The Society was founded in 1949 when a small group of enthusiasts, particularly interested in the Siamese Cat, met and discussed the idea of laying down a standard for the breed, based on that existing overseas, and the holding of shows to encourage breeders to improve local standards and foster a better understanding of the care and management of cats in general.
The founder members of the Society were Gladys Haswell, Rosemary Harte and the Rev. and Mrs. Oliver. A stimulus was given to the activities of the Society when the late Mrs. Stewart and Dr. F.G. Stewart joined the committee and their intimate knowledge of show procedure was made available to the Society
The Siamese Cat Society of SA changed its name on 27 February 1984 to become the Transvaal Cat Society. Their first show was held in the Norwegian Hall in de Villiers Street, Johannesburg, in 1950 and apparently attracted “long queues of people”. Dr and Mrs Stewart, who had not long since immigrated from England where they were very involved with the cat fancy, were essential to the show, as they were the “only people in Johannesburg… who knew anything about shows or how to run them.” (RCC newsletter, reprinted in Cats Calling August 1961). Both were judges, but on this occasion, Dr Stewart had to run the show, so Mrs Stewart judged every exhibit.
These two also undertook the judges’ training in Johannesburg. At the time of the Society’s establishment, Siamese were by far the most popular breed in South Africa, with some 1 400 being registered countrywide by 1955. The Siamese Cat Society was one of the first members of the Associated Cat Clubs of SA, the forerunner of SACC, along with the Rand Cat Club, Natal Cat Club, and Western Province Cat Club. Rosemary Harte moved to Cape Town, where she was very well known for many years. Mr John Oliver remained a Siamese enthusiast and passed away only recently.
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