Yet Another Catch-Up

We had a good day at the Eastern Counties/Bombay & Asian show, with Tilly winning two CCs, Grace two MCs and the tawny Ocicat kitten her 1st and Best of Breed. We then borrowed Call back from my brother to take to the Edinburgh, winning his Premier title in the process. Caomh and Roo have both gone to their new homes, leaving just the two spotty Ocis to find homes, and Dàrna’s kitten is now called Cagaran Fileánta, and has had her first vaccinations.

I really must stop writing the text for posts and then getting sidetracked before I get a chance to add the photos.  When I started this post, it began “It’s a much shorter time between this post than my last”, which is now certainly not true, given that it’s over two months since the last one again!  That’s what I get for getting involved in show management – I knew that it was a time-consuming process, but I had no idea just how much time it actually takes.

I think perhaps the best strategy for future updates might be just to upload the text once it’s written and then add photos later.

Eastern Counties

We went down to the Eastern Counties the second weekend in July, primarily because the Bombay & Asian Breed Club was held ‘back-to-back’ (sharing the show hall) with that show this year.  That meant that any Asians had the opportunity to try for two certificates, and since Tilly turned adult at the start of the month, we took her to try for her first two CCs.  She not only won these, but also one Best of Breed (against a multiple-Olympian-winner!) and four first prizes in side classes, including some really big ones.

Tilly lying in her pen, surrounded by rosettes and prize cards - two CCs in the foreground, and a host of rosettes on the back wall
Tilly lounging amongst her awards

We took Grace down as a Pedigree Pet, and since HPs can also be entered in both shows, she was able to win two Mastercat certificates on the day.  That means that both Tilly and Grace only need one more certificate to win their titles!

Grace lying in her pen, having her tummy tickled, with her rosette and Master Cat certificate in the background
An unusually clear photo of Grace

We also took the tawny Ocicat girl, who obviously doesn’t compete for certificates yet, but was up against another young girl who has been sold as a breeding queen.  The other girl had absolutely crystal clear and perfect markings, but our girl definitely had the better type, so I was interested to see what the judges did with them.  The two girls were up against eachother twice – once in their Open class, and then again in one of their miscellaneous classes under a different judge, and on both occasions, our girl was placed above the other, which I was delighted with.

Bobbie sitting in the doorway of her pen, sniffing at her Best of Breed rosette, which is pinned beside the door
Bobbie examining her rosettes – in the next photo she was biting them!

Bobbie sitting in the doorway of her pen, with her rosettes pinned beside the door
Bobbie looking pretty, having finished skewing her rosette

We were meant to be picking Sonia up on the way home from the show, but she had come back into call on the Thursday before the show, and since she’s well settled with Di at the moment, it seemed more sensible to leave her there and see if she can take this call.  Maiden queens often fail to get pregnant from their first matings, so it’s nothing we hadn’t expected.  Ayla also started calling that weekend, so we were crossing our fingers that the two girls might both get pregant and be able to have their kittens around the same time.

Call’s Title

The following weekend was the Edinburgh & East of Scotland, but we obviously couldn’t show our own cats because of having done the show the previous weekend.  I do like to support the Scottish shows if I can, though, so I asked Calum if he would let us borrow Call back for one last show.  Calum is going to be letting Call outside once he has fully settled in his new home, which means that we would be unlikely to get another chance to get him into show preparation.

Call, a brown tabby Maine Coon in his pen, with Premier Certificate in front and red rosettes behind
Call with his rosettes and certificate

Thankfully, Calum said we could take him, and he finally won his qualifying PC, making him up to Premier.  He is therefore now officially ‘Premier Elmcoon Basil’, and is no longer the only cat that we’ve owned since finding out about showing, to not have won a title.  He also won two 1sts and a 2nd in his side classes, and was even awarded the cup for Best Maine Coon Neuter.  What a star!

Quinn, a brown tortie Asian Smoke, looking out of her pen between her two red rosettes
Quinn scowling between her rosettes

I had an excellent day stewarding for John Trotter across the Foreign and Burmese sections, with a few Brits and a Siamese thrown in for good measure.  My pick of the day was a beautiful Asian Ticked Tabby kitten, owned and bred by Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese & Asians), who was also John’s nomination for Best of Variety Foreign, and then went on to win the Overall Best of Variety.  I think she’s a granddaughter of Shogun, and therefore a niece of both Eiteag and Ayla, and a cousin of Tilly, so it’s not surprising that I liked her look!  We also got to handle Quinn, whose type John absolute adored, and he was gutted when he discovered that her smoke wasn’t good enough for him to award the Grand.

Excellent Day at Chester

You may remember that we did the Chester show for the first time, last year, and thoroughly enjoyed having a day out in Chester, so we decided to do it again this year.  Unfortunately, Elisabeth was judging, so I ended up being persuaded to steward, which was a bit of a disappointment.  I did enjoy my day stewarding, as I always do, but I must confess that I would rather have spent the day browsing Chester with Richard, who had a lovely day wandering in the old city.  We also took Pamela White, who owns two of Elisabeth’s Russians, and Elisabeth, so at least we got to share the transport.  Apologies for the rubbish photos – the hall-lighting was rather yellow, and we’re using the little point-and-shoot camera at the moment, because our proper camera is broken, which makes getting decent photos of our lot nigh on impossible!

Eiteag looking towards the camera from inside his pen, with his rosettes and prize cards on the back wall behind him
Eiteag looking very yellow

Tilly sitting in her pen, with her certificate and rosette, pulling a silly face
Tilly also looking yellow, unfortunately

Even if we didn’t have the full ‘Chester experience’, our show results made it worthwhile having entered, with all the cats winning something.  Donny didn’t win his Imperial, but did beat two lovely Burmillas for Best of Breed – excellent to win against some competition for a change!  The Tiffs were obviously against eachother for Best of Breed, which Dàrna won, along with her third Imperial.  Eiteag and Tilly both had their own successes, though, Eiteag winning the Grand, and Tilly taking the CC to make up to Champion.  They all had good results in side classes as well.  To top off an already great set of results, Donny and Dàrna were shortlisted with Pamela’s Lina as the last three for Best Foreign Adult, so regardless of which one actually won it, they had come down in our car!  In the end, it was Dàrna who took the award – her second BOV Adult win.

Donny standing in his pen doorway, rubbing his face against his rosette, which hangs by the door
Donny giving his Best of Breed rosette some love

Dàrna sitting in her pen, with her Imperial certificate and rosettes
Dàrna pulling a silly face, as usual, but at least she’s letting us see the Imperial certificate!

After the show, Elisabeth and Pamela headed home with the Thomsons (Saladin Abyssinians), and we carried on down to Rob and Anita’s, because we had an AGCS Committee meeting the following day.  This was another possible opportunity to pick up Sonia, but she still wasn’t showing any signs of being pregnant, and remained very settled, so we decided just to leave her where she is for the moment.  The Committee meeting was an enjoyable day, as the AGCS meetings always are, and I was elected as Secretary, which made sense given that I have taken the minutes at the meetings for the past two years, due to the previous Secretary having other commitments.

Teesside

Grace standing in her pen doorway, with her prize cards and rosette pinned to either side of the door
Grace ‘paddle-pawing’ at the front of her pen, whilst watching what else is going on

Grace standing in her pen doorway, rubbing against the side of the door
Grace giving her pen some love

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know that the Teesside is one of the consistencies in our annual calendar.  Since they were the club who sponsored our prefix application, we always like to try and support the show.  This year, we took Eiteag and Tia to try for Grands, because Steve Crow was the judge, and I thought he would like them both.  We also took Dàrna’s kitten, who is nicknamed ‘Small’ for the time-being, in absence of any better name for her.  Making up the ‘set’, was Grace, trying for her final Mastecat certificate.  Having learnt our lesson at Chester, we just took the Teesside photos on Richard’s phone, and I think you’ll agree that the results are much better.

Eiteag standing in his doorway with his prize card and Grand certificate on the door, and the Grand rosette pinned to the pen front
Eiteag showing off his gorgeous rounded head

Eiteag standing in his pen doorway kissing his Grand rosette
Eiteag giving his Grand rosette a sniff and a kiss

Eiteag hanging out of his pen doorway, shouting
Eiteag shouting for girls from his pen doorway (he fancied getting in with Tia, who was next door)

Eiteag looking sideways across his pen, with his Best of Variety nomination and Best of Breed medal behind him, and his prize cards and rosette to either side
Eiteag with his Best of Variety nomination card and Best of Breed award, showing his lovely profile

We had something of a spectacular day – Grace making up to Mastercat, both Eiteag and Tia winning the Grands, and both being nominated for Best of Variety.

Sally Tokens checking the length of Tia's tail on the judging table in front of the Best in Show pens
Looking through the crowd of spectators at Tia being judged for Best in Show

Tia sitting beautifully in the doorway of her Best in Show Pen
Tia looking gorgeous in her Best in Show pen

This was Small’s first show, but like her Dad, Grand and Great-Gran before her, she behaved like an absolute sweetheart, charming the judges and winning her Best of Breed.  She started the morning in her Dad’s pen, so that she had company whilst she got the feel of the show, and then moved back to her own pen, where she behaved as if she’d been to countless shows before.

Small standing behind her Dad, who is busy eating
Small sharing Eiteag’s pen in the morning

Small sitting between her Best of Breed medal and First prize card
Small gazing at the ceiling in her own pen

Small looking sleepy beside her prizes
Sleepy Small

Small looking out of her pen
Small watching the goings-on

I had an excellent day stewarding for Pamela Beard-Smith in the British section, and having finished my stewarding, was told that Tia was being taken up to the Best in Show Pens – she had gone Overall Best Foreign!

Tia sitting in her pen with the door open and a selection of rosettes hung around the door, whilst she sniffs at her Best of Breed medal
Tia examining her Best of Breed award and surrounded by prizes

Tia sitting in her pen beside her Best of Vareity and Best of Breed awards
Beautiful Tia with her Best of Variety and Best of Breed awards

Scotia – My First Time as Assistant Show Management

This year’s Scotia was my first time as Assistant Show Manager, and although it certainly wasn’t the easiest task, I did survive!  We started off with seventeen judges, of which seven cancelled in the run-up to the show, for reasons ranging from operations and an emergency hospitalisation, to a cat needing emergency vet treatment.  We managed to replace a couple, but only had twelve judges by the end, yet all the judges took the resultant extra cats without complaint, and worked really hard for us.  I can’t thank them all enough, and also Sarah Davidson, one of the actual Show Managers, for giving me the opportunity to learn from her.

Wyvern

Today was the Wyvern, and since Elisabeth was judging this year, she asked if I would steward for her.  If I was going to go all that way to steward, it seemed daft not to show, especially when the Wyvern is such a lovely show to do.  I brought Dàrna to try for the Imperial, and since Dorothy Stone was going to be judging both the Ocicat and Tiffanie kitten classes, and generally loves our cats, I decided to bring Bobbie and Small as well.

As always, I had a thoroughly enjoyable day, and although Dàrna didn’t win the Imperial (there were four cats in the class, and the Imperial and Reserve winners were were worth the award), she did win her Best of Breed, and had good side-class results.  The kittens also had a good day, especially Small, who was shortlisted into the last four for Best Foreign Kitten.  As before, she behaved beautifully, and was an absolute poppet – I had more than one judge tell me they wanted to put her in their pockets to take her home.  I am so proud of her!

Unfortunately, without Richard there to keep me in order, I completely forgot to take any photos, which I’m rather gutted about.

New Home(s)

The week running up to the Edinburgh, we had a visit from a lovely couple who had recently lost their elderly Oriental, and wanted a companion for their Siamese.  They wanted to get a kitten to improve the likelihood of their Siamese accepting her, and they also wanted a breed that was likely to be similarly interactive and people-oriented.  Having done a bit of research, they thought Ocicats sounded ideal, and came to meet our babies.  They were immediately taken by our little ticked tabby girl, and she gave them lots of cuddles and kisses to ensure they were thoroughly convinced!

Her new owners phoned me the day after she moved in with them, to say that they had never seen a more confident little cat, and that she had just moved in as if she’d never been anywhere else.  When she met the dog for the first time, she just marched up, said “hello” and then carried on exploring, without hardly breaking step.  Likewise, she just went straight up to the Siamese, touched noses with her and then moved on without a hiss, growl or any apparent cautiousness.  That is one thing I definitely do like about (nice-tempered) Ocicats – they are so easy to integrate because they don’t seem to comprehend that another cat might not like them.

Roo went back to Di’s a couple of weeks later, and Bobby is now reserved for a breeder, so that just leaves Milly to find a new home.  I have had a couple of enquiries for her, but nothing definite yet, so I would still love to hear from anyone who knows of someone who might suit her.

Dàrna’s Kitten

Dàrna’s kitten is now 18 weeks, and as you might have gathered by the fact that we are currently calling her ‘Small’, we don’t have a proper ‘pet name’ for her yet – nothing has jumped out at us as suiting her.  Small isn’t particularly appropriate, because she is a really good-sized girl (like her Mum), but she is the smallest household member at present, so it works at the moment.  Elisabeth calls her ‘Sparkle-sparkle’, because apparently she has the ‘Sparkle Factor’, but we refuse to have a cat called ‘Sparkle’!  She has the cutest little ‘mohawk’ in the middle of her head (a little tuft of fur that always sticks up there), so we have wondered about something to do with ‘Mo’ or ‘Hawk’, but we haven’t got there yet.  I’m sure something will come to us at some point, and in the meantime she can remain as ‘Small’.

We had to give her an ‘official’ name back in July, in order to be able to make up her vaccination card, so I narrowed the list of possibilities down to a shortlist of about half-a-dozen, but hadn’t managed to get any further than that – again, none of the names leapt out as being hers.  In the end, Richard made the decision from the shortlist, so her pedigree name is Cagaran Fileánta, which is pronounced ‘Feelawnta’, and means ‘Poetic’.

Ayla’s Kittens

Ayla was originally expected to have her kittens next week, but she must have been mated earlier than the stud owner realised, and actually had them late on Wednesday.  She is proving to be a fabulous mummy, with the kittens starting out being good weights, and gaining between 8g and 13g in the first 12 hours alone!  Since the kittens are Burmese Restriction, it will be quite a while before we can be even remotely sure on colour, but that is hardly anything new!

Thinking Forwards

I had the Asian BAC meeting on the Sunday following the Edinburgh, and was unanimously elected as the BAC’s representative to Council, which I see as a huge honour and responsibility, since it makes me the official spokesperson for the breed.  I had hoped to apply to the judging scheme this year, because I had originally been told that the minimum requirement is 3 years of breeding experience, which we had last month, but the rule is now 4 years.  I was initially disappointed not to be able to apply, but being made the official spokesperson for the breed (something that I wouldn’t be allowed to do if I was working through the judging scheme) goes a long way to making-up for that disappointment!

While we were on our way to collect Ayla, Anita and Rob arrived at our house for the weekend (great planning, that!), because they were up for the first FIFé show in Scotland, which was held in Perth.  Lona was also attending the show, with Lainni and Tabh, among others, and had some good results, with Tabh taking Best New Breed Neuter on the Saturday (losing out to Sarah’s beautiful Chloe, whom I mentioned earlier), and Lainni taking Overall Best New Breed on the Sunday!  Cailin didn’t do a great deal at the show, but for once she was actually in call at the right time, so she spent the Saturday night through to Monday morning in with Donny, and there was plenty of rolling around and trilling going on, so fingers crossed they managed something.  If she is pregnant, those will be the first kittens to have two Cagaran parents, which will be quite exciting!

I really will try not to take so long before my next post, so watch this space…

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!

Just Kittens

Dàrna has had a single Tiffanie kitten born by C-section, Grace’s Ocicat kittens have had their first vaccinations, and Ayla is ready to go to stud.

Just a quick post to give you some kitten updates:

Ocicat Kittens

Grace’s kittens were nine weeks old on Sunday, and are therefore old enough for their first vaccinations.  Since Monday was a Bank Holiday, I wasn’t working, giving me time to collect the kittens (including finding the little blighters!) from Diane’s, take them to our vet’s for their vaccinations, and then take them back to Diane’s again.  They were beautifully behaved, and are all really good weights for their age, the lightest being over 1.03kg!

The kittens in their basket in the vet's waiting area - I love that Cainnt is clearly so stressed by his first visit to the vet's, that he is falling asleep in the middle!

Dàrna’s Kitten

Dàrna was due between Wednesday and Sunday of last week, so when she still hadn’t started labour by Monday, I took her with me when the Oci kittens went for their vaccinations.  The vet scanned her, and could see no sign of infection and (he thought) two good, strong heartbeats, so he told me to “sit tight” for another couple of days, and bring her back in if she hadn’t had them by Wednesday.  On Wednesday morning, she had quite a bit of discharge, and was rather restless, so the vet suggested leaving her one more day to see whether she was going to deliver them naturally.

In the blanket, coming back from the vets
In the blanket, coming back from the vets - I held him like this, rather than risk Dàrna falling on him in the moving car (I wasn't driving!)

When she still hadn’t had them by yesterday morning, I took her back along, and the vets tried to stimulate contractions with a shot of Oxytocin.  That caused a few contractions, but they were rather half-hearted, and unproductive, so we decided to do a C-section.  It turns out that she only had one kitten, who is large and was the wrong way around – not just his tail facing the birth canal, but actually his back, so there was no way she could have delivered him like that.

Dàrna absolute knackered after her C-section, asleep with her baby between her paws
Dàrna absolute knackered after her C-section, asleep with her baby between her paws

The effects of the anaesthetic pass through to the kitten as well, so he was rather immobile and dopey yesterday afternoon, meaning that he didn’t start to feed until late evening.  However, he was up 5g on his birth weight by the time we were going to bed, and up a further 2g when I got up this morning, so he seems to have got the idea now.  He looks very like his Daddy (Eiteag), and I think he’s some sort of cream: maybe a standard shaded.

Looking more contented this morning, and with the baby feeding
Dàrna looking more contented this morning, and the baby feeding

Ayla Going to Stud

Okay, so it’s not strictly about kittens yet, but that is the desired result!  Ayla had her snap test (FIV/FeLV) this morning, ready to go home with the stud owner after the London Pet Show tomorrow.  I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to her – I know we’re not meant to have favourites, but I am ridiculously fond of Ayla, and can’t imagine having her away for several weeks.  We took Eiteag into the vet at the same time, for his certificate of entirety (the paperwork confirming that all his ‘bits’ are in the right place!), which needs to be lodged with the GCCF before his kitten can be registered.

Incidentally, don’t forget that if you’re in the Earl’s Court area tomorrow, you can come and visit us (and a whole host of different pets, from dogs and cats to birds, micro pigs, fish and exotic beasties) at the London Pet Show.