Kittens Going and New Ones on the Way

The Somali kittens and Frenchie (now Sam) have found a new home together, and may be shown and even bred from, in the case of the girls. At recent shows, Small and Bobbi have made up to Champion, Donny won his fourth Imperial and Cheeky her first PC, plus we’ve had a couple of Reserve Grands for Eiteag and Ayla. Tia, Lhasa and Tilly have been mated, and we are waiting to see if they are pregnant.

I really must find a better approach to setting aside time to do regular updates – it’s been over two months since my last one, and that was three months from the previous one, so this is only my third post in the past six months!

Kittens in New Homes

When I last posted, we were looking for homes for the two Somali kittens (though I was tempted to keep Molly), and Frenchie.  We had a whole host of enquiries for the Somalis and several for Frenchie as well, but one of the first enquiries was from a lovely couple who live near Alexandria and used to breed Siamese.  They have recently lost their elderly Siamese and although they have two young Siamese as well, they were looking for something to fill the gap (I understand that need, having done exactly the same thing when we lost Tiger and then again when we lost Gealbhan).  They came out to meet the kittens, with a view to getting two, and when they left us after a few hours of getting to know the kittens, and meeting all the adults, they said that they definitely wanted two, but had to discuss which two to have.  As soon as they got home, however, they rang to say that they had decided that they would like all three, if that was possible.

The cats had all adored them, and Annas had even sat on Derek’s knee, which is as high a praise of a stranger as Annas can possibly offer – she’s not generally keen on new people.  Irene also asked if we would consider allowing them to have a litter from Molly when she is old enough, and offered to keep Frenchie entire to act as a back-up for the outcross, in case Zuko couldn’t produce kittens for us.  Between the cats’ reactions to them, the possibility of starting another Somali breeder, having a back-up to Zuko for the outcross and also the lovely thought of having the three kittens living together, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes.

The Somali kittens hadn’t had their second vaccinations yet, but Frenchie was ready to leave immediately, so they asked if they could have her first, with the Somalis to follow when they were ready.  They decided to rename her Samantha, or Sam for short, and I drove her over to their house that weekend, where she settled in immediately, and decided that she was going to be mum to the two Siamese, who seem happy being mothered.  Irene and Derek visited us a couple of weeks later, with their daughter, to see the Somali kittens again, and then the following weekend having received their second vaccinations, and with Harry neutered, I took the Somalis to join their new family.  All three have settled in well with eachother and also their new Siamese brothers, and I think we’ll be seeing a couple of them at a show soon, so watch this space!

On a sad note, I have just received word that Hamish, one of Bobbi’s brothers, has been killed in the lane beside his house.  Harry and Hamish were both cinnamon Ocicat Variants, and went to live together down in Ayrshire, where their owner absolutely doted on them.  Unfortunately, Hamish got out and went onto the lane by the house, where one of the neighbours saw him being hit by a car doing at least 40mph, in spite of the 20mph speed limit.  He was killed immediately, which at least means he didn’t suffer, but poor Harry is absolutely devastated.  His owner thinks he probably saw the accident, because he came flying into the house looking really shaken, and has been reluctant to go outside since.

Recent Shows

Since my last post, we’ve been to four shows: the Scottish, the Lancs, the Preston & Blackpool and the joint Midland Counties/Shorthair Cat Society/Asian Group Cat Society.

We had entered both Small and Dàrna in the Scottish, Small for her first CC, and Dàrna in case she didn’t win her fifth Imperial at the Shropshire.  Having had her make up at the Shropshire, I considered leaving her at home for the Scottish, but since she was to be spayed the following week, it seemed a shame to miss the last possibility of taking her out as an entire.  Small won her CC, and had some lovely comments from judges, and as it happens, Dàrna didn’t win the Imperial anyway, losing out to a very typey Devon Rex, but it was indeed lovely to have the two girls out as adults together one last time.

The Lancs was the last opportunity to take Zuko out as a Pedigree Pet, until he has finished his part in the outcross and been neutered (cats over six months must be neutered in the HP section), so obviously I wanted to take him and Small, since she was trying for her second CC.  Since the Lancs were offering a reduced entry fee, we also decided to try Cheeky for her first PC, and had entered Hailey alongside Zuko.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I had entered Hailey, so we didn’t actually take her to the show!  Zuko had a good day, winning his 1st and Best of Colour, and with good results in his side classes, and Small won her second CC and Best of Breed, and had her coat described as having been “made in heaven”.  Cheeky was very shy, and was also looking skinny due to living with Ali, who is an absolute hoover for food, so she didn’t get her award.

At the Preston & Blackpool, Hailey’s Pedigree Pet judge was to be Janet Wilshaw, whom I suspect would love her type, so I entered her there.  A couple of days before the show, she fell off a scratching post whilst playing, and bumped her eye on the corner of a litter tray, resulting in a scratch and a very sore eye, so we couldn’t take her to that one either.  As it happens, Janet was ill that day, so at least we didn’t miss having Janet judge her, but I’m still disappointed that we haven’t been able to take her out (like Zuko, she’s now too old to go out until she’s been spayed).  Cheeky was still very skinny, and although shy, was much happier than at the Lancs, even rolling onto her back to have her tummy stroked before we left her in the morning, but still didn’t get her certificate.  Small was our saving grace, making up to Champion with her third CC, and also taking BOB again.

As an aside, Hailey’s eye was sore for a few days, but was well enough that by the week after the show, she could have been shown, so the timing was just sod’s law!

Last Sunday was the joint show, and since this is Richard’s peak season, he can’t really take Monday’s off work, so I drove to this one myself.  Anita invited me to stay on the Saturday and Sunday nights, so I took the Monday off and drove down on the Saturday and back Monday.  We entered three cats to support the AGCS (Donny in the Imperial and Eiteag and Ayla in the Grand), and since we had the option, figured that we might as well enter them in the Shorthair show as well.

In addition, we decided to have another go with Cheeky, to see whether she continued to be more content with each show, and tried moving Ali to a different room straight after the Preston & Blackpool, leaving just Cheeky and Bru together, so that they could have food down all the time (Ali will just keep eating, even if it means he has to throw up to make more room, and gets very fat).  That made a huge difference to Cheeky’s condition, and by the time of the show, her coat was glossier and she had filled out nicely.  That improvement, combined with the fact that she was almost totally relaxed this time, meant that she was finally awarded her first certificate.  Eiteag and Ayla both won a Reserve Grand in one show, and didn’t place in the other, but competition was strong, and we weren’t expecting them to win at all – they were only there to support the club, so I can’t be too upset!  Donny didn’t place in one of the shows, but surprised me by winning the Imperial in the other (again, he was there just for support), taking his total to four, and meaning that he only has one to go!

Sue also had Bobbi entered in the Shorthair, to try for her third and final CC, which she won, making her the thirteenth titled Cagaran.  Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances, Sue is not going to be able to take Bobbi, but since Anita lost one of her Ocicat girls last year, she is interested in having Bobbi.  Although Anita already has Bobbi’s half-sister, the relationship is through their mother, who is first-generation from the outcross line, and the father’s pedigrees are completely different, so Bobbi could still be of benefit to Anita’s breeding.

Next Litters

In my last post, I said that we were planning to give Tia, Lhasa and Tilly one more call, and then mate all three of them in March, and for a change, we actually did what we were planning to do, putting Tia and Lhasa with Eiteag, and Tilly with Donny.  We know that Tia was mated numerous times, Lhasa at least once, and Donny certainly made a good try of it with Tilly (he’d pulled most of the fur out of the back of her neck!), so we’re now just keeping our fingers crossed.  All three girls have gained weight since being mated, but only Tilly actually seems to have pinked up.  With the other two the weight gain could just be due to the relief of finally having had a mate after such a long gap.  If they haven’t taken, we’ll try them again on their next calls, and I promise I’ll keep you posted!

On a totally non-cat subject, I’d like to thank those of you who came to the concert last night at the Church of the Holyrude in Stirling, where I was singing Mozart’s Requiem and some other pieces, with the Stirling City Choir.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and hope you did too!

Catching Up Once Again!

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!

Surprise Kittens

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!

Supreme Show

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 Show

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.

Seven plates laid out with the cats' Christmas Dinners on them
The cats’ Christmas Dinners – roast beef trimmings and Applaws Tuna Loin.  One plate per group, divided according to how many cats are in the group

Four of the cats around one of the plates of Christmas Dinner
Tucking in to Christmas Dinner – Jinny top left, Dàrna top right, Annas bottom left and Small bottom right

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.

Three kittens and Ayla grouped around their plate of Christmas Dinner
Ayla and the kittens enjoying their Christmas Dinner
(Frenchie top left, Hailey top right, Zuko bottom left and Ayla bottom right)

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.

Shropshire Show

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.

Eiteag’s Kitten

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!

What’s Next?

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…

Mostly Kittens

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.

Cumberland Show

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?

Holiday

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.

Yorkshire Show

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!

The Kittens

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.

Eiteag's kitten sitting looking straight up at the camera with an alert expression on her face
Eiteag’s kitten watching intently – apologies for the poor quality photo!

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.

North West, New Homes and Kittens

We had a good day at the North West Show, with Dàrna picking up the Imperial, Tia the Grand, and Eiteag a Reserve. Milly, Keela, Breckin and Grace have all found new homes that seem ideally suited to their needs. Ayla’s kittens continue to do well, and the other half of our outcross has also produced a kitten, but just one and it is not yet certain whether it will survive.

Okay, so the attempt to post early last week was a bit of a fail, but at least I’m only ten days after the show this time!  There is a bit of news to fill you in on besides the show, though…

North West Show

We’ve done the North West for the past four years, and had some pretty good results there, beginning with making Annas up to Grand in time to enter her in the UK class at the Supreme.  This year, we took Dàrna to try for her fourth Imperial, and Eiteag and Tia both trying for the Grand.

Dàrna sitting in her pen with her rosettes and certificate on the door
A typically bad photo of Dàrna

Dàrna sitting in her pen, with her rosettes and certificate attached to the pen door.  She is rubbing her face against her Imperial rosette
Giving her Imperial rosette some love

We have never seen Dàrna’s Imperial judge put an Asian ahead of a nice Russian or Abyssinian, so we entered Dàrna hoping that there wouldn’t be any entered.  When we got our catalogue and I realised that there were lovely examples of both breeds entered, I felt sure she wasn’t going to place.  Imagine my surprise when we got back to the pen after lunch, and discovered an Imperial rosette!  Of course, that only leaves her with one to go, so next time she’s out I’ll be rather nervous.

Eiteag sitting at the front of his pen, peering out, with his rosette and certificate pinned to the door
Eiteag watching a neighbouring cat being put into its basket

Eiteag sitting at the front of his pen, looking content
Eiteag looking relaxed at the front of his pen

Eiteag won the Reserve Grand to a nice Bengal, and didn’t get the Best of Breed, because that went to Dàrna, but he did place well in his side-classes.  I was disappointed that he didn’t get the certificate, because he only needs one to make him up, and since he’s due to be neutered once he’s mated Tia or Lhasa (still haven’t decided which), I really want to get that final certificate.

Tia looking lovely, sitting in her pen with her rosettes and certificate on the door
Beautiful Tia posing prettily

Tia reaching up to sniff the Grand rosette pinned to her door
Examining her Grand rosette

Tia was a star as usual, posing beautifully in her pen, and winning her second Grand, and Best of Breed against good competition.  If only Dàrna and Eiteag would pose so perfectly, it would make getting decent photos a whole lot easier! Of course, even Tia isn’t always perfectly behaved…

Tia studiously examining the tails of her Grand rosette
Considering chewing the rosette…

Tia taking hold of the tail of her rosette and pulling it backwards into her pen
…and having a tug of war with it!

Unusually, I wasn’t stewarding at this show, so Richard and I went down to Tatton Park for a wander around the gardens there.  We had lunch in the National Trust’s café in the former stables (we are both members of the Trust), and then headed back to the show hall.  Long-term readers of our blog may remember that gorgeous B-B (Fiona’s litter brother) was originally booked to live with a vet student, before he contracted an infection that eventually took him from us.  His intended owner has been exchanging emails with me periodically, ever since, but we hadn’t actually met, so when she said that she was going to come over to the show to meet us, I was delighted.  Her circumstances changed shortly after B-B’s death, to mean that bringing a new kitten into the house wouldn’t be practical, but she is now back in a situation where she has the time and stability of routine to enable her to take a kitten, and is therefore hoping for one from our Eiteag/Donny litters.

Tia lying curled up in her pen, with her Grand certificate laid in front of her, while she chews on its corner
Tia looking adorable and gorgeous as she considers eating her Grand certificate

New Homes

There has been an a bit of an exodus around here, since my last post.  I still had an advert up to try and find a new home for Milly, and a couple of weeks ago, I added an advert for Keela, who was only waiting to see Anita again when she was up in August, and then was meant to look for a new home.  She is such an adorable cat that Richard and I kept putting it off, but she deserved to be more the centre of attention than she can be here, so I finally made myself put the advert up just over a fortnight ago.  On the Thursday, I was contacted by possible homes for both girls, and Keela’s possible owner asked if he could come and visit us after work on the Friday.  On Friday afternoon, Milly’s possible owners phoned and asked if they could come and see her later on the Friday evening, so we ended up with one set of visitors at 17:30 and another set at 19:30!  Since we hadn’t known about Milly’s visitors in advance, we hoovered her room as soon as we got in from work.

Keela’s prospective owner, Hugh, arrived with a friend who wasn’t used to cats, and they were both amazed by how cuddly and people-oriented she was.  Hugh’s friend said she had no idea a cat could be so loving, and that if she’d known that she would have considered a cat instead of her dog!  Keela was all over them with purrs, and Hugh was besotted.  Even after we had been around the rest of the house to meet all of her assorted relatives (Dàrna is her mum, Fi her litter-sister, Donny her half-brother, Eiteag and Ayla her nephew and niece, and therefore Small and Ayla’s kittens her great-nieces and nephew), he walked back into the kitchen and declared that she was undoubtedly the most beautiful of the lot.  I offered to drop her off on the Sunday, which turned out to be his 18th birthday, and his mum told me that he has been campaigning for a pet since he was three years old, but that she had always said no.  Now that he is 18, he finally has the pet that he has wanted for the past fifteen years, so I have no doubt that she will be utterly doted on.  She’s already got him well wound around her little paws!

When Milly’s visitors arrived here, Pam said that the purpose of the visit was to see whether Milly was going to interact well with her husband, Stuart.  Milly was totally hyper after the hoovering, however, and was much too busy doing her own thing to bother herself with new people, so I felt sure that she was going to be staying with us a bit longer.  Pam got down on the floor with her, however, and started jangling her bracelet to attract Milly’s attention, and they were soon playing together with an assortment of toys.  When I said to them that they could take some time to think about whether or not she would suit them, still fully expecting that they would decide not to take her, Pam turned to Stuart and asked if he felt he needed time to think about it.  He looked thoughtful for a moment and then said “I think she would fit in my pocket”, and that was the decision made.  From Pam’s emails, it seems that Milly settled in almost straight away, but even her British Shorthair housemates are starting to come around to the idea now.

Early last week, I had a call from a woman who had seen the advert about Keela, and was wondering if she was still available.  I told her that Keela had gone to her new home already, but we got talking, and it turned out that she was actually looking for a cat to help with mousing on her farm.  I mentioned about Breckin, who you may remember is very uncomfortable in the company of humans, and whom we have always felt would be best suited to a farm or similar environment, where she can come and go as she pleases, and doesn’t have to interact with people if she doesn’t want to.  Breckin has always loved the company of other cats, though, and before I knew what was going on, we had arranged that I would take both her and Grace up to the farm on Saturday.  The girls have a bed and their food and water in one of the out-buildings, but can choose to come into the house if they wish.  I suspect that Breckin won’t, but Grace will probably make the most of the human attention.  She had already said hello to her new owners before I even left the farm, whereas Breckin had disappeared under a truck in one of the other outbuildings.

The farm is in Aberdeenshire, so dropping them off also gave me an excuse to go visiting.  I saw Cannach again, for the first time since we dropped him off as a kitten, and he is a lovely handsome boy.  One of the kids carried him out to me, lying on his back with his paws in the air like a big baby, and then he just sat against her shoulder whilst I said hello.  I showed his owners the photos of Fileànta and Ayla’s kittens, because these are his nieces and nephew.  It is always lovely to catch up with kittens in their new homes, and see how much they are loved.

Kittens

Now we come to the bit that most of you are probably waiting for – the kitten update.  Ayla’s kittens are four weeks old today, and are continuing to grow really well, both now being well over 400g.  With Eiteag’s outcross kittens also due, we had started Ayla off in the back bedroom, leaving the more nervy Cheeky to have the kitten room.  The way that we normally get the kittens used to the sights and sounds of the household, however, is to let them out onto the landing area outside the kitten room (we have Perspex panels to stop them going through the banisters, and a baby gate to prevent them falling down the stairs).  Since they aren’t in the kitten room, we have moved them into the kitchen instead, so that have noises like the washing machine and the compressor on the fridge.  Ayla is delighted, because it means she gets a lot more ‘lap time’.

Ayla sitting in the corner of her nest box in the kitchen, with her son peeking over from behind her, and her daughter suckling in front.
Ayla and her kittens relaxing in their new location in the kitchen

The girl is the noisier of the two, and starts shouting as soon as she hears our voices, or we open the kitchen door, whichever comes first.  She is very much her mother’s daughter, liking to ride around on a shoulder.  Her brother is quieter and less boisterous, but very sweet.  He has the shorter, broader head, better ear set, and slightly better eyes, but the girl has the better coat and tail, and slimmer limbs, so I’m reserving judgement as to which is the better overall.  Since the plan is to mate one of these to one of the other outcross litter by Eiteag, which one ends up being kept will come down to what gender we have there.

The two kittens in their box, the girl looking at the camera, and the boy pouncing
The girl on the left, and the boy on the right.  Ayla has started bringing toys into the nest for them to play with, and he had just been pouncing on the little pink ‘puff’

Both kittens are spotted tabbies, and I am currently leaning towards the boy being a chocolate, and the girl a lilac.  It is possible that the girl is a chocolate silver, rather than lilac, because her coat is paler and slightly silkier than the boy’s, but the colour is still pretty faint, and there’s no rush to register them, since these can’t be shown anyway: being 1st-generation outcross, they will be registered as ‘Cat of Asian Type’, and can only be shown in the Household Pet section.

The girl lying on her side by her mum and brother (who is suckling), showing her delicate spotting
The girl showing her developing spots

Eiteag’s outcross kitten was born at 02:20 this morning, but it was quite a difficult birth, and the mum wants nothing to do with the kitten.  She delivered the kitten in the middle of the floor, then jumped up onto her scratching post.  I checked the kitten over, and tried to get her to settle and clean it, but she then shot off the scratching post, and ran around the room jumping on and off bits of furniture with the kitten dragging behind it, attached by its umbilical cord to the placenta that was still inside.  Eventually, the umbilical cord broke, and the kitten dropped to the middle of the floor, after which its mum hid under the wardrobe to deliver and eat the placenta.  Unfortunately, the excessive tugging on the umbilical cord seems to have caused a hernia, so I’m absolutely kicking myself that I didn’t just break the cord when the mum was on the scratching post, because the kitten was perfect at that point.

When I picked it up from the middle of the floor, it wasn’t breathing, so I tried to stimulate it (I haven’t checked gender) by drying it off using a facecloth.  That did result in a couple of little gasps, but these were probably the best part of 20-30 seconds apart, so it wasn’t looking good.  I tried showing the kitten to Fiona, but she wasn’t interested, so I took it down to Ayla, to see if she could do anything.  I had already dried it off, but she gave it a good clean, and elicited another couple of gasps in the process.  Things still weren’t looking promising, though. Ayla then settled down beside the kitten, with it held between her front paws, against her chest, and started purring.  Within seconds, the kitten had started to breath more regularly, and a few minutes later I helped to clear some fluid from its lungs.  By the time she had been cuddling it for twenty minutes or so, its breathing seemed pretty normal.  I have read that a cat’s purr has fantastic healing powers, and having seen the way this kitten responded, I have no doubt that is correct.

At that point, I tried taking the kitten back up to its mum, to see if she would at least give it a feed, so that it could take in the colostrum (anti-body rich milk) from her, but she curled up tightly into a ball, and refused to let the kitten anywhere near her teats.  I tried leaving them together for a while, but when I came back into the room, she was still curled in a ball, and the kitten was lying limply against her.  When I tried to encourage her to pay attention to the kitten, she responded by giving it a couple of licks, and I thought we might be getting somewhere.  She then found the umbilical chord, and started chewing on it, giving such a tug that the kitten cried out, and I was worried that she would make the hernia worse.  She then tried to bite the kitten’s leg, and I decided just to take the kitten away again.

When I went back into the kitchen, Ayla immediately came over to me, obviously looking for the kitten that I had given her and then taken away, and when I gave it back, she started purring.  Her own two kittens seem to have accepted it as a slightly strange and tiny toy, and will either cuddle up with it or pounce on it, depending on what mood they are in.  When I came down for breakfast this morning, Ayla’s female kitten was jumping on the kitten, rolling off, giving it a couple of licks and then repeating the procedure.  The kitten doesn’t seem at all bothered by their attentions, though, and I am much happier with Ayla looking after it than I was with its real mum.

The kitten was only 70g at birth, and was so exhausted that it was more interested in sleeping than feeding.  It still doesn’t seem to be feeding, so I have been bottle-feeding it every couple of hours, in the hope that once it builds up a bit of energy, and gets a taste for milk, it will start feeding with its adoptive siblings.  Keep your fingers crossed for it.

The tiny newborn kitten next to the two older kittens
The new kitten looking tiny next to Ayla’s older kittens

Just Kittens

Ayla’s kittens continue to gain well, and both have their eyes open – the boy all the way, and the girl partially.

Ayla’s kittens are so cute, I couldn’t resist sharing some photos with you!

The girl's face
The girl at about 12 hours old

The boy's face
The boy at the same age

They are both growing well, the boy being over 240g and the girl over 220g already, at 11 1/2 days.  Based on the usual target of gaining birth weight each week, their target weights for Wednesday night (14 days) are 267g for the boy and 273g for the girl, so the boy is well on track for that, and the girl just a smidge short of it.

The girl with her paw over the back of the boy as if cuddling him
The two kittens cuddling at 5 days old

The two kittens snuggled up together
The two little furry heads
The two faces propped up on my fingers so they are pointing at the camera
Cute little faces – boy on the right, girl on the left, at 5 days old

The girl was the first to start opening her eyes, but when the boy started, his opened almost straight away, whereas the girl has opened hers rather slowly over the course of a few days.  His are now both fully open, and the girl’s eyes are basically 3/4 open. Thankfully, we’ve never had any problems with eyes opening, but I know plenty of people who have had issues with discharge or stickiness, so I’m always wary for the first few days after the eyes start to open.  I think we’re past the danger period now, though, so I can stop fretting!

Girl's face sitting on my hands, with the inner corners of her eyes open
The girl’s eyes just starting to open – 7 days old

The girl's head from side-on, showing her good dome and short nose
The girl’s profile at 9 1/2 days old – lovely dome and short nose

Ayla has continued to be a fabulous mum, keeping her kittens clean and warm, yet is perfectly happy to have them handled. They are quite squeaky at the moment, making lots of noise when we take them out to weigh them, though they quieten down a lot when we’re just stroking them. Ayla lets us know when they have had enough, by taking them out of our hands to put them back in the nest box.

The girl's head sitting on my thumb, with her eyes about 2/3 open
The girl’s eyes about half open – 9 1/2 days
The boy's head sitting on my fingers, with his right eye fully open, and his left eye about half open
The boy at the same age – one eye open, and the other about half

As usual, I am undecided on colour at the moment.  Both kittens have a chocolatey tone to the edges and backs of their ears, so I’m pretty sure they’re both either chocolate or lilac.  The girl is a shade paler than the boy, but I don’t know whether that means that she is lilac and he is chocolate, or just that she is silver and he is non-silver.  I am told that with BCR kittens they will probably be at least three weeks old before we can tell for sure, so at the moment it’s just a case of waiting!

The boy looking like Yoda
The boy pulling his best ‘Yoda face’ at 9 1/2 days

The paler girl is on the left, and the boy is on the right
Colour comparison of the two – girl on the left, boy on the right

We’re off down to the North West show this coming weekend, so I will try and post a show update early next week – let’s see if I actually manage!

Yet Another Catch-Up

We had a good day at the Eastern Counties/Bombay & Asian show, with Tilly winning two CCs, Grace two MCs and the tawny Ocicat kitten her 1st and Best of Breed. We then borrowed Call back from my brother to take to the Edinburgh, winning his Premier title in the process. Caomh and Roo have both gone to their new homes, leaving just the two spotty Ocis to find homes, and Dàrna’s kitten is now called Cagaran Fileánta, and has had her first vaccinations.

I really must stop writing the text for posts and then getting sidetracked before I get a chance to add the photos.  When I started this post, it began “It’s a much shorter time between this post than my last”, which is now certainly not true, given that it’s over two months since the last one again!  That’s what I get for getting involved in show management – I knew that it was a time-consuming process, but I had no idea just how much time it actually takes.

I think perhaps the best strategy for future updates might be just to upload the text once it’s written and then add photos later.

Eastern Counties

We went down to the Eastern Counties the second weekend in July, primarily because the Bombay & Asian Breed Club was held ‘back-to-back’ (sharing the show hall) with that show this year.  That meant that any Asians had the opportunity to try for two certificates, and since Tilly turned adult at the start of the month, we took her to try for her first two CCs.  She not only won these, but also one Best of Breed (against a multiple-Olympian-winner!) and four first prizes in side classes, including some really big ones.

Tilly lying in her pen, surrounded by rosettes and prize cards - two CCs in the foreground, and a host of rosettes on the back wall
Tilly lounging amongst her awards

We took Grace down as a Pedigree Pet, and since HPs can also be entered in both shows, she was able to win two Mastercat certificates on the day.  That means that both Tilly and Grace only need one more certificate to win their titles!

Grace lying in her pen, having her tummy tickled, with her rosette and Master Cat certificate in the background
An unusually clear photo of Grace

We also took the tawny Ocicat girl, who obviously doesn’t compete for certificates yet, but was up against another young girl who has been sold as a breeding queen.  The other girl had absolutely crystal clear and perfect markings, but our girl definitely had the better type, so I was interested to see what the judges did with them.  The two girls were up against eachother twice – once in their Open class, and then again in one of their miscellaneous classes under a different judge, and on both occasions, our girl was placed above the other, which I was delighted with.

Bobbie sitting in the doorway of her pen, sniffing at her Best of Breed rosette, which is pinned beside the door
Bobbie examining her rosettes – in the next photo she was biting them!

Bobbie sitting in the doorway of her pen, with her rosettes pinned beside the door
Bobbie looking pretty, having finished skewing her rosette

We were meant to be picking Sonia up on the way home from the show, but she had come back into call on the Thursday before the show, and since she’s well settled with Di at the moment, it seemed more sensible to leave her there and see if she can take this call.  Maiden queens often fail to get pregnant from their first matings, so it’s nothing we hadn’t expected.  Ayla also started calling that weekend, so we were crossing our fingers that the two girls might both get pregant and be able to have their kittens around the same time.

Call’s Title

The following weekend was the Edinburgh & East of Scotland, but we obviously couldn’t show our own cats because of having done the show the previous weekend.  I do like to support the Scottish shows if I can, though, so I asked Calum if he would let us borrow Call back for one last show.  Calum is going to be letting Call outside once he has fully settled in his new home, which means that we would be unlikely to get another chance to get him into show preparation.

Call, a brown tabby Maine Coon in his pen, with Premier Certificate in front and red rosettes behind
Call with his rosettes and certificate

Thankfully, Calum said we could take him, and he finally won his qualifying PC, making him up to Premier.  He is therefore now officially ‘Premier Elmcoon Basil’, and is no longer the only cat that we’ve owned since finding out about showing, to not have won a title.  He also won two 1sts and a 2nd in his side classes, and was even awarded the cup for Best Maine Coon Neuter.  What a star!

Quinn, a brown tortie Asian Smoke, looking out of her pen between her two red rosettes
Quinn scowling between her rosettes

I had an excellent day stewarding for John Trotter across the Foreign and Burmese sections, with a few Brits and a Siamese thrown in for good measure.  My pick of the day was a beautiful Asian Ticked Tabby kitten, owned and bred by Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese & Asians), who was also John’s nomination for Best of Variety Foreign, and then went on to win the Overall Best of Variety.  I think she’s a granddaughter of Shogun, and therefore a niece of both Eiteag and Ayla, and a cousin of Tilly, so it’s not surprising that I liked her look!  We also got to handle Quinn, whose type John absolute adored, and he was gutted when he discovered that her smoke wasn’t good enough for him to award the Grand.

Excellent Day at Chester

You may remember that we did the Chester show for the first time, last year, and thoroughly enjoyed having a day out in Chester, so we decided to do it again this year.  Unfortunately, Elisabeth was judging, so I ended up being persuaded to steward, which was a bit of a disappointment.  I did enjoy my day stewarding, as I always do, but I must confess that I would rather have spent the day browsing Chester with Richard, who had a lovely day wandering in the old city.  We also took Pamela White, who owns two of Elisabeth’s Russians, and Elisabeth, so at least we got to share the transport.  Apologies for the rubbish photos – the hall-lighting was rather yellow, and we’re using the little point-and-shoot camera at the moment, because our proper camera is broken, which makes getting decent photos of our lot nigh on impossible!

Eiteag looking towards the camera from inside his pen, with his rosettes and prize cards on the back wall behind him
Eiteag looking very yellow

Tilly sitting in her pen, with her certificate and rosette, pulling a silly face
Tilly also looking yellow, unfortunately

Even if we didn’t have the full ‘Chester experience’, our show results made it worthwhile having entered, with all the cats winning something.  Donny didn’t win his Imperial, but did beat two lovely Burmillas for Best of Breed – excellent to win against some competition for a change!  The Tiffs were obviously against eachother for Best of Breed, which Dàrna won, along with her third Imperial.  Eiteag and Tilly both had their own successes, though, Eiteag winning the Grand, and Tilly taking the CC to make up to Champion.  They all had good results in side classes as well.  To top off an already great set of results, Donny and Dàrna were shortlisted with Pamela’s Lina as the last three for Best Foreign Adult, so regardless of which one actually won it, they had come down in our car!  In the end, it was Dàrna who took the award – her second BOV Adult win.

Donny standing in his pen doorway, rubbing his face against his rosette, which hangs by the door
Donny giving his Best of Breed rosette some love

Dàrna sitting in her pen, with her Imperial certificate and rosettes
Dàrna pulling a silly face, as usual, but at least she’s letting us see the Imperial certificate!

After the show, Elisabeth and Pamela headed home with the Thomsons (Saladin Abyssinians), and we carried on down to Rob and Anita’s, because we had an AGCS Committee meeting the following day.  This was another possible opportunity to pick up Sonia, but she still wasn’t showing any signs of being pregnant, and remained very settled, so we decided just to leave her where she is for the moment.  The Committee meeting was an enjoyable day, as the AGCS meetings always are, and I was elected as Secretary, which made sense given that I have taken the minutes at the meetings for the past two years, due to the previous Secretary having other commitments.

Teesside

Grace standing in her pen doorway, with her prize cards and rosette pinned to either side of the door
Grace ‘paddle-pawing’ at the front of her pen, whilst watching what else is going on

Grace standing in her pen doorway, rubbing against the side of the door
Grace giving her pen some love

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know that the Teesside is one of the consistencies in our annual calendar.  Since they were the club who sponsored our prefix application, we always like to try and support the show.  This year, we took Eiteag and Tia to try for Grands, because Steve Crow was the judge, and I thought he would like them both.  We also took Dàrna’s kitten, who is nicknamed ‘Small’ for the time-being, in absence of any better name for her.  Making up the ‘set’, was Grace, trying for her final Mastecat certificate.  Having learnt our lesson at Chester, we just took the Teesside photos on Richard’s phone, and I think you’ll agree that the results are much better.

Eiteag standing in his doorway with his prize card and Grand certificate on the door, and the Grand rosette pinned to the pen front
Eiteag showing off his gorgeous rounded head

Eiteag standing in his pen doorway kissing his Grand rosette
Eiteag giving his Grand rosette a sniff and a kiss

Eiteag hanging out of his pen doorway, shouting
Eiteag shouting for girls from his pen doorway (he fancied getting in with Tia, who was next door)

Eiteag looking sideways across his pen, with his Best of Variety nomination and Best of Breed medal behind him, and his prize cards and rosette to either side
Eiteag with his Best of Variety nomination card and Best of Breed award, showing his lovely profile

We had something of a spectacular day – Grace making up to Mastercat, both Eiteag and Tia winning the Grands, and both being nominated for Best of Variety.

Sally Tokens checking the length of Tia's tail on the judging table in front of the Best in Show pens
Looking through the crowd of spectators at Tia being judged for Best in Show

Tia sitting beautifully in the doorway of her Best in Show Pen
Tia looking gorgeous in her Best in Show pen

This was Small’s first show, but like her Dad, Grand and Great-Gran before her, she behaved like an absolute sweetheart, charming the judges and winning her Best of Breed.  She started the morning in her Dad’s pen, so that she had company whilst she got the feel of the show, and then moved back to her own pen, where she behaved as if she’d been to countless shows before.

Small standing behind her Dad, who is busy eating
Small sharing Eiteag’s pen in the morning

Small sitting between her Best of Breed medal and First prize card
Small gazing at the ceiling in her own pen

Small looking sleepy beside her prizes
Sleepy Small

Small looking out of her pen
Small watching the goings-on

I had an excellent day stewarding for Pamela Beard-Smith in the British section, and having finished my stewarding, was told that Tia was being taken up to the Best in Show Pens – she had gone Overall Best Foreign!

Tia sitting in her pen with the door open and a selection of rosettes hung around the door, whilst she sniffs at her Best of Breed medal
Tia examining her Best of Breed award and surrounded by prizes

Tia sitting in her pen beside her Best of Vareity and Best of Breed awards
Beautiful Tia with her Best of Variety and Best of Breed awards

Scotia – My First Time as Assistant Show Management

This year’s Scotia was my first time as Assistant Show Manager, and although it certainly wasn’t the easiest task, I did survive!  We started off with seventeen judges, of which seven cancelled in the run-up to the show, for reasons ranging from operations and an emergency hospitalisation, to a cat needing emergency vet treatment.  We managed to replace a couple, but only had twelve judges by the end, yet all the judges took the resultant extra cats without complaint, and worked really hard for us.  I can’t thank them all enough, and also Sarah Davidson, one of the actual Show Managers, for giving me the opportunity to learn from her.

Wyvern

Today was the Wyvern, and since Elisabeth was judging this year, she asked if I would steward for her.  If I was going to go all that way to steward, it seemed daft not to show, especially when the Wyvern is such a lovely show to do.  I brought Dàrna to try for the Imperial, and since Dorothy Stone was going to be judging both the Ocicat and Tiffanie kitten classes, and generally loves our cats, I decided to bring Bobbie and Small as well.

As always, I had a thoroughly enjoyable day, and although Dàrna didn’t win the Imperial (there were four cats in the class, and the Imperial and Reserve winners were were worth the award), she did win her Best of Breed, and had good side-class results.  The kittens also had a good day, especially Small, who was shortlisted into the last four for Best Foreign Kitten.  As before, she behaved beautifully, and was an absolute poppet – I had more than one judge tell me they wanted to put her in their pockets to take her home.  I am so proud of her!

Unfortunately, without Richard there to keep me in order, I completely forgot to take any photos, which I’m rather gutted about.

New Home(s)

The week running up to the Edinburgh, we had a visit from a lovely couple who had recently lost their elderly Oriental, and wanted a companion for their Siamese.  They wanted to get a kitten to improve the likelihood of their Siamese accepting her, and they also wanted a breed that was likely to be similarly interactive and people-oriented.  Having done a bit of research, they thought Ocicats sounded ideal, and came to meet our babies.  They were immediately taken by our little ticked tabby girl, and she gave them lots of cuddles and kisses to ensure they were thoroughly convinced!

Her new owners phoned me the day after she moved in with them, to say that they had never seen a more confident little cat, and that she had just moved in as if she’d never been anywhere else.  When she met the dog for the first time, she just marched up, said “hello” and then carried on exploring, without hardly breaking step.  Likewise, she just went straight up to the Siamese, touched noses with her and then moved on without a hiss, growl or any apparent cautiousness.  That is one thing I definitely do like about (nice-tempered) Ocicats – they are so easy to integrate because they don’t seem to comprehend that another cat might not like them.

Roo went back to Di’s a couple of weeks later, and Bobby is now reserved for a breeder, so that just leaves Milly to find a new home.  I have had a couple of enquiries for her, but nothing definite yet, so I would still love to hear from anyone who knows of someone who might suit her.

Dàrna’s Kitten

Dàrna’s kitten is now 18 weeks, and as you might have gathered by the fact that we are currently calling her ‘Small’, we don’t have a proper ‘pet name’ for her yet – nothing has jumped out at us as suiting her.  Small isn’t particularly appropriate, because she is a really good-sized girl (like her Mum), but she is the smallest household member at present, so it works at the moment.  Elisabeth calls her ‘Sparkle-sparkle’, because apparently she has the ‘Sparkle Factor’, but we refuse to have a cat called ‘Sparkle’!  She has the cutest little ‘mohawk’ in the middle of her head (a little tuft of fur that always sticks up there), so we have wondered about something to do with ‘Mo’ or ‘Hawk’, but we haven’t got there yet.  I’m sure something will come to us at some point, and in the meantime she can remain as ‘Small’.

We had to give her an ‘official’ name back in July, in order to be able to make up her vaccination card, so I narrowed the list of possibilities down to a shortlist of about half-a-dozen, but hadn’t managed to get any further than that – again, none of the names leapt out as being hers.  In the end, Richard made the decision from the shortlist, so her pedigree name is Cagaran Fileánta, which is pronounced ‘Feelawnta’, and means ‘Poetic’.

Ayla’s Kittens

Ayla was originally expected to have her kittens next week, but she must have been mated earlier than the stud owner realised, and actually had them late on Wednesday.  She is proving to be a fabulous mummy, with the kittens starting out being good weights, and gaining between 8g and 13g in the first 12 hours alone!  Since the kittens are Burmese Restriction, it will be quite a while before we can be even remotely sure on colour, but that is hardly anything new!

Thinking Forwards

I had the Asian BAC meeting on the Sunday following the Edinburgh, and was unanimously elected as the BAC’s representative to Council, which I see as a huge honour and responsibility, since it makes me the official spokesperson for the breed.  I had hoped to apply to the judging scheme this year, because I had originally been told that the minimum requirement is 3 years of breeding experience, which we had last month, but the rule is now 4 years.  I was initially disappointed not to be able to apply, but being made the official spokesperson for the breed (something that I wouldn’t be allowed to do if I was working through the judging scheme) goes a long way to making-up for that disappointment!

While we were on our way to collect Ayla, Anita and Rob arrived at our house for the weekend (great planning, that!), because they were up for the first FIFé show in Scotland, which was held in Perth.  Lona was also attending the show, with Lainni and Tabh, among others, and had some good results, with Tabh taking Best New Breed Neuter on the Saturday (losing out to Sarah’s beautiful Chloe, whom I mentioned earlier), and Lainni taking Overall Best New Breed on the Sunday!  Cailin didn’t do a great deal at the show, but for once she was actually in call at the right time, so she spent the Saturday night through to Monday morning in with Donny, and there was plenty of rolling around and trilling going on, so fingers crossed they managed something.  If she is pregnant, those will be the first kittens to have two Cagaran parents, which will be quite exciting!

I really will try not to take so long before my next post, so watch this space…

Good News Catch-Up

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

Looking down on the World of Cats area
Looking down on the World of Cats area

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.

Our cats took up five double pens, so we had the whole of one side of an aisle, and two-thirds of the other
Our cats took up five double pens, so we had the whole of one side of an aisle, and two-thirds of the other

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.

Kenga sitting in her pen, pretending to be an Abyssinian
Kenga pretending to be 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.

The three Russians in their pen
The three Russians in their pen

Jingle Belle out on the table
Jingle Belle out on the table

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 aisle in front of the Ocicat table
Busy aisle in front of the Ocicat table

Bru and Cheeky in their basket
Bru and Cheeky in their basket

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.

Beautiful Tia playing with a toy
Beautiful Tia playing with a toy

The boys enjoying their lunch
The boys enjoying their lunch

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.

Anita and I manning one of the Asian stands, with Tia and Ayla both out on the table
Anita and I manning one of the Asian stands, with Tia and Ayla both out on the table – it is Tia’s tail you can see; Ayla is in the fleecy basket

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).

Bru looking sleepy in the early afternoon
Bru looking sleepy

Bru examining his PC
Examining his Premier Certificate

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!

Eiteag with his Reserve Grand certificate
Eiteag sitting at the front of his pen, with his Reserve Grand certificate

Donny looking ridiculous
Donny rolling around, looking ridiculous, in front of his rosettes

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.

Donny posing beautifully with his rosettes, certificates and Best of Variety card
Donny posing beautifully with his rosettes, two Imperial certificates and the card for Best of Variety Adult

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 deer picking her way across the shore
The deer picking her way across the shore

Looking back towards Arran on the sail home
Looking back towards Arran on the sail home

Lakeland Show

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.

A sleepy Annas showing off her perfect coat
A sleepy Annas showing off her perfect coat

The exhibition pen
The exhibition pen with display boards on the top

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!

Tilly and Sonia in their pen
Tilly (left) and Sonia in their pen

Two peering faces
Two peering faces

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!

Dàrna’s Kitten

The kitten at 13 days
In her bed, at 13 days old

The kitten with her mum at 13 days
With her mum, at 13 days old

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!

The kitten with her mum and granny at 22 days
With mum and granny Fiona, at 22 days

With mum and gran at day 35
Cuddled up on the bed with mum and granny Fiona, at 35 days

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 kitten and her mum at day 25
Cuddled with mum, at 25 days old

The kitten curled up almost asleep aged 54 days
Curled up, at 54 days

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.

With mum at 41 days
Looking alert beside her sleepy mum, at 41 days

Ocicat Kittens

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 tawny boy
The tawny boy – they call him ‘Roo’

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.

Harry and Hamish the day after leaving
Harry and Hamish the day after leaving

Harry and Hamish a few days later
The same location a few days later

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 tawny girl at 15 weeks
The tawny girl at 15 weeks

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.

The other two girls the day they were spayed
The other two girls the day they were spayed

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.

Becca (left) and Carrie, at just under a year old
Becca (left) and Carrie, at just under a year old

And cuddled up together
Cuddled up together – Becca is facing the camera

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.

Keela sitting in a ridiculous position in her bed
Keela sitting in a ridiculous position in her bed

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!

Just Kittens

Dàrna has had a single Tiffanie kitten born by C-section, Grace’s Ocicat kittens have had their first vaccinations, and Ayla is ready to go to stud.

Just a quick post to give you some kitten updates:

Ocicat Kittens

Grace’s kittens were nine weeks old on Sunday, and are therefore old enough for their first vaccinations.  Since Monday was a Bank Holiday, I wasn’t working, giving me time to collect the kittens (including finding the little blighters!) from Diane’s, take them to our vet’s for their vaccinations, and then take them back to Diane’s again.  They were beautifully behaved, and are all really good weights for their age, the lightest being over 1.03kg!

The kittens in their basket in the vet's waiting area - I love that Cainnt is clearly so stressed by his first visit to the vet's, that he is falling asleep in the middle!

Dàrna’s Kitten

Dàrna was due between Wednesday and Sunday of last week, so when she still hadn’t started labour by Monday, I took her with me when the Oci kittens went for their vaccinations.  The vet scanned her, and could see no sign of infection and (he thought) two good, strong heartbeats, so he told me to “sit tight” for another couple of days, and bring her back in if she hadn’t had them by Wednesday.  On Wednesday morning, she had quite a bit of discharge, and was rather restless, so the vet suggested leaving her one more day to see whether she was going to deliver them naturally.

In the blanket, coming back from the vets
In the blanket, coming back from the vets - I held him like this, rather than risk Dàrna falling on him in the moving car (I wasn't driving!)

When she still hadn’t had them by yesterday morning, I took her back along, and the vets tried to stimulate contractions with a shot of Oxytocin.  That caused a few contractions, but they were rather half-hearted, and unproductive, so we decided to do a C-section.  It turns out that she only had one kitten, who is large and was the wrong way around – not just his tail facing the birth canal, but actually his back, so there was no way she could have delivered him like that.

Dàrna absolute knackered after her C-section, asleep with her baby between her paws
Dàrna absolute knackered after her C-section, asleep with her baby between her paws

The effects of the anaesthetic pass through to the kitten as well, so he was rather immobile and dopey yesterday afternoon, meaning that he didn’t start to feed until late evening.  However, he was up 5g on his birth weight by the time we were going to bed, and up a further 2g when I got up this morning, so he seems to have got the idea now.  He looks very like his Daddy (Eiteag), and I think he’s some sort of cream: maybe a standard shaded.

Looking more contented this morning, and with the baby feeding
Dàrna looking more contented this morning, and the baby feeding

Ayla Going to Stud

Okay, so it’s not strictly about kittens yet, but that is the desired result!  Ayla had her snap test (FIV/FeLV) this morning, ready to go home with the stud owner after the London Pet Show tomorrow.  I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to her – I know we’re not meant to have favourites, but I am ridiculously fond of Ayla, and can’t imagine having her away for several weeks.  We took Eiteag into the vet at the same time, for his certificate of entirety (the paperwork confirming that all his ‘bits’ are in the right place!), which needs to be lodged with the GCCF before his kitten can be registered.

Incidentally, don’t forget that if you’re in the Earl’s Court area tomorrow, you can come and visit us (and a whole host of different pets, from dogs and cats to birds, micro pigs, fish and exotic beasties) at the London Pet Show.

Two New Champions and Other News

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.

Ayla looking very pretty with her qualifying certificate
Ayla looking very pretty with her qualifying certificate

Mature-looking Eiteag
The only decent photo of Eiteag, and he's hiding his certificate!

Ocicat Kittens

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!

Kittens 4, 5 and 6 at 7 weeks
Kitten 4, 5 and 6 at 7 weeks

Kittens 3, 4, 5 and 6 at 7 weeks
Kittens 3, 4, 5 and 6 at 7 weeks

All 6 kittens at 7 weeks
All 6 kittens at 7 weeks

The two 'spotties' at 8 weeks
The two 'spotties' at 8 weeks

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.

The tawny Ocicat girl having a cuddle with Elisabeth

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’.

Cainnt at 7 weeks
Cainnt at 7 weeks

Cainnt at 8 weeks
Cainnt at 8 weeks

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’.

Crannag at 7 weeks
Crannag at 7 weeks

Crannag at 8 weeks
Crannag at 8 weeks

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’.

Ceann-Ciatach at 7 weeks
Ceann-Ciatach at 7 weeks

Showing her gorgeous spots
Showing her gorgeous spots

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.

Ceann-Ciatach at 8 weeks
Ceann-Ciatach at 8 weeks

Doing her best meercat impression
Doing her best meercat impression

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 4 aged 7 weeks
Kitten 4 aged 7 weeks

Kitten 4 aged 8 weeks
Kitten 4 aged 8 weeks

Kitten 5 (tawny Variant male): Ceafán, which is gaelic for ‘Rascal’, which is pretty self-explanatory!  It is pronounced ‘Kyawfan’.

Ceafán at 7 weeks
Ceafán at 7 weeks

Ceafán at 8 weeks
Ceafán at 8 weeks

Kitten 6 (cinnamon Ocicat female): Ciaran, which is gaelic for ‘Glimmer’, because of the delicate colouring of her spots.  It is pronounced ‘Kee-aran’.

Ciarán at 7 weeks
Ciarán at 7 weeks

Ciarán at 8 weeks
Ciarán at 8 weeks

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.

Bru’s Results

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.

Bru and Cheeky Cuddled Up on the Bed
Bru and Cheeky cuddled up on the bed - you wouldn't know they had been apart!

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:

Derk in his pen at the end of the show
Dreadful photo of Derk...

Ella
... and an equally bad one of Ella!

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.

Pretty Ayla showing off her gorgeous eyes
Pretty Ayla showing off her gorgeous eyes

A more usual photo of Ayla
A more usual photo of Ayla, rolling around in her pen and generally being an idiot!

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.

Bru with all his prizes
Bru with all his prizes

Telling us that it's time to go home
Telling us that it's time to go home

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!

Tilly looking very grown-up and pretty
Tilly looking very grown-up

Pulling a silly face
Pulling a silly face

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.

Ayla meeting Emily - I was too slow getting my camera out, and missed the moment when Ayla gave Emily a kiss

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…

Bru & Tilly playing in the hotel room
Bru & Tilly playing in the hotel room

Ayla playing in the overnight bag
Ayla playing in the overnight bag - she was joined by Bru a few seconds later

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.

Kitten Plans

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.

Dàrna from above, showing her small bump
Dàrna from above, showing her small bump

Dàrna relaxing after having her tummy shaved - we always do that to make it easier to help any problem kittens latch on
Dàrna relaxing this morning, after having her tummy shaved - we do that to make it easier to help any difficult kittens find a teat and latch on

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…

2013 Kittens, More CCs & Bru’s Return

Grace’s second litter, of six kittens, has arrived, and they are all doing well. Eiteag and Ayla had another good show, at the Lancs, winning ther second CCs. Bru has had to come back to us, due to some sort of illness, that his owner doesn’t want to test him for.

We have  a fair bit of news from the past couple of weeks, including the birth of our first 2013 kittens!

Grace’s Kittens

Grace had six kittens overnight from Sunday into Monday, the weekend before last.  She was much better this time around, knowing exactly what to do with the placentas and cord-cutting, and also settling nicely to feed them.

Grace with the six kittens feeding
Grace with the six kittens feeding

The six kittens piled up
The six kittens piled up

There are three of each gender, the three boys all being Variants: a tawny, a cinnamon and one that is either a chocolate or a dark cinnamon; and the girls being one Variant and two Ocicats (spotty): the Variant is another cinnamon, and the spottys are a tawny with a stunning head, and probably a cinnamon, though again could be a chocolate.

Kitten 1 - Cinnamon Variant male
Kitten 1 - Cinnamon Variant (ticked) male

Kitten 2 - Chocolate or (dark) Cinnamon Variant male
Kitten 2 - Chocolate (or dark cinnamon) Variant (ticked) male

Kitten 3 - Tawny Ocicat female
Kitten 3 - Tawny Ocicat (black spotted) female

Kitten 4 - Cinnamon Variant female
Kitten 4 - Cinnamon Variant (ticked) female

Kitten 5 - Tawny Variant male
Kitten 5 - Tawny (black ticked) Variant male

Kitten 6 - Cinnamon (or chocolate) Ocicat female
Kitten 6 - Cinnamon (or chocolate) Ocicat (spotted) female

Lancs Show

Last weekend was the Lancs show, and we had taken the ‘babies’, Eiteag and Ayla, to try for their second CCs.  As last time, we put them in the same pen to begin with, to help them settle in, though I don’t think either actually needed it.  Obviously, we have to keep a close watch on them, to make sure that Eiteag doesn’t try anything with his sister, but so far he’s shown no interest in her, though he knew exactly what he was meant to be doing with Dàrna when he was in with her.  We’re taking no chances – if he even so much as looked like he might be interested in Ayla, she’d have to come straight out!

Eiteag looking handsome
Eiteag looking handsome

Both were beautifully behaved, as usual, purring and climbing up the judges and stewards to give them kisses, which is just lovely to see.  A couple of the judges said that they wanted to take one, or both, home, and one even came past for an extra cuddle later in the day!  Both were given their CCs, so they now only need one more each.

Ayla relaxing in her pen
Ayla relaxing in her pen, with her rosettes and prize cards behind

Ayla proving she is her mother's daughter, and mucking about whenever the camera appears
Ayla proving she is her mother's daughter, and mucking about whenever the camera appears - you can see her front feet 'paddling'

Tracey was also there, with Xaria and Quinn, though this time Quinn’s award wouldn’t count for anything, because the closing date for this show was before the Scottish, and she won her qualifying certificate at the Scottish.  In addition to the cats’ activities, I had an excellent day stewarding for Kaye Wilson, who is a long-term Burmese breeder and judge, but who has recently started juding Asians.  It was great to see so many of the Burmese, and also to have a judge that I can so easily talk over the cats with.

Quinn scowling beautifully, as usual
Quinn scowling beautifully, as usual

Bru Back Home

About 10 days after he had gone to his new home, I received a call from Bru’s owner, Julie, to say that he had been wheezing, and that she was going to take him to her vet.  Over a couple of visits, her vet took some tests, but none of these showed anything, so he then suggested having a scan done, but Julie felt that she had already been through too much stress and hassle, so she asked if we would take him back instead.

We agreed to do this (giving a full refund, in case you’re wondering), and got him booked straight in at own vet.  When I went to collect him on Thursday, he was hiding down the back of Julie’s bath, and when he came out, he was all wide-eyes and spiky fur, and seemed absolutely terrified. I asked what was up with him, and she said he was always like that with her, and had never let her stroke him, which had me really worried in case it could be a symptom of some sort of illness.

When we got him home, however, he came straight out of his basket and ran up to Richard to ask for a stroke, even though he was in a room that he has never been in before.  We didn’t want to put him in with the girls in case Dàrna is pregnant and he had some sort of infection, so he is in the back bedroom with Ali and Breckin, who are both neuters.  When Tracey came round yesterday, Bru climbed into one of his baskets, and lay there purring and ‘paddle-pawing’ whilst Tracey and I both stroked him.

On Friday, I took him for his vet appointment, and our vet gave him a thorough checkup which didn’t find any problems.  Bru looks absolutely great, is a good weight (and has grown in the time he’s been away), and is eating and drinking well.  We’ve got him booked in to have a scan, and that will tell us for sure whether there is anything wrong, and if so, what it is.  The most likely explanation at the moment seems to be a slight lung infection, but we will know more once we’ve got the scan results.