute to discussions. As a result, there is a loss of vibrancy and enthusiasm that come with active involvement.

People who feel judged or belittled for their abilities may be reluctant to explore and develop their skills further. This limitation hinders the personal growth and potential of individuals to explore where they might want to volunteer within the cat world.

This elitist attitude may discourage hobbyists from different backgrounds, age groups, or skill levels from joining in. This lack of diversity can narrow the perspective and limit its potential for innovation.

No wonder there is a decreased in cat club Growth. This kind of environment can deter potential new members from joining, leading to stagnation in the club’s growth and potentially causing its eventual decline. There have been many cat clubs close over the last decade because of lack of interested people who what to continue the club. Some of these clubs were also closed because they were run by a small group or clique that would not give up their ownership of the club, but would prefer to close it instead. It is a real pitty when this happens because there is often a large amount of history involved in a club. A plan for the future and ensuring there is a succession plan is vital to keep any club going.

So what can we do about this?

Quite honestly, there is little we can do about those who are in this small group of disrupters. And I must add that this is often a small core group of people. They will do and say whatever they want to. We can hold them accountable when the opportunity arises and try to help them understand what they are doing with posts like this one. It’s quite possible they don’t even know they are elitist or be able to understand the concept.

What we can do is become proactive. This will require a concerted effort from everyone. What is needed is a fostering of a welcoming environment: We need to encourage inclusivity and open-mindedness, making it clear that all levels of skill and experience are valued. We need to look after the older members of our community and make sure they feel appreciated and heard. We need to embrace and appreciate the diverse backgrounds, interests, and perspectives of everyone who wants to be involved. We need to be tolerant to those that are not necessary out cup of tea. We need to encourage an environment of growth and learning. We need to lead by example by being humble and showing respect for everyone. There needs to be a strong emphasis put on the importance of unity, mutual support, and empowerment among the cat community to drive positive change and dismantle harmful behaviours that can lead to a lack of appreciation for collaborative efforts and a focus on individual achievements. This disregards the collective contributions that make the cat world thrive.

There are some in the cat world that work tirelessly and do not expect anything from anyone. Those that selflessly give up their time and energy and share their experience while remaining down to earth and approachable. I’ve been there in the photography world and I know that the reason I volunteer is because it brings a profound sense of satisfaction and purpose. While making a difference you get to connect with people, build skills, engage with all sorts of people, and sometimes even inspire others to join in the fun. These hard working people are often the target of character assignation. Often fuelled by their own insecurity and inferiority complex the elitist demean those working hard in perceived positions of power to alleviate their own feelings of inadequacy and boosts their own self esteem. Sometimes it’s targeting those people to gain recognition and attention to themselves, and sometimes its all about the conformation bias. So thank you to all of those unsung heroes out there that are selflessly giving back, creating a positive ripple effect, fostering empathy, community, personal growth, and a sense of purpose that extends far beyond the act of volunteering itself. I for one am grateful for all the hard work you put in and appreciate you.

I started out talking about how I’m often in awe at how wonderful the cat world is and how incredible it can be. Perhaps we need to make this job of bringing the cat world into one of more collaboration and less elitism a job with a high priority. Lets not encourage and allow the rumors, lies, and innuendo, and encourage open conversation, tolerance and respect of one another.

At the end of the day, my goal is to make the world a better place for all cats. A healthy happy cat world is part of doing just that. As John Lennon sang “You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one”

 

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