Good News Catch-Up

It’s been quite a while since my last post, so there is plenty to catch up on, including several shows (London Pet Show, Nor’East, Suffolk & Norfolk, Durham/Northern Counties and Lakeland), the World Cat Congress and Gala Dinner and Australian Mist Seminar. Both Dàrna’s kitten and the Ocis continue to do well, and the Ocis are now starting to leave home. In addition, Keela and Grace have now been spayed, and are ready to look for new homes.

I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post – how time flies!  I had a draft post saved here that started “the past couple of weekends have been really enjoyable, but also really tiring”, but I hadn’t got around to completing it and posting it up.  Thinking back over the time since my last post, that opening comment could pretty-much just be extended to cover the entire period!  I have very busy at work, and in my ‘spare’ time, have been doing judge’s class allocations for my first time as an Assistant Show Manager, which is an amazingly time-consuming process.  So… what has happened since my last post?

London Pet Show

Looking down on the World of Cats area
Looking down on the World of Cats area

As in previous years, the London Pet Show proved to be a great success, and remains a fabulous opportunity for the GCCF and the breed clubs, to show off our wonderful breeds. Due to the number of people wanting to enter the World Cat Congress show the following weekend, many of the cats who would normally have been at LPS were unable to attend (in the GCCF, we are not allowed to show more than once in every two weekends). It was therefore more of a struggle than usual to get the required 24 breeds on each day, and so we offered to take more cats than usual.

Our cats took up five double pens, so we had the whole of one side of an aisle, and two-thirds of the other
Our cats took up five double pens, so we had the whole of one side of an aisle, and two-thirds of the other

The first three were borrowed from other people, on behalf of the Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland, of which I am the Secretary, and Richard is the Vice-Chairman:

Kenga (our Grace’s litter-sister, Cagaran Adhairc), who represented the Abyssinians as a Pedigree Pet. Her sire was a gorgeous usual Abyssinian, but her dam was a tawny Ocicat Classic. For the purposes of allowing the public to meet a breed, however (which is the point of the LPS), she looks and behaves like an Abyssinian.

Kenga sitting in her pen, pretending to be an Abyssinian
Kenga pretending to be an Abyssinian

For the Russians, we borrowed three of Elisabeth’s kittens, Iggy (commonly known as Ig-the-pig, because he’s a greedy wee rascal), Jerry (her new import boy from Holland), and her youngest, Jingle (usually called Small-Small, but as only Elisabeth could come up with, also sometimes called Jinny-Jingle-Beagle-Bingle!). Elisabeth was judging in Dundee the same day, so the Russian table was manned by Caroline Moore, who owns a Russian Blue neuter, and who absolutely fell in love with Jingle during the day.

The three Russians in their pen
The three Russians in their pen

Jingle Belle out on the table
Jingle Belle out on the table

Bru and Cheeky shared a double pen, representing the Ocicats and Ocicat Classics. They weren’t too sure about all the hustle and bustle of the show, and were only happy to be out of their pen, if they were being cuddled. Anita and Rob came with us to man the Ocicat table, and Anita spent most of the day cuddling Cheeky whilst people stroked her over the table.

The aisle in front of the Ocicat table
Busy aisle in front of the Ocicat table

Bru and Cheeky in their basket
Bru and Cheeky in their basket

The rest of ours were representing the Asian Group, and we tried to cover as much of it as we could in the four cats we took – Donny represented the Asian Smoke, Tia the Burmilla, Ayla the Tiffanie, and Eiteag, as a spotted tabby Tiffanie, was the closest we come to an Asian Tabby, so he came along as well.

Beautiful Tia playing with a toy
Beautiful Tia playing with a toy

The boys enjoying their lunch
The boys enjoying their lunch

Donny and Eiteag shared a pen, and when they weren’t out on the table, they were cuddled up together on their bed, sleeping or grooming eachother. Last year, Donny was happy to spend the entire day out on the table, and being passed from person to person, but he and Eiteag are both adolescent males now, and inclined to get a bit frisky if they can smell female cats! As a result, we had to spell the two of them, having them out for maybe fifteen minutes at a time, and then swapping over. Since we didn’t have anyone to man the Abyssinian table, Richard was taking it in turns between the boys and Kenga.

I was looking after our second table (one was technically for the Asian Shorthairs, and the other for the Tiffanies, but we had one of each on each table because of the gender split), with Tia and Ayla. Tia was happy to be out of her pen, but equally happy in it, whereas Ayla was ecstatic when she was out of her pen, and wanted out within minutes of being back inside the pen, so I had Ayla out most of the day. Whenever I put her back into her pen for a few minutes to encourage her to have something to eat and drink, I would then get Tia out until Ayla had decided that she wanted out again. The rest of the day, Tia sat in her pen looking beautiful, and people ooh-ing and ah-ing over her.

Anita and I manning one of the Asian stands, with Tia and Ayla both out on the table
Anita and I manning one of the Asian stands, with Tia and Ayla both out on the table – it is Tia’s tail you can see; Ayla is in the fleecy basket

Ayla was my little star, though, and like her uncle Donny last year, was absolutely in her element, being passed from person to person, giving cuddles and kisses and just lapping up all the attention. She was a fabulous ambassador for the breed, and I think lots of people went home wanting an Asian of some description, as a result!

At the end of the show, I had a slightly tearful goodbye with her, as she left with the Australian Mist stud owner. I have been getting regular updates ever since, however, and it sounds like Ayla is missing me less than I’m missing her – she is spending the nights in the stud owner’s bedroom, and riding around the house on the stud owner’s shoulder. She had a couple of introductory meetings with the stud owner’s youngest boy, but he doesn’t seem to be interested yet, so Ayla’s been in with one of her proven studs instead, and although he definitely mated her back in May, she spent the next few weeks neither calling nor pinking up.  However, she has finally decided to start calling again in the past week, and has now been mated again, so it’s just a waiting game to see whether she has taken this time. The stud owner will let me know if/when Ayla pinks up, and we can then try and work out the logistics of getting her home – I can’t wait!

Nor’East of Scotland Show

The show Elisabeth was judging at was the Nor’East of Scotland show.  I mention it again for two reasons – firstly, because major congratulations are due to both Karen Hettman, and Elisabeth, and secondly, because there were four Cagaran cats at the show, in spite of us being in London.

The congratulations due to Karen and Elisabeth are because Karen’s two boys (whom Elisabeth bred) both ended up in Overall Best-in-Show pens, Zach (Dushenka Zerachiel) as Best Pedigree, and Stan (Dushenka Stanislav) as Best Household Pet – he has been shown as a Pedigree Pet since making up to Imperial in the Pedigree section.  Unfortunately, Elisabeth missed the excitement because she had been given a lift by Ian Thomson, and he was given an early pass to head home!

Lona and Lesley were both there with two Cagarans each – Lona’s Lainni didn’t win her Imperial, but had strong competition, and Lesley’s Derk had the PC withheld on him, much to Elisabeth’s outrage (she thought he was the best of the four!).  The other two had an excellent day, however, with Lesley’s Ella winning her third PC, making her up to Premier, and becoming our 9th titled cat, and Lona’s Tabh picking up his third Grand, giving him the Grand title (the third for our prefix).  I am delighted for both owners, and can’t thank them enough for showing their cats so beautifully.

World Cat Congress Weekend

The following weekend saw us back down south, for the World Cat Congress. The WCC is a body made up of representatives from all the major cat registration bodies, including the major bodies in Europe, the US, Australia and South Africa. Each year the WCC has a meeting, hosted by one of the member organisations, where the various delegates get together to discuss issues that are of universal concern to all cat registration bodies, or at least of concern to several of the bodies. For instance, if the EU was going to introduce a new law relating to the ownership of cats, they might discuss a response to that, or if a new vaccination had been developed, they could look at how best to utilise it. Aside from the meeting itself, the WCC weekend also includes a show, dinner event and a seminar programme.

This year was the GCCF’s turn to host the congress, and the weekend started with a drinks reception and buffet on Friday evening, followed by plenty of gossiping in the bar afterwards. We stayed with Anita that night, but didn’t leave the hotel until midnight, so it was after 2am before we got to bed.

On Saturday morning we were up at 7am to head to Wood Green for the show. The WCC show was to be held back-to-back with the Suffolk & Norfolk show, giving exhibitors the chance to win two certificates on the same day. The S&N show is always a fairly large show, and the Wood Green venue is perfect for this type of event, having plenty of space for pens, trade stands, exhibitors and judges alike, not to mention excellent catering facilities and plenty of other things for visitors to do, aside from visiting the show (Wood Green is a large animal shelter).

I was originally booked to steward for Wayne Trevathan, who is a former director of CFA’s (Cat Fancier’s Association) Southern Region, and the CFA’s current WCC delegate. However, the show manager came to me at the reception, and asked if I would consider swapping with another steward, because there had been a mix-up, and that steward had been assigned to a judge who was judging one of her cat’s open classes (it is permitted to handle your own cats in miscellaneous classes, but not opens). As a result, I actually stewarded for Cheryle U’ren, who is the current International Liaison Office for the CCCA (Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia), their delegate to the WCC, and also the WCC’s Vice-President. She was great fun to steward for, and I sincerely hope I get a chance to work with her again in future.

After the show, we had the Gala Dinner, which was a fabulous night, as always.  Anita and Rob came along this year, for the first time, as did David and Louise Miskelly.  Both couples sat on the same nine-seater table as Richard, Elisabeth and I, and our table was completed by Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese and Asians), and one of her friends.  The food was delicious, if a slightly strange choice, and we had some great conversations going.  After the meal, the lights were turned down and people took to the dance floor, this being the first time the Gala Dinner has been followed by a disco.  The best bit of the evening, however, as in previous years, was the gossiping in the bar after the main event was finished.

We stood for a while chatting to Kate Ekanger (Cloudborn Devons), and Jen and Laura Pinches (Velvarex Devons), who bred the Devons that we owned.  When they headed off to bed, we spent a while with Emma Watts (Emanan Somalis), Saffi Rabey, whom I have stewarded for in the past, and is now a member of RACCS, having been a recent convert to the ownership of a Nebelung (her other cats are Maine Coons), and a few others.  After a while we joined a group of the foreign judges, including Andreas Mobius, whom Elisabeth had stewarded for at the show, and had some fascinating insights into some of the other cat registries, not to mention a whole array of other topics!  When they all headed off to bed, we moved again, and this time joined the hilarious John and Janet Wilshaw (Rossikhan Burmese), Dorothy Stone and others, and had an absolute whale of a time, chatting about everything from Burmese breed politics to the Wilshaw’s imminent 33-year anniversary, and Scottish Independence!  We eventually all headed off to bed at about 3am, and it was after 3:30am by the time we actually got into bed!

We were back up at 7:30am on Sunday, to enjoy a cooked breakfast and plenty of chat with Rob, Anita, Elisabeth and John Hansson, before heading across for the seminar starting at 9:15am.  The core topic of the seminar programme was ‘Responsible Breeding for Health and Welfare’, and it started with a fascinating insight into the way each of the registries promotes ethical breeding practices and feline welfare, including the various laws relating to the subject in each country.  This was followed by talks from a representative of Royal Canin; Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, who conducted the well-known inquiry into dog breeding in 2010; Professor Tim Gruffydd-Jones, who must be one of the UK’s foremost feline geneticists, based out of Bristol Langford’s; and surely one of the world’s foremost feline geneticists, Lesley Lyons.  I have heard both the latter speak on several occasions, yet they remain fabulously interesting, and I always come away having learnt lots of new information.  Lesley’s was probably my favourite talk of the day, but it was also particularly interesting to hear Patrick Bateson’s opinions on the ethics of cat breeding, given his role in the dog-breeding inquiry.  As both he and his daughter, Melissa (also a Professor) are themselves cat breeders, he has a personal understanding of our hobby, as well as his professional understanding of animal breeding more generally.

The seminar was followed by an open meeting, which gives ordinary members of the Cat Fancy the chance to put forward topics for the delegates to discuss at the main WCC closed meeting on the Monday.  Most of the attendees showed typically British reticence, however, and the meeting was finished fairly quickly.  We dropped both Anita and Elisabeth off on the way home, and finally got back to the house about 2am, so it was a long and tiring weekend, but very, very worthwhile.  I wonder if I can save up enough money to go to next year’s congress in Miami, Florida?!

Durham and Northern Counties Show

The week after the WCC we were back down the motorway, though this time only as far as South Shields, for the Durham and Northern Counties double show.  We had Bru entered only in the Durham, to try for his 3rd PC, which he won, making him the tenth Cagaran to win a title (and the first of our Ocis to do so).

Bru looking sleepy in the early afternoon
Bru looking sleepy

Bru examining his PC
Examining his Premier Certificate

We also had Donny and Eiteag entered in both shows, Donny for his first Imperials, and Eiteag for Grands.  Both boys had strong competition, but Donny won both his Imperials (the first won by an entire of our prefix), and Eiteag was awarded the reserve Grand in one of the shows, in spite of being out of coat and having acne on his chin!

Eiteag with his Reserve Grand certificate
Eiteag sitting at the front of his pen, with his Reserve Grand certificate

Donny looking ridiculous
Donny rolling around, looking ridiculous, in front of his rosettes

As if those results weren’t good enough, I came back to Donny’s pen near the end of the day, to find that he had also gone Best Foreign Adult again.

Donny posing beautifully with his rosettes, certificates and Best of Variety card
Donny posing beautifully with his rosettes, two Imperial certificates and the card for Best of Variety Adult

I had another enjoyable day stewarding for Chris Bamford, though the enjoyment was slightly marred in the early afternoon, when one of the Birmans became upset and attacked Pat Perkins, one of the other judges.  She was badly scratched and bitten, and Richard ended up having to take her to the hospital for stitches and antibiotics.  When we collected her again at the end of the day, she was feeling a lot more cheerful, however, and by the time we saw her at the Lakeland show a couple of weeks ago, she had already recovered to the point of just having some minor scarring on her hands and arm.

The weekend after that I was supposed to have a BAC meeting on the Sunday, but it was called off at the last minute, so we went with Mum and Dad to the boat, staying over on the Friday evening, and coming back to get the gardening done on the Sunday.  The weather was fabulous, and we sailed down to the Kyles of Bute in glorious sunshine, and then sat at anchor, watching a red deer pick its way across the beach.  We came back via the buoy where the dolphin has lived for the past couple of years, and were delighted to find her still in residence, and as playful as ever.  I think we must have spent about half-an-hour just going round and round in circles beside her buoy, enjoying the experience of having her ride the pressure wave under the bow.

The deer picking her way across the shore
The deer picking her way across the shore

Looking back towards Arran on the sail home
Looking back towards Arran on the sail home

Lakeland Show

The next weekend was the Lakeland show, with a West of Scotland Committee meeting to be held in the morning, my birthday the same day, and then an Australian Mist seminar in Leicestershire on the Sunday.  We therefore arranged to meet friends for a casual birthday lunch near the show hall, travelling on to drop Sonia off at stud south of Birmingham, staying the night with Rob and Anita, and then heading across for the seminar before heading home again.  As it happens, the judge who would have been doing Sonia’s Grand class would be very unlikely to award her the certificate, so there didn’t seem much point entering her.  We decided instead just to put her on exhibition, and thought that since we were staying with Anita that night, we would take Tilly to keep Sonia company in the exhibition pen, and then to let Anita see her again.  I swithered for a while, and eventually decided to also have a punt with Annas in the Olympian class, since she picked up a Reserve there last year.

A sleepy Annas showing off her perfect coat
A sleepy Annas showing off her perfect coat

The exhibition pen
The exhibition pen with display boards on the top

The Committee meeting was much quicker than these meetings usually are, and we headed outside to enjoy the sun.  After a while, we took a leisurely stroll up to the farm shop for lunch, where some of our friends sang me a thankfully very quiet and fast rendition of Happy Birthday.  Annas had really tough competition in the Olympian class, so there was no shame in not placing, but I was rather disappointed that the Best of Breed judge awarded the BOB to the boy, who is nowhere near as good an example of the breed as Annas.  Sonia and Tilly seemed to enjoy their day, and were delighted with the concept of being able to come out for cuddles regularly without needing to be pulled about for judging!

Tilly and Sonia in their pen
Tilly (left) and Sonia in their pen

Two peering faces
Two peering faces

After the show, we drove straight down to Di Taylor’s (Brizlincoat Somalis), and set Sonia up in her pen in Di’s gorgeous cattery facility.  We have been promised a proper tour when we return to collect Sonia.  We then headed across to Rob and Anita’s, where we were taken out for a lovely Indian meal, as a birthday treat.  As usual, Anita and I stayed up far too late chatting, and I think it must have been well into the following morning before I crawled into bed.

The Australian Mist seminar was held in a tiny hall, in a village near Market Harborough.  The reason for the seminar was that Dr Truda Straede, who created the breed, is spending a few weeks holidaying in Italy, and had agreed to make a detour across to the UK in order to do a breed seminar.  The seminar was not supported by the GCCF, because the discussion would be based on the standard as applied in FiFé, but for people not involved in the breed, like us, that didn’t really matter.  Dr Straede presented some of her research on the microscopic differences in hair structure between hairs of different colours and patterns, which was fascinating and very enlightening, and there was much entertaining discussion over coffee as well!

Last weekend was another ‘free’ weekend (i.e. one that isn’t taken up with ‘cat stuff’), and we had Elisabeth’s birthday barbecue on the Saturday afternoon/evening, and then a 10CC and Status Quo concert on the Sunday evening.  We also squeezed in a trip to the cinema broadcast of one of the last performances of Helen Mirren’s ‘The Audience’, which proved to be laugh-out-loud funny, and well worth attending.  Elisabeth’s barbecue was, as always, a great event, and a lovely opportunity to catch up on the lives of some of her friends, whom we only see periodically at her various get-togethers.  The concert on the Sunday evening was excellent, and well worth the £45.

I knew every song that 10CC sang, but only knew one of them as a 10CC song (that being “I’m Not In Love”), and was very impressed at the breadth of styles their music covers, and also the multi-instrument talent of the group’s members.  Status Quo’s much is more samey, but the band are great showmen, and I thoroughly enjoyed singing along at the top of my voice.  Admittedly, some of the best entertainment of the evening was watching two girls who were probably in their late teens or early twenties, and had obviously had a bit much to drink, attempting to dance in front of the stands!

Dàrna’s Kitten

The kitten at 13 days
In her bed, at 13 days old

The kitten with her mum at 13 days
With her mum, at 13 days old

Tracey looked after all the cats, but especially Dàrna’s little one, during the weekends that we have been away, and made her usual fabulous job of it.  She was round at least twice every day that we were away, not just throwing some food down, but actually spending hours at the house each time, going from room to room to make sure that all the cats receive plenty of attention – they probably get more when we are away than when we are here!  She also checked and weighed the wee one each day, and nicknamed her ‘Scootcher’ because apparently she ‘Scootched’ around her box when she was small – she was certainly the most active Asian/Tiffanie we’ve had as a tiny kitten, walking around her box from the moment we got her back from the vets.  Elisabeth, on the other hand, christened the kitten ‘Sparkle-Sparkle’, because apparently she has the sparkle-factor!

The kitten with her mum and granny at 22 days
With mum and granny Fiona, at 22 days

With mum and gran at day 35
Cuddled up on the bed with mum and granny Fiona, at 35 days

She continued her precocious behaviour, purring when feeding at only a day or two old, trying to climb out of the scales at weigh-in time from about a week old, and purring in response to being stroked at only eight days.  She’s also growing really well, having doubled his birth weight by the time she was six days old (that is the target for a week old), and now being well over 800g at 7 weeks.  Although I spent the first three or four weeks trying to persuade both myself and the kitten, that she was a boy, because I then wouldn’t be tempted to keep her, she declined to participate in my charade, and is quite obviously a girl.  I am still trying valiantly to resist the temptation (she is Dàrna’s last kitten, etc. etc.), but whether I succeed will remain to be seen.  Richard is keeping out of any discussion over whether or not she stays, which is probably wise, given that I will probably just make my own mind up anyway, almost regardless of what he says!

The kitten and her mum at day 25
Cuddled with mum, at 25 days old

The kitten curled up almost asleep aged 54 days
Curled up, at 54 days

The lack of a decision over whether or not she is staying, does make decisions over naming rather more complicated.  This is our ‘F-litter’, and she is either cream or apricot, so Fiona (from the gaelic for fair-haired) would be a good name for her, but that only works if she’s not staying here, because we already have a Fiona, and having two of them would be too complicated!  She therefore remains nameless at present, being known only as Dàrna’s kitten, or the wee one, until we decide what we are doing.  She will be due for her first vaccination next week, though, and we’ll need to have a name to put on the vaccination card, so we don’t have that long to decide.

With mum at 41 days
Looking alert beside her sleepy mum, at 41 days

Ocicat Kittens

The Ocicat kittens also continue to do well, having had their second vaccinations the first Saturday in June, and then the five who are registered on the Non-Active were neutered a couple of weeks ago, and have been living with us of late.  It is rather nice not having to travel to Edinburgh every time I want to see my kittens, particularly since each vet visit has meant being up early enough to collect the kittens at 07:30, in order to be back at our vets with enough time to drop the kittens off and still get into work, then rushing off at 17:30 to collect them again, and take them back to Edinburgh.  We have had all six kittens living with us, but Di’s family have decided that they would like to keep the tawny boy, and we feel that is the least we can do, given the favour that Di did for us in taking the kittens when she did, and then keeping them so that they didn’t have to have any upheaval in their early lives.

The tawny boy
The tawny boy – they call him ‘Roo’

The first two (literally the first two – Cainnt and Crannag) went to their new homes last Saturday, and are now Hamish and Harry, respectively.  Their owner has recently lost an Ocicat neuter boy, Oscar, who has been keeping her company since her husband died, and she has really been missing Oscar’s presence.  She wanted an Ocicat to fill the hole left by Oscar’s death, but didn’t want one who looked so like him that she was constantly reminded of his loss.  The ticked tabbies were therefore of particular interest, and although she initially liked the idea of having one of each colour, which wasn’t possible anyway, with Di’s family keeping the tawny, she actually found that she preferred the cinnamons.  I think they will be a better match anyway, because they often spent time together, whereas the tawny boy is more independent.

Harry and Hamish the day after leaving
Harry and Hamish the day after leaving

Harry and Hamish a few days later
The same location a few days later

The tawny girl continues to shine out as the pick of the litter, and I am still hoping that we can find someone interested in breeding from her, but the search is so far proving fruitless.  I will continue looking for another couple of weeks, and if we haven’t found anyone by then, will have her neutered, and find her a pet home.  That seems a real waste of a lovely example of the breed, with an amazing temperament and a fabulous pedigree, though, so I’m hoping we won’t have to do that.  If you know of anyone who might be interested in breeding Ocis, do let me know!

The tawny girl at 15 weeks
The tawny girl at 15 weeks

The other two girls are still looking for their homes, so do also get in touch if you think you might know of someone who would be interested in one or both of them.

The other two girls the day they were spayed
The other two girls the day they were spayed

As a slight aside, I’ve also had some photos through from the owners of Carrie and Becca (the two cinnamon Variants from the last litter), who you may remember also went to live together.  They look very happy and still just as good friends as they were when they left us.

Becca (left) and Carrie, at just under a year old
Becca (left) and Carrie, at just under a year old

And cuddled up together
Cuddled up together – Becca is facing the camera

Other Cat News

We also had Grace and Anita’s Keela spayed at the same time as the kittens, so will be looking for new homes for them in due course.  Again, if you know of anyone who might be interested in a young adult (Keela will be three in September, and Grace has just turned two), then we would love to hear from you.  We are hoping to get Grace made up to Master Cat before she leaves us, since now that she is spayed, she can be shown in the Pedigree Pet section again, something that hasn’t been possible since she was under six months old.  We have therefore got her entered in a couple of shows later in the summer, and will start to look for a new home for her after that.

Keela is absolutely adorable with people, and will take however much attention you are prepared to lavish on her, giving lots of love in return.  As an entire, she hated other cats, though, so we will wait a few weeks to see whether having her spayed will have softened her attitude towards her fellow felines.  If not, she will have to go to a strictly single-cat household, her ideal probably being as a companion to someone who is retired and wants a cat to keep them company around the house.

Keela sitting in a ridiculous position in her bed
Keela sitting in a ridiculous position in her bed

My brother, Calum, has recently purchased his first house, and is now the proud owner of an idiotic Maine Coon, in the shape of our first pedigree cat, Call.  For the past few years, we have had to keep Call and the other neuters separated from our entire girls, because Call is fine living with neuters, but starts spraying if he lives with one or more entire females.  This has resulted in none of our cats getting what we feel to be enough of our time, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for us to spend a decent amount of time with each group.  When the cats were all in together, they all got to spend time with us, which was far preferable.  Calum taking Call has meant that we can start making re-introductions (and in many cases first introductions) between our neutered and entire cats, and although we will need to take this slowly, it is a huge relief to be able to start the process.

A Totally Unrelated Garden Visitor

This last is absolutely nothing to do with the cats, but I couldn’t resist sharing the video of a cute hedgehog that was in our garden last week.  He was sitting on our driveway when we got back, and because it was still daylight, I thought maybe he was ill, so I offered him some cat food.  Judging by the way that he tucked into the food, he certainly doesn’t seem to have been ill!

2013 Kittens, More CCs & Bru’s Return

Grace’s second litter, of six kittens, has arrived, and they are all doing well. Eiteag and Ayla had another good show, at the Lancs, winning ther second CCs. Bru has had to come back to us, due to some sort of illness, that his owner doesn’t want to test him for.

We have  a fair bit of news from the past couple of weeks, including the birth of our first 2013 kittens!

Grace’s Kittens

Grace had six kittens overnight from Sunday into Monday, the weekend before last.  She was much better this time around, knowing exactly what to do with the placentas and cord-cutting, and also settling nicely to feed them.

Grace with the six kittens feeding
Grace with the six kittens feeding

The six kittens piled up
The six kittens piled up

There are three of each gender, the three boys all being Variants: a tawny, a cinnamon and one that is either a chocolate or a dark cinnamon; and the girls being one Variant and two Ocicats (spotty): the Variant is another cinnamon, and the spottys are a tawny with a stunning head, and probably a cinnamon, though again could be a chocolate.

Kitten 1 - Cinnamon Variant male
Kitten 1 - Cinnamon Variant (ticked) male

Kitten 2 - Chocolate or (dark) Cinnamon Variant male
Kitten 2 - Chocolate (or dark cinnamon) Variant (ticked) male

Kitten 3 - Tawny Ocicat female
Kitten 3 - Tawny Ocicat (black spotted) female

Kitten 4 - Cinnamon Variant female
Kitten 4 - Cinnamon Variant (ticked) female

Kitten 5 - Tawny Variant male
Kitten 5 - Tawny (black ticked) Variant male

Kitten 6 - Cinnamon (or chocolate) Ocicat female
Kitten 6 - Cinnamon (or chocolate) Ocicat (spotted) female

Lancs Show

Last weekend was the Lancs show, and we had taken the ‘babies’, Eiteag and Ayla, to try for their second CCs.  As last time, we put them in the same pen to begin with, to help them settle in, though I don’t think either actually needed it.  Obviously, we have to keep a close watch on them, to make sure that Eiteag doesn’t try anything with his sister, but so far he’s shown no interest in her, though he knew exactly what he was meant to be doing with Dàrna when he was in with her.  We’re taking no chances – if he even so much as looked like he might be interested in Ayla, she’d have to come straight out!

Eiteag looking handsome
Eiteag looking handsome

Both were beautifully behaved, as usual, purring and climbing up the judges and stewards to give them kisses, which is just lovely to see.  A couple of the judges said that they wanted to take one, or both, home, and one even came past for an extra cuddle later in the day!  Both were given their CCs, so they now only need one more each.

Ayla relaxing in her pen
Ayla relaxing in her pen, with her rosettes and prize cards behind

Ayla proving she is her mother's daughter, and mucking about whenever the camera appears
Ayla proving she is her mother's daughter, and mucking about whenever the camera appears - you can see her front feet 'paddling'

Tracey was also there, with Xaria and Quinn, though this time Quinn’s award wouldn’t count for anything, because the closing date for this show was before the Scottish, and she won her qualifying certificate at the Scottish.  In addition to the cats’ activities, I had an excellent day stewarding for Kaye Wilson, who is a long-term Burmese breeder and judge, but who has recently started juding Asians.  It was great to see so many of the Burmese, and also to have a judge that I can so easily talk over the cats with.

Quinn scowling beautifully, as usual
Quinn scowling beautifully, as usual

Bru Back Home

About 10 days after he had gone to his new home, I received a call from Bru’s owner, Julie, to say that he had been wheezing, and that she was going to take him to her vet.  Over a couple of visits, her vet took some tests, but none of these showed anything, so he then suggested having a scan done, but Julie felt that she had already been through too much stress and hassle, so she asked if we would take him back instead.

We agreed to do this (giving a full refund, in case you’re wondering), and got him booked straight in at own vet.  When I went to collect him on Thursday, he was hiding down the back of Julie’s bath, and when he came out, he was all wide-eyes and spiky fur, and seemed absolutely terrified. I asked what was up with him, and she said he was always like that with her, and had never let her stroke him, which had me really worried in case it could be a symptom of some sort of illness.

When we got him home, however, he came straight out of his basket and ran up to Richard to ask for a stroke, even though he was in a room that he has never been in before.  We didn’t want to put him in with the girls in case Dàrna is pregnant and he had some sort of infection, so he is in the back bedroom with Ali and Breckin, who are both neuters.  When Tracey came round yesterday, Bru climbed into one of his baskets, and lay there purring and ‘paddle-pawing’ whilst Tracey and I both stroked him.

On Friday, I took him for his vet appointment, and our vet gave him a thorough checkup which didn’t find any problems.  Bru looks absolutely great, is a good weight (and has grown in the time he’s been away), and is eating and drinking well.  We’ve got him booked in to have a scan, and that will tell us for sure whether there is anything wrong, and if so, what it is.  The most likely explanation at the moment seems to be a slight lung infection, but we will know more once we’ve got the scan results.

Cancelled Show

The Notts & Derbys show was cancelled, but we had a good trip anyway. The rest is just an update on the cats, and some cute photos!!

I had been holding off doing another post until after the Notts & Derbys show, which was meant to be last weekend.  Unfortunately, the show was cancelled due to people being afraid to travel with reports of snow on the way.  The daft thing is, we had already got to Richard’s parents’ house in Loughborough by the time the show was cancelled, and the show venue is literally about 15 minutes drive from there.  There was a bit of snow falling on the Friday evening, but by the Saturday morning it had stopped and the roads in that area were beautifully clear.  In fact, we had the best run home that we’ve had in months.

The M1 approaching the junction for the show hall
The M1, approaching the junction for the show hall

The road into Judith's village, near Bedford
The road into Judith's village, near Bedford

Donny thoroughly enjoyed his trip away, though, because it meant he got to spend the night with his ‘mummy’, and he came and cuddled down in the bed with me.  Dàrna stayed with Richard in his old room, but she couldn’t make up her mind where she wanted to sleep, so I don’t think she and Richard had quite such a settled night’s sleep!

Donny being cute on the edge of the bed

It was good to be able to enjoy not only dinner on the Friday, but also a leisurely breakfast on the Saturday, with Richard’s parents.  Since we had gone all that way, and now didn’t have a show to attend, we thought we might as well make use of the time by making some other social visits in the area.  We travelled down to Rushden, near Bedford (again on fabulously clear roads!) and visited Tracey and Gary, whom we haven’t seen since their little girl, Emily, was born last summer.  As always, they were very hospitable, and made us lunch, and we enjoyed getting a chance to catch up with them, and obviously meet little Emily as well.  Since the last time they saw us was when Donny was a kitten, Tracey was very excited to hear that we had him with us, and asked us to bring him in so she could see him all grown up.  He promptly jumped up beside Tracey and Emily, and gave Emily a ‘kiss’!

A very happy Donny cuddled up beside Emily
A very happy Donny cuddled up beside Emily -I know Tracey hates appearing in photos as much as I do, which is why I've tried to cut her out as best I can!

We also visited Judith Noble (Larksong Russian Blues), who is on the RACCS (Russian & Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland) committee with us, and is a very good friend of Elisabeth’s.  She has recently imported a girl from Holland, who Elisabeth was very keen to see, and visiting with Judith is always a good laugh.  As usual, she didn’t disappoint!

Other Updates

We’ve had an email from the Variants’ owner, letting us know that the girls have settled in well and are becoming really cuddly.  When he emailed, both girls were sitting on his lap cleaning eachother, which is lovely to hear.  From the looks of the first photo I’ve had from him, they’re going to be great companions:

The Variants in their new home
The Variants in their new home - Carrie on the left, Becca on the right

Unfortunately, we still haven’t found the right home for Bru, which I find incredible, given how stunning he is.  We can’t quite believe that he’s the last in his litter to go!  He’s developed into not only a beautiful cat, but also a rather lovely Ocicat, so I thought you might like to see a few photos of him, as he now looks.

Bru & Fiona
Okay, so Fi's in this as well, but don't they look gorgeous together??

Bru showing off his gorgeous markings
Bru showing off his gorgeous markings

Showing his lovely muzzle
Looking every inch the wild cat he is supposed to resemble

Looking like a spotty version of his granny Kia
Looking like a spotty version of his granny Kia

I’ve had request for some photos of Tilly, so we tried to get some for you, but she is an absolute Minx when the camera appears, and absolutely refuses to keep still.  Even with our shiny new camera, the only two photos we have that are in focus are still pretty rubbish.  Thought you might want to see them anyway, though.

Tilly looking cute
Tilly looking cute

Tilly doing a meercat impression to sniff the tickle stick
Tilly sniffing the tickle stick

Finally, since Etak lives in the kitchen (Donny is spending most of his time up with Keela at the moment!), we’ve been using him as the practice subject for the new camera.  A couple of the photos are just so daft that I had to share them.

Etak in his new bed, yawning and looking daft
Etak in his new bed, yawning and looking daft

Etak splatted
Etak sprawled out asleep on his towel - there's a heated bed underneath!

I also took the cutest video of Donny and Etak sharing their drinking fountain:

The boys sharing their fountain - bless!

Okay, that’s it for today.  Shropshire show next weekend – all get outside and do your non-snow dances for us, please!!

Happy New Year

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.

The Three Designs
The Three Designs

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.

The set for the card photos
The 'set' for the card photos - you can see the edge of the fleece at the right-hand side, and the shape of the box under the fleece at the front

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…

The five kittens, but only Carrie is looking
The five kittens, but only Carrie is looking

Or they are facing the right way, but pulling stupid faces…

An otherwise good photo with Cheeky pulling a stupid face at the front
An otherwise good photo with Cheeky pulling a stupid face at the front

Ayla looking like she's sucked on a lemon
Ayla looking like she's sucking on a lemon

Cheeky licking her nose
Cheeky licking her nose - every other cat in this photo looked perfect!

Or where four are sitting beautifully but one or two refuse to look towards the camera…

One of many photos where Ayla is too busy playing to bother looking at the camera
One of many photos in which most of the kittens look great, but Ayla is too busy amusing herself to bother looking at the camera
Another that would be fine except that Derk has looked away, and Bru has managed to partially obscure himself behind a string of beads!
Another that would be fine except that Derk has looked away, and Bru has managed to partially obscure his face behind a string of beads!

Or is obscured behind the decorations…

Almost an ideal photo, but Carrie has dropped her head to behind a bobble
Almost an ideal photo, but Carrie has leaned across to behind a bobble
Carrie pretending to be a Magritte painting
Carrie pretending to be a Magritte painting (complete with reflection of Richard with the camera, and me waving the toy around!)

Or one has gone under another…

Cheeky and Bru stepping over and under eachother
Cheeky and Bru stepping over and under eachother

All that is visible of Bru, where he has crawled under Derk
All that is visible of Bru, where he has crawled under Derk

Ones where one is moving around so much that they are just a blur…

Ayla playing in the bobbles
A blurry Ayla, playing in the bobbles

Ones where some are coming, and others going…

Ayla on her way back into the alcove, and Bru on his way out
Ayla on her way back into the alcove, and Bru on his way out

Ones where they have all abandoned the alcove, and all we have is a departing tail…

Ayla's tail departing an otherwise empty alcove
Ayla's tail heading out of an otherwise empty alcove

In the case of Cheeky and Ayla, we also have plenty where they are trying to destroy the ‘set’…

Ayla attempting to eat the beads
Ayla attempting to eat the beads

Cheeky thinking about eating the beads
Cheeky thinking about eating one of the strands of beads...

... and going for it!
... and going for it with another strand a few minutes later!

Cheeky trying to chew one of the bobbles off
Cheeky trying to chew one of the bobbles off its string...

Ayla trying to chew through a different one
... and Ayla trying to chew through another (she succeeded, by the way)

Some are even perfectly nice photos, just not what we were looking for…

Bru and Cheeky behind, with Ayla at the front watching her brother and Carrie disappear along the corridor
Bru and Cheeky behind, with Ayla at the front watching her brother and Carrie disappear along the corridor
The Three Patterns from the Ocicat litter
The Three Patterns from the Ocicat litter
Cheeky and Bru - a nice photo of Cheeky, in particular
Cheeky and Bru - a nice photo of Cheeky, in particular

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:

The final front photo (from left: Derk, then Cheeky at the front, with Bru behind her, and then Carrie with Ayla behind)
The final front photo (from left: Derk, then Cheeky with Bru behind her, and then Carrie with Ayla behind)
... and the image from the back of the card
... and the image from the back of the card (Ayla and Derk)

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!

New Homes and West of Scotland Show

The Tiff kittens have gone to their new home, and we had an excellent day at the West of Scotland show, with both Lhasa and Tia winning their first CCs, and me having a good first judging experience. The Oci kittens are still looking for their new homes, however.

The couple of weeks since my last post have gone well, and not been quite as busy as usual, which makes a nice change!

Fi’s Kittens

You may remember that I mentioned in my last post that a family had been to visit Ellie and Derk.  Well, Lesley and Fraser decided that they would indeed like to adopt both kittens!  Richard and I dropped the kittens off last Tuesday, and enjoyed a cup of tea with Lesley whilst watching them start to settle in, which is always a lovely experience for us.

Ellie & Derk settling in
Ellie and Derk looking pretty settled on the evening we dropped them off

Ellie and Derk cuddled on the bed at 2am
Ellie and Derk cuddled up beside Lesley on the bed at 2am

The following day, Lesley sent me a text message to say that the kittens had slept cuddled up with her on the bed, and that she couldn’t wait to get home to see them.  There really are very few things that can make a breeder’s day like a message like that will – hearing something like that reminds us why we wanted to breed, and makes the painful bits worthwhile.

West of Scotland Show

Richard and I both took the afternoon off work on Friday, as we have done for the past few years, to help set up the show hall for the West of Scotland.  Once everything is ready, the people who have helped are then allowed to set up their show pens, which means that our cats can go straight into their pens when we arrive on show morning.  Apologies for the yellow-toned photos, by the way – the lighting in the West’s hall is absolutely horrendous!

Call peeking out round his blankets
Call peeking out round his blankets

Little Cheeky scowling out from her blankets
Little Cheeky looking thoroughly bored near the end of the day

This year, we had entered four cats – Call, to try again for his final PC (Premier Certificate), Lhasa and Tia to try for their first CCs (Challenge Certificates), and Cheeky in the kitten class.  Unfortunately for Call, there was a lovely Maine Coon neuter boy in the class against him, so Call didn’t win his certificate – in fact, he had a ‘blue card’ day, winning 2nd in every class!

Lhasa looking rather pleased with herself
Lhasa looking rather pleased with herself

The others all won what they were there for, though, with all three girls getting 1st in their breed class and then Best of Breed as well.  Both Lhasa and Tia were also awarded their CCs – Lhasa beating two lovely girls in her class!  For both Cheeky and Tia, this was their first time at a show, and for Lhasa it was her first time at a show of this format (she had previously been shown in FIFé, the European registration body).  All the girls behaved beautifully, but Tia was especially remarkable – she was totally un-phased by all the hustle and bustle of the show, and was rolling around and paddle-pawing on her bedding in delight!

Beautiful Tia showing off her stunning Burmese type
Beautiful Tia showing off her stunning Burmese type

In addition to our own cats wins, we were also delighted to see another couple of Cagarans out with their owners.  Quinn was there, and won another PC and her Best of Breed – although she made up to Premier at the Supreme, the West closed before then, so the rules prevent her from moving up into the higher class at the West.  Lona had brought along Lainni, and since she made up to Grand at the Cumberland, she was in the Imperial this time.  To our delight (and surprise), she was actually awarded the certificate!  This is the first Imperial certificate won by a cat of our breeding, so we are doubly delighted.  I can’t thank Lona enough for loving Lainni, looking after her so well, and of course, bringing her out to shows.

Lainni with her Imperial rosette
Lainni with her Imperial rosette

This show was also particularly exciting for me personally, because I was having my first trip out as a judge.  Judges in the Pedigree section have to qualify through a process designed to ensure that they fully understand what the breed is supposed to look like, before they become a full judge.  For the Household Pet (HP) section, on the other hand, the judges are not comparing the cat to a standard of points, but instead are looking for good condition and temperament.  As a result, the HP judges can be anyone whom the show managers feel would be able to judge whether a cat has those characteristics.

Quinn looking scowly as her pen is dismantled at the end of the day
Quinn looking scowly as her pen is dismantled at the end of the day

When I was first asked if I would judge, it just seemed a really exciting honour, but in the past few weeks, I had been getting more and more nervous.  By the day of the show, however, I was still feeling slightly nervous but mostly I was just excited.  Elisabeth (Stark – Dushenka Russian Blues) was also judging (her third time out as a probationer pedigree judge), so we decided to act as stewards for eachother, so I was lucky enough to have a fabulously experienced steward for my first time.

We had some absolutely lovely cats, both in my classes in the HP section and in her classes in the Pedigree section, and I thoroughly enjoyed my day.  I have written up my reports today, so I hope the cats’ owners will appreciate what I have said about their cats!

There is one final thing from the West, that I feel has to be noted, and that is Zach’s (Dushenka Zerachiel) win.  He picked up his fifth Olympian certificate, making him up to Bronze Olympian, and in the process, becoming the first Russian Blue to hold the title.  Congratulations to his owners and also to his breeder, Elisabeth.

Ocicat Kittens

We are still looking for homes for the three remaining Oci kittens, all of whom have now developed into the most adorable pets.  When they were younger, I was a little worried because they were far more nervous than our Asian kittens normally are, but as they have grown they have just got friendlier and friendlier.  When we go into their room now, they all tend to jump up on the bed, wanting stroked, and if we are too slow to pay them attention then they will tell us in no uncertain terms how unimpressed they are with us for the delay!

The three kittens who are still available - Becca (left), Carrie and Bru
The three kittens who are still available - Becca (left), Carrie and Bru

Bru is now really cuddly, and rubs around our legs when we are doing their litter trays or getting clothes out of the wardrobe.  He loves to come and cuddle up with us in bed, or to lie on his back in our arms, and has a huge purr.

Bru's gorgeous markings
Bru's gorgeous markings

Bru's cute little face
Bru's cute little face

Carrie is the most outgoing with strangers, but prefers to be stroked whilst having all her paws on the ‘ground’, rather than being picked up.  She absolutely loves her food, and is almost always the first into the food bowl, but if she hasn’t already been stroked before her food is put down, then she won’t eat more than a couple of mouthfuls without coming to try and get some fuss!

Carrie doing her best meercat pose
Carrie doing her best meercat impression

Side shot of Carrie showing the 'trout spotting' amongst the ticking, and her gorgeous colour
Side shot of Carrie showing the 'trout spotting' amongst her ticking

Becca is the most wary of strangers, but is also probably the most demanding of attention from us.  She likes to come up and perch on our shoulders, but also comes and sits next to the pillow, waiting for us to wake up and stroke her.  She has the richest colour in the litter, even though these photos don’t show it – she is a rich, warm ginger.  She also has this habit of standing with one front paw raised, and looking at you as if she can see right into your soul.

Becca giving the camera her intense look
Becca in her favourite pose

Becca doing her meercat impression
Becca doing her meercat impression

If you know of anyone who would appreciate an interactive, talkative, playful, energetic, beautiful and loving pet, do tell them to get in touch!

Update and Starting Over

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.

Update:

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.

Our Cats:

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.

Jinny - one of the most stunning moggies alive!
Jinny - one of the most stunning moggies alive!

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.

Call looking handsome
Call looking handsome

Ali looking sweet
Ali looking sweet

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.

Annas scowling
Annas scowling and looking glorious!

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!

Dàrna looking beautiful on black
Dàrna looking beautiful on black fleece

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!

A rare in-focus photo of Tia where her eyes are open
A rare photo of Tia that is actually in focus and where her eyes are open

The closest we have to a decent photo of Lhasa!
The closest we have to a decent photo of Lhasa - she had just rolled over

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.

Stunning Fi, with her luminous eyes
Stunning Fi, with her luminous eyes

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.

Apollo's gorgeous, typey face
Apollo's gorgeous, typey face

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.

Grace pulling a daft face, but like her Mum, she's very hard to photograph
Grace pulling a daft face - like her Mum, she's very hard to photograph

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!

Ridiculous Donny in a mixing bowl
Ridiculous Donny in a mixing bowl

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.

Sonia is really starting to blossom as she gets older
Sonia is really starting to blossom as she gets older

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.

Eiteag and Donny cuddled up together in their favourite basket
Eiteag and Donny cuddled up together in their favourite basket

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!

My gorgeous baby girl - Ayla
My gorgeous baby girl - Ayla

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.

Cheeky playing with a Christmas tree bobble
Cheeky playing with a Christmas tree bobble

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.

Beautiful Breckin
Beautiful Breckin

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.

Cute Derk
Cute Derk

Pretty Ellie
Pretty Ellie

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 looking adorable
Bru looking adorable

Carrie (left) and Becca half-asleep
Carrie (left) and Becca half-asleep

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.

What’s Next?

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,

Heather x

Three Wins, Several New Arrivals and Three Farewells

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.

Sonia

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!

Beautiful Sonia stretched out
Beautiful Sonia looking very mature, but aged just 7 1/2 months

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!

Sonia's gorgeous head
Sonia's gorgeous head

Sonia feeding with Fi's kittens
Sonia feeding with Fi's kittens

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.

Lakeland Show

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.

Donny with his Best of Breed and Best of Variety rosettes from the Lakeland
Donny with his Best of Breed and Best of Variety rosettes from the Lakeland

Katie

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.

Donny giving Katie a kiss
Donny giving Katie a kiss

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.

Katie taken without the bright light
Katie taken without use of lights

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.”

Donny and Katie sitting on the backing
Donny and Katie sitting on the backing

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.

Katie with her halo
Katie looking into the light

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.

Quinn looking gorgeous at Tracey's
Quinn looking gorgeous at Tracey's

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.

Xaria settling in
Xaria settling in

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”.

Tiffanie & Ocicat Variant mums and their kittens
Dàrna & Grace with the kittens between them, aged four and six days

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.

The Asian girl aged 7 days
The Asian girl aged 7 days

The Asian boy aged 32 days
The Asian boy aged 32 days

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.

Four of Grace's kittens
Four of Grace's kittens - the two Classics, the boy and one of the Variants

Kitten 1 - the bigger Classic girl
Kitten 1 - the bigger Classic girl (pulling a silly face!)

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!

Kitten 2 - the bigger Variant girl
Kitten 2 - the bigger Variant girl

Profile of Kitten 2
Profile of Kitten 2 - lovely dip!

Kitten 3 - the smaller Variant girl
Kitten 3 - the smaller Variant girl, and the more Abyssinian-looking of the two

Showing off some of her spotty tummy
Kitten 3 looking cute and showing off some of her spotty tummy

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.

Kitten 4 - the smaller Classic girl
Kitten 4 - the smaller Classic girl

Pretty Oci-type head
Pretty Oci-type head

Kitten 5 - the Ocicat boy
Kitten 5 - the Ocicat boy

Developing a lovely muzzle
Developing a lovely muzzle

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.

Elisabeth's Dukey with his two CCs
Elisabeth's Dukey with his two CCs at the Humberside & Lincs

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.

Quinn with her awards
Quinn with her awards

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.

Donny with his CCs
Donny with his CCs - if that boy was any more laid back, he'd never move!

Annas with her Best of Breed and side class 1st
Annas with her Best of Breed and side class 1st - proving that even the top winners don't win every time

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!

Ayla and Derk on the little scratching post
Ayla and Derk on the little scratching post - this was taken on my phone camera, and it's done something odd to the colours

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.

Side view of Ayla's beautiful profile
Side view of Ayla's beautiful profile

Ayla sticking her tongue out
Ayla sticking her tongue out

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.

Ellie looking adorable in her basket on the windowledge
Ellie looking adorable in her basket on the windowledge

Ellie and Etak cuddling
Ellie and Etak cuddling - Etak is quite often to be found cuddling up with one of the others

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.

Etak's excellent break and straight nose
Etak's excellent break and straight nose

Gorgeous Etak in the red basket
Gorgeous Etak in the red basket

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.

Derk looking cute in the basket
Derk looking cute on the red basket in the window

Derk looking ridiculous but showing off his fabulous chin!
Derk looking ridiculous but showing off his fabulous chin and nice profile!

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!