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’!

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!