A photo update for the two litters. Kia’s are growing at a very rapid pace, and Katie’s continue to do well.
We decided to take some photos of the kittens last night, so I thought I’d do a photo update to let you see how they are developing. Kia’s are growing at a ridiculous rate, with the boy now being over 300g. Considering that Katie’s son still isn’t over 400g yet, but is growing at a perfectly acceptable rate, that tells you the speed that the Ocis are coming on at! The smaller girl was the first to open her eyes, followed by the boy. The bigger girl (‘Foghorn’) still had one eye only partially open when the photos were taken, but has finished opening her eyes today.
Thankfully, Kia has continued to look after her kittens, feeding them (extremely!) well and keeping them nice and clean. We’ve not had any more episodes of her removing them from the box, and she is showing an interest in what happens to them without seeming as frantic as she did initially.
Katie is as fantastic a mother as ever, and her kittens are just starting to develop their individual ‘personalities’. They were starting to get increasingly interested in escaping their box, so we have now taken the box out of the pen, so that they just have the whole pen to run around in. They are still too small for us to want to leave them out in the room unsupervised, but the pen gives them some extra room without exposing them to any danger. It also allows us the space to add a litter tray and small food and water dishes, so that the kittens can start to think about eating solids and learning to use the tray.
The girl definitely has a fluffy tail, so we’re still thinking that she is a Tiffanie. The boy’s tail is noticeably less fluffy than his sisters, but his coat is a good bit longer than something like the Oci kittens, so we’re not sure whether he is just a fluffy shorthair (it could be a difference in the coat types between the breeds), or a Tiffanie who just has a shorter coat than his sister.
The kittens both seem to have inherited their mum’s lovely short nose, and good break, which is promising. I think the girl might be a touch chunky when she is older, but that is to be expected from Katie.
The kittens continue to do well, and Dàrna is still definitely pregnant. Lainni won her 2nd PC at the Edinburgh show, and we had our first meeting with the committee of the AGCS, where I was voted onto the BAC.
Katie’s kittens are now three weeks, and Kia’s already ten days old. They are all growing well, and both mums are looking after their own kittens. We’ve only had one episode of Kia moving her kittens to somewhere inappropriate, and they’ve been properly ensconced in the birthing box since Thursday. Hopefully, that’s us past the point of having her moving them, but I wouldn’t want to guarantee that!
We realised part-way through the week, that Kia’s second ‘boy’ is actually a girl, so we have one boy and two girls. The boy is the most Abyssinian of the three, the first girl is somewhere between the two breeds, and the second girl is very much an Ocicat. Whenever anything disturbs her, she starts talking in a voice that sounds like that of an adult Ocicat, rather than the usual ‘squeak’ of a kitten. We are considering naming her Adhairc, which is the gaelic for Foghorn!
We still aren’t sure whether Katie’s two are Tiffanie or Asian, but we’re starting to suspect that the boy might be an Asian and the girl a Tiffanie. The girl has a ‘bottle-brush’ tail, that seems much fluffier than her brother’s, though even he has a longer coat than I would have expected from an Asian, so perhaps the tail doesn’t mean anything. We think the girl is probably a chocolate silver shaded, rather than black silver. When you see her next to her mum, it is obvious that their shading is not the same colour, but a more brownish tone.
Katie is still proving to be an excellent mother, and both kittens easily passed their three week old four-times-birth-weight target. The girl passed it by a massive 60g, and is now over 400g! She is very active, and is getting increasingly interested in what we’re doing outside her box. If we talk to her she immediately starts squeaking at us, and if you look over the edge of the box, she comes straight over and sits at the edge, looking up at you, and tries to climb up the edge. Very cute!
Another Cat Weekend
Saturday was the Edinburgh & East of Scotland show, which was held in Leith Academy again this year. I was working on the table, having my first experience of running a section alone, which was actually quite satisfying. I handled everything from receiving the judges slips and sorting out any issues, to marking up the catalogue for the GCCF, writing the Master Cat certificates, and sorting out which rosettes were to go to which pen. A good introduction to some of the tasks that I would have to organise if I ever do train as a show manager!
We had taken Breckin and Fiona, but Lona was also there with Lainni. Breckin won her second Premier certificate, as did Lainni – the fourth certificate won by a cat showing our prefix. Unfortunately, Fiona decided to shout whenever taken from her pen, again, so the judge placed her second to another young Tiffanie girl. So there are now two Cagarans sitting on two certificates, and Lona is quite hoping that Lainni will be the first Cagaran to win a title!
Sunday saw us going down south for our first committee meeting for the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society), which Richard and I both sit on. The meeting was only about twenty minutes from the home of the person whose stud one of Elisabeth’s girls was visiting, so we dropped Elisabeth off there before going to the meeting, and then collected her and Ziva before heading home.
The committee meeting was held over lunch at the outside tables of a rather nice pub, and with glorious sunshine throughout, was a very enjoyable experience! I was delighted to be voted onto the Asian BAC (Breed Advisory Committee), which is the group of people who decide which judges are allowed to progress on the Asian judging list, and what the breeding policy and breed standard should say. It is very flattering to know that the other breeders trust my opinion enough to want me on the BAC, and I hope that I can do the role justice!
After the meeting, we went back to Ann’s, to collect Elisabeth and Ziva, and obviously were able to meet Ann’s other cats in the process. Like Elisabeth, she has been breeding Russians for about 30 years, and has some absolutely stunning cats, which we were thrilled to meet.
Dàrna is now about five weeks pregnant, and is finally starting to expand. Until now, it was only the fact that she was (very!) pinked-up that indicated that she was pregnant. In the past three or four days, though, we can now feel a definite firmness to her abdomen, and she is visibly filling out, so I am getting increasingly excited!
Kia has give us our first Ocicat kittens – a litter of ticked tabby Variants from the gorgeous Stanley, Riverfern Vulcan. We have had problems getting her to look after them, but Katie stepped in for a while, and Kia now seems to have figured out her job. Katie’s kittens have their eyes fully open and accepted the arrival and departure of their temporary litter-mates without complaint.
We have our first Ocicat litter! They were born overnight at the weekend, to our beautiful Ocicat Classic girl, Kia. Admittedly, they are Ocicat Variants, rather than (spotted) Ocicats or Ocicat Classics, but they are fully-pedigreed Ocicats, all the same. Abyssinians are one of the Ocicat’s two parent breeds, and the only one still permitted as an outcross – this means that we can pair an Ocicat and an Abyssinian in order to improve the genetic diversity in the Ocicat breed.
We decided to take Kia to a beautiful Abyssinian boy, whose pedigree is different to any of the other Abys used in Ocicat pedigrees at the moment. Due to the genetics involved, all kittens born to an Abyssinian x Ocicat mating are ticked tabby, the same as the Abyssinian, rather than spotted or classic, as would be seen in a normal Ocicat/Ocicat Classic mating. In this case, we have three ‘tawny ticked’, which basically look like Usual Abyssinians, and are rather stunning! There are two boys and one girl, I think.
Unfortunately, Kia wouldn’t settle after giving birth, and it took me about four hours to get the kittens latched on and suckling. I had an hour of sleep and then had to get up because Call was due at the vet for his booster vaccinations. When I got back from the vet, Kia still had the girl in her nest, but had moved the two boys out onto the middle of the floor.
I spent a few minutes trying to get her to accept them back in the nest, but she wouldn’t settle again, and kept moving them out. She also wouldn’t feed any of the kittens, settling down so that her tummy was pressed into the floor, preventing them from accessing her teats. I had to go to work, so in the end I tried taking the two boys up to Katie, who accepted them immediately, gave them a good clean and then settled down to feed them alongside her own kittens, who look huge next to the newborns.
At lunchtime, I decided to weigh the kittens, and found that the two boys had gained 16g each with Katie (both having started at 107g), whereas the girl that was left with Kia obviously still had not been fed, and had lost 6g (from a start of 102g). I didn’t know what else to try, so I moved her up to join her brothers with Katie.
That night, Richard and I gave Kia’s room a complete clean to try and get rid of all smells of the birth, and then sprayed her nest box with Feliway, and put a Feliway diffuser on in the room. We collected her kittens from Katie (who accepted their removal as calmly as she had accepted their arrival), and took them back to Kia. Kia proceeded to move them all out of the nest onto the bed, but did at least settle down to feed them there.
After a while, we moved the duvet (with Kia and kittens on top), into the nest box, to see if that would help any. She initially looked like she might take the kittens and run off round the room with them again, but did eventually ‘agree’ to stay in the nest with them. We left her like that, and checked on her periodically throughout the evening, in the hope that keeping her quiet might settle her down.
When we were starting to get ready for bed, we tried removing the duvet and then sitting in the box with her until she had settled down again. This seemed to work, and we managed to finish getting ready for bed without her leaving the box. Richard and I are taking it in turns to sleep with the two girls, and it was my turn to be in with Katie last night. About an hour after I had gone to bed, Richard asked if we could move the kittens back up to Katie, because Kia was fine in her box with the kittens as long as he was sitting up on the bed, but as soon as he tried to lie down, she moved the kittens on top of him! Katie had the kittens overnight, having once again accepted them without complaint.
The next morning, I got up early so that I had time to try and settle Kia with her kittens again, leave her for a while and then check if she still had them in the box. When I left the room, she was still in the box, giving them a good feed, and they were still there when I checked on her at lunchtime, and again in the evening. She is much now completely settled, and is toileting the kittens properly, which she wasn’t doing to start with. Hopefully, she has now got the idea and we won’t have any more issues.
Katie’s kittens have continued to grow well, with both passing their two-week growth target days in advance. The girl is now over 300g, and is starting to focus on people when they come into view. Both kittens have their eyes fully open and are becoming even more active than they were initially.
When we added the younger kittens to Katie’s litter, the older kittens were so incredibly cute – they started purring, and cuddled up to the little ones, as if they were delighted to have more ‘siblings’. Katie likes to be quite economical with her milk, and tends to ‘turn off’ any teat that isn’t regularly used. Katie’s daughter was so good with the younger kittens that she even moved onto a lower flow teat, in order to let the little ones have the best teats. That is very un-kitten-like, because kittens generally fight for the teat they like the best, but it is very Katie-like!
The girl is looking quite nice at the moment, with a lovely domed head. She appears to have inherited her mum’s beautiful little nose and good break. She might be a bit chunky, though – the boy is actually the finer of the two, though his head doesn’t look quite as good! Fingers crossed they both continue to develop nicely…
Katie’s kittens are now a week old and doing well, Kia is almost at her due date, and Dàrna is back from stud and looking pregnant. Fiona won her first two CCs at the double show in Doncaster on Saturday, also the first two CCs for our prefix!
Katie’s kittens are growing well, both having sailed past their double-birth-weight one-week target at about five days old. As of this morning, they are a good bit over 200g, and the boy’s eyes were just starting to open in the inner corners. He is hilarious when he’s eating, because he does the same sort of huge ‘star-jump’ motion that his half-sister Lainni did last year!
I haven’t actually checked genders again since I first decided on them, so I really ought to have another look now to make sure we do have one boy and one girl. I haven’t the faintest clue whether they are Asians or Tiffanies at this stage, only that they both look to have about the same length of coat, though I could be completely wrong there!
Kia is now very close to her due date – I’m thinking either tonight or tomorrow night. Jinny is in with her at the moment, and the two of them seem to be best mates at the moment.
Kia has started to move into her birthing box, though she prefers if one of us climbs in there with her. I turned her heat pad on the other day, and then spent about half-an-hour hunched up in the box with her to keep her company whilst she rolled around on it. Her box has a lid on it, because she quite likes caves, but at least it’s a good bit bigger than Katie’s, otherwise we’d never fit!
We collected Dàrna from Ally and Arty on Monday, and she is definitely still looking pregnant, and eating lots, so fingers crossed there, too.
We were down at the Humberside and Lincolnshire double show on Saturday. The two clubs hold their all-breed shows in the same hall, and cats can therefore enter both shows. We had only taken Fi, but she did us proud, winning not only our first Cagaran CC (Challenge Certificate), but also the second – taking the certificate in both shows! She now only needs one more to become a champion, so fingers crossed she can do that the next time she’s out…
Katie has two kittens, born overnight last night – our first for 2011. Initial guess is one female, one male – a black silver shaded and a black ticked tabby.
Apologies to those who have been waiting for this update to go live – I actually wrote it on Tuesday evening, but have been having issues with the Internet since then, and hadn’t been able to get it to upload. Hope it’s worth the wait!
Katie’s Kittens Are Here!
Well, Katie’s kittens arrived bang on schedule, just like last year. This time, she started having them at the rather more civilised time of 10pm, and had settled down to feed them and sleep by midnight.
At about the 5th week of the pregnancy, we moved Katie from isolation into a room with Fiona, and she got quite upset about it. We moved her in the evening, and by the following morning, she had gone from looking fairly heavily pregnant, to having no visible bulge whatsoever. For a few days, we wondered if she’d aborted the pregnancy completely, but it gradually became apparent that she was still pregnant. We guessed, however, that the size reduction probably meant that she had reabsorbed some of the kittens.
It looks like that assumption was probably correct, because instead of producing the expected four or five kittens, she had just two. Even more telling, she actually produced three placentas, but I couldn’t feel a third kitten still inside. I took her to the vet this evening to get them to double-check that, and they agreed that there was no sign of a third kitten. She must, therefore, have reabsorbed the kitten whose placenta the third one was, but not reabsorbed the placenta for some reason.
Her body definitely thought that she was going to have more than just the two, because she’s got lots of milk. Last year, she was very economical with her milk production – she only had four kittens, so she only ever activated six of her eight teats, then dropped this to four teats when she lost one of the kittens. She also seems slightly confused by the fact that she only has two kittens in her nest, bless her.
As before, Katie is proving to be a fantastic mother, having done everything herself, including removing the amniotic sacks, cleaning up the placentas and getting the kittens dry and suckling. After the births, we gave her a big meal of (Applaws) tuna and prawns, and changed the bedding in the birthing box whilst she was distracted.
The first kitten is a black silver of some description – probably a shaded. At birth, I though it was a female, though its not nearly as clear now. I’ll leave it a few days and then check again, because it’s notoriously difficult to tell from when the kittens are a few hours to a few days – it’s supposed to be easier at birth, so I’ll assume that she is a female for the time being. She was 85g at birth, and was up to 101g by this morning, gaining a whopping 16g in just 11 hours – that would be a good gain for a full day!
I’m pretty certain that the second kitten is a boy, and he looks to be a non-silver black of some description – probably a black ticked tabby. He was just 79g at birth, but was already up to 93g by this morning, again a huge gain – 14g in less than 10 hours! Clearly the kittens are making the most of the fact that their mum’s body is producing milk as if she had a litter of five to feed!
Both kittens are already attempting to stand, which is much earlier than either of last year’s litters. Hopefully these two are going to continue to make the most of having their mum’s attention split just two ways!
Kia is now almost 8 weeks pregnant, so she’s well past the point at which she miscarried last time. Her kittens are quite active, and can be clearly felt, along her sides. She’s obviously getting a good kicking, because she’ll be lying sleeping and then will suddenly jump awake, bless her. Probably no more than about 10-14 days left for her, so I’m starting to get excited now. Fingers crossed she goes full term!
Katie is at 65 days today, so there is a good chance that she will have her kittens this evening. We actually thought that she might have had them Saturday night, because she was behaving as if she was in the early stages of labour. Nothing happened that night, though, and by yesterday she was much calmer. The kittens have been much more active over last night and into this morning, and are definitely starting to move backwards, so I think that’s them getting themselves arranged into position. Tonight could be a sleepless one!
Dàrna is still at stud, and the news is hopeful! She came into call almost as soon as she met Graham (the stud), but after a few days, the stud owner, Ally, sent me a message to say that the call seemed to have stalled and that she would just leave Dàrna in with Graham until she came back on. About a week later, Ally messaged me again, saying that she was starting to wonder whether Graham had “sneakily done the deed”, because Dàrna had been sick a few times. I don’t know whether I mentioned it on here, but Dàrna suffered from morning sickness throughout most of her last pregnancy, so the sickness was actually good news.
This morning, I had another message from Ally to say that Dàrna appears to be pinked up already. That would be just over 14 days, and therefore very early, so a bit of a surprise. Having said that, although Dàrna pinked at a more normal time last year, Katie was showing at 14 days. This year Katie pinked on schedule, so it would be just typical if Dàrna was the one pinking at an unusual time this time around! Dàrna has now been moved to a separate run to see whether that brings her into call, or whether she starts eating more and stays pink. Fingers crossed there, too!
Hopefully I’ll have some new kitten photos to post in the next few days…
We had a good day at the Lakeland show, Dàrna making up to Grand on the day, and Elisabeth’s kitten taking Overall Best Foreign. Ghost is now in his new home, and both pregnancies seem to be going fine.
Ghost has now gone to a new home, with a lovely couple south of Manchester. They have three other cats, and work from home, so there will be plenty of company for him. Plus, they treat their cats the same way we do – they are the centre of their universe, so they are perfect! He seems to be settling in well, though it didn’t quite go according to plan – when does it ever?!
We’ve also just had the pleasure of having two of Lynsey Thomas’ (Seysiana Somalis & Tiffanies) kittens stay over night with us. Their new owners weren’t going to have a chance to meet up with Lynsey, so we looked after the kittens to give their new owners a chance to pick them up. The kittens were completely adorable, and reminded me just why we wanted to breed!
Last weekend was the Lakeland Show in Kendal, and we took two of our own cats, plus Elisabeth and four of hers. Karen was also there with her two Dushenka boys, whom we took to the Durham a few weeks ago.
Fiona handled for all her judges again, but is still shouting loudly whenever she is taken out of the pen, so once again had all awards withheld in her Open classes. The only time she handled nicely was for Steve Crow (perhaps she knows that he’s her ‘grandpa’!), and he placed her first in a large and competitive class. If only she would keep her voice down, she could be winning so well, frustrating animal!
Dàrna did us proud, by winning her third (and qualifying) Grand Challenge certificate (from Joyce Green), making her up to Grand Champion! A little over a year ago, she made up to Champion the day that Steve and Tommy first took her home to Pippin. After the Lakeland, she went home with the stud owners, so that’s two years in a row that she’s won a new title the day she’s gone to stud!
The real stars of the show, however, were Elisabeth’s cats. Her stud boy won the Reserve Imperial, and Best of Breed Russian Adult. Zach, one of the neuter boys owned by Karen, won another Premier Certificate, and Best of Breed Russian Neuter. Lucy, who is Zach’s daughter (he fathered one litter before being neutered), won her kitten class and Best of Breed Russian Kitten (her brother won his kitten class) – that’s two years in a row that Elisabeth’s cats have won Best of Breed Adult, Kitten and Neuter at this show!
Tasha, who is (our Russian girl) Xaria’s mum, also won her third Grand, qualifying her for her Grand title, after a string of Reserves – she is now Grand Champion Dushenka Tashabella, and the eighth Dushenka to hold the Grand title! Little Lucy didn’t just stop with winning her open and Best of Breed, though, going on to take first Best Foreign Kitten, and then Overall Best Foreign! Her daddy, Zach, won Overall Best in Show at the Scottish Shorthair Show a couple of months ago – on top of Xaria’s Best Foreign win at the Durham, the Dushenka prefix isn’t exactly having a bad year so far!
Kia and Katie both still seem to be holding their pregnancies at the moment. Katie should be due in about 10 days, and Kia another 10 days after that. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly, and I can soon be writing those magic words again – “we have kittens”!!
The first update for several months – lots of shows, GCCF centenary dinner and discussion forums, London Pet Show, the Ocicat seminar and several AGMs. Also an update on our breeding plans – Katie and Kia are both pregnant, and Dàrna will be going to stud soon.
Finally, a new update! Apologies to those who have emailed to ask if everything is okay. Whenever I came on to write an update, I found myself just looking at the photos of B-B, and never getting any further. However, I think it’s time to try and move on, so I’ll try to bring this up to date with our news. I’ll break it down into sections, though, so that you can read as little or as much as you want!
You may remember Ghost – he was the third of Dàrna’s kittens, and the biggest in the litter. He found a home with a lovely family down in Barrow-in-Furness, who collected him between Christmas and New Year. They breed Chihuahuas, but wanted a cat for their youngest child, Jack. Unfortunately, Jack turned out to have a severe cat allergy (so severe that he was stopping breathing during the night!), and we have therefore taken him back. The improvement in Jack’s symptoms has been almost instantaneous, so there is certainly no chance of him going back home.
We are therefore looking for a new home for him. He is currently eight months old, and sometimes behaves very much like a kitten, but is generally just that bit quieter and less boisterous. His family obviously took great care of him, because he is very loving – his favourite place is wrapped around your neck like a scarf! Obviously, he is used to dogs (all-be-it small ones), but has lived as an only cat for several months, so is a bit unsure of other cats. We are currently in the process of re-introducing him to ours, though, so hopefully he’ll get over that soon enough.
We will be looking after him until a new home is found, but he is still owned by Jane and her family. Prospective owners are more than welcome to visit him here, but any money would be going to Jane, who is hoping for £250 for him. He is fully vaccinated through to next Christmas and is up-to-date with flea and worming treatments.
The First ‘Cagaran Certificate’ – Lainni’s First PC
Our first litter are now officially adult, having turned 9 months in late March. The Nor’East of Scotland show was held on the 14th of this month, and Lona brought Lainni down to that. She looked lovely on the day, and won her BOB and also the Premier Certificate – the first certificate for the Cagaran prefix (hopefully the first of many)!
I was working on the table at the show, so didn’t get a chance to handle Lainni, but I stopped to say hello whenever I passed her pen, and every time she fell over sideways trying to rub herself against my hand through the bars – what a sweetie. Lona is obviously making a great job of raising her!
London Pet Show
The first London Pet Show was held at Olympia on the 7th and 8th of May. It was the first event of its kind in London, and I hope that it becomes an annual event. The show was split into five ‘zones’ for different types of animal – dogs, cats, exotics, small furries and aquatics. As part of the cat section, the GCCF had been offered a space in which to showcase our many breeds and what the GCCF does.
Richard and I attended on the Saturday, taking Fiona to represent the Asians, and Kia to represent the Ocicats. We were lucky enough to be joined by a second representative in each case – a Bombay alongside Fiona, and a lovely Ocicat (spotted) with Kia. As well as the owners of those cats, Anita came with us to help man both stands.
The day was a huge success, with thousands of people coming around and asking all sorts of questions about our breeds. Fiona looked adorable playing with a feather stick in her pen, and talking to people walking past, but it was Kia who was really in her element, thoroughly enjoying performing for the public. We had her out on her harness, dancing around after a feather stick, and drawing a huge crowd watching and taking photos.
She was so relaxed out that she ended up going over to have a shot at the agility, which she definitely enjoyed, though she was more keen on running through the tunnels than tackling the other obstacles – she kept running around the jumps and stairs on one side to go through the tunnel at one end, and then running around the other side to go through the tunnel at the other end!
I would highly recommend this show if they do it again in the future, and would undoubtedly attend again, even if it does mean a crazy drive to London with cats in tow! I was really disappointed to see that the Abyssinians were not represented at all – the breeders missed a real opportunity to introduce the breed to the public. I would have hated our Tiffanies or Ocicats to be in the same position – the show was just the most fantastic chance to show off our beautiful breeds, and answer the public’s questions on them, and I couldn’t be more pleased that we did it.
The Ocicat Seminar was held near Banbury on the 15th of May. This was a fantastic opportunity for breeders and judges alike, to gain an understanding of what the Ocicat breed should look like. There were lots of beautiful examples of the breed on show, from a tiny kitten right up to an Imperial-titled adult. The theme/focus of the seminar was the ‘wild look’ that the Ocicat should have, with the day aiming to give an understanding of the Ocicat in general, but in particular how the proper wild look is achieved.
The presentations started with an Ocicat Ivory, which is a pointed Ocicat – these occur occasionally in Ocicat litters, as a result of the recessive pointed gene coming through from their Siamese ancestors. These beautiful cats have most of their pigment restricted to their heads, tails and legs, like the Siamese, but they also usually show tabby ‘ghost markings’ on their sides. In this case, the Ivory was being used to demonstrate how it is not only the spots of the Ocicat that give it the wild look, but also the ‘type’ (the body structure).
Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn Ocicats) was the presenter, and she started by joking that this was one she had washed the spots off to allow us to see the type without the distraction of the pattern. Using an Ivory was a great way to show that an Ocicat has a specific body type, and should therefore still look like an Ocicat, even if it doesn’t have the Ocicat pattern. Rosemary then brought out her Imperial-titled girl, Thickthorn Lotus Blossom. Lotus is a beautiful chocolate (spotted) Ocicat, and showed perfectly what an Ocicat should look like once you put the spots back on!
Rosemary was followed by Stacie Shorten (Ameeka Abyssinians & Ocicats), who is Kia’s breeder. She was talking about the Ocicat Classic, and how its pattern differs from the Ocicat, but the type remains the same. She used two of her Ocicat Classics as demonstrators – Kia’s mum, Jazzy (Thickthorn Calypso), and Kia’s ¾ brother, Dragon (Ameeka Dragonfire).
Aside from the presentations, we also had a delicious lunch and a good chance to catch up with or meet lots of the other people involved with the Ocicat breed. Breed seminars really are a great place for both gaining a greater understanding of a breed, catching up with existing cat fancy friends and making new ones.
Other ‘Cat Activities’
We have attended quite a number of shows since the Scottish, all the way back in February, with varying success as always.
The Scottish was followed a fortnight later, by the Coventry and Leicester, which is down in Warwickshire. We had taken Dàrna and Xaria, the latter having been entered in this show before she won her fifth and final Imperial at the Scottish. Dàrna won her second Reserve Grand, and Xaria didn’t pick up anything at all, but she’s already an Imperial, so that really didn’t matter. I had an enjoyable morning stewarding for Marlene Buckeridge, though I had to leave her in the afternoon to attend the AGM for the AGCS. Thankfully we had finished most of our classes by then, and I’m grateful that she allowed me to go.
The week after the Coventry and Leicester, we were back down in the Midlands for the Ocicat Club’s AGM, which is always an enjoyable event. It starts with a delicious meal and lots of chat and hilarity, before moving on to the official business. The next week we were south again, though not quite as far, for the Lancashire, which is in Wigan, where Dàrna won yet another Reserve Grand and Best of Breed.
We had also taken Breckin – her first time out as a neuter, and she won the Premier Certificate and Best of Breed. Anita was also there with Keela in what was her first show, since we didn’t manage to get her into the AGCS. Keela looked utterly adorable, and was cuddling up to the judges. She also won her 1st Open and Best of Breed.
At the Lancs show, I was chatting to our friend, Olive Holt (Nemorez Asians and Burmese), and found out that her partner, Ian, was ill. Olive was supposed to be getting two new stud boys from Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese and Asians) in Fife, but since Ian normally does the driving for Olive, and Sarah doesn’t drive, transport for the boys was proving an issue. Sarah only lives about 40 minutes from us, and I was due to be down in Liverpool for a meeting on Tuesday morning.
Since I have had an open invitation to stay at Olive’s virtually since we first met a couple of years ago, I suggested that if I could stay with Olive on the Monday evening, I could bring the boys down then, and drive on from her in the morning. This idea was gratefully received, so we collected the boys on Sunday evening, had them stay overnight in our back bedroom (which isn’t accessible to our own cats), and then I dropped them off with Olive on the Monday.
A fortnight later we had a further reduction in show travelling distance, with a trip to Preston for the Preston and Blackpool. Dàrna didn’t win anything that day, because the awards went to the lovely Freya (GR CH Inyanga Instant Karma), owned by our friend Sue Dykes (Kashi Tibetan Terriers and Kashican Cats).
Fiona, on the other hand, had another exceptional day, winning her 1st Open and Best of Breed, but then going on to take Best Foreign Kitten and then Overall Best Foreign. Joyce Green then shortlisted her down to the last three for Overall Best in Show, finally giving it to the most beautiful and enormous British Black, but in the meantime the stewards had to stand there holding little Fi in the middle, with the British Black on one side and a stunning Seal Point Siamese on the other!
We then had a three week gap before the marathon journey to Devon for the Asian Cat Association show. Once again, Dàrna didn’t come away with anything, but we had rather expected that due to the quality of the other cats and the fact that she was in full season and therefore out of condition.
Unfortunately, Fi was also coming into season for the first time, and decided to shout very loudly whenever she was taken out of her pen. We decided to withdraw her from judging in case her shouting upset the other cats. This was obviously incredibly disappointing in light of the distances travelled, but that’s part of the risk of showing – the cats don’t always do what we want them to! We finished the day with a mad dash back up the road, in order to be home in time to attend the West of Scotland AGM on the Sunday.
Another one-week gap, and we were down to help Shirley show Monty for the first time, at the joint show of the Bedford and District and Cambridgeshire Cat Clubs. This is one of the shows held at the Woodgreen Animal Shelter near Huntingdon, which has to be one of the best show venues, always a pleasure to attend. Monty took his Best of Breed and also another Reserve Grand, which was great, but even better was seeing Shirley and Kili experiencing showing for the first time. Kili was absolutely ecstatic with Monty’s wins, and stood by his pen telling anyone who would listen that he was her cat, with the sort of obvious pride that only a child can display.
The show also turned out to be the venue for one of the GCCF’s ‘consultation forums’ on the proposed changes to the show structure and judging scheme. This was a good opportunity to hear more about the executive committee’s plans for the structure of the show sections (Semi-Longhair, Foreign etc.) and also the alterations that will hopefully be made to the way in which judges are trained.
It was good to see a decent number of people getting involved, and lots of valid questions were asked and answered. These events are being held in various locations around the country, to give the exhibitors from each area a chance to comment – we attended another at the Durham show a week past on Saturday, and a third at the Merseyside on the weekend just gone. If you are involved in the GCCF at all, I recommend attending one – I know that the Scottish one is to be at the Edinburgh show in July, if that’s relevant to you.
The weekend after the Beds and Camcat we didn’t have much travelling to do, and no shows – just the Scottish AGM on the Sunday (1st May). The week after that, however, was the London Pet show, and the one after that the Nor’East and the Ocicat seminar, all of which I have talked about above. That brings us up to two weekends ago (the weekend of the GCCF Centenary Dinner), and the weekend before last (the Durham show), both of which I have talked about below!
GCCF Centenary Dinner
This fantastic event was held at the Belfry hotel near Birmingham on the evening of the 21st May, which was the night of the Suffolk and Norfolk (and Bombay and Asian Self) show at Wood Green. We took Elisabeth down, and had arranged to meet Valerie Sheldrake at Wood Green to collect some more old catalogues, but decided to visit Shirley, Kili and Monty on the way there.
Monty has been living with Shirley since the weekend of the AGCS show in January, because she wanted Kili to experience owning a pet. She and Kili have become really attached to him, and have asked to keep him, which we weren’t sure about until we saw him there. This was the first time we had visited Shirley since we dropped Monty off in January, and it was lovely to see him looking so settled. The bond between him and Kili is obvious – he watches her every move, and even when he went through to the kitchen for some food, he kept dashing back to the livingroom door to check on her!
It is only having seen him so relaxed there, that I realised just how unsuited he actually was to living with us, where he was always slightly twitchy and wide-eyed because he’s not keen on other cats or men, both of which he had to live with here! Shirley’s is actually his dream-home – no men or other cats, so he can be centre of attention, and a little girl who is evidently his world. He was perfectly happy to see us, but his heart is now very obviously with Shirley and Kili, so it doesn’t seem fair to bring him back. At least he’s happy, which is the most important thing!
Durham County Show
Last Saturday’s Durham show was a spectacular success, when I had worried that it would be a complete flop! We took Fiona and Dàrna, as usual, but also Xaria, to ensure that she ‘keeps her paws in’ at shows ready to try for her second UK Grand certificate at the Supreme in November. We gave a lift to Elisabeth, who was taking two neutered boys bred by her, but owned by Karen Hettman – they are Xaria’s great-uncle Stan, and great-nephew Zach.
I was worried that Fi would shout again, which she did, but not nearly as badly as last time, and by the end of the day she had almost stopped completely, so it looks like it has been a hormonal adolescent ‘thing’. She won her 1st Open, BOB and also two 2nds and a 3rd in her side classes.
We didn’t expect Dàrna to win anything, because she is still looking a bit thin and lacking condition due to calling (we’ll need to take her to stud soon), but she gave us a pleasant surprise by winning the Grand and also her Best of Breed, as well as a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her side classes.
Zach won his third and qualifying Premier certificate, making him the 15th titled cat Elisabeth has bred, and took two 1sts and a 3rd in his sides. Stan had an excellent day, winning the Imperial (his 2nd) and Grand Premier certificates, and 1st in all of his side classes – a ‘red card day’.
The star of the show for us, though, was Xaria, who won another Imperial certificate and Best of Breed, plus two 1sts in her side classes, then going on to take Best Foreign Neuter, and finally Overall Best Foreign. That’s the third time she’s been Best Foreign, and the 5th time she’s won the level below that. If that’s ‘keeping her paws in’ for the Supreme, she must be planning something big!
I can hardly believe we’re back round to that time of year again – it seems no time at all since I was posting that Katie and Dàrna were with their first boyfriends. Looking back, I wrote that blog entry on the 11th of April last year – how time flies!
This year we took Katie across to Sarah Davidson’s, which wasn’t nearly as much of a wrench as last year, since it’s only about 40 minutes away. When we had collected Olive’s boys from Sarah in March, we met Sarah’s other cats, including her lovely spotted tabby Asian boy, Kagura Shogun (the cat in the middle image on the bottom row of photos on her Asian Page). He is a chocolate spotted tabby burmese pattern, with beautiful big eyes and really good size and weight, and carries non-agouti, dilute and the longhair gene.
Since Katie is a black silver shaded carrying non-silver and non-agouti, but probably not burmese pattern, chocolate, or dilute, we should have the same possible colour outcomes as last year – black silver shaded, black silver ticked, black smoke, black (golden/standard) shaded, black ticked and black. This year, the difference is that we should get a mixture of both shorthairs (Asians) and longhairs (Tiffanies), which will be a first for us, since last year’s matings were both Tiffanie to Tiffanie and could therefore only produce Tiffanies. Katie could of course turn out to be carrying other genes and then the kitten colours would be a complete surprise!
She has been very purry and cuddly for the past couple of weeks, and is now expanding by the day, so she is definitely pregnant. Her kittens will be due around the end of the first week in July – how exciting!
It is now almost 9 months since Kia had her miscarriage, and she has been in season almost continuously for several months, so was really needing to visit a boy. She therefore went in with a rather special boy just over three weeks ago, and does look like she is pregnant. She is also eating slightly more, and hasn’t come back into season either, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. Since she miscarried last time, and the boy is rather special, I’m not going to say too much else about him until the kittens are safely here.
Dàrna has also been calling almost continuously, and is losing condition, so we can’t hold off mating her for too much longer. I am therefore planning to take her to stud later in the month, and we’ll just have to hope that none of the litters are too big, or we’re going to be overrun with kittens and struggling to find homes for them all! She will also be going to a very special boy, whom we met for the first time at the weekend just gone – he is absolutely gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see what they produce together.
Keep your fingers and toes crossed for some lovely babies, and some even lovelier homes for them!!
B-B sadly had to be put to sleep due to a sudden illness last month, but his siblings are still doing well. We had a good day out at the Scottish show, and are starting to make plans for this year’s litters.
Farewell to B-B
The latter part of January was pretty horrendous, with B-B being very ill. Initially the vets thought he had FIP, so couldn’t give him any treatment. Then we had tests done, which came back negative, so they thought it must have been some sort of bacterial vasculitis, and began treatment. Unfortunately, by the time we started this, the vasculitis had already damaged his kidneys, so we had to have him put to sleep after they failed suddenly.
We were obviously still nervous about FIP, so have had the lab in Edinburgh conduct a necropsy on him. At present, we are still waiting for the results of the histopathology tests, but the internal examination found none of the granulomatous legions that characterise FIP, making it unlikely that this is what killed him. We should get the rest of the results next week.
I am absolutely devastated, and can’t believe our beautiful B-B is gone. He was the first of Dàrna’s partial-breach kittens, so I had to literally pull him into this world, and I stroked his little head as he left it again. He was an early favourite of ours, both because he was so stunning, and because he was the first of the litter to really have a definite personality. We named him weeks before any of the others, because he suited his name so well – he always was a little imp, right to the end. He used to sit on top of us at night, and purred constantly.
RIP wee man. We miss you.
We entered the Scottish show a couple of months ago, and I was booked to steward for John Trotter. Added to that, Lona had entered Tabh (who is now well settled in his new home), and Fiona had entered Alek in the pedigree pet section. A few weeks ago, we thought that we wouldn’t be able to attend the show due to B-B’s illness, but with B-B gone, we realised that there was no point moping around the house missing him. I was hoped that John wouldn’t have lots of chocolate Burmese, though, because that would have been too much.
We had Fiona in the kitten class, Xaria going for her 5th (and final) Imperial, and Ali entered in the regional final of the Royal Canin Stakes. The judges were again impressed with Fiona, saying that she was very Burmese in type, and she won Best of Breed. She then topped her day off by receiving a nomination for Best in Show – since each judge was only allowed to nominate one cat from the section, that’s pretty good going!
Xaria did us proud by winning the Imperial, making her now officially Imperial Grand Premier!
Ali was third in the Royal Canin final,winning us £20, and also won the heat to qualify for next year’s final, giving us another £16, so he has once again more than paid for his own show entry. The moggies are good at that!
Tabh was his usual adorable self, taking the whole experience in his stride once again. As before, the judges said that he is an attractive boy, though not the best Tiffanie, type-wise, but has a fantastic temperament. The was Alek’s first show, and he was a bit nervous initially, and spent most of the day scowling grumpily. He did well, though, and looked absolutely gorgeous!
I had a good day stewarding for John, with some lovely cats to handle, including having Fiona and Tabh in one of the side classes. My favourite (apart from those two, of course!), was a lilac Burmese kitten, who had the lovely impish face and beautiful eye set – her ears are still a bit big at the moment, but hopefully she will grow into those as she gets older, in which case she’ll be a stunning adult. John was very pleasant, and at the end of the day, he signed my first official stewarding certificate – I have finally joined the stewarding scheme, after months of people saying I should!
Anita took Keela to a Felis Brittanica (FIFé) show at the end of January, and she won Best in Show! Not a bad show start for Dàrna’s first litter, to have two of the girls win Best in Show at their first outings. Wouldn’t it be lovely if that continued?!
Katie and Kia are both calling almost constantly now, so I’m hoping to take the two of them to stud early next month, which would give us kittens around the middle of May. Hopefully we will finally get a chance to just enjoy a litter grow up and leave us without problems! Since we’ve had an issue with B-B being ill, I’m waiting for a couple of test results back on the girls first, before we take them, just to make sure there are no lurking problems that we could pass on to the studs.
This has been an exciting week for us, with Tassy/Keela going off to her new home, and some of Dàrna’s kittens in their first show.
Keela Moving Out
As I mentioned last week, we were hoping to be able to drop Keela off on Friday, since she wasn’t going to be able to attend the show. Thankfully, her new owners, Anita and Robert were able to be in on Friday afternoon, so we took the day off work and drove down during the day. The kittens had all travelled down in one large basket together, so we just lifted her out and carried her in.
When we put her down, Anita’s Ocicat girl, Lani (litter sister to our Oci, Breckin), and her Ocicat Classic, Azy (3/4 sister to our Oci Classic, Kia) immediately began following her around. Keela initially saw Azy, who looks very like Kia, and obviously thought she was Kia, so ran up to her, expecting her friend. When she got close enough to smell Azy, she immediately stopped, looked at her in consternation, and then hissed at her and ran away. Smelling a strange cat, when you are expecting to smell one of your friends, must be a major shock!
Other than that little surprise, though, she was quite happy exploring around Anita’s front room. We stayed with Anita and Robert fora delicious dinner, which gave Keela a bit longer to settle down and get used to her surroundings before we left her. We seem to be making a habit of taking kittens to their new homes and winding up being catered for by their new owners – excellent!
We stayed that night with our friends Tracy and Gary, near Bedford. We are very lucky to have them as an excellent stopping-off place in that area, because I have now lost count of the number of times we’ve been there with cats in tow.
When we were getting ready for bed, I was stroking B-B and discovered that he had burnt his ear. On Friday morning when we went in to get the kittens out of their room, he had been asleep with his head between two blades of the oil-filled radiator that we use to keep their room nice and warm. I thought nothing of it at the time, but obviously he had been like that for too long, and now had a burn-blister on his ear. We did try rubbing a soothing cream into it that night, but by the morning it was still clearly visible, and we therefore had to leave him at Tracy and Gary’s. I was gutted, because he is undoubtedly the ‘pick of the litter’, and the best show prospect of the lot, but there was nothing we could do. Poor Tracy had the terrible hardship of having to spend the day cuddling B-B on the couch!
Dàrna and the other two came along to the show as planned, and took the whole thing in their stride. Ben/Tabh was totally laid back, but Fiona was a little bit wide-eyed in the morning, so we moved her into his pen for a while, and let them eat breakfast together.
By the time she was moved back into her own pen she had relaxed into the experience. Steve Crow came over hoping to see Keela and B-B, because he wants to see how they develop, but of course I had to give him the disappointing news that neither kitten was there!
We watched both Fiona and Tabh being judged on various occasions, and were delighted to see that they were giving the judges cuddles and kisses, and purring throughout. They behaved beautifully, letting the judges handle them without wriggling, and standing nicely if they were put on the table. Of course, being cute kittens, most of what they were getting was just lots of cuddles, which the adored! Tabh in particular thought that he was in heaven – I don’t think he can imagine a better way to spend a day than with a series of people giving him cuddles, and time to sleep in-between! Some of the judges thought that he might be a blue-based caramel, and Steve agreed that his colour has changed a bit since he saw them at the start of December, so we have decided to change his registration to 68 43ns.
Fiona won Best of Breed, beating her brother and another three lovely Tiffanie kittens. It was fantastic to see so many Tiffanies there – I think there were something like nine or ten in total, which is the most I think I’ve ever seen at a show together. There were also some lovely Asian shorthairs, and plenty of beautiful Burmese, so Anita and I took the opportunity to go around and help her get better acquainted with the type that we are looking for in the Tiffanie breed. Hopefully, she now has this clear in her mind, so that she knows what she is trying to breed towards.
Dàrna was in a bit of a mood, because she had decided that the weekend would be a good time to come into season. She did cheer up a little bit when she heard Steve and Tommy – presumably because she thought they might be going to take her back to visit Pippin again! She did well, though, winning the Reserve Grand.
Our day was finished off beautifully, when Steve Crow came over to say that we needed to take Fiona up to the top pens – she had gone Best in Show Kitten, beating a beautiful little Bombay, among others. Overall Best was Steve’s Tiffanie adult girl, Aurora, who is beautiful, and how lovely to see a Tiffanie taking the highest award! I do think B-B could well have taken Overall if he had been there, but there’s no good thinking about that now!
Hopefully the kittens will continue to enjoy shows as much as this in future, and will have many successes ahead of them. If they can do half as well in their other shows they’ll make us and their new owners very happy!