1. How did you find out about FCF?
In the spring of 2003 I was a volunteer at Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Indiana. They were co-sponsoring a husbandry course, and I decided I was interested.
2. What made you join, what made you attracted to the group?
At the course I met several FCF folks and heard about the convention coming up in Cincinnati later that year. I was excited to meet people like Bob Turner and Lynn Culver. When they told me I'd get to see a snow leopard up close, I decided I'd go.
3. What is making you to stay as a member?
Cats are the most important thing in my life. I don't think I could find the will to live in a world without tigers. I'm convinced that the only hope of keeping the various species alive is by getting more people to care passionately about them and that the only way to get people to care passionately is for them to have the chance to see them up close, to touch them, and to know them as individuals. The kind of interaction that changes people's hearts doesn't happen in AZA zoos. Responsible private owners give more people chances to get closer to the animals. Responsible breeders ensure that there's a population for exhibitors to work with. FCF's other conservation activities are also valuable, but promoting responsible private ownership is vital. It's that emphasis that makes FCF worth supporting when there are so many places I could give my limited conservation dollars.
To be honest, the annual convention has become a high point of my year as a chance to spend time with friends I only see then and to meet the animals. I'd probably still go if it were only a social occasion, but I'm very glad that the organization is doing something important.
4. What would you change?
I want to see more husbandry courses. I want to see the accreditation program take off. I'd like to see the organization doing more to educate the public and lawmakers about why responsible ownership is important to the future of the animals and no threat to public safety. Of course, that means more work, which means more people doing the work. So I want to see more efforts to expand the membership to get more people involved, especially people like me who don't have cats of their own. And as more people become involved, I want to see more of the club's business done by a larger group than the elected Board members.