Introducing our 2024 Judges
Iris Zinck- (CFA) - All Breeds Judge, Medford, Massachusetts, USA
Iris has wanted to judge cats since attending her very first cat show in 1988. But it took a while before she was able to achieve that goal.
Iris began breeding both Russian Blues and Turkish Angoras in 1990 with her first husband, the late Robert Hoffman, under the cattery name of Silverlock. While working toward the judging program, she participated in all aspects of show production and the clerking program, eventually becoming a master clerk and running clerking schools. After her husband’s death, Iris phased out the Russian Blues, bred Oriental Longhairs, and showed Persians, Birmans, American Shorthairs, Norwegian Forest Cats, Abyssinians, and Manx. She was first licensed as a judge in 2003.
When Iris met Robert Zinck, now her second husband, and successfully lured him into the cat fancy, they established a new cattery, Folie a Deux (inspired by a French psychological term that refers to a disease/delusion shared by two people). They focused primarily on bicolor Turkish Angoras and bred two national winners as well as a number of breed and regional winners. In 2008, they began working with Siberians, and have achieved several regional wins with them. The Siberians are now Iris’s primary breed. However, she has recently fallen in love with Japanese Bobtails; it is not yet certain where this will lead her.
Iris is Lead Copy Editor and a Staff Writer for Cat Talk magazine, CFA's Siberian Breed Council Secretary, and the chair of CFA’s Virtual Cat Competition committee. She is also a singer and songwriter and invites anyone interested in her music to check out her YouTube channel.
Nancy Dodds - (CFA USA) - All Breeds Judge.
Grant Leih (SACC) - All Breeds Judge, South Africa
Breeding and showing fell into my lap by accident in 2003, but soon became my passion that continues to this day. My draw always veered towards a specific breed’s personality rather than its aesthetics. Though this changed dramatically after training to become an all-breeds judge. Along this journey I developed an affiliation for the different and unusual. As such my main focus has always been the LaPerm but I have also bred American Curl, Selkirk Rex, Cornish Rex, Scottish Fold. I was a founder member of one of the largest and most successful breed groups that have run some of the largest shows in South Africa for a number of years. Including having 32 Sphynx, 14 LaPerms and over 20 Cornish Rex on one show; an achievement our committee is very proud of considering the small cat fancy in South Africa. Shows are dedicated to the education and promotion of the Rex breeds as well as those who have mutations that affect the coat such as the Sphynx and Peterbald; but also with a strong drive for charity and the care & protection of all felines. My journey towards becoming an all breeds judge began in 2006 and took 12 ½ years to complete. I have been in involved in mentoring many new people to the cat fancy, as well having a lot of involved in tutoring new, young and upcoming judges.
Dennis Ganoe (CFA USA) - All Breeds Judge.
Debs Armishaw (GCCFSA) All Breeds Judge
I have judged in New Zealand, Australia, and China.
I have moved from Sydney to Adelaide and I am a member of GCCFSA. I have lived in Australia twice before, in 1984–1985, and again in 2010–2012, after the Canterbury earthquakes, and now have decided to make Australia my home once again.
I returned to New Zealand in 2012 and applied to re–join the NZCF judging fraternity. In 2015 I was elected to the Executive Council. I held the following Portfolios: Judges, IT, and Registrations. I ended my three–year tenure also holding the Vice Chair position.
Over the past 30 plus years I have been involved in all the various aspects of the Cat World, breeding, judging, Club committees and running cat shows. Most recently as part of the Executive for CATS NSW prior to my move to South Australia.
In my other life, I have worked as an HSSEQ Advisor, Chef, Bus and Forklift Driver, and also a Lab Technician. I have travelled over most of NZ, been to Fiji, USA, and China.
Troy Willems (FCCV) All Breeds Judge
David Colley (NZCF)
I have been involved in NZCF since 1998, when we purchased our first Pedigree kitten, a Cornish Rex Kitten which we showed in 1999.
By 2000 we went to Sydney and purchased some Cornish Rex cats from Eula Cross and started Breeding them which we really enjoyed. They are real fun and so active.
We then started breeding Russian Blues in 2006, with again buying breeding stock from Australia. These are such loving and loyal cats, with a fantastic nature. We still breed Russians and we have just recently gone back into breeding the Cornish Rex our first litter due within a month.
During 2003 – 2005 I trained as a Shorthaired Cat judge, and since then have judged throughout NZ, which is a real honour and twice in Australia, both times for ACF at their National Shows – 2017 in Brisbane and 2023 in Launceston.
I have spent 2 – 3 year terms on the Executive Council and 2 years as Chairperson before not standing again for re-election last April.
I will be coming from NZ but I am from Australia, having moved to NZ when I was only 19 years old. I spent 3 years in Inverell including my first year in High School and then did 5 years at Kempsey High School back in the 1970’s. So, I will be glad to see over some old tramping grounds from way back.
Really looking forward to seeing some wonderful Russians and catching up with you all.
Dr Jocene Vallack (QFA) works in Education and has been breeding cats since 1998. Initially a Siamese and Oriental breeder, she raised Foreign Whites and Black Orientals, and later progressed to Silver Classic Orientals. Around 2010, she had privileged access to some lovely USA Bengal lines and she still loves this breed.
She became interested in Sphynx cats about ten years ago, and now breeds them exclusively. As a result of working in collaboration with overseas breeders, her Alchemy Sphynx Cats have pure lines, imported from Russia, UK and New Zealand.
After many years as a Steward and Show Committee member and Manager in Melbourne, she began her judge’s training and examinations in Victoria in 2011 with the FCCV. Later, after moving to Queensland for work, she was invited to complete her Shorthair training through the FCCQ. She remains indebted to each of these affiliations for their expertise and mentoring. She now resides in Mackay, where her cats enjoy their shady enclosures in the subtropical climate.
Keith Harding (Cats QLD)