It is over two months since I last posted an update, and there has been lots of news in that time, both good and bad.
I am delighted to introduce Sonia, Gowlaren Sonia Cagaran, our first Somali! She is a usual, but carries sorrel (cinnamon), making her a potential outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Asians. She was bred by George Gow (a senior GCCF judge), who was going to keep her to show. However, we happened to be visiting, and when I fell in love with her, he asked if I was interested in her. The only proviso is that we have to show her – hardly an issue!
She is a beautiful girl, with a great temperament and a lovely pedigree incorporating some fabulous old lines. She is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had, and has to be stroked before she can eat her food. She is rather prone to virtually tripping us up, though, because she’s so determined to glue herself to our ankles!
She is currently living with Fi and her kittens, and since Sonia is still a kitten herself (although she’s the same size as Fi now!), she is loving playing with Fi’s kittens. The two boys, in particular, are quite often found racing her around the room.
The Lakeland Show has always been a good one for us, with Call winning one of his PCs and Xaria and Tármus making up to Premier there in 2009, Xaria finally winning her first Imperial there, along with Breckin and Ali both winning Grands in 2010 and then Dàrna making up to Grand there last year. This year it lived up to past performance, with Sonia, out for the first time, winning first and Best of Breed in her kitten class, Donny winning his second CC and Best of Breed, and Annas taking the Reserve Olympian in a very strong class (even beating the newly Gold Olympian Mylward Sassafras), as well as taking the Best of Breed.
Donny was an absolute poppet all day, even taking part in the second demonstration presentation for the YES! scheme (young exhibitors). This is a new initiative, getting the YES! Mentors, of which you may remember I am one, to demonstrate how to present a cat to young people on the scheme and those thinking of starting. Donny was the ideal cat to use for this, because he just stood beautifully on the table, and was interested in everything that was going on. He even stood up on his hind legs, with his paws on my chest, to give my nose a kiss, bless him!
To top off a good day, Donny went on to take Best Foreign Adult, our first time winning that accolade, let alone with a cat of our breeding. Unfortunately, we forgot to take any photos on the day, so we had to take some of him with his rosettes, when we got home.
When I last posted, Katie had given birth to two still-born kittens, and was now helping Fi to look after her kittens. Unfortunately, after a few days doing that, Katie lost interest in Fi’s kittens, and became depressed. We moved her down the stairs to live with Donny, and for a few days she seemed to be happier, without the constant reminder of kittens around. After that, however, she again became depressed, and for the next three weeks we had her in and out to the vet, running tests and trying to find out what was causing her depression.
For about a week, we were having to force-feed her, but she was getting so distressed by this, that we had to stop doing it. We even discussed the possibility of having her on a drip at the vets, but they felt that there was no point doing that unless we could find a reason for the depression, because she couldn’t spend the rest of her life on a drip!
She spent most of her time lying in her basket looking miserable, and it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch, as she got thinner and thinner. After a couple of weeks, she had lost so much muscle that she could hardly walk, yet we still had no medical explanation. I came down one morning, and found her lying limp, barely moving, and with obvious swelling around her kidneys. I took her straight to the vet, who ran some more tests, and reported that most of her organs were failing, and that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to sleep.
I asked them to wait until I could get back along, to be there at the end. She was brought through in the arms of one of the vet nurses, with her drip attached, and laid on a blanket on the vet’s table. The vet was able to inject the anaesthetic into the drip, rather than having to inject her directly, so we were able just to stroke her the whole time. I am sure that most animals know when the end has come, and Katie was no different. I hadn’t heard her purr since she had the still-births, yet as the vet pushed the plunger, she started purring.
The vets took some more tests, but we haven’t found anything to explain what happened. The only thing we can think of is that Katie was always so precise, and liked everything to be perfect, and that she couldn’t cope with the idea of the still-births. A friend of mine has had two still-born babies, and she said this: “It’s entirely possible that Fi’s kittens were a nice replacement at first… but then she realized they were just a replacement and hers were gone. Then, if she’s anything like me, Fi’s kittens probably pissed her off and put her further into depression. It’s hard coming out on the other side and finding something to live for. It’s hard finding something to be happy about again. It’s hard to have any desire for ANYTHING anymore. You have no idea how hard I prayed and begged to be put to sleep, have a heart attack, a wreck, anything. I even tried to take matters into my own hands more than once. I know you loved her, and you did her the biggest favor you could have ever done for her.”
When we were taking the photos of Donny with his rosettes after the Lakeland, we started off with a white background, and later switched to a black one. At that point, Katie came over to see what we were doing, and we took a few photos of her as well. I wasn’t for a moment expecting those to be the last ones we would ever take of her. It is some of those last photos that you see here.
RIP little Katie. Sweet dreams.
Xaria and Quinn’s New Home
You may remember that we had a potential owner here to meet the kittens just before my last post. That was Tracey, who was actually looking for two kittens, but having met (and fallen in love with) Quinn, she decided that she would take Quinn and one kitten. Obviously, the kittens weren’t ready to leave yet, so she came back to visit again a few days later.
Twenty years ago, Tracey had Russian Blues, and even had a litter of kittens from her girl, before a change of circumstances stopped her breeding plans. When she visited us again a few days after her first visit, she asked to meet the other cats. When she met Xaria, she literally started crying, because she missed her Russians so much. When Xaria sat nicely in her arms, you could have knocked me over with a feather – Xaria had never sat like that for anyone. Suddenly, I found myself asking if she wanted Xaria instead of a kitten, and she said yes.
As it happens, Xazzle has never got on very well with our other cats, so we’ve always had a problem deciding who to keep her with. As a result, she has been moved around our house, trying every possible permutation, and the only cats that she would live nicely with were Apollo and Quinn. I didn’t want to leave her out with Apollo, because it seems a shame for her to have to live in the garden, so she had been living with Quinn.
I took both girls down to Tracey’s a few days later, and they now seem to have settled in beautifully. I couldn’t be more delighted, because we’ve found somewhere that Xazzle can be happy, and a home for Quinn, in one go, and they are only ten minutes away! I’ve been down to see them several times, since, though Xaria is highly suspicious of me, in case I take her away again. That’s exactly the same as she was with Elisabeth after coming to us initially – it took at least half-a-dozen visits before she trusted Elisabeth not to take her away again.
Dàrna and Grace’s Kittens
Both Dàrna and Grace had their kittens right on schedule – Dàrna on the 11th of July and Grace two days later, on the 13th. I refer to the two litters together, because they have been together from the start – Dàrna acted as ‘midwife’ for Gracie’s labour, helping to deliver the kittens, cleaning them and Gracie, and showing Gracie what to do. When Gracie seemed unsure about what to do with the placenta, Dàrna licked at one, and then pushed it under Gracie’s nose, as if to say “here, you’re supposed to eat it”.
Dàrna had just two kittens again, and they benefited hugely from the arrival of Gracie’s five kittens two days later. Before Gracie’s kittens were here, Dàrna’s two hadn’t been feeding particularly well, and as a result were not gaining as much as we would have liked. After Gracie’s kittens arrived, Dàrna’s two began competing with them, and started making much better gains.
In Dàrna’s litter, the kittens were guaranteed to be Asians, rather than Tiffanies, because Apollo unfortunately does not carry longhair (we DNA-tested him). The first out was a boy, who looked to be a brown silver shaded, followed by a girl, who was probably a brown tortie shaded (not silver). Unfortunately, both kittens aspirated (breathed) some milk, and in spite of being given antibiotics, died due to the resultant pneumonia. This is apparently a relatively common problem, which almost inevitably results in death, and neither Grace nor Dàrna seemed particularly concerned by the losses, just carrying on with the remaining five kittens, as if there had never been another two.
I found it a lot harder than they seemed to, particularly since I’d spent the week leading up to their deaths, desperately trying to help them clear the fluid from their lungs. Since it happened, I’ve had at least four or five breeder friends tell me that they’ve lost kittens the same way, but we were really unlucky to have two in one litter. Mind you, when it comes to losing kittens, when are we not really unlucky?! The kittens are buried with Katie and her two kittens, so they will hopefully be playing together as a little family somewhere.
Gracie started her labour by giving us a cinnamon classic girl, then two cinnamon variant girls, another cinnamon classic girl, and finally a tawny spotted boy. The two classics and the spotty are our first Ocicats, our previous Ocicat litter being all Variants. Two cinnamon Classics is a fabulous result, because cinnamon is my favourite colour of Ocicat, and I prefer the Classics to the standard Ocis. Even better that the cinnamons are both girls!
My hope had been to get a cinnamon girl for myself, plus another girl for Anita (Bryce – Anizz Ocicats & Tiffanies), and possibly a girl to offer to Stacie (Shorten – Ameeka Ocicats & Abyssinians, who bred Grace’s dam). Assuming that the two Classic girls develop as well as it currently looks like they will, Anita and I have our girls. If the boy develops well, I may be able to offer him to Stacie, and otherwise she could have the better of the variants, if she wishes.
Humberside & Lincs Show
I was really looking forward to the Humberside & Lincs show this year, for two reasons, the main one being that I was finally getting to steward for Lynda Ashmore, an engagement I had had to book almost two years in advance! The second reason was that Donny had two chances to get his third, and final, Challenge Certificate, which would make him the first male Cagaran to win a title.
Elisabeth had been going to come down with us, but her Ziva had to have a C-section on the Thursday before. Since we would be needing to stay away overnight due to the show having moved further south (to Newark, fairly close to Richard’s parents), it wasn’t possible for her to come. Instead, we did a swap, where she looked after our kittens, and we took her cats down to the show.
We had also borrowed Quinn back from Tracey for the show, having entered her before Tracey had approached us. I had, however, warned Tracey that I thought Quinn might have one of the certificates withheld by Grace Denny, due to her coat being too long. As it happens, the outcome was correct, but not from the judge that I would have expected – Grace Denny awarded the PC in the Humberside show, but Sarndra Devereux withheld in the Lincs. Quinn therefore needs one more certificate to become a Premier, but given that Tracey had the girls in the Rexfest as Ped-Pets at the start of this month, and absolutely loved it, I don’t think that will be an issue! Incidentally, both girls got their Mastercat and Best of Colour awards at the Rexfest – Xaria now only needs one more to become a Mastercat, having won the certificate there last year.
Annas didn’t place in either show at the Humber-Lincs, but I wasn’t expecting her to, given the competition. Donny and I, on the other hand, both had excellent days. Stewarding for Lynda was well worth the wait, and Donny won the CC and Best of Breed in both shows, so I was well pleased, and glad we made the effort to go the extra distance.
As we were packing up, at the end of the day, one of the judges informed me that he had chosen Donny for Best Foreign Adult. I had no idea that he had gone up for Best of Variety, because only the Overall Best Foreign results were announced. That’s his second BOV Adult in a row, and I couldn’t be more delighted with him. He beat some fantastic cats for the award, so I can only assume that he’s such a big, soppy lump that the judges are forgiving him his worse bits!
Edinburgh and Chester Shows
The Edinburgh show was just the week after the Humberside & Lincs, and since we can only show every second week, we couldn’t actually show at both. I was booked to steward for John Hansson, however, so knew I would definitely be attending. As it happens, there were two Cagarans there, because Lona brought both Lainni and Tabh. Lainni didn’t win her Grand, but Tabh was given his third, and final, PC, making him up to Premier. He is the fourth titled Cagaran, the others being Fi, Lainni and Donny.
Having made Champion at the Humberside & Lincs, Donny was then eligible for the Grand class at the Chester show, four weeks later. We had been planning to go to the Chester just to enjoy a day out in Chester, so we figured we might as well enter him in the Grand as a punt. The judge was Di Harper, who isn’t keen on Donny, so we didn’t expect him to do anything, and sure enough, he wasn’t placed in the Grand. He did, however, do very well in his side classes, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd against strong competition and in classes of at least six.
Update on Fi’s Kittens
Fi’s kittens are now 15 weeks, have had their vaccinations and can go to their new homes. They have developed beautifully, and it is still a very close call between ‘Kitten 1’ and ‘Kitten 3’ as to who is the most typey. The other two have also come on a lot, however, and although not showing as much show potential as their siblings, are still rather nice. ‘Kitten 4’ reminds me of his gran (Dàrna) at the same age, and since she’s a Grand with two Imperial certificates, that can’t be so bad! Likewise, ‘Kitten 2’ reminds me a lot of Cailin (another Shogun baby), who has two CCs and two Best in Show awards as a kitten, so I don’t think we can really complain about her, either!
We decided fairly early-on that Kitten 1 was going to be Eala-something, Eala being Gaelic for ‘Swan’. We have since settled on Eala-Bianach, which literally translates as ‘Furry Swan’, but it was picked because it has a nice sound, rather that due to the translation. Her pet name is Ayla, which is how Eala is pronounced. Her spots have pretty well completely disappeared, so we’ve registered her as a chocolate tortie silver shaded BCR, like Dàrna, though Ayla currently has a softer tone to her chocolate. She is a very pretty girl, and we are keeping her to continue our breeding line.
Kitten 2 is Ealasáid, which is pronounced Elaset, and is gaelic for Elisabeth. We decided on that name when she was about six weeks old, and the fiestiest kitten in the litter – she was named after Elisabeth (Stark), who is also fiesty!! Her pet name is Elly, and she is definitely a chocolate tortie silver spotted (full expression), though a darker chocolate than her sister. She is going to be living in St Andrews, with a lovely lady called Ying.
Kitten 3’s pedigree name is Éiteag-Bàrr (pronounced Ehtak-Bawr), which is gaelic for ‘Cream Quartzite’, and his pet name is Etak. He’s called that because his colouring reminds me of the stone, with a pale base overlaid with cream. He still has spots, but they are very faint, because his whole colouration is very pale and delicate. He’s a gorgeous boy, and will make a cracking show neuter. He’s also a real softy – undoubtedly the gentlest in the litter, and will climb up onto the bed wanting cuddles. I wish we were needing another boy, because I would have had no hesitation keeping him as a stud.
The final kitten is known as Derk, that being the pronunciation of the second part of his pedigree name, Èibhill-Dearg, which means ‘Red Ember’. I think he is either a burmese-restriction red smoke or a red silver spotted, though he could be apricot, and isn’t necessarily a silver or burmese-restriction!! We have registered him as a red silver spotted BCR, because the older he gets, the more he looks like that.
Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while, will know that we don’t generally have people in to see the kittens until they’ve had their first vaccinations. On this occasion, we made an exception for Ying, because she was going abroad to visit family for the whole of this month, and part of next month. That obviously meant that she needed to meet the kittens before she went, if she was to have a choice of which one to take. She came to visit twice last month, and decided to book Elly, whose fiesty temperament she fell in love with when Elly started swinging from her cardigan!
After the kittens had their first vaccinations, Elly and the two boys unfortunately came down with some sort of eye infection, and we therefore didn’t invite anyone else in to meet the kittens, until that could be cleared up. Thankfully, they have been fine for over three weeks now, with no further sign of any issue. The photos above were taken on the 19th of this month, so you can see that they are all completely better. Having not had anyone in to meet them, though, we are obviously needing to look for homes for the two boys now, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, do let me know!