Tuesday 18 January, 2005
CFA judge Donna Norris passed away this morning. And CFA has lost a treasure.
I first met Donna when I was campaigning a kitten for a regional award. I was planning on flying from Canada to the Santa Monica Cat Show in southern California. It was my first time in that area of the country so I called the show manager to ask a few questions about the location of the show hotel, shuttle service, etc.
The show manager was Donna Norris.
Donna made me feel so incredibly welcome. She arranged to have me bench next to her and her life partner, Barbara Fletcher. When I arrived at the show Donna not only helped me set up, she arranged for transportation for me to and from the show hall, invited me to a large dinner with judges and exhibitors, and generally made my trip delightful. Little did I realize that this sort of welcome was just par for the course for Donna. She was a woman who was always ready to help others.
"Little Cats Helping Big Cats"
One of Donna's many passions was supporting the Wildlife Waystation, a local humane organization for big cats and other wildlife. Every year a portion of the Santa Monica Cat Club Show proceeds were donated to help take care of the cheetahs, lions, tigers and other big cats rescued by the Waystation.
Indeed, it was not unusual for the there to be a cougar or an ocelot on display at the entrance to the Annual Benefit Cat Show.
Of course, Donna didn't want all the focus to be on big cats... or even the pedigreed cats. Each year the highest scoring Household Pet at the show received the Donna Norris "Purrpetual" Award.
The show became a favorite stop for cat exhibitors from across the country.
Isle of View
Donna and Barb bred and showed Persians and Himalayans under the Isle of View (I Love You) cattery prefix for many years, enjoying success in the show ring with countless Grands and Regional winners over the years. In 1976, she became a LH Specialty judge in CFA. She loved judging and having the opportunity to handle wonderful cats.
Donna wrote a poem to her cat Lelani that best reveals her love of felines and how she felt about how show cats ought to be treasured. Her poem encapsulates her view of how she hoped all of us would love our cats.
Donna is a treasure we have lost, yet I know she has crossed the rainbow bridge and is with the beloved animals who have passed before her. She has left her mark upon all of us who knew her. Goodbye, Sweet Angel. It was an honor to have known you.
I Am Your Cat...
by Donna Norris for Lelani
Do not think of me as an object to bring you fame in the show ring.
My most prized trophy is a gentle touch from you.
Do not expect from me a new family of babies every four months.
I love my little ones and want them with me so I may teach and play with them for many months as a good mother should.
Do not keep me confined in a cage.
I am a free spirit.
Let me live with you in your home.
Do not think of me as an unknowing, uncaring or an independent being, for I need you.
Accept me as I am, care for me, love me and be my friend I will give you in return:
A soft touch of my paw on your cheek when you are troubled,
A companion when you are lonely,
A clown when you are depressed
A trusting, loving, purring being,
Content to share your happiness and sorrow.
Let me be with you in our small part of this world for He has created you and me.
Do not think of me as a simple creature, for I can see angels you cannot see.
I can feel the vibrations and wonders of the Universe you can not feel. And when the time comes when I will have to leave you, remember, I will always be with you for our spirits are One.
Love me. Cherish me. Care for me.
I am your Cat.