Summer 2015 Update

Wow; I have to be the worst blogger on the planet! My last update was in August last year – 10 1/2 months without an update surely has to be some kind of record?

Kitten Update:

I’ll start with the bit that most of you are probably interested in… when I last posted we had three litters in the house: Tilly’s, Tia’s and Lhasa’s, making sixteen kittens in total:

Tilly's four kittens in a row on the edge of the bed
Tilly’s four – Isla, Mischka, Horatio and Imp

Tilly’s Kitten 1 (Cagaran Impich / Imp) was an early favourite online because of his distinctive ‘cap’ of dark brown against the silver of the rest of his head. In spite of that, the right home took until between Christmas and New Year to come along, when he was over 7 months old. He went to live with the owner of Mia, one of the girls from our third Ocicat litter.

Imp - Tilly's chocolate silver shaded son
Imp on the windowledge

Tilly’s Kitten 2 (Cagaran Ìla / Isla) went over to live with Maura Lenihan (Coomakista) in Ireland, where they were desperately in need of new Asian bloodlines. She had her first litter last month: seven kittens in a range of colours and coat lengths!

Isla - Tilly's black smoke Tiffanie daughter
Isla on Richard’s legs

Tilly’s Kitten 3 (Cagaran Ifrinnach / Mischka) went to her new home in Paisley, as planned, and is still the little devil she was when she was here. At least her owners can’t say they weren’t warned.

Tilly’s Kitten 4 (Cagaran Iùmh-rud / Mini-Doop now Horatio) won the hearts of our vet and vet nurse and went up to live on their small-holding near Bathgate. He’s even more of a lump than he was back then, now being at least as big as his Dad but still oh so very like him in temperament (and facially).

Tia’s Kitten 1 (Cagaran Jonick / Nicki) now lives with the Lucky Owl cattery in northern Italy. We had a bit of a mammoth journey to get her down there, but spent a lovely couple of days sightseeing in southern Switzerland and northern Italy with her owners before visiting friends in Holland on the way home. We actually drove to Brussels via the Dover-Calais ferry, left the car in Brussels and flew down to Milan; our first experience of having a cat in the cabin!

Tia’s Kitten 2 (Cagaran Julie-Jo / Julie) stayed here with us and made Champion at the end of May. She is really cuddly but also a comedienne and often behaves like a cartoon. In fact, one of her nicknames is Simon’s Cat, because she’s so like the little cartoon.

Tia’s Kitten 3 (Cagaran Jimmy / Jimmy now Oleg) went to live with Sarah Davidson (Karakoram) as a stud boy, as planned. She’s going to do a few matings this year taking advantage of his spots to hopefully get some spotted kittens, and then he will probably be neutered.

Tia’s Kitten 4 (Cagaran Jinking-Jillet / Jill now Duchess) turned out to be a ticked tabby rather than a shaded and went to live with a lovely couple in Daventry who will hopefully be having a litter from her this year. They have bred British Shorthairs and have a Tiffanie neuter, so her kittens will be their first Asians, though not their first kittens.

Tia’s Kitten 7 (Cagaran Jimp-n-Joco / Jock) went to live with Mischka and her owners. Unfortunately, he contracted an infection a couple of months ago, and after fighting it for a few weeks, eventually had to be put to sleep. His owners are absolutely devastated and Mischka spent the first couple of weeks pining for him. This is particularly rough given that Jock fought so hard for life in the first place, being the only one of Tia’s three ‘tinies’ to survive. Perhaps his system never had developed fully, leaving him susceptible to infection; we’ll never know.

Lhasa’s Kitten 1 (Cagaran Kittling-o-Hinnie / Honey) accompanied Isla to Ireland, though she lives with a different breeder (Geralyn Bowles). We also took Eiteag over to live with Ger for the time-being, again to help boost the Irish blood-lines.

Lhasa’s Kitten 2 (Cagaran Kelpie / Kelpie) and
Lhasa’s Kitten 6 (Cagaran Killiemahou / Killie) live together with a lovely family just outside Bristol. These two were close as kittens and are still very close now that they’re adults. We dropped them off on our way to Dover to take Nicki to Switzerland.

Lhasa’s Kitten 3 (Cagaran Karriwhitchit / Widget now Oliver) now lives in Leamington Spa with a lovely couple whose grandkids dote on him. We went back to visit in February and it was obvious that he has his ‘parents’ very firmly wrapped around his little paw.

Lhasa’s Kitten 4 (Cagaran Keekers) stayed here with us and will hopefully undertake his first ‘stud duties’ later this year. We decided to re-register him as a shaded because his pattern is so light that it’s barely visible. He made Champion at the end of May and then picked up a Grand last month, in his first attempt in the class.

Lhasa’s Kitten 5 (Cagaran Kievie) was booked to go and live with the people who eventually had Nicki from us but when she was weaning she ate something (perhaps some litter) that clogged her gut and took her from us. I have photos of her taken late one evening, where she’s flying around, playing happily, but she was very lethargic when we got up the next morning so we rushed her to the vet who operated but lost her while she was under anaesthetic. Of course it was sod’s law that she was the only kitten in the litter who was booked at that point, so not only did we have to deal with our own sadness at losing her, but also the sadness of the people who were meant to have been her owners.

Kievie on the bed
One of the photos of Kievie taken on the evening before she died

Lhasa’s Kitten 7 (Cagaran Kenspeckle / Finley) lives with the lovely young vet who was originally going to have B-B from us, right back in 2010. She’d had various changes of circumstances in the meantime, but was finally settled down and ready to have her kitten so she and her boyfriend came up to stay with us for a weekend (sleeping in the kitten room with 12 kittens!) and chose Finley, who now lives with a teenage Tiffanie neuter, a British shorthair, two moggies and two house-rabbits.

At the end of the summer we took Small down to Helen Marriott-Power, for a visit with her cream Burmese boy, Quin (I GR CH Mainman Quintessence). Small delivered us five cream shaded kittens in October; our first litter of all-the-same-colour Asians, which was a slightly weird experience! We’ve kept back Lura (Cagaran Lurach) to bring the Burmese outcross genes into our lines and the other kittens have gone to pet homes: two to different homes in the Glasgow area, one to Edinburgh and the last to live with Finley’s owner’s mum in Wales (she’d fallen in love with Finley but wanted a shorthair so Elysé put her in touch with us).

We held off putting anyone else in kitten until all of Tilly, Tia and Lhasa’s kittens had found homes, but once Imp left us in December, we mated Ayla to Donny.  Since she’s petite and only had two kittens last time, we were expecting the same again, but she actually gave us a litter of five.  Unfortunately the smallest of these was far too small and never breathed, even with half an hour of resuscitation attempts.

The others were two brown tortie silver shaded Tiffanie girls (one a harlequin-style tortie like Donny’s litter-sister, Quinn, and the other a more subtle tortie typical of our Dàrna-descendants), a brown silver ticked tabby Asian girl and an apricot silver shaded Burmilla boy.  Three of the kittens started out very small but soon caught up to, and surpassed, their larger sibling, and, like the two in her last litter, all four are a normal size for their age, in spite of their mother’s diminutive proportions.

Having had Horatio from us last year, our vet and vet nurse had decided that they wanted a second Asian and since these kittens were Horatio’s half-siblings (he was also out of Donny), they got first pick of this litter and chose one of the Tiffanie girls, who they’ve called Aurora.  The two shorthairs have gone to live together near Berwick; we dropped them off on Saturday and they were already racing around, completely uninterested in us, by the time we left.  The other Tiffanie girl is going to join Duchess in Daventry and will hopefully have kittens of her own in a year or so.

Kitten News

We put Tilly and Tia in with boys at the end of April and they are busily nesting at present.  Tilly is due kittens imminently: she’s at 65 days today and like last year, the father of the kittens is Donny.  We’re hoping for a female version of Horatio – a female, Tiffanie version of their father, in other words.

The father of Tia’s kittens is Zuko, our Australian-Mist outcross boy, so their kittens will be F2s and we’ll be hoping for a cinnamon-carrier with reasonable type to continue that line into the next generation.

Other News

Dàrna made Premier at the Teesside back in August, then followed that by making Grand Premier at the Nor’East of Scotland in May.  Meanwhile, Tia made up to Grand Champion at the Lancashire in March.  To our amazement, Lhasa’s daughter, Honey (who lives in Ireland) went Overall Best Foreign at the Cumberland show in October, and then Keeker and Julie did us proud at the Supreme, taking 2nd and 3rd place in the Special kitten classes, which had somewhere over 50 competitors.

Ali’s favourite person in the whole world has always been our friend, Carrie, who lived with us for a time back in 2006-8 and we’d promised years ago that when she finally got a house of her own, she could take Ali to live with her.  That happened last autumn, so he went to live with her in Falkirk, along with a rescue kitten from Rhodes.  Shortly after that, however, she was offered a post in Jersey, so with human and pet passports in order, the three moved to sunnier climes in March.

Since Bru seemed to have outgrown any issues caused by his single-lung status, we began looking out for a home for him last summer.  The right people came along in November: a local family with three boys, who had recently lost one of their two cats.  Since Bru was so close to his sister, Cheeky, we decided to let her go with him and the two have settled in extremely well down in Bo’ness.

The final, and surprise, re-home of the year was Small, who seemed to fall in love with a couple who came to see her kittens, and ended up asking for her instead.  However much we might love the cats, we try to leave decisions about their homing up to them, so we had her spayed at the same time as her kittens and, once she was recovered, drove her across to meet their other cats.  She now takes daily walks with them to look after their horses and seems at least as happy there as she was here.

Richard and I had agreed to be show managers for the West of Scotland show that was meant to be held in December of last year.  By the summer of last year, it was becoming obvious that we weren’t going to be able to get enough judges due to a clash with a big show down south, so the show was moved to the end of January, in a new venue up in Scotstoun.

However, we’d no sooner got that arranged than the Scottish Cat Club came to me saying that their show manager had resigned and asking if I’d manage their show in February.  I told them I couldn’t possibly manage the two largest shows in Scotland, only three weeks apart, in my first ‘outing’ as a show manager, so I suggested that they consider joining the West in a ‘back-to-back’ or double show, where the two clubs share the hall, judges, etc. so the management would only have to be done once.

After a few days consideration, they came back to say that they would like to do that, for this one year.  The Scotstoun venue had only just been big enough for the West by itself, so having the two clubs together required a renewed venue hunt, including going back to some of the venues who had previously turned us down and begging them to consider at least trying a cat show.  Luckily, the manager of the Ravenscraig sports centre in Motherwell took pity on me (after I agreed to personally mop the floor if it wasn’t left sufficiently clean) and agreed to host the show.  They didn’t have availability on our date so we had to move a week earlier to the 17th of January.

By that point it was November, leaving us with only two months to plan the first double show in Scotland; not necessarily the way that I had intended to undertake my first time as a show manager (all my previous shows I’d only been an assistant).  However, we managed; the judges rallied round to help us and we had some fabulous helpers on the day, and the show seemed to go down well.

It was successful enough that the Scottish decided to abandon their one-year-only policy and opted to do the same thing next year.  This time we’ll be back in December, but on a date where there isn’t another show, and I’ve got a full complement of judges booked already, thankfully.  We’re in the same venue again, since it proved very popular with exhibitors and judges alike, and we should be able to iron out the few niggles that didn’t quite work last time around.  Of course, we’ll no doubt do something else wrong instead…

Our friend Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russians) is now a full judge of Russians and a probationer of Asians (as well as Korats, of which she’s getting close to being ready to progress to full judge) and I was elected to the GCCF Board of Directors last month.

Our final, and arguably most important, piece of news is that Richard and I got engaged in November of last year and are planning our wedding for the 18th of April next year – the 15th anniversary of the day we started dating!  We’ve been living together 14 years this summer so it doesn’t change much beyond our official marital status, but at least it solves the question of what to refer to him as – he can now be my fiancé instead of my ‘partner’!

Even More Kittens

Tia and Lhasa had seven kittens each, but sadly two of Lhasa’s tiny kittens didn’t make it. The remaining twelve kittens, as well as Tilly’s four, have all grown well, though. Dàrna won her first two PCs at the Humberside & Lincs show and Small has gone off to stud with one of Helen Marriott-Power’s boys. Richard was elected as Vice-Chair of the AGCS.

Unfortunately, I can’t get WordPress to accept any image uploads this evening, so I’m putting the blog up and will add the images as soon as it’s possible to get them uploaded.

Okay, so it’s taken me ages to get around to doing another update after my announcement of the arrival of Tia’s kittens, but at least you got the announcement of one of the births in a timely fashion! With looking after the three litters, including having to syringe-feed Tia’s smallest ones, there was just never a good moment to post.

Tia and Lhasa’s Combined Litter

Unfortunately, Tia’s second-smallest kitten died part-way through the Friday, but somehow he had seemed like he was never meant to be. Far more devastating was the loss of her smallest at 12 days: by the time you’ve been syringe-feeding a kitten for as long as that, you’re starting to think that it’s going to make it, but she died in my hands after her early-evening feed and I was absolutely devastated. Thanking heaven for small mercies, though, the biggest of Tia’s tinies did pull through and is now probably the most characterful kitten in the whole litter!

Once Tia’s kittens arrived, we had to cover her nest box or Lhasa would hop in and try to run off with the kittens to her nest box. When Lhasa went into labour, Tia climbed into the box with her, lay down behind her so that Lhasa was leaning against her, and gave her a quick lick as if to say “I’m here; just breathe”. As each kitten arrived, the two girls cleaned them up together and then Tia looked after the newborns while Lhasa concentrated on the next delivery. It was very cute to watch the two experienced mums working together – when we’ve had two girls sharing during a delivery in the past, it’s been one experienced girl and one first-timer, so it was interesting to see how these two divided the duties, rather than one coaching the other.

Once Lhasa was finished, and the kittens were all cleaned up, we changed the bedding to take away the delivery-soiled towels, and then moved Tia’s kittens into the nest alongside Lhasa’s, since it was obvious that the two would be happier in together. The two litters have therefore grown up as one giant litter, and I’m sure they don’t have a clue which of the two is actually their mum.

They are just approaching six weeks and are starting to show individual personalities, but at the moment these are not distinctive enough for us to start naming them. They are therefore still known as ‘Tia’s Kitten 1’, ‘Lhasa’s Kitten 6′, and so on:

Tia’s Kitten 1 – lilac tortie BCR (Burmese Colour Restriction) silver shaded Burmilla female.

Tia’s Kitten 2 – lilac tortie BCR silver spotted Burmilla or Tiffanie (not sure) female. At the moment, I’m leaning towards this one being ours.

Tia’s Kitten 3 – lilac FEX (Full Expression, i.e. not BCR) spotted Asian Tabby male (might be silver). At the moment, this boy is reserved for Sarah Davidson, who owned the kittens’ grandsire, Shogun, because she has been wanting to get another spotty stud since Shogun was neutered. She’ll come and look at him when he is a bit older, and decide whether she wants him or not.

Tia’s Kitten 4 – brown tortie BCR shaded Burmilla female.

Tia’s Kitten 7 – brown silver shaded (tipped) Burmilla male. This is the one who was hand-fed for the first week or so and he is such a character and loves his cuddles and kisses.

Lhasa’s Kitten 1 – chocolate tortie BCR classic tabby Tiffanie female (might be silver). This is probably my favourite of Lhasa’s kittens for type, but since we’re keeping a girl from Tia’s litter, I want to keep one of Lhasa’s boys instead. Typical!

Lhasa’s Kitten 2 – brown BCR silver shaded Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 3 – lilac (maybe chocolate) BCR silver shaded Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 4 – lilac (maybe chocolate) BCR silver classic tabby Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 5 – chocolate tortie BCR silver shaded Tiffanie female. At the moment, she is reserved for John and Theresa Beale, because they’re looking for a silver shaded Tiffanie female. Again, we’ll see how she develops before they decide for certain.

Lhasa’s Kitten 6 – chocolate BCR silver spotted tabby Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 7 – brown BCR silver spotted tabby Tiffanie male.

At the moment, the kitten we keep from Lhasa’s litter is between Kitten 4 and Kitten 7, but I won’t decide until we see how both type and personality develop over the next few weeks.

The fact that both Tia and Lhasa’s litters contained seven kittens takes Eiteag’s average to four kittens per litter, which is the expected average and therefore allays my fears about there being something amiss with his fertility due to both Small and Hailey being single-kitten-litters.  That means that if the people in Eastern Europe who had previously expressed an interest in him are still looking for a Tiffanie stud, I would feel much more comfortable letting him go out there, knowing that he is fully fertile.  My original thinking was to have him neutered once we had the litters from Tia and Lhasa, but having seen him working, he enjoys his job far too much to take that away from him.  Donny doesn’t care either way – he would be just as happy to be a neutered pet as to be a stud cat, but Eiteag loves working as a stud!

Tilly’s Kittens:

Tilly’s kittens are getting close to being ready to leave us, so I really must start looking for new homes.  They will have their second vaccinations later this week, go in to be neutered/spayed next week and then be ready to go to their new homes the week after.

Kitten 1 – chocolate FEX silver shaded Burmilla male.  Pet name: Imp.  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Impich, which means ‘persuade’, because he’s very vocal about telling you when he wants food, play or a cuddle.  It’s pronounced as it looks, with ‘ch’ as in the Scottish ‘loch’.  He’s a right little monkey and gets up to all sorts of mischief with his partner in crime, Mischka (Kitten 3).

Kitten 2 – black FEX smoke Tiffanie female.  Pet name: Isla.  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ìla, which is the Gaelic form of the island name Islay.  It’s pronounced the same way as the island (the pronunciation ending in ‘a’ rather than ‘ay’).

Kitten 3 – chocolate BCR silver shaded Burmilla female.  Pet name: Mischka (chosen by her new owners).  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ifrinnach, which means ‘fiend’ or ‘demon’, because she’s an absolute devil-child!

Kitten 4 – brown BCR smoke Tiffanie male.  Pet name: Mini-Doop or Doopy-Two (due to his resemblance to his Dad), Sumo or Lump (due to his size) or Yoda (because my brother thinks he looks like Yoda).  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Iùmh-rud, which means ‘lump’.  It’s pronounced Ee-oov-root.

Other Cat Stuff:

The Edinburgh & East show was on the 19th of July, and though we couldn’t enter because we decided to do the Humberside & Lincs the following weekend, we did help to set up on the Friday evening and then visited to assist the following day.  I spent a lovely day stewarding for Steve Crow, whom I haven’t stewarded for in a couple of years.

The Humberside & Lincs show is in Newark, which is only about 40 minutes from Richard’s parents house, so is always a good excuse to pay them a visit.  That weekend also suited the bulk of the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society) Committee for their summer Committee meeting, and if we were going to be going as far as Kettering for that meeting, we decided that we might as well fit in the double-show at the same time.  We took Dàrna to try for her first PCs and also arranged for Helen Marriott-Power to take Small home with her from the show, to ‘meet’ one of her stud boys.  Since Small was going to be at the show for that purpose anyway, we decided to enter her in the Grand on the off-chance that the judge would be in a lenient mood, but really she still looks too immature to win and indeed she wasn’t placed in either show.  She did win Best of Breed in both shows, though, as did Dàrna, who also won the two PCs.  During the show day, Richard and I caught up on some shopping in Grantham and had a lovely walk in the gardens of the National-Trust-owned Belton House.

At the Committee meeting the following day, Steve stepped down as Chairman, since he is now Chairman of the GCCF itself, and Sarndra Devereux (Rainsong Burmese and Asians) took over as Chair with Richard elected to the position of Vice-Chair.  As always, the meeting was held in the beer garden of a pub in Kettering and was a fabulously relaxed afternoon.

On the way home, we called in at Anita’s, since she had been unable to attend the meeting due to midwife duties for Breagha.  This did let us meet the three litters that Anita has at the moment, thought – two ‘oops’ Tiffanie x Ocicat kittens from Cailin (Anita’s Ocicat stud boy, Chippie, managed to get to her!); three gorgeous Ocicats (one tawny, two cinnamon) from Bobbi by a lovely Swedish import boy, of which Anita is keeping the girl; and another three from Breagha by Chippie – a chocolate silver Ocicat Classic, a cinnamon silver Ocicat and a cinnamon Ocicat.  We joked that we and Anita have our litters the wrong way around at the moment – we have three litters from girls we didn’t breed, including one bred by Anita (though we did breed her mum), and she has three litters from girls that we bred!

Cailin and her chocolate spotted tabby daughter in a basket at Anita's
Cailin and her very Oci-like half-Oci daughter

Cailin's silver shaded son asleep on a blanket
Cailin’s very Asian-like half-Oci son

We’ve also just had Tármus (our first Ocicat neuter girl) and Simba (one of the grown-up kittens form our first Ocicat litter) back to stay with us for their three-week summer holiday (their people were away to the US for a special birthday celebration).  I always enjoy having these two back for their holidays, not least because it gives us a chance to see how they’re both doing, three years after leaving us.

Another Catch-Up and…. Kittens!!

Quinn made Grand at the Nor’East, Cheeky made Premier at the Lakeland and we had another good day representing the Asian Group at the London Pet Show. Tilly has a litter of four kittens, born on the 22nd of May – two boys and two girls in a variety of colours – and Tia and Lhasa are due imminently. In addition, two of Anita’s Cagarans have also had litters – two ‘oops’ kittens for Cailin and three lovely Ocicats for Bobbi.

Once again it is well over two months since my last post, and I must offer my apologies to all the people who have messaged me asking if everything is okay and begging for an update on whether we have kittens – sorry!  We haven’t had any problems and in fact, everything is great – we’ve just had confirmation that every cat in the household is Tritrich negative (yay!) and we have plenty of exciting kitten news…

Shows

We’ve only done two competitive shows since my last post: the Scottish Shorthair back in April, and the Lakeland in the middle of last month.  We also represented the Asians at the London Pet Show again, in May.

Our most exciting show news is actually from the Nor’East, which we attended to help, but couldn’t show at ourselves due to the LPS being the following weekend.  Thankfully there were still some Cagaran’s present, with Lona showing Lainni and Tracey showing Quinn, however. The tortie devil did us proud, winning her third and final Grand certificate, making her up to Grand Premier – the fourth Cagaran to win the Grand title, and the first Cagaran to hold three titles (Premier, Grand and Mastercat).  Congratulations to both Tracey and Quinn and thanks, Tracey, for giving her such a fabulous home!

Quinn in her pen at the Nor'East, with her rosette, giving us some tortitude
Quinn talking in her pen at the Nor’East

Lainni in her pen at the Nor'East
Lainni looking gorgeous

At both the Scottish Shorthair and the Lakeland, we only took Cheeky to try for her PCs, which she won, making her up to Premier.  This seems somehow fitting, given that the Lakeland is the show at which our original Ocicat neuter, Tármus, made Premier back in 2009!  Tármus got us interested in breeding Ocis and Cheeky is the last of our dabble in the breed, so I guess that makes the Lakeland the bookends of our Ocicat experience.  The Lakeland this year was also on the most gorgeous day, so Richard and I went for a long walk, taking in Kendal Castle and one of the local ridges with stunning 360º views – down to Morecambe bay, up into the mountains of the Lakes and across to the western Dales.

Cheeky in her Lakeland pen with her rosettes and Premier certificate
Cheeky with her awards at the Lakeland

Richard and I under a blue sky with fluffy clouds, Kendal in the midground and the mountains of Cumbria in the background
Richard and I at the top of ‘The Helm’ behind Kendal, with the town in the mid-ground and the mountains of the Lakes in the background

The London Pet Show was fabulous as usual and we had a fantastic day.  We took four representatives for the Asian breed: Ayla and Small representing Tiffanies (and showing a silver and a non-silver) and Zuko and Hailey representing Asian Shorthairs.  As previous readers of our blog will know, Hailey hadn’t yet made it to a show, so I was half prepared to just have her sitting in her pen to allow people to see a classic Asian (they’re pretty rare), but she turned out to be our superstar for the day – she and Ayla spent the whole day sitting out on their bed, cleaning each other and talking to their adoring public.  I was so proud!  Zuko also spent most of the day on the table, cuddled up in his bed and allowing the spectators to give him whatever attention they wanted but without really paying them much attention.  Small didn’t like the noise from the tannoy system that was blasting out on the next exhibit, so she was more relaxed in her pen, where she sprawled around looking adorable and talking to the people who looked in through the front of her cage.

Ayla and Hailey on their cushion at one end of the table, with Zuko in his bed at the other end and the club materials laid out inbetween
Ayla, Hailey and Zuko on the table

Zuko curled up in his bed, allowing himself to be stroked
Zuko letting the public stroke him
Small lying across her pen, using her litter tray as a pillow
Small relaxing in her pen

The night of the LPS was also the annual GCCF Gala Dinner, so we went straight from London to Cambridge.  We shared a table with Anita and Elisabeth, among others, and had a fabulous night.  This year they had a karaoke machine which those of you who knew me in my teens will not be surprised to hear that I was persuaded to sing on.  After supporting ‘the Birman crew’ who couldn’t remember how the verses of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ went, I also sang a couple of duets with Sally Rainbow-Ockwell – what a team we made!  I think we finally went to bed about 4am, tired but having had a fantastic time, and I’m already looking forward to next year…

Kittens

Okay, the reason that most of you are probably reading this – the kittens…

Tilly delivered six kittens on the 22nd of May, but unfortunately she had four big kittens and two tiny ones.  The tinies were just too small: one never breathed at all and the other slipped away after about half-an-hour of mouth-to-mouth and attempts to stimulate him the way I did with Hailey last year.  I continued my efforts for probably ten or fifteen minutes after that but eventually had to accept that I wasn’t going to be successful this time.  As is usually the case with mother cats, Tilly showed absolutely no interest in the two kittens that died, not even attempting to open their sacks or clean them up, so she obviously knew what I wouldn’t admit until there could be no doubt.  As sad as the loss of those two little ones made me, I am delighted to report that the other four are lively and adorable and doing really well.  They will be six weeks this week and are starting to show their individual personalities.

Tilly with the four kittens once they were cleaned up
Tilly with her four kittens once they were all cleaned up and we had changed her onto clean bedding

The four kittens lying together by their mum's foot
A closer view of the four kittens.  From left to right: kitten 4, kitten 2, kitten 3 and kitten 1

Kitten 1 is a chocolate silver shaded male, and I think he’s a shorthair.  He’s quite gentle but very outgoing and loves his cuddles, especially if you lie him on his back and rub his shoulders and the sides of his neck.  Actually, this whole litter seem to find that completely mesmeric and will flop like little ragdolls when I do that.

Kitten 1 in my hand at 12 hours old
Kitten 1 at 12 hours old

Kitten 1 looking up from his bed a couple of days ago
Kitten 1 now

Kitten 2 is a black smoke female, and looks to be a Tiffanie.  At the moment, she is the shyest but also the most talkative in the litter and likes to follow us around the room.  She always answers back when she’s spoken to, and reminds me a lot of her mum.

Kitten 2 nestling in my hand at 12 hours old
Kitten 2 at 12 hours old

Kitten 2 peeking up from her basket a couple of days ago
Kitten 2 now

Kitten 3 is a chocolate silver shaded Burmese restriction female.  Her coat is fairly short, so she might be a shorthair, but the texture and appearance reminds me of Cailin’s (Tilly’s mum) at the same age, and she turned out to be a Tiffanie, so I’m reserving judgement at the moment.  She is an absolute minx, but has been Richard’s favourite since the start and there’s something very endearing about her.  She and the fourth kitten are the adventurers and are always the first two to try everything: when we moved the kittens down to the back bedroom yesterday, I asked Richard how long he reckoned it would be before one of those two found their way up into the box on the scratching post and sure enough, maybe five minutes later, there she was!

Kitten 3 resting on my hand at 12 hours old
Kitten 3 at 12 hours old

Kitten 3 asleep on the floor last night
Kitten 3 asleep on the floor last night – she had been in the bed behind, but fell out whilst sleeping!

Kitten 4 is a brown smoke (Burmese restriction) male, like his father, but he’s a Tiffanie, whereas Donny is a shorthair.  He’s always been the biggest kitten in the litter, earning him the nickname ‘Lump’ from an early age, but as he’s grown up, he’s become so like his Dad in temperament as well as looks that he’s now known as ‘mini-Doop’ (Doop being one of Donny’s nicknames).  As if two nicknames aren’t enough, my brother calls him Yoda, due to his wise, slightly mournful expression.  As you might gather from the number of nicknames, he’s a bit of a character, but in a very laid-back manner.  Whereas Kitten 3 tackles her adventures with an endearing cheekiness, he just takes everything in his stride and since nothing phases him, he’s frequently the first to try new things.  He started eating biscuits at less than three weeks old and was the first to figure out how to jump out of the kitten pen.

Kitten 4 resting his head on the heel of my hand at 12 hours old
Kitten 4 at 12 hours old

Kitten 4 meeting his Dad a few days ago
Kitten 4 a few days ago

At the moment, you’ll gather that Kittens 3 and 4 have more personality than the other two, who are just very sweet and gentle at the moment.  I would expect that by the time I next do an update, I’ll have a lot more to say about them because they’re personalities will have developed more fully by then.

Both Tia and Lhasa are heavily pregnant and due any time from today.  I honestly will try and at least do a quick update after the births, to let you know the kittens have arrived safely!  Aside from our own kittens, Anita’s also had litters from both Cailin (CH Cagaran Cailin-Anizz) and Bobbi (Cagaran Ceann-Ciatach) recently.  Cailin had an ‘oops’ mating with Anita’s Ocicat stud, so the kittens are technically first-generation Asians – one silver spotted girl and a silver shaded boy.  Bobbi was mated to a Swedish import boy that Anita’s been wanting to have a litter from and she had three kittens: a tawny boy, a chocolate boy and a chocolate girl.  The chocolate girl will be staying with Anita to both continue the outcross line (You may remember that Bobbi was second-generation from our Ocicat-Abyssinian outcross) and keep the new Swedish line in Anita’s breeding programme.

Lhasa lying in her nest box, on her back, looking heavily pregnant
Lhasa in her nest box today, looking very pregnant and showing her Burmese scowl

Tia in her nest box
Tia in her nest box today.  We don’t normally cover their nests but Lhasa keeps trying to jump in with Tia if the box is uncovered!

 

Kittens Going and New Ones on the Way

The Somali kittens and Frenchie (now Sam) have found a new home together, and may be shown and even bred from, in the case of the girls. At recent shows, Small and Bobbi have made up to Champion, Donny won his fourth Imperial and Cheeky her first PC, plus we’ve had a couple of Reserve Grands for Eiteag and Ayla. Tia, Lhasa and Tilly have been mated, and we are waiting to see if they are pregnant.

I really must find a better approach to setting aside time to do regular updates – it’s been over two months since my last one, and that was three months from the previous one, so this is only my third post in the past six months!

Kittens in New Homes

When I last posted, we were looking for homes for the two Somali kittens (though I was tempted to keep Molly), and Frenchie.  We had a whole host of enquiries for the Somalis and several for Frenchie as well, but one of the first enquiries was from a lovely couple who live near Alexandria and used to breed Siamese.  They have recently lost their elderly Siamese and although they have two young Siamese as well, they were looking for something to fill the gap (I understand that need, having done exactly the same thing when we lost Tiger and then again when we lost Gealbhan).  They came out to meet the kittens, with a view to getting two, and when they left us after a few hours of getting to know the kittens, and meeting all the adults, they said that they definitely wanted two, but had to discuss which two to have.  As soon as they got home, however, they rang to say that they had decided that they would like all three, if that was possible.

The cats had all adored them, and Annas had even sat on Derek’s knee, which is as high a praise of a stranger as Annas can possibly offer – she’s not generally keen on new people.  Irene also asked if we would consider allowing them to have a litter from Molly when she is old enough, and offered to keep Frenchie entire to act as a back-up for the outcross, in case Zuko couldn’t produce kittens for us.  Between the cats’ reactions to them, the possibility of starting another Somali breeder, having a back-up to Zuko for the outcross and also the lovely thought of having the three kittens living together, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes.

The Somali kittens hadn’t had their second vaccinations yet, but Frenchie was ready to leave immediately, so they asked if they could have her first, with the Somalis to follow when they were ready.  They decided to rename her Samantha, or Sam for short, and I drove her over to their house that weekend, where she settled in immediately, and decided that she was going to be mum to the two Siamese, who seem happy being mothered.  Irene and Derek visited us a couple of weeks later, with their daughter, to see the Somali kittens again, and then the following weekend having received their second vaccinations, and with Harry neutered, I took the Somalis to join their new family.  All three have settled in well with eachother and also their new Siamese brothers, and I think we’ll be seeing a couple of them at a show soon, so watch this space!

On a sad note, I have just received word that Hamish, one of Bobbi’s brothers, has been killed in the lane beside his house.  Harry and Hamish were both cinnamon Ocicat Variants, and went to live together down in Ayrshire, where their owner absolutely doted on them.  Unfortunately, Hamish got out and went onto the lane by the house, where one of the neighbours saw him being hit by a car doing at least 40mph, in spite of the 20mph speed limit.  He was killed immediately, which at least means he didn’t suffer, but poor Harry is absolutely devastated.  His owner thinks he probably saw the accident, because he came flying into the house looking really shaken, and has been reluctant to go outside since.

Recent Shows

Since my last post, we’ve been to four shows: the Scottish, the Lancs, the Preston & Blackpool and the joint Midland Counties/Shorthair Cat Society/Asian Group Cat Society.

We had entered both Small and Dàrna in the Scottish, Small for her first CC, and Dàrna in case she didn’t win her fifth Imperial at the Shropshire.  Having had her make up at the Shropshire, I considered leaving her at home for the Scottish, but since she was to be spayed the following week, it seemed a shame to miss the last possibility of taking her out as an entire.  Small won her CC, and had some lovely comments from judges, and as it happens, Dàrna didn’t win the Imperial anyway, losing out to a very typey Devon Rex, but it was indeed lovely to have the two girls out as adults together one last time.

The Lancs was the last opportunity to take Zuko out as a Pedigree Pet, until he has finished his part in the outcross and been neutered (cats over six months must be neutered in the HP section), so obviously I wanted to take him and Small, since she was trying for her second CC.  Since the Lancs were offering a reduced entry fee, we also decided to try Cheeky for her first PC, and had entered Hailey alongside Zuko.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I had entered Hailey, so we didn’t actually take her to the show!  Zuko had a good day, winning his 1st and Best of Colour, and with good results in his side classes, and Small won her second CC and Best of Breed, and had her coat described as having been “made in heaven”.  Cheeky was very shy, and was also looking skinny due to living with Ali, who is an absolute hoover for food, so she didn’t get her award.

At the Preston & Blackpool, Hailey’s Pedigree Pet judge was to be Janet Wilshaw, whom I suspect would love her type, so I entered her there.  A couple of days before the show, she fell off a scratching post whilst playing, and bumped her eye on the corner of a litter tray, resulting in a scratch and a very sore eye, so we couldn’t take her to that one either.  As it happens, Janet was ill that day, so at least we didn’t miss having Janet judge her, but I’m still disappointed that we haven’t been able to take her out (like Zuko, she’s now too old to go out until she’s been spayed).  Cheeky was still very skinny, and although shy, was much happier than at the Lancs, even rolling onto her back to have her tummy stroked before we left her in the morning, but still didn’t get her certificate.  Small was our saving grace, making up to Champion with her third CC, and also taking BOB again.

As an aside, Hailey’s eye was sore for a few days, but was well enough that by the week after the show, she could have been shown, so the timing was just sod’s law!

Last Sunday was the joint show, and since this is Richard’s peak season, he can’t really take Monday’s off work, so I drove to this one myself.  Anita invited me to stay on the Saturday and Sunday nights, so I took the Monday off and drove down on the Saturday and back Monday.  We entered three cats to support the AGCS (Donny in the Imperial and Eiteag and Ayla in the Grand), and since we had the option, figured that we might as well enter them in the Shorthair show as well.

In addition, we decided to have another go with Cheeky, to see whether she continued to be more content with each show, and tried moving Ali to a different room straight after the Preston & Blackpool, leaving just Cheeky and Bru together, so that they could have food down all the time (Ali will just keep eating, even if it means he has to throw up to make more room, and gets very fat).  That made a huge difference to Cheeky’s condition, and by the time of the show, her coat was glossier and she had filled out nicely.  That improvement, combined with the fact that she was almost totally relaxed this time, meant that she was finally awarded her first certificate.  Eiteag and Ayla both won a Reserve Grand in one show, and didn’t place in the other, but competition was strong, and we weren’t expecting them to win at all – they were only there to support the club, so I can’t be too upset!  Donny didn’t place in one of the shows, but surprised me by winning the Imperial in the other (again, he was there just for support), taking his total to four, and meaning that he only has one to go!

Sue also had Bobbi entered in the Shorthair, to try for her third and final CC, which she won, making her the thirteenth titled Cagaran.  Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances, Sue is not going to be able to take Bobbi, but since Anita lost one of her Ocicat girls last year, she is interested in having Bobbi.  Although Anita already has Bobbi’s half-sister, the relationship is through their mother, who is first-generation from the outcross line, and the father’s pedigrees are completely different, so Bobbi could still be of benefit to Anita’s breeding.

Next Litters

In my last post, I said that we were planning to give Tia, Lhasa and Tilly one more call, and then mate all three of them in March, and for a change, we actually did what we were planning to do, putting Tia and Lhasa with Eiteag, and Tilly with Donny.  We know that Tia was mated numerous times, Lhasa at least once, and Donny certainly made a good try of it with Tilly (he’d pulled most of the fur out of the back of her neck!), so we’re now just keeping our fingers crossed.  All three girls have gained weight since being mated, but only Tilly actually seems to have pinked up.  With the other two the weight gain could just be due to the relief of finally having had a mate after such a long gap.  If they haven’t taken, we’ll try them again on their next calls, and I promise I’ll keep you posted!

On a totally non-cat subject, I’d like to thank those of you who came to the concert last night at the Church of the Holyrude in Stirling, where I was singing Mozart’s Requiem and some other pieces, with the Stirling City Choir.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and hope you did too!

Catching Up Once Again!

Eiteag’s kitten is now named Hailey, short for ‘Haillie-a-Jo’. Dàrna made up to Imperial and everyone else continues to do well.

We had a good day at the Supreme show, with Small in competition and Eiteag and Dàrna on Club Row. Both RACCS and the West of Scotland went well, which was a relief, given that I was ASM for the former, and we were both ASMs for the latter.

It’s been three months since my last post – I’m really not very good at this regular-posting malarky, am I?!  Before Christmas, I had a very good excuse – Assistant Show Managing for two shows in December was a lot of work.  However, I started writing this post between Christmas and New Year, and there’s really no excuse for it not to have been finished ages ago.  However, I will finish it today!

Surprise Kittens

You may remember that we sent Sonia away to stud back in June, but after three months of she and the stud cuddling up together but apparently not doing anything, we brought her home again.  Well… on the evening of the 8th of November (Friday), I picked Sonia up for a cuddle, and realised that her nipples were swollen, and that she looked distinctly pregnant!

She had been kept in isolation in the spare room, since returning from stud, because she was having bad diarrhoea, for which we hadn’t yet managed to determine a cause.  However, she had managed to escape from the spare room a couple of times, which wasn’t a problem, because she only escaped into the hallway, and there aren’t any other cats in there anyway.  However, occasionally Donny also escapes from the bathroom, where he and Eiteag live to keep them apart from the girls, and although I couldn’t recall the two ever escaping at the same time, I had the horrible thought that perhaps she and Donny had been out together and he had mated her.

At that point, Ayla and her kittens were still in the kitten room, so that night we shut the other cats out of the front bedroom and gave it a thorough clean, intending to let it stand for a few days before moving Ayla and her kittens into it, and then the kitten room could be cleaned out and allowed to stand for a few days before Sonia was moved into there.  We usually leave a room empty for a few days before moving kittens or pregnant girls in, just to be on the safe side with the delicate immune systems.

On the Sunday evening, however, I picked Sonia up and realised that she was spotting blood.  My first thought was to wonder if something had gone wrong with the pregnancy, but then I realised that she was actually in pre-labour.  We considered leaving Sonia where she was, because we wouldn’t normally move a queen so close to birthing, but the spare room really isn’t suitable for a queen with kittens – there are all sorts of places where the kittens could be hidden away, or could fall or get separated from their mum.  We therefore moved Ayla and her kittens into the front bedroom, gave the kitten room a thorough clean, and then moved Sonia across to there.  On the plus-side, having her kittens when she did left no doubt as to who the father was, because she would have had to have conceived whilst still at stud!

We spent the night in the kitten room, and early the next morning, I thought I heard Ayla’s adopted kitten squealing.  I dreamt that one of the other kittens was standing on her, but somewhere deep in my subconscious, something was obviously awake, and registered that Ayla and her kittens weren’t in the room with us any more.  I got up and checked the kitten pen, and sure enough, there was Sonia, sitting on top of the stack that she had made out of all the bedding, perched on top of the heat mat, and on the opposite side of the pen, lying on the bare floor, was a kitten.

When I touched him, he was very cold, but immediately responded by starting to shout, loudly.  I rearranged the bedding, cleaned him up, and laid him in against his mum.  I waited a couple of hours to see if she was going to have another, because I had thought I could feel two the previous evening, but no matter how hard I palpated her abdomen now, I could feel no sign of another kitten, so I assumed I must have been mistaken.

That evening, Tracey came up to visit, and I took her up to see the newborn.  As we walked into the room, Sonia was lying on her side in the pen and out slid a second kitten.  Her reaction to this second kitten was the same as the first: she didn’t mind the kitten being there, but was totally uninterested in doing anything with her.  I got the kitten cleaned up, whilst she screamed blue murder, and then settled her alongside her brother, against Sonia’s tummy.

By the following day, the girl had lost weight, so I tried to get her to latch on and suckle, but she seemed to struggle to do so.  I made up a bottle of milk formula and offered her that, and she drained it dry within seconds, so there was obviously nothing wrong with her ability to suck.  That continued right up until the kittens were weaned – the boy was drinking from his mum, but the girl didn’t seem to be able to get latched on, so I had to bottle-feed her.  I know that an inability to suckle properly is sometimes a symptom of flat-chested syndrome, so I kept checking her ribcage for abnormalities, but have found none, so there seems to be absolutely no reason for her inability to feed from Sonia.

Anyway, Sonia’s kittens are now approaching three months old, and have moved into the livingroom with some of our adults and neuters.  When they were younger, they were the messiest kittens we have ever seen, and we had to keep them penned when we weren’t in the room, until they were about eight weeks old.  Sonia wanted nothing to do with them from when they were about four weeks, so we were lucky that they were quite early to eat solids.  The girl is still a very messy eater, not in the sense of throwing the food around, but just that she manages to cover her entire head in it, to the point that Tracey has named her ‘Messy Molly’.  She has named the boy ‘Harry Houdini’, due to his ability to get out of wherever you put him, in order to come and find people to cuddle up to.

We are now looking for new homes for both kittens, though the girl’s type has developed so beautifully that I’m sorely tempted!

Supreme Show

At the 2012 Supreme, we only entered Ayla, as a kitten, and she enjoyed it so much that we decided that we would enter Small in the kitten class in 2013.  This time, however, we had also offered to take cats to represent the breed on Club Row, with a joint table for the Asian Group Cat Society and Bombay and Asian Cats Breed Club.  We had a double pen for Donny and Eiteag to share, and a single pen for Dàrna, with the table in between.

We were staying with Anita on both the Friday and Saturday nights, and like last time, the boys were sharing the stud run in her car-port.  This time, however, it was Anita’s husband, Rob, who had cleaned the run out ready for our arrival, and he hadn’t made as good a job of removing the smell of her stud boy, as Anita usually manages.  Donny is definitely not keen on other stud boys, and as a result, was completely freaked by the smell of Anita’s boy, and in absense of any other cats, seemed to decide that Eiteag was the strange boy he could smell.  We had to separate the two boys for the night (the stud run has compartments), and decided just to leave Donny at the house to calm down, rather than taking him to the show.

We therefore ended up having just Tiffs on the club table, which is not something we normally do – if we’re representing the Asian breed group, we normally try and take cats that represent the group as fully as possible.  If we had known that Tia wasn’t going to be pregnant by the time of the Supreme, we would have entered her, but she should have been pregnant by then (she hadn’t come into season from the late summer through to now).  As it happens, it was rather nice having Small in competition, and both her parents on Club Row, because it meant that when I was talking to people in front of Small’s pen, that I could tell them that they could meet her parents on Club Row.

Both Dàrna and Eiteag were beautifully behaved, and made fantastic ambassadors for the breed.  Dàrna spent most of the day lying in her basket on the table, so that passersby could stroke her, marvelling at the gorgeous silky texture of the Tiffanie coat.  Whenever Dàrna wanted to go back into her pen for a few minutes peace, or a bite to eat, Eiteag would come out onto the table and bound around playing with his feather stick.  He wasn’t so practical to have out for any length of time, because he wanted to go off and explore, so we would only keep him out for as long as it took him to get bored of his toys and decide that he wanted to go for a wander.  By that point, Dàrna would be ready to come back out again, so we’d put him back in his pen, and have her back out instead.

In terms of juding, the Supreme takes a different format to all other GCCF shows, with the cats housed in decorated pens in the centre of the hall, with a series of ‘rings’ around the outside of the hall.  The rings have plain pens into which the cats are moved by stewards in preparation for being judged, and the cats are then taken from these pens onto the judges’ tables for judging.  Unlike other GCCF shows, the cats’ owners, and other spectators, can stand right in front of where the judging takes place, and listen to what the judges are saying about the cats.  After a class has been judged, the stewards will often ask if any of the owners  are present, and let them take their own cats back to the pens.

Small was an absolute superstar, taking the whole day in her stride, just like her Auntie Ayla did last year.  Hers was one of the first classes judged by Grace Denny, and I went over to watch her being judged.  As the steward was handing her to Grace, I heard her say “this one’s got a huge purr”, or something similar, and I watched with pride as Small cuddled into Grace.  I love it when our cats win, but I love even more to see them showing off the breed’s fabulous temperament.

In the event, Small was not only adorable, she also won, taking both 1st in her kitten class, and Best of Breed, and then going on to be shortlisted for Best of Variety.  Grace praised her coat, saying it was one of the best she has seen on a kitten of her age, and that she is a lovely big girl.  Given that one of the key reasons we kept Small is her size, I was delighted to hear Grace say that.  Afterwards, Grace asked if I bred her, and I said I had, and told Grace that she had given Small’s mother an Imperial at the North West Show.  Grace made my day by saying “well, hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to give her an Imperial as well, one day”.  I was absolutely delighted!

Once Small’s judging was finished, I put a sign on her pen saying that she had gone to join her parents on Club Row, with the pen numbers, and took her up so that we had the three together for the rest of the day.  Incidentally, by the time we got back to the house, Donny had got over his pique, and was absolutely desperate for Eiteag’s company, and the two spent most of the rest of the evening grooming eachother, much to my relief.  Meanwhile, Richard and I took Rob and Anita out for dinner and then to watch the 3D screening of the 50th Anniversary, ‘Day of the Doctor’, Doctor Who special at the cinema!

RACCS Show

RACCS had their second show on the 7th of December, in Annan, which was the venue that the Committee originally chose, before all the messing about after the Supreme show moved date in 2012.  This was my second time as an Assistant Show Manager (ASM), but the first show that I really had a key role in organising, not least in that I suggested the hall originally, so I was a little nervous beforehand!  The show did receive an entry of 54 cats, which is really good for a breed club, especially on its first stand-alone show, so that allayed my fears slightly.

I needn’t have worried at all, though, because the show came off without a hitch.  The feedback from both judges and exhibitors for the hall was excellent, the atmosphere was friendly and there was a good number of gorgeous cats, who were almost all impeccably behaved.  Also, Elisabeth and Karen were ecstatic, because Zach won Overall Best in Show, which was a lovely end to the day.

West of Scotland Show

A fortnight later, we had the West of Scotland show, which had received a fabulous entry of 313 cats – more than 20 entries above that received for any Scottish show in the past few years.  Considering the fuss that was made at last year’s AGM, about the date being too close to Christmas, with people saying that exhibitors would never come to a show on the 21st, I was delighted to see the entry so high.  It does rather suggest that the exhibitors were pleased with the date, and it meant that we could absolutely go to town on the Christmas theme!  For instance, as joint-ASMs, Richard and I had the pleasure of designing Christmas-themed rosettes, which went down well with exhibitors.

I received a call early on the morning of the show, from exhibitors who were coming up from Wales, to say that their car had broken down 2 1/2 hours south of us.  They said that the AA man said the repair would only take 10 minutes once he had the correct part, and had gone to get said part, but that he didn’t think the parts shop opened until 8am.  The maths wasn’t too difficult there, to realise that meant they wouldn’t be at the show until at least 10:30 – half an hour after the show was meant to start.

I told them that since I was ASM, I would need to check with the show manager, but that I thought we could probably manage to hold those classes back for them.  Shortly after arriving in the show hall, I received a text message from another exhibitor, to say that they were stuck in a very slow diversion around a closure on the M74.  Over the next half our or so, several exhibitors also came up to the front to say that various friends had asked them to let us know that they were stuck in this same diversion.

In the end, we did what I had seen done at another show in the past, and asked the judges just to skip past any empty pens they came across in the first hour.  The exhibitors who had the breakdown were the last to arrive, and they had also been caught in the diversion, of course.  In the event, they were vetted in (we had kept one vet on standby) at 11:17, but it was definitely worth their while, because they went on to win not only an Olympian certificate, but also Best in Show!

Anyone working on a show at any level above Section Manager is not allowed to enter their cats in competition.  Our cats therefore couldn’t compete, but we did take Small and Dàrna on exhibition.  A few Cagarans had been entered in competition by their new owners, however, including Lainni, who won the Reserve Imperial and Best of Breed Tiffanie; Quinn, who had the Reserve Grand withheld on her (presumably for lack of silver undercoat, though she also wasn’t in the best mood); and Bobbie, in her first adult show, winning her 1st CC and Best of Breed Ocicat.  Special mention has to go to Sarndra Devereux’s stunning Bombay boy, Tarby (GR CH Rainsong Jolly-Jack-Tar), who was Overall Best Foreign exhibit.

Christmas and New Year

This year, Richard’s parents went off to Hong Kong and Thailand to visit friends over the Christmas holidays, so we spent the time with my family and various friends.  As I said earlier, we also spent plenty of time with the cats, which has been lovely, because our lives are so busy the rest of the year that it’s sometimes difficult to find time just to… be with them, not doing anything.

Seven plates laid out with the cats' Christmas Dinners on them
The cats’ Christmas Dinners – roast beef trimmings and Applaws Tuna Loin.  One plate per group, divided according to how many cats are in the group

Four of the cats around one of the plates of Christmas Dinner
Tucking in to Christmas Dinner – Jinny top left, Dàrna top right, Annas bottom left and Small bottom right

We went to the family service at the church on Christmas Eve, where my Mum was singing in the choir, and then went back to Mum and Dad’s for a cup of tea.  That turned into several hours of singing on the karaoke with my parents and Calum, and between that at the carol singing earlier in the evening, I was completely hoarse by the time we headed home at about 2am.

Three kittens and Ayla grouped around their plate of Christmas Dinner
Ayla and the kittens enjoying their Christmas Dinner
(Frenchie top left, Hailey top right, Zuko bottom left and Ayla bottom right)

Christmas Day was at my parents this year, and due to my sister going off to her boyfriend’s for Christmas Dinner, my Grandparents going to one of my Aunts, and various other relatives linking up in various ways, there were only five of us for dinner.  When Richard and I had dinner here two years ago, there were sixteen of us, so five was bizarrely few – my Mum hardly knew what to do with herself!

For New Year, Elisabeth and Tracey joined us for a snack-and-pizza tea, over the first half of a DVD.  At 11:30, Tracey left (something to do with a superstition about first-footing herself), and we switched over to Jools Holland.  A few minutes before midnight, we headed outside, and let off a firework on the front lawn at the bells, with a row of little furry faces watching from the house windows (our cats all love watching fireworks).  Back inside, we opened a bottle of champagne, and then settled down to a night of DVD-watching, eventually heading to bed at 8am.

Getting up again at noon, we enjoyed our annual New Year cooked breakfast (including fruit dumpling and fried pancakes and potato scones, mmm!), over another DVD.  Elisabeth and I ended up watching the Sound of Music on TV, and then we ran her home on our way to a family get-together at my Grandparents.  There can surely be few better ways to spend time than with family, friends and a housefull of cats?!

Notts & Derbys Show

We went to the Notts & Derbys show during the middle of last month, because it’s literally only fifteen minutes from Richard’s parents house, and can therefore be combined with a nice family visit.  I wanted to see what some of the judges thought of Zuko and Frenchie, so we entered them in the HP section, and since we were taking them, we decided to take Ayla along for the ride.  As it happens, she was actually awarded the Reserve Grand, beating one other, which was more than I expected, given her size.  Zuko won his kitten class and he and his mum both had good results in their side classes.  Our star of the show, though, was Frenchie, who placed well in all her sides, won her kitten class and beat her brother for ‘Best of Colour’, and then went on to win Best Pedigree Pet and then Best Household Pet.  One of the judges wrote that she is a star in the making, and she certainly adored her day out at the show, so I’m hoping that we can find someone interested in taking her out again in future.

Shropshire Show

We really enjoyed the Shropshire Show last year, because we had a lovely day looking at potteries, and lunch at the Wedgewood museum.  It is also pretty central to the AGCS Committee, so when we were discussing a potential venue for the club’s AGM, I suggested the Shropshire as the venue.  That was agreed, and since I was obviously going to have to be there to take the minutes, we clearly had to enter!

We only took two – Dàrna to try for her final Imperial, and Small in her last time out as a kitten (she is 9 months today).  Both girls were adorable as usual, and we got Small won her first and Best of Breed, getting some really encouraging comments from the judges in the process, which I was delighted about.  However, what absolutely made our day was Dàrna taking that final Imperial, and in the process becoming the first Imperial Grand Champion that we have owned (our other Imperials have been neuters), and only the sixth Imperial-titled Tiffanie (Annas was the first, and there have been four in-between).  She also made Donny the first cat we’ve owned to have two Imperial-titled parents.  She will now be spayed and can retire from the hormone swings of being an entire.

Eiteag’s Kitten

When I last posted, we were trying to decide on an ‘H-name’ for Eiteag’s kitten, and we eventually settled on Haillie-a-Jo, which means ‘Totally a Sweetheart’ in old Scots.  Her pet name comes directly from her pedigree name, and is Hailey.  Her type has continued to develop beautifully, and still has the most amazing nature.  We have also had her hernia operated on successfully, and she now flies round the room with her ‘siblings’, which is lovely to see.  The vet and vet nurse told us that the muscle had been torn from the pelvic bone the whole way up to the rib-cage.  The vet nurse said that when they first opened her up, they all just stood and looked for a few seconds, because they couldn’t believe the extent of the damage that her mum had caused.  On a positive note, at least the fact that they could see that it had been torn means that we can put to bed any residual fears about genetic causes for the hernia!

What’s Next?

Well, Tia, Lhasa and Tilly are finally back in season, so I’m thinking that we’ll give them one full call and then mate them on their next call, sometime next month.  We may be totally mad, but since the three of them live together, and do everything together, we’re going to try mating the three at around the same time, and see if they’ll raise their kittens together.  That would mean that we’d be having three litters in late spring/early summer.  We’re going to try putting both Lhasa and Tia to Eiteag, since he is meant to be neutered after that, and I’d like to see what both girls produce with him, and Tilly to Donny.  The latter mating, and Tia’s have the potential to give us a mixture of Tiffanies and Asian Shorthairs, but Lhasa’s litter would be guaranteed to be all Tiffs, which would be nice.

We’ve got a few shows lined up over the next three months, and are hoping to be able to get Small made up to Champion and Cheeky to Premier.  After that, we’ve got nobody ‘needing’ to be titled, so I think we might take a break from showing and let our depleted cash reserves re-build!  Who knows, though…