Another Catch-Up Post – Kittens Soon!

Lots of catching up, with four shows out of the way, the possibiltiy of four litters soon, and plenty of cat-related club business and socialising. Fi is due her kittens next week, so we’re hoping for an easy birthing and a nice healthy litter!

I would start by saying that it seems like months since I last posted, but it virtually has been!  I have never been as busy as I have been these past few months, mostly due to having taken on an enormous contract at work – a roll-out of audio systems (speakers and amplifiers) to 290 Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Duvetco stores nationwide.  That project reached its successful conclusion on Friday of last week, however, coming in at just 0.38% better than my estimated figures.  Now that it is finished, I’m hoping I might have more time for updating this and our website more often, and also finally completing my part of the GCCF rules revision.

I’m trying to remember what all has happened since my last post, but it’s all a bit of a blur.  In terms of showing, my last post was the day before the Lancs show, so there’s that, plus the Preston & Blackpool, the Scottish Shorthair and the Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire double show.  There’s also been another meeting of the Asian Breed Advisory Committee (BAC), the annual GCCF Gala Dinner, the Edinburgh & East AGM, the AGCS AGM, a West of Scotland Committee meeting and the AGM, a RACCS committee meeting, a Langford’s Breeders’ Seminar and two choir concerts (one singing Alto with the Stirling Gaelic choir, and the other as a Soprano for Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Stirling City choir)!  Aside from that lot, and meetings at work, we also tried to fit in a few days away with my parents, from which Richard had to return for work reasons after just the weekend (but we did manage a lovely mountain climb!), and I had to spend the middle day working on the EWM roll-out.  Geez, I feel exhausted just typing that!

The view from the mountain behind Melfort Village
The view from the top of Cruach nam Fearna, looking South-West (ish) towards the north of Jura and the Dorus Mòr

So… which bits will you be interested in?

Apollo at the Lancs
Gorgeous Apollo in his pen at the Lancs

Shows

At the Lancs, Dàrna won the Reserve Imperial in a class of three, while, I completed the final engagement towards my steward’s badge, with Peter Collin in the Burmese section.  I had been looking forward to my day with Peter, since stewarding for a Burmese judge is an excellent way to learn about the Asian type (they should be the same), and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him – I received my steward’s badge a couple of weeks later, so am now officially a GCCF Steward!  I had also suggested to Pippa (who almost bought Cailin) that she bring her Tiffanie girl to that show, since it’s not too far from her, and it was lovely to catch up with her, and meet her girl, who won the CC but lost the Best of Breed to Dàrna.  The star of the show was a Russian Blue boy of Elisabeth’s breeding, Korei, owned by Donna and Dave Johnson (Koreshka Russian Blues), who not only won the CC at his first adult show, but went on to become overall Best in Show – Elisabeth was ecstatic, as you can imagine!

Dàrna looking beautiful at the Lancs
Dàrna looking gorgeous at the Lancs

Annas at the Preston & Blackpool
Stunning Annas modelling the classic Burmese/Asian 'scowl'

Elisabeth's Silvabel
Another beautiful head - Elisabeth's Silvabel looking lovely

There were no certificate wins at the Preston & Blackpool, though the three we had taken, Annas, Dàrna and Apollo, all won their Best of Breeds.  Elisabeth had another good day, with Korei winning his second CC, Zach his qualifying Imperial certificate and Ziva her first Grand.  I had an enjoyable day stewarding for Helen Marriott-Power, including my (rather nerve-wracking) first experience of being the sole steward for Best in Show.  I have been getting ribbed ever since for having an extremely studious expression on my face throughout, but I didn’t want to mess up handling someone’s cat with everyone watching!

Apollo looking sleepy in his blankets
A sleepy Apollo peeks out of his blankets

Stewarding for Helen Marriott-Power at the Preston & Blackpool
Looking through the crowd at me stewarding for Helen at Best in Show - I was concentrating hard!

We had better results at the Scottish Shorthair – although Annas had the Olympian withheld by Grace Denny (she was placed first, though!), Lona was there with Laini, who won her second Grand, and Tabh, who won his second PC!  Annas took Best of Breed.  I’m guessing Lona’s two will probably be out for their qualifying certificates at the Nor’East, which unfortunately we are missing this year, due to it being on the same weekend as the London Pet Show.  Gutted!  Elisabeth’s lot also had another good day, with her imported stud boy winning his second CC, and little Dukey going Best Foreign Kitten!

That brings us on to the Beds/Camcat (Bedfordshire & District Cat Club & Cambridgeshire Cat Club) double-show at the weekend just gone – two all-breed shows sharing the large hall at Wood Green animal shelter near Huntingdon, which is one of my favourite show venues.  This must be one of the largest shows after the Supreme, and has a real buzz about it as a result.  We took a half day at work on Friday and collected Elisabeth before driving down to spend the night at Anita’s (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) in Rugby.  On Saturday morning we packed everyone’s stuff and cats into our people-carrier, and set off to the show – five adults (myself and Richard, Elisabeth and Anita and Rob) and eight cats (three of ours, three of Elisabeth’s and two of Anita’s).

We had both an AGM and a committee meeting during the show day, so I had very deliberately not booked to steward or do tablework.  While we were getting the cats penned, they were calling over the tannoy that they desperately needed stewards, and could anyone willing to steward come up to the table, and I’m standing there going “I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to do it” – I find it very difficult not to offer to help when it’s required.  However, I managed, and I’m actually glad I did, because it was really nice to have a day where I could actually take my time over checking results, and get a chance to cuddle my cats and talk to other exhibitors.  I love stewarding, but it was lovely just to be an ordinary exhibitor for a change, even if we did have meetings in the afternoon.  In particular, it was great to get a chance to catch up with Amanda (Rushbrooke Asians, Burmese and Bengals), whom I haven’t seen since last autumn, and she has been very seriously ill in the meantime.  She was looking great on Saturday, and had a nice cuddle with Annas (whom she bred) and Donny.

Donny in his pen at the Beds/Camcat
Donny looking very mature for his eight months!

Korei looking handsome
Donna & Dave's Korei looking handsome in his pen

Elisabeth and Anita both took certificates home, with Elisabeth’s Ziva winning her second Grand, and Anita’s Chippy winning the CC in one of the shows.  Elisabeth was also thrilled because Korei won his qualifying CC, making him something like the 30th titled cat she has bred!  I was delighted to find that little Cailin won the CC in both shows, meaning that she only needs one more certificate.  She has developed into a very pretty girl, but still has lots of maturing to do.  That means that we currently have three Cagarans requiring one more certificate – Cailin, Laini and Tabh.  I wonder whether it will be Tabh or Cailin who is the first to become the third titled Cagaran?!

Cailin looking gorgeous
Cailin looking gorgeous - we are delighted at how well she's turned out

Cailin looking beautiful
I look at photos like this, though and kick myself that we didn't keep her!

I wasn’t expecting Annas to win the Olympian, because I guessed that Mylward Sassafras and Danleigh Starburst would be there, and sure enough, they were.  They got the Oly and Reserve in one of the shows, but in the other the reserve went to a beautiful Mainman Burmese (the Oly was still won by Sassafras, though!).  We had actually only entered Annas in one of the shows, because Grace Denny was the judge in the other (same as the Scottish Shorthair, but with more competition!), and likewise Donny.  Both won their Best of Breed and did well in their side classes.  In certificate terms, our star was Dàrna, who was entered in the two shows, and won the Reserve Imperial in both, against what I would have considered to be stronger competition – I was very surprised!  She will now be retired from the bench for this year, to hopefully have some kittens with Apollo.

Darna with her two Reserve Imperial rosettes
Darna surprising us with her two Reserve Imperial rosettes

Annas looking stunning
Annas delivering another beautiful scowl and looking stunning

Kittens

Speaking of kittens, we have everything happening at once again this year.   Fi did indeed get pregnant the weekend of the Ocicat AGM, and is due her kittens next week.  She looks nice and fat, so I’m hoping for a sensible-sized litter, rather than the two-kitten nonsense that we had last year!  Fingers crossed for at least some Tiffanies, since that’s what everyone wants from us!

Fi looking nice and fat

You may remember that Katie had a sore eye for a couple of months?  It has now cleared up, and we are no longer having to give her eye drops, though it remains to be seen whether there will be any permanent scarring of the iris.  Anyway, whilst it was still causing an issue, we decided to separate her from the others, in case it turned out to be infectious, but rather than keep her by herself, we decided to move Donny out with her, since it was going to be several weeks until he was next due at a show.  To our surprise, however, we discovered him mating her a few days later, when he was just over seven months old!  That was almost a month ago now, and Katie doesn’t seem to be able to quite make up her mind whether or not she is pregnant – one day she is pinked up and the next day it seems to fade, only to return the following day.  We shall see.  It is Katie that I would have intended mating Donny to eventually, but I wasn’t expecting him to be so young at the time – most Asian boys don’t start working until they are over a year old!

Gracie will also hopefully be having kittens in the not-to-distant future, since she is currently at Rosemary Caunter’s (Thickthorn Ocicats), to hopefully mate with her cinnamon boy, Curry, as you may remember was suggested by Stacie (Ameeka Ocicats and Abyssinians), at the Ocicat AGM.

We didn’t intend to have all the matings bunched up like this – the plan was that Fi would have had kittens in January (remember, she originally went in with Shogun in October), Grace and Dàrna would always have been due for mating around now, and then we’d have kept Katie back until later in the summer, because she’s not such a prolific caller, and can therefore wait longer between matings than Dàrna can.  Instead Fi is just having hers as Dàrna and Grace go in with studs, and Katie might already be half-way through a pregnancy.  I kind of hope she isn’t!!  Either way, we will just have to borrow Amanda’s mottow and “manage the situation”.

Other Catty Bits

The RACCS show is now going to be back-to-back with the Supreme, something that has never been done before, and is both a great opportunity and horrendously complicated!  The Asian BAC meeting was again interesting, and I am delighted that I was voted on – we have a new Asian probationer judge, and have also put one forward to progress to become a full judge at the June Council meeting.  Speaking of people going forward at the June Council meeting, Elisabeth is going to be on the list to be voted on as a probationer judge of Russians!

The Gala dinner was another excellent event, with lots of good ‘cat chat’, a fun quiz (which our team won again this year!) and a fundraising auction in which we managed to bag the fantastic prize of a mating with a stunning Burmese stud cat, who isn’t usually available!  The Langford’s Breeders’ Seminar was in Birmingham on the Sunday just gone, and like the last one, was an extremely beneficial day – the most interesting bits for me probably being Lesley Lyons talks on disease genetics and then later, colour genetics.  There is another one being held in June, and we are definitely planning to be at that one as well – Elisabeth and I are also attending the FAB (Feline Advisory Bureau) study day in Edinburgh in a few weeks, which is on Feline emergency medicine, and should be very interesting.

Richard is now on the committee of the Edinburgh & East – I managed to step out of the way faster this time!  I have been voted on as a full delegate to Council, for the West of Scotland, which we are both on the committee of, and for which Richard is now secretary.  That lot out of the way, I think you’re now fully up-to-date on what’s been happening in the Cagaran Household.  Hopefully the updates should be more frequent now that my EWM roll-out is completed.

The next item on our ‘agenda’ (other than Fi’s kittens, of course), is the London Pet Show, which is a fortnight from the weekend just gone.  We’re taking Donny down to represent the AGCS with Anita’s Cailin, and she’s taking both Azi (Kia’s 3/4 sister) and Chippy to represent the Ocicats.  It was such a great day last year that I’m really looking forward to it, and we’re busy harness-training Donny at the moment!

Donny's first day of 'harness-training' - he wasn't impressed
Second day of 'training' - ignoring the harness and playing instead

That’s it for tonight.  The next post should hopefully be with photos of Fi’s kittens, so keep your fingers crossed for an easy labour for her…

A New Home and Two Shows

Kia and Quinn have been spayed, and Kia has settled into her new home. Apollo also seems to have settled, being a much happier boy since the Scottish. Fi may or may not be pregnant, but Keela definitely wasn’t, and is now back with us to have another shot with Shogun. Shogun is now a Champion, and Apollo won his first Grand.

Kia and Quinn were succesfully spayed the second week in January. When I collected them, the vet receptionist warned me that Quinn had been trying to lick her stitches, and had managed to remove the collar they had given her, three times whilst still in her pen at the practice. They didn’t think the collar would even last the evening, so we were just going to have to keep an eye on her licking, ourselves. She did indeed have the collar off within a couple of hours of getting home, so I put a tiny bit of Vicks vaporub in a circle around the area of the spay. Cats don’t like the smell (it’s menthol and eucalyptus), so she stopped trying to lick it and didn’t start again even once the vaporub had evaporated.  As an aside, I was fascinated to see that her skin is pale – normally a dark-coloured cat would have dark skin, but it must be because she’s a smoke, and therefore has a pale undercoat, that hers is pink.

Donny and Quinn cuddled up on the evening after her spay
Cuddling after Quinn's spay - note the pale skin!

The two cuddled up together
Quinn and Donny cuddled up together in the bed on the windowledge, looking adorable

Both girls had their checkup ten days later, and since there were no problems, I let Sheona know that Kia would be okay to move in with them that weekend. We then had several busy days, because I am the secretary for RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland), whose AGM was the third weekend last month, and the AGM notification and papers had to go out 21 days in advance of the meeting.  That was a welcome distraction from thinking about having to say goodbye to our sweet little Kia.  I still haven’t started looking for a home for Quinn yet – really must get onto that, but I just keep putting it off…

Kia’s New Home

The last Sunday in January, we got all of Kia’s paperwork ready, and then put her into her basket for the journey. Normally, when you opened the door to the room that she was in, she was right behind it, ready to say hello. This time, Richard had to collect her from the far side of the room, so she definitely knew something was going on, and that set me off worrying whether we were doing the right thing.

When we got to Sheona’s, however, I opened the front of the basket, and in typical Ocicat fashion, Kia was immediately out and running around to explore her new surroundings. Richard and I sat in the livingroom with Sheona and Bruce, having a cup of tea, and after a few minutes, Kia started rubbing around their legs, but wouldn’t come near us. She would rub around them and then stand in front of them, looking at Richard and I as if to say “These people are acceptable. You can go now”. Once she was sure we got the message, she then came and gave us a quick cuddle on the couch, before going back to exploring and playing with her new toys. She absolutely loves their windowledges (which Sheona had cleared ready for Kia’s arrival!), because the flat is on the 4th floor, with views down the River Kelvin, and plenty of birds to chirp at. Even better, they all have radiators immediatley below them to keep her warm!

Kia in Sheona's shopping bag
Kia in Sheona's shopping bag - "Don't go out, Mummy, I want to play!"

When we headed for the door, Kia took herself off into the bedroom and sat under the bed. It took us a few minutes to persuade her that she really was giong to be allowed to stay there, and then she came out to say a quick goodbye before going off to sit on one of the windowledges again. In some ways that actually made it easier, because she was so obviously perfectly content to move into a new environment.  We’ve since had updates from Sheona, and even a video of Kia exploring, and she has settled in beautifully, which if we were honest we always knew she would.  I think we just didn’t want to admit that she’d be fine without us!

Scottish Cat Club Show

The first weekend last month saw us going to the Scottish Cat Club show in Larkhall, just a bit south of Glasgow.  This is one of the more local shows for us, so we went along to help set up on the Friday, and were allowed to set up our own pens at the same time.  That meant that when we got there on the show morning, we only had to put down food and pop the cats in their pens.  This was just as well, given that we were running very late due to having had to give Apollo a bath in the morning.

When I went to get him, he’d obviously been having a mud bath overnight, so our lovely apricot silver was now a grey!  We got him cleaned up and had to put him straight into his basket without time to dry him off.  We stuck him next to the space heater in the car, in the hope that the hot air would dry him out, but by the time we got to vetting-in, he was still very soggy, and kind of squelched onto the vet’s table.  Given that this was the first time Steve was going to have seen him since we brought him home, this wasn’t the best possible start to the morning!  As it happens, once Apollo was in his pen, I managed to get him dried off with a spare blanket, and then we went over his coat with a slicker brush, so by the time the judges saw him you would never have known!

Apollo looking gorgeous
Gorgeous Apollo sitting in his pen with his Grand rosette

We also took Shogun, Annas, Ali and little Donny.  Lona was there with both Lainni and Tabh, so this was the first show where there have been three Cagarans in competition, which was rather nice!  It was particularly lovely to see Tabh again – we haven’t seen him since the last time he was out on the bench, at this show last year, when he left us to go home with Lona!  Lainni didn’t place in the Grand, but did well in her side classes, and Tabh won his first PC, making him the fourth Cagaran to win a certificate.

Lainni in her pen at the Scottish
Lainni looking pretty in her pen

Tabh in his pen at the Scottish
Tabh peering peering at the camera

Annas won the Reserve Olympian, Ali got the Reserve Grand and came second in the last ever Scottish Royal Canin final (winning £20, which covered his entry fee!), Apollo won his first Grand, and Shogun won his third and qualifying CC, so he is now a Champion!

Shogun peering out from behind his rosettes
Shogun looking adorable

Ali looking adorable
Ali paddle-pawing on his vetbed

Donny with his rosettes
Donny with his rosettes

Annas in amongst her rosettes
Annas in amongst her rosetttes

Donny is still just a kitten, so wasn’t up for any certificates, but he did well in his sides, and the judges liked his type, so that was the main thing.

Apollo

Ever since we got Apollo at first, he had been uptight and nervy, refusing to settle.  We thought we would try him at the Scottish, since it isn’t too far to travel, and see how he coped before entering anything else with him.  However, the show saw him have a complete personality transplant, and he rolled around in his pen rubbing his head on anyone who stuck their hands in, and generally being adorable, so there’s no issue there.  Even better, he has continued the transformation since we got back, and has been utterly adorable ever since.  When we go out to his pen now, he comes out of his house and will rub against us and purr loudly, and gets so soppy that he virtually falls over in his efforts to get you to stroke him all over.  We couldn’t be more delighted with the change, as we now have the sweet boy that we were expecting, though he still ‘talks’ with a loud Essex accent, lol!

Apollo looking cute
Apollo rolling around demonstrating his new, sweeter temperament

Coventry & Leicester Show

A fortnight after the Scottish, we took the Friday afternoon off work, and drove down to stay with our friends, Tracy and Gary, collecting Elisabeth on the way.  Tracy and Gary seem to put us up every few months, with assorted cats in tow, and are always gracious and good-natured, regardless of our odd departure times, and habit of arriving later than we thought.  We are so lucky that they put up with us!

We were a couple of hours down the motorway when we realised that my handbag had been left at home.  The main issue was that it contained the vaccination cards for not only our cats, but also for Keela, because we had forgotten to leave hers with Anita when we returned Keela in January.  Thankfully, the GCCF has a rule that if you forget your vaccination card, you can send it in to the GCCF office within 7 days, so we had a debate about whether to turn around and go back, or carry on and just fill in the paperwork to send the cards in.  I phoned Anita and asked if she would be okay with us doing the latter, and she said that was fine, as long as I was sure about the rule.

Poor Katie has had an eye infection for several weeks, starting around the time of the Notts & Derbys.  You may remember that we didn’t take her to that show, because she was pulling funny faces on the show morning?  It seems those silly faces were the beginning of this infection, for which we’ve been giving her eye drops ever since.  It is improving, but the progress has been very slow.  Since she’s supposed to get her drops every hour or two during the day, we couldn’t leave her at home whilst we went down to the show, so she came too.  I sat in the back seat, and took her out of her basket every hour to put her drops in.  We had to pull into a services at one point, because the bottle had fallen on the floor and rolled away under the seats – perhaps Katie pushed it off deliberately!

We got to Tracy and Gary’s a bit later than planned, but still in time to have a nice dinner with them, and a bit of a catch-up.  Just after we had gone to bed, I heard a strange noise, and turned the light on to discover that Katie, whose stomach has been rather upset by her medication, had had a ‘little accident’ on the blanket over the top of the bed, and Donny was busy getting it all over his feet trying to clean it up.  Thankfully it hadn’t gone through the blanket to the duvet underneath, so Richard got a bin-bag (we always carry some when travelling) and stuck the blanket in that, outside the front door (!), whilst I took Donny into the bathroom and got him cleaned up.  We washed the blanket when we got home, and will post it back down to Tracy and Gary, because it didn’t seem fair to have them clean that up as well as looking after us!  Oh the joys of travelling with animals.  Actually, that’s not fair, because we’ve never had a problem before – there’s a first time for everything, I suppose.

Anyway, we got up and away on Saturday morning basically on schedule, and the journey took us less than an hour, putting us at the hall just after 8am.  This is the show’s first year in a new venue, which wasn’t too far from the motorway and had excellent parking.  Sue Moreland was the duty vet, and she is always easy to deal with, so we got the vetting-in paperwork completed without problem.  Whilst I finished penning the cats, Richard went off to buy a slicker-brush and grooming glove, because those were in the handbag that had been left in Scotland.  We had taken Annas, Dàrna and Donny, and all three looked lovely – especially Annas, whose coat showed up beautifully under the lighting in the new venue.

Annas looking very black
Annas looking very black

Donny sprawled in his pen
Donny sprawled in his pen

After penning the cats and getting them ready, Richard and I went off to get breakfast in the cafe, whose food was excellent and reasonably priced.  Richard then went back to check on the cats, whilst I went to find the judges room and mark up my steward’s card.  The show had received record entries, and three of the judges had been so popular that their original ‘books’ (list of cats to judge) had been just under 140 cats each!  To put that into context, the recommended maximum number is 70, and 50 is considered a fairly heavy book.  My judge, Elaine Culf, was one of the popular ones, but thankfully the show managers had managed to bring in some other judges, and move some of Elaine’s less critical classes over to them.  Elaine only judges in the Semi-Longhair section at the moment, and we had some stunning Maine Coons and Birmans, in particular, and an absolutely gorgeous Siberian, who was her pick for Best Semi-Longhair kitten.

At one point, I collected a beautiful cream Birman neuter female from her pen, and when I realised that it was Mylward Sassafras (there are not many 12-year-old cream Birmans being shown, let alone ones that gorgeous), I knew that Annas wasn’t going to have got the Olympian, particularly given that the equally stunning Danleigh Starburst was in the pen next to Sassafras.  Both girls have been extremely successful and are already Bronze Olympians, and Annas just isn’t quite up to their standard, beautiful as she is.  Sure enough, Sassafras and Starburst had been awarded the female neuter Olympian and Reserve, but not placing in a class of eight fantastic exhibits is no great failing.  I’ve never seen such big classes at the top levels as were there yesterday – it is lovely to see a class of 14 in an Olympian and ten in an Imperial.  That’s proper competition!  Dàrna was in the 10-in-the-Imperial class, and also didn’t place, but again I can’t get upset about her loosing out against such competition.

Gorgeous Dàrna looking funny, as usual
Gorgeous Dàrna pulling a daft face, as she likes to do in photos!

Donny won his kitten class and Best of Breed, and also did very well in his side classes – probably his best result being 2nd in the Foreign 50th Birthday class, which was huge, and against adults and neuters as well as kittens.  The winner in that class was a beautiful Mau, and the judge said that Donny only lost out on maturity!  I spoke to a couple of the judges after the show, and they were saying how lovely his head is, and how much he’s come on since they saw him at the AGCS!  It’s lovely to get such good feedback for one of our own-bred kittens.

Catty Meetings

A week past yesterday, I had a day-trip to Newcastle for a work meeting with the northern account manager for PRS.  I managed to pop briefly into the office at the very end of the working day, but had to leave sharp because we had the West of Scotland committee meeting in Glasgow that evening.  This was the post-show meeting, so there was plenty to discuss, and by the end of the evening I was very much ready for my bed.

We are back into ‘AGM Season’, so Saturday saw us driving down to Anita’s, to stay overnight before the Ocicat AGM on Sunday.  It was great to see little Cailin again, though she was a bit wary with us – probably because the last time we visited Anita’s we were dropping Keela off, and she was rather unpleasant to Cailin afterwards.  We had a lovely meal with Anita and Rob, and plenty of cat-chat, then a nice easy start the next morning with just a 40-minute drive to the AGM.

As always, that was an enjoyable event, with a meal beforehand and tea and cake afterwards.  We had taken Katie with us again, because she’s still on the eye-drops, and thought we might as well take Grace as her travelling companion, rather than Dàrna, as we normally would.  That meant that I was able to take Grace in after the meeting, and let the experienced Oci breeders give me their thoughts on her.  Rosemary thinks that she has the potential to give us some really good type kittens, and Stacie has suggested that we take her to Curry, who is Rosemary’s cinnamon Ocicat stud.  He carries classic, so that would suit us perfectly, since it would have the potential to produce both Ocis and Classics, as well as the almost inevitable variants.  We will probably take her down to Rosemary in a couple of months.

Pregnancy Update

Fi was finally mated the last weekend in January, and having seen a mating, we now know that one of the issues (aside from her being a pain and rolling onto her back!) is that she is very long in the body, whereas he is quite compact, so he actually finds it quite difficult to mate her!

A week ago, she was very slightly pinked up, which can either mean a pregnancy, or that they are coming back into season.  Obviously, we were hoping for the former, but when I got up last Saturday morning, Fi was rolling around on the floor, standing in the classic calling pose, and even making little calling noises.  This was the first time she’s actually come properly into call like that, so I scooped her up and took her straight up the stairs to Shogun, who could hardly believe that I had finally brought him a girl who was both in season and happy to be mated – he kept sniffing at her and then looking at me in astonishment.  After a few minutes, however, he got over his shock and proceeded to mate her four times inside half-an-hour.  We then had to leave to go to the Oci AGM, but when we got back on Sunday, I popped her in with him for another ten minutes or so, and saw another two matings.  Hopefully that will be enough to finally result in a pregnancy.

Keela unfortunately decided that she didn’t want to be pregnant after all (exactly what her mum did the first time), so we brought her back from the Coventry & Leicester show to try again with Shogun.  She seemed to have forgotten who he is, and spent the first few days growling and hissing at him from the corner of the kitten pen, which we put her in until she settled a bit.  He wasn’t quite sure what to make of having his loving little companion (Fi) taken out of the room and her being replaced with a screaming demon, bless him!  She has now calmed down, though, and seems fine with him, so when she next comes into season we’ll be hoping that he can successfully mate her as well.

By the time Keela goes back to Anita, we will know for sure whether or not Fi is pregnant, and if she’s not, we might stick Katie in with Shogun instead, since she is also much shorter in the body, and therefore easier for him.  She had beautiful kittens by him last year, and we haven’t yet kept anything from her, so that would also be fine.  Fi could then go in with Apollo, who is getting a bit desperate for a girl, but I don’t want to put anyone with him until I know for sure what’s happening with Shogun.  The complexities of cat-breeding!

Kitten Visit

The past couple of days have been rather busy for me at work, starting with a 4:30am rise yesterday, to drive to Liverpool for a 10:30am meeting with Sound & Secure, who are one of our installation partners.  After that, I scooted across for an update meeting with Wren Kitchens in Howden, and a first visit with the Relish Bar and Grill in Doncaster.  Since I wasn’t very far from Barnsley at the end of the day, I had contacted June, who owns Rafa (one of the kittens from Katie’s first litter – originally known as Soolay), to ask if I could pop in and say hello – something that she has always said we are welcome to do.

Rafa in his favourite seat - June's!
Rafa in his favourite seat - June's!

She suggested that not only should I come to say hello, but that I should stop with them for dinner, and then stay the night!  I was bowled over by such a generous offer, and feel very lucky that we found such fantastic owners for Rafa.  I was treated to some proper Yorkshire hospitality, with a delicious stew for dinner, copious quantities of tea, and hours of cat-chat.  Rafa has grown into a really handsome boy, with the most spectacular ruff and incredibly rich colouration considering that Katie is a ‘high silver’ (i.e. bright silver with no rusty tones).

Rafa showing off his fantastic ruff and incredible colour
Rafa showing off his fantastic ruff and rich colour

He also has the most adorable temperament – if he is lying in a seat that June wants to sit in, she just picks him up, and moves him to another seat, and he just lies there in whatever position she puts him down!  She was telling me that he is working through all of the ‘non-cat’ people that they know, converting them one-by-one to how wonderful cats can be – what a fantastic ambassador for the feline population in general, and Tiffanies in particular.  He and his companion, Riley, are obviously doted-on, and have everyone wrapped around their little paws.

Rafa lying in the position in which June put him down
Rafa lying in the position in which June put him down

This morning I had a meeting in Newcastle, with a new manager for another of our clients, Blue Inc.  On the way back up the A1, I passed within a couple of hundred yards of Sophie’s owners, and knowing that their cats are often visible through the glass door, I couldn’t resist popping off to see if I could see her.  Sure enough, when I arrived at their house, I could see her sitting in one of the windows, and when I went around to the door, she came into the hallway to look at me through the door.

Sophie looking out of the window
Sophie sitting in the window looking at me

Sophie looking at me through the glass door
Sophie looking at me through the glass door

She has also grown into a beautiful cat, and although Fi definitely has the better head of the two, Sophie has the most amazing tail.  Last time I called in like that, I ended up with her moggy housemate climbing all over the inside of my car, but I didn’t see him this time.  Sophie and William, their other Tiffanie, talked to me through the door for a while, and then I headed home to get ready for the Lancs show tomorrow, and the Asian BAC meeting on Sunday.

Sophie and William looking out through the glass door
Sophie and William looking out through the glass door

I swear once you start, the world of cat showing and breeding takes over your life!

Three Shows and a New Year

Three excellent sets of show results for the Cagaran cats, at the Maidstone & Medway, Asian Group Cat Society and Notts & Derbys shows. Keela seems to be pregnant and has gone home, we have brought home our new stud boy, CH Kagura Apollo, and have decided to spay and re-home Kia and Quinn.

Maidstone & Medway Cat Show

Donny examining his rosettes
Donny says "What are these things doing in my bed?"

Donny curled up asleep
"Doesn't matter, I'll turn around and go back to sleep"

Like the West of Scotland, the Maidstone & Medway Cat Club had their 25th Anniversary show in December, which was also to be the last one managed by Anne Gregory before she gives up.  I had asked Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese & Asians) to suggest some shows where I could steward for her, and this was one of the suggestions.  When I mentioned that to Elisabeth (Dushenka Russian Blues), she calculated that it would be a good one for her because it would be Lucy’s first shot at a CC, and also the first show that her babies would be old enough for.  Considering all of that, we couldn’t resist making the trip.

Quinn scowling just like her mum does
Quinn looking sweet

Quinn posing beautifully
Quinn posing beautifully

We took our three kittens (Donny, Quinn and Grace) plus Shogun, and Elisabeth took three of her kittens plus Lucy.  We stayed near Warwick on the Friday night, which was the first night away from home for all of the babies.  Our rooms were across the hallway, and I think we must have been just about the only people on our floor, which meant that there wasn’t too much noise to disturb the cats.  None of them seemed the least bit phased, though Shogun wasn’t massively impressed with having to spend the night in the bathroom!  Quinn and Grace cuddled up in bed with us, while Donny spent the night keeping us awake by knocking Richard’s glasses off the bedside table, playing with our toothbrushes and unpacking our bag all over the floor.

Grace 'paddle-pawing' and making it virtually impossible to get a decent photo
Grace 'paddle-pawing' and making it virtually impossible to get a decent photo

Grace proving that she is her mother's daughter, and eating her prize cards
Grace proving that she is her mother's daughter, and eating her prize cards

I had an interesting day stewarding for Sandra, and saw some beautiful cats.  Meanwhile our own cats did well, and Shogun won his second CC.  Elisabeth’s Lucy won her first, and all of the babies handled well, and met with approval from the judges.

Shogun looking gorgeous
Shogun looking gorgeous

Showing off that beautiful profile
Showing off that beautiful profile

The ‘Festive Season’

Once again this year, we ordered Christmas cards with one of our own photos on the front.  We took the photo just before Maltech and Cailin went off to their new homes, in the few days after they had been introduced to Dàrna’s litter.  That meant that we were able to have a Tiffanie, an Ocicat Variant and the two Asians all together in one photo.  As before, it was a challenge to get the kittens to sit together, and the Christmassy backdrop that we created had virtually been destroyed by the time we got the final photo.

The Three Designs for the Christmas card
The Three Final designs - same photo, but different layouts and surrounds

The series of photos below show just some of the many failed attempts to get a decent photo, but also just some cute ones that we took along the way.  We were using a feather stick to try and get the kittens attention, but you’ll see that sometimes it failed to work, and sometimes it worked a little too well!

One of the early shots with the backing still fully in place
One of the early shots - note the crease-free background with tinsel draped along the back, but only sparingly on the base

One of the later shots once the backing was falling down
One of the later shots - kittens sitting in a pile of tinsel, and the backing falling down

The second shot we took
The second shot we took - Dàrna's two tinies were much too interested in the tinsel to bother looking at the feather stick

Maltech/Simba getting too close to the camera
Maltech/Simba deciding that the camera was the most interesting thing

Quinn pouncing on tinsel
Quinn trying to decide which bit of tinsel to pounce on first

Trying a different camera angle
We tried a different camera angle to see if that made it any easier - it didn't!

A kitten stack with Donny in the bottom eyeing up one of the baubles
A kitten stack with Donny in the bottom, eyeing up one of the baubles and licking his lips...

And he's got it!
...and attack! A successful capture that was accompanied by much growling!

Richard’s parents came up to stay with us over Christmas, and some of my relatives were joining us for Christmas dinner, making a party of 14 in total.  The day before Christmas Eve, the trip for the sockets in every room except the kitchen went faulty.  As a result, we had to run extension-leads around the house to power the Christmas lights and fish tank, but at least we had still had power in the kitchen and light throughout the house!  Dinner was very successful, and it was lovely to catch up with the family.

The table set for Christmas dinner
The table set for Christmas Dinner

The family enjoying the meal together
The family enjoying the meal together

Keela was still behaving as if she hated Shogun, squealing and hissing at him whenever we went into the room.  However, when I went up to see them on Christmas day, I found her sleeping curled up against his tummy.  As soon as she saw me, she jumped up and started hissing and growling at him again as if she hated him, but by then I knew that she was just putting it on for my benefit.  I checked her over, and discovered that her back nipples were just starting to show a slight flush.  By the start of January, the flush had extended into full pinking from back to front, so it looks like he has successfully mated her.

Hogmanay was my grandfather’s 80th birthday, so we stayed overnight with my family in the Crown Plaza hotel in Glasgow, and went to the black-tie gala dinner there.  This was another fantastic opportunity to catch up with family members, particularly my cousins who live in Guernsey, and another of my cousins who is about to move to Spain.  Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook will no doubt already have seen the sets of highly embarrassing photos one of my cousins later posted of me dancing!

Asian Group Cat Society Show

The night of the 2nd was extremely windy, and by the time we got up the next morning, four large trees had come down across our driveway.  It took us a couple of days to manage to get a tree surgeon out, and even then it took him two days just to cut us a route through the trees so that we could get the car out, and then he had to leave to get on with other jobs.  The remains of the trees are still waiting for them to have time to return!  By the time they were here for the second day, I was getting rather nervous, because we were due to be going to a show that weekend!

Fir trees down on the driveway
Looking down the driveway - the second tree is just visible in the background, but the third is hidden beyond that

The first show of 2012, as usual, was the Asian Group Cat Society, which takes place alongside the Short Hair Cat Society show.  This time, we took Annas for her 3rd Olympian, Dàrna for her 1st Imperial, Donny in the kitten classes, and Grace in her last show as a Pedigree Pet.  Cats in the Household Pet section must be neutered once they are six months old, so we won’t be able to show her again until after she has had her litter and been spayed.  On the way down to the show, we took Keela back to Anita’s, and also took a dropped off a girl who had been at stud with Elisabeth.

Annas scowling from her corner as usual
Annas scowling from her corner as usual

Dàrna with her Imperial certificate and rosette
Dàrna with her Imperial certificate and rosette

All four of our cats did well, both Annas and Dàrna winning their certificates, and Grace winning her Ped Pet class and Best of Colour out of five.  Anita and Robert were there with Cailin, who was looking beautiful, and won her kitten class, Best of Breed, and three 1sts in her side classes.

Grace doing another impression of her mummy
Grace doing another impression of her mummy and making it impossible to get a decent photo of her

Cailin in her pen covered in red
Cailin looking rather lovely in her pen, with her First Open rosette and her three 1st-place prize cards

Our star of the show was little Donny, who followed in his big sister Fi’s ‘paw-steps’, and went Best Kitten in the AGCS.

Donny in his Best Kitten pen
Donny peeking out of his Best Kitten pen - I can't believe it's a year since Fi was in there!

Sarndra Devereux having a good look at Donny
Sarndra Devereux, the Best in Show judge, having a good look at him

Sarndra judging Donny for Best in Show
Sarndra judging him for Best in Show. I love the expression on his face

Sarndra succumbing to his charms and having a cuddle
Sarndra succumbing to his charms and having a cuddle

We had arranged to collect our new stud boy, Kagura Apollo, from the show, and he only needed one more CC to make up to Champion.  As it was, he won the CC in both the AGCS and SHCS parts of the show, giving him the title plus a spare.  Elisabeth also had a good day in the SHCS part of the show, with Lucy winning her 2nd CC, and both her kittens winning their Open classes.  To top off the day, Dukey (Dushenka Duke Ellington) went overall Best Foreign!

Apollo sleeping in his pen
Apollo sleeping in his pen

Best Neuter was Teignage Sir Pouncealot, but Best Adult and Overall Best in Show was the beautiful Kagura Galadriel, so that’s two years in a row that a Kagura adult has been Overall Best in Show, and a Cagaran Best Kitten.

Teignage Sir Pouncealot being judged for Best in Show
Teignage Sir Pouncealot being judged for Best in Show

Steve Crow with the beautiful Kagura Galadriel, Best In Show exhibit
Steve Crow with his own-bred Kagura Galadriel, Best in Show exhibit

Not a bad day out, to take home between ourselves and Elisabeth, a Ped-Pet Best of Colour, two kitten Best of Breeds, a new Champion, another two CCs, an Imperial, an Olympian and two Best in Show awards!

Notts & Derbys Cat Club

Yesterday saw us heading down to the Notts & Derbys, which we didn’t get to last year, though Annas won one of her Imperials there back in 2010.  I can hardly believe it’s two years since we were ‘chasing’ Imps with her, and now here we were back to try for an Oly!

Annas actually looking at the camera for a change
Annas actually looking at the camera for a change - this is possibly the only show shot we've got of her looking interested!

We had entered Annas, Dàrna and Katie, and normally would have got our show stuff ready in the first half of last week.  However, I had a new employee up for his first week’s training, and Richard also had a busy week due to the wind bringing lots of fences down, so we didn’t get around to it until Friday evening.

When we got Katie’s vaccination card out of the drawer, we discovered that it hadn’t been filled in for her last vaccination.  I knew that she had been vaccinated with her 2011 (C-litter) kittens’ first vaccination, so we looked out the receipt, and sure enough, it shows a booster vaccination for ‘Katie’ and then the first vaccinations for her kittens.  However, she is obviously entered in a show as Rushbrooke Airgead Cagaran, not as ‘Katie’, so the receipt wouldn’t prove that she was vaccinated.  When we get the pink (registration) slips for our kittens, they come with a white copy for our records, so we photocopied the ones for the C-litter, to show that her kittens would have been the right age to be the ones whose vaccinations were recorded on the receipt.  I was going to use all of that, and hope that the show manager would allow us to take her in.  When we got up yesterday morning, however, she was pulling stupid faces and I decided that I couldn’t be bothered trying to argue her into the show hall, only to have her pull faces at the judge, so we left her at home with the Donny, Quinn and Gracie.

The lighting was so bright that you can actually see features on a photo of Annas
The lighting was so bright in the hall that you can actually make out features on a photo of Annas - it is amazingly difficult to take a decent photo of a self black cat!

Annas looked fantastic, but the competition was very steep in all the Olympian classes, and she didn’t place this time.  The certificate in her class went to the fabulous Mylward Sassafras, a Birman who is already a Bronze-level Olympian, meaning that this certificate counts towards her Silver Olympian title.  The Reserve went to Perri Hutchison’s (Irrep Burmese) gorgeous 11-year-old, chocolate tortie Burmese, Hypnos Tigerlily of Irrep.  I had the pleasure of handling her for the Breed class, and she was adorable!

Dàrna standing under her rosette
Dàrna looking gorgeous

In spite of not winning the Oly, Annas seems please with herself today, so she obviously feels that she did a good job.  She did win the Best of Breed, and also had good results in her sides, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd, in each case beating quality cats.  Dàrna also looked lovely, and won her second Imperial certificate, though the Best of Breed went to Diane Bunting’s (Xchardi Asians) beautiful own-bred girl, Xchardi Xsi Xsi, whom I loved as a kitten at the Humberside & Lincs show last summer.  Like Annas, Dàrna also won a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her side class, beating a couple of other cats each time.

Dàrna posing with her rosette
Dàrna posing with her certificate and rosette

As usual, Elisabeth travelled with us, and Lucy did well, winning her third and qualifying CC, making her up to Champion, as well as joining Annas and Dàrna’s 1-2-3 club and winning a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her sides, again beating good cats each time.  Karen Hettman was also there with Lucy’s Dad, Zach, who won another Imperial and a 1st and two 2nds in his sides, while her other boy, Stan, lost to Zach in the Imperial but won two 2nds in his sides.

New Stud Boy

Apollo is slowly settling in, though making sure that we are aware that he is no enamoured by the move!  He spends a lot of his time sitting on one particular log in the run, keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings, and starts shouting to us as soon as we go through the gate.  Whenever we leave the run, he immediately sniffs around the whole floor with a look of disgust, as if we’ve messed up his territory just by visiting.  He is very sweet, and absolutely gorgeous.  He looks very like Fiona, though his eye shape and muzzle are better than hers.  Both are apricot silver, and his dam is Fi’s half-sister, so it isn’t that surprising that they look alike.

We will be starting to take him out for his Grands soon, so watch this space!

Decisions Made

Kia has been calling a lot recently, but won’t be ready to go to stud for several months yet.  Since she was such a hopeless mother last time around, we have decided to have her spayed.  A lovely couple from Glasgow have been waiting over a year for an Ocicat or Ocicat Classic from us, but we only had the Ocicat Variant litter last year, so there wasn’t anything for them.  They had absolutely fallen in love with Kia when they visited us, and she seemed to like them, so having decided to spay her, I contacted them to ask if they would be interested in her instead of a kitten.  Sheona and a friend came to visit last weekend, and loved her just as much as last time, so she will be going to live with Sheona and Bruce after the spay.

Donny looking handsome
Donny looking handsome

Since Kia is going in to be spayed, it seemed sensible to finally decide which of Dàrna’s last kittens we are going to keep, and have the other one neutered at the same time.  Originally I said that we would make the decision after seeing what the judges thought of the two at the West of Scotland show back at the start of December.  I’ve been putting it off ever since, because although Donny has the better overall type, and was the favourite with the judges, Quinn is probably my personal favourite – she’s just so cute!  She’s the one who jumps up onto the bed in the morning, and tries to snuggle down for a cuddle.  She also makes me laugh with her insistence when she thinks it’s time for her to be fed.

Quinn demanding her breakfast - isn't she adorably funny?

Over the past few days, however, I’ve looked at what matings we might like to do in the next couple of years, and Donny does fit better into those plans.  He is still absolutely adorable, and is definitely Richard’s preference – he’s been trying to persuade me to re-home her since the middle of last month.  Donny has also been Elisabeth’s favourite since they were teeny-tinies, so she’ll be delighted.  Annas also adores Donny, and is regularly found cuddling-up with him, or playing hide-seek-and-chase games behind, on, off, over and under the bedroom furniture.  I took the photo this morning (using my phone), and if it wasn’t so rubbish, you’d be able to see a little patch of tousled fur next to Annas’ paw, where she had obviously been licking Donny’s back before I came into the room.  It’s therefore only me who hates the idea of re-homing Quinn – I’m dreading having to see her going off with someone else!

Annas placing a proprietorial paw on Donny
Annas placing a proprietorial paw on Donny

She’ll make someone an adorable pet, or if we’re lucky, a lovely show neuter, because then I’d still get to see her occasionally.  Her coat has improved dramatically, and although still a little long, it now has a lovely silky texture.  Her tortie markings also mean that she’ll get away with murder with the judges!  Her smoking is undoubtedly better than her brother’s, because you can’t see it at all until you part her coat, and then you can see the silvering underneath.

Quinn showing off her tortie smoke colouring
Quinn showing off her tortie smoke colouring - the only place you can see the silver undercoat is on her shoulder, where the fur is parting slightly

I’m not going to start advertising her for sale until after she’s been spayed.  I think once that’s done I might find it a bit easier because I know she can’t be part of our breeding plans.  That may well be total wishful-thinking, but I can hope!

Quinn looking stunning
Quinn looking stunning!
I hadn't noticed the little pink bit on her nose until we took this photo!

Thinking Ahead for 2012

Fi is still up with Shogun, and still refusing to co-operate with his attempts to mate her.  She has, however, been sick a few times in the past week, which although unpleasant, might actually be a good sign: she’s out of Dàrna, who suffers from morning sickness!  All we can do is cross our fingers and keep checking her for signs of pinking-up.

I haven’t quite decide exactly what we’re doing with the other girls this year, and to some extent it depends how Donny develops.  If he looks like being an early starter, I would hold Katie back to mate to him at the back end of the summer, in which case Dàrna would be going to Apollo.  If Donny looks like he won’t be ready to work until the end of the year, I’ll put Katie to Apollo.  Dàrna could then go down to Annas’ brother, Charlie, who is the only link I can find to Annas’ Dam’s line (Annas and Katie have the same sire so we already have that line), and I am therefore keen to keep a kitten from him.  I’m also hoping to bring in a Tiffanie girl from a different line this year, to give us more flexibility in choosing who to mate to Donny (at present we only have Katie, plus his sister and his Dam).

Aside from the Asians, we will be completing our Ocicat outcross by taking Grace to an Ocicat stud.  Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn Ocicats) has suggested her cinnamon boy, Curry, who has a lovely strong head and would therefore be a good mate for her.  We also have the option to use Anita’s (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) young chocolate silver boy, Chippie, but we will need to see how he develops before we know if he would be a good mate.  Both boys are Ocicats carrying classic, so either mating could give us a mixed litter of ticked (Variant), spotted (Ocicat) and classic (Ocicat Classic) kittens!

Gorgeous Grace looking very mature
Gorgeous Grace looking very mature for her six months

Of course sod’s law probably means we’ll have to change all of our plans due to something unforeseen at the moment, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…

West of Scotland Show & Another Win for Cailin

We had a fantastic day at the West of Scotland, bringing home a new Intermediate Champion, a Reserve Imperial, an Imperial, an Olympian certificate and four Best of Breed/Best in Colour awards, as well as having won Best Foreign Adult and Best in Show Non-Pedigree. Shogun also picked up a CC and Best of Breed, Foghorn/Rilla won Best Pedigree Pet Kitten, and Lainni won the first Cagaran Grand certificate! To top off the weekend, Anita got in touch to tell us that Cailin had won Best in Show New Breed at a FIFé show.

Last weekend was a good weekend for the Cagaran Cats.  Saturday was the silver anniversary (25th) show of the West of Scotland Cat Club, of which both Richard and I are on the committee.  We took Friday afternoon off work to help set up the show hall, and had been shopping earlier in the week to get some silver clothing to dress up for the silver theme.  We always like to support the Scottish shows by entering as many cats as we can afford, but since this was a special show (and therefore more expensive to run), we agreed to enter even more than we usually would!  A couple of our previous kittens were also there with their new owners, making a total of three Cagarans in the main Pedigree section and one in the Household Pets.  Unfortunately the lighting in the hall was very yellow, so most of my photos either didn’t come out or came out a horrible yellow colour!

Donny and Quinn were there, in the kitten classes, and completely took it in their stride.  Quinn was a little unsure to begin with, but very sweet about it, and Donny was just fantastic, rolling around on his back to get his tummy stroked, and snuggling his face into your hand when you reached into the pen.  Both won first in their Open class, and he took Best of Breed over his sister.

Donny behaving just like his Mummy!
Donny behaving just like his Mummy - almost impossible to get a decent photo...

Quinn posing beautifully
..while his sister poses beautifully!

Shogun’s owner (Sarah Davidson, Karakoram Burmese & Asians) and his breeders (Kagura Asians & Burmese) had all agreed that we could try him out at a couple of shows, so we took him along to the West.  Since he is four, and hasn’t been shown since he was a tiny kitten, we weren’t sure how he would take to it, but he was an absolute star.  He was a little bit wide-eyed initially, but once he’d been stroked for a few minutes, he settled down and sat in his pen looking regal, with an expression that said “Yes, I am a God, and you may worship me”.  He looked very handsome, and won his CC and Best of Breed!

Annas was up for her second Olympian certificate, looked gorgeous.  As always, she was beautifully behaved and was awarded the certificate in a competitive class.

Annas with her huge Olympian rosette
Annas with her huge Olympian rosette

Since Kia had picked up Intermediate certificates at both Yorkshire and the Ulster, we decided to take her along for her third, and qualifying certificate.  This she won, along with Best of Breed and lots of praise from the judges for both her lovely head and her temperament.

Kia’s daughter, Foghorn, is now called Rilla, and her owners brought her along for a shot in the Pedigree Pet section, like we did with Grace over in Ireland.  When the judge first visited her pen, she tried to dive onto the floor as soon as the door was opened, and then got a bit of a fright being bundled back in.  Thankfully, the judge visited her again later in the day, once she had calmed down again, and she not only won her first and Best of Colour, but went on to be awarded Best Pedigree Pet Kitten, so her owners were delighted!

Rilla sitting in her litter tray
Rilla looking obstinate and sitting in her litter tray - you can just see the edge of her Best of Variety card on the top of her pen

Lona brought Lainni along to try for her first Grand certificate, which she won.  This is the first Grand certificate for our prefix.  Much to Lona’s delight, Lainni then went on to best Annas for Best of Breed – not bad for a kitten of our prefix to be beating a UK & Imperial Grand!!

Like her babies, Dàrna also had a good day, winning Best of Breed and the Reserve Imperial.  I was working on the table at the show, managing the Best of Variety and Best in Show paperwork.  The first stage of this is taking all the Best of Breed results and transcribing them onto the sheets for the Best of Variety Adult, Kitten and Neuter judges, so I knew which of our cats had been awarded Best of Breed.  I then received those sheets back in, and had to copy the winners of each of those onto a new set of sheets for the Overall Best of Variety judges.  As I filled in the Best Foreign Adult result, I copied over pen: “161”, gender: “F”, date of birth: “26/02/09” and then started to write breed number “68 43hsq”, but only got half way through writing it before registering that Dàrna was the only Tiffanie of her colour in the show, and that she had therefore gone Best Foreign Adult!  This was her first win at that level, and although surprised due to the quality of the cats she had beaten, we were obviously delighted.

Dàrna being a total pain to photograph as usual
Dàrna being a total pain to photograph, as usual

Once again, though, our star of the show was Jinny, who won the Imperial certificate, Best of Colour and first in all of her side classes, and then went on to win Best in Show Non-Pedigree again!  She always looks so gorgeous up there in the top pen, and takes the whole thing in such a laid back manner that it is almost impossible to believe how terrified she was of everything when we got her.  The thought of the progress she has made can still bring tears to my eyes.  We came away with a trophy and a lovely stack of catty prizes including food, a bed and a covered litter tray, which is always useful!

Jinny looking lovely in her BIS Pen
Jinny looking lovely in her BIS pen - we were allowed to use the camera flash for this one, so the disgusting yellow is banished!

The following day, I received a text from Anita giving me the wonderful news that Cailin had once again gone Best in Show New Breed at a FIFé show.  The judge this time was from Switzerland, and was apparently so delighted with her that he had her out for about 15 minutes (they’re only supposed to take two or three minutes) and kept taking photographs to show the other judges back on the continent.  Anita had her new Ocicat stud boy, Chippy, at the show as well, and Anita said that Cailin was fantastic at calming his nerves.  Aside from being delighted for Anita, I’m also really pleased that little Cailin is proving such a brilliant ambassador for the Tiffanie breed in FIFé, where they are not currently recognised.  Congratulations Anita, and long may she continue doing so!

Cailin with Chippy in their Christmas-themed decorated pen
Cailin with Chippy in their Christmas-themed decorated pen

Cailin being held up by the judge
Cailin being held up by the judge

Cailin being judged on the table
Cailin being judged on the table

Cailin waiting in her Best in Show nominees pen to hear the results
Cailin waiting to hear the Best in Show results in her nominee's pen

Cailin being announced as the overall winner
Cailin being announced as the overall Best New Breed winner

Catching Up

Most of the kittens have gone to their new homes, as has Tármus. Cailin had a spectacular day at the Fifé Winners Show, and our lot had good days at both the Yorkshire and the Ulster shows. We will soon hopefully have kittens on the way from Fiona…

Wow, it’s been almost two months since my last update, and plenty has moved on since then.  You’ll be glad to know that everything is fine, though, and the reason for the delay is simply that we’ve been ridiculously busy!

Yorkshire Show

We took three cats to Yorkshire this year: Kia, Grace and Cailin.

Kia showing her lovely head
Kia's lovely head

Kia demonstrating a beautiful Classic pattern
Kia modelling a beautiful Classic pattern

Kia was up for her first Intermediate certificate, which she won, along with Best of Breed, and Cailin also won her Best of Breed and first in her kitten class.  She was nearly awarded Best of Variety kitten, but after several minutes of debating, the judges decided that they weren’t certain enough that we had her colour correctly registered, and so decided not to risk it.  She is registered as a full-expression chocolate silver ticked, but her markings are so dark that the judges wondered if she might actually be a brown burmese restriction silver ticked instead.  I was obviously disappointed that she didn’t get it, but it’s still good to know that they considered her type good enough to bother arguing over the colour!  Grace was just in the ped pets, because she can’t go into competition in the pedigree section due to being a variant.  Both kittens (and Kia, actually), were absolutely fantastic with the judges, giving them cuddles and purrs, which is always lovely to see!

Cailin in her pen with her rosettes
Cailin with her rosettes

Grace sleeping amongst her prize cards
Grace sleeping amongst her prize cards

As is often the case, we had Elisabeth and her cats with us, but this time also Karen Hettman and her cats.  Once again, Zach had a fantastic day, winning the Imperial and then Best of Breed and finally Best Foreign Neuter again!

Zach looking handsome with his rosettes and prize cards
Zach looking handsome with his rosettes and prize cards

Anita drove up from Rugby to meet us at the show, and she took Cailin home from there.  Within a few hours, she was completely settled in and sleeping curled up with Anita’s new baby Ocicat boy, who is only a couple of weeks older than she is.  Keela wasn’t too sure what to make of the newcomer, because Keela has always been Anita’s baby, but Cailin is straight onto Anita’s lap the minute she sits down.  Keela seems to be coming around, though, and if our experience of Tiffs is anything to go by, they will end up being the best of friends.

Dàrna’s Kittens

Dàrna’s kittens had their first vaccinations the week after that, so we had to choose names to be able to put something on their vaccination cards!  The girl’s pet name is Quinn, short for Harlequin, due to the pattern on her face.  She is a typical naughty tortie, so her pedigree name is Dòrlach, which is gaelic for ‘handful’.  The boy’s pedigree name is Deathach-Donn, which is gaelic for brown smoke, and his pet name is Donny, from the latter part of his name.  I’m hoping that he does indeed turn out to be a brown smoke, rather than just a brown, or his name is going to look pretty silly!!  Both kittens are growing well, and at a bit over 11 weeks, are 1.25 and 1.15kg, which is pretty well bang-on the expected weight.

Donny and Quinn playing with Grace

Ulster Show

The first weekend this month saw us heading over to Belfast for the Ulster show, which involved a slightly crazy 26-hour round-trip, leaving our house at about 23:30 on the Friday, and getting back at about 01:30 on the Sunday morning.  Like last year, we had Kate Ekanger and Elisabeth with us, but this time we also had Karen’s two Russian boys instead of one of Sarah Davidson’s lot.

Kia looking very laid back in her pen
Kia looking very laid back in her pen at the show

Grace lolling in her pen
Grace proving that she is her mother's daughter

We had a great day, with Kia winning her second Intermediate and Best of Breed, Grace winning first in her Ped Pet class, and Best of Colour, then going on to be chosen as overall Best Household Pet, and Annas winning her Best of Breed and the first Olympian certificate ever awarded to a Tiffanie!  Kate’s two both won their respective classes and their Best of Breeds, and Karen’s boys won the Reserve Imperial and the Imperial, and in the case of Zach, also the Best of Breed and then Best Foreign Neuter!  Some of our friends also had a very successful day, with their boy Coen (Glendavan Roderick-Jaynes) winning his fifth and qualifying Olympian, to make him the first ever shorthair Olympian.  The star of the show, though, was Elisabeth’s little Lucy (Zach’s daughter), who won her class and Best of Breed, then went on to take first Best Foreign Kitten, then overall Best Foreign, and finally overall Best in Show!

Annas scowling in her pen
Annas with her Olympian and Best of Breed rosettes

Elisabeth and Lucy at the Best in Show pens
Elisabeth holding Lucy after her Best in Show win

Maltech’s New Home

Maltech was neutered the week after my last post, and I took him to his new home the day after the Ulster show.  He is now living with a lovely family in Bridge of Allan, and is to be called Simba, after the Lion King, which it suits him perfectly!  Since Maltech/Simba and Tármus had become close, and she was being bullied by Xaria, we asked if his owners would be interested in taking the two of them, and after meeting her, they agreed.  The wee girl whom he is living with had a toy snake on a stick, and she and Simba ran around playing together the entire time I was at their house.  Tármus was less sure of herself, and just sat on the sofa with one of her new owners stroking her.  When it came time for me to leave, Simba was so busy playing that I didn’t even get a second glance, but when I went over to stroke Tármus, she rolled over onto her side and immediately started purring, which set me off into floods of tears.  I’m sure it’s the right thing to do for her, but it doesn’t make saying goodbye a great deal easier.

Maltech cuddled up next to me in bed on the day he left
Maltech cuddling up to me in bed on his last morning with us

Cailin’s Win

That evening, I had a very excited phone call from Anita, telling me that she had manage to get a last minute pass to take little Cailin to the Fifé Winners Show (Fifé being an alternative to the GCCF), and that she had only gone and won overall Best in Show New Breed!  I knew that Anita was planning to take Cailin on exhibition, but she hadn’t told us that she had managed to get her into competition.  The show’s organisers had made an exception this year, to allow kittens between four and six months to enter the show without qualifying, whereas all other exhibits had to have qualified at a previous show.  Little Cailin was too young to have managed to qualify, but she delighted the judges and their decision to have her as Best in Show was unanimous!  I am absolutely delighted for Anita!

Cailin being judged at the FiFe Winners Show
Cailin being judged at the FiFe Winners Show

Cailin being held up as the BIS Winner
Cailin being held up as the BIS Winner

As a random aside, alongside the photos from the Winners Show, Anita also sent me some photos of Cailin and Keela at home, which I thought you might like to see.

Cailin exploring in Anita's secure garden
Cailin exploring outside and loving every minute

Cailin looking gorgeous on the wall
Anita has a secure garden where they can play in safety

Keela trying her Houdini act on the fence
Keela trying her Houdini act

Keela on her first birthday
Keela on her first birthday

Supreme

We then had a couple of weeks off before the Supreme, where we had Annas on exhibition for the Asian Group Cat Society and Bombay & Asian Self Clubs.  We also had Xaria up for her second UK Grand certificate, and Dàrna along because I wanted a pen to put pretty pictures of our kittens on top of!  As it happens, the judge debated for ages over whether to give her the Best of Breed, which he didn’t do in the end, but just the fact that he considered it made me very happy!  Both girls placed second in their UK classes, which was better than I thought Dàrna might manage, but rather disappointing with Xaria.

Darna in her pen at the Supreme
Dàrna with her pen topper showing photos of our cats - the real reason she was taken to the Supreme!
Xaria in her pen at the Supreme
Xaria in her pen

Keela was also there, and placed third in a class of five lovely girls, which wasn’t too bad.  I also got to meet Luna, who is almost a full sister to our first litter – she has the same sire, and her dam is a full sister of Katie’s.  Luna looks very like Lainni, which isn’t surprising given their pedigrees!

What’s Next?

Fiona is due for mating, and since we were so pleased with Cailin and her brother, we decided to take Fi to their sire, Kagura Shogun.  Unfortunately, Sarah has had someone ask if she can take back a cat that she sold a while ago, due to a change in their circumstances, and she was trying to decide where to put this other cat.  We came up with the solution that we have Shogun ‘on loan’, so that she can use his pen to house the returning cat, and since he has never sprayed, we are able to have him in our spare room and let him mate Fi in the comfort of her own home!  She’s not keen on strange cats, so we weren’t sure what the introduction would be like, but she must fancy him, because there wasn’t even a hiss, and she started flirting within him almost as soon as they were introduced.  We also have Keela here at the moment, having brought her back from the Supreme so that she could go to him as well!

Hopefully both girls will soon have kittens on the way, which would be the first generation born to a Cagaran parent…

Kitten Update: 14 Weeks, 13 Weeks and 7 Weeks

The kittens have continued to do well, and are all looking lovely. Cannach and Foghorn have gone to their new homes, Cailin has a new home to go to, but Maltech now needs a different home. Our cats had a good day at the Ocicat and RBBA shows, and I have enjoyed stewarding at both the North West and the Cumberland, though we didn’t have any cats of our own entered.

Once again, it’s been over three weeks since my last update, because things are still very busy in the ‘Cagaran Household’.  We’ve both been caught up at work, and had a family funeral to attend down in Devon, then on top of that, we’ve attended three/four shows, so there hasn’t been much spare time!

Kittens

Katie’s kittens were vaccinated a couple of days after I last posted, and Cannach was neutered the week after that, then went to his new home a few days later.  He seems to have settled in nicely, and is getting on with the older Asian neuters that his family own, as well as cuddling up with the family themselves.

The two litters together
All five kittens cuddling up before Cannach went off to his new home

His sister is not going to be going where we thought she was, because her intended owner visited another breeder and fell in love with one particular kitten there.  Sometimes a kitten chooses their owner, rather than the other way around, and that can make for a really strong bond, so I advised Pippa to pay attention to that.

I had shown photos of the kittens to my friend Anita (who has Keela, from Dàrna’s first litter), and when I mentioned that I was going to have to look for a new home for the girl, Anita asked if she could have her.  I wasn’t expecting Anita to want her, so was a bit taken aback, but absolutely delighted.  They weren’t keen on the pedigree name, and the registration documents were just being sent off, so I gave Anita the choice, and the girl is actually going to be Cagaran Cailin-Anizz, Anizz being Anita’s prefix.  Cailin is gaelic for ‘Damsel’, but is a pretty name in its own right, and is going to be her pet name as well.  Cailin has come on an absolute treat, and is so promising that I am starting to wish that we were keeping her ourselves!

Cailin showing her beautiful 'Burmese scowl'
Cailin showing her beautiful 'Burmese scowl'

Cailin having just woken up
Cailin looking sleepy having just been woken up

Kia’s kittens had their second vaccinations last week, and were thirteen weeks old yesterday.  We dropped Foghorn off at her new home, and as always, it was lovely to watch her exploring her new room, and then playing with her new family.  She will be sleeping in their spare bedroom to begin with, and the ‘kids’ (a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old) are going to take it in turns to sleep with her.  Her new family wanted to understand everything that we do with the kittens, including clipping of claws, and microchipping, which are both things that we normally do where nobody else is watching.  I was quite nervous doing them with an audience for the first time, but little Foghorn was beautifully behaved and didn’t even squeak when the needle went through her skin!

Foghorn looking lovely
Foghorn looking beautiful but very Abyssinian!
The three Ocis in a bed
The three Ocis: Maltech (left), Foghorn (front), and Grace (right)

Maltech’s intended owner has unfortunately lost her job, and as a result she cannot take on the responsibility and cost of looking after another cat.  I have therefore started the process of looking for an alternative home for him.  I will be having him neutered this week, and it’s not a moment too soon, because he’s already getting interested in Katie and Fiona!  He and Grace are the most adorable pair of rascals, tearing around the room with Fi and then rushing up to rub against you and purr.

Maltech
Maltech looking like he is up to something

Dàrna’s kittens are developing beautifully, and I am delighted to say that both are now looking distinctly smokey!  They are little monkeys at the moment, rushing about and getting into all sorts of mischief, just as their Burmese ancestors are famous for.  Whenever you walk into the kitten room, they come running over and climb onto your feet, clinging to your ankles.  Richard calls them the ‘foot gremlins’, as a result.  My parents looked after the kittens for us while we were down in Devon for the funeral, and I couldn’t help but laugh listening to my Dad trying to deal with being rushed by the babies!  We took an absolute stack of photos yesterday, so I couldn’t resist sharing a selection here:

Both kittens together
Both kittens together - I love the girl's look of grudging tolerance!
The girl from the side
This shows off the girl's lovely little nose and beautiful break
The girl looking cute
The tortie markings are more obvious on her right side than her left
Dàrna cleaning her daughter
Dàrna cleans her daughter - this reminds me of the scene in Disney's'The Lion King', when Simba says "Mom, you're messing up my mane"
The boy chewing his paw
The boy looking utterly adorable, chewing on his own paw

The boy lying on his back looking cute
The boy lying on his back looking cute - he had just finished attempting to bite Richard's fingers and catch the camera lens in his paws

The boy showing his stunning profile
Profile shot of the boy showing his gorgeous break, short nose and rounded head
The boy looking gorgeous
The boy looking gorgeous

Shows

The weekend after my last update, we took Elisabeth down to the North West show, which we couldn’t actually enter ourselves because we wanted to support the Ocicat show the following weekend.  Instead, I was given a stewarding engagement with a Dutch judge, who was my first experience of working with a foreign judge, and was an excellent test of my awareness of the system etc.

The following weekend was both the Ocicat and the RBBA (Russian Blue) shows, and the two were in venues about an hour apart.  Elisabeth borrowed Karen Hettman’s two boys again, and we dropped her off at the RBBA with them and Xazzle, so she had three cats of her breeding, but none of them actually owned by her!  Zach was the star of the day, winning the Imperial (on his first try), and also Best Male Neuter.

We couldn’t take Kia to the Oci show, because her kittens were born too recently (they must have been born at least 12 weeks previously), so we could only take our neuters along to support the club.  Breckin won her first Grand certificate, and Tármus had her first time out in the Pedigree Pet section, winning her first Master Cat certificate and Best of Colour, bless her!  As always, she loved the attention and I was reminded of how enjoyable she is to show.

Breckin with her rosettes
Breckin with her rosettes

Tarmus taking a quick break from eating!
Tármus looking thoughtful

Last weekend was the Cumberland show, and again we couldn’t enter our own cats because of having shown the previous week.  Instead, I was stewarding for Ann Gregory, and we were obviously giving Elisabeth a lift with her cats.  Ann is the only all-breed judge in the GCCF, and very well respected, so I was a bit nervous in case I made any mistakes.  The day went well, however, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Our pick of the day was a most beautiful blue Burmese who had Ann and I in raptures for several minutes.  That girl went on to win Overall Best Burmese, so we obviously weren’t the only ones who thought she was stunning.  Our friends, the Miskellys (Glendavan Abyssinians and Ragdolls), who own the sire of Kia’s kittens, also had a fantastic day, with the beautiful Coen (Glendavan Roderick-Jaynes) winning overall Best in Show!

Dàrna with her daughter and Cailin
Dàrna with her daughter and Cailin

Kitten Updates – Eleven, Nine and Four Weeks, and another Cagaran title!

The kittens are all doing well, with the oldest ones almost ready to go to their new homes. I attended my first meeting of the Asian BAC, and we had a good day at the Scotia show.

The past three weeks have been ridiculously busy.  I started this blog post when it was titled ‘Nine, Seven and One Week’, then updated it and changed the title to ‘Ten, Eight and Two Weeks’, then ‘Eleven, Nine and Three Weeks’, and now finally the current title!  I’ve managed to get a few words down each time, but didn’t have a chance to pull some photos together until earlier this week, and then couldn’t get half of them to upload, grrrr.  So… hope it’s worth the wait!

All three litters are doing well, and the older kittens are now the best of friends.  To watch them playing, you would think they were littermates, chasing around like a herd of elephants, and pouncing on eachother.  For the past couple of weeks they have had our Tiffanie neuter, Annas, as company as well, to help them get used to other adult cats.  The kittens were, however, completely unphased by her presence, though she spent the first week or so scowling at them from the windowledge, and only jumping down when she thought they were asleep, to scoff some of their food!

Four of the kittens together
Two of the Ocis and the two Tiffs on the bed

Two of our good friends came up to stay with us over the first weekend this month, and spent lots of time playing with the kittens.  It was great to see how well the kittens responded to meeting strangers and being handled.  Tracy and Gary came up to visit when we had kittens last year, so whether they come up to visit us or the kittens would be an interesting matter for debate!  Mind you, we’ve also stayed at their house with kittens in tow – the last time they saw any of our kittens was when we stayed at their house the night before the AGCS show back in January, with Tabh, B-B and Fiona.  They were amazed to see how grown-up Fi now is, and she was all over them giving cuddles!

Katie’s Kittens

Katie’s two had their first vaccinations over a fortnight ago now, and are booked to have their second on Friday of this week.  Katie was due her booster at the same time, so we took her with the kittens, and she spent her time trying to snuggle under them to hide, whilst they just sat there peering out at everything going on around them, totally unconcerned.

They now have pedigree names, and I will be sending the registration documents into the GCCF this week.  As usual, the names are gaelic, and will have our prefix, Cagaran, on the front, and since these kittens are our third Tiff/Asian litter, they begin with ‘C’.  At the moment the boy has the same name for both pedigree and pet, which is Cannach, pronounced Kanach (-ch as in loch) and meaning ‘Mild’, since he is a sweet wee man.  The girl’s owner had contacted me fairly early on, so I was able to give her a choice of names, and she picked Càirdeas, which is pronounced Kyrstas (-ky as in sky) and means ‘Friendship’, due to the way that she welcomed the Oci kittens when they were put in with her as newborns.  We are using Kirsty as a pet name, but her owner is probably going to change that once they get to know eachother better.

Kirsty looking gorgeous
Kirsty looking gorgeous whilst sleepy

Pippa, whom Kirsty will be living with, has had neutered Burmese until now, and loves their temperament, but prefers the flowing Tiffanie coat.  She is considering breeding Tiffs, so she came up to visit us, and she and I got on really well.  She loved the look of Kirsty, who has developed beautifully (as has her brother!), so she will be joining Pippa’s Burmese neuter from around the end of the month.

A week past yesterday, we drove up to Aberdeenshire to see the family whom Cannach will be going to live with.  They have two female Asian neuters (who are rather nice!) and until recently had a Burmese boy who was an ex stud boy.  Unfortunately, he died a couple of months ago, and they have been missing having a boy around, so we took Cannach up so that they could meet him.  We took Kirsty as well, to keep him company, and the two travelled together beautifully.  They had a little tub of litter in the back of their basket, and both used that on the journey.  When we got to the house, the two daughters got the kittens out of their basket and gave them a cuddle, then they put them on the sofa, where they promptly curled up with the girls’ Dad.  Since Cannach is actually to be a birthday present for him, that was quite a smart move on the part of the kittens!  Thankfully, the family were delighted with the wee lad (who is not so wee now, actually, at 1.25kg!), and decided that they would like him, so he will be going up there at the start of next month, after he has been neutered.

Cannach looking up at the camera
Cannach looking up at a feather stick held just off to the side of the camera

Cannach's cute little nose
Cannach's cute little nose - not perfect, but not bad either!

Kia’s Kittens

The Oci kittens had their first vaccinations on Friday of last week, so can now start ‘entertaining’ potential owners.  I’ve had a fair bit of interest in them, which is a relief, because I was really worried that nobody would want the Variants.  Whether any of the homes will come off, I have no idea, but at least there is some interest.  The two girls now look much more like their brother than they did when they were younger, and I’m really pleased with the way they are turning out.  All three are a really good size, being well over 1kg already, and Maltech is absolutely enormous, at over 1.2kg!

Grace showing the first hint of the square Oci muzzle
Grace starting to show signs of having a square Oci muzzle

We have chosen names for them as well as the Tiff kittens, but decided to run the Oci litters separately and have therefore gone back to ‘A’ for their names.  We’ve used up some of the difficult to spell and pronounce names with this litter: since they are Variants and therefore cannot be shown, there is no chance of a poor show manager having to pronounce their names!  The boy is Aomáilteach, which is pronounced ‘Oomaltech’ (-ch as in loch) and means ‘Mischievous’, with a pet name of Maltech or Mal.  The first of the Oci girls is Altachdainn, which is pronounced Altachd-eye and means ‘Grace’, and Grace is her pet name.  The second Oci girl is Adhairc, which is pronounced Aghurk (-gh is similar to ch at the end of loch, but more gutteral) and means ‘Foghorn’, since that’s what she’s been known as since the start, though she’s a lot quieter now that she’s older.

Foghorn looking much more grown-up
Foghorn looking very grown-up

We will be keeping Grace, and I’m hoping that we have a pet home lined up for Maltech.  Foghorn has two potential owners, because she had been booked to go to a couple down south, but they have had some financial issues, so aren’t sure if they can afford to look after another cat at the moment.  If they are not having her, then she is possibly going to live in Edinburgh with a family who used to have an Abyssinian, and have recently relocated from America.  They have held off having a cat since their Aby died several years ago, because they knew that they would be moving at some point, but now that they have completed the move they want to add a cat to their family again.  They couldn’t decide between an Abyssinian and an Ocicat, so our ‘Ocabys’ would be the perfect compromise.  We have them coming to visit this evening, so we’ll see what the kittens think of them!

Maltech looking adorable
Maltech thinking about pouncing on the camera!

Dàrna’s Kittens

Mum and babies
Dàrna with the babies

Dàrna’s babies had their eyes fully opened by the time they were ten days old, and are now pouncing on each other and starting to play.  We rearranged their pen at the weekend, to add a litter tray and a dish of food, so that they can start to make use of those when they are ready.  Dàrna is still determined to have the kittens anywhere other than where they are supposed to be, and has moved them to every bed, basket and cubby-hole in the kitten room, including (of course) the ‘human’ bed.  Her current favourite location for them is in a little basket in the corner of the room, sandwiched between a chest of drawers and the wall.  Every time I go into the room I move them back into the pen, so that they have the litter tray and food nearby, and every time we go back into the room, she has moved them again.  Last year we eventually gave up and let her keep them in the middle of the floor (which is where she had chosen for last year’s litter), but for the time-being, I am trying not to let her win again this year!

The boy looking adorable
The boy looking adorable

Both kittens are developing beautifully, with lovely short muzzles, rounded heads and good nose-breaks.  The boy is starting to develop ghost-markings on his face, so I’m hoping that means that he is a smoke.  I saw Tommy Goss (one of the owners of Fi’s sire) at a BAC (Breed Advisory Committee) meeting yesterday, and he thought the boy looked like a smoke in the pictures I had, so fingers very crossed.  The girl has always looked paler down her sides, but whether that is just due to the tortie or actually that she is silver as well, I am not sure yet.  They are definitely a brown and a brown tortie, but beyond that we’ll just have to wait and see!

The girl looking evil
Look at that face - she's going to be a right little demon!

Other News

The weekend before the one just gone saw us heading down to the North East of England to run Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russian Blues) to the Northern Counties show.  We took the opportunity of heading in that general direction to pay a visit to friends who are moving to Australia next month, so going all that way to take someone else to a show wasn’t as daft as people suggested!  Elisabeth had a really good day, with her little Russian girl, Lucy, taking Best Foreign Kitten again!  Our friend Olive Holt (Nemorez Asians and Burmese) also had a good day, winning Best Burmese Adult with the little Burmese boy whom I took down to her from Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese and Asians) back in the spring.

On the Saturday just gone, we were a bit closer to home, at the Scotia show in Milngavie, just outside Glasgow.  Our pedigrees are mostly ‘tied up’ with kitten duties at the moment, so we took the two mogs (Jinny and Ali) and decided to pop Annas out as well, since she had been looking longingly at the baskets whenever we were taking the others to shows recently.  Sure enough, she seemed quite content to be back out on the bench, though Jinny was our star, taking Best Non-Pedigree again (the highest award available at the Scotia).  Annas took the Best of Breed over her little niece, Lainni (Katie’s daughter from last year – Cagaran Asgaidh-Àlainn), who did us proud, winning her 3rd and qualifying PC – a second title for the Cagaran prefix, yay!  Lainni’s ‘stable-mate’, Gus (a half-brother of our first Aby, Gealbhan) also had a good day, winning his second Olympian certificate.  The Abys had a pretty good day, actually, with Coen (Glendavan Leonidas) winning his third Olympian, and Abys going Best Foreign Neuter and Best Foreign Adult.  The Best Foreign Kitten award went to Dushenka Carabella, who was bred by Elisabeth, but is owned by other friends, the Pontellos (Pontaby Abyssinians, and soon Russians as well!).

Sunday was also an interesting day, being my first meeting with the Asian BAC (Breed Advisory Committee), which you may remember that I was voted onto at the AGCS committee meeting back in the summer.  I flew down to Stansted in the morning, where I was collected by Steve Crow and Tommy Goss (who had already collected Carolyn Clark), and they kindly ran me to the meeting and back again, afterwards.  I wasn’t sure what the meeting itself was going to be like, because you have multiple potentially ‘rival’ views coming together, but everyone was professional and civil, and I found it an enjoyable experience.  I’m already looking forward to many more…

First Cagaran Title and More Kittens

Dàrna’s kittens have arrived, and the older kittens continue to do well. Fiona won her third and qualifying CC at the Teesside show, giving us our first Cagaran title.

It’s been about ten days since my last update, and things have certainly moved on in that time. Katie’s kittens are almost eight weeks, Kia’s are six and Dàrna’s were born on Wednesday of last week as expected.  We also had an exciting day on Saturday, at the Teesside show…

Teesside Show – First Cagaran Title

Fiona with her CC
Beautiful Fiona with her CC

We have a bit of a soft spot for the Teesside, both because it was the first all-bred show we did (with Annas, three years ago), and because they were the club who sponsored our prefix application.  It therefore seems somehow fitting that it should be the Teesside that witnessed the first title for that prefix – little Fiona won her third CC, making her officially Champion Cagaran Beannachd-Fionn!!  Breckin also had a good day, winning her third and qualifying PC, making her now a Premier as well as the Champion title that she won before being spayed.  Elisabeth had a good day as well, with Zach winning his Grand Title, then going Best Foreign Neuter again, and one of her kittens receiving a Best in Show nomination!

Breckin with her rosette and BOB plaque
Breckin with her 1st Open rosette and Best Of Breed plaque

Elisabeth's Basil
Eilsabeth's Basil looking handsome, with his rosettes and plaque

Dàrna’s Kittens

We were expecting Dàrna’s kittens around the middle of last week, and sure enough she delivered bang on  schedule.  Unfortunately, she did indeed only have two.  Earlier in the year we treated all three girls for an infection, but the only treatment available is an off-license drug that has therefore not had any studies undertaken on it.  We had to sign forms to say that we understood that when the vets prescribed the treatment, and it looks like there has been some sort of effect on Fertility.  With three girls now having had markedly smaller litters than would have been expected, I don’t think there can be much doubt.  We just have to hope that the effects don’t last.

The boy at birth
The boy just after birth

Dàrna with her kittens today
Dàrna with her kittens today

On a more positive note, however, both kittens are looking very nice, with lovely rounded heads, short muzzles and good nose breaks.  We have one of each gender, but as usual are not sure on colours, beyond the certainty that the girl is a tortie of some description.  It is possible that the boy is a brown smoke burmese pattern, and the girl a blue tortie smoke burmese pattern, but we won’t know for a while yet.  Both parents are burmese pattern, meaning that the kittens have to be, and Graham doesn’t carry the chocolate gene, so the kittens can’t be chocolate.  Were that not the case, at birth I would have guessed them to be full expression: a chocolate self and a lilac tortie self.

Dàrna's kittens
Dàrna's kittens at one day old - girl on the left (tortie face), boy on the right

Most litters are produced overnight, so we expected Dàrna’s to be the same.  Instead, they were already there when I arrived home from work – tucked up in the bed of course, meaning that sheets and duvet had to be washed, instead of the still clean towels in the birthing box.  Fi had been living with her mum in the run-up to the birth, as company, but we had planned to remove her to give Dàrna the privacy that most queens prefer.  We would have taken her out that evening, but since the kittens arrived during the day, Fi was still there, and was busy cleaning her mum, and toileting the kittens.  We tried taking her out to give Dàrna peace, but Dàrna just stood at the door and shouted until we put Fi back in, and she has been making a fab job of sharing the mothering duties ever since.

The Older Kittens

The Oci boy
The Oci boy

The first Oci girl
The first Oci girl

Foghorn with the others in the background
Foghorn with the others in the background

The two Tiffs and two of the Ocis cuddling together
The two Tiffs, the Oci boy and the first Oci girl cuddling

On Friday we decided to move Kia’s kittens into the front bedroom with the two Tiff kittens, since five is a much better number for playing together than a two and a three!  The Tiffs were very interested in the new arrivals, but the Ocis were not enamored with the move, and spent that first evening growling and hissing under a chest of drawers.  The following morning they had started venturing out, but there was a sort of invisible line across the room, which the Tiff kittens seemed to more-or-less stay on one side of, and the Ocis on the other.  By yesterday the kittens were playing alongside eachother, with the demarcation gone, but they still weren’t playing together.  Today, however, they were playing together and curling up with eachother to sleep.

The first Oci girl and Katie's son cuddling
The first Oci girl and Katie's son cuddling

Katie's daughter with some of the other kittens
Katie's daughter looking up from a kitten heap

Katie was delighted at the prospect of more kittens to mother, though whether or not she recognised them as the ones whom she suckled as tinies, there is no way to tell.  The Ocis initially rejected her advances as well, but today has seen two of them feeding from Katie alongside Katie’s own kittens, so it looks like they have decided to be one big family!

Katie with all the kittens
Katie with all the kittens - 'Foghorn' at the front, and then the other two Ocis and Katie's daughter feeding from her, and her son asleep on the right

We have had interest in all of the older kittens, and with the Tiffs having their first vaccinations this coming Friday, they should be getting their first visitors in the next couple of weeks.  We’ve already been introducing them to various friends and family members to make sure that they are well socialised, and I plan to introduce some of our other cats later this week, as well!  Fingers crossed that we can find homes for these, that are just as wonderful as those we found for last year’s litters…

Lainni and Tabh together
Two of last year's kittens - Katie's daughter, Lainni (right) and Dàrna's son, Tabh (left). They enjoy access to a cat-secure garden area

Rafa relaxing
Another of Katie's kittens from last year, Rafa (whom we knew as Soolay). This is what Katie's current boy will look like when he is older!

Kitten Update – Four and Six Weeks

The kittens are continuing to do well, and are all past or approaching the 600g mark. Kia’s are now starting to show their ticking, and all five are becoming very lively and playful.

The kittens are all doing really well, and I actually made time to use the proper camera this week.  Admittedly, you wouldn’t know that the photos were taken on a better camera, because the kittens won’t sit still, but at least I tried!

Katie's kittens together
Katie's kittens

Kia's kittens together
Kia's kittens

Katie’s Kittens

Katie’s kittens do indeed appear to be Tiffanies, and both are actually turning out to be quite promising, in spite of my previous misgivings about the girl.  Unfortunately, the boy’s jaw set is not correct, so he won’t be able to be shown, but the girl has come on leaps and bounds, and is developing a beautiful expression.  Her head has also balanced up a lot, so that her eyes don’t look too small any more.  She really doesn’t like to sit nicely for photos, though!

Katie's daughter
Katie's girl almost sitting nicely

Katie's daughter looking silly
... and the moment is over

Both kittens are now completely adapted to using the litter trays (without a single accident!), and are readily eating solid food, though still suckling from their mum at night.  Both are over 600g, and have continued to exceed their weekly growth targets.

Katie's son face-on
Katie's boy looking cute

Katie's boy side-on
Showing off his beautiful little nose

They are increasingly playful, so we have moved them down to the front bedroom, where they have more space and lots more toys.  That also frees the kitten room for Dàrna to move into.  We will start introducing some of the other cats into the front bedroom for short periods, so that the kittens can get used to interacting with adults.

I have their first vaccinations booked for a fortnight tomorrow – I never fail to be amazed at how fast the time goes.  One minute you’re collecting a girl from stud and crossing your fingers that she’s pregnant, and the next the kittens are having their vaccinations and ready to start meeting potential owners!

Katie's kittens posing together
Katie's kittens posing together

Kia’s Kittens

Kia’s three are all developing lovely ticking now, and the first girl can look so like her mummy that it’s freaky.  At the moment the boy is longer in the head, and has a more oriental eye set than the girls, so I prefer the two girls to him (which is good, since we want to keep a girl!).  Their appearance is changing by the day, though, so we shall see.

Kia's girls together
Kia's girls together - 'Girl 1' in front, 'Foghorn' behind

All three are still growing like weeds, and the boy is already over 600g, with the girls not far behind.  The boy started taking his mum’s biscuits on Monday, and at least one of the girls has now followed suit.  We had the first ‘deposits’ in the litter tray yesterday as well, so the kittens are pretty advanced as well as huge!

Kia's boy
Kia's boy

Kia's First Girl
'Girl 1' looking adorable

We actually had Kia and her kittens away with us for four days at the end of last week.  Back in April, I arranged with my parents that we would join them for a short break, and although I had friends and colleagues coming in to check on the cats and kittens multiple times each day, we didn’t like the idea of leaving the younger kittens, particularly given Kia’s previous scatter-brained behaviour.

Kia's First Girl
'Girl 1' again

Kia's Second Girl - Foghorn
Foghorn being quiet for a change

We debated back and forwards for several days about whether to cancel, and in the end decided just to pack them up and take them with us.  Kia seemed to love being away, and the kittens were quite happy curled up in their little travel basket with a twice-daily run around the room to keep them amused.

Foghorn shouting
... and one reminding us why she's nicknamed 'Foghorn'

Foghorn shouting again
... and another - she looks like she's going to eat the polar bear!

Back in the house, they’ve figured out how to jump onto the platform that I weigh them on, and are starting to try and clamber out of the front of the pen.  I think we might need to raise the front tonight to stop them escaping.  Kia obviously thought that it was time for them to start learning to hunt as well, because there was a toy mouse in the pen yesterday evening, which the kittens were merrily attempting to tear apart.

Ticking coming in
The ticking starting to show

Trout spotting on the boy
The 'trout spotting' that appeared first

Dàrna – Pregnant or Not?

It looks like Dàrna is pregnant after all, but she still feels very soft, so I’m not sure that she’s carrying many.  I’m hoping to be proved wrong, though, because I’d like more than the litters of two and three that we’ve had so far this year!  Assuming that everything goes as expected (when does it ever?!), she is due the middle of next week, so keep your fingers crossed…

Kitten Updates and Rexfest Show

The kittens continue to do well, with the older ones now litter-trained and starting to eat solids, and the younger ones becoming more active by the day. We had a great day out at the Rexfest Show on Saturday, winning both Best Non-Pedigree and Best Pedigree Pet, and therefore obviously Overall Best Household Pet as well. Keela also did well at a show down south, winning her CC, BOB and having a red card day!

It’s been a busy few days since my last post, but everyone is doing well.  No decent photos today, I’m afraid, because I haven’t had time to take any using the ‘proper’ camera, so I’ve only got the ones I’ve taken on my phone…

Kittens

Katie with her sleepy kittens
Katie with her sleepy kittens

Katie’s kittens are five weeks this evening, and are now much more active and responsive. They are now using their litter trays, so have been given the run of the whole kitten room, and the girl comes rushing out to greet you when you walk into the room. The boy is still a lot quieter, but will come out and put his little paws on your foot if you stand beside his pen.

Katie

Both kittens are starting to take (very mushy) ‘solid’ food, but the boy is particularly interested in it, slurping away at the dish when it is put down. The girl will take some, but she is still going to be a while yet before she’s convinced of the idea!  The boy looks to have the better head at the moment, because the girl seems to have slightly small eyes, unfortunately.

Katie's kittens cuddling up
Katie's kittens cuddling

Kia's boy
Kia's boy looking impish

Kia’s kittens were three weeks at the weekend, and are still gaining weight at an impressive rate. The boy is only a few grams behind Katie’s son, and even the smallest girl isn’t more than 100g behind Katie’s daughter. They are already starting to examine their mum’s food, and will lick at wet food, so I think they’re going to be quite quick to wean. They are also incredibly steady on their feet, given their age, and are able to play pouncing games that I wouldn’t expect for at least another week or so.

Kia's first girl
Kia's first girl

Kia's second girl
Kia's second girl

Naomi Johnson (Vervain Burmese, Asians and Ocicats) was staying up here over the weekend, having judged at the Rexfest on Saturday. She called in today on her way home, to visit the kittens. She agrees that Katie’s daughter is a chocolate silver shaded (full expression), and thinks that both kittens are probably Tiffanies!  We did have a look at the Oci babies, but they’re changing so much at the moment that it’s difficult to say anything much about which is better.  At the moment the boy looks the best because his muzzle is stronger, but a few days ago, the girls had much better muzzles than he does, so who knows?!

Rexfest Show

Richard was working on Saturday, so I went to the Rexfest show myself, for the first time.  We obviously don’t have any Rexes now, but it’s a great show with a completely unique atmosphere, so we decided to enter Ali and Jinny again.  Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russian Blues) is training to be a pedigree judge, so had been asked if she would like to be one of the Household Pet judges (anyone can judge HPs).  When I heard that, I couldn’t resist winding her up by entering Xaria as a Pedigree Pet.  The hardest thing was remembering not to mention that we were entering, but thankfully I managed, because Elisabeth had absolutely no idea that any of our cats were going, let alone Xaria!

Ali rubbing against his pen door
Ali 'paddle-pawing' and rubbing his head on his pen door - he is so cheery at shows!

Jinny disappearing behind her rosettes
Jinny in her Best in Show Pen, disappearing behind her awards - she was curled up, virtually oblivious to all the attention

All three did well, Ali and Jinny winning their Grand certificatess and Best of Colour awards, and Xaria winning the Master Cat certificate and her Best of Colour as well!  That was Jinny’s third Grand, so she is now officially Grand Master Cat Jinny, and topped off the day by going Best Non-Pedigree again.  Xaria also went for the big one, taking Best Pedigree Pet, and then going one better and beating Jinny for Overall Best Household Pet (not chosen by Elisabeth, I hasten to add!).  Elisabeth didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at seeing her first-bred Imperial-titled cat winning the Household Pet section, and said that she wasn’t sure whether to tell anyone.  After I had pointed out that it is an indication of excellent temperament, however, she felt better, and decided that she would tell people about it after all!

Xaria in her BIS pen
Xaria in her BIS pen with her rosettes - lilac is Xaria's favourite colour, too

Other News

We weren’t the only ones showing on Saturday – Anita was out at the Eastern Counties with Keela, who won her first CC and Best of Breed, and then went on to have a red card day, winning first place in all of her side classes.  She is the third Cagaran Tiffanie to win a certificate, which is rather exciting.  Anita texted me Keela’s results just after Best in Show had been decided at the Rexfest, so I was a bit overwhelmed!

Dàrna should be seven weeks pregnant at the moment, but we’re not sure.  She does look pregnant, having gained weight in the right place, but we’re not convinced that she’s actually carrying anything other than extra fluid, so it could be a false pregnancy.  If she is pregnant, the kittens should start moving in the next few days, which would obviously confirm the pregnancy.  On the other hand, if it is a false pregnancy, those often stop at about this stage, so either way we should hopefully know soon.  Watch this space…