CFA's Distinguished Merit Award

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In the timeline of the Cat Fancy, the Distinguished Merit (or DM) award is a relative newcomer...

The DM award was first proposed at the Oct 10-11, 1981 CFA Board meeting. The resolution was presented by the Houston Cat Club, and stated:

"Any male cat which sires 15 or more Grand Champions and/or Grand Premiers, or any female cat which is the mother of 5 Grand Champions and/or Grand Premiers be awarded a certificate of Distinguished Merit and the suffix DM added to its name and any other titles it may have. Such title may be claimed from and confirmed by CFA, and a fee charged for this service."

The motion passed, with only 1 dissenting vote, and a fee of $10 was instituted for the service.

In the 1982 yearbook - covering the 1981-82 show season - the DMs are first listed. There were only 6 cats to receive the award that first year - 2 Abyssinians, 1 Cornish Rex, 1 Siamese, 1 Russian Blue, and 1 Persian - a tortoiseshell.

At that time, prior to any sort of computerization at CFA, an owner had to keep track of grand offspring themselves, and then send all the information to CFA's Central Office, along with the fee, in order to be awarded the title.

In the 1999-00 show season, 2 big changes to the DM program were instituted. First was the removal of the $10 fee to claim the title, and cats who had the requisite offspring - now tracked by computer! - were awarded the title.

The second big change was a revision of the criteria to award the title. Now, the offspring was revised to include those who were DMs themselves, which is the current criteria. A female must produce 5 Grand Champion, Grand Premier, or Distinguished Merit offspring, and a male must produce 15 Grand Champion, Grand Premier, or Distinguished Merit offspring - again, with offspring only being counted once, no matter how many titles they may earn.

In the past several years, many dedicated linechasers have researched and discovered a number of DM cats from pre-computerization days, and their work has led to getting those cats granted a belated DM status.

For individual DM cats of each breed, please reference the following articles:

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