Catching Up Once Again!

Eiteag’s kitten is now named Hailey, short for ‘Haillie-a-Jo’. Dàrna made up to Imperial and everyone else continues to do well.

We had a good day at the Supreme show, with Small in competition and Eiteag and Dàrna on Club Row. Both RACCS and the West of Scotland went well, which was a relief, given that I was ASM for the former, and we were both ASMs for the latter.

It’s been three months since my last post – I’m really not very good at this regular-posting malarky, am I?!  Before Christmas, I had a very good excuse – Assistant Show Managing for two shows in December was a lot of work.  However, I started writing this post between Christmas and New Year, and there’s really no excuse for it not to have been finished ages ago.  However, I will finish it today!

Surprise Kittens

You may remember that we sent Sonia away to stud back in June, but after three months of she and the stud cuddling up together but apparently not doing anything, we brought her home again.  Well… on the evening of the 8th of November (Friday), I picked Sonia up for a cuddle, and realised that her nipples were swollen, and that she looked distinctly pregnant!

She had been kept in isolation in the spare room, since returning from stud, because she was having bad diarrhoea, for which we hadn’t yet managed to determine a cause.  However, she had managed to escape from the spare room a couple of times, which wasn’t a problem, because she only escaped into the hallway, and there aren’t any other cats in there anyway.  However, occasionally Donny also escapes from the bathroom, where he and Eiteag live to keep them apart from the girls, and although I couldn’t recall the two ever escaping at the same time, I had the horrible thought that perhaps she and Donny had been out together and he had mated her.

At that point, Ayla and her kittens were still in the kitten room, so that night we shut the other cats out of the front bedroom and gave it a thorough clean, intending to let it stand for a few days before moving Ayla and her kittens into it, and then the kitten room could be cleaned out and allowed to stand for a few days before Sonia was moved into there.  We usually leave a room empty for a few days before moving kittens or pregnant girls in, just to be on the safe side with the delicate immune systems.

On the Sunday evening, however, I picked Sonia up and realised that she was spotting blood.  My first thought was to wonder if something had gone wrong with the pregnancy, but then I realised that she was actually in pre-labour.  We considered leaving Sonia where she was, because we wouldn’t normally move a queen so close to birthing, but the spare room really isn’t suitable for a queen with kittens – there are all sorts of places where the kittens could be hidden away, or could fall or get separated from their mum.  We therefore moved Ayla and her kittens into the front bedroom, gave the kitten room a thorough clean, and then moved Sonia across to there.  On the plus-side, having her kittens when she did left no doubt as to who the father was, because she would have had to have conceived whilst still at stud!

We spent the night in the kitten room, and early the next morning, I thought I heard Ayla’s adopted kitten squealing.  I dreamt that one of the other kittens was standing on her, but somewhere deep in my subconscious, something was obviously awake, and registered that Ayla and her kittens weren’t in the room with us any more.  I got up and checked the kitten pen, and sure enough, there was Sonia, sitting on top of the stack that she had made out of all the bedding, perched on top of the heat mat, and on the opposite side of the pen, lying on the bare floor, was a kitten.

When I touched him, he was very cold, but immediately responded by starting to shout, loudly.  I rearranged the bedding, cleaned him up, and laid him in against his mum.  I waited a couple of hours to see if she was going to have another, because I had thought I could feel two the previous evening, but no matter how hard I palpated her abdomen now, I could feel no sign of another kitten, so I assumed I must have been mistaken.

That evening, Tracey came up to visit, and I took her up to see the newborn.  As we walked into the room, Sonia was lying on her side in the pen and out slid a second kitten.  Her reaction to this second kitten was the same as the first: she didn’t mind the kitten being there, but was totally uninterested in doing anything with her.  I got the kitten cleaned up, whilst she screamed blue murder, and then settled her alongside her brother, against Sonia’s tummy.

By the following day, the girl had lost weight, so I tried to get her to latch on and suckle, but she seemed to struggle to do so.  I made up a bottle of milk formula and offered her that, and she drained it dry within seconds, so there was obviously nothing wrong with her ability to suck.  That continued right up until the kittens were weaned – the boy was drinking from his mum, but the girl didn’t seem to be able to get latched on, so I had to bottle-feed her.  I know that an inability to suckle properly is sometimes a symptom of flat-chested syndrome, so I kept checking her ribcage for abnormalities, but have found none, so there seems to be absolutely no reason for her inability to feed from Sonia.

Anyway, Sonia’s kittens are now approaching three months old, and have moved into the livingroom with some of our adults and neuters.  When they were younger, they were the messiest kittens we have ever seen, and we had to keep them penned when we weren’t in the room, until they were about eight weeks old.  Sonia wanted nothing to do with them from when they were about four weeks, so we were lucky that they were quite early to eat solids.  The girl is still a very messy eater, not in the sense of throwing the food around, but just that she manages to cover her entire head in it, to the point that Tracey has named her ‘Messy Molly’.  She has named the boy ‘Harry Houdini’, due to his ability to get out of wherever you put him, in order to come and find people to cuddle up to.

We are now looking for new homes for both kittens, though the girl’s type has developed so beautifully that I’m sorely tempted!

Supreme Show

At the 2012 Supreme, we only entered Ayla, as a kitten, and she enjoyed it so much that we decided that we would enter Small in the kitten class in 2013.  This time, however, we had also offered to take cats to represent the breed on Club Row, with a joint table for the Asian Group Cat Society and Bombay and Asian Cats Breed Club.  We had a double pen for Donny and Eiteag to share, and a single pen for Dàrna, with the table in between.

We were staying with Anita on both the Friday and Saturday nights, and like last time, the boys were sharing the stud run in her car-port.  This time, however, it was Anita’s husband, Rob, who had cleaned the run out ready for our arrival, and he hadn’t made as good a job of removing the smell of her stud boy, as Anita usually manages.  Donny is definitely not keen on other stud boys, and as a result, was completely freaked by the smell of Anita’s boy, and in absense of any other cats, seemed to decide that Eiteag was the strange boy he could smell.  We had to separate the two boys for the night (the stud run has compartments), and decided just to leave Donny at the house to calm down, rather than taking him to the show.

We therefore ended up having just Tiffs on the club table, which is not something we normally do – if we’re representing the Asian breed group, we normally try and take cats that represent the group as fully as possible.  If we had known that Tia wasn’t going to be pregnant by the time of the Supreme, we would have entered her, but she should have been pregnant by then (she hadn’t come into season from the late summer through to now).  As it happens, it was rather nice having Small in competition, and both her parents on Club Row, because it meant that when I was talking to people in front of Small’s pen, that I could tell them that they could meet her parents on Club Row.

Both Dàrna and Eiteag were beautifully behaved, and made fantastic ambassadors for the breed.  Dàrna spent most of the day lying in her basket on the table, so that passersby could stroke her, marvelling at the gorgeous silky texture of the Tiffanie coat.  Whenever Dàrna wanted to go back into her pen for a few minutes peace, or a bite to eat, Eiteag would come out onto the table and bound around playing with his feather stick.  He wasn’t so practical to have out for any length of time, because he wanted to go off and explore, so we would only keep him out for as long as it took him to get bored of his toys and decide that he wanted to go for a wander.  By that point, Dàrna would be ready to come back out again, so we’d put him back in his pen, and have her back out instead.

In terms of juding, the Supreme takes a different format to all other GCCF shows, with the cats housed in decorated pens in the centre of the hall, with a series of ‘rings’ around the outside of the hall.  The rings have plain pens into which the cats are moved by stewards in preparation for being judged, and the cats are then taken from these pens onto the judges’ tables for judging.  Unlike other GCCF shows, the cats’ owners, and other spectators, can stand right in front of where the judging takes place, and listen to what the judges are saying about the cats.  After a class has been judged, the stewards will often ask if any of the owners  are present, and let them take their own cats back to the pens.

Small was an absolute superstar, taking the whole day in her stride, just like her Auntie Ayla did last year.  Hers was one of the first classes judged by Grace Denny, and I went over to watch her being judged.  As the steward was handing her to Grace, I heard her say “this one’s got a huge purr”, or something similar, and I watched with pride as Small cuddled into Grace.  I love it when our cats win, but I love even more to see them showing off the breed’s fabulous temperament.

In the event, Small was not only adorable, she also won, taking both 1st in her kitten class, and Best of Breed, and then going on to be shortlisted for Best of Variety.  Grace praised her coat, saying it was one of the best she has seen on a kitten of her age, and that she is a lovely big girl.  Given that one of the key reasons we kept Small is her size, I was delighted to hear Grace say that.  Afterwards, Grace asked if I bred her, and I said I had, and told Grace that she had given Small’s mother an Imperial at the North West Show.  Grace made my day by saying “well, hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to give her an Imperial as well, one day”.  I was absolutely delighted!

Once Small’s judging was finished, I put a sign on her pen saying that she had gone to join her parents on Club Row, with the pen numbers, and took her up so that we had the three together for the rest of the day.  Incidentally, by the time we got back to the house, Donny had got over his pique, and was absolutely desperate for Eiteag’s company, and the two spent most of the rest of the evening grooming eachother, much to my relief.  Meanwhile, Richard and I took Rob and Anita out for dinner and then to watch the 3D screening of the 50th Anniversary, ‘Day of the Doctor’, Doctor Who special at the cinema!


RACCS had their second show on the 7th of December, in Annan, which was the venue that the Committee originally chose, before all the messing about after the Supreme show moved date in 2012.  This was my second time as an Assistant Show Manager (ASM), but the first show that I really had a key role in organising, not least in that I suggested the hall originally, so I was a little nervous beforehand!  The show did receive an entry of 54 cats, which is really good for a breed club, especially on its first stand-alone show, so that allayed my fears slightly.

I needn’t have worried at all, though, because the show came off without a hitch.  The feedback from both judges and exhibitors for the hall was excellent, the atmosphere was friendly and there was a good number of gorgeous cats, who were almost all impeccably behaved.  Also, Elisabeth and Karen were ecstatic, because Zach won Overall Best in Show, which was a lovely end to the day.

West of Scotland Show

A fortnight later, we had the West of Scotland show, which had received a fabulous entry of 313 cats – more than 20 entries above that received for any Scottish show in the past few years.  Considering the fuss that was made at last year’s AGM, about the date being too close to Christmas, with people saying that exhibitors would never come to a show on the 21st, I was delighted to see the entry so high.  It does rather suggest that the exhibitors were pleased with the date, and it meant that we could absolutely go to town on the Christmas theme!  For instance, as joint-ASMs, Richard and I had the pleasure of designing Christmas-themed rosettes, which went down well with exhibitors.

I received a call early on the morning of the show, from exhibitors who were coming up from Wales, to say that their car had broken down 2 1/2 hours south of us.  They said that the AA man said the repair would only take 10 minutes once he had the correct part, and had gone to get said part, but that he didn’t think the parts shop opened until 8am.  The maths wasn’t too difficult there, to realise that meant they wouldn’t be at the show until at least 10:30 – half an hour after the show was meant to start.

I told them that since I was ASM, I would need to check with the show manager, but that I thought we could probably manage to hold those classes back for them.  Shortly after arriving in the show hall, I received a text message from another exhibitor, to say that they were stuck in a very slow diversion around a closure on the M74.  Over the next half our or so, several exhibitors also came up to the front to say that various friends had asked them to let us know that they were stuck in this same diversion.

In the end, we did what I had seen done at another show in the past, and asked the judges just to skip past any empty pens they came across in the first hour.  The exhibitors who had the breakdown were the last to arrive, and they had also been caught in the diversion, of course.  In the event, they were vetted in (we had kept one vet on standby) at 11:17, but it was definitely worth their while, because they went on to win not only an Olympian certificate, but also Best in Show!

Anyone working on a show at any level above Section Manager is not allowed to enter their cats in competition.  Our cats therefore couldn’t compete, but we did take Small and Dàrna on exhibition.  A few Cagarans had been entered in competition by their new owners, however, including Lainni, who won the Reserve Imperial and Best of Breed Tiffanie; Quinn, who had the Reserve Grand withheld on her (presumably for lack of silver undercoat, though she also wasn’t in the best mood); and Bobbie, in her first adult show, winning her 1st CC and Best of Breed Ocicat.  Special mention has to go to Sarndra Devereux’s stunning Bombay boy, Tarby (GR CH Rainsong Jolly-Jack-Tar), who was Overall Best Foreign exhibit.

Christmas and New Year

This year, Richard’s parents went off to Hong Kong and Thailand to visit friends over the Christmas holidays, so we spent the time with my family and various friends.  As I said earlier, we also spent plenty of time with the cats, which has been lovely, because our lives are so busy the rest of the year that it’s sometimes difficult to find time just to… be with them, not doing anything.

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

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

We went to the family service at the church on Christmas Eve, where my Mum was singing in the choir, and then went back to Mum and Dad’s for a cup of tea.  That turned into several hours of singing on the karaoke with my parents and Calum, and between that at the carol singing earlier in the evening, I was completely hoarse by the time we headed home at about 2am.

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

Christmas Day was at my parents this year, and due to my sister going off to her boyfriend’s for Christmas Dinner, my Grandparents going to one of my Aunts, and various other relatives linking up in various ways, there were only five of us for dinner.  When Richard and I had dinner here two years ago, there were sixteen of us, so five was bizarrely few – my Mum hardly knew what to do with herself!

For New Year, Elisabeth and Tracey joined us for a snack-and-pizza tea, over the first half of a DVD.  At 11:30, Tracey left (something to do with a superstition about first-footing herself), and we switched over to Jools Holland.  A few minutes before midnight, we headed outside, and let off a firework on the front lawn at the bells, with a row of little furry faces watching from the house windows (our cats all love watching fireworks).  Back inside, we opened a bottle of champagne, and then settled down to a night of DVD-watching, eventually heading to bed at 8am.

Getting up again at noon, we enjoyed our annual New Year cooked breakfast (including fruit dumpling and fried pancakes and potato scones, mmm!), over another DVD.  Elisabeth and I ended up watching the Sound of Music on TV, and then we ran her home on our way to a family get-together at my Grandparents.  There can surely be few better ways to spend time than with family, friends and a housefull of cats?!

Notts & Derbys Show

We went to the Notts & Derbys show during the middle of last month, because it’s literally only fifteen minutes from Richard’s parents house, and can therefore be combined with a nice family visit.  I wanted to see what some of the judges thought of Zuko and Frenchie, so we entered them in the HP section, and since we were taking them, we decided to take Ayla along for the ride.  As it happens, she was actually awarded the Reserve Grand, beating one other, which was more than I expected, given her size.  Zuko won his kitten class and he and his mum both had good results in their side classes.  Our star of the show, though, was Frenchie, who placed well in all her sides, won her kitten class and beat her brother for ‘Best of Colour’, and then went on to win Best Pedigree Pet and then Best Household Pet.  One of the judges wrote that she is a star in the making, and she certainly adored her day out at the show, so I’m hoping that we can find someone interested in taking her out again in future.

Shropshire Show

We really enjoyed the Shropshire Show last year, because we had a lovely day looking at potteries, and lunch at the Wedgewood museum.  It is also pretty central to the AGCS Committee, so when we were discussing a potential venue for the club’s AGM, I suggested the Shropshire as the venue.  That was agreed, and since I was obviously going to have to be there to take the minutes, we clearly had to enter!

We only took two – Dàrna to try for her final Imperial, and Small in her last time out as a kitten (she is 9 months today).  Both girls were adorable as usual, and we got Small won her first and Best of Breed, getting some really encouraging comments from the judges in the process, which I was delighted about.  However, what absolutely made our day was Dàrna taking that final Imperial, and in the process becoming the first Imperial Grand Champion that we have owned (our other Imperials have been neuters), and only the sixth Imperial-titled Tiffanie (Annas was the first, and there have been four in-between).  She also made Donny the first cat we’ve owned to have two Imperial-titled parents.  She will now be spayed and can retire from the hormone swings of being an entire.

Eiteag’s Kitten

When I last posted, we were trying to decide on an ‘H-name’ for Eiteag’s kitten, and we eventually settled on Haillie-a-Jo, which means ‘Totally a Sweetheart’ in old Scots.  Her pet name comes directly from her pedigree name, and is Hailey.  Her type has continued to develop beautifully, and still has the most amazing nature.  We have also had her hernia operated on successfully, and she now flies round the room with her ‘siblings’, which is lovely to see.  The vet and vet nurse told us that the muscle had been torn from the pelvic bone the whole way up to the rib-cage.  The vet nurse said that when they first opened her up, they all just stood and looked for a few seconds, because they couldn’t believe the extent of the damage that her mum had caused.  On a positive note, at least the fact that they could see that it had been torn means that we can put to bed any residual fears about genetic causes for the hernia!

What’s Next?

Well, Tia, Lhasa and Tilly are finally back in season, so I’m thinking that we’ll give them one full call and then mate them on their next call, sometime next month.  We may be totally mad, but since the three of them live together, and do everything together, we’re going to try mating the three at around the same time, and see if they’ll raise their kittens together.  That would mean that we’d be having three litters in late spring/early summer.  We’re going to try putting both Lhasa and Tia to Eiteag, since he is meant to be neutered after that, and I’d like to see what both girls produce with him, and Tilly to Donny.  The latter mating, and Tia’s have the potential to give us a mixture of Tiffanies and Asian Shorthairs, but Lhasa’s litter would be guaranteed to be all Tiffs, which would be nice.

We’ve got a few shows lined up over the next three months, and are hoping to be able to get Small made up to Champion and Cheeky to Premier.  After that, we’ve got nobody ‘needing’ to be titled, so I think we might take a break from showing and let our depleted cash reserves re-build!  Who knows, though…

We Did It!

We had a good day at the AGCS show, with Ayla winning Best Kitten, Tia making up to Champion, and Lhasa winning one CC, leaving her with just one more to go. We also collected our little Katie-granddaughter, Tilly, who is already firm friends with Ayla.

I know I normally leave it a bit longer between posts, but I couldn’t wait to share our news this time.  Incidentally, we dropped the two Oci Variant girls off as planned on Friday, and they began settling in almost immediately.  The family they have gone to live with seem absolutely perfect to be owned by a couple of Ocicats, so I am looking forward to some photo updates!

The Shows

Both the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society) and RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland) had very successful shows yesterday. RACCS had a total of 59 entries, which is excellent for a first show. The Best-In-Show line-up was excellent, and included cats and kittens from both old and new prefixes. The overall BIS was a stunning Aby kitten, who had won over quite a few of the judges during the day. It was great to see all our hard work coming to fruition, and I think quite a bit of alcohol was consumed, though I didn’t actually manage to grab any. I did get a piece of the delicious cake, though!

The RACCS club table laid with alcohol and crisps
The RACCS club table laid with alcohol and crisps

On the AGCS side, I was disappointed to hear that Steve and Tommy were not going to make it due to Steve having injured his ankle during the Christmas break. It did leave the way clear for a different prefix to win Best Adult, and this year it was Rocadanne Candyfloss, a Bombay, who took that award. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to say that we won our Best Kitten award again this year, making the hat-trick. Fiona the first year, Donny the second, and now Fi’s daughter, Ayla. As usual, Ayla was an absolute poppet, couldn’t have been sweeter, and also had a ‘red card day’ (winning every class she was entered). Best Neuter, and the overall Best in Show winner was the same cat that won Best Neuter last year, Teignage Sirpouncealot. It is always lovely to see two Tiffs in the Best in Show pens. Perhaps one year we’ll manage to have a Tiff in every pen!

The Best in Show pens with occupants - Ayla is being nosy as usual!
The Best in Show pens with occupants - Ayla is being nosy as usual!

We also had Etak at the show, and he was equally beautifully behaved.  We put Ayla into his pen in the morning, and the two of them were utterly adorable, munching their food side by side.  Etak was placed second in his open, but had fabulous results in his side classes (first in all of them), even beating the boy that he lost to in the open.  Different judges have different opinions, and that’s just the way it goes, sometimes!

The kittens eating breakfast side-by-side

As well as the kittens, we had taken Lhasa and Tia, both entered in the AGCS and the Shorthair, and therefore with the potential to win two certificates on the day. Tia did just that, making her up to Champion in three straight shows (two days!). She had a red card day in the AGCS, and had three firsts and a third in the Shorthair. As often happens at double shows, however, the two judges disagreed about who was the better between Lhasa and her competition, so Lhasa won the CC in one show, but was placed second in the other. She just needs one more certificate to become a Champion, but Ayla is old enough to try for CCs at the next show we go to, so Lhasa might just need to wait a bit!

Tia in her pen with rows of rosettes
Tia in her pen with rows of rosettes

Lhasa with her CC
Lhasa with her CC

There were another two Cagarans there on the day – Tracey had taken Quinn to support the two clubs, and Anita had taken little Breagha, though she could only be entered in the Shorthair show.  Quinn didn’t have a particularly good day, not winning the Grand in either show, though she did have some good side-class results.  Breagha was given her 1st and Best of Breed, and placed well in her side classes against strong competition.

Another New Arrival

We seem to have had a bit of an influx of new cats recently, between Sonia coming to us for the cinnamon outcross, and Lhasa and Tia arriving due to their owners giving up breeding.  We have, however, got another new arrival, but this time a teeny kitten.

If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that we lost our first queen, Katie, last summer, and that I was concerned that we had lost her line?  You may remember, however that her daughter, Cailin, went to live with our friend Anita, back in 2011?  Cailin is still entire, so when we lost Katie, I asked Anita if she would consider mating her and letting us have one of the kittens.  She said that she would be delighted to give us something back, and so together we chose a boy who is virtually unrelated to our existing cats.  The resulting pedigree brings together a lot of fabulous prefixes – Kagura, Nemorez, Vervain, Kevona, Kennbury, Fandango, Merinda, and of course Amanda’s Rushbrooke.

Cailin had her kittens back in October, and our kitten came home with us yesterday, looking and acting so much like her granny that it feels almost like we’ve gone back in time and brought Katie home again.  Her name is Tilly, which is from her pedigree name (chosen by us), which is Tilleadh gu Cagaran, or ‘Return to Cagaran’.

Ayla cuddled up on top of Tilly
Tilly cuddled up in the covers, underneath Ayla

She and Ayla travelled home together in one basket, and when I woke up this morning, they were sleeping on top of one another, snuggled in the covers.  She is an absolute sweetie, and I am delighted to have a little bit of Katie back in the house.

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…

Kitten Update and the Edinburgh show

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 feeding her kittens
Katie feeding her two kittens

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!

Kia feeding her kittens

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!

Kia feeding her kittens
Kia feeding her kittens (the 'Foghorn' is on the right)

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!

The girl looking at the camera
The girl looking up at me

The boy looking adorable
The boy looking 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!

Head Shot of Fiona
Fiona looking like a right madam

Fiona in her pen
Fiona relaxing in her pen

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!

Breckin in her show pen
Breckin looking beautiful in her pen

Lainni in her pen
Lainni purring

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.

Three Russian Blue kittens
Three of Ann's kittens

Pregnancy Update

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!

First Cagaran Ocicats!

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.

The newborns
The three kittens as newborns

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.

The two boys
The two boys tonight

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.

The tiny Ocis with Katie's kittens
The Ocis looking tiny in a heap with Katie's kittens

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.

The three Ocis feeding from Katie
The Ocis lined up along Katie's side

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.

Kia with her babies on the duvet
Kia with her babies on the duvet

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 girl
The girl

The first boy
The first boy

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.

The second boy
The second boy has his Dad's lovely dippy profile

The girl's profile
The girl's profile is more like their mum's

Katie’s Kittens

Katie with her kittens
The kittens feeding from Katie

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.

The kittens cuddling
The kittens cuddling

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!

Female looking at the camera
The girlie peering at the camera

The boy looking cute
The boy looking cute

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…

The girl from side-on
The girl showing off her lovely nose!

Quick Update – Kittens and Shows

Alek goes to his new home, Dàrna’s kittens start opening their eyes, and we take Monty, Xaria and Coimhlion to the North West show

A very quick update today, and I’ll try and do a longer one in the next couple of days.

Little Alek went to his new home today, which was really exciting.  We took him up, and I was really glad we did, because it meant we got to see him racing around his new livingroom having a great time.  We got lovely big purrs when we cuddled him goodbye, and I can’t wait to hear how he gets on over the next few days!

The first of Dàrna’s kittens started to open their eyes yesterday, in fact one of them fully opened one eye.  By this morning, two of the kittens had one open eye, and another couple look like their will probably be open tomorrow.  The other two are not showing any sign yet, though.

We had a good day at the North West show yesterday, with Xaria getting her 2nd Imperial!  Monty won another Reserve Grand, so he’s now on one Grand and three Reserves, which means that enough judges think he is worthy that we could have made him up if there hadn’t been better cats there on the day.  Coimhlion was withheld for her Grand, but that’s no surprise – she only goes to shows because she loves it so much.

Kitten Update Week 12 & Wyvern Show

The kittens are all back to being fully healthy, Dàrna is almost ready to give birth, and Xaria wins Best Foreign Neuter at the Wyvern show.

I can’t get over the fact that our ‘babies’ are now ready to have their second vaccinations!  They will be having their vaccinations on Friday afternoon, which means that I will hopefully be able to have them in for their neutering operations the week after that.  Alek and Lainni are still smaller than Soolay, but both are making good gains every day, and even Alek is now over 750g.  Admittedly, that’s not a patch on Soolay’s 1.25kg, but at least he’s not actually half the size of his brother anymore!

Three Tiffanie kittens aged 12 weeks
The three kittens together

All three kittens have good appetites, and constantly have nice full tummies now, which is great to see.  Whenever I take new food into their rooms they all run around my feet squealing as if they haven’t been fed for a year, and as soon as the food is put down they’ll have their little faces stuffed into it.  I’ll have to clear away the previous batch of food to make room for the new stuff, but they always prefer whatever new food you’re putting down to whatever it is that they’ve got at the moment!

I thought we ought to put up another set of individual photos, but if I thought taking them was hard before, it was nothing on now. The only way to get them to look where you want them to is to wave a feather stick at them, but that results in them doing ‘owl eyes’. In the end we decided just to settle for the ridiculous round-eyed look but at least having the kittens looking at the camera!

Black silver shaded Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Lainni from the front

Black silver shaded Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Lainni from the side

Black shaded Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Soolay from the front

Black shaded Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Soolay from the side

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Alek from the front

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten at 12 weeks
Alek from the side

The three all look quite different (within the bounds of a pedigree mating) – I think Lainni is the prettiest, Alek is the cutest and Soolay is really becoming quite handsome.  He’s a big strapping boy, with a lovely rich colour, and a good soft coat.  I am quite tempted to enter him in a show before he leaves us, just to hear what the judges think.  He does have a bit of a habit of rounding his eyes (although they are gorgeous when he’s not doing that), and I suspect that his limbs will be a bit chunky to be ideal for the breed, but I still think he’s a very handsome boy!

Black Shaded Tiffanie kitten lying down at 12 weeks old
Soolay showing off his lovely colour

We’ve had the results of the kitten’s faecal panel back, and it turns out that their illness has essentially been caused by food poisoning.  They tested positive for exposure to clostridium perfringens, which is the third most common cause of food poisoning in humans.  It is something that occurs naturally in the guts of all vertebrates, but the kittens guts managed to get out of balance and the bacteria multiplied more than usual, causing them to become ill.  Perhaps next time we ought to try giving them probiotics??

The Girls

Katie is now completely dry of milk, but Dàrna’s came in on Sunday.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the kittens who discovered this, whilst cuddling up with her, so she had to be removed from them immediately.  As it happens, our intention was always to move her up to the kittening room that day, but we were going to move her in the evening.  Once the kittens had found the milk, however, I just scooped her up and took her straight up there, and she is now in there with Katie for company.

Although Dàrna’s due date is technically Thursday, we don’t think she’s actually going to go that long.  She is huge, and the kittens are tightly packed, but in the past couple of days they have all started wriggling around to get in the right orientation for birthing.  Dàrna’s ‘happy hormones’ also kicked in on Sunday, and she has been ridiculously purry since.  She’s also become clingy, though, so if we’re not in the room then Katie has to be in there to keep her company.  We would have liked to have kept the room with just Dàrna to be sure of minimising any infections, but she’s just not happy by herself, and we can’t be with her all the time, so limiting her company to just us and Katie will have to do.

Darna purring and paddling with her paws

Kia is still convinced that Katie’s kittens actually belong to her.  Clearly her hormonal brain hasn’t computed the impossibility of a trio of 10-week-old kittens having been produced when she miscarried, because she chirrups at them as a Mother does to her babies.  She is really good with them, playing very gently with Lainni and Alek, and then rolling around the floor with Soolay.  She also makes sure that they are nicely ‘polished’ whenever she gets the chance.  Katie would still allow her kittens to suckle if they were given access to her, so they are shut away whenever she is about and vice versa.

Wyvern Cat Club Show

We went down to Worcester for the Wyvern show on Saturday, staying over on the Friday night, in the same B&B as last year.  Once again we had a lovely time, and Elisabeth was with us this time, so we all went out for a delicious meal together the night before.  I can see this becoming a bit of an annual event!

We had taken Monty, Breckin and Xaria, all of whom took Best of Breed.  Monty lost out in the Grand to two more mature cats, so we can’t complain about that.  I think Breckin was robbed in her Grand class, but you pay your money and you take your chance, so what can we do.  Xaria took another Reserve Imperial (her third to the same cat, but at least the other girl is made up now, so won’t be against her again – yay!), but went on to take Best Foreign Neuter, which was a great result.

Russian Blue winning at the Wyvern show
Xaria looking smug with her rosettes

Ocicat winning at the Wyvern show
Breckin tucked under her BOB rosette

Abyssinian winning at the Wyvern show
Monty showing off his warm colour beside his BOB rosette

The real excitement of the day, though, was Elisabeth’s little Yzzy (Xaria’s niece) winning her 3rd CC, making her a Champion, and Elisabeth’s 15th titled cat.  Elisabeth also had Tasha (Xaria’s mum) and Ziva (Yzzy’s daughter, so Xaria’s great-niece), who each won their respective Best of Breed awards.  That meant that on top of her excellent result with Yzzy, it was a Dushenka who took all three Russian Best of Breeds – Tasha for Adult, Yzzy for Kitten and Xaria for Neuter.  Add to that Xaria’s Best of Variety win, and Elisabeth’s prefix really had a rather good day!

Kitten Update Week 9 & Aby BAC Seminar

Katie’s kittens have their first vaccinations and Dàrna manages to hold her pregnancy. Also attended the Aby BAC Seminar.

The kittens are 9 weeks old today, and had their first vaccinations this afternoon.  None seem to be the least bit phased by the experience, although surprisingly Soolay whined least about the injection.  Considering the fact that he’s the noisiest of the three at home, that was not what I expected.

They are continuing to develop their individual personalities, with Alek being quieter and more independent than the other two.  Strangely, though, if you do give him a cuddle he tends to be the one who will stay with you for the longest – the other two will come for a cuddle but then want to be off doing things again.  He absolutely loves lying on his back in your hands while you stroke the sides of his head, and goes into a sort of blissful, dreamy state when doing so.

All three are now making determined breaks for freedom virtually every time their door is opened, so we are in the process of fitting baby-gates to contain them in one area of the house without stopping the adults from moving around freely.  We have put up gates at one end of the hall and in the doorway of the bedroom at the bottom of the stairs.  The other doors off that area tend to be closed anyway, so gating those doors means that we can keep the kittens in the area around the hall and stairs.  This evening’s job is to hang another gate at the top of the stairs so that we can limit them to the landing outside their room when we’re not around to monitor their activity on the stairs.

They were so desperate to get out yesterday that I finally gave in and shut the two gates that we had already fitted so that I could let them out.  They raced up and down the stairs, pouncing on each other, and also climbed to the top of the large scratching post in the hallway.  Thankfully, kittens are pretty indestructible and are perfectly capable of bouncing down the stairs without injury.  The adults were not at all sure what to make of these crazy, high-speed balls of fluff that were flying around their feet, and were generally very suspicious of them!

Lainni is thankfully now back on solid food, but Alek has now decided to go off it – I swear they are just trying to test us!  Katie is back to checking in on them just once each day, in the evening, so she obviously thinks everything is fine, in spite of Alek’s refusal.  I’m just hoping that Alek does what Lainni did, and goes back onto solids of his own accord after a few days.  At 9 weeks, he jolly well should do!

Now that the kittens have been vaccinated, they can start ‘receiving visitors’, so I must get around to putting adverts on the kitten lists of the breed clubs etc.  I am planning to put through their registrations with the GCCF this week, as well.  Assuming everything goes to plan, they will have their second vaccinations around the 3rd week in September, have their neutering operations about a week after that, and go to their new homes a week or two after that.  It’s quite nerve-racking to think that in as little as five weeks they could be leaving us to go to their new homes!

Dàrna is thankfully still pregnant, so it looks like she is going to hold it this time!  It will still be another few days before we know anything about Kia, however.  Both girls are eating more than usual, however, and are far more maternal about the kittens than any of the other cats (except Katie, obviously), so I’m hoping that is a good sign.  A slightly scary thought, though, is the fact that Dàrna will be due in probably only about 3 weeks!  Fingers crossed her litter is less wearing on the nerves than Katie’s lot have been.

We’re going down to the Teesside show this weekend, with Annas on exhibition, so I really must put together something to go on the top of her pen.  This show will be her two-year anniversary of first being shown, so I’m quite looking forward to having her there as an example of where two years can get you!  She is a much better example of the breed than she was two years ago, because it took her until earlier this year to really grow into herself.  I have warned Lona that there is a good chance Lainni will be the same, but that fits with her anyway, because she is showing another of her cats at the moment, so is happy to do the bulk of Lainni’s showing once she is a bit older.

As a bit of an aside, I travelled down to the Abyssinian BAC (Breed Advisory Council) Seminar in Evesham on Sunday, which was well worth attending.  Thankfully, we didn’t have to drive for a chance, because I managed to get a lift with David Miskelly (Glendavan Abyssinians & Ragdolls, Aberdeenshire).  The seminar was themed around the subject of colour, and there were cats there representing a good number of the Aby colours, including Usual, Blue, Chocolate, Lilac, Sorrel, Fawn, Cream, Chocolate Tortie Silver and Fawn Silver.

The attendees were split into two groups, with a speaker and steward each.  The speaker for my group was Helen Marriot-Power, with Lynda Ashmore stewarding.  Both are very well-respected judges, so it was fantastic to hear their opinions on the individual cats there, but also on various aspects of the cat fancy more generally.  Obviously, the talks were very interesting, but probably the best aspect of the day for me was just getting to discuss Abys, other breeds, stewarding, showing etc. etc. with these judges and the other attendees at the event.  There was also a lovely meal, which always helps!

There is a Foreign-Group seminar in a few weeks time, and for anyone who is available to attend, I highly recommend it.  I have only attended two seminars, but both have been extremely worthwhile and enjoyable, both from a learning perspective and just as a pleasant way to socialise.  Besides, you get to look at lots of lovely cats!

Kitten Update Day 47, Eastern Counties Show & Stud Collections

The kittens continue to do well, and now have names. We collect the girls from stud, and Monty wins his first Grand certificate.

I can’t believe our ‘babies’ are almost seven weeks old already! Since they were managing to jump out of the pen anyway, we took one of the sides out of it last weekend. This gave them full-time access to the whole kitten room, and it didn’t take Lainni long to find the heated bed in the corner, where she has taken up residence.

Since my last post, order has been restored, and Lainni is now back ahead of target at just over 700g. The boys are only a few grams apart at just over 650g, but both are still running a bit behind target. They are all coming on leaps and bounds, though, so hopefully they will soon catch up with their sister.

The week following Grandpa’s death was a bit of a rush to sort out everything that needs to be done to organise a funeral. We buried him on Thursday of last week, following a touching service that I think was a fitting tribute.

We had arranged to collect Dàrna at the Eastern Counties show, which Steve and Thomas were doing with their own cats.  Since we were going to have to go all that way to the show anyway, we figured we might as well make the most of it and enter some of our lot!

Unfortunately, the Eastern Counties was on the same day as the Scottish Rex show, which I very much wanted to support.  A few weeks ago we were at a barbecue at Elisabeth’s, and I was complaining about not being able to support the show.  She offered to take the Devons, saying that she could go straight up on the train from her house to Bearsden.   I phoned her the next morning just to check that she really meant that she was happy to take them, and that it wasn’t just the wine talking!  Thankfully, she confirmed that she was still happy to do so once sober!

Richard and I left home early on Friday morning in order to get to Elisabeth’s for about 9am to drop off the Devons before she left for work.  We set them up in her ‘small bedroom’, and hoped that their presence wouldn’t upset her cats too much!  It is surprisingly nerve-racking allowing someone else to take one of your cats to a show, even when you have complete trust in that person’s ability to look after your cats.

We went straight from Elisabeth’s down to Naomi’s to collect Kia, getting to her house at about 3:30pm.  Thomas phoned me on the way south to say that Dàrna had pinked up and was starting to gain a bit of weight.  She was also eating more than she had previously been doing, finishing her own dish first and then stealing from Pippin’s!

When we got to Naomi’s Kia was still in season, but had been mated every day last week, so that has hopefully been enough!  Stacie (Kia’s breeder) lives about 25 minutes from Naomi’s, so we called in with her to let her see Kia again.  In theory we were calling in just for a quick visit, but that never happens when we go to Stacie’s, because we always get talking.  I think we finally left Stacie’s at about 7:30pm, and headed down to Tracy and Gary’s, where we were staying on Friday evening.

As always, Kia took the whole thing in her stride, settling straight into Tracy and Gary’s, and ignoring the grumpy noises made by Monty and Xaria in response to her arrival.  She prowled around the two rooms, making sure that she knew every corner, then jumped up to give Gary a cuddle.

On Saturday morning we left Kia in the house and headed up to the show hall, getting there just before 8am.  We had taken Xaria (chasing her 2nd Imperial), Breckin (chasing her 2nd Grand) and Monty (chasing his 1st Grand).  After getting them penned and breakfasted, we went out to the car with Thomas and collected Dàrna, who wasn’t exactly thrilled at having been taken away from her ‘boyfriend’.  We ran her back to Tracy and Gary’s, where she settled down on the sofa growling at Kia and us to show her disgust!

We had lunch with Tracy and Gary, then headed back to the show hall.  By the time we got there, the Open results were all up, and I checked those while Richard went to feed the cats.  Neither Xaria nor Breckin had won their certificate, but both had managed to win Best of Breed, and I couldn’t be all that upset about Breckin not winner hers, since she lost to the daughter of the stud boy whose kittens Dàrna is hopefully carrying!  Breckin’s sister Lani was also there, and she won her 2nd CC.  Monty had really done us proud, and won his 1st Grand – with two Reserve Grands already, from the Double show last month, he is doing incredibly well for an Aby of just over 13 months.

After the show we went back to Tracy and Gary’s for tea, before heading home.  We couldn’t stay away for a second night because we didn’t want to risk the Devons upsetting Elisabeth’s cats by being there for a second night.  We got to Elisabeth’s at about 1:30am, and by the time we had a hot drink with her, got the Devon’s ready and then did the journey home, it was 3:30am, and we more or less fell into bed after checking on the kittens.

They are now extremely active and playful, running all over the kitten room.  All three are able to climb the stairs onto the window-ledge, and their various scratching posts.  They can also now jump up high enough to grab the edge of the mattress, then hauling themselves the last bit onto the top of the bed.  That means that when we wake up in the morning it is normally to find a trio of kittens wrapped around our legs!

They are all on solid food now, and Katie has started leaving the kitten room for substantial periods of time.  She was out of the room all night last night, and then ran into the room to check on them this morning.  Even after having her away from them all night, though, not one of the kittens tried to suckle when she did come back into the room.  She only stayed with them for about 20 minutes, before asking to be let out again, and didn’t return to them until about three hours ago.

As the kittens have become more active, I wanted to have something to call them other than ‘blue-toes’ and ‘orange’.  If we didn’t come up with something fairly quickly, they were going to be known by their colours forever-more!  I am not going to register the names we have chosen for a few more weeks to give us a chance to find new owners, so that they can have the option to change them.  However, subject to such changes, the names will be An-Sùlair (‘The Gannet’, because he LOVES his food) for Orange, and Aileag (‘Hiccups’, because he seems to get them after every meal).  Their pet names will be ‘Sùlai’ or ‘Soolay’, and Alek.

Black silver shaded Tiffanie kitten, face on
Lainni looking at the camera

Black silver shaded Tiffanie kitten, side on
Lainni side view

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten, face on
Sùlai front view

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten, side on
Sùlai side view

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten, face on
Alek front view

Black ticked tabby Tiffanie kitten, side on
Alek side view

The more the kittens develop, the stronger their individual personalities and preferences become.  Lainni tends to run over to us whenever we enter the room, and climbs onto our feet.  She usually purrs when we start stroking her, although sometimes she is too hyper for that, and tends to pounce on our hands instead!

Tiffanie kitten biting fingers
Lainni biting my fingers

Sùlai will run up to us and give a little miaow if we talk to him whilst looking at him.  He likes to tuck himself into our sides, and is a real softy.  Alek, on the other hand, doesn’t really talk much, and is much more independent than the other two, but if we pick him up and lie him on his back, stroking his head, he goes completely limp and starts to drop off to sleep.  Very cute!  He is also going to be a fantastic hunter when older, because he responds immediately to any prey-type toy, whereas Lainni watches it for a while first, and Sùlai tends to run and hide!

Apologies for the epistle, but hopefully it won’t be so long until my next post, now that the family drama is over!

H&L Joint Show & more stud drop-offs

Saturday saw the first double all-breed show, when the Humberside and Lincolnshire Cat Clubs joined together to put their two shows on in the same hall, on the same day.  The big advantage of this, for exhibitors, is that cats could potentially bring home two certificates from the one show.  Aside from that, though, there is obviously the cost saving in only travelling to one show whilst really ‘doing’ two.  For us, there was an added incentive, that the stud owners whom Dàrna needed to return to were also attending and were prepared to take her back with them, and that the stud owner whom Kia was to visit lives fairly close.

Richard’s mum’s birthday was the day before the show, and the hall was in Doncaster, which is only about an hour from Loughborough, where his parents live.  We therefore decided to combine the show with a visit to their house.  Unfortunately, our cunning plan was somewhat dampened by the fact that Janet (his mum) was away at a conference for the weekend and only his dad was at home!  Still, we had a nice meal with him on Friday evening, having left about lunchtime and called in at Naomi Johnson’s (Vervain Burmese, Asians & Ocicats) on the way.

Naomi has a boy, Mickey, bred by Rita Legget (Yesso Ocicats), who bred Breckin.  In fact, Naomi’s boy is Breckin’s half-nephew, or something like that.  He is a chocolate silver, and since his father is a blue, and his mother is a classic, he also carries dilute and classic pattern.  Kia carries either chocolate or cinnamon, and both her parents carry dilute, giving her a 2/3 chance of carrying it also.  If she does carry dilute, then a match between her and Mickey should statistically produce 1/2 spotted and 1/2 classic; 1/2 silver and 1/2 non-silver; 3/8 tawny, 1/8 blue, 3/8 chocolate and 1/8 lilac.

Naomi has enviable outside runs, and we took Kia straight out to the run next to Mickey, so that she could get to know him before she comes into season.  When we opened her basket, she was straight out and had a good check around her new quarters and then started eyeing up the boys – Mickey on one side and Greg, the Burmese, slightly further down.  It doesn’t look like there’s going to be any worry whatsoever about her feeling homesick, or failing to settle in, but what else would we expect from the sprite?

On the Saturday we arrived at the show hall just before 8am, although a slight detour into the wrong car-park meant that we didn’t actually get the cats in to vetting-in until about 8:15am.  We are all so used the process that both they and we were sorted and breakfasted by no later than 9am.

The Dome in Doncaster is one of the show halls fortunate enough to have a balcony where exhibitors can sit to watch their cats being judged, so we made our way up there initially.  The results boards were also up there, but for some reason they had all been crammed into one tiny corner of the balcony, which we all took one look at and said “this’ll be hell later”.  Sure enough, by half-way through the afternoon everyone was tripping over eachother and the results boards and generally getting totally confused and fed up.  Thankfully, someone eventually had the sense to move one of the boards out onto the landing, which made life much easier.

Since Breckin and Monty are both so young still (Breckin is just 13 months and 2 days today, and Monty is just over a week past his 1st birthday), I didn’t really expect them to get anything.  They excelled themselves, however, with Monty taking the Reserve Grand in both shows, and Breckin taking Reserve in one show and the Grand in the other!  The competition was tough in both cases, too, so they did really well.  Xaria didn’t get anything in the Imperial classes, unfortunately, but she did beat a rather stunning boy for Best of Breed, so she didn’t exactly have a bad day either!

Dàrna wasn’t entered in the show, and the day was far too hot for us to leave her in the car (19.5°C when we left Loughborough at 7am!), so we had to leave her in Loughborough.  Richard therefore had to leave about 12:30pm to head back to his parents’ to collect her.  I think she had been spoilt all morning by having Bill (Richard’s dad) all to herself, and was in an exceptionally good mood by the time we handed her over to Steve and Thomas (Kagura Burmese & Asians) at the end of the show.

We have arranged to collect both girls in four weeks’ time, and fingers crossed that this time we have two expanding tummys, and not just one!