Eligible pet—what more could one ask for than Colin Powell? What? Colin Powell? Yes, Colin Powell, the one and only Cat Fanciers’ Association’s 2004 Cat of the Year! Well, to make things more confusing, this year, Colin Powell met Colin Powell. Yes, Colin Powell, the cat, met Colin Powell, the statesman, in what appeared to be an unusual event.
On August 13, 2004—Friday the thirteenth as a matter of fact—Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, met with the black Bombay cat at the White House for a photo opportunity. Also present were Colin’s breeder, Sigfrid Hauck, and the President of the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), Pam DelaBar, who happened to have once served under Secretary Powell in the Army.
Quite a light-hearted day from the usual business at the State Department, Colin the cat warmed up to the secretary as soon as the secretary placed his hands on him, according to Mr. Hauck. The secretary is definitely a “cat person.” Mr. and Mrs. Secretary Powell [Alma Johnson, who also attended] are both “cat people,” said Mr. Hauck. Apparently, the secretary enjoyed the cat—he took the feline with him by mistake when he left the room.
The meeting between cat and statesman for this story received more feedback than anything else the secretary has done in 2004, and over 81,000 newspapers covered the story nation-wide. As Secretary Powell said himself that day, “This is the best cat in the country,” and certainly he is. Wining and dining with politicians so to speak and inflating Colin’s popularity makes this cat one of the most eligible pets of the year.
As for the 2004 CFA’s Cat of the Year award, Colin had stiff competition and had to go through several hurdles to win. Secretary Powell noted how the little cat competed against 22,700 other cats in 290 competitions. In fact, the Bombay cat attended a different show in a different city every weekend. His owners, John and Gloria Clark, are the faithful people who made such trips. Sig Hauck and his wife, Sharyn, attended several of the shows to give their support and further helped by strategizing the logistical aspects of Colin’s tour. The competition began in May 2003 and lasted until April 30th of the next year. Prior to this, Colin was the top champion at the New York Cat Show at Madison Square Garden from which is where Mrs. Alma Johnson first heard of the cat. Somehow the CFA and the State Department then teamed up for what became the meeting.
Currently, Colin, whose full name is Caricature’s Colin Powell, is owned by the Clarks and the Haucks. He still breeds at the Hauck’s residence in Connecticut, but hurry up, ladies!—he will eventually be neutered and will “resign” from his breeding duties. Coincidentally, Secretary Powell is resigning from his position after serving for four years with President George W. Bush.
It’s a rarity for a minority breed such as Colin to win the Cat of the Year award. As Mr. Hauck exclaimed, seven years ago when the Haucks first started breeding Bombay cats, they were about extinct. According to Mr. Hauck, at the time, one out of every ten Bombay cats in the world was born right in his bedroom. The number of Bombay cats that are registered every year is significantly more than what it used to be, about 300 last year. Yet, this number is small in relation to Persian cats which were registered at approximately 19,000 last year. That makes Colin, a truly special and unique cat indeed! By Jeremy Warneke