Happy New Year from the Cagaran Cats, with a series of photos from the Christmas shoot.
So we’re into 2013 already – Happy New Year! It seems hardly any time since we were out to celebrate my Grandpa’s 80th last Hogmanay, and yet at the same time, so much has happened in the past year.
We did our usual Cagaran Christmas card, with a photo of some of our recent kittens. Like last year, we had the same photo on three different designs of card, because we couldn’t decide which design we preferred.
I’ve had lots of people ask me if the photo is real, and if so, how we got it. The answer is lots and lots of photos – 761 to be precise! I wanted the photo to contain both Ocis and Tiffs, and I was hoping to get all three patterns of Ocis. We built our ‘set’ in the hallway, by lining the window alcove with black fleece, and hanging a piece of mesh from the hook in the ceiling that we use to hang a lantern at Christmas time. I then dangled strands of beads, and tied silver bobbles onto the mesh. We poured a load of other bobbles into the bottom of the alcove (a box laid across the front, and covered in the fleece kept them in, creating a miniature ball pool), and then ran some white fairy lights through them. We also brought out a flood light and several desk lamps, in an attempt to create a bright enough space that the camera could work fast enough to catch a load of rapidly-moving kittens.
I brought out Etak, Ayla, Bru, Cheeky and Carrie, and put them all into the alcove. I waved a cat toy around to try and get the kittens’ attention (frequently unsuccessful, I may add), whilst Richard started snapping. We kept going for forty minutes, until we thought we must surely have something that would work. I thought you might like to share some of the ‘failed’ attempts: there are photos which contain all of the kittens, but only one is facing the right way…
Or they are facing the right way, but pulling stupid faces…
Or where four are sitting beautifully but one or two refuse to look towards the camera…
Or is obscured behind the decorations…
Or one has gone under another…
Ones where one is moving around so much that they are just a blur…
Ones where some are coming, and others going…
Ones where they have all abandoned the alcove, and all we have is a departing tail…
In the case of Cheeky and Ayla, we also have plenty where they are trying to destroy the ‘set’…
Some are even perfectly nice photos, just not what we were looking for…
Mostly, we have lots and lots of photos that look like something from a spot-the-difference game, with just tiny movements between each one, in the hope of getting one that works! These are the photos chosen for the card:
This coming weekend is an exciting one for us, because we’re going down to the Shorthair and Joint Foreign show, and dropping the two Variant girls off at their new home in Cardiff. I am always excited to see our kittens going to their new homes, and it’s particularly lovely when two can go together.
The show is exciting for two reasons – one, you may remember that Richard and I are both on the committee of RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland), and that club is having its first ever show as part of the Joint Foreign show. The second reason is that the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society), of which we are also committee members, is another of the Joint shows, and we have won the Best Kitten award there the past two years. It would be lovely to win it for a third year, but one of the best things about the AGCS show is seeing such a fabulous selection of Asians turn out, so even if we don’t win, the AGCS is bound to be an enjoyable show. I can’t wait!
Starting over after a long gap between posts. All of our current cats are introduced, with photos, and an update is given on the kittens available.
It has been three months since I last posted, due to a mixture of illness (mine and Richard’s), and having too much to do, as usual. Since it’s been such a long time, I figured I might as well start afresh, with a re-introduction to us, and our cats.
For those who have followed this blog in the past, a quick update first. The Cumberland show, last month, was pretty special for the Cagaran cats, because we had our first TWO Grands on the same day! Lona Johnson’s Lainni made up to Grand Premier, and our Donny made Grand Champion. We were absolutely delighted, as you might imagine!
On a more sombre note, you will remember that we had to have our beautiful Katie put to sleep back in June, and also lost two kittens to chest infections which we believed were the result of them breathing in milk. A couple of months ago, we finally got all of the necropsy results back, and found out that the problem was actually a bacterial infection from the same family as e-coli.
Those of you who have visited us here, will know how careful we are about hygiene in the kitten room, but because the mothers were carrying the infection, our precautions were useless in this case. Thankfully, however, the lab was able to identify an antibiotic that kills that particular strain of infection, and we have now treated every cat in the house, to ensure that we don’t have a repeat of this year’s problems.
Now, back to the introductions…
Cagaran is a jointly-owned prefix, but I (Heather) do the blogging. The other half of the Cagaran ‘partnership’ is my partner/boyfriend, Richard. We’ve been together since 2001, were adopted by our first cat in 2002, and bought our first pedigree in 2005. We showed for the first time in 2008, and had our first litters in 2010. We have owned a number of different breeds, but our passion is Tiffanies, which are the semi-longhaired member of the Asian Group. We also work with Asian Shorthairs, who have the same fabulous temperament as the Tiffanies, but without the flowing coat, and have had a couple of litters of Ocicats.
At present we have fifteen cats for whom this is their permanent home.
Jinny is the oldest, and is also the cat whom we’ve had the longest, having adopted her from a rescue in January 2005. She is a longhaired moggy, and will be a teenager next year. She is the matriarch, and the other cats tend to do her bidding.
Next oldest are our two neuter boys: Call and Ali, who will both be eight next year. Call is a Maine Coon, and was our first pedigree cat. Ali is a shorthaired moggy, and came from the same rescue shelter as Jinny, where he was taken at just a couple of days old, with his feral mum.
Annas was our first Tiffanie, and the cat who made us fall in love with the breed. We didn’t buy her as a show cat, but it turned out that she made a rather good one, and was the first Tiffanie to become an Imperial Grand, and also the first (and still only) Tiffanie to win the UK title. She will be five at the start of next month.
Next is Dàrna, who was one of our foundation Tiffanie queens, and will be four in February. She is a Grand Champion, but her biggest asset is her purry, cuddly temperament. She had her first litter in 2010, from which Fiona is a Champion and Tabh is a Premier with two Grand certificates. Dàrna’s second litter was born in 2011, and in that we had Donny, who is a Grand, and Quinn, who made Premier at the Supreme, last weekend!
After Dàrna are Tia and Lhasa, who we are very lucky to have been entrusted with in the past few months, after their owners decided to give up breeding. Both girls are two, and have the most spectacular temperaments imaginable. Their breeders and previous owners must have given them a lot of love and care to have them become such adorable girls, and we are privileged to have the chance to continue that. Tia is a Burmilla, and Lhasa is another Tiffanie. Both girls are so ridiculously cuddly that it is almost impossible to get a photo of them, because virtually every photo has them either upside down, wriggling around wanting their bellies rubbed, or with their heads so close to the camera that it hasn’t a hope of focusing. The photo of Tia below is actually surprisingly decent, but we the one of Lhasa is just the best of a bad bunch – at least she has her eyes open, and isn’t upside down in this one!
Actually, between Tia and Lhasa comes Fiona, or just Fi, who was from Dàrna’s first litter. She was Best Kitten at her first show, the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society), and Best Foreign at her third, but unfortunately decided that she didn’t like being shown when she was a bit older, so we withdrew her from the bench when she made Champion. She had her first litter this summer, which were particularly special because they were our first out of a Cagaran parent. It helps that they are all beautiful! We still have two available, due to a change in the personal circumstances of a would-be owner, but more on them later.
Apollo is our beautiful stud boy, who came to us from Steve Crow and Tommy Goss. He is another Burmilla, and will be two next month. He has to live in an outside run, because he sprays, but is so soppy that he stands on his head in an attempt to squirm closer to us when we go out to spend time with him. He is also a Champion, and has one (surprise) Grand certificate, but is very immature-looking, so we will need to give him time to develop before showing him further.
Grace is next after Apollo. She is an Ocicat Variant, from an outcross mating between an Ocicat Classic and an Abyssinian. These matings are done to reduce the inbreeding levels within the breed, producing healthier kittens, and we were very fortunate to be allowed access to the beautiful Stanley to do the outcross. Grace had her first litter earlier this year, giving us two Variants like herself, one Ocicat and two Ocicat Classics. We still have the two Variants and the Ocicat available, but again, more on them later.
Donny comes next, at 15 months old. He was from Dàrna’s second litter, to a gorgeous old Burmese boy, who has since unfortunately passed away. As a result, Donny’s pedigree is very special, and we have therefore kept him to continue his Dad’s line. Like his half-sister (Fi), the year before him, Donny was Best Kitten at the AGCS, and has been Best Foreign Adult twice. He is an Asian Smoke, and we are incredibly lucky that he still doesn’t spray at present. How long that will continue for, we have no idea, but we’re enjoying having him living in our kitchen in the meantime. He has the most amazing temperament, and everyone who comes into our kitchen somehow winds up with him in their arms, though they usually have no idea how he got there!
After Donny is Sonia, who is a gorgeous Somali from George Gow. She was born in January of this year, and we bought her as an outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Tiffanies. Cinnamon is an allowed colour in Tiffs, but there are virtually none of them around, so Sonia is hopefully going to help us to both strengthen the gene pool for this colour, whilst also giving us an injection of new blood to benefit the breed more generally. She has two CCs (Challenge certificates), so only needs one more to become a Champion.
The babies of the bunch are Eiteag, Ayla and Cheeky, who are all from this year’s litters. Eiteag wasn’t originally going to be staying with us, but as he got older, he kept improving in type, and we decided to keep him to do a single mating for the Cinnamon programme. He can then be neutered and live as a companion to Donny, whom he shares the kitchen with, and the two cuddle around each other in the most adorable way.
Ayla is Eiteag’s sister, and is the kitten from that litter, who was always intended to be staying. She is an absolute poppet, and she chose us, rather than the other way around, cuddling up to me from a very early age. She loves shows, and is totally bomb-proof, as she proved at the Supreme last weekend, when she was being passed around from person to person, purring continuously and kissing people’s noses!
Cheeky is Grace’s daughter, and one of our first Ocicat Classics. Since Ocis are just a sideline for us, we let the best in the litter go to our friends Anita and Rob, because they breed Ocis more ‘seriously’ than we do. Cheeky was my favourite for temperament, though she is an absolute rascal, as the name suggests. We are planning to have a bit of fun showing her, to help the breed towards Championship recognition (they are Intermediates at present), but we will need to wait and see how she develops before we decide whether to have some Oci kittens from her.
Looking for New Homes:
We have five kittens and one adult looking for new homes at present, so if you know of someone who might be interested, do let us know!
Breckin was bought to be our foundation Ocicat queen, but we didn’t feel that her temperament was suitable for breeding, so had her spayed. Unfortunately, she still isn’t happy as part of a big group of cats, and feel that she would be better with just one or two other cats. After discussions with her breeder, Rita, we are therefore looking for a new home for her. She is very shy, and would need a patient owner who can take the time to settle her, but she is very loving when she relaxes.
Previous readers of this blog will remember Ying, who came to visit Fi’s kittens when they were just a few weeks old. She has since had the exciting news that she has been offered a six month placement in Australia. She didn’t want to uproot a kitten such a long distance for just six months, so both Derk and Ellie are still looking for their forever homes. They both love cuddles, and we often wake up to find them snuggled down into the bed. If we watch TV in the livingroom, we usually end up with one each, cuddled up on our laps, purring away. Both have developed beautifully, and would make lovely show neuters, or super, cuddly family pets. We were visited by a lovely family over the weekend, and Annas absolutely adored the wee boy, so I am hopeful that we might have found the right home for at least one of them.
The Oci kittens are now ready to go to find their families, and indeed Breagha has already gone off to live with Anita and Rob. They had her along to the Supreme last weekend, where she won her first and Best of Breed, and looked wonderfully relaxed, in spite of all the hustle of such a large show. Since we are keeping Cheeky, that leaves Bru, Carrie and Becca.
Bru has grown into a lovely young lad, with beautiful clear spots, and a sweet face. He likes his cuddles, and likes to curl up on top of us when we go to bed. Carrie is the boldest of the three, and is always the first to come and say hello. She is very talkative, but prefers to be stroked whilst sitting on the bed or a chair, rather than being picked up and cuddled. Becca used to be quite shy, but has really come into her own in the past couple of weeks. She now jumps up on the bed end and trills at us to ask to be picked up for a stroke.
Well… I will no doubt see some of you at the West of Scotland show, where I will be having my first shot as a judge, in the Household Pet section. When this was first suggested, I was just excited to participate in shows in a new way, but as the date approaches, I must confess to a bit of an attack of nerves. I’m sure that I’ll be fine once I’m actually there and judging, but at the moment it’s a daunting prospect. I’m also doing my first bit of show management preparation, for next year’s Scotia show, with judge invitations being my first role.
I think that’s it for tonight, but I will try and post more regularly, even if it’s just a quick photo update. All the best,
Introducing Sonia, our first Somali, and saying farewell to Katie, Xaria and Quinn. We have had some good show results, and another two litters, and Fi’s kittens continue to do well.
It is over two months since I last posted an update, and there has been lots of news in that time, both good and bad.
I am delighted to introduce Sonia, Gowlaren Sonia Cagaran, our first Somali! She is a usual, but carries sorrel (cinnamon), making her a potential outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Asians. She was bred by George Gow (a senior GCCF judge), who was going to keep her to show. However, we happened to be visiting, and when I fell in love with her, he asked if I was interested in her. The only proviso is that we have to show her – hardly an issue!
She is a beautiful girl, with a great temperament and a lovely pedigree incorporating some fabulous old lines. She is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had, and has to be stroked before she can eat her food. She is rather prone to virtually tripping us up, though, because she’s so determined to glue herself to our ankles!
She is currently living with Fi and her kittens, and since Sonia is still a kitten herself (although she’s the same size as Fi now!), she is loving playing with Fi’s kittens. The two boys, in particular, are quite often found racing her around the room.
The Lakeland Show has always been a good one for us, with Call winning one of his PCs and Xaria and Tármus making up to Premier there in 2009, Xaria finally winning her first Imperial there, along with Breckin and Ali both winning Grands in 2010 and then Dàrna making up to Grand there last year. This year it lived up to past performance, with Sonia, out for the first time, winning first and Best of Breed in her kitten class, Donny winning his second CC and Best of Breed, and Annas taking the Reserve Olympian in a very strong class (even beating the newly Gold Olympian Mylward Sassafras), as well as taking the Best of Breed.
Donny was an absolute poppet all day, even taking part in the second demonstration presentation for the YES! scheme (young exhibitors). This is a new initiative, getting the YES! Mentors, of which you may remember I am one, to demonstrate how to present a cat to young people on the scheme and those thinking of starting. Donny was the ideal cat to use for this, because he just stood beautifully on the table, and was interested in everything that was going on. He even stood up on his hind legs, with his paws on my chest, to give my nose a kiss, bless him!
To top off a good day, Donny went on to take Best Foreign Adult, our first time winning that accolade, let alone with a cat of our breeding. Unfortunately, we forgot to take any photos on the day, so we had to take some of him with his rosettes, when we got home.
When I last posted, Katie had given birth to two still-born kittens, and was now helping Fi to look after her kittens. Unfortunately, after a few days doing that, Katie lost interest in Fi’s kittens, and became depressed. We moved her down the stairs to live with Donny, and for a few days she seemed to be happier, without the constant reminder of kittens around. After that, however, she again became depressed, and for the next three weeks we had her in and out to the vet, running tests and trying to find out what was causing her depression.
For about a week, we were having to force-feed her, but she was getting so distressed by this, that we had to stop doing it. We even discussed the possibility of having her on a drip at the vets, but they felt that there was no point doing that unless we could find a reason for the depression, because she couldn’t spend the rest of her life on a drip!
She spent most of her time lying in her basket looking miserable, and it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch, as she got thinner and thinner. After a couple of weeks, she had lost so much muscle that she could hardly walk, yet we still had no medical explanation. I came down one morning, and found her lying limp, barely moving, and with obvious swelling around her kidneys. I took her straight to the vet, who ran some more tests, and reported that most of her organs were failing, and that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to sleep.
I asked them to wait until I could get back along, to be there at the end. She was brought through in the arms of one of the vet nurses, with her drip attached, and laid on a blanket on the vet’s table. The vet was able to inject the anaesthetic into the drip, rather than having to inject her directly, so we were able just to stroke her the whole time. I am sure that most animals know when the end has come, and Katie was no different. I hadn’t heard her purr since she had the still-births, yet as the vet pushed the plunger, she started purring.
The vets took some more tests, but we haven’t found anything to explain what happened. The only thing we can think of is that Katie was always so precise, and liked everything to be perfect, and that she couldn’t cope with the idea of the still-births. A friend of mine has had two still-born babies, and she said this: “It’s entirely possible that Fi’s kittens were a nice replacement at first… but then she realized they were just a replacement and hers were gone. Then, if she’s anything like me, Fi’s kittens probably pissed her off and put her further into depression. It’s hard coming out on the other side and finding something to live for. It’s hard finding something to be happy about again. It’s hard to have any desire for ANYTHING anymore. You have no idea how hard I prayed and begged to be put to sleep, have a heart attack, a wreck, anything. I even tried to take matters into my own hands more than once. I know you loved her, and you did her the biggest favor you could have ever done for her.”
When we were taking the photos of Donny with his rosettes after the Lakeland, we started off with a white background, and later switched to a black one. At that point, Katie came over to see what we were doing, and we took a few photos of her as well. I wasn’t for a moment expecting those to be the last ones we would ever take of her. It is some of those last photos that you see here.
RIP little Katie. Sweet dreams.
Xaria and Quinn’s New Home
You may remember that we had a potential owner here to meet the kittens just before my last post. That was Tracey, who was actually looking for two kittens, but having met (and fallen in love with) Quinn, she decided that she would take Quinn and one kitten. Obviously, the kittens weren’t ready to leave yet, so she came back to visit again a few days later.
Twenty years ago, Tracey had Russian Blues, and even had a litter of kittens from her girl, before a change of circumstances stopped her breeding plans. When she visited us again a few days after her first visit, she asked to meet the other cats. When she met Xaria, she literally started crying, because she missed her Russians so much. When Xaria sat nicely in her arms, you could have knocked me over with a feather – Xaria had never sat like that for anyone. Suddenly, I found myself asking if she wanted Xaria instead of a kitten, and she said yes.
As it happens, Xazzle has never got on very well with our other cats, so we’ve always had a problem deciding who to keep her with. As a result, she has been moved around our house, trying every possible permutation, and the only cats that she would live nicely with were Apollo and Quinn. I didn’t want to leave her out with Apollo, because it seems a shame for her to have to live in the garden, so she had been living with Quinn.
I took both girls down to Tracey’s a few days later, and they now seem to have settled in beautifully. I couldn’t be more delighted, because we’ve found somewhere that Xazzle can be happy, and a home for Quinn, in one go, and they are only ten minutes away! I’ve been down to see them several times, since, though Xaria is highly suspicious of me, in case I take her away again. That’s exactly the same as she was with Elisabeth after coming to us initially – it took at least half-a-dozen visits before she trusted Elisabeth not to take her away again.
Dàrna and Grace’s Kittens
Both Dàrna and Grace had their kittens right on schedule – Dàrna on the 11th of July and Grace two days later, on the 13th. I refer to the two litters together, because they have been together from the start – Dàrna acted as ‘midwife’ for Gracie’s labour, helping to deliver the kittens, cleaning them and Gracie, and showing Gracie what to do. When Gracie seemed unsure about what to do with the placenta, Dàrna licked at one, and then pushed it under Gracie’s nose, as if to say “here, you’re supposed to eat it”.
Dàrna had just two kittens again, and they benefited hugely from the arrival of Gracie’s five kittens two days later. Before Gracie’s kittens were here, Dàrna’s two hadn’t been feeding particularly well, and as a result were not gaining as much as we would have liked. After Gracie’s kittens arrived, Dàrna’s two began competing with them, and started making much better gains.
In Dàrna’s litter, the kittens were guaranteed to be Asians, rather than Tiffanies, because Apollo unfortunately does not carry longhair (we DNA-tested him). The first out was a boy, who looked to be a brown silver shaded, followed by a girl, who was probably a brown tortie shaded (not silver). Unfortunately, both kittens aspirated (breathed) some milk, and in spite of being given antibiotics, died due to the resultant pneumonia. This is apparently a relatively common problem, which almost inevitably results in death, and neither Grace nor Dàrna seemed particularly concerned by the losses, just carrying on with the remaining five kittens, as if there had never been another two.
I found it a lot harder than they seemed to, particularly since I’d spent the week leading up to their deaths, desperately trying to help them clear the fluid from their lungs. Since it happened, I’ve had at least four or five breeder friends tell me that they’ve lost kittens the same way, but we were really unlucky to have two in one litter. Mind you, when it comes to losing kittens, when are we not really unlucky?! The kittens are buried with Katie and her two kittens, so they will hopefully be playing together as a little family somewhere.
Gracie started her labour by giving us a cinnamon classic girl, then two cinnamon variant girls, another cinnamon classic girl, and finally a tawny spotted boy. The two classics and the spotty are our first Ocicats, our previous Ocicat litter being all Variants. Two cinnamon Classics is a fabulous result, because cinnamon is my favourite colour of Ocicat, and I prefer the Classics to the standard Ocis. Even better that the cinnamons are both girls!
My hope had been to get a cinnamon girl for myself, plus another girl for Anita (Bryce – Anizz Ocicats & Tiffanies), and possibly a girl to offer to Stacie (Shorten – Ameeka Ocicats & Abyssinians, who bred Grace’s dam). Assuming that the two Classic girls develop as well as it currently looks like they will, Anita and I have our girls. If the boy develops well, I may be able to offer him to Stacie, and otherwise she could have the better of the variants, if she wishes.
Humberside & Lincs Show
I was really looking forward to the Humberside & Lincs show this year, for two reasons, the main one being that I was finally getting to steward for Lynda Ashmore, an engagement I had had to book almost two years in advance! The second reason was that Donny had two chances to get his third, and final, Challenge Certificate, which would make him the first male Cagaran to win a title.
Elisabeth had been going to come down with us, but her Ziva had to have a C-section on the Thursday before. Since we would be needing to stay away overnight due to the show having moved further south (to Newark, fairly close to Richard’s parents), it wasn’t possible for her to come. Instead, we did a swap, where she looked after our kittens, and we took her cats down to the show.
We had also borrowed Quinn back from Tracey for the show, having entered her before Tracey had approached us. I had, however, warned Tracey that I thought Quinn might have one of the certificates withheld by Grace Denny, due to her coat being too long. As it happens, the outcome was correct, but not from the judge that I would have expected – Grace Denny awarded the PC in the Humberside show, but Sarndra Devereux withheld in the Lincs. Quinn therefore needs one more certificate to become a Premier, but given that Tracey had the girls in the Rexfest as Ped-Pets at the start of this month, and absolutely loved it, I don’t think that will be an issue! Incidentally, both girls got their Mastercat and Best of Colour awards at the Rexfest – Xaria now only needs one more to become a Mastercat, having won the certificate there last year.
Annas didn’t place in either show at the Humber-Lincs, but I wasn’t expecting her to, given the competition. Donny and I, on the other hand, both had excellent days. Stewarding for Lynda was well worth the wait, and Donny won the CC and Best of Breed in both shows, so I was well pleased, and glad we made the effort to go the extra distance.
As we were packing up, at the end of the day, one of the judges informed me that he had chosen Donny for Best Foreign Adult. I had no idea that he had gone up for Best of Variety, because only the Overall Best Foreign results were announced. That’s his second BOV Adult in a row, and I couldn’t be more delighted with him. He beat some fantastic cats for the award, so I can only assume that he’s such a big, soppy lump that the judges are forgiving him his worse bits!
Edinburgh and Chester Shows
The Edinburgh show was just the week after the Humberside & Lincs, and since we can only show every second week, we couldn’t actually show at both. I was booked to steward for John Hansson, however, so knew I would definitely be attending. As it happens, there were two Cagarans there, because Lona brought both Lainni and Tabh. Lainni didn’t win her Grand, but Tabh was given his third, and final, PC, making him up to Premier. He is the fourth titled Cagaran, the others being Fi, Lainni and Donny.
Having made Champion at the Humberside & Lincs, Donny was then eligible for the Grand class at the Chester show, four weeks later. We had been planning to go to the Chester just to enjoy a day out in Chester, so we figured we might as well enter him in the Grand as a punt. The judge was Di Harper, who isn’t keen on Donny, so we didn’t expect him to do anything, and sure enough, he wasn’t placed in the Grand. He did, however, do very well in his side classes, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd against strong competition and in classes of at least six.
Update on Fi’s Kittens
Fi’s kittens are now 15 weeks, have had their vaccinations and can go to their new homes. They have developed beautifully, and it is still a very close call between ‘Kitten 1’ and ‘Kitten 3’ as to who is the most typey. The other two have also come on a lot, however, and although not showing as much show potential as their siblings, are still rather nice. ‘Kitten 4’ reminds me of his gran (Dàrna) at the same age, and since she’s a Grand with two Imperial certificates, that can’t be so bad! Likewise, ‘Kitten 2’ reminds me a lot of Cailin (another Shogun baby), who has two CCs and two Best in Show awards as a kitten, so I don’t think we can really complain about her, either!
We decided fairly early-on that Kitten 1 was going to be Eala-something, Eala being Gaelic for ‘Swan’. We have since settled on Eala-Bianach, which literally translates as ‘Furry Swan’, but it was picked because it has a nice sound, rather that due to the translation. Her pet name is Ayla, which is how Eala is pronounced. Her spots have pretty well completely disappeared, so we’ve registered her as a chocolate tortie silver shaded BCR, like Dàrna, though Ayla currently has a softer tone to her chocolate. She is a very pretty girl, and we are keeping her to continue our breeding line.
Kitten 2 is Ealasáid, which is pronounced Elaset, and is gaelic for Elisabeth. We decided on that name when she was about six weeks old, and the fiestiest kitten in the litter – she was named after Elisabeth (Stark), who is also fiesty!! Her pet name is Elly, and she is definitely a chocolate tortie silver spotted (full expression), though a darker chocolate than her sister. She is going to be living in St Andrews, with a lovely lady called Ying.
Kitten 3’s pedigree name is Éiteag-Bàrr (pronounced Ehtak-Bawr), which is gaelic for ‘Cream Quartzite’, and his pet name is Etak. He’s called that because his colouring reminds me of the stone, with a pale base overlaid with cream. He still has spots, but they are very faint, because his whole colouration is very pale and delicate. He’s a gorgeous boy, and will make a cracking show neuter. He’s also a real softy – undoubtedly the gentlest in the litter, and will climb up onto the bed wanting cuddles. I wish we were needing another boy, because I would have had no hesitation keeping him as a stud.
The final kitten is known as Derk, that being the pronunciation of the second part of his pedigree name, Èibhill-Dearg, which means ‘Red Ember’. I think he is either a burmese-restriction red smoke or a red silver spotted, though he could be apricot, and isn’t necessarily a silver or burmese-restriction!! We have registered him as a red silver spotted BCR, because the older he gets, the more he looks like that.
Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while, will know that we don’t generally have people in to see the kittens until they’ve had their first vaccinations. On this occasion, we made an exception for Ying, because she was going abroad to visit family for the whole of this month, and part of next month. That obviously meant that she needed to meet the kittens before she went, if she was to have a choice of which one to take. She came to visit twice last month, and decided to book Elly, whose fiesty temperament she fell in love with when Elly started swinging from her cardigan!
After the kittens had their first vaccinations, Elly and the two boys unfortunately came down with some sort of eye infection, and we therefore didn’t invite anyone else in to meet the kittens, until that could be cleared up. Thankfully, they have been fine for over three weeks now, with no further sign of any issue. The photos above were taken on the 19th of this month, so you can see that they are all completely better. Having not had anyone in to meet them, though, we are obviously needing to look for homes for the two boys now, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, do let me know!
Fi’s kittens are continuing to do well, and are now starting to wean and use the litter trays. Dàrna and Grace are both pregnant, and due around the second week in July, whereas Katie was pregnant but unfortunately lost the kittens. Donny and Quinn both won their first certificates at the Durham show, and we had an excellent weekend with Anita and Rob and our 30th birthday party.
Fi’s kittens are now five weeks old, and doing really well.
Kittens 1 and 3 are the most typey, with very little to choose between them. At the moment, I would say that Kitten 1 is fractionally the better of the two, which is very exciting, since she’s the one who seems to have chosen us and will therefore be staying here. She has a beautiful rounded head, stunning nose break and muzzle and big, expressive eyes. She’s also an absolute sweetheart, who purrs as soon as we stroke her, and who will come running across the room to say hello when they’re playing outside the pen. She is definitely a chocolate tortie BCR silver, and I still think she’s probably a spotty, but the colour is still just coming in on the body. Unfortunately, like her mother and grandmother before her, she is an absolute devil to photograph, pulling all sorts of hideous faces when the camera is on her. She consistently looks worse than her siblings, which is exactly what Fi used to do to me when she was a kitten!
Kitten 3 also has a fabulous rounded head, excellent nose break and muzzle and lovely big eyes. He still might turn out to be better than his sister, but at the moment his eyes are just marginally straighter in set. The colour is developing on his body, and his spots are getting stronger by the day, so it definitely looks like he’s going to be a spotty. I still think he’s a cream BCR silver, but there is so little colour there that it’s difficult to be sure. We had various friends, family and colleagues round for a birthday barbecue on Saturday, and when one of my friends’ daughters came up to see the kittens, this lad sat on her knee as if he’d met kids every day of his life. He’s the most gentle of all the kittens, and is going to be a big softie who just wants to be loved, bless him!
Kitten 2 has a good dome, muzzle and eye shape. Her head is a little longer, and her eyes are a bit smaller, than the two above, but she’s still extremely nice. If she wasn’t in a litter with the two above, we’d be absolute delighted with her, and quite happy to keep her to show! Her markings are still looking lovely, though the ‘kitten fuzzies’ mean that they look crispest when viewed from the back. She is a real character – very vocal and opinionated, but also a bigger purrer. In both looks and temperament, she reminds me of our Katie-Shogun girl from last year, Cailin. Since Cailin has two CCs in GCCF and two Best-in-Shows in Fifé, that can’t be bad!
Kitten 4 is the least typey, but is still a gorgeous kitten, and his type is perfectly acceptable. If we weren’t looking at him in comparison to his extremely typey siblings, we’d probably be saying that he’s quite nice – everything is relative, and this is just an extremely nice litter. Shogun and Fi have done us proud! He has the longest head and the smallest eyes, but still has an excellent nose break, lovely chin, well-placed ears with a nicely rounded head between, and nice eye shape. I’m now wondering if he might in fact be an apricot rather than a red, but we’ll just need to wait and see how the colour develops as he gets older. He is the most variable in behaviour, being all soft and sleepy one minute and then jumping on his siblings the next. I’ll be very interested to see how his temperament develops.
All four kittens are now using litter trays and are therefore out-and-about in the kitten room. They have just discovered the bottom step of the stairs onto the windowledge, and play cute games of peek-a-boo on it, but they haven’t yet noticed that there are other steps above that one. Their favourite place is on a furry cushion in the alcove below the window, and the look absolute adorable piled up on it.
They are also starting to eat solid food, though this lot are much more into biscuits than wet. Kitten 4 is the only one who seems to prefer wet to biscuits, and the only thing he’s interested in so far, is what I call ‘kitten mush’ – babycat mousse mixed with kitten milk. Mind you, put down a plate of kitten mush and he virtually hoovers it up in seconds, so at least he’s got the idea of using a dish! His siblings are all tucking into biscuits like little piglets.
We had a lovely prospective owner here yesterday, to meet the babies, and she had all four clambering on her. When she first arrived, Kitten 3 spat at her, which is just about the funniest thing imaginable when it’s coming from a teeny kitten. By the time she had been here for a few minutes he had forgotten his initial dislike and was joining his siblings climbing around on her legs. She was particularly taken with the character of Kitten 2, but loved the appearance of Kitten 4. We did have a few people who had expressed an interest in these kittens, though, so whether she gets one of these or one of the next litter will depend on whether this lot are already booked.
Yes, Katie was indeed pregnant. Unfortunately, she had two kittens still-born, one delivered herself, and one by C-section. The kittens were both black silver shaded boys, and looked perfectly formed, so there is nothing to suggest why they died. When the vets had Katie opened up for her Caesarean, I asked them to check her reproductive system for cysts etc. but they couldn’t see anything to suggest a problem, so we are none the wiser.
Breeder friends had told me that it is a lot less distressing to have still-born kittens than it is to lose a kitten that is born alive, but I wasn’t convinced. I was surprised to discover that, whereas I was gutted when we lost little Aithreachas and absolutely devastated when we lost B-B, all I felt with the still-borns was sorry for Katie.
She wasn’t at all happy when she could see the first still-born kitten, but seemed much happier once I had taken him away. She and Fi were living together, and since she lost her babies, Katie has adopted Fi’s instead. Helping to look after them has given her something to take her mind off her loss. The kittens think it is great having two mums to feed from! Generally, the boys seem to prefer their mum’s milk, whereas the girls seem to prefer milk from their ‘Aunty’ Katie.
I now have a real dilemma over what to do with Katie next time around, though. You may remember that we ‘won’ a mating with a Burmese stud boy, in the auction at the Gala Dinner, and my intention was to send Katie down there. If she’s not going to carry successfully, however, I don’t want to ‘waste’ such a valuable mating. I could try putting her to Donny again, to test whether she’s going to carry successfully, but then who do I put to the Burmese?
At least I’ve got a few months to make up my mind, and in the meantime, thankfully we’ve got the other kittens to focus on instead.
Dàrna and Grace
Katie’s litter may have been still-born, but it still looks like we are going to be over-run with kittens in the next couple of months. Grace and Dipsy are both pregnant and already starting to show, which could well mean that they are having larger litters. Grace is only 4 1/2 weeks pregnant, and Dàrna 5 weeks yesterday, so they’re just a bit over half-way. Dàrna is still living with Apollo to keep him company, but I will bring her in later this week, and she and Grace can move into the kitten room. I’m not sure who we’ll put out to keep Apollo company then – perhaps Ali, bless him!
Both girls should be due the second week in July, and we’re just keeping our fingers firmly crossed for smooth deliveries and healthy kittens.
We took Donny and Quinn to the Durham show, the last weekend in May, where both picked up their first certificates: Donny the CC and Quinn the PC. Both were also awarded the Best of Breed. Their certificates were the 14th and 15th for our prefix, and they are the fifth and sixth cats of our prefix to win certificates. We are obviously delighted, and I am looking forward to the next couple of shows, where we will see if we can get them made up to Champion and Premier, respectively. Unfortunately, Donny appears to have inherited his mum and sister’s ability to look rubbish in photos, so I don’t have a single decent one of him!
I had an excellent day stewarding for Chris Bamford in the Persian and Semi-Longhair sections, while Richard, Elisabeth and Karen (who had also travelled with us this time) enjoyed a barbecue with the Johnsons (Koreshka Russian Blues). It was a gloriously sunny day, and the venue is surrounded by plenty of grass, so they had a fabulous time, though Richard ended up with slightly sore feet due to switching to sandals but forgetting to put sun-cream on his feet! Thankfully there was decent air-conditioning inside, so we were nice and cool whilst judging the cats.
Richard was 30 back in April, and I am 30 later this month, so we were going to have a joint 30th party around the middle of May. As it happened, the dates in the middle of May didn’t work for various reasons, so we decided to go for the first weekend in June, which turned out to be the Jubilee bank holiday weekend. Anita and Rob (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) were able to come and stay with us for the weekend, and we had a lovely time talking cat with them. Anita and I also spent a considerable amount of time in the kitten room having ‘kitten cuddles’!
Our party was on the Saturday, which thankfully stayed dry, though we didn’t see a great deal of sun. We had several of our ‘cat friends’, a couple of my friends from choir and then various family members, and had a barbecue in the garden, which was a lovely, informal way to celebrate. The Thomsons (Saladin Abyssinians) and Elisabeth stayed on afterwards, and we had a late tea of baked potatoes with some of the leftovers from the barbecue. I think they ended up leaving about midnight, though Richard and I stayed up talking to Anita until well into the ‘small hours’.
We spent the Sunday at the Gardening Scotland show through at Ingleston, for which we had got low cost tickets courtesy of Groupon! As usual, that was a good day, and we only had rain for about a minute, just as we were arriving. On the Monday we went round Calendar House, which is only about 10 minutes from us, in Falkirk, and then took a drive across to the Falkirk Wheel. It was just starting a lift when we got there, so we watched the boats going around – the first time I’ve actually seen it in motion. After that, Anita and Rob had to head back south, but I’m so pleased they finally made it up here. Hopefully they’ll be back soon!
Fi has four lovely kittens, two of each gender, who are possibly all Tiffanies. We had a fantastic day at the London Pet Show, with Donny being the most perfect breed ambassador imaginable. Annas also had a good day out at the Nor’East, winning another Reserve Olympian. Finally, we might have a further three litters on the way, with Katie looking like she is indeed pregnant, and Dàrna and Gracie both having been mated.
I’ve been getting emails all week from people desperate for an update with photos, so here you go. I’ve got a few videos this time, as well.
Fi has given us our first kittens of 2012, and in the process our first litter from a Cagaran parent!
She is proving to be an absolutely wonderful mum, and is looking after her kittens just as well as she looked after her mother’s last year.
She had a litter of four, born over the bank holiday weekend at the start of the month, so they might be four months later than we had intended that she have them, but at least they’re here and growing well.
All four have quite a bit of fluff at the backs of their necks, so it is just possible we might have been insanely lucky enough to have only Tiffanies.
Like her mum, Fi had the first half head first (the first of which took just as long to emerge as Fi herself did, but at least I knew what to expect), with the remainder being breech-birth – in Fi’s case they were all ‘full breech’, which is tail first (Dàrna had two partial breech, with legs first, and only one full breech).
Kitten 1 is a girl, and was the smallest kitten at a birthweight of 66g. She is now up to over 190g, which is still small, but is an acceptable gain compared to her birth weight.
She has one of the best heads in the litter, with a lovely short nose and broad muzzle. She’s very pale at the moment, but with darker ears, so I’m thinking either a chocolate or lilac with BCR (Burmese pattern of darker head, legs and tail). I’m erring towards lilac at the moment, but wouldn’t want to bet on it! She’s probably a spotty, though it is difficult to tell until the colour develops on her sides. Likewise, I will reserve judgement on whether or not she is silver until her colour is more developed (and possibly a long time after that!). She has the shortest coat of the four, which could mean that she is an Asian shorthair, but it still looks longer than Cailin’s did at the same age, and she is undoubtedly a Tiffanie, so who knows.
Kitten 2 is also a girl, but was the largest kitten at 95g birth-weight. She is over 265g now, and still the biggest. She is definitely a spotted tabby with an underlying mackerel pattern, which is quite exciting, because mackerel is very rare in Asians. I’m pretty sure she’s a chocolate silver (full expression, i.e. not Burmese pattern), and she has one of the longest coats, so I think she’s probably a Tiffanie. She is very striking because of her markings, but her head is a little longer than her sister, so we shall see how she looks as she grows.
Kitten 3 is a boy, and is the palest of the four, being almost white at birth. He was in the middle at 83g birth-weight, and is now up to just under 260g. The boys have to be red, cream or apricot because of Fi being an apricot, and I think he must be a cream silver shaded BCR to be so pale. He does, however, have very faint spotty ghost-markings, so it’ll be interesting to see whether those grow stronger or fade as his colour develops. Like the paler girl, he has a lovely little head – possibly the best in the litter, in fact, so I can’t wait to see how he develops. He has the second shortest coat, but does seem to have quite a bit of fluffiness to his tail, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed, since we’ve got someone wanting a Tiffanie boy to show.
Kitten 4 is a second boy, who started off at 92g, and has closely followed his big sister ever since, being only a few grams behind her, still. He looks to be a red BCR (a lovely vibrant tangerine colour), but whether he is a self or some sort of pattern, and silver or not, I haven’t a clue at this stage. He’s got the longest coat of the four, but I think also has the longest head, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on his development to see whether he could be show quality or purely a pet. We have people looking for both!
The girls have both eyes open, and the smaller boy has one eye open and the other half open. Kitten 4 only has one eye half open and the other just a slit, making him the furthest behind. For some reason, the boys are always slower than the girls at this stage.
London Pet Show
The London Pet Show was, once again, an excellent opportunity to introduce our beautiful breeds to the public, and Donny proved to be a fantastic ambassador for the Asian Group. He was everything we could have hoped he’d be, and more – walking up to people to say hello, and then lying in his basket letting everyone stroke him without the least bit of fuss.
We were able to lift him into the laps of wheelchair users, and let little kids pick him up between two of them when he was too big for one alone. If someone bent down to him he would kiss them on the nose, and every so often he turned around and reached up my front for a cuddle, which obviously had everyone exclaiming over how cute he was. He was an absolute dream, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
His only ‘naughty’ moment the whole day was when he stole a little toy mouse from a child, but then I can’t really blame him for that, given that the child was waving the mouse in front of his face. Donny did exactly what you might expect, having been woken from a nice snooze to find a mouse waving in front of his face – he reached up a paw, neatly swiped the mouse and proceeded to play with it. Thankfully, the kid’s mum had seen the whole episode and took the child away saying “well, what did you expect?”.
Cailin also did very well, though she was just coming off call, so was less keen to be out and handled. She did come out whenever someone was particularly interested in feeling the Tiffanie coat, or seeing a Tiff at close quarters, but most of the time she just played or slept in her pen. She was a lovely advert for how pretty they are, and I’m glad we had one there so that the public could meet them. The only thing I feel was missing from a good cross-section representation of the Asian Group was a greater diversity of colour – a red-series and/or dilute would have been nice, because I had a few people look at Donny (brown smoke) and Cailin (chocolate silver shaded) and ask if they come in any colour other than brown! I realised once I was there that because Donny and Quinn are both still kittens, we could actually have had the two of them sharing a pen, with Cailin in the other one (she is an adult already), which would have given us tortie, at least, but it can’t be helped.
As always, Anita was very hospitable, giving us a delicious meal of lasagne (my favourite, though she didn’t know it) on the Friday night, and then packing rolls, crisps, tea and muffins for our lunch, before putting us up for the Saturday night as well. It was lovely actually, to get to spend a bit more time with her and Rob than we normally manage when we’re only there for the one night. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of her at the LPS itself, because the Ocis had joined the show late, taking a cancellation, meaning that their stand was situated where the cancelled stand had been, instead of being given the option to have theirs near ours like last year. Rob’s daughter, Kirsten, joined Anita on the Ocicat stand, and Richard and I looked after the Asians, so at least we had the two covered.
Like last year, the show was so busy, and I was enjoying telling people about the Asians, so much that I didn’t actually manage to have a wander around the rest of the show. I didn’t even get outside of the World of Cats area except when I popped up onto the balcony to take a video of the show from above. I managed to snatch a quick chat in the morning, with Teresa Bryant (Brumeux Nebelungs) on the stand behind us, and then at the end of the show, with Vanessa Marriott (Rumba Burmese) on the stand opposite, and Tricia Bristow (Gossamyst Australian Mists) on the stand next to ours.
I would wholeheartedly recommend the show to any animal lover, and am already looking forward to next year and thinking about who we might take!
The Nor’East of Scotland show was also on last Saturday, and Elisabeth and the Thomsons were kind enough to agree to take Annas up there for us. She did us proud once again, winning the Reserve Olympian from John Hansson, no less – I am delighted to think that John would award her a certificate of that level, because he won’t hesitate to withhold an Olympian or Reserve if he doesn’t think the cat is worthy! She also won her Best of Breed, beating Lainni and Tabh again. Lainni was awarded the Reserve Grand, but poor Tabh had his PC withheld – he was never intended to be a show cat though, and Lona only takes him for a bit of fun, so that’s not a huge surprise, though a bit harsh, since he’s such an absolute sweetie! The Glendavan cats had an excellent day, winning everything from a kitten 1st and BOB through a CC and PC, Grand and Imperial to an Olympian for the stunning Kaiser! Elisabeth’s lot also had a good day, with her star being Zach, who won his first Olympian and then went Best Foreign, much to Karen’s delight.
We owe a huge thanks to Karen for recording all the show results in our catalogue for us, in spite of her exciting results. We also owe an even bigger thanks to Elisabeth and the Thomsons, because not only did they take Annas to the show, they also checked on the kittens and fed Fi both morning and evening for us!
After the LPS on Saturday, we drove down to Rosemary’s, and collected little Gracie, who Rosemary thinks had been mated by Curry on the Wednesday. There were no observed matings, so we can’t be sure, but their behaviour suggested she had been mated, so we shall keep our fingers crossed. Dàrna was also mated the week before last, by Apollo, and is still living in his run to keep him company – they are like a little married couple! When Elisabeth and the Thomsons were round after the Nor’East, they decided to check on Katie, and they are of the opinion that she is indeed pregnant. A week on, and I’m pretty sure I felt a kick today, which would confirm it. I don’t really mind either way – if she is, Donny will be proven and we should hopefully have a litter including some Tiffanies. If she isn’t, it’s one less litter to handle at the same time as the others, and she’ll be going to a beautiful cream Burmese boy later in the year. What will be, will be, and we’ll just have to deal with the consequences!
Before I finish, I had promised to post up some photos of Quinn for a friend, so here you go. She’s a demon of a cat to photograph, because she’s always into something! I am hoping that she can find a home with one of the kittens leaving this year, but in the meantime she’s keeping her brother company in the kitchen.