Another big gap between updates – life just seems to be a bit manic at the moment, but then I suppose that’s not uncommon in the run-up to Christmas!
West of Scotland Show and Older Kittens
The West was on the 11th of December this year, which was thankfully at the end of a week in which we saw some thawing in the weather. The previous weekend the northern shows (in Sheffield, I think) had been cancelled due to the snow, so we were dreading the same thing being required up here. As it happens, the week running up to the West was warmer and without any new snow fall. This meant that the show was able to go ahead, although the show managers had to print off the judges books themselves on the Friday night, and the certificates and catalogues had to be collected from the post office on the morning of the show, due to the residual chaos caused by the previous week’s snow!
We had taken Jinny, Call, Dàrna and Xaria, chasing the full range from PC to Imperial between them. Jinny didn’t really win anything, which I think is a first, but Call won his 2nd PC (yay!) and Dàrna won her 1st Grand and Best of Breed.
Xaria not only won her 4th Imperial (one to go!!) and Best of Breed, but went on to take Best Foreign Neuter and then Overall Best Foreign! If my calculations are correct, that is not only a great achievement on its own, but also means that Xaria has come out on top of the RACCS points table, making her this year’s RACCS Cat of the Year – the first time this accolade has been held by a Russian instead of an Abyssinian!
Lainni was also at the show, having been brought down by her owner, Lona. I was stewarding (for Steve Crow), and kept catching sight of Lainni out of the corner of my eye and thinking Katie was there, because Lainni is the absolute spit of her mum at the same age. She looked stunning, so Lona is obviously taking very good care of her. She did us both proud by winning the 1st in her kitten class, and also Best of Breed!
After the show, Steve Crow came back with us, as planned, and helped us to identify the colours of Dàrna’s kittens – our conclusions are given later in this post!
The week after the show, I had to go to Barnsley on a trip for my work, so I contacted the Gills, who have Soolay (now Rafa) and asked if I could call in and say hello. They offered to give me lunch, so I went round and spent a couple of lovely hours enjoying great hospitality, a good chat, and of course the chance to see Rafa again. He and Riley, his feline housemate, are now getting on beautifully and June gave me some lovely photos of the two cuddled up together. Rafa has really grown, and is turning into an exceptionally handsome young man!
Having seen Rafa and Lainni in the past couple of weeks, I was delighted to get a chance to see Alek (the third member of that litter), last night. I took a card up for his family, and was invited in for a cup of tea, and obviously to see him again. He has also really grown, and is such a gorgeous boy – he has a much more ‘typey’ head than his brother does, and is really a rather nice Asian! His human sister, Ellie, is obviously besotted with him, and he is fantastically gentle with her, which is the most beautiful thing to see – this is why we wanted to breed these lovely cats in the first place!
Dàrna’s kittens were 14 weeks yesterday (Sunday), and had their 2nd vaccinations on Tuesday of last week, so they are now ready to go to their new homes. Four of the kittens have definite places to go to, and I have had an enquiry for the remaining two that I hope goes ahead, because it would be lovely to see them go together, and the people sound lovely.
Katie’s litter were adorable, but this lot just have the most outstanding temperaments. You only have to touch them, and they start purring, and if you sleep in their room, you awake to find a pile of kittens on top of you, purring away. They all love cuddles and will climb up onto something beside you and cry to be picked up if you go don’t pay them attention. Some even give kisses – Ben and Ghost will both come up and nuzzle their faces into your hand, or bring their nose up to touch yours if you’re somewhere that they can reach your face. Quite apart from the gorgeous array of colours that this mating can produce, the temperament alone means that I think we will definitely hope to repeat the mating at some point in the future.
This litter are also all big, healthy kittens – they have absolutely blown the expected growth charts out of the water! All of the kittens have now crossed 1.5kg, and the largest (Ghost) is over 2kg! Considering the fact that one of our Devon Rex neuters is only about 2.5kg at 3 years old, and that Katie is only 2.9kg at nearly 2 years old, it’s great to see these kittens being such a good size.
We are definitely keeping one of the ‘creamy’ girls, and have decided to go for ‘Kitten 1’ – her type has all fallen into place, making her a stunning girl, but more importantly she has that fantastic temperament and I have had a bond with her from the start. When I last posted, I mentioned that we were hoping to take some of the kittens to the AGCS show in January, and when we did the show entry, we thought we were keeping Kitten 6, and therefore entered her. Having now decided to keep Kitten 1 instead, the only thing we could do was swap the names around so that when I registered the kittens, it was Kitten 1 who is now Fiona, and Kitten 6 who is now Maya!
The remaining kittens will start going from next week, although we are definitely taking four of them to the AGCS show in January. Since this is likely to be the last update while they are all still with us, I thought that I would go through each one in turn, giving their registered names and colours, a couple of photos and telling you a bit about their personalities, and where they are going to live, if we know:
Kitten 1 – Fiona
(Cagaran Beannachd-Fionn, the Cagaran obviously being our prefix, and the latter part meaning ‘Fair-Haired Blessing’)
Fiona is an Apricot Silver Shaded like her dad – breed number 68 43fns, where the 68 means that she is a Tiffanie, the 43 means that she is shaded, the fn means apricot, and the s means silver!
Fiona messing about and making it near impossible to photograph her – note that Tassy is posing beautifully in the background!
I know we’re not supposed to have favourites, but you can’t help it, and although she may be a complete pain to photograph, I can’t help adoring Fiona. There is a definite bond there that isn’t present with the other kittens, which is something that other breeders had told me would happen – Elisabeth put it very well when she said “some kittens just… get you”. Since it is critical that we have a good relationship with our queens, it is great to be keeping the kitten that we have such a bond with.
She is a good sized girl, having been the biggest of the three girls since the start (also something that is good for a breeding queen), with a lovely head and big adorable eyes. She is very cuddly, always wanting us to pick her up and give her a cuddle if we are in the room with them. She is perhaps a bit quieter and less boisterous than some of the others, but that doesn’t stop her tearing around the room at high speed if she finds a toy that she wants to play with. She loves ‘killing snakes’ – any long thin thing that she can get her paws on is dragged around the floor whilst she growls loudly and occasionally turns to pounce on it. This includes dressing gown belts and the old pair of tights that I put in the kitten room as a spare ‘body sock’ for Katie when she had Mastitis and wasn’t allowed to feed her kittens.
Kitten 2 – Ben
(Cagaran Beinn-Eighe, meaning ‘Ice-Berg’ due to his cold colouring)
Ben is a Blue Burmese Restriction Silver Shaded – 68 43asq, where the a means blue and the q means burmese restriction (68 means Tiffanie, 43 means shaded and s means silver, the same as Fiona).
Ben is extremely loving, but does remind me of the rhyme about the little girl with the little curl – he gives the biggest kisses and adores cuddles, but if someone is swinging from the end of my plait, or trying to climb up our legs, it is usually him! He’s a wee monkey, but utterly adorable with it. Whenever guests come to see the kittens, he is always the first onto their laps, and then curls up there looking up at them and purring, as if he is completely innocent of any misbehaviour. As soon as the guests are gone, he’s racing around at high speed, jumping on and off the bed, hiding behind things and pouncing on his siblings, and generally getting up to mischief. It’s all harmless, but he’s still a rascal.
I would love Ben to go either to a family who have kids who could play with him, or to somewhere that has another kitten that he can play with. He is just so exuberant and full of energy that we couldn’t let him go to anywhere without some sort of playmate for him! Wherever he does go, he is sure to reward their love tenfold – I love the way he nuzzles his head into your hand whenever you sit down!
Kitten 3 – Ghost
(Cagaran Bodachán, meaning ‘Little Ghost’)
Ghost is a (Lilac-Based) Caramel Burmese Restriction Silver Shaded – 68 43nsq, where n means caramel.
He is quite similar to Ben in temperament, but a bit more restrained in every sense – he’s a bit less feisty and mischievous, and a bit less extrovert about cuddling up to people. He loves nothing better than curling up on someone’s lap, or lying on his back in your arms, with his eyes half-closed, purring like a little motor. He is quite boisterous in play, but that’s partly due to the fact that he is the biggest in the litter. Like Fiona, he likes playing tug of war games with inanimate objects – his favourite being one of their beds, which he will merrily drag around the room growling in case any of his siblings might think of stealing it from him. On the whole, they just look at him as if he’s nuts!
Kitten 4 – B-B
(Cagaran Bramán-Beag, meaning ‘Little Imp’)
B-B is a Chocolate Burmese Restriction Smoke – breed number 68 42bq, where 42 means smoke and b means chocolate.
B-B is a real sweetie, very soft and soppy, and loves to be in contact with his people. Whenever you sit down, he’ll come up and sit next to you, and put his paws on your legs, and if you start stroking him, he’ll then move onto you, and then gradually inch up your front, until you have to cuddle him. He also loves to sleep on top of people, and is usually the first one to climb onto anyone who sleeps in their room.
He is booked to go to a trainee vet nurse in Bristol, and is going to be a show kitten. He will be living with an 8-year-old Tiffanie and a young Persian, both of whom are also shown. He is the pick of the litter, type wise, so he should hopefully do well on the show bench.
He is probably going to be re-named to Flynn or Finnlaidh, because the Persian’s nickname is Beeba, which could get confusing for all concerned!
Kitten 5 – Tassy
(Cagaran Briotas, meaning ‘Whisper’)
Tassy is a Chocolate Tortie Ticked Tabby – breed number 68 45h, where 45 means ticked tabby and h means chocolate tortie.
She is a typical mischievous tortie – I refuse to call her a naughty tortie, because she isn’t really. She loves to hide behind things and jump on her siblings as they go past, and has also developed the slightly annoying habit of hiding in her litter tray and jumping out on her siblings, throwing litter out of the back of the tray!
She was a slightly funny looking kitten, but in the past couple of weeks, everything has suddenly fallen into place, and I would be hard-pushed to say who is now ‘better’ between her and Fiona – both have beautiful heads, with lovely eye shape and nice slender limbs (actually the latter is something this whole litter have been blessed with, thankfully). When Steve came to help us identify colours, he was really taken with her, and said that if he had the space, he would have wanted to take her!
I am delighted to say that she is going to be going as a breeding queen, and will be living with friends of ours who breed Ocicats. They have been considering having a second breed for ages, and after falling in love with Soolay/Rafa from the last litter, decided that Tiffanies were that second breed. Tassy will therefore be their foundation queen, and I’m really looking forward to working with them over the coming years. One of their Ocicat girls has a name quite similar to Tassy, so they are going to be changing her name to Keela, which is a phonetic spelling of Kìla, which is gaelic for ‘Lovely’.
Kitten 6 – Maya
(Cagaran Bean-Meala, meaning ‘Honeyed Lady’)
Like Fiona, Maya is an Apricot Silver Shaded – breed number 68 43fns.
Maya is still more playful than Fiona, but over the past few weeks, she has become far more loving and people-oriented, and is one of the quickest to demand cuddles when we go into their room. She loves curling up beside us at night, and will come and purr in our ears when the alarms go off in the morning – very adorable.
She is going to live with a young couple in Northumberland. One of them is a vet, and used to be the vet for Dàrna’s breeders, before they moved from Northumberland to Dumfries-shire. Maya’s new family have one of the kittens from one of Dàrna’s half-sister’s last litters, who is therefore Maya’s half-cousin. He is called William, and is currently 11 months old. They also have an older cat, who is a bit fed up of William wanting to play with him, so it’ll be lovely for William and Maya to have eachother to play with!
This year we decided to take a Christmassy photo of the kittens to use on our Christmas cards. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this turned out to be a very time-consuming process, and Richard was desperate for us just to settle for one of the many photos we had containing four of the kittens. I was determined, however, that we should include all six kittens, and eventually we got a photo we liked.
In the process of trying to get the photo that we eventually used, we did get quite a few other photos that also looked good, but didn’t contain all six kittens.
I hope everyone has had a good Christmas, and that you have an even better New Year!