It’s been such a long time since I last wrote a post that I thought it might be good to shake things up and create a whole new style for the blog. To go along with the new background colour and template, I’ve added a new banner with some of our cats and kittens, showing some of the range of colours and patterns within the Asian breed.
Top left is Keeker (GR CH Cagaran Keekers), who, for those of you’ve who’ve followed the blog in the past, is a son of Lhasa and Eiteag’s from one of our 2014 litters. He is a Burmese pattern chocolate silver shaded.
Below him are Rafa (Cagaran An-Sùlair) and Lainni (Cagaran Asgaidh-Àlainn), two of Katie’s kittens from our very first litter, back in 2010. They are a black shaded and a black silver shaded.
Above Lainni, and to the right of Keeker, is Orlando (Kagura Orlando), who is currently on loan to us from Steve Crow and Tommy Goss. He is a cinnamon ticked tabby.
Next to them is Dàrna (I GR CH & GR PR Dayjoy Orla), who is behind a lot of our younger cats: two of our recent litters were her great-great-great grandchildren. She is a chocolate tortie silver shaded.
Below her chest is Fiona (CH Cagaran Beannachd-Fionn), Dàrna’s daughter from her first litter, in 2010, and now a great-great grandmother herself. She is an apricot silver shaded.
To her right is her daughter, Ayla (CH Cagaran Eala-Bianach), Fi’s daughter from her first litter, in 2012. Cascading down the generations, she is a great grandmother. She is a Burmese pattern chocolate tortie silver shaded.
Above her is Quinn (GR PR Cagaran Dòrlach & GMC Quinn), Dàrna’s daughter from her second litter, in 2011. She is a brown tortie smoke.
To their right, with front left paw held up, is Lura (Cagaran Lurach), a granddaughter of Eiteag’s through his daughter. She is a cream shaded.
Above, and to her right, is Tabh (GR PR Cagaran Beinn-Eighe), a litter-brother of Fiona’s. He is a caramel silver shaded.
Below him is Brodie (GR CH Cagaran Platach), one of Lhasa’s kittens from last year: the litter she was delivering when I wrote my last post. He was the fifth to be born, so hadn’t actually arrived yet, at the time of my last post. He is a black smoke.
To his right, at the bottom, is B-B (Cagaran Bramán-Beag), another of Fiona’s litter-brothers. He is a Burmese pattern chocolate smoke.
Above him are Cheeky and Bru (Cagaran Bragoil and Cagaran Brucach), who are slight imposters here because they’re from one of our Ocicat litters rather an Asian, but they show two more colours in which Asians can be bred: cinnamon classic tabby and black spotted tabby.
To their right is Katie (CH Rushbrooke Airgead Cagaran), who was our first queen, mother of the pair at the bottom left and great-grandmother of the one to her right. She is a black silver shaded.
Below her is an as yet un-named kitten from our ‘T’ litter out of Fiona and Keeker. Like his mum, he is an apricot silver shaded.
Finally, at the far right is Niamh (Cagaran Niamh), who is a granddaughter of Dàrna’s, through her son, Donny (Quinn’s litter-brother) and a great-granddaughter of Katie’s through her daughter, Cailin and granddaughter, Tilly. She is a Burmese pattern chocolate.
I’ll try and get back on in the next few weeks, to do an update and re-introduction to our current cats, but this will have to do you for now.
Introducing Sonia, our first Somali, and saying farewell to Katie, Xaria and Quinn. We have had some good show results, and another two litters, and Fi’s kittens continue to do well.
It is over two months since I last posted an update, and there has been lots of news in that time, both good and bad.
I am delighted to introduce Sonia, Gowlaren Sonia Cagaran, our first Somali! She is a usual, but carries sorrel (cinnamon), making her a potential outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Asians. She was bred by George Gow (a senior GCCF judge), who was going to keep her to show. However, we happened to be visiting, and when I fell in love with her, he asked if I was interested in her. The only proviso is that we have to show her – hardly an issue!
She is a beautiful girl, with a great temperament and a lovely pedigree incorporating some fabulous old lines. She is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had, and has to be stroked before she can eat her food. She is rather prone to virtually tripping us up, though, because she’s so determined to glue herself to our ankles!
She is currently living with Fi and her kittens, and since Sonia is still a kitten herself (although she’s the same size as Fi now!), she is loving playing with Fi’s kittens. The two boys, in particular, are quite often found racing her around the room.
The Lakeland Show has always been a good one for us, with Call winning one of his PCs and Xaria and Tármus making up to Premier there in 2009, Xaria finally winning her first Imperial there, along with Breckin and Ali both winning Grands in 2010 and then Dàrna making up to Grand there last year. This year it lived up to past performance, with Sonia, out for the first time, winning first and Best of Breed in her kitten class, Donny winning his second CC and Best of Breed, and Annas taking the Reserve Olympian in a very strong class (even beating the newly Gold Olympian Mylward Sassafras), as well as taking the Best of Breed.
Donny was an absolute poppet all day, even taking part in the second demonstration presentation for the YES! scheme (young exhibitors). This is a new initiative, getting the YES! Mentors, of which you may remember I am one, to demonstrate how to present a cat to young people on the scheme and those thinking of starting. Donny was the ideal cat to use for this, because he just stood beautifully on the table, and was interested in everything that was going on. He even stood up on his hind legs, with his paws on my chest, to give my nose a kiss, bless him!
To top off a good day, Donny went on to take Best Foreign Adult, our first time winning that accolade, let alone with a cat of our breeding. Unfortunately, we forgot to take any photos on the day, so we had to take some of him with his rosettes, when we got home.
When I last posted, Katie had given birth to two still-born kittens, and was now helping Fi to look after her kittens. Unfortunately, after a few days doing that, Katie lost interest in Fi’s kittens, and became depressed. We moved her down the stairs to live with Donny, and for a few days she seemed to be happier, without the constant reminder of kittens around. After that, however, she again became depressed, and for the next three weeks we had her in and out to the vet, running tests and trying to find out what was causing her depression.
For about a week, we were having to force-feed her, but she was getting so distressed by this, that we had to stop doing it. We even discussed the possibility of having her on a drip at the vets, but they felt that there was no point doing that unless we could find a reason for the depression, because she couldn’t spend the rest of her life on a drip!
She spent most of her time lying in her basket looking miserable, and it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch, as she got thinner and thinner. After a couple of weeks, she had lost so much muscle that she could hardly walk, yet we still had no medical explanation. I came down one morning, and found her lying limp, barely moving, and with obvious swelling around her kidneys. I took her straight to the vet, who ran some more tests, and reported that most of her organs were failing, and that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to sleep.
I asked them to wait until I could get back along, to be there at the end. She was brought through in the arms of one of the vet nurses, with her drip attached, and laid on a blanket on the vet’s table. The vet was able to inject the anaesthetic into the drip, rather than having to inject her directly, so we were able just to stroke her the whole time. I am sure that most animals know when the end has come, and Katie was no different. I hadn’t heard her purr since she had the still-births, yet as the vet pushed the plunger, she started purring.
The vets took some more tests, but we haven’t found anything to explain what happened. The only thing we can think of is that Katie was always so precise, and liked everything to be perfect, and that she couldn’t cope with the idea of the still-births. A friend of mine has had two still-born babies, and she said this: “It’s entirely possible that Fi’s kittens were a nice replacement at first… but then she realized they were just a replacement and hers were gone. Then, if she’s anything like me, Fi’s kittens probably pissed her off and put her further into depression. It’s hard coming out on the other side and finding something to live for. It’s hard finding something to be happy about again. It’s hard to have any desire for ANYTHING anymore. You have no idea how hard I prayed and begged to be put to sleep, have a heart attack, a wreck, anything. I even tried to take matters into my own hands more than once. I know you loved her, and you did her the biggest favor you could have ever done for her.”
When we were taking the photos of Donny with his rosettes after the Lakeland, we started off with a white background, and later switched to a black one. At that point, Katie came over to see what we were doing, and we took a few photos of her as well. I wasn’t for a moment expecting those to be the last ones we would ever take of her. It is some of those last photos that you see here.
RIP little Katie. Sweet dreams.
Xaria and Quinn’s New Home
You may remember that we had a potential owner here to meet the kittens just before my last post. That was Tracey, who was actually looking for two kittens, but having met (and fallen in love with) Quinn, she decided that she would take Quinn and one kitten. Obviously, the kittens weren’t ready to leave yet, so she came back to visit again a few days later.
Twenty years ago, Tracey had Russian Blues, and even had a litter of kittens from her girl, before a change of circumstances stopped her breeding plans. When she visited us again a few days after her first visit, she asked to meet the other cats. When she met Xaria, she literally started crying, because she missed her Russians so much. When Xaria sat nicely in her arms, you could have knocked me over with a feather – Xaria had never sat like that for anyone. Suddenly, I found myself asking if she wanted Xaria instead of a kitten, and she said yes.
As it happens, Xazzle has never got on very well with our other cats, so we’ve always had a problem deciding who to keep her with. As a result, she has been moved around our house, trying every possible permutation, and the only cats that she would live nicely with were Apollo and Quinn. I didn’t want to leave her out with Apollo, because it seems a shame for her to have to live in the garden, so she had been living with Quinn.
I took both girls down to Tracey’s a few days later, and they now seem to have settled in beautifully. I couldn’t be more delighted, because we’ve found somewhere that Xazzle can be happy, and a home for Quinn, in one go, and they are only ten minutes away! I’ve been down to see them several times, since, though Xaria is highly suspicious of me, in case I take her away again. That’s exactly the same as she was with Elisabeth after coming to us initially – it took at least half-a-dozen visits before she trusted Elisabeth not to take her away again.
Dàrna and Grace’s Kittens
Both Dàrna and Grace had their kittens right on schedule – Dàrna on the 11th of July and Grace two days later, on the 13th. I refer to the two litters together, because they have been together from the start – Dàrna acted as ‘midwife’ for Gracie’s labour, helping to deliver the kittens, cleaning them and Gracie, and showing Gracie what to do. When Gracie seemed unsure about what to do with the placenta, Dàrna licked at one, and then pushed it under Gracie’s nose, as if to say “here, you’re supposed to eat it”.
Dàrna had just two kittens again, and they benefited hugely from the arrival of Gracie’s five kittens two days later. Before Gracie’s kittens were here, Dàrna’s two hadn’t been feeding particularly well, and as a result were not gaining as much as we would have liked. After Gracie’s kittens arrived, Dàrna’s two began competing with them, and started making much better gains.
In Dàrna’s litter, the kittens were guaranteed to be Asians, rather than Tiffanies, because Apollo unfortunately does not carry longhair (we DNA-tested him). The first out was a boy, who looked to be a brown silver shaded, followed by a girl, who was probably a brown tortie shaded (not silver). Unfortunately, both kittens aspirated (breathed) some milk, and in spite of being given antibiotics, died due to the resultant pneumonia. This is apparently a relatively common problem, which almost inevitably results in death, and neither Grace nor Dàrna seemed particularly concerned by the losses, just carrying on with the remaining five kittens, as if there had never been another two.
I found it a lot harder than they seemed to, particularly since I’d spent the week leading up to their deaths, desperately trying to help them clear the fluid from their lungs. Since it happened, I’ve had at least four or five breeder friends tell me that they’ve lost kittens the same way, but we were really unlucky to have two in one litter. Mind you, when it comes to losing kittens, when are we not really unlucky?! The kittens are buried with Katie and her two kittens, so they will hopefully be playing together as a little family somewhere.
Gracie started her labour by giving us a cinnamon classic girl, then two cinnamon variant girls, another cinnamon classic girl, and finally a tawny spotted boy. The two classics and the spotty are our first Ocicats, our previous Ocicat litter being all Variants. Two cinnamon Classics is a fabulous result, because cinnamon is my favourite colour of Ocicat, and I prefer the Classics to the standard Ocis. Even better that the cinnamons are both girls!
My hope had been to get a cinnamon girl for myself, plus another girl for Anita (Bryce – Anizz Ocicats & Tiffanies), and possibly a girl to offer to Stacie (Shorten – Ameeka Ocicats & Abyssinians, who bred Grace’s dam). Assuming that the two Classic girls develop as well as it currently looks like they will, Anita and I have our girls. If the boy develops well, I may be able to offer him to Stacie, and otherwise she could have the better of the variants, if she wishes.
Humberside & Lincs Show
I was really looking forward to the Humberside & Lincs show this year, for two reasons, the main one being that I was finally getting to steward for Lynda Ashmore, an engagement I had had to book almost two years in advance! The second reason was that Donny had two chances to get his third, and final, Challenge Certificate, which would make him the first male Cagaran to win a title.
Elisabeth had been going to come down with us, but her Ziva had to have a C-section on the Thursday before. Since we would be needing to stay away overnight due to the show having moved further south (to Newark, fairly close to Richard’s parents), it wasn’t possible for her to come. Instead, we did a swap, where she looked after our kittens, and we took her cats down to the show.
We had also borrowed Quinn back from Tracey for the show, having entered her before Tracey had approached us. I had, however, warned Tracey that I thought Quinn might have one of the certificates withheld by Grace Denny, due to her coat being too long. As it happens, the outcome was correct, but not from the judge that I would have expected – Grace Denny awarded the PC in the Humberside show, but Sarndra Devereux withheld in the Lincs. Quinn therefore needs one more certificate to become a Premier, but given that Tracey had the girls in the Rexfest as Ped-Pets at the start of this month, and absolutely loved it, I don’t think that will be an issue! Incidentally, both girls got their Mastercat and Best of Colour awards at the Rexfest – Xaria now only needs one more to become a Mastercat, having won the certificate there last year.
Annas didn’t place in either show at the Humber-Lincs, but I wasn’t expecting her to, given the competition. Donny and I, on the other hand, both had excellent days. Stewarding for Lynda was well worth the wait, and Donny won the CC and Best of Breed in both shows, so I was well pleased, and glad we made the effort to go the extra distance.
As we were packing up, at the end of the day, one of the judges informed me that he had chosen Donny for Best Foreign Adult. I had no idea that he had gone up for Best of Variety, because only the Overall Best Foreign results were announced. That’s his second BOV Adult in a row, and I couldn’t be more delighted with him. He beat some fantastic cats for the award, so I can only assume that he’s such a big, soppy lump that the judges are forgiving him his worse bits!
Edinburgh and Chester Shows
The Edinburgh show was just the week after the Humberside & Lincs, and since we can only show every second week, we couldn’t actually show at both. I was booked to steward for John Hansson, however, so knew I would definitely be attending. As it happens, there were two Cagarans there, because Lona brought both Lainni and Tabh. Lainni didn’t win her Grand, but Tabh was given his third, and final, PC, making him up to Premier. He is the fourth titled Cagaran, the others being Fi, Lainni and Donny.
Having made Champion at the Humberside & Lincs, Donny was then eligible for the Grand class at the Chester show, four weeks later. We had been planning to go to the Chester just to enjoy a day out in Chester, so we figured we might as well enter him in the Grand as a punt. The judge was Di Harper, who isn’t keen on Donny, so we didn’t expect him to do anything, and sure enough, he wasn’t placed in the Grand. He did, however, do very well in his side classes, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd against strong competition and in classes of at least six.
Update on Fi’s Kittens
Fi’s kittens are now 15 weeks, have had their vaccinations and can go to their new homes. They have developed beautifully, and it is still a very close call between ‘Kitten 1’ and ‘Kitten 3’ as to who is the most typey. The other two have also come on a lot, however, and although not showing as much show potential as their siblings, are still rather nice. ‘Kitten 4’ reminds me of his gran (Dàrna) at the same age, and since she’s a Grand with two Imperial certificates, that can’t be so bad! Likewise, ‘Kitten 2’ reminds me a lot of Cailin (another Shogun baby), who has two CCs and two Best in Show awards as a kitten, so I don’t think we can really complain about her, either!
We decided fairly early-on that Kitten 1 was going to be Eala-something, Eala being Gaelic for ‘Swan’. We have since settled on Eala-Bianach, which literally translates as ‘Furry Swan’, but it was picked because it has a nice sound, rather that due to the translation. Her pet name is Ayla, which is how Eala is pronounced. Her spots have pretty well completely disappeared, so we’ve registered her as a chocolate tortie silver shaded BCR, like Dàrna, though Ayla currently has a softer tone to her chocolate. She is a very pretty girl, and we are keeping her to continue our breeding line.
Kitten 2 is Ealasáid, which is pronounced Elaset, and is gaelic for Elisabeth. We decided on that name when she was about six weeks old, and the fiestiest kitten in the litter – she was named after Elisabeth (Stark), who is also fiesty!! Her pet name is Elly, and she is definitely a chocolate tortie silver spotted (full expression), though a darker chocolate than her sister. She is going to be living in St Andrews, with a lovely lady called Ying.
Kitten 3’s pedigree name is Éiteag-Bàrr (pronounced Ehtak-Bawr), which is gaelic for ‘Cream Quartzite’, and his pet name is Etak. He’s called that because his colouring reminds me of the stone, with a pale base overlaid with cream. He still has spots, but they are very faint, because his whole colouration is very pale and delicate. He’s a gorgeous boy, and will make a cracking show neuter. He’s also a real softy – undoubtedly the gentlest in the litter, and will climb up onto the bed wanting cuddles. I wish we were needing another boy, because I would have had no hesitation keeping him as a stud.
The final kitten is known as Derk, that being the pronunciation of the second part of his pedigree name, Èibhill-Dearg, which means ‘Red Ember’. I think he is either a burmese-restriction red smoke or a red silver spotted, though he could be apricot, and isn’t necessarily a silver or burmese-restriction!! We have registered him as a red silver spotted BCR, because the older he gets, the more he looks like that.
Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while, will know that we don’t generally have people in to see the kittens until they’ve had their first vaccinations. On this occasion, we made an exception for Ying, because she was going abroad to visit family for the whole of this month, and part of next month. That obviously meant that she needed to meet the kittens before she went, if she was to have a choice of which one to take. She came to visit twice last month, and decided to book Elly, whose fiesty temperament she fell in love with when Elly started swinging from her cardigan!
After the kittens had their first vaccinations, Elly and the two boys unfortunately came down with some sort of eye infection, and we therefore didn’t invite anyone else in to meet the kittens, until that could be cleared up. Thankfully, they have been fine for over three weeks now, with no further sign of any issue. The photos above were taken on the 19th of this month, so you can see that they are all completely better. Having not had anyone in to meet them, though, we are obviously needing to look for homes for the two boys now, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, do let me know!
Fi’s kittens are continuing to do well, and are now starting to wean and use the litter trays. Dàrna and Grace are both pregnant, and due around the second week in July, whereas Katie was pregnant but unfortunately lost the kittens. Donny and Quinn both won their first certificates at the Durham show, and we had an excellent weekend with Anita and Rob and our 30th birthday party.
Fi’s kittens are now five weeks old, and doing really well.
Kittens 1 and 3 are the most typey, with very little to choose between them. At the moment, I would say that Kitten 1 is fractionally the better of the two, which is very exciting, since she’s the one who seems to have chosen us and will therefore be staying here. She has a beautiful rounded head, stunning nose break and muzzle and big, expressive eyes. She’s also an absolute sweetheart, who purrs as soon as we stroke her, and who will come running across the room to say hello when they’re playing outside the pen. She is definitely a chocolate tortie BCR silver, and I still think she’s probably a spotty, but the colour is still just coming in on the body. Unfortunately, like her mother and grandmother before her, she is an absolute devil to photograph, pulling all sorts of hideous faces when the camera is on her. She consistently looks worse than her siblings, which is exactly what Fi used to do to me when she was a kitten!
Kitten 3 also has a fabulous rounded head, excellent nose break and muzzle and lovely big eyes. He still might turn out to be better than his sister, but at the moment his eyes are just marginally straighter in set. The colour is developing on his body, and his spots are getting stronger by the day, so it definitely looks like he’s going to be a spotty. I still think he’s a cream BCR silver, but there is so little colour there that it’s difficult to be sure. We had various friends, family and colleagues round for a birthday barbecue on Saturday, and when one of my friends’ daughters came up to see the kittens, this lad sat on her knee as if he’d met kids every day of his life. He’s the most gentle of all the kittens, and is going to be a big softie who just wants to be loved, bless him!
Kitten 2 has a good dome, muzzle and eye shape. Her head is a little longer, and her eyes are a bit smaller, than the two above, but she’s still extremely nice. If she wasn’t in a litter with the two above, we’d be absolute delighted with her, and quite happy to keep her to show! Her markings are still looking lovely, though the ‘kitten fuzzies’ mean that they look crispest when viewed from the back. She is a real character – very vocal and opinionated, but also a bigger purrer. In both looks and temperament, she reminds me of our Katie-Shogun girl from last year, Cailin. Since Cailin has two CCs in GCCF and two Best-in-Shows in Fifé, that can’t be bad!
Kitten 4 is the least typey, but is still a gorgeous kitten, and his type is perfectly acceptable. If we weren’t looking at him in comparison to his extremely typey siblings, we’d probably be saying that he’s quite nice – everything is relative, and this is just an extremely nice litter. Shogun and Fi have done us proud! He has the longest head and the smallest eyes, but still has an excellent nose break, lovely chin, well-placed ears with a nicely rounded head between, and nice eye shape. I’m now wondering if he might in fact be an apricot rather than a red, but we’ll just need to wait and see how the colour develops as he gets older. He is the most variable in behaviour, being all soft and sleepy one minute and then jumping on his siblings the next. I’ll be very interested to see how his temperament develops.
All four kittens are now using litter trays and are therefore out-and-about in the kitten room. They have just discovered the bottom step of the stairs onto the windowledge, and play cute games of peek-a-boo on it, but they haven’t yet noticed that there are other steps above that one. Their favourite place is on a furry cushion in the alcove below the window, and the look absolute adorable piled up on it.
They are also starting to eat solid food, though this lot are much more into biscuits than wet. Kitten 4 is the only one who seems to prefer wet to biscuits, and the only thing he’s interested in so far, is what I call ‘kitten mush’ – babycat mousse mixed with kitten milk. Mind you, put down a plate of kitten mush and he virtually hoovers it up in seconds, so at least he’s got the idea of using a dish! His siblings are all tucking into biscuits like little piglets.
We had a lovely prospective owner here yesterday, to meet the babies, and she had all four clambering on her. When she first arrived, Kitten 3 spat at her, which is just about the funniest thing imaginable when it’s coming from a teeny kitten. By the time she had been here for a few minutes he had forgotten his initial dislike and was joining his siblings climbing around on her legs. She was particularly taken with the character of Kitten 2, but loved the appearance of Kitten 4. We did have a few people who had expressed an interest in these kittens, though, so whether she gets one of these or one of the next litter will depend on whether this lot are already booked.
Yes, Katie was indeed pregnant. Unfortunately, she had two kittens still-born, one delivered herself, and one by C-section. The kittens were both black silver shaded boys, and looked perfectly formed, so there is nothing to suggest why they died. When the vets had Katie opened up for her Caesarean, I asked them to check her reproductive system for cysts etc. but they couldn’t see anything to suggest a problem, so we are none the wiser.
Breeder friends had told me that it is a lot less distressing to have still-born kittens than it is to lose a kitten that is born alive, but I wasn’t convinced. I was surprised to discover that, whereas I was gutted when we lost little Aithreachas and absolutely devastated when we lost B-B, all I felt with the still-borns was sorry for Katie.
She wasn’t at all happy when she could see the first still-born kitten, but seemed much happier once I had taken him away. She and Fi were living together, and since she lost her babies, Katie has adopted Fi’s instead. Helping to look after them has given her something to take her mind off her loss. The kittens think it is great having two mums to feed from! Generally, the boys seem to prefer their mum’s milk, whereas the girls seem to prefer milk from their ‘Aunty’ Katie.
I now have a real dilemma over what to do with Katie next time around, though. You may remember that we ‘won’ a mating with a Burmese stud boy, in the auction at the Gala Dinner, and my intention was to send Katie down there. If she’s not going to carry successfully, however, I don’t want to ‘waste’ such a valuable mating. I could try putting her to Donny again, to test whether she’s going to carry successfully, but then who do I put to the Burmese?
At least I’ve got a few months to make up my mind, and in the meantime, thankfully we’ve got the other kittens to focus on instead.
Dàrna and Grace
Katie’s litter may have been still-born, but it still looks like we are going to be over-run with kittens in the next couple of months. Grace and Dipsy are both pregnant and already starting to show, which could well mean that they are having larger litters. Grace is only 4 1/2 weeks pregnant, and Dàrna 5 weeks yesterday, so they’re just a bit over half-way. Dàrna is still living with Apollo to keep him company, but I will bring her in later this week, and she and Grace can move into the kitten room. I’m not sure who we’ll put out to keep Apollo company then – perhaps Ali, bless him!
Both girls should be due the second week in July, and we’re just keeping our fingers firmly crossed for smooth deliveries and healthy kittens.
We took Donny and Quinn to the Durham show, the last weekend in May, where both picked up their first certificates: Donny the CC and Quinn the PC. Both were also awarded the Best of Breed. Their certificates were the 14th and 15th for our prefix, and they are the fifth and sixth cats of our prefix to win certificates. We are obviously delighted, and I am looking forward to the next couple of shows, where we will see if we can get them made up to Champion and Premier, respectively. Unfortunately, Donny appears to have inherited his mum and sister’s ability to look rubbish in photos, so I don’t have a single decent one of him!
I had an excellent day stewarding for Chris Bamford in the Persian and Semi-Longhair sections, while Richard, Elisabeth and Karen (who had also travelled with us this time) enjoyed a barbecue with the Johnsons (Koreshka Russian Blues). It was a gloriously sunny day, and the venue is surrounded by plenty of grass, so they had a fabulous time, though Richard ended up with slightly sore feet due to switching to sandals but forgetting to put sun-cream on his feet! Thankfully there was decent air-conditioning inside, so we were nice and cool whilst judging the cats.
Richard was 30 back in April, and I am 30 later this month, so we were going to have a joint 30th party around the middle of May. As it happened, the dates in the middle of May didn’t work for various reasons, so we decided to go for the first weekend in June, which turned out to be the Jubilee bank holiday weekend. Anita and Rob (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) were able to come and stay with us for the weekend, and we had a lovely time talking cat with them. Anita and I also spent a considerable amount of time in the kitten room having ‘kitten cuddles’!
Our party was on the Saturday, which thankfully stayed dry, though we didn’t see a great deal of sun. We had several of our ‘cat friends’, a couple of my friends from choir and then various family members, and had a barbecue in the garden, which was a lovely, informal way to celebrate. The Thomsons (Saladin Abyssinians) and Elisabeth stayed on afterwards, and we had a late tea of baked potatoes with some of the leftovers from the barbecue. I think they ended up leaving about midnight, though Richard and I stayed up talking to Anita until well into the ‘small hours’.
We spent the Sunday at the Gardening Scotland show through at Ingleston, for which we had got low cost tickets courtesy of Groupon! As usual, that was a good day, and we only had rain for about a minute, just as we were arriving. On the Monday we went round Calendar House, which is only about 10 minutes from us, in Falkirk, and then took a drive across to the Falkirk Wheel. It was just starting a lift when we got there, so we watched the boats going around – the first time I’ve actually seen it in motion. After that, Anita and Rob had to head back south, but I’m so pleased they finally made it up here. Hopefully they’ll be back soon!
Fi has four lovely kittens, two of each gender, who are possibly all Tiffanies. We had a fantastic day at the London Pet Show, with Donny being the most perfect breed ambassador imaginable. Annas also had a good day out at the Nor’East, winning another Reserve Olympian. Finally, we might have a further three litters on the way, with Katie looking like she is indeed pregnant, and Dàrna and Gracie both having been mated.
I’ve been getting emails all week from people desperate for an update with photos, so here you go. I’ve got a few videos this time, as well.
Fi has given us our first kittens of 2012, and in the process our first litter from a Cagaran parent!
She is proving to be an absolutely wonderful mum, and is looking after her kittens just as well as she looked after her mother’s last year.
She had a litter of four, born over the bank holiday weekend at the start of the month, so they might be four months later than we had intended that she have them, but at least they’re here and growing well.
All four have quite a bit of fluff at the backs of their necks, so it is just possible we might have been insanely lucky enough to have only Tiffanies.
Like her mum, Fi had the first half head first (the first of which took just as long to emerge as Fi herself did, but at least I knew what to expect), with the remainder being breech-birth – in Fi’s case they were all ‘full breech’, which is tail first (Dàrna had two partial breech, with legs first, and only one full breech).
Kitten 1 is a girl, and was the smallest kitten at a birthweight of 66g. She is now up to over 190g, which is still small, but is an acceptable gain compared to her birth weight.
She has one of the best heads in the litter, with a lovely short nose and broad muzzle. She’s very pale at the moment, but with darker ears, so I’m thinking either a chocolate or lilac with BCR (Burmese pattern of darker head, legs and tail). I’m erring towards lilac at the moment, but wouldn’t want to bet on it! She’s probably a spotty, though it is difficult to tell until the colour develops on her sides. Likewise, I will reserve judgement on whether or not she is silver until her colour is more developed (and possibly a long time after that!). She has the shortest coat of the four, which could mean that she is an Asian shorthair, but it still looks longer than Cailin’s did at the same age, and she is undoubtedly a Tiffanie, so who knows.
Kitten 2 is also a girl, but was the largest kitten at 95g birth-weight. She is over 265g now, and still the biggest. She is definitely a spotted tabby with an underlying mackerel pattern, which is quite exciting, because mackerel is very rare in Asians. I’m pretty sure she’s a chocolate silver (full expression, i.e. not Burmese pattern), and she has one of the longest coats, so I think she’s probably a Tiffanie. She is very striking because of her markings, but her head is a little longer than her sister, so we shall see how she looks as she grows.
Kitten 3 is a boy, and is the palest of the four, being almost white at birth. He was in the middle at 83g birth-weight, and is now up to just under 260g. The boys have to be red, cream or apricot because of Fi being an apricot, and I think he must be a cream silver shaded BCR to be so pale. He does, however, have very faint spotty ghost-markings, so it’ll be interesting to see whether those grow stronger or fade as his colour develops. Like the paler girl, he has a lovely little head – possibly the best in the litter, in fact, so I can’t wait to see how he develops. He has the second shortest coat, but does seem to have quite a bit of fluffiness to his tail, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed, since we’ve got someone wanting a Tiffanie boy to show.
Kitten 4 is a second boy, who started off at 92g, and has closely followed his big sister ever since, being only a few grams behind her, still. He looks to be a red BCR (a lovely vibrant tangerine colour), but whether he is a self or some sort of pattern, and silver or not, I haven’t a clue at this stage. He’s got the longest coat of the four, but I think also has the longest head, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on his development to see whether he could be show quality or purely a pet. We have people looking for both!
The girls have both eyes open, and the smaller boy has one eye open and the other half open. Kitten 4 only has one eye half open and the other just a slit, making him the furthest behind. For some reason, the boys are always slower than the girls at this stage.
London Pet Show
The London Pet Show was, once again, an excellent opportunity to introduce our beautiful breeds to the public, and Donny proved to be a fantastic ambassador for the Asian Group. He was everything we could have hoped he’d be, and more – walking up to people to say hello, and then lying in his basket letting everyone stroke him without the least bit of fuss.
We were able to lift him into the laps of wheelchair users, and let little kids pick him up between two of them when he was too big for one alone. If someone bent down to him he would kiss them on the nose, and every so often he turned around and reached up my front for a cuddle, which obviously had everyone exclaiming over how cute he was. He was an absolute dream, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
His only ‘naughty’ moment the whole day was when he stole a little toy mouse from a child, but then I can’t really blame him for that, given that the child was waving the mouse in front of his face. Donny did exactly what you might expect, having been woken from a nice snooze to find a mouse waving in front of his face – he reached up a paw, neatly swiped the mouse and proceeded to play with it. Thankfully, the kid’s mum had seen the whole episode and took the child away saying “well, what did you expect?”.
Cailin also did very well, though she was just coming off call, so was less keen to be out and handled. She did come out whenever someone was particularly interested in feeling the Tiffanie coat, or seeing a Tiff at close quarters, but most of the time she just played or slept in her pen. She was a lovely advert for how pretty they are, and I’m glad we had one there so that the public could meet them. The only thing I feel was missing from a good cross-section representation of the Asian Group was a greater diversity of colour – a red-series and/or dilute would have been nice, because I had a few people look at Donny (brown smoke) and Cailin (chocolate silver shaded) and ask if they come in any colour other than brown! I realised once I was there that because Donny and Quinn are both still kittens, we could actually have had the two of them sharing a pen, with Cailin in the other one (she is an adult already), which would have given us tortie, at least, but it can’t be helped.
As always, Anita was very hospitable, giving us a delicious meal of lasagne (my favourite, though she didn’t know it) on the Friday night, and then packing rolls, crisps, tea and muffins for our lunch, before putting us up for the Saturday night as well. It was lovely actually, to get to spend a bit more time with her and Rob than we normally manage when we’re only there for the one night. Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of her at the LPS itself, because the Ocis had joined the show late, taking a cancellation, meaning that their stand was situated where the cancelled stand had been, instead of being given the option to have theirs near ours like last year. Rob’s daughter, Kirsten, joined Anita on the Ocicat stand, and Richard and I looked after the Asians, so at least we had the two covered.
Like last year, the show was so busy, and I was enjoying telling people about the Asians, so much that I didn’t actually manage to have a wander around the rest of the show. I didn’t even get outside of the World of Cats area except when I popped up onto the balcony to take a video of the show from above. I managed to snatch a quick chat in the morning, with Teresa Bryant (Brumeux Nebelungs) on the stand behind us, and then at the end of the show, with Vanessa Marriott (Rumba Burmese) on the stand opposite, and Tricia Bristow (Gossamyst Australian Mists) on the stand next to ours.
I would wholeheartedly recommend the show to any animal lover, and am already looking forward to next year and thinking about who we might take!
The Nor’East of Scotland show was also on last Saturday, and Elisabeth and the Thomsons were kind enough to agree to take Annas up there for us. She did us proud once again, winning the Reserve Olympian from John Hansson, no less – I am delighted to think that John would award her a certificate of that level, because he won’t hesitate to withhold an Olympian or Reserve if he doesn’t think the cat is worthy! She also won her Best of Breed, beating Lainni and Tabh again. Lainni was awarded the Reserve Grand, but poor Tabh had his PC withheld – he was never intended to be a show cat though, and Lona only takes him for a bit of fun, so that’s not a huge surprise, though a bit harsh, since he’s such an absolute sweetie! The Glendavan cats had an excellent day, winning everything from a kitten 1st and BOB through a CC and PC, Grand and Imperial to an Olympian for the stunning Kaiser! Elisabeth’s lot also had a good day, with her star being Zach, who won his first Olympian and then went Best Foreign, much to Karen’s delight.
We owe a huge thanks to Karen for recording all the show results in our catalogue for us, in spite of her exciting results. We also owe an even bigger thanks to Elisabeth and the Thomsons, because not only did they take Annas to the show, they also checked on the kittens and fed Fi both morning and evening for us!
After the LPS on Saturday, we drove down to Rosemary’s, and collected little Gracie, who Rosemary thinks had been mated by Curry on the Wednesday. There were no observed matings, so we can’t be sure, but their behaviour suggested she had been mated, so we shall keep our fingers crossed. Dàrna was also mated the week before last, by Apollo, and is still living in his run to keep him company – they are like a little married couple! When Elisabeth and the Thomsons were round after the Nor’East, they decided to check on Katie, and they are of the opinion that she is indeed pregnant. A week on, and I’m pretty sure I felt a kick today, which would confirm it. I don’t really mind either way – if she is, Donny will be proven and we should hopefully have a litter including some Tiffanies. If she isn’t, it’s one less litter to handle at the same time as the others, and she’ll be going to a beautiful cream Burmese boy later in the year. What will be, will be, and we’ll just have to deal with the consequences!
Before I finish, I had promised to post up some photos of Quinn for a friend, so here you go. She’s a demon of a cat to photograph, because she’s always into something! I am hoping that she can find a home with one of the kittens leaving this year, but in the meantime she’s keeping her brother company in the kitchen.
Lots of catching up, with four shows out of the way, the possibiltiy of four litters soon, and plenty of cat-related club business and socialising. Fi is due her kittens next week, so we’re hoping for an easy birthing and a nice healthy litter!
I would start by saying that it seems like months since I last posted, but it virtually has been! I have never been as busy as I have been these past few months, mostly due to having taken on an enormous contract at work – a roll-out of audio systems (speakers and amplifiers) to 290 Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Duvetco stores nationwide. That project reached its successful conclusion on Friday of last week, however, coming in at just 0.38% better than my estimated figures. Now that it is finished, I’m hoping I might have more time for updating this and our website more often, and also finally completing my part of the GCCF rules revision.
I’m trying to remember what all has happened since my last post, but it’s all a bit of a blur. In terms of showing, my last post was the day before the Lancs show, so there’s that, plus the Preston & Blackpool, the Scottish Shorthair and the Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire double show. There’s also been another meeting of the Asian Breed Advisory Committee (BAC), the annual GCCF Gala Dinner, the Edinburgh & East AGM, the AGCS AGM, a West of Scotland Committee meeting and the AGM, a RACCS committee meeting, a Langford’s Breeders’ Seminar and two choir concerts (one singing Alto with the Stirling Gaelic choir, and the other as a Soprano for Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Stirling City choir)! Aside from that lot, and meetings at work, we also tried to fit in a few days away with my parents, from which Richard had to return for work reasons after just the weekend (but we did manage a lovely mountain climb!), and I had to spend the middle day working on the EWM roll-out. Geez, I feel exhausted just typing that!
So… which bits will you be interested in?
At the Lancs, Dàrna won the Reserve Imperial in a class of three, while, I completed the final engagement towards my steward’s badge, with Peter Collin in the Burmese section. I had been looking forward to my day with Peter, since stewarding for a Burmese judge is an excellent way to learn about the Asian type (they should be the same), and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him – I received my steward’s badge a couple of weeks later, so am now officially a GCCF Steward! I had also suggested to Pippa (who almost bought Cailin) that she bring her Tiffanie girl to that show, since it’s not too far from her, and it was lovely to catch up with her, and meet her girl, who won the CC but lost the Best of Breed to Dàrna. The star of the show was a Russian Blue boy of Elisabeth’s breeding, Korei, owned by Donna and Dave Johnson (Koreshka Russian Blues), who not only won the CC at his first adult show, but went on to become overall Best in Show – Elisabeth was ecstatic, as you can imagine!
There were no certificate wins at the Preston & Blackpool, though the three we had taken, Annas, Dàrna and Apollo, all won their Best of Breeds. Elisabeth had another good day, with Korei winning his second CC, Zach his qualifying Imperial certificate and Ziva her first Grand. I had an enjoyable day stewarding for Helen Marriott-Power, including my (rather nerve-wracking) first experience of being the sole steward for Best in Show. I have been getting ribbed ever since for having an extremely studious expression on my face throughout, but I didn’t want to mess up handling someone’s cat with everyone watching!
We had better results at the Scottish Shorthair – although Annas had the Olympian withheld by Grace Denny (she was placed first, though!), Lona was there with Laini, who won her second Grand, and Tabh, who won his second PC! Annas took Best of Breed. I’m guessing Lona’s two will probably be out for their qualifying certificates at the Nor’East, which unfortunately we are missing this year, due to it being on the same weekend as the London Pet Show. Gutted! Elisabeth’s lot also had another good day, with her imported stud boy winning his second CC, and little Dukey going Best Foreign Kitten!
That brings us on to the Beds/Camcat (Bedfordshire & District Cat Club & Cambridgeshire Cat Club) double-show at the weekend just gone – two all-breed shows sharing the large hall at Wood Green animal shelter near Huntingdon, which is one of my favourite show venues. This must be one of the largest shows after the Supreme, and has a real buzz about it as a result. We took a half day at work on Friday and collected Elisabeth before driving down to spend the night at Anita’s (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) in Rugby. On Saturday morning we packed everyone’s stuff and cats into our people-carrier, and set off to the show – five adults (myself and Richard, Elisabeth and Anita and Rob) and eight cats (three of ours, three of Elisabeth’s and two of Anita’s).
We had both an AGM and a committee meeting during the show day, so I had very deliberately not booked to steward or do tablework. While we were getting the cats penned, they were calling over the tannoy that they desperately needed stewards, and could anyone willing to steward come up to the table, and I’m standing there going “I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to do it” – I find it very difficult not to offer to help when it’s required. However, I managed, and I’m actually glad I did, because it was really nice to have a day where I could actually take my time over checking results, and get a chance to cuddle my cats and talk to other exhibitors. I love stewarding, but it was lovely just to be an ordinary exhibitor for a change, even if we did have meetings in the afternoon. In particular, it was great to get a chance to catch up with Amanda (Rushbrooke Asians, Burmese and Bengals), whom I haven’t seen since last autumn, and she has been very seriously ill in the meantime. She was looking great on Saturday, and had a nice cuddle with Annas (whom she bred) and Donny.
Elisabeth and Anita both took certificates home, with Elisabeth’s Ziva winning her second Grand, and Anita’s Chippy winning the CC in one of the shows. Elisabeth was also thrilled because Korei won his qualifying CC, making him something like the 30th titled cat she has bred! I was delighted to find that little Cailin won the CC in both shows, meaning that she only needs one more certificate. She has developed into a very pretty girl, but still has lots of maturing to do. That means that we currently have three Cagarans requiring one more certificate – Cailin, Laini and Tabh. I wonder whether it will be Tabh or Cailin who is the first to become the third titled Cagaran?!
I wasn’t expecting Annas to win the Olympian, because I guessed that Mylward Sassafras and Danleigh Starburst would be there, and sure enough, they were. They got the Oly and Reserve in one of the shows, but in the other the reserve went to a beautiful Mainman Burmese (the Oly was still won by Sassafras, though!). We had actually only entered Annas in one of the shows, because Grace Denny was the judge in the other (same as the Scottish Shorthair, but with more competition!), and likewise Donny. Both won their Best of Breed and did well in their side classes. In certificate terms, our star was Dàrna, who was entered in the two shows, and won the Reserve Imperial in both, against what I would have considered to be stronger competition – I was very surprised! She will now be retired from the bench for this year, to hopefully have some kittens with Apollo.
Speaking of kittens, we have everything happening at once again this year. Fi did indeed get pregnant the weekend of the Ocicat AGM, and is due her kittens next week. She looks nice and fat, so I’m hoping for a sensible-sized litter, rather than the two-kitten nonsense that we had last year! Fingers crossed for at least some Tiffanies, since that’s what everyone wants from us!
You may remember that Katie had a sore eye for a couple of months? It has now cleared up, and we are no longer having to give her eye drops, though it remains to be seen whether there will be any permanent scarring of the iris. Anyway, whilst it was still causing an issue, we decided to separate her from the others, in case it turned out to be infectious, but rather than keep her by herself, we decided to move Donny out with her, since it was going to be several weeks until he was next due at a show. To our surprise, however, we discovered him mating her a few days later, when he was just over seven months old! That was almost a month ago now, and Katie doesn’t seem to be able to quite make up her mind whether or not she is pregnant – one day she is pinked up and the next day it seems to fade, only to return the following day. We shall see. It is Katie that I would have intended mating Donny to eventually, but I wasn’t expecting him to be so young at the time – most Asian boys don’t start working until they are over a year old!
Gracie will also hopefully be having kittens in the not-to-distant future, since she is currently at Rosemary Caunter’s (Thickthorn Ocicats), to hopefully mate with her cinnamon boy, Curry, as you may remember was suggested by Stacie (Ameeka Ocicats and Abyssinians), at the Ocicat AGM.
We didn’t intend to have all the matings bunched up like this – the plan was that Fi would have had kittens in January (remember, she originally went in with Shogun in October), Grace and Dàrna would always have been due for mating around now, and then we’d have kept Katie back until later in the summer, because she’s not such a prolific caller, and can therefore wait longer between matings than Dàrna can. Instead Fi is just having hers as Dàrna and Grace go in with studs, and Katie might already be half-way through a pregnancy. I kind of hope she isn’t!! Either way, we will just have to borrow Amanda’s mottow and “manage the situation”.
Other Catty Bits
The RACCS show is now going to be back-to-back with the Supreme, something that has never been done before, and is both a great opportunity and horrendously complicated! The Asian BAC meeting was again interesting, and I am delighted that I was voted on – we have a new Asian probationer judge, and have also put one forward to progress to become a full judge at the June Council meeting. Speaking of people going forward at the June Council meeting, Elisabeth is going to be on the list to be voted on as a probationer judge of Russians!
The Gala dinner was another excellent event, with lots of good ‘cat chat’, a fun quiz (which our team won again this year!) and a fundraising auction in which we managed to bag the fantastic prize of a mating with a stunning Burmese stud cat, who isn’t usually available! The Langford’s Breeders’ Seminar was in Birmingham on the Sunday just gone, and like the last one, was an extremely beneficial day – the most interesting bits for me probably being Lesley Lyons talks on disease genetics and then later, colour genetics. There is another one being held in June, and we are definitely planning to be at that one as well – Elisabeth and I are also attending the FAB (Feline Advisory Bureau) study day in Edinburgh in a few weeks, which is on Feline emergency medicine, and should be very interesting.
Richard is now on the committee of the Edinburgh & East – I managed to step out of the way faster this time! I have been voted on as a full delegate to Council, for the West of Scotland, which we are both on the committee of, and for which Richard is now secretary. That lot out of the way, I think you’re now fully up-to-date on what’s been happening in the Cagaran Household. Hopefully the updates should be more frequent now that my EWM roll-out is completed.
The next item on our ‘agenda’ (other than Fi’s kittens, of course), is the London Pet Show, which is a fortnight from the weekend just gone. We’re taking Donny down to represent the AGCS with Anita’s Cailin, and she’s taking both Azi (Kia’s 3/4 sister) and Chippy to represent the Ocicats. It was such a great day last year that I’m really looking forward to it, and we’re busy harness-training Donny at the moment!
That’s it for tonight. The next post should hopefully be with photos of Fi’s kittens, so keep your fingers crossed for an easy labour for her…
Kia and Quinn have been spayed, and Kia has settled into her new home. Apollo also seems to have settled, being a much happier boy since the Scottish. Fi may or may not be pregnant, but Keela definitely wasn’t, and is now back with us to have another shot with Shogun. Shogun is now a Champion, and Apollo won his first Grand.
Kia and Quinn were succesfully spayed the second week in January. When I collected them, the vet receptionist warned me that Quinn had been trying to lick her stitches, and had managed to remove the collar they had given her, three times whilst still in her pen at the practice. They didn’t think the collar would even last the evening, so we were just going to have to keep an eye on her licking, ourselves. She did indeed have the collar off within a couple of hours of getting home, so I put a tiny bit of Vicks vaporub in a circle around the area of the spay. Cats don’t like the smell (it’s menthol and eucalyptus), so she stopped trying to lick it and didn’t start again even once the vaporub had evaporated. As an aside, I was fascinated to see that her skin is pale – normally a dark-coloured cat would have dark skin, but it must be because she’s a smoke, and therefore has a pale undercoat, that hers is pink.
Both girls had their checkup ten days later, and since there were no problems, I let Sheona know that Kia would be okay to move in with them that weekend. We then had several busy days, because I am the secretary for RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland), whose AGM was the third weekend last month, and the AGM notification and papers had to go out 21 days in advance of the meeting. That was a welcome distraction from thinking about having to say goodbye to our sweet little Kia. I still haven’t started looking for a home for Quinn yet – really must get onto that, but I just keep putting it off…
Kia’s New Home
The last Sunday in January, we got all of Kia’s paperwork ready, and then put her into her basket for the journey. Normally, when you opened the door to the room that she was in, she was right behind it, ready to say hello. This time, Richard had to collect her from the far side of the room, so she definitely knew something was going on, and that set me off worrying whether we were doing the right thing.
When we got to Sheona’s, however, I opened the front of the basket, and in typical Ocicat fashion, Kia was immediately out and running around to explore her new surroundings. Richard and I sat in the livingroom with Sheona and Bruce, having a cup of tea, and after a few minutes, Kia started rubbing around their legs, but wouldn’t come near us. She would rub around them and then stand in front of them, looking at Richard and I as if to say “These people are acceptable. You can go now”. Once she was sure we got the message, she then came and gave us a quick cuddle on the couch, before going back to exploring and playing with her new toys. She absolutely loves their windowledges (which Sheona had cleared ready for Kia’s arrival!), because the flat is on the 4th floor, with views down the River Kelvin, and plenty of birds to chirp at. Even better, they all have radiators immediatley below them to keep her warm!
When we headed for the door, Kia took herself off into the bedroom and sat under the bed. It took us a few minutes to persuade her that she really was giong to be allowed to stay there, and then she came out to say a quick goodbye before going off to sit on one of the windowledges again. In some ways that actually made it easier, because she was so obviously perfectly content to move into a new environment. We’ve since had updates from Sheona, and even a video of Kia exploring, and she has settled in beautifully, which if we were honest we always knew she would. I think we just didn’t want to admit that she’d be fine without us!
Scottish Cat Club Show
The first weekend last month saw us going to the Scottish Cat Club show in Larkhall, just a bit south of Glasgow. This is one of the more local shows for us, so we went along to help set up on the Friday, and were allowed to set up our own pens at the same time. That meant that when we got there on the show morning, we only had to put down food and pop the cats in their pens. This was just as well, given that we were running very late due to having had to give Apollo a bath in the morning.
When I went to get him, he’d obviously been having a mud bath overnight, so our lovely apricot silver was now a grey! We got him cleaned up and had to put him straight into his basket without time to dry him off. We stuck him next to the space heater in the car, in the hope that the hot air would dry him out, but by the time we got to vetting-in, he was still very soggy, and kind of squelched onto the vet’s table. Given that this was the first time Steve was going to have seen him since we brought him home, this wasn’t the best possible start to the morning! As it happens, once Apollo was in his pen, I managed to get him dried off with a spare blanket, and then we went over his coat with a slicker brush, so by the time the judges saw him you would never have known!
We also took Shogun, Annas, Ali and little Donny. Lona was there with both Lainni and Tabh, so this was the first show where there have been three Cagarans in competition, which was rather nice! It was particularly lovely to see Tabh again – we haven’t seen him since the last time he was out on the bench, at this show last year, when he left us to go home with Lona! Lainni didn’t place in the Grand, but did well in her side classes, and Tabh won his first PC, making him the fourth Cagaran to win a certificate.
Annas won the Reserve Olympian, Ali got the Reserve Grand and came second in the last ever Scottish Royal Canin final (winning £20, which covered his entry fee!), Apollo won his first Grand, and Shogun won his third and qualifying CC, so he is now a Champion!
Donny is still just a kitten, so wasn’t up for any certificates, but he did well in his sides, and the judges liked his type, so that was the main thing.
Ever since we got Apollo at first, he had been uptight and nervy, refusing to settle. We thought we would try him at the Scottish, since it isn’t too far to travel, and see how he coped before entering anything else with him. However, the show saw him have a complete personality transplant, and he rolled around in his pen rubbing his head on anyone who stuck their hands in, and generally being adorable, so there’s no issue there. Even better, he has continued the transformation since we got back, and has been utterly adorable ever since. When we go out to his pen now, he comes out of his house and will rub against us and purr loudly, and gets so soppy that he virtually falls over in his efforts to get you to stroke him all over. We couldn’t be more delighted with the change, as we now have the sweet boy that we were expecting, though he still ‘talks’ with a loud Essex accent, lol!
Coventry & Leicester Show
A fortnight after the Scottish, we took the Friday afternoon off work, and drove down to stay with our friends, Tracy and Gary, collecting Elisabeth on the way. Tracy and Gary seem to put us up every few months, with assorted cats in tow, and are always gracious and good-natured, regardless of our odd departure times, and habit of arriving later than we thought. We are so lucky that they put up with us!
We were a couple of hours down the motorway when we realised that my handbag had been left at home. The main issue was that it contained the vaccination cards for not only our cats, but also for Keela, because we had forgotten to leave hers with Anita when we returned Keela in January. Thankfully, the GCCF has a rule that if you forget your vaccination card, you can send it in to the GCCF office within 7 days, so we had a debate about whether to turn around and go back, or carry on and just fill in the paperwork to send the cards in. I phoned Anita and asked if she would be okay with us doing the latter, and she said that was fine, as long as I was sure about the rule.
Poor Katie has had an eye infection for several weeks, starting around the time of the Notts & Derbys. You may remember that we didn’t take her to that show, because she was pulling funny faces on the show morning? It seems those silly faces were the beginning of this infection, for which we’ve been giving her eye drops ever since. It is improving, but the progress has been very slow. Since she’s supposed to get her drops every hour or two during the day, we couldn’t leave her at home whilst we went down to the show, so she came too. I sat in the back seat, and took her out of her basket every hour to put her drops in. We had to pull into a services at one point, because the bottle had fallen on the floor and rolled away under the seats – perhaps Katie pushed it off deliberately!
We got to Tracy and Gary’s a bit later than planned, but still in time to have a nice dinner with them, and a bit of a catch-up. Just after we had gone to bed, I heard a strange noise, and turned the light on to discover that Katie, whose stomach has been rather upset by her medication, had had a ‘little accident’ on the blanket over the top of the bed, and Donny was busy getting it all over his feet trying to clean it up. Thankfully it hadn’t gone through the blanket to the duvet underneath, so Richard got a bin-bag (we always carry some when travelling) and stuck the blanket in that, outside the front door (!), whilst I took Donny into the bathroom and got him cleaned up. We washed the blanket when we got home, and will post it back down to Tracy and Gary, because it didn’t seem fair to have them clean that up as well as looking after us! Oh the joys of travelling with animals. Actually, that’s not fair, because we’ve never had a problem before – there’s a first time for everything, I suppose.
Anyway, we got up and away on Saturday morning basically on schedule, and the journey took us less than an hour, putting us at the hall just after 8am. This is the show’s first year in a new venue, which wasn’t too far from the motorway and had excellent parking. Sue Moreland was the duty vet, and she is always easy to deal with, so we got the vetting-in paperwork completed without problem. Whilst I finished penning the cats, Richard went off to buy a slicker-brush and grooming glove, because those were in the handbag that had been left in Scotland. We had taken Annas, Dàrna and Donny, and all three looked lovely – especially Annas, whose coat showed up beautifully under the lighting in the new venue.
After penning the cats and getting them ready, Richard and I went off to get breakfast in the cafe, whose food was excellent and reasonably priced. Richard then went back to check on the cats, whilst I went to find the judges room and mark up my steward’s card. The show had received record entries, and three of the judges had been so popular that their original ‘books’ (list of cats to judge) had been just under 140 cats each! To put that into context, the recommended maximum number is 70, and 50 is considered a fairly heavy book. My judge, Elaine Culf, was one of the popular ones, but thankfully the show managers had managed to bring in some other judges, and move some of Elaine’s less critical classes over to them. Elaine only judges in the Semi-Longhair section at the moment, and we had some stunning Maine Coons and Birmans, in particular, and an absolutely gorgeous Siberian, who was her pick for Best Semi-Longhair kitten.
At one point, I collected a beautiful cream Birman neuter female from her pen, and when I realised that it was Mylward Sassafras (there are not many 12-year-old cream Birmans being shown, let alone ones that gorgeous), I knew that Annas wasn’t going to have got the Olympian, particularly given that the equally stunning Danleigh Starburst was in the pen next to Sassafras. Both girls have been extremely successful and are already Bronze Olympians, and Annas just isn’t quite up to their standard, beautiful as she is. Sure enough, Sassafras and Starburst had been awarded the female neuter Olympian and Reserve, but not placing in a class of eight fantastic exhibits is no great failing. I’ve never seen such big classes at the top levels as were there yesterday – it is lovely to see a class of 14 in an Olympian and ten in an Imperial. That’s proper competition! Dàrna was in the 10-in-the-Imperial class, and also didn’t place, but again I can’t get upset about her loosing out against such competition.
Donny won his kitten class and Best of Breed, and also did very well in his side classes – probably his best result being 2nd in the Foreign 50th Birthday class, which was huge, and against adults and neuters as well as kittens. The winner in that class was a beautiful Mau, and the judge said that Donny only lost out on maturity! I spoke to a couple of the judges after the show, and they were saying how lovely his head is, and how much he’s come on since they saw him at the AGCS! It’s lovely to get such good feedback for one of our own-bred kittens.
A week past yesterday, I had a day-trip to Newcastle for a work meeting with the northern account manager for PRS. I managed to pop briefly into the office at the very end of the working day, but had to leave sharp because we had the West of Scotland committee meeting in Glasgow that evening. This was the post-show meeting, so there was plenty to discuss, and by the end of the evening I was very much ready for my bed.
We are back into ‘AGM Season’, so Saturday saw us driving down to Anita’s, to stay overnight before the Ocicat AGM on Sunday. It was great to see little Cailin again, though she was a bit wary with us – probably because the last time we visited Anita’s we were dropping Keela off, and she was rather unpleasant to Cailin afterwards. We had a lovely meal with Anita and Rob, and plenty of cat-chat, then a nice easy start the next morning with just a 40-minute drive to the AGM.
As always, that was an enjoyable event, with a meal beforehand and tea and cake afterwards. We had taken Katie with us again, because she’s still on the eye-drops, and thought we might as well take Grace as her travelling companion, rather than Dàrna, as we normally would. That meant that I was able to take Grace in after the meeting, and let the experienced Oci breeders give me their thoughts on her. Rosemary thinks that she has the potential to give us some really good type kittens, and Stacie has suggested that we take her to Curry, who is Rosemary’s cinnamon Ocicat stud. He carries classic, so that would suit us perfectly, since it would have the potential to produce both Ocis and Classics, as well as the almost inevitable variants. We will probably take her down to Rosemary in a couple of months.
Fi was finally mated the last weekend in January, and having seen a mating, we now know that one of the issues (aside from her being a pain and rolling onto her back!) is that she is very long in the body, whereas he is quite compact, so he actually finds it quite difficult to mate her!
A week ago, she was very slightly pinked up, which can either mean a pregnancy, or that they are coming back into season. Obviously, we were hoping for the former, but when I got up last Saturday morning, Fi was rolling around on the floor, standing in the classic calling pose, and even making little calling noises. This was the first time she’s actually come properly into call like that, so I scooped her up and took her straight up the stairs to Shogun, who could hardly believe that I had finally brought him a girl who was both in season and happy to be mated – he kept sniffing at her and then looking at me in astonishment. After a few minutes, however, he got over his shock and proceeded to mate her four times inside half-an-hour. We then had to leave to go to the Oci AGM, but when we got back on Sunday, I popped her in with him for another ten minutes or so, and saw another two matings. Hopefully that will be enough to finally result in a pregnancy.
Keela unfortunately decided that she didn’t want to be pregnant after all (exactly what her mum did the first time), so we brought her back from the Coventry & Leicester show to try again with Shogun. She seemed to have forgotten who he is, and spent the first few days growling and hissing at him from the corner of the kitten pen, which we put her in until she settled a bit. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of having his loving little companion (Fi) taken out of the room and her being replaced with a screaming demon, bless him! She has now calmed down, though, and seems fine with him, so when she next comes into season we’ll be hoping that he can successfully mate her as well.
By the time Keela goes back to Anita, we will know for sure whether or not Fi is pregnant, and if she’s not, we might stick Katie in with Shogun instead, since she is also much shorter in the body, and therefore easier for him. She had beautiful kittens by him last year, and we haven’t yet kept anything from her, so that would also be fine. Fi could then go in with Apollo, who is getting a bit desperate for a girl, but I don’t want to put anyone with him until I know for sure what’s happening with Shogun. The complexities of cat-breeding!
The past couple of days have been rather busy for me at work, starting with a 4:30am rise yesterday, to drive to Liverpool for a 10:30am meeting with Sound & Secure, who are one of our installation partners. After that, I scooted across for an update meeting with Wren Kitchens in Howden, and a first visit with the Relish Bar and Grill in Doncaster. Since I wasn’t very far from Barnsley at the end of the day, I had contacted June, who owns Rafa (one of the kittens from Katie’s first litter – originally known as Soolay), to ask if I could pop in and say hello – something that she has always said we are welcome to do.
She suggested that not only should I come to say hello, but that I should stop with them for dinner, and then stay the night! I was bowled over by such a generous offer, and feel very lucky that we found such fantastic owners for Rafa. I was treated to some proper Yorkshire hospitality, with a delicious stew for dinner, copious quantities of tea, and hours of cat-chat. Rafa has grown into a really handsome boy, with the most spectacular ruff and incredibly rich colouration considering that Katie is a ‘high silver’ (i.e. bright silver with no rusty tones).
He also has the most adorable temperament – if he is lying in a seat that June wants to sit in, she just picks him up, and moves him to another seat, and he just lies there in whatever position she puts him down! She was telling me that he is working through all of the ‘non-cat’ people that they know, converting them one-by-one to how wonderful cats can be – what a fantastic ambassador for the feline population in general, and Tiffanies in particular. He and his companion, Riley, are obviously doted-on, and have everyone wrapped around their little paws.
This morning I had a meeting in Newcastle, with a new manager for another of our clients, Blue Inc. On the way back up the A1, I passed within a couple of hundred yards of Sophie’s owners, and knowing that their cats are often visible through the glass door, I couldn’t resist popping off to see if I could see her. Sure enough, when I arrived at their house, I could see her sitting in one of the windows, and when I went around to the door, she came into the hallway to look at me through the door.
She has also grown into a beautiful cat, and although Fi definitely has the better head of the two, Sophie has the most amazing tail. Last time I called in like that, I ended up with her moggy housemate climbing all over the inside of my car, but I didn’t see him this time. Sophie and William, their other Tiffanie, talked to me through the door for a while, and then I headed home to get ready for the Lancs show tomorrow, and the Asian BAC meeting on Sunday.
I swear once you start, the world of cat showing and breeding takes over your life!
Three excellent sets of show results for the Cagaran cats, at the Maidstone & Medway, Asian Group Cat Society and Notts & Derbys shows. Keela seems to be pregnant and has gone home, we have brought home our new stud boy, CH Kagura Apollo, and have decided to spay and re-home Kia and Quinn.
Maidstone & Medway Cat Show
Like the West of Scotland, the Maidstone & Medway Cat Club had their 25th Anniversary show in December, which was also to be the last one managed by Anne Gregory before she gives up. I had asked Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese & Asians) to suggest some shows where I could steward for her, and this was one of the suggestions. When I mentioned that to Elisabeth (Dushenka Russian Blues), she calculated that it would be a good one for her because it would be Lucy’s first shot at a CC, and also the first show that her babies would be old enough for. Considering all of that, we couldn’t resist making the trip.
We took our three kittens (Donny, Quinn and Grace) plus Shogun, and Elisabeth took three of her kittens plus Lucy. We stayed near Warwick on the Friday night, which was the first night away from home for all of the babies. Our rooms were across the hallway, and I think we must have been just about the only people on our floor, which meant that there wasn’t too much noise to disturb the cats. None of them seemed the least bit phased, though Shogun wasn’t massively impressed with having to spend the night in the bathroom! Quinn and Grace cuddled up in bed with us, while Donny spent the night keeping us awake by knocking Richard’s glasses off the bedside table, playing with our toothbrushes and unpacking our bag all over the floor.
I had an interesting day stewarding for Sandra, and saw some beautiful cats. Meanwhile our own cats did well, and Shogun won his second CC. Elisabeth’s Lucy won her first, and all of the babies handled well, and met with approval from the judges.
The ‘Festive Season’
Once again this year, we ordered Christmas cards with one of our own photos on the front. We took the photo just before Maltech and Cailin went off to their new homes, in the few days after they had been introduced to Dàrna’s litter. That meant that we were able to have a Tiffanie, an Ocicat Variant and the two Asians all together in one photo. As before, it was a challenge to get the kittens to sit together, and the Christmassy backdrop that we created had virtually been destroyed by the time we got the final photo.
The series of photos below show just some of the many failed attempts to get a decent photo, but also just some cute ones that we took along the way. We were using a feather stick to try and get the kittens attention, but you’ll see that sometimes it failed to work, and sometimes it worked a little too well!
Richard’s parents came up to stay with us over Christmas, and some of my relatives were joining us for Christmas dinner, making a party of 14 in total. The day before Christmas Eve, the trip for the sockets in every room except the kitchen went faulty. As a result, we had to run extension-leads around the house to power the Christmas lights and fish tank, but at least we had still had power in the kitchen and light throughout the house! Dinner was very successful, and it was lovely to catch up with the family.
Keela was still behaving as if she hated Shogun, squealing and hissing at him whenever we went into the room. However, when I went up to see them on Christmas day, I found her sleeping curled up against his tummy. As soon as she saw me, she jumped up and started hissing and growling at him again as if she hated him, but by then I knew that she was just putting it on for my benefit. I checked her over, and discovered that her back nipples were just starting to show a slight flush. By the start of January, the flush had extended into full pinking from back to front, so it looks like he has successfully mated her.
Hogmanay was my grandfather’s 80th birthday, so we stayed overnight with my family in the Crown Plaza hotel in Glasgow, and went to the black-tie gala dinner there. This was another fantastic opportunity to catch up with family members, particularly my cousins who live in Guernsey, and another of my cousins who is about to move to Spain. Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook will no doubt already have seen the sets of highly embarrassing photos one of my cousins later posted of me dancing!
Asian Group Cat Society Show
The night of the 2nd was extremely windy, and by the time we got up the next morning, four large trees had come down across our driveway. It took us a couple of days to manage to get a tree surgeon out, and even then it took him two days just to cut us a route through the trees so that we could get the car out, and then he had to leave to get on with other jobs. The remains of the trees are still waiting for them to have time to return! By the time they were here for the second day, I was getting rather nervous, because we were due to be going to a show that weekend!
The first show of 2012, as usual, was the Asian Group Cat Society, which takes place alongside the Short Hair Cat Society show. This time, we took Annas for her 3rd Olympian, Dàrna for her 1st Imperial, Donny in the kitten classes, and Grace in her last show as a Pedigree Pet. Cats in the Household Pet section must be neutered once they are six months old, so we won’t be able to show her again until after she has had her litter and been spayed. On the way down to the show, we took Keela back to Anita’s, and also took a dropped off a girl who had been at stud with Elisabeth.
All four of our cats did well, both Annas and Dàrna winning their certificates, and Grace winning her Ped Pet class and Best of Colour out of five. Anita and Robert were there with Cailin, who was looking beautiful, and won her kitten class, Best of Breed, and three 1sts in her side classes.
Our star of the show was little Donny, who followed in his big sister Fi’s ‘paw-steps’, and went Best Kitten in the AGCS.
We had arranged to collect our new stud boy, Kagura Apollo, from the show, and he only needed one more CC to make up to Champion. As it was, he won the CC in both the AGCS and SHCS parts of the show, giving him the title plus a spare. Elisabeth also had a good day in the SHCS part of the show, with Lucy winning her 2nd CC, and both her kittens winning their Open classes. To top off the day, Dukey (Dushenka Duke Ellington) went overall Best Foreign!
Best Neuter was Teignage Sir Pouncealot, but Best Adult and Overall Best in Show was the beautiful Kagura Galadriel, so that’s two years in a row that a Kagura adult has been Overall Best in Show, and a Cagaran Best Kitten.
Not a bad day out, to take home between ourselves and Elisabeth, a Ped-Pet Best of Colour, two kitten Best of Breeds, a new Champion, another two CCs, an Imperial, an Olympian and two Best in Show awards!
Notts & Derbys Cat Club
Yesterday saw us heading down to the Notts & Derbys, which we didn’t get to last year, though Annas won one of her Imperials there back in 2010. I can hardly believe it’s two years since we were ‘chasing’ Imps with her, and now here we were back to try for an Oly!
We had entered Annas, Dàrna and Katie, and normally would have got our show stuff ready in the first half of last week. However, I had a new employee up for his first week’s training, and Richard also had a busy week due to the wind bringing lots of fences down, so we didn’t get around to it until Friday evening.
When we got Katie’s vaccination card out of the drawer, we discovered that it hadn’t been filled in for her last vaccination. I knew that she had been vaccinated with her 2011 (C-litter) kittens’ first vaccination, so we looked out the receipt, and sure enough, it shows a booster vaccination for ‘Katie’ and then the first vaccinations for her kittens. However, she is obviously entered in a show as Rushbrooke Airgead Cagaran, not as ‘Katie’, so the receipt wouldn’t prove that she was vaccinated. When we get the pink (registration) slips for our kittens, they come with a white copy for our records, so we photocopied the ones for the C-litter, to show that her kittens would have been the right age to be the ones whose vaccinations were recorded on the receipt. I was going to use all of that, and hope that the show manager would allow us to take her in. When we got up yesterday morning, however, she was pulling stupid faces and I decided that I couldn’t be bothered trying to argue her into the show hall, only to have her pull faces at the judge, so we left her at home with the Donny, Quinn and Gracie.
Annas looked fantastic, but the competition was very steep in all the Olympian classes, and she didn’t place this time. The certificate in her class went to the fabulous Mylward Sassafras, a Birman who is already a Bronze-level Olympian, meaning that this certificate counts towards her Silver Olympian title. The Reserve went to Perri Hutchison’s (Irrep Burmese) gorgeous 11-year-old, chocolate tortie Burmese, Hypnos Tigerlily of Irrep. I had the pleasure of handling her for the Breed class, and she was adorable!
In spite of not winning the Oly, Annas seems please with herself today, so she obviously feels that she did a good job. She did win the Best of Breed, and also had good results in her sides, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd, in each case beating quality cats. Dàrna also looked lovely, and won her second Imperial certificate, though the Best of Breed went to Diane Bunting’s (Xchardi Asians) beautiful own-bred girl, Xchardi Xsi Xsi, whom I loved as a kitten at the Humberside & Lincs show last summer. Like Annas, Dàrna also won a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her side class, beating a couple of other cats each time.
As usual, Elisabeth travelled with us, and Lucy did well, winning her third and qualifying CC, making her up to Champion, as well as joining Annas and Dàrna’s 1-2-3 club and winning a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her sides, again beating good cats each time. Karen Hettman was also there with Lucy’s Dad, Zach, who won another Imperial and a 1st and two 2nds in his sides, while her other boy, Stan, lost to Zach in the Imperial but won two 2nds in his sides.
New Stud Boy
Apollo is slowly settling in, though making sure that we are aware that he is no enamoured by the move! He spends a lot of his time sitting on one particular log in the run, keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings, and starts shouting to us as soon as we go through the gate. Whenever we leave the run, he immediately sniffs around the whole floor with a look of disgust, as if we’ve messed up his territory just by visiting. He is very sweet, and absolutely gorgeous. He looks very like Fiona, though his eye shape and muzzle are better than hers. Both are apricot silver, and his dam is Fi’s half-sister, so it isn’t that surprising that they look alike.
We will be starting to take him out for his Grands soon, so watch this space!
Kia has been calling a lot recently, but won’t be ready to go to stud for several months yet. Since she was such a hopeless mother last time around, we have decided to have her spayed. A lovely couple from Glasgow have been waiting over a year for an Ocicat or Ocicat Classic from us, but we only had the Ocicat Variant litter last year, so there wasn’t anything for them. They had absolutely fallen in love with Kia when they visited us, and she seemed to like them, so having decided to spay her, I contacted them to ask if they would be interested in her instead of a kitten. Sheona and a friend came to visit last weekend, and loved her just as much as last time, so she will be going to live with Sheona and Bruce after the spay.
Since Kia is going in to be spayed, it seemed sensible to finally decide which of Dàrna’s last kittens we are going to keep, and have the other one neutered at the same time. Originally I said that we would make the decision after seeing what the judges thought of the two at the West of Scotland show back at the start of December. I’ve been putting it off ever since, because although Donny has the better overall type, and was the favourite with the judges, Quinn is probably my personal favourite – she’s just so cute! She’s the one who jumps up onto the bed in the morning, and tries to snuggle down for a cuddle. She also makes me laugh with her insistence when she thinks it’s time for her to be fed.
Over the past few days, however, I’ve looked at what matings we might like to do in the next couple of years, and Donny does fit better into those plans. He is still absolutely adorable, and is definitely Richard’s preference – he’s been trying to persuade me to re-home her since the middle of last month. Donny has also been Elisabeth’s favourite since they were teeny-tinies, so she’ll be delighted. Annas also adores Donny, and is regularly found cuddling-up with him, or playing hide-seek-and-chase games behind, on, off, over and under the bedroom furniture. I took the photo this morning (using my phone), and if it wasn’t so rubbish, you’d be able to see a little patch of tousled fur next to Annas’ paw, where she had obviously been licking Donny’s back before I came into the room. It’s therefore only me who hates the idea of re-homing Quinn – I’m dreading having to see her going off with someone else!
She’ll make someone an adorable pet, or if we’re lucky, a lovely show neuter, because then I’d still get to see her occasionally. Her coat has improved dramatically, and although still a little long, it now has a lovely silky texture. Her tortie markings also mean that she’ll get away with murder with the judges! Her smoking is undoubtedly better than her brother’s, because you can’t see it at all until you part her coat, and then you can see the silvering underneath.
I’m not going to start advertising her for sale until after she’s been spayed. I think once that’s done I might find it a bit easier because I know she can’t be part of our breeding plans. That may well be total wishful-thinking, but I can hope!
Thinking Ahead for 2012
Fi is still up with Shogun, and still refusing to co-operate with his attempts to mate her. She has, however, been sick a few times in the past week, which although unpleasant, might actually be a good sign: she’s out of Dàrna, who suffers from morning sickness! All we can do is cross our fingers and keep checking her for signs of pinking-up.
I haven’t quite decide exactly what we’re doing with the other girls this year, and to some extent it depends how Donny develops. If he looks like being an early starter, I would hold Katie back to mate to him at the back end of the summer, in which case Dàrna would be going to Apollo. If Donny looks like he won’t be ready to work until the end of the year, I’ll put Katie to Apollo. Dàrna could then go down to Annas’ brother, Charlie, who is the only link I can find to Annas’ Dam’s line (Annas and Katie have the same sire so we already have that line), and I am therefore keen to keep a kitten from him. I’m also hoping to bring in a Tiffanie girl from a different line this year, to give us more flexibility in choosing who to mate to Donny (at present we only have Katie, plus his sister and his Dam).
Aside from the Asians, we will be completing our Ocicat outcross by taking Grace to an Ocicat stud. Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn Ocicats) has suggested her cinnamon boy, Curry, who has a lovely strong head and would therefore be a good mate for her. We also have the option to use Anita’s (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) young chocolate silver boy, Chippie, but we will need to see how he develops before we know if he would be a good mate. Both boys are Ocicats carrying classic, so either mating could give us a mixed litter of ticked (Variant), spotted (Ocicat) and classic (Ocicat Classic) kittens!
Of course sod’s law probably means we’ll have to change all of our plans due to something unforeseen at the moment, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…
The kittens have continued to do well, and are all looking lovely. Cannach and Foghorn have gone to their new homes, Cailin has a new home to go to, but Maltech now needs a different home. Our cats had a good day at the Ocicat and RBBA shows, and I have enjoyed stewarding at both the North West and the Cumberland, though we didn’t have any cats of our own entered.
Once again, it’s been over three weeks since my last update, because things are still very busy in the ‘Cagaran Household’. We’ve both been caught up at work, and had a family funeral to attend down in Devon, then on top of that, we’ve attended three/four shows, so there hasn’t been much spare time!
Katie’s kittens were vaccinated a couple of days after I last posted, and Cannach was neutered the week after that, then went to his new home a few days later. He seems to have settled in nicely, and is getting on with the older Asian neuters that his family own, as well as cuddling up with the family themselves.
His sister is not going to be going where we thought she was, because her intended owner visited another breeder and fell in love with one particular kitten there. Sometimes a kitten chooses their owner, rather than the other way around, and that can make for a really strong bond, so I advised Pippa to pay attention to that.
I had shown photos of the kittens to my friend Anita (who has Keela, from Dàrna’s first litter), and when I mentioned that I was going to have to look for a new home for the girl, Anita asked if she could have her. I wasn’t expecting Anita to want her, so was a bit taken aback, but absolutely delighted. They weren’t keen on the pedigree name, and the registration documents were just being sent off, so I gave Anita the choice, and the girl is actually going to be Cagaran Cailin-Anizz, Anizz being Anita’s prefix. Cailin is gaelic for ‘Damsel’, but is a pretty name in its own right, and is going to be her pet name as well. Cailin has come on an absolute treat, and is so promising that I am starting to wish that we were keeping her ourselves!
Kia’s kittens had their second vaccinations last week, and were thirteen weeks old yesterday. We dropped Foghorn off at her new home, and as always, it was lovely to watch her exploring her new room, and then playing with her new family. She will be sleeping in their spare bedroom to begin with, and the ‘kids’ (a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old) are going to take it in turns to sleep with her. Her new family wanted to understand everything that we do with the kittens, including clipping of claws, and microchipping, which are both things that we normally do where nobody else is watching. I was quite nervous doing them with an audience for the first time, but little Foghorn was beautifully behaved and didn’t even squeak when the needle went through her skin!
Maltech’s intended owner has unfortunately lost her job, and as a result she cannot take on the responsibility and cost of looking after another cat. I have therefore started the process of looking for an alternative home for him. I will be having him neutered this week, and it’s not a moment too soon, because he’s already getting interested in Katie and Fiona! He and Grace are the most adorable pair of rascals, tearing around the room with Fi and then rushing up to rub against you and purr.
Dàrna’s kittens are developing beautifully, and I am delighted to say that both are now looking distinctly smokey! They are little monkeys at the moment, rushing about and getting into all sorts of mischief, just as their Burmese ancestors are famous for. Whenever you walk into the kitten room, they come running over and climb onto your feet, clinging to your ankles. Richard calls them the ‘foot gremlins’, as a result. My parents looked after the kittens for us while we were down in Devon for the funeral, and I couldn’t help but laugh listening to my Dad trying to deal with being rushed by the babies! We took an absolute stack of photos yesterday, so I couldn’t resist sharing a selection here:
The weekend after my last update, we took Elisabeth down to the North West show, which we couldn’t actually enter ourselves because we wanted to support the Ocicat show the following weekend. Instead, I was given a stewarding engagement with a Dutch judge, who was my first experience of working with a foreign judge, and was an excellent test of my awareness of the system etc.
The following weekend was both the Ocicat and the RBBA (Russian Blue) shows, and the two were in venues about an hour apart. Elisabeth borrowed Karen Hettman’s two boys again, and we dropped her off at the RBBA with them and Xazzle, so she had three cats of her breeding, but none of them actually owned by her! Zach was the star of the day, winning the Imperial (on his first try), and also Best Male Neuter.
We couldn’t take Kia to the Oci show, because her kittens were born too recently (they must have been born at least 12 weeks previously), so we could only take our neuters along to support the club. Breckin won her first Grand certificate, and Tármus had her first time out in the Pedigree Pet section, winning her first Master Cat certificate and Best of Colour, bless her! As always, she loved the attention and I was reminded of how enjoyable she is to show.
Last weekend was the Cumberland show, and again we couldn’t enter our own cats because of having shown the previous week. Instead, I was stewarding for Ann Gregory, and we were obviously giving Elisabeth a lift with her cats. Ann is the only all-breed judge in the GCCF, and very well respected, so I was a bit nervous in case I made any mistakes. The day went well, however, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Our pick of the day was a most beautiful blue Burmese who had Ann and I in raptures for several minutes. That girl went on to win Overall Best Burmese, so we obviously weren’t the only ones who thought she was stunning. Our friends, the Miskellys (Glendavan Abyssinians and Ragdolls), who own the sire of Kia’s kittens, also had a fantastic day, with the beautiful Coen (Glendavan Roderick-Jaynes) winning overall Best in Show!
Dàrna’s kittens have arrived, and the older kittens continue to do well. Fiona won her third and qualifying CC at the Teesside show, giving us our first Cagaran title.
It’s been about ten days since my last update, and things have certainly moved on in that time. Katie’s kittens are almost eight weeks, Kia’s are six and Dàrna’s were born on Wednesday of last week as expected. We also had an exciting day on Saturday, at the Teesside show…
Teesside Show – First Cagaran Title
We have a bit of a soft spot for the Teesside, both because it was the first all-bred show we did (with Annas, three years ago), and because they were the club who sponsored our prefix application. It therefore seems somehow fitting that it should be the Teesside that witnessed the first title for that prefix – little Fiona won her third CC, making her officially Champion Cagaran Beannachd-Fionn!! Breckin also had a good day, winning her third and qualifying PC, making her now a Premier as well as the Champion title that she won before being spayed. Elisabeth had a good day as well, with Zach winning his Grand Title, then going Best Foreign Neuter again, and one of her kittens receiving a Best in Show nomination!
We were expecting Dàrna’s kittens around the middle of last week, and sure enough she delivered bang on schedule. Unfortunately, she did indeed only have two. Earlier in the year we treated all three girls for an infection, but the only treatment available is an off-license drug that has therefore not had any studies undertaken on it. We had to sign forms to say that we understood that when the vets prescribed the treatment, and it looks like there has been some sort of effect on Fertility. With three girls now having had markedly smaller litters than would have been expected, I don’t think there can be much doubt. We just have to hope that the effects don’t last.
On a more positive note, however, both kittens are looking very nice, with lovely rounded heads, short muzzles and good nose breaks. We have one of each gender, but as usual are not sure on colours, beyond the certainty that the girl is a tortie of some description. It is possible that the boy is a brown smoke burmese pattern, and the girl a blue tortie smoke burmese pattern, but we won’t know for a while yet. Both parents are burmese pattern, meaning that the kittens have to be, and Graham doesn’t carry the chocolate gene, so the kittens can’t be chocolate. Were that not the case, at birth I would have guessed them to be full expression: a chocolate self and a lilac tortie self.
Most litters are produced overnight, so we expected Dàrna’s to be the same. Instead, they were already there when I arrived home from work – tucked up in the bed of course, meaning that sheets and duvet had to be washed, instead of the still clean towels in the birthing box. Fi had been living with her mum in the run-up to the birth, as company, but we had planned to remove her to give Dàrna the privacy that most queens prefer. We would have taken her out that evening, but since the kittens arrived during the day, Fi was still there, and was busy cleaning her mum, and toileting the kittens. We tried taking her out to give Dàrna peace, but Dàrna just stood at the door and shouted until we put Fi back in, and she has been making a fab job of sharing the mothering duties ever since.
The Older Kittens
On Friday we decided to move Kia’s kittens into the front bedroom with the two Tiff kittens, since five is a much better number for playing together than a two and a three! The Tiffs were very interested in the new arrivals, but the Ocis were not enamored with the move, and spent that first evening growling and hissing under a chest of drawers. The following morning they had started venturing out, but there was a sort of invisible line across the room, which the Tiff kittens seemed to more-or-less stay on one side of, and the Ocis on the other. By yesterday the kittens were playing alongside eachother, with the demarcation gone, but they still weren’t playing together. Today, however, they were playing together and curling up with eachother to sleep.
Katie was delighted at the prospect of more kittens to mother, though whether or not she recognised them as the ones whom she suckled as tinies, there is no way to tell. The Ocis initially rejected her advances as well, but today has seen two of them feeding from Katie alongside Katie’s own kittens, so it looks like they have decided to be one big family!
We have had interest in all of the older kittens, and with the Tiffs having their first vaccinations this coming Friday, they should be getting their first visitors in the next couple of weeks. We’ve already been introducing them to various friends and family members to make sure that they are well socialised, and I plan to introduce some of our other cats later this week, as well! Fingers crossed that we can find homes for these, that are just as wonderful as those we found for last year’s litters…
The kittens are continuing to do well, and are all past or approaching the 600g mark. Kia’s are now starting to show their ticking, and all five are becoming very lively and playful.
The kittens are all doing really well, and I actually made time to use the proper camera this week. Admittedly, you wouldn’t know that the photos were taken on a better camera, because the kittens won’t sit still, but at least I tried!
Katie’s kittens do indeed appear to be Tiffanies, and both are actually turning out to be quite promising, in spite of my previous misgivings about the girl. Unfortunately, the boy’s jaw set is not correct, so he won’t be able to be shown, but the girl has come on leaps and bounds, and is developing a beautiful expression. Her head has also balanced up a lot, so that her eyes don’t look too small any more. She really doesn’t like to sit nicely for photos, though!
Both kittens are now completely adapted to using the litter trays (without a single accident!), and are readily eating solid food, though still suckling from their mum at night. Both are over 600g, and have continued to exceed their weekly growth targets.
They are increasingly playful, so we have moved them down to the front bedroom, where they have more space and lots more toys. That also frees the kitten room for Dàrna to move into. We will start introducing some of the other cats into the front bedroom for short periods, so that the kittens can get used to interacting with adults.
I have their first vaccinations booked for a fortnight tomorrow – I never fail to be amazed at how fast the time goes. One minute you’re collecting a girl from stud and crossing your fingers that she’s pregnant, and the next the kittens are having their vaccinations and ready to start meeting potential owners!
Kia’s three are all developing lovely ticking now, and the first girl can look so like her mummy that it’s freaky. At the moment the boy is longer in the head, and has a more oriental eye set than the girls, so I prefer the two girls to him (which is good, since we want to keep a girl!). Their appearance is changing by the day, though, so we shall see.
All three are still growing like weeds, and the boy is already over 600g, with the girls not far behind. The boy started taking his mum’s biscuits on Monday, and at least one of the girls has now followed suit. We had the first ‘deposits’ in the litter tray yesterday as well, so the kittens are pretty advanced as well as huge!
We actually had Kia and her kittens away with us for four days at the end of last week. Back in April, I arranged with my parents that we would join them for a short break, and although I had friends and colleagues coming in to check on the cats and kittens multiple times each day, we didn’t like the idea of leaving the younger kittens, particularly given Kia’s previous scatter-brained behaviour.
We debated back and forwards for several days about whether to cancel, and in the end decided just to pack them up and take them with us. Kia seemed to love being away, and the kittens were quite happy curled up in their little travel basket with a twice-daily run around the room to keep them amused.
Back in the house, they’ve figured out how to jump onto the platform that I weigh them on, and are starting to try and clamber out of the front of the pen. I think we might need to raise the front tonight to stop them escaping. Kia obviously thought that it was time for them to start learning to hunt as well, because there was a toy mouse in the pen yesterday evening, which the kittens were merrily attempting to tear apart.
Dàrna – Pregnant or Not?
It looks like Dàrna is pregnant after all, but she still feels very soft, so I’m not sure that she’s carrying many. I’m hoping to be proved wrong, though, because I’d like more than the litters of two and three that we’ve had so far this year! Assuming that everything goes as expected (when does it ever?!), she is due the middle of next week, so keep your fingers crossed…