We had a good day at the Lakeland show, Dàrna making up to Grand on the day, and Elisabeth’s kitten taking Overall Best Foreign. Ghost is now in his new home, and both pregnancies seem to be going fine.
Ghost has now gone to a new home, with a lovely couple south of Manchester. They have three other cats, and work from home, so there will be plenty of company for him. Plus, they treat their cats the same way we do – they are the centre of their universe, so they are perfect! He seems to be settling in well, though it didn’t quite go according to plan – when does it ever?!
We’ve also just had the pleasure of having two of Lynsey Thomas’ (Seysiana Somalis & Tiffanies) kittens stay over night with us. Their new owners weren’t going to have a chance to meet up with Lynsey, so we looked after the kittens to give their new owners a chance to pick them up. The kittens were completely adorable, and reminded me just why we wanted to breed!
Last weekend was the Lakeland Show in Kendal, and we took two of our own cats, plus Elisabeth and four of hers. Karen was also there with her two Dushenka boys, whom we took to the Durham a few weeks ago.
Fiona handled for all her judges again, but is still shouting loudly whenever she is taken out of the pen, so once again had all awards withheld in her Open classes. The only time she handled nicely was for Steve Crow (perhaps she knows that he’s her ‘grandpa’!), and he placed her first in a large and competitive class. If only she would keep her voice down, she could be winning so well, frustrating animal!
Dàrna did us proud, by winning her third (and qualifying) Grand Challenge certificate (from Joyce Green), making her up to Grand Champion! A little over a year ago, she made up to Champion the day that Steve and Tommy first took her home to Pippin. After the Lakeland, she went home with the stud owners, so that’s two years in a row that she’s won a new title the day she’s gone to stud!
The real stars of the show, however, were Elisabeth’s cats. Her stud boy won the Reserve Imperial, and Best of Breed Russian Adult. Zach, one of the neuter boys owned by Karen, won another Premier Certificate, and Best of Breed Russian Neuter. Lucy, who is Zach’s daughter (he fathered one litter before being neutered), won her kitten class and Best of Breed Russian Kitten (her brother won his kitten class) – that’s two years in a row that Elisabeth’s cats have won Best of Breed Adult, Kitten and Neuter at this show!
Tasha, who is (our Russian girl) Xaria’s mum, also won her third Grand, qualifying her for her Grand title, after a string of Reserves – she is now Grand Champion Dushenka Tashabella, and the eighth Dushenka to hold the Grand title! Little Lucy didn’t just stop with winning her open and Best of Breed, though, going on to take first Best Foreign Kitten, and then Overall Best Foreign! Her daddy, Zach, won Overall Best in Show at the Scottish Shorthair Show a couple of months ago – on top of Xaria’s Best Foreign win at the Durham, the Dushenka prefix isn’t exactly having a bad year so far!
Kia and Katie both still seem to be holding their pregnancies at the moment. Katie should be due in about 10 days, and Kia another 10 days after that. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly, and I can soon be writing those magic words again – “we have kittens”!!
The first update for several months – lots of shows, GCCF centenary dinner and discussion forums, London Pet Show, the Ocicat seminar and several AGMs. Also an update on our breeding plans – Katie and Kia are both pregnant, and Dàrna will be going to stud soon.
Finally, a new update! Apologies to those who have emailed to ask if everything is okay. Whenever I came on to write an update, I found myself just looking at the photos of B-B, and never getting any further. However, I think it’s time to try and move on, so I’ll try to bring this up to date with our news. I’ll break it down into sections, though, so that you can read as little or as much as you want!
You may remember Ghost – he was the third of Dàrna’s kittens, and the biggest in the litter. He found a home with a lovely family down in Barrow-in-Furness, who collected him between Christmas and New Year. They breed Chihuahuas, but wanted a cat for their youngest child, Jack. Unfortunately, Jack turned out to have a severe cat allergy (so severe that he was stopping breathing during the night!), and we have therefore taken him back. The improvement in Jack’s symptoms has been almost instantaneous, so there is certainly no chance of him going back home.
We are therefore looking for a new home for him. He is currently eight months old, and sometimes behaves very much like a kitten, but is generally just that bit quieter and less boisterous. His family obviously took great care of him, because he is very loving – his favourite place is wrapped around your neck like a scarf! Obviously, he is used to dogs (all-be-it small ones), but has lived as an only cat for several months, so is a bit unsure of other cats. We are currently in the process of re-introducing him to ours, though, so hopefully he’ll get over that soon enough.
We will be looking after him until a new home is found, but he is still owned by Jane and her family. Prospective owners are more than welcome to visit him here, but any money would be going to Jane, who is hoping for £250 for him. He is fully vaccinated through to next Christmas and is up-to-date with flea and worming treatments.
The First ‘Cagaran Certificate’ – Lainni’s First PC
Our first litter are now officially adult, having turned 9 months in late March. The Nor’East of Scotland show was held on the 14th of this month, and Lona brought Lainni down to that. She looked lovely on the day, and won her BOB and also the Premier Certificate – the first certificate for the Cagaran prefix (hopefully the first of many)!
I was working on the table at the show, so didn’t get a chance to handle Lainni, but I stopped to say hello whenever I passed her pen, and every time she fell over sideways trying to rub herself against my hand through the bars – what a sweetie. Lona is obviously making a great job of raising her!
London Pet Show
The first London Pet Show was held at Olympia on the 7th and 8th of May. It was the first event of its kind in London, and I hope that it becomes an annual event. The show was split into five ‘zones’ for different types of animal – dogs, cats, exotics, small furries and aquatics. As part of the cat section, the GCCF had been offered a space in which to showcase our many breeds and what the GCCF does.
Richard and I attended on the Saturday, taking Fiona to represent the Asians, and Kia to represent the Ocicats. We were lucky enough to be joined by a second representative in each case – a Bombay alongside Fiona, and a lovely Ocicat (spotted) with Kia. As well as the owners of those cats, Anita came with us to help man both stands.
The day was a huge success, with thousands of people coming around and asking all sorts of questions about our breeds. Fiona looked adorable playing with a feather stick in her pen, and talking to people walking past, but it was Kia who was really in her element, thoroughly enjoying performing for the public. We had her out on her harness, dancing around after a feather stick, and drawing a huge crowd watching and taking photos.
She was so relaxed out that she ended up going over to have a shot at the agility, which she definitely enjoyed, though she was more keen on running through the tunnels than tackling the other obstacles – she kept running around the jumps and stairs on one side to go through the tunnel at one end, and then running around the other side to go through the tunnel at the other end!
I would highly recommend this show if they do it again in the future, and would undoubtedly attend again, even if it does mean a crazy drive to London with cats in tow! I was really disappointed to see that the Abyssinians were not represented at all – the breeders missed a real opportunity to introduce the breed to the public. I would have hated our Tiffanies or Ocicats to be in the same position – the show was just the most fantastic chance to show off our beautiful breeds, and answer the public’s questions on them, and I couldn’t be more pleased that we did it.
The Ocicat Seminar was held near Banbury on the 15th of May. This was a fantastic opportunity for breeders and judges alike, to gain an understanding of what the Ocicat breed should look like. There were lots of beautiful examples of the breed on show, from a tiny kitten right up to an Imperial-titled adult. The theme/focus of the seminar was the ‘wild look’ that the Ocicat should have, with the day aiming to give an understanding of the Ocicat in general, but in particular how the proper wild look is achieved.
The presentations started with an Ocicat Ivory, which is a pointed Ocicat – these occur occasionally in Ocicat litters, as a result of the recessive pointed gene coming through from their Siamese ancestors. These beautiful cats have most of their pigment restricted to their heads, tails and legs, like the Siamese, but they also usually show tabby ‘ghost markings’ on their sides. In this case, the Ivory was being used to demonstrate how it is not only the spots of the Ocicat that give it the wild look, but also the ‘type’ (the body structure).
Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn Ocicats) was the presenter, and she started by joking that this was one she had washed the spots off to allow us to see the type without the distraction of the pattern. Using an Ivory was a great way to show that an Ocicat has a specific body type, and should therefore still look like an Ocicat, even if it doesn’t have the Ocicat pattern. Rosemary then brought out her Imperial-titled girl, Thickthorn Lotus Blossom. Lotus is a beautiful chocolate (spotted) Ocicat, and showed perfectly what an Ocicat should look like once you put the spots back on!
Rosemary was followed by Stacie Shorten (Ameeka Abyssinians & Ocicats), who is Kia’s breeder. She was talking about the Ocicat Classic, and how its pattern differs from the Ocicat, but the type remains the same. She used two of her Ocicat Classics as demonstrators – Kia’s mum, Jazzy (Thickthorn Calypso), and Kia’s ¾ brother, Dragon (Ameeka Dragonfire).
Aside from the presentations, we also had a delicious lunch and a good chance to catch up with or meet lots of the other people involved with the Ocicat breed. Breed seminars really are a great place for both gaining a greater understanding of a breed, catching up with existing cat fancy friends and making new ones.
Other ‘Cat Activities’
We have attended quite a number of shows since the Scottish, all the way back in February, with varying success as always.
The Scottish was followed a fortnight later, by the Coventry and Leicester, which is down in Warwickshire. We had taken Dàrna and Xaria, the latter having been entered in this show before she won her fifth and final Imperial at the Scottish. Dàrna won her second Reserve Grand, and Xaria didn’t pick up anything at all, but she’s already an Imperial, so that really didn’t matter. I had an enjoyable morning stewarding for Marlene Buckeridge, though I had to leave her in the afternoon to attend the AGM for the AGCS. Thankfully we had finished most of our classes by then, and I’m grateful that she allowed me to go.
The week after the Coventry and Leicester, we were back down in the Midlands for the Ocicat Club’s AGM, which is always an enjoyable event. It starts with a delicious meal and lots of chat and hilarity, before moving on to the official business. The next week we were south again, though not quite as far, for the Lancashire, which is in Wigan, where Dàrna won yet another Reserve Grand and Best of Breed.
We had also taken Breckin – her first time out as a neuter, and she won the Premier Certificate and Best of Breed. Anita was also there with Keela in what was her first show, since we didn’t manage to get her into the AGCS. Keela looked utterly adorable, and was cuddling up to the judges. She also won her 1st Open and Best of Breed.
At the Lancs show, I was chatting to our friend, Olive Holt (Nemorez Asians and Burmese), and found out that her partner, Ian, was ill. Olive was supposed to be getting two new stud boys from Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese and Asians) in Fife, but since Ian normally does the driving for Olive, and Sarah doesn’t drive, transport for the boys was proving an issue. Sarah only lives about 40 minutes from us, and I was due to be down in Liverpool for a meeting on Tuesday morning.
Since I have had an open invitation to stay at Olive’s virtually since we first met a couple of years ago, I suggested that if I could stay with Olive on the Monday evening, I could bring the boys down then, and drive on from her in the morning. This idea was gratefully received, so we collected the boys on Sunday evening, had them stay overnight in our back bedroom (which isn’t accessible to our own cats), and then I dropped them off with Olive on the Monday.
A fortnight later we had a further reduction in show travelling distance, with a trip to Preston for the Preston and Blackpool. Dàrna didn’t win anything that day, because the awards went to the lovely Freya (GR CH Inyanga Instant Karma), owned by our friend Sue Dykes (Kashi Tibetan Terriers and Kashican Cats).
Fiona, on the other hand, had another exceptional day, winning her 1st Open and Best of Breed, but then going on to take Best Foreign Kitten and then Overall Best Foreign. Joyce Green then shortlisted her down to the last three for Overall Best in Show, finally giving it to the most beautiful and enormous British Black, but in the meantime the stewards had to stand there holding little Fi in the middle, with the British Black on one side and a stunning Seal Point Siamese on the other!
We then had a three week gap before the marathon journey to Devon for the Asian Cat Association show. Once again, Dàrna didn’t come away with anything, but we had rather expected that due to the quality of the other cats and the fact that she was in full season and therefore out of condition.
Unfortunately, Fi was also coming into season for the first time, and decided to shout very loudly whenever she was taken out of her pen. We decided to withdraw her from judging in case her shouting upset the other cats. This was obviously incredibly disappointing in light of the distances travelled, but that’s part of the risk of showing – the cats don’t always do what we want them to! We finished the day with a mad dash back up the road, in order to be home in time to attend the West of Scotland AGM on the Sunday.
Another one-week gap, and we were down to help Shirley show Monty for the first time, at the joint show of the Bedford and District and Cambridgeshire Cat Clubs. This is one of the shows held at the Woodgreen Animal Shelter near Huntingdon, which has to be one of the best show venues, always a pleasure to attend. Monty took his Best of Breed and also another Reserve Grand, which was great, but even better was seeing Shirley and Kili experiencing showing for the first time. Kili was absolutely ecstatic with Monty’s wins, and stood by his pen telling anyone who would listen that he was her cat, with the sort of obvious pride that only a child can display.
The show also turned out to be the venue for one of the GCCF’s ‘consultation forums’ on the proposed changes to the show structure and judging scheme. This was a good opportunity to hear more about the executive committee’s plans for the structure of the show sections (Semi-Longhair, Foreign etc.) and also the alterations that will hopefully be made to the way in which judges are trained.
It was good to see a decent number of people getting involved, and lots of valid questions were asked and answered. These events are being held in various locations around the country, to give the exhibitors from each area a chance to comment – we attended another at the Durham show a week past on Saturday, and a third at the Merseyside on the weekend just gone. If you are involved in the GCCF at all, I recommend attending one – I know that the Scottish one is to be at the Edinburgh show in July, if that’s relevant to you.
The weekend after the Beds and Camcat we didn’t have much travelling to do, and no shows – just the Scottish AGM on the Sunday (1st May). The week after that, however, was the London Pet show, and the one after that the Nor’East and the Ocicat seminar, all of which I have talked about above. That brings us up to two weekends ago (the weekend of the GCCF Centenary Dinner), and the weekend before last (the Durham show), both of which I have talked about below!
GCCF Centenary Dinner
This fantastic event was held at the Belfry hotel near Birmingham on the evening of the 21st May, which was the night of the Suffolk and Norfolk (and Bombay and Asian Self) show at Wood Green. We took Elisabeth down, and had arranged to meet Valerie Sheldrake at Wood Green to collect some more old catalogues, but decided to visit Shirley, Kili and Monty on the way there.
Monty has been living with Shirley since the weekend of the AGCS show in January, because she wanted Kili to experience owning a pet. She and Kili have become really attached to him, and have asked to keep him, which we weren’t sure about until we saw him there. This was the first time we had visited Shirley since we dropped Monty off in January, and it was lovely to see him looking so settled. The bond between him and Kili is obvious – he watches her every move, and even when he went through to the kitchen for some food, he kept dashing back to the livingroom door to check on her!
It is only having seen him so relaxed there, that I realised just how unsuited he actually was to living with us, where he was always slightly twitchy and wide-eyed because he’s not keen on other cats or men, both of which he had to live with here! Shirley’s is actually his dream-home – no men or other cats, so he can be centre of attention, and a little girl who is evidently his world. He was perfectly happy to see us, but his heart is now very obviously with Shirley and Kili, so it doesn’t seem fair to bring him back. At least he’s happy, which is the most important thing!
Durham County Show
Last Saturday’s Durham show was a spectacular success, when I had worried that it would be a complete flop! We took Fiona and Dàrna, as usual, but also Xaria, to ensure that she ‘keeps her paws in’ at shows ready to try for her second UK Grand certificate at the Supreme in November. We gave a lift to Elisabeth, who was taking two neutered boys bred by her, but owned by Karen Hettman – they are Xaria’s great-uncle Stan, and great-nephew Zach.
I was worried that Fi would shout again, which she did, but not nearly as badly as last time, and by the end of the day she had almost stopped completely, so it looks like it has been a hormonal adolescent ‘thing’. She won her 1st Open, BOB and also two 2nds and a 3rd in her side classes.
We didn’t expect Dàrna to win anything, because she is still looking a bit thin and lacking condition due to calling (we’ll need to take her to stud soon), but she gave us a pleasant surprise by winning the Grand and also her Best of Breed, as well as a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her side classes.
Zach won his third and qualifying Premier certificate, making him the 15th titled cat Elisabeth has bred, and took two 1sts and a 3rd in his sides. Stan had an excellent day, winning the Imperial (his 2nd) and Grand Premier certificates, and 1st in all of his side classes – a ‘red card day’.
The star of the show for us, though, was Xaria, who won another Imperial certificate and Best of Breed, plus two 1sts in her side classes, then going on to take Best Foreign Neuter, and finally Overall Best Foreign. That’s the third time she’s been Best Foreign, and the 5th time she’s won the level below that. If that’s ‘keeping her paws in’ for the Supreme, she must be planning something big!
I can hardly believe we’re back round to that time of year again – it seems no time at all since I was posting that Katie and Dàrna were with their first boyfriends. Looking back, I wrote that blog entry on the 11th of April last year – how time flies!
This year we took Katie across to Sarah Davidson’s, which wasn’t nearly as much of a wrench as last year, since it’s only about 40 minutes away. When we had collected Olive’s boys from Sarah in March, we met Sarah’s other cats, including her lovely spotted tabby Asian boy, Kagura Shogun (the cat in the middle image on the bottom row of photos on her Asian Page). He is a chocolate spotted tabby burmese pattern, with beautiful big eyes and really good size and weight, and carries non-agouti, dilute and the longhair gene.
Since Katie is a black silver shaded carrying non-silver and non-agouti, but probably not burmese pattern, chocolate, or dilute, we should have the same possible colour outcomes as last year – black silver shaded, black silver ticked, black smoke, black (golden/standard) shaded, black ticked and black. This year, the difference is that we should get a mixture of both shorthairs (Asians) and longhairs (Tiffanies), which will be a first for us, since last year’s matings were both Tiffanie to Tiffanie and could therefore only produce Tiffanies. Katie could of course turn out to be carrying other genes and then the kitten colours would be a complete surprise!
She has been very purry and cuddly for the past couple of weeks, and is now expanding by the day, so she is definitely pregnant. Her kittens will be due around the end of the first week in July – how exciting!
It is now almost 9 months since Kia had her miscarriage, and she has been in season almost continuously for several months, so was really needing to visit a boy. She therefore went in with a rather special boy just over three weeks ago, and does look like she is pregnant. She is also eating slightly more, and hasn’t come back into season either, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. Since she miscarried last time, and the boy is rather special, I’m not going to say too much else about him until the kittens are safely here.
Dàrna has also been calling almost continuously, and is losing condition, so we can’t hold off mating her for too much longer. I am therefore planning to take her to stud later in the month, and we’ll just have to hope that none of the litters are too big, or we’re going to be overrun with kittens and struggling to find homes for them all! She will also be going to a very special boy, whom we met for the first time at the weekend just gone – he is absolutely gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see what they produce together.
Keep your fingers and toes crossed for some lovely babies, and some even lovelier homes for them!!