Wow; I have to be the worst blogger on the planet! My last update was in August last year – 10 1/2 months without an update surely has to be some kind of record?
I’ll start with the bit that most of you are probably interested in… when I last posted we had three litters in the house: Tilly’s, Tia’s and Lhasa’s, making sixteen kittens in total:
Tilly’s Kitten 1 (Cagaran Impich / Imp) was an early favourite online because of his distinctive ‘cap’ of dark brown against the silver of the rest of his head. In spite of that, the right home took until between Christmas and New Year to come along, when he was over 7 months old. He went to live with the owner of Mia, one of the girls from our third Ocicat litter.
Tilly’s Kitten 2 (Cagaran Ìla / Isla) went over to live with Maura Lenihan (Coomakista) in Ireland, where they were desperately in need of new Asian bloodlines. She had her first litter last month: seven kittens in a range of colours and coat lengths!
Tilly’s Kitten 3 (Cagaran Ifrinnach / Mischka) went to her new home in Paisley, as planned, and is still the little devil she was when she was here. At least her owners can’t say they weren’t warned.
Tilly’s Kitten 4 (Cagaran Iùmh-rud / Mini-Doop now Horatio) won the hearts of our vet and vet nurse and went up to live on their small-holding near Bathgate. He’s even more of a lump than he was back then, now being at least as big as his Dad but still oh so very like him in temperament (and facially).
Tia’s Kitten 1 (Cagaran Jonick / Nicki) now lives with the Lucky Owl cattery in northern Italy. We had a bit of a mammoth journey to get her down there, but spent a lovely couple of days sightseeing in southern Switzerland and northern Italy with her owners before visiting friends in Holland on the way home. We actually drove to Brussels via the Dover-Calais ferry, left the car in Brussels and flew down to Milan; our first experience of having a cat in the cabin!
Tia’s Kitten 2 (Cagaran Julie-Jo / Julie) stayed here with us and made Champion at the end of May. She is really cuddly but also a comedienne and often behaves like a cartoon. In fact, one of her nicknames is Simon’s Cat, because she’s so like the little cartoon.
Tia’s Kitten 3 (Cagaran Jimmy / Jimmy now Oleg) went to live with Sarah Davidson (Karakoram) as a stud boy, as planned. She’s going to do a few matings this year taking advantage of his spots to hopefully get some spotted kittens, and then he will probably be neutered.
Tia’s Kitten 4 (Cagaran Jinking-Jillet / Jill now Duchess) turned out to be a ticked tabby rather than a shaded and went to live with a lovely couple in Daventry who will hopefully be having a litter from her this year. They have bred British Shorthairs and have a Tiffanie neuter, so her kittens will be their first Asians, though not their first kittens.
Tia’s Kitten 7 (Cagaran Jimp-n-Joco / Jock) went to live with Mischka and her owners. Unfortunately, he contracted an infection a couple of months ago, and after fighting it for a few weeks, eventually had to be put to sleep. His owners are absolutely devastated and Mischka spent the first couple of weeks pining for him. This is particularly rough given that Jock fought so hard for life in the first place, being the only one of Tia’s three ‘tinies’ to survive. Perhaps his system never had developed fully, leaving him susceptible to infection; we’ll never know.
Lhasa’s Kitten 1 (Cagaran Kittling-o-Hinnie / Honey) accompanied Isla to Ireland, though she lives with a different breeder (Geralyn Bowles). We also took Eiteag over to live with Ger for the time-being, again to help boost the Irish blood-lines.
Lhasa’s Kitten 2 (Cagaran Kelpie / Kelpie) and
Lhasa’s Kitten 6 (Cagaran Killiemahou / Killie) live together with a lovely family just outside Bristol. These two were close as kittens and are still very close now that they’re adults. We dropped them off on our way to Dover to take Nicki to Switzerland.
Lhasa’s Kitten 3 (Cagaran Karriwhitchit / Widget now Oliver) now lives in Leamington Spa with a lovely couple whose grandkids dote on him. We went back to visit in February and it was obvious that he has his ‘parents’ very firmly wrapped around his little paw.
Lhasa’s Kitten 4 (Cagaran Keekers) stayed here with us and will hopefully undertake his first ‘stud duties’ later this year. We decided to re-register him as a shaded because his pattern is so light that it’s barely visible. He made Champion at the end of May and then picked up a Grand last month, in his first attempt in the class.
Lhasa’s Kitten 5 (Cagaran Kievie) was booked to go and live with the people who eventually had Nicki from us but when she was weaning she ate something (perhaps some litter) that clogged her gut and took her from us. I have photos of her taken late one evening, where she’s flying around, playing happily, but she was very lethargic when we got up the next morning so we rushed her to the vet who operated but lost her while she was under anaesthetic. Of course it was sod’s law that she was the only kitten in the litter who was booked at that point, so not only did we have to deal with our own sadness at losing her, but also the sadness of the people who were meant to have been her owners.
Lhasa’s Kitten 7 (Cagaran Kenspeckle / Finley) lives with the lovely young vet who was originally going to have B-B from us, right back in 2010. She’d had various changes of circumstances in the meantime, but was finally settled down and ready to have her kitten so she and her boyfriend came up to stay with us for a weekend (sleeping in the kitten room with 12 kittens!) and chose Finley, who now lives with a teenage Tiffanie neuter, a British shorthair, two moggies and two house-rabbits.
At the end of the summer we took Small down to Helen Marriott-Power, for a visit with her cream Burmese boy, Quin (I GR CH Mainman Quintessence). Small delivered us five cream shaded kittens in October; our first litter of all-the-same-colour Asians, which was a slightly weird experience! We’ve kept back Lura (Cagaran Lurach) to bring the Burmese outcross genes into our lines and the other kittens have gone to pet homes: two to different homes in the Glasgow area, one to Edinburgh and the last to live with Finley’s owner’s mum in Wales (she’d fallen in love with Finley but wanted a shorthair so Elysé put her in touch with us).
We held off putting anyone else in kitten until all of Tilly, Tia and Lhasa’s kittens had found homes, but once Imp left us in December, we mated Ayla to Donny. Since she’s petite and only had two kittens last time, we were expecting the same again, but she actually gave us a litter of five. Unfortunately the smallest of these was far too small and never breathed, even with half an hour of resuscitation attempts.
The others were two brown tortie silver shaded Tiffanie girls (one a harlequin-style tortie like Donny’s litter-sister, Quinn, and the other a more subtle tortie typical of our Dàrna-descendants), a brown silver ticked tabby Asian girl and an apricot silver shaded Burmilla boy. Three of the kittens started out very small but soon caught up to, and surpassed, their larger sibling, and, like the two in her last litter, all four are a normal size for their age, in spite of their mother’s diminutive proportions.
Having had Horatio from us last year, our vet and vet nurse had decided that they wanted a second Asian and since these kittens were Horatio’s half-siblings (he was also out of Donny), they got first pick of this litter and chose one of the Tiffanie girls, who they’ve called Aurora. The two shorthairs have gone to live together near Berwick; we dropped them off on Saturday and they were already racing around, completely uninterested in us, by the time we left. The other Tiffanie girl is going to join Duchess in Daventry and will hopefully have kittens of her own in a year or so.
We put Tilly and Tia in with boys at the end of April and they are busily nesting at present. Tilly is due kittens imminently: she’s at 65 days today and like last year, the father of the kittens is Donny. We’re hoping for a female version of Horatio – a female, Tiffanie version of their father, in other words.
The father of Tia’s kittens is Zuko, our Australian-Mist outcross boy, so their kittens will be F2s and we’ll be hoping for a cinnamon-carrier with reasonable type to continue that line into the next generation.
Dàrna made Premier at the Teesside back in August, then followed that by making Grand Premier at the Nor’East of Scotland in May. Meanwhile, Tia made up to Grand Champion at the Lancashire in March. To our amazement, Lhasa’s daughter, Honey (who lives in Ireland) went Overall Best Foreign at the Cumberland show in October, and then Keeker and Julie did us proud at the Supreme, taking 2nd and 3rd place in the Special kitten classes, which had somewhere over 50 competitors.
Ali’s favourite person in the whole world has always been our friend, Carrie, who lived with us for a time back in 2006-8 and we’d promised years ago that when she finally got a house of her own, she could take Ali to live with her. That happened last autumn, so he went to live with her in Falkirk, along with a rescue kitten from Rhodes. Shortly after that, however, she was offered a post in Jersey, so with human and pet passports in order, the three moved to sunnier climes in March.
Since Bru seemed to have outgrown any issues caused by his single-lung status, we began looking out for a home for him last summer. The right people came along in November: a local family with three boys, who had recently lost one of their two cats. Since Bru was so close to his sister, Cheeky, we decided to let her go with him and the two have settled in extremely well down in Bo’ness.
The final, and surprise, re-home of the year was Small, who seemed to fall in love with a couple who came to see her kittens, and ended up asking for her instead. However much we might love the cats, we try to leave decisions about their homing up to them, so we had her spayed at the same time as her kittens and, once she was recovered, drove her across to meet their other cats. She now takes daily walks with them to look after their horses and seems at least as happy there as she was here.
Richard and I had agreed to be show managers for the West of Scotland show that was meant to be held in December of last year. By the summer of last year, it was becoming obvious that we weren’t going to be able to get enough judges due to a clash with a big show down south, so the show was moved to the end of January, in a new venue up in Scotstoun.
However, we’d no sooner got that arranged than the Scottish Cat Club came to me saying that their show manager had resigned and asking if I’d manage their show in February. I told them I couldn’t possibly manage the two largest shows in Scotland, only three weeks apart, in my first ‘outing’ as a show manager, so I suggested that they consider joining the West in a ‘back-to-back’ or double show, where the two clubs share the hall, judges, etc. so the management would only have to be done once.
After a few days consideration, they came back to say that they would like to do that, for this one year. The Scotstoun venue had only just been big enough for the West by itself, so having the two clubs together required a renewed venue hunt, including going back to some of the venues who had previously turned us down and begging them to consider at least trying a cat show. Luckily, the manager of the Ravenscraig sports centre in Motherwell took pity on me (after I agreed to personally mop the floor if it wasn’t left sufficiently clean) and agreed to host the show. They didn’t have availability on our date so we had to move a week earlier to the 17th of January.
By that point it was November, leaving us with only two months to plan the first double show in Scotland; not necessarily the way that I had intended to undertake my first time as a show manager (all my previous shows I’d only been an assistant). However, we managed; the judges rallied round to help us and we had some fabulous helpers on the day, and the show seemed to go down well.
It was successful enough that the Scottish decided to abandon their one-year-only policy and opted to do the same thing next year. This time we’ll be back in December, but on a date where there isn’t another show, and I’ve got a full complement of judges booked already, thankfully. We’re in the same venue again, since it proved very popular with exhibitors and judges alike, and we should be able to iron out the few niggles that didn’t quite work last time around. Of course, we’ll no doubt do something else wrong instead…
Our friend Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russians) is now a full judge of Russians and a probationer of Asians (as well as Korats, of which she’s getting close to being ready to progress to full judge) and I was elected to the GCCF Board of Directors last month.
Our final, and arguably most important, piece of news is that Richard and I got engaged in November of last year and are planning our wedding for the 18th of April next year – the 15th anniversary of the day we started dating! We’ve been living together 14 years this summer so it doesn’t change much beyond our official marital status, but at least it solves the question of what to refer to him as – he can now be my fiancé instead of my ‘partner’!
Eiteag’s kitten is now named Hailey, short for ‘Haillie-a-Jo’. Dàrna made up to Imperial and everyone else continues to do well.
We had a good day at the Supreme show, with Small in competition and Eiteag and Dàrna on Club Row. Both RACCS and the West of Scotland went well, which was a relief, given that I was ASM for the former, and we were both ASMs for the latter.
It’s been three months since my last post – I’m really not very good at this regular-posting malarky, am I?! Before Christmas, I had a very good excuse – Assistant Show Managing for two shows in December was a lot of work. However, I started writing this post between Christmas and New Year, and there’s really no excuse for it not to have been finished ages ago. However, I will finish it today!
You may remember that we sent Sonia away to stud back in June, but after three months of she and the stud cuddling up together but apparently not doing anything, we brought her home again. Well… on the evening of the 8th of November (Friday), I picked Sonia up for a cuddle, and realised that her nipples were swollen, and that she looked distinctly pregnant!
She had been kept in isolation in the spare room, since returning from stud, because she was having bad diarrhoea, for which we hadn’t yet managed to determine a cause. However, she had managed to escape from the spare room a couple of times, which wasn’t a problem, because she only escaped into the hallway, and there aren’t any other cats in there anyway. However, occasionally Donny also escapes from the bathroom, where he and Eiteag live to keep them apart from the girls, and although I couldn’t recall the two ever escaping at the same time, I had the horrible thought that perhaps she and Donny had been out together and he had mated her.
At that point, Ayla and her kittens were still in the kitten room, so that night we shut the other cats out of the front bedroom and gave it a thorough clean, intending to let it stand for a few days before moving Ayla and her kittens into it, and then the kitten room could be cleaned out and allowed to stand for a few days before Sonia was moved into there. We usually leave a room empty for a few days before moving kittens or pregnant girls in, just to be on the safe side with the delicate immune systems.
On the Sunday evening, however, I picked Sonia up and realised that she was spotting blood. My first thought was to wonder if something had gone wrong with the pregnancy, but then I realised that she was actually in pre-labour. We considered leaving Sonia where she was, because we wouldn’t normally move a queen so close to birthing, but the spare room really isn’t suitable for a queen with kittens – there are all sorts of places where the kittens could be hidden away, or could fall or get separated from their mum. We therefore moved Ayla and her kittens into the front bedroom, gave the kitten room a thorough clean, and then moved Sonia across to there. On the plus-side, having her kittens when she did left no doubt as to who the father was, because she would have had to have conceived whilst still at stud!
We spent the night in the kitten room, and early the next morning, I thought I heard Ayla’s adopted kitten squealing. I dreamt that one of the other kittens was standing on her, but somewhere deep in my subconscious, something was obviously awake, and registered that Ayla and her kittens weren’t in the room with us any more. I got up and checked the kitten pen, and sure enough, there was Sonia, sitting on top of the stack that she had made out of all the bedding, perched on top of the heat mat, and on the opposite side of the pen, lying on the bare floor, was a kitten.
When I touched him, he was very cold, but immediately responded by starting to shout, loudly. I rearranged the bedding, cleaned him up, and laid him in against his mum. I waited a couple of hours to see if she was going to have another, because I had thought I could feel two the previous evening, but no matter how hard I palpated her abdomen now, I could feel no sign of another kitten, so I assumed I must have been mistaken.
That evening, Tracey came up to visit, and I took her up to see the newborn. As we walked into the room, Sonia was lying on her side in the pen and out slid a second kitten. Her reaction to this second kitten was the same as the first: she didn’t mind the kitten being there, but was totally uninterested in doing anything with her. I got the kitten cleaned up, whilst she screamed blue murder, and then settled her alongside her brother, against Sonia’s tummy.
By the following day, the girl had lost weight, so I tried to get her to latch on and suckle, but she seemed to struggle to do so. I made up a bottle of milk formula and offered her that, and she drained it dry within seconds, so there was obviously nothing wrong with her ability to suck. That continued right up until the kittens were weaned – the boy was drinking from his mum, but the girl didn’t seem to be able to get latched on, so I had to bottle-feed her. I know that an inability to suckle properly is sometimes a symptom of flat-chested syndrome, so I kept checking her ribcage for abnormalities, but have found none, so there seems to be absolutely no reason for her inability to feed from Sonia.
Anyway, Sonia’s kittens are now approaching three months old, and have moved into the livingroom with some of our adults and neuters. When they were younger, they were the messiest kittens we have ever seen, and we had to keep them penned when we weren’t in the room, until they were about eight weeks old. Sonia wanted nothing to do with them from when they were about four weeks, so we were lucky that they were quite early to eat solids. The girl is still a very messy eater, not in the sense of throwing the food around, but just that she manages to cover her entire head in it, to the point that Tracey has named her ‘Messy Molly’. She has named the boy ‘Harry Houdini’, due to his ability to get out of wherever you put him, in order to come and find people to cuddle up to.
We are now looking for new homes for both kittens, though the girl’s type has developed so beautifully that I’m sorely tempted!
At the 2012 Supreme, we only entered Ayla, as a kitten, and she enjoyed it so much that we decided that we would enter Small in the kitten class in 2013. This time, however, we had also offered to take cats to represent the breed on Club Row, with a joint table for the Asian Group Cat Society and Bombay and Asian Cats Breed Club. We had a double pen for Donny and Eiteag to share, and a single pen for Dàrna, with the table in between.
We were staying with Anita on both the Friday and Saturday nights, and like last time, the boys were sharing the stud run in her car-port. This time, however, it was Anita’s husband, Rob, who had cleaned the run out ready for our arrival, and he hadn’t made as good a job of removing the smell of her stud boy, as Anita usually manages. Donny is definitely not keen on other stud boys, and as a result, was completely freaked by the smell of Anita’s boy, and in absense of any other cats, seemed to decide that Eiteag was the strange boy he could smell. We had to separate the two boys for the night (the stud run has compartments), and decided just to leave Donny at the house to calm down, rather than taking him to the show.
We therefore ended up having just Tiffs on the club table, which is not something we normally do – if we’re representing the Asian breed group, we normally try and take cats that represent the group as fully as possible. If we had known that Tia wasn’t going to be pregnant by the time of the Supreme, we would have entered her, but she should have been pregnant by then (she hadn’t come into season from the late summer through to now). As it happens, it was rather nice having Small in competition, and both her parents on Club Row, because it meant that when I was talking to people in front of Small’s pen, that I could tell them that they could meet her parents on Club Row.
Both Dàrna and Eiteag were beautifully behaved, and made fantastic ambassadors for the breed. Dàrna spent most of the day lying in her basket on the table, so that passersby could stroke her, marvelling at the gorgeous silky texture of the Tiffanie coat. Whenever Dàrna wanted to go back into her pen for a few minutes peace, or a bite to eat, Eiteag would come out onto the table and bound around playing with his feather stick. He wasn’t so practical to have out for any length of time, because he wanted to go off and explore, so we would only keep him out for as long as it took him to get bored of his toys and decide that he wanted to go for a wander. By that point, Dàrna would be ready to come back out again, so we’d put him back in his pen, and have her back out instead.
In terms of juding, the Supreme takes a different format to all other GCCF shows, with the cats housed in decorated pens in the centre of the hall, with a series of ‘rings’ around the outside of the hall. The rings have plain pens into which the cats are moved by stewards in preparation for being judged, and the cats are then taken from these pens onto the judges’ tables for judging. Unlike other GCCF shows, the cats’ owners, and other spectators, can stand right in front of where the judging takes place, and listen to what the judges are saying about the cats. After a class has been judged, the stewards will often ask if any of the owners are present, and let them take their own cats back to the pens.
Small was an absolute superstar, taking the whole day in her stride, just like her Auntie Ayla did last year. Hers was one of the first classes judged by Grace Denny, and I went over to watch her being judged. As the steward was handing her to Grace, I heard her say “this one’s got a huge purr”, or something similar, and I watched with pride as Small cuddled into Grace. I love it when our cats win, but I love even more to see them showing off the breed’s fabulous temperament.
In the event, Small was not only adorable, she also won, taking both 1st in her kitten class, and Best of Breed, and then going on to be shortlisted for Best of Variety. Grace praised her coat, saying it was one of the best she has seen on a kitten of her age, and that she is a lovely big girl. Given that one of the key reasons we kept Small is her size, I was delighted to hear Grace say that. Afterwards, Grace asked if I bred her, and I said I had, and told Grace that she had given Small’s mother an Imperial at the North West Show. Grace made my day by saying “well, hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to give her an Imperial as well, one day”. I was absolutely delighted!
Once Small’s judging was finished, I put a sign on her pen saying that she had gone to join her parents on Club Row, with the pen numbers, and took her up so that we had the three together for the rest of the day. Incidentally, by the time we got back to the house, Donny had got over his pique, and was absolutely desperate for Eiteag’s company, and the two spent most of the rest of the evening grooming eachother, much to my relief. Meanwhile, Richard and I took Rob and Anita out for dinner and then to watch the 3D screening of the 50th Anniversary, ‘Day of the Doctor’, Doctor Who special at the cinema!
RACCS had their second show on the 7th of December, in Annan, which was the venue that the Committee originally chose, before all the messing about after the Supreme show moved date in 2012. This was my second time as an Assistant Show Manager (ASM), but the first show that I really had a key role in organising, not least in that I suggested the hall originally, so I was a little nervous beforehand! The show did receive an entry of 54 cats, which is really good for a breed club, especially on its first stand-alone show, so that allayed my fears slightly.
I needn’t have worried at all, though, because the show came off without a hitch. The feedback from both judges and exhibitors for the hall was excellent, the atmosphere was friendly and there was a good number of gorgeous cats, who were almost all impeccably behaved. Also, Elisabeth and Karen were ecstatic, because Zach won Overall Best in Show, which was a lovely end to the day.
West of Scotland Show
A fortnight later, we had the West of Scotland show, which had received a fabulous entry of 313 cats – more than 20 entries above that received for any Scottish show in the past few years. Considering the fuss that was made at last year’s AGM, about the date being too close to Christmas, with people saying that exhibitors would never come to a show on the 21st, I was delighted to see the entry so high. It does rather suggest that the exhibitors were pleased with the date, and it meant that we could absolutely go to town on the Christmas theme! For instance, as joint-ASMs, Richard and I had the pleasure of designing Christmas-themed rosettes, which went down well with exhibitors.
I received a call early on the morning of the show, from exhibitors who were coming up from Wales, to say that their car had broken down 2 1/2 hours south of us. They said that the AA man said the repair would only take 10 minutes once he had the correct part, and had gone to get said part, but that he didn’t think the parts shop opened until 8am. The maths wasn’t too difficult there, to realise that meant they wouldn’t be at the show until at least 10:30 – half an hour after the show was meant to start.
I told them that since I was ASM, I would need to check with the show manager, but that I thought we could probably manage to hold those classes back for them. Shortly after arriving in the show hall, I received a text message from another exhibitor, to say that they were stuck in a very slow diversion around a closure on the M74. Over the next half our or so, several exhibitors also came up to the front to say that various friends had asked them to let us know that they were stuck in this same diversion.
In the end, we did what I had seen done at another show in the past, and asked the judges just to skip past any empty pens they came across in the first hour. The exhibitors who had the breakdown were the last to arrive, and they had also been caught in the diversion, of course. In the event, they were vetted in (we had kept one vet on standby) at 11:17, but it was definitely worth their while, because they went on to win not only an Olympian certificate, but also Best in Show!
Anyone working on a show at any level above Section Manager is not allowed to enter their cats in competition. Our cats therefore couldn’t compete, but we did take Small and Dàrna on exhibition. A few Cagarans had been entered in competition by their new owners, however, including Lainni, who won the Reserve Imperial and Best of Breed Tiffanie; Quinn, who had the Reserve Grand withheld on her (presumably for lack of silver undercoat, though she also wasn’t in the best mood); and Bobbie, in her first adult show, winning her 1st CC and Best of Breed Ocicat. Special mention has to go to Sarndra Devereux’s stunning Bombay boy, Tarby (GR CH Rainsong Jolly-Jack-Tar), who was Overall Best Foreign exhibit.
Christmas and New Year
This year, Richard’s parents went off to Hong Kong and Thailand to visit friends over the Christmas holidays, so we spent the time with my family and various friends. As I said earlier, we also spent plenty of time with the cats, which has been lovely, because our lives are so busy the rest of the year that it’s sometimes difficult to find time just to… be with them, not doing anything.
We went to the family service at the church on Christmas Eve, where my Mum was singing in the choir, and then went back to Mum and Dad’s for a cup of tea. That turned into several hours of singing on the karaoke with my parents and Calum, and between that at the carol singing earlier in the evening, I was completely hoarse by the time we headed home at about 2am.
Christmas Day was at my parents this year, and due to my sister going off to her boyfriend’s for Christmas Dinner, my Grandparents going to one of my Aunts, and various other relatives linking up in various ways, there were only five of us for dinner. When Richard and I had dinner here two years ago, there were sixteen of us, so five was bizarrely few – my Mum hardly knew what to do with herself!
For New Year, Elisabeth and Tracey joined us for a snack-and-pizza tea, over the first half of a DVD. At 11:30, Tracey left (something to do with a superstition about first-footing herself), and we switched over to Jools Holland. A few minutes before midnight, we headed outside, and let off a firework on the front lawn at the bells, with a row of little furry faces watching from the house windows (our cats all love watching fireworks). Back inside, we opened a bottle of champagne, and then settled down to a night of DVD-watching, eventually heading to bed at 8am.
Getting up again at noon, we enjoyed our annual New Year cooked breakfast (including fruit dumpling and fried pancakes and potato scones, mmm!), over another DVD. Elisabeth and I ended up watching the Sound of Music on TV, and then we ran her home on our way to a family get-together at my Grandparents. There can surely be few better ways to spend time than with family, friends and a housefull of cats?!
Notts & Derbys Show
We went to the Notts & Derbys show during the middle of last month, because it’s literally only fifteen minutes from Richard’s parents house, and can therefore be combined with a nice family visit. I wanted to see what some of the judges thought of Zuko and Frenchie, so we entered them in the HP section, and since we were taking them, we decided to take Ayla along for the ride. As it happens, she was actually awarded the Reserve Grand, beating one other, which was more than I expected, given her size. Zuko won his kitten class and he and his mum both had good results in their side classes. Our star of the show, though, was Frenchie, who placed well in all her sides, won her kitten class and beat her brother for ‘Best of Colour’, and then went on to win Best Pedigree Pet and then Best Household Pet. One of the judges wrote that she is a star in the making, and she certainly adored her day out at the show, so I’m hoping that we can find someone interested in taking her out again in future.
We really enjoyed the Shropshire Show last year, because we had a lovely day looking at potteries, and lunch at the Wedgewood museum. It is also pretty central to the AGCS Committee, so when we were discussing a potential venue for the club’s AGM, I suggested the Shropshire as the venue. That was agreed, and since I was obviously going to have to be there to take the minutes, we clearly had to enter!
We only took two – Dàrna to try for her final Imperial, and Small in her last time out as a kitten (she is 9 months today). Both girls were adorable as usual, and we got Small won her first and Best of Breed, getting some really encouraging comments from the judges in the process, which I was delighted about. However, what absolutely made our day was Dàrna taking that final Imperial, and in the process becoming the first Imperial Grand Champion that we have owned (our other Imperials have been neuters), and only the sixth Imperial-titled Tiffanie (Annas was the first, and there have been four in-between). She also made Donny the first cat we’ve owned to have two Imperial-titled parents. She will now be spayed and can retire from the hormone swings of being an entire.
When I last posted, we were trying to decide on an ‘H-name’ for Eiteag’s kitten, and we eventually settled on Haillie-a-Jo, which means ‘Totally a Sweetheart’ in old Scots. Her pet name comes directly from her pedigree name, and is Hailey. Her type has continued to develop beautifully, and still has the most amazing nature. We have also had her hernia operated on successfully, and she now flies round the room with her ‘siblings’, which is lovely to see. The vet and vet nurse told us that the muscle had been torn from the pelvic bone the whole way up to the rib-cage. The vet nurse said that when they first opened her up, they all just stood and looked for a few seconds, because they couldn’t believe the extent of the damage that her mum had caused. On a positive note, at least the fact that they could see that it had been torn means that we can put to bed any residual fears about genetic causes for the hernia!
Well, Tia, Lhasa and Tilly are finally back in season, so I’m thinking that we’ll give them one full call and then mate them on their next call, sometime next month. We may be totally mad, but since the three of them live together, and do everything together, we’re going to try mating the three at around the same time, and see if they’ll raise their kittens together. That would mean that we’d be having three litters in late spring/early summer. We’re going to try putting both Lhasa and Tia to Eiteag, since he is meant to be neutered after that, and I’d like to see what both girls produce with him, and Tilly to Donny. The latter mating, and Tia’s have the potential to give us a mixture of Tiffanies and Asian Shorthairs, but Lhasa’s litter would be guaranteed to be all Tiffs, which would be nice.
We’ve got a few shows lined up over the next three months, and are hoping to be able to get Small made up to Champion and Cheeky to Premier. After that, we’ve got nobody ‘needing’ to be titled, so I think we might take a break from showing and let our depleted cash reserves re-build! Who knows, though…
Donny won his third Imperial at the Cumberland, we had a good holiday, and the kittens continue to do well. The older kittens are now eight weeks old, and have names, but the little one is only four weeks old, and hasn’t yet been named.
It’s been just over four weeks since my last post, but not because there’s been anything wrong. We were away for a week’s holiday in the middle of last month, with Tracey looking after the cats, though we took Ayla and the kittens with us! Since we got back, I’ve been caught up with arrangements for the RACCS and West of Scotland shows in December, and completing judge bookings for next year’s Scotia show. This show management lark takes a ludicrous amount of time! In light of that, I will post the text just now, since it is written, and will add the photos on as I have them ready, so check back!
Feeding Eiteag’s Kitten
When I left off last time, Eiteag’s kitten was in with Ayla, because her mum had rejected her, but I was having to bottle-feed her to try and get her going. I went up a couple of times during the morning to give her another feed, but when I went up for lunch, she was latched onto Ayla, and suckling away. I tried putting her back with her mum again, at that point, but she behaved exactly as before, curling up to prevent the kitten gaining access to her teats, and then trying to bite the kitten whenever she tried to force her way in. I therefore gave her back to Ayla, and have continued to monitor her weight closely, because she has sometimes found it difficult to compete with the bigger kittens for milk, so I have given her a top-up feed whenever her gains haven’t been good.
We hadn’t planned on going to the Cumberland this year, because it was the day that we were meant to go on holiday. However, at the North West, I was persuaded to put in a late entry, since Eiteag hadn’t won his qualifying Grand that day, and Donny’s judge at the Cumberland was to be the same one who had just given his mum the Imperial, so seemed worth a punt. We pushed our holiday departure back by a day, but Richard stayed at home to get things ready, so I took the cats down the Cumberland myself.
I had an excellent day, having breakfast with Tracey after the cats were penned, and then the two of us headed off for a walk on Hadrian’s Wall, and climbed around the inside of a semi-ruined castle. We then went for lunch in the village of Brampton, and sat around chatting until after 3pm, so that the show was almost finished by the time we got back! When I penned the boys in the morning, they had both been in excellent moods, but the cat in the pen next to Eiteag was very growly, and he therefore shouted whenever he was taken out of his pen, just like his mum used to do. As a result, his judge decided not to handle him, and he was left unplaced, which was rather disappointing. Donny, on the other hand, followed his mum’s example from the previous show, and won the Imperial, in spite of having a very nice Abyssinian as competition. Perhaps Grace (the judge) is softening towards the Asians?
The following day, we were almost ready to go, when I decided that we couldn’t leave the kittens for Tracey to look after, and so we packed them up and took them with us. We were going for a week on a boat on the Clyde, but long-term readers of this blog will remember that we’ve had cats and kittens away on the boat before. In this case, we set up one of the forward toilets as a kitten pen, with a cardboard blockade across the door, and their heat mat, bed and litter tray on the floor. Ayla’s litter tray was in the shower, which she had to jump up to get into, so that kept the two trays separate, and her food and water was up on the worktop by the sink. Her kittens had their food and water on the wooden podium by the base of the toilet, which sounds a bit random, but the area had been thoroughly cleaned beforehand, and then lined with cardboard for extra safety.
The kittens hadn’t actually seen solid food before we arrived there, but when I put their biscuits down for them, there was such a fight over them that I ended up having to add a second dish, so that they could both eat at the same time. I’ve never had Asian kittens who are so protective of their food, so I presume that must come from the Australian Mist side. They also started using their trays for the first time over the first couple of days that we were away.
Obviously, Eiteag’s kitten wasn’t at that stage yet, not even having her eyes open at that point, but she was quite happy cuddled up in her little nest with Ayla to feed her. Each night and morning I brought the kittens through to our cabin to let them run around, and played with Ayla with a feather stick to wear off some of her excess energy. The little kitten would crawl around the bed for a bit, and then eventually settle down to sleep. Her eyes opened towards the end of our week away.
We had an excellent week, starting off by heading straight to Campbeltown, and seeing two Basking Sharks and a Minke whale on the way. We were there for a couple of days, which gave us a chance to do some walking, and then headed up the coast to Tarbert (on Loch Fyne). We saw the Minke whale at almost the same place as we had seen it on the way down, plus some Porpoise, and all manner of seabirds. A couple of days in Tarbert gave us a chance for some more walking, including going up into the castle, which was always cordoned off when I was younger, but has now been made safe, so that you can get up and into the tower.
On the Saturday, we headed across to where the dolphin lives (my brother has christened her ‘Kimi’, or something like that – a dolphin called Kimi. Really?!), and spent ages going back and forwards beside her territory, to let her come out and play under the bow. She doesn’t like people circling around her territory, nor does she like people getting into the water with her, but she absolutely loves being given the opportunity to ride a bow wave for a while. She won’t stray more than about half a mile, though, so you have to do figure-of-eights or circles beside her territory, to allow her to ride along without getting too far from home.
We spent the last night in the Kyles of Bute, and then headed back to Kip, where we’d left the car. The middle of that week saw me going down to London on the sleeper train, for a couple of business meetings, and the GCCF Council meeting. Having been away the previous week, Richard couldn’t take the time off to come down this time, so I did my best to speak for both the Scottish and West of Scotland clubs. It’s actually easier to speak for the West, because I’m on the Committee and therefore get to hear what the Committee think about things, whereas the Scottish doesn’t tend to tell me what they want said.
The following weekend was the Yorkshire show, which we had been planning to do ever since we weren’t able to visit Richardson’s Rosettes when we were down for the Teesside. Richardson’s make the rosettes for both the RACCS and West of Scotland shows, so we wanted to visit them to view their various ribbons etc. They were up in Perth for a show the day of the Teesside, so we arranged with them that we would come and see them when we came down for the Yorkshire. It’s still a trip of a couple of hours, but it’s less than half the distance that it would be from home! We had a great trip there, beginning with a chat about what the clubs were looking for, over tea and home-made cake, and then rummaging through their stacks and stacks of ribbon. What better way to spend an afternoon?!
Anne Gregory was going to be doing the Imperials for both Dàrna and Donny, and since she loves both of them, this was a great opportunity to try and get Dàrna’s last certificate, in particular. Steve Crow was doing the female neuter Olympian, so I also decided to bring Annas down just in case the competition wasn’t too strong. As expected, though, her Olympian class was huge, and very competitive, so she didn’t place. That didn’t bother me, but I was rather more miffed about the Imperials – Anne hadn’t been able to come to the show, and so the classes had been reassigned, which is fine, but they had been given to judges who I know don’t like Dàrna and Donny. Shirley Bullock was given Dàrna’s class, and she has never liked Dàrna, so I certainly wouldn’t have entered if she had been the judge originally, and Donny’s was judged by Maria Chapman-Beer, who withheld the Reserve on Donny at the Chester, and therefore definitely wouldn’t have been chosen for him. I don’t mind losing to better cats, but it is really annoying to have the judge changed to a judge who you know is never going to give the certificate to your cats. Humph!
Okay, so now we can bring the kittens up-to-date. Ayla’s two were eight weeks old yesterday, and the little one was four weeks (both litters were born on Wednesdays). The big kittens are absolute hooligans, careering around the room like a small herd of elephants. The boy is definitely the gentler of the two, and likes to come under the covers for a cuddle, but once his sister realises he’s there, she starts pouncing on him from on top of the covers, and your nice cuddle descends into anarchy that generally ends with him being rapidly ejected from the bed! They are very sweet, and love people, but the girl is definitely more boisterous than I would expect from an Asian, so I presume that’s the Australian influence. When she’s worn herself out, she adores cuddling up on someone, and looking like butter wouldn’t melt, and giving cute little kisses, but beware trying to cuddle when she wants to play – it doesn’t work!
Eiteag’s kitten, on the other hand, is very wide-eyed and watchful, and is one of the gentlest kittens I’ve ever come across. She just lies there in your hands, and if you stroke along her side, she rolls onto her back to get you to stroke her tummy. If she’s not asleep then she’s watching what’s going on, and will answer back when spoken to, which is very cute. In the past few days she has grown big enough to start pouncing back when the big kittens jump on her, and she will roll around with them, but she’s still far too small to really hold her own in a kitten tussle. She is just at the stage of starting to try the big kittens’ wet foods, but she’s not found any that she’s really enamoured with yet. Ayla thinks it is high time the kittens stopped feeding, though (fair enough when you consider that hers are eight weeks old, but not so good for the four-week-old), so we’re hoping that the little one decides to wean fairly soon.
The older litter is our ‘G’ litter, and since these kittens can’t be shown under their pedigree names, we don’t have to use the less obscure names. We’ve decided on Griseánach for the girl, which means ‘Rascal’, and is pronounced Krish-nach (ch as in loch), and Gliocas for the boy, which means ‘Sensible’, and is pronounced Klikas. Their pet names are nothing to do with their pedigree names, though, and were chosen by Tracey. Since the girl likes to give kisses, Tracey named her ‘Frenchie’, and since ‘Frenchie’ is a character in Grease, the boy is called ‘Zuko’. We haven’t decided on either pet or pedigree names for the little one yet, but I think her pet name is probably going to be either Rizzo or Sandy. There are no Gaelic words beginning with the letter ‘h’, because ‘h’ is used in lenition (a morphological feature of the Gaelic language, used in various places, but for instance to indicate past tense – see http://www.gaelicgrammar.org/~gaelic/mediawiki/index.php/Lenition), which means that it comes after letters and not before them. We are therefore looking at various Scots words and names instead of Gaelic for this one.
It’s been quite a while since my last post, so there is plenty to catch up on, including several shows (London Pet Show, Nor’East, Suffolk & Norfolk, Durham/Northern Counties and Lakeland), the World Cat Congress and Gala Dinner and Australian Mist Seminar. Both Dàrna’s kitten and the Ocis continue to do well, and the Ocis are now starting to leave home. In addition, Keela and Grace have now been spayed, and are ready to look for new homes.
I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post – how time flies! I had a draft post saved here that started “the past couple of weekends have been really enjoyable, but also really tiring”, but I hadn’t got around to completing it and posting it up. Thinking back over the time since my last post, that opening comment could pretty-much just be extended to cover the entire period! I have very busy at work, and in my ‘spare’ time, have been doing judge’s class allocations for my first time as an Assistant Show Manager, which is an amazingly time-consuming process. So… what has happened since my last post?
London Pet Show
As in previous years, the London Pet Show proved to be a great success, and remains a fabulous opportunity for the GCCF and the breed clubs, to show off our wonderful breeds. Due to the number of people wanting to enter the World Cat Congress show the following weekend, many of the cats who would normally have been at LPS were unable to attend (in the GCCF, we are not allowed to show more than once in every two weekends). It was therefore more of a struggle than usual to get the required 24 breeds on each day, and so we offered to take more cats than usual.
The first three were borrowed from other people, on behalf of the Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland, of which I am the Secretary, and Richard is the Vice-Chairman:
Kenga (our Grace’s litter-sister, Cagaran Adhairc), who represented the Abyssinians as a Pedigree Pet. Her sire was a gorgeous usual Abyssinian, but her dam was a tawny Ocicat Classic. For the purposes of allowing the public to meet a breed, however (which is the point of the LPS), she looks and behaves like an Abyssinian.
For the Russians, we borrowed three of Elisabeth’s kittens, Iggy (commonly known as Ig-the-pig, because he’s a greedy wee rascal), Jerry (her new import boy from Holland), and her youngest, Jingle (usually called Small-Small, but as only Elisabeth could come up with, also sometimes called Jinny-Jingle-Beagle-Bingle!). Elisabeth was judging in Dundee the same day, so the Russian table was manned by Caroline Moore, who owns a Russian Blue neuter, and who absolutely fell in love with Jingle during the day.
Bru and Cheeky shared a double pen, representing the Ocicats and Ocicat Classics. They weren’t too sure about all the hustle and bustle of the show, and were only happy to be out of their pen, if they were being cuddled. Anita and Rob came with us to man the Ocicat table, and Anita spent most of the day cuddling Cheeky whilst people stroked her over the table.
The rest of ours were representing the Asian Group, and we tried to cover as much of it as we could in the four cats we took – Donny represented the Asian Smoke, Tia the Burmilla, Ayla the Tiffanie, and Eiteag, as a spotted tabby Tiffanie, was the closest we come to an Asian Tabby, so he came along as well.
Donny and Eiteag shared a pen, and when they weren’t out on the table, they were cuddled up together on their bed, sleeping or grooming eachother. Last year, Donny was happy to spend the entire day out on the table, and being passed from person to person, but he and Eiteag are both adolescent males now, and inclined to get a bit frisky if they can smell female cats! As a result, we had to spell the two of them, having them out for maybe fifteen minutes at a time, and then swapping over. Since we didn’t have anyone to man the Abyssinian table, Richard was taking it in turns between the boys and Kenga.
I was looking after our second table (one was technically for the Asian Shorthairs, and the other for the Tiffanies, but we had one of each on each table because of the gender split), with Tia and Ayla. Tia was happy to be out of her pen, but equally happy in it, whereas Ayla was ecstatic when she was out of her pen, and wanted out within minutes of being back inside the pen, so I had Ayla out most of the day. Whenever I put her back into her pen for a few minutes to encourage her to have something to eat and drink, I would then get Tia out until Ayla had decided that she wanted out again. The rest of the day, Tia sat in her pen looking beautiful, and people ooh-ing and ah-ing over her.
Ayla was my little star, though, and like her uncle Donny last year, was absolutely in her element, being passed from person to person, giving cuddles and kisses and just lapping up all the attention. She was a fabulous ambassador for the breed, and I think lots of people went home wanting an Asian of some description, as a result!
At the end of the show, I had a slightly tearful goodbye with her, as she left with the Australian Mist stud owner. I have been getting regular updates ever since, however, and it sounds like Ayla is missing me less than I’m missing her – she is spending the nights in the stud owner’s bedroom, and riding around the house on the stud owner’s shoulder. She had a couple of introductory meetings with the stud owner’s youngest boy, but he doesn’t seem to be interested yet, so Ayla’s been in with one of her proven studs instead, and although he definitely mated her back in May, she spent the next few weeks neither calling nor pinking up. However, she has finally decided to start calling again in the past week, and has now been mated again, so it’s just a waiting game to see whether she has taken this time. The stud owner will let me know if/when Ayla pinks up, and we can then try and work out the logistics of getting her home – I can’t wait!
Nor’East of Scotland Show
The show Elisabeth was judging at was the Nor’East of Scotland show. I mention it again for two reasons – firstly, because major congratulations are due to both Karen Hettman, and Elisabeth, and secondly, because there were four Cagaran cats at the show, in spite of us being in London.
The congratulations due to Karen and Elisabeth are because Karen’s two boys (whom Elisabeth bred) both ended up in Overall Best-in-Show pens, Zach (Dushenka Zerachiel) as Best Pedigree, and Stan (Dushenka Stanislav) as Best Household Pet – he has been shown as a Pedigree Pet since making up to Imperial in the Pedigree section. Unfortunately, Elisabeth missed the excitement because she had been given a lift by Ian Thomson, and he was given an early pass to head home!
Lona and Lesley were both there with two Cagarans each – Lona’s Lainni didn’t win her Imperial, but had strong competition, and Lesley’s Derk had the PC withheld on him, much to Elisabeth’s outrage (she thought he was the best of the four!). The other two had an excellent day, however, with Lesley’s Ella winning her third PC, making her up to Premier, and becoming our 9th titled cat, and Lona’s Tabh picking up his third Grand, giving him the Grand title (the third for our prefix). I am delighted for both owners, and can’t thank them enough for showing their cats so beautifully.
World Cat Congress Weekend
The following weekend saw us back down south, for the World Cat Congress. The WCC is a body made up of representatives from all the major cat registration bodies, including the major bodies in Europe, the US, Australia and South Africa. Each year the WCC has a meeting, hosted by one of the member organisations, where the various delegates get together to discuss issues that are of universal concern to all cat registration bodies, or at least of concern to several of the bodies. For instance, if the EU was going to introduce a new law relating to the ownership of cats, they might discuss a response to that, or if a new vaccination had been developed, they could look at how best to utilise it. Aside from the meeting itself, the WCC weekend also includes a show, dinner event and a seminar programme.
This year was the GCCF’s turn to host the congress, and the weekend started with a drinks reception and buffet on Friday evening, followed by plenty of gossiping in the bar afterwards. We stayed with Anita that night, but didn’t leave the hotel until midnight, so it was after 2am before we got to bed.
On Saturday morning we were up at 7am to head to Wood Green for the show. The WCC show was to be held back-to-back with the Suffolk & Norfolk show, giving exhibitors the chance to win two certificates on the same day. The S&N show is always a fairly large show, and the Wood Green venue is perfect for this type of event, having plenty of space for pens, trade stands, exhibitors and judges alike, not to mention excellent catering facilities and plenty of other things for visitors to do, aside from visiting the show (Wood Green is a large animal shelter).
I was originally booked to steward for Wayne Trevathan, who is a former director of CFA’s (Cat Fancier’s Association) Southern Region, and the CFA’s current WCC delegate. However, the show manager came to me at the reception, and asked if I would consider swapping with another steward, because there had been a mix-up, and that steward had been assigned to a judge who was judging one of her cat’s open classes (it is permitted to handle your own cats in miscellaneous classes, but not opens). As a result, I actually stewarded for Cheryle U’ren, who is the current International Liaison Office for the CCCA (Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia), their delegate to the WCC, and also the WCC’s Vice-President. She was great fun to steward for, and I sincerely hope I get a chance to work with her again in future.
After the show, we had the Gala Dinner, which was a fabulous night, as always. Anita and Rob came along this year, for the first time, as did David and Louise Miskelly. Both couples sat on the same nine-seater table as Richard, Elisabeth and I, and our table was completed by Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese and Asians), and one of her friends. The food was delicious, if a slightly strange choice, and we had some great conversations going. After the meal, the lights were turned down and people took to the dance floor, this being the first time the Gala Dinner has been followed by a disco. The best bit of the evening, however, as in previous years, was the gossiping in the bar after the main event was finished.
We stood for a while chatting to Kate Ekanger (Cloudborn Devons), and Jen and Laura Pinches (Velvarex Devons), who bred the Devons that we owned. When they headed off to bed, we spent a while with Emma Watts (Emanan Somalis), Saffi Rabey, whom I have stewarded for in the past, and is now a member of RACCS, having been a recent convert to the ownership of a Nebelung (her other cats are Maine Coons), and a few others. After a while we joined a group of the foreign judges, including Andreas Mobius, whom Elisabeth had stewarded for at the show, and had some fascinating insights into some of the other cat registries, not to mention a whole array of other topics! When they all headed off to bed, we moved again, and this time joined the hilarious John and Janet Wilshaw (Rossikhan Burmese), Dorothy Stone and others, and had an absolute whale of a time, chatting about everything from Burmese breed politics to the Wilshaw’s imminent 33-year anniversary, and Scottish Independence! We eventually all headed off to bed at about 3am, and it was after 3:30am by the time we actually got into bed!
We were back up at 7:30am on Sunday, to enjoy a cooked breakfast and plenty of chat with Rob, Anita, Elisabeth and John Hansson, before heading across for the seminar starting at 9:15am. The core topic of the seminar programme was ‘Responsible Breeding for Health and Welfare’, and it started with a fascinating insight into the way each of the registries promotes ethical breeding practices and feline welfare, including the various laws relating to the subject in each country. This was followed by talks from a representative of Royal Canin; Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, who conducted the well-known inquiry into dog breeding in 2010; Professor Tim Gruffydd-Jones, who must be one of the UK’s foremost feline geneticists, based out of Bristol Langford’s; and surely one of the world’s foremost feline geneticists, Lesley Lyons. I have heard both the latter speak on several occasions, yet they remain fabulously interesting, and I always come away having learnt lots of new information. Lesley’s was probably my favourite talk of the day, but it was also particularly interesting to hear Patrick Bateson’s opinions on the ethics of cat breeding, given his role in the dog-breeding inquiry. As both he and his daughter, Melissa (also a Professor) are themselves cat breeders, he has a personal understanding of our hobby, as well as his professional understanding of animal breeding more generally.
The seminar was followed by an open meeting, which gives ordinary members of the Cat Fancy the chance to put forward topics for the delegates to discuss at the main WCC closed meeting on the Monday. Most of the attendees showed typically British reticence, however, and the meeting was finished fairly quickly. We dropped both Anita and Elisabeth off on the way home, and finally got back to the house about 2am, so it was a long and tiring weekend, but very, very worthwhile. I wonder if I can save up enough money to go to next year’s congress in Miami, Florida?!
Durham and Northern Counties Show
The week after the WCC we were back down the motorway, though this time only as far as South Shields, for the Durham and Northern Counties double show. We had Bru entered only in the Durham, to try for his 3rd PC, which he won, making him the tenth Cagaran to win a title (and the first of our Ocis to do so).
We also had Donny and Eiteag entered in both shows, Donny for his first Imperials, and Eiteag for Grands. Both boys had strong competition, but Donny won both his Imperials (the first won by an entire of our prefix), and Eiteag was awarded the reserve Grand in one of the shows, in spite of being out of coat and having acne on his chin!
As if those results weren’t good enough, I came back to Donny’s pen near the end of the day, to find that he had also gone Best Foreign Adult again.
I had another enjoyable day stewarding for Chris Bamford, though the enjoyment was slightly marred in the early afternoon, when one of the Birmans became upset and attacked Pat Perkins, one of the other judges. She was badly scratched and bitten, and Richard ended up having to take her to the hospital for stitches and antibiotics. When we collected her again at the end of the day, she was feeling a lot more cheerful, however, and by the time we saw her at the Lakeland show a couple of weeks ago, she had already recovered to the point of just having some minor scarring on her hands and arm.
The weekend after that I was supposed to have a BAC meeting on the Sunday, but it was called off at the last minute, so we went with Mum and Dad to the boat, staying over on the Friday evening, and coming back to get the gardening done on the Sunday. The weather was fabulous, and we sailed down to the Kyles of Bute in glorious sunshine, and then sat at anchor, watching a red deer pick its way across the beach. We came back via the buoy where the dolphin has lived for the past couple of years, and were delighted to find her still in residence, and as playful as ever. I think we must have spent about half-an-hour just going round and round in circles beside her buoy, enjoying the experience of having her ride the pressure wave under the bow.
The next weekend was the Lakeland show, with a West of Scotland Committee meeting to be held in the morning, my birthday the same day, and then an Australian Mist seminar in Leicestershire on the Sunday. We therefore arranged to meet friends for a casual birthday lunch near the show hall, travelling on to drop Sonia off at stud south of Birmingham, staying the night with Rob and Anita, and then heading across for the seminar before heading home again. As it happens, the judge who would have been doing Sonia’s Grand class would be very unlikely to award her the certificate, so there didn’t seem much point entering her. We decided instead just to put her on exhibition, and thought that since we were staying with Anita that night, we would take Tilly to keep Sonia company in the exhibition pen, and then to let Anita see her again. I swithered for a while, and eventually decided to also have a punt with Annas in the Olympian class, since she picked up a Reserve there last year.
The Committee meeting was much quicker than these meetings usually are, and we headed outside to enjoy the sun. After a while, we took a leisurely stroll up to the farm shop for lunch, where some of our friends sang me a thankfully very quiet and fast rendition of Happy Birthday. Annas had really tough competition in the Olympian class, so there was no shame in not placing, but I was rather disappointed that the Best of Breed judge awarded the BOB to the boy, who is nowhere near as good an example of the breed as Annas. Sonia and Tilly seemed to enjoy their day, and were delighted with the concept of being able to come out for cuddles regularly without needing to be pulled about for judging!
After the show, we drove straight down to Di Taylor’s (Brizlincoat Somalis), and set Sonia up in her pen in Di’s gorgeous cattery facility. We have been promised a proper tour when we return to collect Sonia. We then headed across to Rob and Anita’s, where we were taken out for a lovely Indian meal, as a birthday treat. As usual, Anita and I stayed up far too late chatting, and I think it must have been well into the following morning before I crawled into bed.
The Australian Mist seminar was held in a tiny hall, in a village near Market Harborough. The reason for the seminar was that Dr Truda Straede, who created the breed, is spending a few weeks holidaying in Italy, and had agreed to make a detour across to the UK in order to do a breed seminar. The seminar was not supported by the GCCF, because the discussion would be based on the standard as applied in FiFé, but for people not involved in the breed, like us, that didn’t really matter. Dr Straede presented some of her research on the microscopic differences in hair structure between hairs of different colours and patterns, which was fascinating and very enlightening, and there was much entertaining discussion over coffee as well!
Last weekend was another ‘free’ weekend (i.e. one that isn’t taken up with ‘cat stuff’), and we had Elisabeth’s birthday barbecue on the Saturday afternoon/evening, and then a 10CC and Status Quo concert on the Sunday evening. We also squeezed in a trip to the cinema broadcast of one of the last performances of Helen Mirren’s ‘The Audience’, which proved to be laugh-out-loud funny, and well worth attending. Elisabeth’s barbecue was, as always, a great event, and a lovely opportunity to catch up on the lives of some of her friends, whom we only see periodically at her various get-togethers. The concert on the Sunday evening was excellent, and well worth the £45.
I knew every song that 10CC sang, but only knew one of them as a 10CC song (that being “I’m Not In Love”), and was very impressed at the breadth of styles their music covers, and also the multi-instrument talent of the group’s members. Status Quo’s much is more samey, but the band are great showmen, and I thoroughly enjoyed singing along at the top of my voice. Admittedly, some of the best entertainment of the evening was watching two girls who were probably in their late teens or early twenties, and had obviously had a bit much to drink, attempting to dance in front of the stands!
Tracey looked after all the cats, but especially Dàrna’s little one, during the weekends that we have been away, and made her usual fabulous job of it. She was round at least twice every day that we were away, not just throwing some food down, but actually spending hours at the house each time, going from room to room to make sure that all the cats receive plenty of attention – they probably get more when we are away than when we are here! She also checked and weighed the wee one each day, and nicknamed her ‘Scootcher’ because apparently she ‘Scootched’ around her box when she was small – she was certainly the most active Asian/Tiffanie we’ve had as a tiny kitten, walking around her box from the moment we got her back from the vets. Elisabeth, on the other hand, christened the kitten ‘Sparkle-Sparkle’, because apparently she has the sparkle-factor!
She continued her precocious behaviour, purring when feeding at only a day or two old, trying to climb out of the scales at weigh-in time from about a week old, and purring in response to being stroked at only eight days. She’s also growing really well, having doubled his birth weight by the time she was six days old (that is the target for a week old), and now being well over 800g at 7 weeks. Although I spent the first three or four weeks trying to persuade both myself and the kitten, that she was a boy, because I then wouldn’t be tempted to keep her, she declined to participate in my charade, and is quite obviously a girl. I am still trying valiantly to resist the temptation (she is Dàrna’s last kitten, etc. etc.), but whether I succeed will remain to be seen. Richard is keeping out of any discussion over whether or not she stays, which is probably wise, given that I will probably just make my own mind up anyway, almost regardless of what he says!
The lack of a decision over whether or not she is staying, does make decisions over naming rather more complicated. This is our ‘F-litter’, and she is either cream or apricot, so Fiona (from the gaelic for fair-haired) would be a good name for her, but that only works if she’s not staying here, because we already have a Fiona, and having two of them would be too complicated! She therefore remains nameless at present, being known only as Dàrna’s kitten, or the wee one, until we decide what we are doing. She will be due for her first vaccination next week, though, and we’ll need to have a name to put on the vaccination card, so we don’t have that long to decide.
The Ocicat kittens also continue to do well, having had their second vaccinations the first Saturday in June, and then the five who are registered on the Non-Active were neutered a couple of weeks ago, and have been living with us of late. It is rather nice not having to travel to Edinburgh every time I want to see my kittens, particularly since each vet visit has meant being up early enough to collect the kittens at 07:30, in order to be back at our vets with enough time to drop the kittens off and still get into work, then rushing off at 17:30 to collect them again, and take them back to Edinburgh. We have had all six kittens living with us, but Di’s family have decided that they would like to keep the tawny boy, and we feel that is the least we can do, given the favour that Di did for us in taking the kittens when she did, and then keeping them so that they didn’t have to have any upheaval in their early lives.
The first two (literally the first two – Cainnt and Crannag) went to their new homes last Saturday, and are now Hamish and Harry, respectively. Their owner has recently lost an Ocicat neuter boy, Oscar, who has been keeping her company since her husband died, and she has really been missing Oscar’s presence. She wanted an Ocicat to fill the hole left by Oscar’s death, but didn’t want one who looked so like him that she was constantly reminded of his loss. The ticked tabbies were therefore of particular interest, and although she initially liked the idea of having one of each colour, which wasn’t possible anyway, with Di’s family keeping the tawny, she actually found that she preferred the cinnamons. I think they will be a better match anyway, because they often spent time together, whereas the tawny boy is more independent.
The tawny girl continues to shine out as the pick of the litter, and I am still hoping that we can find someone interested in breeding from her, but the search is so far proving fruitless. I will continue looking for another couple of weeks, and if we haven’t found anyone by then, will have her neutered, and find her a pet home. That seems a real waste of a lovely example of the breed, with an amazing temperament and a fabulous pedigree, though, so I’m hoping we won’t have to do that. If you know of anyone who might be interested in breeding Ocis, do let me know!
The other two girls are still looking for their homes, so do also get in touch if you think you might know of someone who would be interested in one or both of them.
As a slight aside, I’ve also had some photos through from the owners of Carrie and Becca (the two cinnamon Variants from the last litter), who you may remember also went to live together. They look very happy and still just as good friends as they were when they left us.
Other Cat News
We also had Grace and Anita’s Keela spayed at the same time as the kittens, so will be looking for new homes for them in due course. Again, if you know of anyone who might be interested in a young adult (Keela will be three in September, and Grace has just turned two), then we would love to hear from you. We are hoping to get Grace made up to Master Cat before she leaves us, since now that she is spayed, she can be shown in the Pedigree Pet section again, something that hasn’t been possible since she was under six months old. We have therefore got her entered in a couple of shows later in the summer, and will start to look for a new home for her after that.
Keela is absolutely adorable with people, and will take however much attention you are prepared to lavish on her, giving lots of love in return. As an entire, she hated other cats, though, so we will wait a few weeks to see whether having her spayed will have softened her attitude towards her fellow felines. If not, she will have to go to a strictly single-cat household, her ideal probably being as a companion to someone who is retired and wants a cat to keep them company around the house.
My brother, Calum, has recently purchased his first house, and is now the proud owner of an idiotic Maine Coon, in the shape of our first pedigree cat, Call. For the past few years, we have had to keep Call and the other neuters separated from our entire girls, because Call is fine living with neuters, but starts spraying if he lives with one or more entire females. This has resulted in none of our cats getting what we feel to be enough of our time, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for us to spend a decent amount of time with each group. When the cats were all in together, they all got to spend time with us, which was far preferable. Calum taking Call has meant that we can start making re-introductions (and in many cases first introductions) between our neutered and entire cats, and although we will need to take this slowly, it is a huge relief to be able to start the process.
A Totally Unrelated Garden Visitor
This last is absolutely nothing to do with the cats, but I couldn’t resist sharing the video of a cute hedgehog that was in our garden last week. He was sitting on our driveway when we got back, and because it was still daylight, I thought maybe he was ill, so I offered him some cat food. Judging by the way that he tucked into the food, he certainly doesn’t seem to have been ill!
I’ve been holding off doing an update until we had the results of Bru’s tests – I didn’t expect that to take a month! In the meantime, there has been plenty to update you with…
Preston & Blackpool Show
The Preston & Blackpool show was the last weekend in March, and saw the ‘creation’ of two new Cagaran Champions! Ayla and Eiteag both won their third CC, making them up to Champion at the age of just 10 1/2 months, in ‘straight shows’. For the first time, Eiteag actually beat his sister for Best of Breed, but I think we’ll give him a bit of a break now, because he was very interested in the female Devon in the pen next door, and was a little ‘frisky’ as a result. Ayla was, as always, utterly adorable, and a real pleasure to show.
When we were originally asked if we would take Bru back, we didn’t know whether he had something infectious or not, so I was concerned about bringing him back into the house when we had such young kittens. A friend of ours very kindly offered to take the kittens until we could find out what was wrong with Bru, and since Grace seems perfectly settled at Diane’s, they are going to stay there for the time-being. That puts us in the unusual position of having to go and ‘visit’ our own kittens!
Thankfully, Diane and her kids are taking great care of them, and they seem very happy, healthy babies – they are actually a lot sweeter than our last litter of Ocicats were at the same age.
Being one step removed like this does make it more challenging for us to choose names, because I have to rely on Diane’s family, particularly her daughter, Maude, to help us get a feel for their temperaments. I suggested various possibilities, and Maude has helped me narrow them down:
Kitten 1 (cinnamon Variant male): Cainnt, which is gaelic for ‘Speech’, because he’s the most talkative. It is pronounced ‘Kaynch’.
Kitten 2 (cinnamon Variant male): Crannag, which is gaelic for ‘Hedgehog’, because he likes to curl up in a little ball. It is pronounced ‘Kranak’.
Kitten 3 (tawny Ocicat female): Ceann-Ciatach, which is gaelic for ‘Beautiful Leader’, because she has always been the first into everything, and the others all follow her, but she is also the most typey in the litter. If any of the kittens go for breeding or show, it will be her, and I liked the idea of using her gran’s pet name in her name – Kia was short for Ciatach. Ceann-Ciatach is pronounced ‘Kyawn-Kee-atach’.
She is also an absolute sweetheart, and the quickest to purr. If we weren’t planning to focus on the Asians and Tiffanies, and therefore giving up with the Ocicats, I would be keeping her without a moment’s hesitation.
Kitten 4 (cinnamon Variant female) is narrowed down to a few possibilities, but we haven’t actually chosen one yet. She is the quietest and gentlest, but also the most shy, so the names are all a variation on that theme: Ciùin, which means ‘Quiet’ or ‘Gentle’, and is pronounced ‘Kyewn’; Caomh, which means ‘Fond’, ‘Soft’, ‘Gentle’ or ‘Tender’, and is pronounced ‘Koov’; Cionált, which means ‘Sweet’, and is pronounced ‘Kinalit’; and Corrach, which means ‘Unsure’, and is pronounced ‘Kawrach’.
Kitten 5 (tawny Variant male): Ceafán, which is gaelic for ‘Rascal’, which is pretty self-explanatory! It is pronounced ‘Kyawfan’.
Kitten 6 (cinnamon Ocicat female): Ciaran, which is gaelic for ‘Glimmer’, because of the delicate colouring of her spots. It is pronounced ‘Kee-aran’.
As it happens, having the kittens living with someone else proved very useful, because we had to go down to Devon for Richard’s Gran’s memorial service and the interment of her ashes. If we’d had young kittens at home, we couldn’t have been away from home for more than one night, which would have meant a couple of very long days. As it was, we were able to head straight down to Devon from the Preston & Blackpool show, with major thanks due to Ian Thomson (Saladin Abyssinians) and Elisabeth for taking Eiteag and Ayla home for us, and feeding all the others. Richard’s parents had rented a cottage down there for the week, so we stayed with them for a couple of days, attended the service and interment on the Monday, and then I had a business meeting on the way home. Tracey very kindly came in at least once each day, to feed and cuddle the cats, and sort their trays for the remaining couple of days until we returned.
When I last posted, we were going to be taking Bru for a scan the following week, which my Mum actually ended up taking him to, because it was the same day as the interment in Devon. The vets did an echocardiogram, as planned, and also took some x-rays and ran a tube into his lung to take a sample of the fluid. The heart scan showed no defect, which was a relief, but it did appear to show something abnormal about his lung. On the x-ray, it looked like the left lung was collapsed, and the fluid from the infection could be seen in the right lung. The fluid sample was sent for analysis, and came back as a mycoplasma infection, which we then treated with Baytril and another antibiotic for the next fortnight.
After that, we took him back in for another x-ray, which showed that the infection was cleared up in the right lung, but there was still something odd about the left lung, so he then had a CT scan. The CT scan showed a nice healthy right lung, but the result for the other side was rather less expected – when the Cardiologist looked at the slides, he said to our vet: “Well, I’ve never seen that before”. He knew what he thought he was seeing, but sent the slides down to the experts at Liverpool for analysis, and they came back to confirm his diagnosis: Bru has no left lung! The vet called me last week with the confirmation from Liverpool, and told me that there has only been one other case of a cat with Bru’s condition, and that was in the US in 1990! Yet another case of us having a virtually unique problem.
Scottish Shorthair Show
The weekend before last was the Scottish Shorthair show, and although we hadn’t entered this time, because we were showing at the weekend just gone (you are only allowed to show once in every two weeks), I went along to steward for Elisabeth. We had some stunning cats, including a lot of very beautiful Abys, and a chocolate silver spotted British with proper British coat texture – very unusual on a silver, let alone one of the newer colours!
Lona was there with Tabh, who was the only cat in his Grand class, because the only other entrant was absent. Unfortunately, the judge didn’t like him enough to award the certificate, so poor Tabh is still waiting for his final Grand. Lesley and Fraser were also there, with Derk and Ella (Eiteag and Ayla’s littermates), both of whom picked up their 2nd CCs, and Ella took the Best of Breed this time. She was looking particularly stunning, with a fabulous Burmese scowl, while Etak drove all the judges crazy in the morning, shouting for cuddles whenever anyone came into view! Unfortunately, I forgot about taking photos until the very end of the show, by which point the cats were ready to go home, and I only had time to get some really rubbish phone shots:
Joint Beds-Camcat Show
Last weekend was the double show for the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Cat Clubs. As with other joint shows, the two clubs share the show venue and judges, which enables the clubs to split the costs, but also gives the exhibitors the advantage of being able to try for two certificates on the same day.
We had taken three cats – Ayla, Tilly and Bru. Ayla was only there because she is a delight to show (she is far too immature and small to win a Grand at the moment), and Tilly was only there so that Anita could see her again (we stayed with Anita on Friday night), so it was only Bru who we were actually hoping for a win from. Sure enough, he picked up the Premier certificate (and Best of Breed) in both shows, leaving him only needing one more to win his Premier title.
These PCs were the first certificates won by a Cagaran Ocicat, which is quite exciting. I was also touched to realise that the three cats we were showing are the grandson and daughters of our three foundation queens – Ayla being Dàrna’s granddaughter, Tilly is Katie’s granddaughter, and Bru is Kia’s grandson! As a final little benefit, Lhasa’s mum was there with her owner/breeders, and won her third and qualifying CC, making her up to Champion!
Tracy and Gary came up to visit us at the show, bringing Emily, who has grown since we last saw her, and was fascinated with the cats. We let Ayla sit on her lap for a cuddle, and when we tried to put Ayla back in her pen, Emily started crying, bless her! We also had the AGCS AGM in during the morning, and a RACCS Committee meeting during the afternoon, so it was rather a busy day.
After the show, we headed up to Wakefield where there was a party being held ‘in honour’ of two of our friends, who emigrated to Australia 18 months ago and are back for their first home visit since leaving. We spent a couple of hours with them on Sunday morning before heading back up the road, and it was great to catch up, and also see their two sons, who were just three and one when they left. We’ve been invited out to see them in Australia, too…
London Pet Show
Long-term readers of our blog will know that we have had at least one representative at the London Pet Show (LPS), both the last two years. This year the 3rd LPS is on the 11th and 12th of May, putting it the week before the World Cat Congress (WCC) weekend, which includes a double show – the special WCC show and the Suffolk & Norfolk club going back-to-back. As a result, it has been more of a struggle than usual, to find enough cats and people to represent the different breeds, many of those who would normally have done LPS preferring to enter the WCC double.
We are going to be attending the WCC show (the Gala Dinner is on the Saturday night, and a Seminar on the Sunday, so there’s no way we’d be missing it!), but the LPS is too great an opportunity to miss, so we’re not going to actually take cats to the WCC. Since the LPS was struggling to find enough cats, we are taking ten cats to represent a whole selection of breeds: Tia for the Burmillas, Donny for Asian Smokes, Ayla and Eiteag for the Tiffanies (though Eiteag, being a tabby, is also the closest we have to an Asian Tabby), Cheeky and Bru for the Ocicats, Kenga (Grace’s sister) for the Abyssinians, and three of Elisabeth’s Russian Blue kittens to represent the Russians.
Dàrna is due this week, but she’s not particularly big, so we’ve been assuming just a couple of kittens. In the past couple of days, however, she has expanded a bit, so it could be that she’s carrying four. If she does have just two, I think we might just have her spayed. Having had six kittens in her first litter, we had hoped that her subsequent two-kitten-litter was due to the after-effects of the Ronidazole treatment that she had for the Tritrich, and that the effect would wear off after a while.
Following my recent post regarding my disappointment that the Tibetan breeders had decided not to use Tiffanies in their programme, I have been contacted by Angela McCallum (Chaka Balinese, Tibetan and Oriental Longhairs), to say that she would definitely be interested in using a Tiffanie for her Tibetans. Since the ideal Tiffanie for the Tibetan programme is a self with burmese restriction, the mating that we were originally going to do was Lhasa to Donny. I don’t really mind whether we mate her to Donny and Tia to Eiteag, or the other way around, so I am quite happy to do the former, if the result can be of assistance to the Tibetan programme. So… that makes that decision, finally!
After the LPS, Ayla will be going home with an Australian Mist breeder, instead of us (sob!), and will be going to one of her stud cats to begin our cinnamon outcross programme. You may remember that we also bought in our Somali, Sonia, to form the other half of the initial outcross, so we will be mating her at the same time. I haven’t yet decided who to mate her to, though! These matings are a big step for the cinnamon programme, but they do represent the start of something like four or five years of work to get to the point where we have a showable cinnamon Asian or Tiffanie! Wish us luck…
The Notts & Derbys show was cancelled, but we had a good trip anyway. The rest is just an update on the cats, and some cute photos!!
I had been holding off doing another post until after the Notts & Derbys show, which was meant to be last weekend. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled due to people being afraid to travel with reports of snow on the way. The daft thing is, we had already got to Richard’s parents’ house in Loughborough by the time the show was cancelled, and the show venue is literally about 15 minutes drive from there. There was a bit of snow falling on the Friday evening, but by the Saturday morning it had stopped and the roads in that area were beautifully clear. In fact, we had the best run home that we’ve had in months.
Donny thoroughly enjoyed his trip away, though, because it meant he got to spend the night with his ‘mummy’, and he came and cuddled down in the bed with me. Dàrna stayed with Richard in his old room, but she couldn’t make up her mind where she wanted to sleep, so I don’t think she and Richard had quite such a settled night’s sleep!
It was good to be able to enjoy not only dinner on the Friday, but also a leisurely breakfast on the Saturday, with Richard’s parents. Since we had gone all that way, and now didn’t have a show to attend, we thought we might as well make use of the time by making some other social visits in the area. We travelled down to Rushden, near Bedford (again on fabulously clear roads!) and visited Tracey and Gary, whom we haven’t seen since their little girl, Emily, was born last summer. As always, they were very hospitable, and made us lunch, and we enjoyed getting a chance to catch up with them, and obviously meet little Emily as well. Since the last time they saw us was when Donny was a kitten, Tracey was very excited to hear that we had him with us, and asked us to bring him in so she could see him all grown up. He promptly jumped up beside Tracey and Emily, and gave Emily a ‘kiss’!
We also visited Judith Noble (Larksong Russian Blues), who is on the RACCS (Russian & Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland) committee with us, and is a very good friend of Elisabeth’s. She has recently imported a girl from Holland, who Elisabeth was very keen to see, and visiting with Judith is always a good laugh. As usual, she didn’t disappoint!
We’ve had an email from the Variants’ owner, letting us know that the girls have settled in well and are becoming really cuddly. When he emailed, both girls were sitting on his lap cleaning eachother, which is lovely to hear. From the looks of the first photo I’ve had from him, they’re going to be great companions:
Unfortunately, we still haven’t found the right home for Bru, which I find incredible, given how stunning he is. We can’t quite believe that he’s the last in his litter to go! He’s developed into not only a beautiful cat, but also a rather lovely Ocicat, so I thought you might like to see a few photos of him, as he now looks.
I’ve had request for some photos of Tilly, so we tried to get some for you, but she is an absolute Minx when the camera appears, and absolutely refuses to keep still. Even with our shiny new camera, the only two photos we have that are in focus are still pretty rubbish. Thought you might want to see them anyway, though.
Finally, since Etak lives in the kitchen (Donny is spending most of his time up with Keela at the moment!), we’ve been using him as the practice subject for the new camera. A couple of the photos are just so daft that I had to share them.
I also took the cutest video of Donny and Etak sharing their drinking fountain:
Okay, that’s it for today. Shropshire show next weekend – all get outside and do your non-snow dances for us, please!!
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!
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…
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 are all doing well, with the oldest ones almost ready to go to their new homes. I attended my first meeting of the Asian BAC, and we had a good day at the Scotia show.
The past three weeks have been ridiculously busy. I started this blog post when it was titled ‘Nine, Seven and One Week’, then updated it and changed the title to ‘Ten, Eight and Two Weeks’, then ‘Eleven, Nine and Three Weeks’, and now finally the current title! I’ve managed to get a few words down each time, but didn’t have a chance to pull some photos together until earlier this week, and then couldn’t get half of them to upload, grrrr. So… hope it’s worth the wait!
All three litters are doing well, and the older kittens are now the best of friends. To watch them playing, you would think they were littermates, chasing around like a herd of elephants, and pouncing on eachother. For the past couple of weeks they have had our Tiffanie neuter, Annas, as company as well, to help them get used to other adult cats. The kittens were, however, completely unphased by her presence, though she spent the first week or so scowling at them from the windowledge, and only jumping down when she thought they were asleep, to scoff some of their food!
Two of our good friends came up to stay with us over the first weekend this month, and spent lots of time playing with the kittens. It was great to see how well the kittens responded to meeting strangers and being handled. Tracy and Gary came up to visit when we had kittens last year, so whether they come up to visit us or the kittens would be an interesting matter for debate! Mind you, we’ve also stayed at their house with kittens in tow – the last time they saw any of our kittens was when we stayed at their house the night before the AGCS show back in January, with Tabh, B-B and Fiona. They were amazed to see how grown-up Fi now is, and she was all over them giving cuddles!
Katie’s two had their first vaccinations over a fortnight ago now, and are booked to have their second on Friday of this week. Katie was due her booster at the same time, so we took her with the kittens, and she spent her time trying to snuggle under them to hide, whilst they just sat there peering out at everything going on around them, totally unconcerned.
They now have pedigree names, and I will be sending the registration documents into the GCCF this week. As usual, the names are gaelic, and will have our prefix, Cagaran, on the front, and since these kittens are our third Tiff/Asian litter, they begin with ‘C’. At the moment the boy has the same name for both pedigree and pet, which is Cannach, pronounced Kanach (-ch as in loch) and meaning ‘Mild’, since he is a sweet wee man. The girl’s owner had contacted me fairly early on, so I was able to give her a choice of names, and she picked Càirdeas, which is pronounced Kyrstas (-ky as in sky) and means ‘Friendship’, due to the way that she welcomed the Oci kittens when they were put in with her as newborns. We are using Kirsty as a pet name, but her owner is probably going to change that once they get to know eachother better.
Pippa, whom Kirsty will be living with, has had neutered Burmese until now, and loves their temperament, but prefers the flowing Tiffanie coat. She is considering breeding Tiffs, so she came up to visit us, and she and I got on really well. She loved the look of Kirsty, who has developed beautifully (as has her brother!), so she will be joining Pippa’s Burmese neuter from around the end of the month.
A week past yesterday, we drove up to Aberdeenshire to see the family whom Cannach will be going to live with. They have two female Asian neuters (who are rather nice!) and until recently had a Burmese boy who was an ex stud boy. Unfortunately, he died a couple of months ago, and they have been missing having a boy around, so we took Cannach up so that they could meet him. We took Kirsty as well, to keep him company, and the two travelled together beautifully. They had a little tub of litter in the back of their basket, and both used that on the journey. When we got to the house, the two daughters got the kittens out of their basket and gave them a cuddle, then they put them on the sofa, where they promptly curled up with the girls’ Dad. Since Cannach is actually to be a birthday present for him, that was quite a smart move on the part of the kittens! Thankfully, the family were delighted with the wee lad (who is not so wee now, actually, at 1.25kg!), and decided that they would like him, so he will be going up there at the start of next month, after he has been neutered.
The Oci kittens had their first vaccinations on Friday of last week, so can now start ‘entertaining’ potential owners. I’ve had a fair bit of interest in them, which is a relief, because I was really worried that nobody would want the Variants. Whether any of the homes will come off, I have no idea, but at least there is some interest. The two girls now look much more like their brother than they did when they were younger, and I’m really pleased with the way they are turning out. All three are a really good size, being well over 1kg already, and Maltech is absolutely enormous, at over 1.2kg!
We have chosen names for them as well as the Tiff kittens, but decided to run the Oci litters separately and have therefore gone back to ‘A’ for their names. We’ve used up some of the difficult to spell and pronounce names with this litter: since they are Variants and therefore cannot be shown, there is no chance of a poor show manager having to pronounce their names! The boy is Aomáilteach, which is pronounced ‘Oomaltech’ (-ch as in loch) and means ‘Mischievous’, with a pet name of Maltech or Mal. The first of the Oci girls is Altachdainn, which is pronounced Altachd-eye and means ‘Grace’, and Grace is her pet name. The second Oci girl is Adhairc, which is pronounced Aghurk (-gh is similar to ch at the end of loch, but more gutteral) and means ‘Foghorn’, since that’s what she’s been known as since the start, though she’s a lot quieter now that she’s older.
We will be keeping Grace, and I’m hoping that we have a pet home lined up for Maltech. Foghorn has two potential owners, because she had been booked to go to a couple down south, but they have had some financial issues, so aren’t sure if they can afford to look after another cat at the moment. If they are not having her, then she is possibly going to live in Edinburgh with a family who used to have an Abyssinian, and have recently relocated from America. They have held off having a cat since their Aby died several years ago, because they knew that they would be moving at some point, but now that they have completed the move they want to add a cat to their family again. They couldn’t decide between an Abyssinian and an Ocicat, so our ‘Ocabys’ would be the perfect compromise. We have them coming to visit this evening, so we’ll see what the kittens think of them!
Dàrna’s babies had their eyes fully opened by the time they were ten days old, and are now pouncing on each other and starting to play. We rearranged their pen at the weekend, to add a litter tray and a dish of food, so that they can start to make use of those when they are ready. Dàrna is still determined to have the kittens anywhere other than where they are supposed to be, and has moved them to every bed, basket and cubby-hole in the kitten room, including (of course) the ‘human’ bed. Her current favourite location for them is in a little basket in the corner of the room, sandwiched between a chest of drawers and the wall. Every time I go into the room I move them back into the pen, so that they have the litter tray and food nearby, and every time we go back into the room, she has moved them again. Last year we eventually gave up and let her keep them in the middle of the floor (which is where she had chosen for last year’s litter), but for the time-being, I am trying not to let her win again this year!
Both kittens are developing beautifully, with lovely short muzzles, rounded heads and good nose-breaks. The boy is starting to develop ghost-markings on his face, so I’m hoping that means that he is a smoke. I saw Tommy Goss (one of the owners of Fi’s sire) at a BAC (Breed Advisory Committee) meeting yesterday, and he thought the boy looked like a smoke in the pictures I had, so fingers very crossed. The girl has always looked paler down her sides, but whether that is just due to the tortie or actually that she is silver as well, I am not sure yet. They are definitely a brown and a brown tortie, but beyond that we’ll just have to wait and see!
The weekend before the one just gone saw us heading down to the North East of England to run Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russian Blues) to the Northern Counties show. We took the opportunity of heading in that general direction to pay a visit to friends who are moving to Australia next month, so going all that way to take someone else to a show wasn’t as daft as people suggested! Elisabeth had a really good day, with her little Russian girl, Lucy, taking Best Foreign Kitten again! Our friend Olive Holt (Nemorez Asians and Burmese) also had a good day, winning Best Burmese Adult with the little Burmese boy whom I took down to her from Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese and Asians) back in the spring.
On the Saturday just gone, we were a bit closer to home, at the Scotia show in Milngavie, just outside Glasgow. Our pedigrees are mostly ‘tied up’ with kitten duties at the moment, so we took the two mogs (Jinny and Ali) and decided to pop Annas out as well, since she had been looking longingly at the baskets whenever we were taking the others to shows recently. Sure enough, she seemed quite content to be back out on the bench, though Jinny was our star, taking Best Non-Pedigree again (the highest award available at the Scotia). Annas took the Best of Breed over her little niece, Lainni (Katie’s daughter from last year – Cagaran Asgaidh-Àlainn), who did us proud, winning her 3rd and qualifying PC – a second title for the Cagaran prefix, yay! Lainni’s ‘stable-mate’, Gus (a half-brother of our first Aby, Gealbhan) also had a good day, winning his second Olympian certificate. The Abys had a pretty good day, actually, with Coen (Glendavan Leonidas) winning his third Olympian, and Abys going Best Foreign Neuter and Best Foreign Adult. The Best Foreign Kitten award went to Dushenka Carabella, who was bred by Elisabeth, but is owned by other friends, the Pontellos (Pontaby Abyssinians, and soon Russians as well!).
Sunday was also an interesting day, being my first meeting with the Asian BAC (Breed Advisory Committee), which you may remember that I was voted onto at the AGCS committee meeting back in the summer. I flew down to Stansted in the morning, where I was collected by Steve Crow and Tommy Goss (who had already collected Carolyn Clark), and they kindly ran me to the meeting and back again, afterwards. I wasn’t sure what the meeting itself was going to be like, because you have multiple potentially ‘rival’ views coming together, but everyone was professional and civil, and I found it an enjoyable experience. I’m already looking forward to many more…