Up Close and Purr-sonal
Cat Talk|June 2021
Just about everyone who knows CFA knows Kathy Calhoun, CFA treasurer and Allbreed judge. She’s also a breeder of national winning Maine Coon cats, national winning American Wirehairs, Tonkinese and American Shorthairs, a former Regional Director, and one of the founders of the Basic Black Cat Club. But as busy as Kathy Calhoun’s CFA life has been and is, cats are just one part of her story.
By Ann Strople

KATHY CALHOUN

A Groundbreaker From Early On

Kathy Calhoun spent the early part of her life in Phoenix, Illinois, a village in Cook County, Illinois, about 19 miles south of the Chicago Loop in the Chicagoland area, where she attended school through the eighth grade. When it came time for high school, Kathy was in the first group of black students to be bused to Thornridge High School in a nearby suburb for the purpose of integrating the school. Despite a very different school situation and culture from what she knew, Kathy, being Kathy, rose to the occasion and was quick to find a place in this previously all-white school.

As Kathy tells it, “Many Thornridge High School extra-curricular activities had Scottish names and themes. The school had a performing team called the ‘Lassies.” I tried out and was accepted as a member of the Lassies, but I was not one of the Scottish dancers, I was a bagpiper! I can play the bagpipes, I have a kilt, the hat—the whole regalia.”

After graduating from Thornridge High School, Kathy went on to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she majored in biology, with a split minor in chemistry and physics, with the full intent of going on to veterinary school.

According to Kathy, “Back in the day, if you wanted to go to vet school it would be in your state, and it was a good idea to go to undergrad at the same school. In that time period, and they made no bones about it and I have no idea how they came up with these numbers, the University of Illinois veterinary school took 81 students in a class and zero to 12 women.”

Not only did a student have to have stellar grades but you also had to have an ‘appropriate’ background which generally meant you should come from a farming community, or, in Kathy’s words, “be able to shoe a horse and milk a cow.” However, since those skills were not on her resume, as she says it, “vet school was not in the cards.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM CAT TALKView All

Up Close And Purr-sonal

While cat people can seem to be just about the cats, they’re almost always about other things, too. In the case of Sibyl Zaden, that’s actually a LOT of other things: the arts, politics, academia, marathons, triathlons, and more.

4 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021

Help! My Cat Is Stuck In A Tree!

It happens in an instant. Your door is open a split second too long, and your indoor-only cat is outside and up a tree—way up a tree, beyond reach of most ladders. You hear the piteous cries from above. Now what?

10 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021

Why Pet Insurance Belongs in Your Kitten Kit

Most of us send our kittens off to their new homes accompanied by a packet of information: food samples, toys, vet records and lots more essentials and goodies. We want our kittens to get off on the right foot! Unfortunately, with the rapidly increasing cost of vet care, there are sure to be unforeseen expenses as the kitten matures, and very few of us educate new owners on how to manage the risk of major vet bills down the road.

6 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021

What You Don't Know About Burmese

The Chatty Cathy of Cats … Burmese, Please!!!

9 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021

Patrick Learns of a Sweet Girl's Passing in this 'Life With Patrick' Crossover

Lucille a reminiscence of GC, GPD, NW McPride Lucille Ball of Jaspurrcats, owned by Beth Feiniger

2 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021

New Rules for Flying with Pets

On December 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it was revising its Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transport of services animals by air.5 One of the main revisions to the act was airlines would no longer to be required to treat emotional support animals (ESAs) as service animals. Airlines are required to allow service animals to fly in the cabin free of charge with their owners. Prior to this ruling, pets that the traveler needed to provide them with emotional support had been able to fly for no charge. The only documentation a traveler was required to produce was a letter from a licensed mental health professional that the traveler had some sort of emotional disability that required them to travel with a pet.

3 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021

If Fluffy Can't Brush The Dental Health Challenge

Part of our everyday grooming routine is oral hygiene; we know we should brush and floss our teeth twice a day, and according to dental hygienists, for two minutes at each brushing. But consider the cat. Unless it became accustomed to a tooth brushing regimen during kittenhood, tending to an adult cat’s teeth may be difficult at best or impossible at worst, compared to “pulling teeth” if our readers will pardon the pun.

5 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021

FUR NAMES

Names. Oh, what an important choice in the life of cat! It is how a cat will be known in the show rings and in daily life. A name can alternate between words of delight or new forms of cursing. Each name tells a story and this is the story of GC RW Starbourne Three Ring Circus, aka Ellie

2 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021

CFA Breeder Publishes New Book About Siberians

A new breed book, The Siberian Cat, written by long-term CFA breeder Alice Wright, was released via Amazon, in paperback and Kindle formats on May 26, 2021. The book is a comprehensive history of the breed, providing extensive details of how the Siberian cat has traveled and expanded its conquest into hearts and families all over the world.

4 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021

A Short Tale From a Short Season

Most of us have had that special cat—a heart cat with whom we had a deep connection. It may have been one we had as a child, or one that saw us through a troubled time, or one with whom we bonded as we exhibited at cat shows. Whether the cat found us or we sought it out, the connections cannot be denied. These are the stories of some of those special cats and what they meant to us.

2 mins read
Cat Talk
August 2021
RELATED STORIES

America's Other Best Idea

Let the crowds stampede the national parks-in the U.S., you're never far from state lands that boast sublime beauty, natural seclusion, and endless adventure. These 14 just scratch the surface.

10+ mins read
Backpacker
Summer 2022

Catsuit Nation

All-in-ones for all dominated the runways this season. Here’s how the silhouette clawed its way to the top.

3 mins read
ELLE
May 2022

Tom Selleck What I've Learned at 77

The blue bloods actor reflects on the long road he has traveled

4 mins read
Closer US
March 07, 2022

Animal Antics

"Do you have a puppy?"

3 mins read
Home South Africa
February/March 2022

I WAS THERE!

A historic moment in bass world—recalled by those who were there to see it

2 mins read
Bass Player
October 2021

Can Cats Predict Earthquakes?

Are animals’ powers to foretell natural disasters fact or folklore?

3 mins read
Muse Science Magazine for Kids
July/August 2021

How We ‘Talk' to Our Pets

Did you ever wonder how you can look in your pet’s eyes and know if he or she is sad, mad or glad or wants attention and they can do the same for you? How can that be when there are no spoken words between you? The answer is neuroscience, and you don’t have to be Dr. Doolittle to “talk” with the animals. We sometimes forget humans are part of the animal kingdom, too, with much the same physical organs and emotions.

2 mins read
Central Florida Health News
March 2021

Animal House

Ensure your space is safe for furry roommates with these smart tips for pet-proofing your home.

2 mins read
Taste of Home
February - March 2021

WHO'S a good business model? It's YOU! Yes it is! You're SUCH a good business model! Yes you are!

Locked-down Americans are pampering their pets like never before, and Chewy is reaping the benefits

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
November 23 - 30, 2020

AN INTERVIEW WITH CAT STEVENS

In 1968, after surviving an almost deadly bout of tuberculosis, Cat Stevens, already a star in his homeland of England, having racked up the hits, “Matthew and Son,” “I Love My Dog” and “I’m Gonna Get Me a Gun,” had grown weary of living life inside the bubble of fame.

10+ mins read
GOLDMINE
November 2020