What is there for cat lovers who visit Cuba?

Question: For cat lovers who visit Cuba, are there any cat-related activities that we can check out?

Answer: In 1991, the Asociación Cubana de Aficionados a los Gatos (ACAG or the Cuban Cat Fanciers’ Association) was founded as a national non-governmental organization whose members are cat breeders and cat lovers. In 2005, ACAG was approved for affiliation in the World Cat Federation, and in December of the same year, its website was launched at www.acagcuba.com (Spanish only).

With headquarters in Havana, ACAG’s main objectives are to preserve, make known and genetically improve the cat breeds that exist in Cuba, as well as to promote the acquisition and importation of breeds and varieties not existing in the country. To date, eight breeds of cats are found in Cuba – the Persian, Exotic shorthair, Siamese, Oriental, Short Hair, Semi-Longhair, Birman and Bengal – and work is already underway with the development of a new breed, the Cuban Blue.

ACAG is also concerned to help educate the public about how to care for their feline mascots, and towards this end organizes occasional lectures and talks as well as providing information through the mass media. ACAG also has a publication called Misifús which provides information about different cat breeds, feline hygiene and diseases, general cat care and education about cats. Up to the end of 2010, 16 editions of Misifús have been published.

Twice a year, ACAG organizes feline exhibitions. The main ExpoFelina is held at the end of the year, usually in December. Usually held in Sala “Kid Chocolate” in Habana Vieja, it brings together between eighty and one hundred and twenty cats representing the different breeds in Cuba. The first Expo Felina was held in March 1992, and since 2005 they are juried events, with the judged trained in Cuba under ACAG’s auspices. Collateral activities such as exhibitions of wall hangings and patchwork or art exhibitions dedicated to the theme of cats, are held at the same time.

A second MiniExpo de Primavera or Verano (Spring or Summer Mini-Exhibition) mini-exhibition, usually bringing together 25-30 cats representing three or four of the breeds found in Cuba, is held sometime during the April to July period. Information about the exact date and time of the exhibition is available through Cuba’s mass media (radio and newspaper) or you can contact ACAG President, Dr. Ángel Uriarte Rubio through email at [email protected]

If you read Spanish, you will enjoy looking at the ACAG website which provides detailed information about the history of the organization, as well as about the breeds of cats in Cuba, feline genetics and past exhibitions, including many images.