Summer 2015 Update

Wow; I have to be the worst blogger on the planet! My last update was in August last year – 10 1/2 months without an update surely has to be some kind of record?

Kitten Update:

I’ll start with the bit that most of you are probably interested in… when I last posted we had three litters in the house: Tilly’s, Tia’s and Lhasa’s, making sixteen kittens in total:

Tilly's four kittens in a row on the edge of the bed
Tilly’s four – Isla, Mischka, Horatio and Imp

Tilly’s Kitten 1 (Cagaran Impich / Imp) was an early favourite online because of his distinctive ‘cap’ of dark brown against the silver of the rest of his head. In spite of that, the right home took until between Christmas and New Year to come along, when he was over 7 months old. He went to live with the owner of Mia, one of the girls from our third Ocicat litter.

Imp - Tilly's chocolate silver shaded son
Imp on the windowledge

Tilly’s Kitten 2 (Cagaran Ìla / Isla) went over to live with Maura Lenihan (Coomakista) in Ireland, where they were desperately in need of new Asian bloodlines. She had her first litter last month: seven kittens in a range of colours and coat lengths!

Isla - Tilly's black smoke Tiffanie daughter
Isla on Richard’s legs

Tilly’s Kitten 3 (Cagaran Ifrinnach / Mischka) went to her new home in Paisley, as planned, and is still the little devil she was when she was here. At least her owners can’t say they weren’t warned.

Tilly’s Kitten 4 (Cagaran Iùmh-rud / Mini-Doop now Horatio) won the hearts of our vet and vet nurse and went up to live on their small-holding near Bathgate. He’s even more of a lump than he was back then, now being at least as big as his Dad but still oh so very like him in temperament (and facially).

Tia’s Kitten 1 (Cagaran Jonick / Nicki) now lives with the Lucky Owl cattery in northern Italy. We had a bit of a mammoth journey to get her down there, but spent a lovely couple of days sightseeing in southern Switzerland and northern Italy with her owners before visiting friends in Holland on the way home. We actually drove to Brussels via the Dover-Calais ferry, left the car in Brussels and flew down to Milan; our first experience of having a cat in the cabin!

Tia’s Kitten 2 (Cagaran Julie-Jo / Julie) stayed here with us and made Champion at the end of May. She is really cuddly but also a comedienne and often behaves like a cartoon. In fact, one of her nicknames is Simon’s Cat, because she’s so like the little cartoon.

Tia’s Kitten 3 (Cagaran Jimmy / Jimmy now Oleg) went to live with Sarah Davidson (Karakoram) as a stud boy, as planned. She’s going to do a few matings this year taking advantage of his spots to hopefully get some spotted kittens, and then he will probably be neutered.

Tia’s Kitten 4 (Cagaran Jinking-Jillet / Jill now Duchess) turned out to be a ticked tabby rather than a shaded and went to live with a lovely couple in Daventry who will hopefully be having a litter from her this year. They have bred British Shorthairs and have a Tiffanie neuter, so her kittens will be their first Asians, though not their first kittens.

Tia’s Kitten 7 (Cagaran Jimp-n-Joco / Jock) went to live with Mischka and her owners. Unfortunately, he contracted an infection a couple of months ago, and after fighting it for a few weeks, eventually had to be put to sleep. His owners are absolutely devastated and Mischka spent the first couple of weeks pining for him. This is particularly rough given that Jock fought so hard for life in the first place, being the only one of Tia’s three ‘tinies’ to survive. Perhaps his system never had developed fully, leaving him susceptible to infection; we’ll never know.

Lhasa’s Kitten 1 (Cagaran Kittling-o-Hinnie / Honey) accompanied Isla to Ireland, though she lives with a different breeder (Geralyn Bowles). We also took Eiteag over to live with Ger for the time-being, again to help boost the Irish blood-lines.

Lhasa’s Kitten 2 (Cagaran Kelpie / Kelpie) and
Lhasa’s Kitten 6 (Cagaran Killiemahou / Killie) live together with a lovely family just outside Bristol. These two were close as kittens and are still very close now that they’re adults. We dropped them off on our way to Dover to take Nicki to Switzerland.

Lhasa’s Kitten 3 (Cagaran Karriwhitchit / Widget now Oliver) now lives in Leamington Spa with a lovely couple whose grandkids dote on him. We went back to visit in February and it was obvious that he has his ‘parents’ very firmly wrapped around his little paw.

Lhasa’s Kitten 4 (Cagaran Keekers) stayed here with us and will hopefully undertake his first ‘stud duties’ later this year. We decided to re-register him as a shaded because his pattern is so light that it’s barely visible. He made Champion at the end of May and then picked up a Grand last month, in his first attempt in the class.

Lhasa’s Kitten 5 (Cagaran Kievie) was booked to go and live with the people who eventually had Nicki from us but when she was weaning she ate something (perhaps some litter) that clogged her gut and took her from us. I have photos of her taken late one evening, where she’s flying around, playing happily, but she was very lethargic when we got up the next morning so we rushed her to the vet who operated but lost her while she was under anaesthetic. Of course it was sod’s law that she was the only kitten in the litter who was booked at that point, so not only did we have to deal with our own sadness at losing her, but also the sadness of the people who were meant to have been her owners.

Kievie on the bed
One of the photos of Kievie taken on the evening before she died

Lhasa’s Kitten 7 (Cagaran Kenspeckle / Finley) lives with the lovely young vet who was originally going to have B-B from us, right back in 2010. She’d had various changes of circumstances in the meantime, but was finally settled down and ready to have her kitten so she and her boyfriend came up to stay with us for a weekend (sleeping in the kitten room with 12 kittens!) and chose Finley, who now lives with a teenage Tiffanie neuter, a British shorthair, two moggies and two house-rabbits.

At the end of the summer we took Small down to Helen Marriott-Power, for a visit with her cream Burmese boy, Quin (I GR CH Mainman Quintessence). Small delivered us five cream shaded kittens in October; our first litter of all-the-same-colour Asians, which was a slightly weird experience! We’ve kept back Lura (Cagaran Lurach) to bring the Burmese outcross genes into our lines and the other kittens have gone to pet homes: two to different homes in the Glasgow area, one to Edinburgh and the last to live with Finley’s owner’s mum in Wales (she’d fallen in love with Finley but wanted a shorthair so Elysé put her in touch with us).

We held off putting anyone else in kitten until all of Tilly, Tia and Lhasa’s kittens had found homes, but once Imp left us in December, we mated Ayla to Donny.  Since she’s petite and only had two kittens last time, we were expecting the same again, but she actually gave us a litter of five.  Unfortunately the smallest of these was far too small and never breathed, even with half an hour of resuscitation attempts.

The others were two brown tortie silver shaded Tiffanie girls (one a harlequin-style tortie like Donny’s litter-sister, Quinn, and the other a more subtle tortie typical of our Dàrna-descendants), a brown silver ticked tabby Asian girl and an apricot silver shaded Burmilla boy.  Three of the kittens started out very small but soon caught up to, and surpassed, their larger sibling, and, like the two in her last litter, all four are a normal size for their age, in spite of their mother’s diminutive proportions.

Having had Horatio from us last year, our vet and vet nurse had decided that they wanted a second Asian and since these kittens were Horatio’s half-siblings (he was also out of Donny), they got first pick of this litter and chose one of the Tiffanie girls, who they’ve called Aurora.  The two shorthairs have gone to live together near Berwick; we dropped them off on Saturday and they were already racing around, completely uninterested in us, by the time we left.  The other Tiffanie girl is going to join Duchess in Daventry and will hopefully have kittens of her own in a year or so.

Kitten News

We put Tilly and Tia in with boys at the end of April and they are busily nesting at present.  Tilly is due kittens imminently: she’s at 65 days today and like last year, the father of the kittens is Donny.  We’re hoping for a female version of Horatio – a female, Tiffanie version of their father, in other words.

The father of Tia’s kittens is Zuko, our Australian-Mist outcross boy, so their kittens will be F2s and we’ll be hoping for a cinnamon-carrier with reasonable type to continue that line into the next generation.

Other News

Dàrna made Premier at the Teesside back in August, then followed that by making Grand Premier at the Nor’East of Scotland in May.  Meanwhile, Tia made up to Grand Champion at the Lancashire in March.  To our amazement, Lhasa’s daughter, Honey (who lives in Ireland) went Overall Best Foreign at the Cumberland show in October, and then Keeker and Julie did us proud at the Supreme, taking 2nd and 3rd place in the Special kitten classes, which had somewhere over 50 competitors.

Ali’s favourite person in the whole world has always been our friend, Carrie, who lived with us for a time back in 2006-8 and we’d promised years ago that when she finally got a house of her own, she could take Ali to live with her.  That happened last autumn, so he went to live with her in Falkirk, along with a rescue kitten from Rhodes.  Shortly after that, however, she was offered a post in Jersey, so with human and pet passports in order, the three moved to sunnier climes in March.

Since Bru seemed to have outgrown any issues caused by his single-lung status, we began looking out for a home for him last summer.  The right people came along in November: a local family with three boys, who had recently lost one of their two cats.  Since Bru was so close to his sister, Cheeky, we decided to let her go with him and the two have settled in extremely well down in Bo’ness.

The final, and surprise, re-home of the year was Small, who seemed to fall in love with a couple who came to see her kittens, and ended up asking for her instead.  However much we might love the cats, we try to leave decisions about their homing up to them, so we had her spayed at the same time as her kittens and, once she was recovered, drove her across to meet their other cats.  She now takes daily walks with them to look after their horses and seems at least as happy there as she was here.

Richard and I had agreed to be show managers for the West of Scotland show that was meant to be held in December of last year.  By the summer of last year, it was becoming obvious that we weren’t going to be able to get enough judges due to a clash with a big show down south, so the show was moved to the end of January, in a new venue up in Scotstoun.

However, we’d no sooner got that arranged than the Scottish Cat Club came to me saying that their show manager had resigned and asking if I’d manage their show in February.  I told them I couldn’t possibly manage the two largest shows in Scotland, only three weeks apart, in my first ‘outing’ as a show manager, so I suggested that they consider joining the West in a ‘back-to-back’ or double show, where the two clubs share the hall, judges, etc. so the management would only have to be done once.

After a few days consideration, they came back to say that they would like to do that, for this one year.  The Scotstoun venue had only just been big enough for the West by itself, so having the two clubs together required a renewed venue hunt, including going back to some of the venues who had previously turned us down and begging them to consider at least trying a cat show.  Luckily, the manager of the Ravenscraig sports centre in Motherwell took pity on me (after I agreed to personally mop the floor if it wasn’t left sufficiently clean) and agreed to host the show.  They didn’t have availability on our date so we had to move a week earlier to the 17th of January.

By that point it was November, leaving us with only two months to plan the first double show in Scotland; not necessarily the way that I had intended to undertake my first time as a show manager (all my previous shows I’d only been an assistant).  However, we managed; the judges rallied round to help us and we had some fabulous helpers on the day, and the show seemed to go down well.

It was successful enough that the Scottish decided to abandon their one-year-only policy and opted to do the same thing next year.  This time we’ll be back in December, but on a date where there isn’t another show, and I’ve got a full complement of judges booked already, thankfully.  We’re in the same venue again, since it proved very popular with exhibitors and judges alike, and we should be able to iron out the few niggles that didn’t quite work last time around.  Of course, we’ll no doubt do something else wrong instead…

Our friend Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russians) is now a full judge of Russians and a probationer of Asians (as well as Korats, of which she’s getting close to being ready to progress to full judge) and I was elected to the GCCF Board of Directors last month.

Our final, and arguably most important, piece of news is that Richard and I got engaged in November of last year and are planning our wedding for the 18th of April next year – the 15th anniversary of the day we started dating!  We’ve been living together 14 years this summer so it doesn’t change much beyond our official marital status, but at least it solves the question of what to refer to him as – he can now be my fiancé instead of my ‘partner’!

Even More Kittens

Tia and Lhasa had seven kittens each, but sadly two of Lhasa’s tiny kittens didn’t make it. The remaining twelve kittens, as well as Tilly’s four, have all grown well, though. Dàrna won her first two PCs at the Humberside & Lincs show and Small has gone off to stud with one of Helen Marriott-Power’s boys. Richard was elected as Vice-Chair of the AGCS.

Unfortunately, I can’t get WordPress to accept any image uploads this evening, so I’m putting the blog up and will add the images as soon as it’s possible to get them uploaded.

Okay, so it’s taken me ages to get around to doing another update after my announcement of the arrival of Tia’s kittens, but at least you got the announcement of one of the births in a timely fashion! With looking after the three litters, including having to syringe-feed Tia’s smallest ones, there was just never a good moment to post.

Tia and Lhasa’s Combined Litter

Unfortunately, Tia’s second-smallest kitten died part-way through the Friday, but somehow he had seemed like he was never meant to be. Far more devastating was the loss of her smallest at 12 days: by the time you’ve been syringe-feeding a kitten for as long as that, you’re starting to think that it’s going to make it, but she died in my hands after her early-evening feed and I was absolutely devastated. Thanking heaven for small mercies, though, the biggest of Tia’s tinies did pull through and is now probably the most characterful kitten in the whole litter!

Once Tia’s kittens arrived, we had to cover her nest box or Lhasa would hop in and try to run off with the kittens to her nest box. When Lhasa went into labour, Tia climbed into the box with her, lay down behind her so that Lhasa was leaning against her, and gave her a quick lick as if to say “I’m here; just breathe”. As each kitten arrived, the two girls cleaned them up together and then Tia looked after the newborns while Lhasa concentrated on the next delivery. It was very cute to watch the two experienced mums working together – when we’ve had two girls sharing during a delivery in the past, it’s been one experienced girl and one first-timer, so it was interesting to see how these two divided the duties, rather than one coaching the other.

Once Lhasa was finished, and the kittens were all cleaned up, we changed the bedding to take away the delivery-soiled towels, and then moved Tia’s kittens into the nest alongside Lhasa’s, since it was obvious that the two would be happier in together. The two litters have therefore grown up as one giant litter, and I’m sure they don’t have a clue which of the two is actually their mum.

They are just approaching six weeks and are starting to show individual personalities, but at the moment these are not distinctive enough for us to start naming them. They are therefore still known as ‘Tia’s Kitten 1’, ‘Lhasa’s Kitten 6′, and so on:

Tia’s Kitten 1 – lilac tortie BCR (Burmese Colour Restriction) silver shaded Burmilla female.

Tia’s Kitten 2 – lilac tortie BCR silver spotted Burmilla or Tiffanie (not sure) female. At the moment, I’m leaning towards this one being ours.

Tia’s Kitten 3 – lilac FEX (Full Expression, i.e. not BCR) spotted Asian Tabby male (might be silver). At the moment, this boy is reserved for Sarah Davidson, who owned the kittens’ grandsire, Shogun, because she has been wanting to get another spotty stud since Shogun was neutered. She’ll come and look at him when he is a bit older, and decide whether she wants him or not.

Tia’s Kitten 4 – brown tortie BCR shaded Burmilla female.

Tia’s Kitten 7 – brown silver shaded (tipped) Burmilla male. This is the one who was hand-fed for the first week or so and he is such a character and loves his cuddles and kisses.

Lhasa’s Kitten 1 – chocolate tortie BCR classic tabby Tiffanie female (might be silver). This is probably my favourite of Lhasa’s kittens for type, but since we’re keeping a girl from Tia’s litter, I want to keep one of Lhasa’s boys instead. Typical!

Lhasa’s Kitten 2 – brown BCR silver shaded Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 3 – lilac (maybe chocolate) BCR silver shaded Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 4 – lilac (maybe chocolate) BCR silver classic tabby Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 5 – chocolate tortie BCR silver shaded Tiffanie female. At the moment, she is reserved for John and Theresa Beale, because they’re looking for a silver shaded Tiffanie female. Again, we’ll see how she develops before they decide for certain.

Lhasa’s Kitten 6 – chocolate BCR silver spotted tabby Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 7 – brown BCR silver spotted tabby Tiffanie male.

At the moment, the kitten we keep from Lhasa’s litter is between Kitten 4 and Kitten 7, but I won’t decide until we see how both type and personality develop over the next few weeks.

The fact that both Tia and Lhasa’s litters contained seven kittens takes Eiteag’s average to four kittens per litter, which is the expected average and therefore allays my fears about there being something amiss with his fertility due to both Small and Hailey being single-kitten-litters.  That means that if the people in Eastern Europe who had previously expressed an interest in him are still looking for a Tiffanie stud, I would feel much more comfortable letting him go out there, knowing that he is fully fertile.  My original thinking was to have him neutered once we had the litters from Tia and Lhasa, but having seen him working, he enjoys his job far too much to take that away from him.  Donny doesn’t care either way – he would be just as happy to be a neutered pet as to be a stud cat, but Eiteag loves working as a stud!

Tilly’s Kittens:

Tilly’s kittens are getting close to being ready to leave us, so I really must start looking for new homes.  They will have their second vaccinations later this week, go in to be neutered/spayed next week and then be ready to go to their new homes the week after.

Kitten 1 – chocolate FEX silver shaded Burmilla male.  Pet name: Imp.  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Impich, which means ‘persuade’, because he’s very vocal about telling you when he wants food, play or a cuddle.  It’s pronounced as it looks, with ‘ch’ as in the Scottish ‘loch’.  He’s a right little monkey and gets up to all sorts of mischief with his partner in crime, Mischka (Kitten 3).

Kitten 2 – black FEX smoke Tiffanie female.  Pet name: Isla.  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ìla, which is the Gaelic form of the island name Islay.  It’s pronounced the same way as the island (the pronunciation ending in ‘a’ rather than ‘ay’).

Kitten 3 – chocolate BCR silver shaded Burmilla female.  Pet name: Mischka (chosen by her new owners).  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ifrinnach, which means ‘fiend’ or ‘demon’, because she’s an absolute devil-child!

Kitten 4 – brown BCR smoke Tiffanie male.  Pet name: Mini-Doop or Doopy-Two (due to his resemblance to his Dad), Sumo or Lump (due to his size) or Yoda (because my brother thinks he looks like Yoda).  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Iùmh-rud, which means ‘lump’.  It’s pronounced Ee-oov-root.

Other Cat Stuff:

The Edinburgh & East show was on the 19th of July, and though we couldn’t enter because we decided to do the Humberside & Lincs the following weekend, we did help to set up on the Friday evening and then visited to assist the following day.  I spent a lovely day stewarding for Steve Crow, whom I haven’t stewarded for in a couple of years.

The Humberside & Lincs show is in Newark, which is only about 40 minutes from Richard’s parents house, so is always a good excuse to pay them a visit.  That weekend also suited the bulk of the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society) Committee for their summer Committee meeting, and if we were going to be going as far as Kettering for that meeting, we decided that we might as well fit in the double-show at the same time.  We took Dàrna to try for her first PCs and also arranged for Helen Marriott-Power to take Small home with her from the show, to ‘meet’ one of her stud boys.  Since Small was going to be at the show for that purpose anyway, we decided to enter her in the Grand on the off-chance that the judge would be in a lenient mood, but really she still looks too immature to win and indeed she wasn’t placed in either show.  She did win Best of Breed in both shows, though, as did Dàrna, who also won the two PCs.  During the show day, Richard and I caught up on some shopping in Grantham and had a lovely walk in the gardens of the National-Trust-owned Belton House.

At the Committee meeting the following day, Steve stepped down as Chairman, since he is now Chairman of the GCCF itself, and Sarndra Devereux (Rainsong Burmese and Asians) took over as Chair with Richard elected to the position of Vice-Chair.  As always, the meeting was held in the beer garden of a pub in Kettering and was a fabulously relaxed afternoon.

On the way home, we called in at Anita’s, since she had been unable to attend the meeting due to midwife duties for Breagha.  This did let us meet the three litters that Anita has at the moment, thought – two ‘oops’ Tiffanie x Ocicat kittens from Cailin (Anita’s Ocicat stud boy, Chippie, managed to get to her!); three gorgeous Ocicats (one tawny, two cinnamon) from Bobbi by a lovely Swedish import boy, of which Anita is keeping the girl; and another three from Breagha by Chippie – a chocolate silver Ocicat Classic, a cinnamon silver Ocicat and a cinnamon Ocicat.  We joked that we and Anita have our litters the wrong way around at the moment – we have three litters from girls we didn’t breed, including one bred by Anita (though we did breed her mum), and she has three litters from girls that we bred!

Cailin and her chocolate spotted tabby daughter in a basket at Anita's
Cailin and her very Oci-like half-Oci daughter

Cailin's silver shaded son asleep on a blanket
Cailin’s very Asian-like half-Oci son

We’ve also just had Tármus (our first Ocicat neuter girl) and Simba (one of the grown-up kittens form our first Ocicat litter) back to stay with us for their three-week summer holiday (their people were away to the US for a special birthday celebration).  I always enjoy having these two back for their holidays, not least because it gives us a chance to see how they’re both doing, three years after leaving us.

More Kittens

Tia has successfully delivered seven kittens, though some are very small and therefore not entirely out of danger yet. Lhasa is due imminently…

As promised, this is just a quick post to let you know that Tia had seven kittens yesterday morning.  This is our biggest litter so far, but I’m not entirely sure that all seven are going to survive.  The smallest was only 52g at birth and in spite of top-up feeds was down to 50g this morning.  Three of the seven are still 60g or below (60g having been the smallest survival weight we’ve had in the past, with Hailey) and one is 64g.  The other three are perfectly normal weights and should be fine, but I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for the tiny ones.  On the plus-side, they are all active and squeak if Tia sits on them, so they seem strong enough at the moment.  As long as I can keep getting some food into them, hopefully they will eventually start latching onto Tia properly.  I have no idea on genders or colours at the moment except that we have at least one boy and at least one girl and that one is a chocolate tortie of some description and two are spotted.  Beyond that, I’ll reserve judgement until their colour develops further.

Tia curled up in her nest box with the seven newborn kittens tucked into her tummy
Tia with her seven kittens yesterday

The chocolate tortie kitten in my hand
The chocolate tortie (kitten 4)

Lhasa is still busily nesting and looks absolutely enormous, so I hope for her sake that her litter arrives before too much longer!

Another Catch-Up and…. Kittens!!

Quinn made Grand at the Nor’East, Cheeky made Premier at the Lakeland and we had another good day representing the Asian Group at the London Pet Show. Tilly has a litter of four kittens, born on the 22nd of May – two boys and two girls in a variety of colours – and Tia and Lhasa are due imminently. In addition, two of Anita’s Cagarans have also had litters – two ‘oops’ kittens for Cailin and three lovely Ocicats for Bobbi.

Once again it is well over two months since my last post, and I must offer my apologies to all the people who have messaged me asking if everything is okay and begging for an update on whether we have kittens – sorry!  We haven’t had any problems and in fact, everything is great – we’ve just had confirmation that every cat in the household is Tritrich negative (yay!) and we have plenty of exciting kitten news…

Shows

We’ve only done two competitive shows since my last post: the Scottish Shorthair back in April, and the Lakeland in the middle of last month.  We also represented the Asians at the London Pet Show again, in May.

Our most exciting show news is actually from the Nor’East, which we attended to help, but couldn’t show at ourselves due to the LPS being the following weekend.  Thankfully there were still some Cagaran’s present, with Lona showing Lainni and Tracey showing Quinn, however. The tortie devil did us proud, winning her third and final Grand certificate, making her up to Grand Premier – the fourth Cagaran to win the Grand title, and the first Cagaran to hold three titles (Premier, Grand and Mastercat).  Congratulations to both Tracey and Quinn and thanks, Tracey, for giving her such a fabulous home!

Quinn in her pen at the Nor'East, with her rosette, giving us some tortitude
Quinn talking in her pen at the Nor’East

Lainni in her pen at the Nor'East
Lainni looking gorgeous

At both the Scottish Shorthair and the Lakeland, we only took Cheeky to try for her PCs, which she won, making her up to Premier.  This seems somehow fitting, given that the Lakeland is the show at which our original Ocicat neuter, Tármus, made Premier back in 2009!  Tármus got us interested in breeding Ocis and Cheeky is the last of our dabble in the breed, so I guess that makes the Lakeland the bookends of our Ocicat experience.  The Lakeland this year was also on the most gorgeous day, so Richard and I went for a long walk, taking in Kendal Castle and one of the local ridges with stunning 360º views – down to Morecambe bay, up into the mountains of the Lakes and across to the western Dales.

Cheeky in her Lakeland pen with her rosettes and Premier certificate
Cheeky with her awards at the Lakeland

Richard and I under a blue sky with fluffy clouds, Kendal in the midground and the mountains of Cumbria in the background
Richard and I at the top of ‘The Helm’ behind Kendal, with the town in the mid-ground and the mountains of the Lakes in the background

The London Pet Show was fabulous as usual and we had a fantastic day.  We took four representatives for the Asian breed: Ayla and Small representing Tiffanies (and showing a silver and a non-silver) and Zuko and Hailey representing Asian Shorthairs.  As previous readers of our blog will know, Hailey hadn’t yet made it to a show, so I was half prepared to just have her sitting in her pen to allow people to see a classic Asian (they’re pretty rare), but she turned out to be our superstar for the day – she and Ayla spent the whole day sitting out on their bed, cleaning each other and talking to their adoring public.  I was so proud!  Zuko also spent most of the day on the table, cuddled up in his bed and allowing the spectators to give him whatever attention they wanted but without really paying them much attention.  Small didn’t like the noise from the tannoy system that was blasting out on the next exhibit, so she was more relaxed in her pen, where she sprawled around looking adorable and talking to the people who looked in through the front of her cage.

Ayla and Hailey on their cushion at one end of the table, with Zuko in his bed at the other end and the club materials laid out inbetween
Ayla, Hailey and Zuko on the table

Zuko curled up in his bed, allowing himself to be stroked
Zuko letting the public stroke him
Small lying across her pen, using her litter tray as a pillow
Small relaxing in her pen

The night of the LPS was also the annual GCCF Gala Dinner, so we went straight from London to Cambridge.  We shared a table with Anita and Elisabeth, among others, and had a fabulous night.  This year they had a karaoke machine which those of you who knew me in my teens will not be surprised to hear that I was persuaded to sing on.  After supporting ‘the Birman crew’ who couldn’t remember how the verses of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ went, I also sang a couple of duets with Sally Rainbow-Ockwell – what a team we made!  I think we finally went to bed about 4am, tired but having had a fantastic time, and I’m already looking forward to next year…

Kittens

Okay, the reason that most of you are probably reading this – the kittens…

Tilly delivered six kittens on the 22nd of May, but unfortunately she had four big kittens and two tiny ones.  The tinies were just too small: one never breathed at all and the other slipped away after about half-an-hour of mouth-to-mouth and attempts to stimulate him the way I did with Hailey last year.  I continued my efforts for probably ten or fifteen minutes after that but eventually had to accept that I wasn’t going to be successful this time.  As is usually the case with mother cats, Tilly showed absolutely no interest in the two kittens that died, not even attempting to open their sacks or clean them up, so she obviously knew what I wouldn’t admit until there could be no doubt.  As sad as the loss of those two little ones made me, I am delighted to report that the other four are lively and adorable and doing really well.  They will be six weeks this week and are starting to show their individual personalities.

Tilly with the four kittens once they were cleaned up
Tilly with her four kittens once they were all cleaned up and we had changed her onto clean bedding

The four kittens lying together by their mum's foot
A closer view of the four kittens.  From left to right: kitten 4, kitten 2, kitten 3 and kitten 1

Kitten 1 is a chocolate silver shaded male, and I think he’s a shorthair.  He’s quite gentle but very outgoing and loves his cuddles, especially if you lie him on his back and rub his shoulders and the sides of his neck.  Actually, this whole litter seem to find that completely mesmeric and will flop like little ragdolls when I do that.

Kitten 1 in my hand at 12 hours old
Kitten 1 at 12 hours old

Kitten 1 looking up from his bed a couple of days ago
Kitten 1 now

Kitten 2 is a black smoke female, and looks to be a Tiffanie.  At the moment, she is the shyest but also the most talkative in the litter and likes to follow us around the room.  She always answers back when she’s spoken to, and reminds me a lot of her mum.

Kitten 2 nestling in my hand at 12 hours old
Kitten 2 at 12 hours old

Kitten 2 peeking up from her basket a couple of days ago
Kitten 2 now

Kitten 3 is a chocolate silver shaded Burmese restriction female.  Her coat is fairly short, so she might be a shorthair, but the texture and appearance reminds me of Cailin’s (Tilly’s mum) at the same age, and she turned out to be a Tiffanie, so I’m reserving judgement at the moment.  She is an absolute minx, but has been Richard’s favourite since the start and there’s something very endearing about her.  She and the fourth kitten are the adventurers and are always the first two to try everything: when we moved the kittens down to the back bedroom yesterday, I asked Richard how long he reckoned it would be before one of those two found their way up into the box on the scratching post and sure enough, maybe five minutes later, there she was!

Kitten 3 resting on my hand at 12 hours old
Kitten 3 at 12 hours old

Kitten 3 asleep on the floor last night
Kitten 3 asleep on the floor last night – she had been in the bed behind, but fell out whilst sleeping!

Kitten 4 is a brown smoke (Burmese restriction) male, like his father, but he’s a Tiffanie, whereas Donny is a shorthair.  He’s always been the biggest kitten in the litter, earning him the nickname ‘Lump’ from an early age, but as he’s grown up, he’s become so like his Dad in temperament as well as looks that he’s now known as ‘mini-Doop’ (Doop being one of Donny’s nicknames).  As if two nicknames aren’t enough, my brother calls him Yoda, due to his wise, slightly mournful expression.  As you might gather from the number of nicknames, he’s a bit of a character, but in a very laid-back manner.  Whereas Kitten 3 tackles her adventures with an endearing cheekiness, he just takes everything in his stride and since nothing phases him, he’s frequently the first to try new things.  He started eating biscuits at less than three weeks old and was the first to figure out how to jump out of the kitten pen.

Kitten 4 resting his head on the heel of my hand at 12 hours old
Kitten 4 at 12 hours old

Kitten 4 meeting his Dad a few days ago
Kitten 4 a few days ago

At the moment, you’ll gather that Kittens 3 and 4 have more personality than the other two, who are just very sweet and gentle at the moment.  I would expect that by the time I next do an update, I’ll have a lot more to say about them because they’re personalities will have developed more fully by then.

Both Tia and Lhasa are heavily pregnant and due any time from today.  I honestly will try and at least do a quick update after the births, to let you know the kittens have arrived safely!  Aside from our own kittens, Anita’s also had litters from both Cailin (CH Cagaran Cailin-Anizz) and Bobbi (Cagaran Ceann-Ciatach) recently.  Cailin had an ‘oops’ mating with Anita’s Ocicat stud, so the kittens are technically first-generation Asians – one silver spotted girl and a silver shaded boy.  Bobbi was mated to a Swedish import boy that Anita’s been wanting to have a litter from and she had three kittens: a tawny boy, a chocolate boy and a chocolate girl.  The chocolate girl will be staying with Anita to both continue the outcross line (You may remember that Bobbi was second-generation from our Ocicat-Abyssinian outcross) and keep the new Swedish line in Anita’s breeding programme.

Lhasa lying in her nest box, on her back, looking heavily pregnant
Lhasa in her nest box today, looking very pregnant and showing her Burmese scowl

Tia in her nest box
Tia in her nest box today.  We don’t normally cover their nests but Lhasa keeps trying to jump in with Tia if the box is uncovered!

 

More Success at the Scottish

Another excellent day at the Scottish show, with six Cagarans winning certificates, and Sonia making up to Champion. Dàrna is in with Eiteag, Fi is in with Donny and Grace looks about ready to pop, so we should have our first 2013 kittens soon.

I wrote the wording for this post on the 19th of last month, but it has taken me until today to find the time to pull some pictures together!  On the 16th, we had the delight of a local show, for a change: the Scottish Cat Club show in Larkhall, south of Glasgow.  We didn’t have to get out of our beds until 06:30!

There were a total of seven Cagarans entered, the highest number in one show to date, and six of them won certificates!  We had Donny in to try for his first Imperial, and Etak and Ayla for their first CCs, then Lona had Tabh entered for another Grand, Lesley had Etak and Ayla’s littermates, Derk and Ella, in for their first PCs, and Tracey had Quinn entered in the Pedigree Pet section, to try for her third Mastercat certificate.  We had also taken Dàrna, to try for her third Imperial, and Sonia for her third CC.

Much to our delight, all of the Cagarans owned by other people won the certificates they had gone for, so Quinn made up to Mastercat (PR Cagaran Dorlach & MC Quinn!), Tabh is now sitting on two Grands, and the youngsters won their first PCs.

Quinn with her rosettes and prize card
Quinn with her rosettes and final Master Cat certificate

She does pull the most fabulous scowl!
Looking very mature - she does pull the most fabulous scowl!

Tabh peering out beside his Grand certificate and rosette
Tabh peering out

Ella looking pretty
Ella looking pretty

Derk looking interested in what's going on
Derk looking intently at the camera as if to say "whatcha doin'?"

Derk gazing into the camera
Derk gazing into the camera - he was fascinated by all the comings and goings in the show hall

Etak and Ayla also won their CCs, so that was the whole of that litter winning their first certificates on the same day – a clean sweep of the Tiffanie breed certificate classes!  Sonia also won her CC, so she is now a Champion, which is particularly good news, since she’s due for mating soon.

Etak with his first Challenge Certificate
Etak with his first Challenge Certificate

This was just too cute not to post!
Sleeping with his certificate - this was just too cute not to post!

Ayla behaving like an idiot and proving very difficult to photograph
Ayla proving she is her Mother's daughter, and making any sort of decent photo a real challenge

... but not half as hard as Sonia - this is the only in-focus image!
... but not half as challenging as Sonia, of whom this was the only in-focus image out of over 40!

Neither Dàrna nor Donny placed in the Imperial class, but they were both up against some really lovely cats, so there’s no great shame in that.

Dàrna giving her rosette some love
Dàrna giving her rosette some love

Donny looking handsome
Donny looking handsome

To top off an excellent day, Karen Hettman’s Zach, who was bred by our best friend, Elisabeth (Dushenka Russian Blues), not only won his second Silver Olympian certificate, but also went Overall Best in Show!

2013 Matings – Again!

Since we’re not needing to keep anything from Tia this year, I’m now thinking that I might try mating her to Apollo – the kittens from that mating should be spectacular, but they won’t carry longhair, so they’re not much use to us as Tiffanie breeders.  We should, however, get some cracking show-quality Burmillas, and if we could find some nice show homes for them, it would be great to see some more Burmillas on the show bench.  Having decided that, and since we also don’t need to keep anything from Dàrna this year, I’ve put her in with Etak, which gives us guaranteed Tiffs.

Not Bad for a First Try!
Not Bad for a First Try!

Post-mating Cuddles
Post-mating Cuddles

I was considering putting Lhasa to Donny, to see if we could produce a brown self Tiffanie to help the Tibetan programme, but I’ve now found out that for various reasons, there is now only one Tibetan breeder left, and she doesn’t use Tiffanies in her breeding.  That means that I can send Lhasa down to Quin (Helen’s Burmese boy), which leaves Donny available to be mated with Fi, which is what I’ve done, because she’s another one we don’t need to keep anything from this year.  That mating should hopefully give us 50% Tiffs, though the two previous matings we’ve done to longhair carriers have given us entirely Tiffs, which means we’re probably due for a whole litter of shorthairs!  Assuming we do sent Lhasa down to use the mating to Quin, we’ll put Tilly to a boy who is from the only surviving line that I can find that is related to Annas’ (our original Tiffanie) mother’s mother!

Last week, I hadn’t decided any of this, but Dàrna and Fi were the first to come into season, so that kind of made my mind up on order, which helped with the decision about which matings to do.

On the Oci side, Grace is almost ready to burst, and looks hugely pregnant.  Apologies for the photo quality – whenever I get a proper camera out, she behaves like an idiot, so the only photos I’ve got are phone ones.  Still, you get the idea…

Pregnant Gracie looking very contented
Pregnant Gracie looking very contented
Expanding waistline
Expanding waistline

Bru

We have finally found a home for Bru, who went with his new owner last week, and is now settling in.  He is living with a vet student in Glasgow, and although he spent the first night hiding, he is now coming out to play, and will hopefully be fully settled soon.  It almost always takes longer to settle a 7-month-old, than it would at 14 weeks, but it still shouldn’t take more than a few days.  When I have some photo updates, I will post them for you.

Cancelled Show

The Notts & Derbys show was cancelled, but we had a good trip anyway. The rest is just an update on the cats, and some cute photos!!

I had been holding off doing another post until after the Notts & Derbys show, which was meant to be last weekend.  Unfortunately, the show was cancelled due to people being afraid to travel with reports of snow on the way.  The daft thing is, we had already got to Richard’s parents’ house in Loughborough by the time the show was cancelled, and the show venue is literally about 15 minutes drive from there.  There was a bit of snow falling on the Friday evening, but by the Saturday morning it had stopped and the roads in that area were beautifully clear.  In fact, we had the best run home that we’ve had in months.

The M1 approaching the junction for the show hall
The M1, approaching the junction for the show hall

The road into Judith's village, near Bedford
The road into Judith's village, near Bedford

Donny thoroughly enjoyed his trip away, though, because it meant he got to spend the night with his ‘mummy’, and he came and cuddled down in the bed with me.  Dàrna stayed with Richard in his old room, but she couldn’t make up her mind where she wanted to sleep, so I don’t think she and Richard had quite such a settled night’s sleep!

Donny being cute on the edge of the bed

It was good to be able to enjoy not only dinner on the Friday, but also a leisurely breakfast on the Saturday, with Richard’s parents.  Since we had gone all that way, and now didn’t have a show to attend, we thought we might as well make use of the time by making some other social visits in the area.  We travelled down to Rushden, near Bedford (again on fabulously clear roads!) and visited Tracey and Gary, whom we haven’t seen since their little girl, Emily, was born last summer.  As always, they were very hospitable, and made us lunch, and we enjoyed getting a chance to catch up with them, and obviously meet little Emily as well.  Since the last time they saw us was when Donny was a kitten, Tracey was very excited to hear that we had him with us, and asked us to bring him in so she could see him all grown up.  He promptly jumped up beside Tracey and Emily, and gave Emily a ‘kiss’!

A very happy Donny cuddled up beside Emily
A very happy Donny cuddled up beside Emily -I know Tracey hates appearing in photos as much as I do, which is why I've tried to cut her out as best I can!

We also visited Judith Noble (Larksong Russian Blues), who is on the RACCS (Russian & Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland) committee with us, and is a very good friend of Elisabeth’s.  She has recently imported a girl from Holland, who Elisabeth was very keen to see, and visiting with Judith is always a good laugh.  As usual, she didn’t disappoint!

Other Updates

We’ve had an email from the Variants’ owner, letting us know that the girls have settled in well and are becoming really cuddly.  When he emailed, both girls were sitting on his lap cleaning eachother, which is lovely to hear.  From the looks of the first photo I’ve had from him, they’re going to be great companions:

The Variants in their new home
The Variants in their new home - Carrie on the left, Becca on the right

Unfortunately, we still haven’t found the right home for Bru, which I find incredible, given how stunning he is.  We can’t quite believe that he’s the last in his litter to go!  He’s developed into not only a beautiful cat, but also a rather lovely Ocicat, so I thought you might like to see a few photos of him, as he now looks.

Bru & Fiona
Okay, so Fi's in this as well, but don't they look gorgeous together??

Bru showing off his gorgeous markings
Bru showing off his gorgeous markings

Showing his lovely muzzle
Looking every inch the wild cat he is supposed to resemble

Looking like a spotty version of his granny Kia
Looking like a spotty version of his granny Kia

I’ve had request for some photos of Tilly, so we tried to get some for you, but she is an absolute Minx when the camera appears, and absolutely refuses to keep still.  Even with our shiny new camera, the only two photos we have that are in focus are still pretty rubbish.  Thought you might want to see them anyway, though.

Tilly looking cute
Tilly looking cute

Tilly doing a meercat impression to sniff the tickle stick
Tilly sniffing the tickle stick

Finally, since Etak lives in the kitchen (Donny is spending most of his time up with Keela at the moment!), we’ve been using him as the practice subject for the new camera.  A couple of the photos are just so daft that I had to share them.

Etak in his new bed, yawning and looking daft
Etak in his new bed, yawning and looking daft

Etak splatted
Etak sprawled out asleep on his towel - there's a heated bed underneath!

I also took the cutest video of Donny and Etak sharing their drinking fountain:

The boys sharing their fountain - bless!

Okay, that’s it for today.  Shropshire show next weekend – all get outside and do your non-snow dances for us, please!!

Three Wins, Several New Arrivals and Three Farewells

Introducing Sonia, our first Somali, and saying farewell to Katie, Xaria and Quinn. We have had some good show results, and another two litters, and Fi’s kittens continue to do well.

It is over two months since I last posted an update, and there has been lots of news in that time, both good and bad.

Sonia

I am delighted to introduce Sonia, Gowlaren Sonia Cagaran, our first Somali!  She is a usual, but carries sorrel (cinnamon), making her a potential outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Asians.  She was bred by George Gow (a senior GCCF judge), who was going to keep her to show.  However, we happened to be visiting, and when I fell in love with her, he asked if I was interested in her.  The only proviso is that we have to show her – hardly an issue!

Beautiful Sonia stretched out
Beautiful Sonia looking very mature, but aged just 7 1/2 months

She is a beautiful girl, with a great temperament and a lovely pedigree incorporating some fabulous old lines.  She is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had, and has to be stroked before she can eat her food.  She is rather prone to virtually tripping us up, though, because she’s so determined to glue herself to our ankles!

Sonia's gorgeous head
Sonia's gorgeous head

Sonia feeding with Fi's kittens
Sonia feeding with Fi's kittens

She is currently living with Fi and her kittens, and since Sonia is still a kitten herself (although she’s the same size as Fi now!), she is loving playing with Fi’s kittens.  The two boys, in particular, are quite often found racing her around the room.

Lakeland Show

The Lakeland Show has always been a good one for us, with Call winning one of his PCs and Xaria and Tármus making up to Premier there in 2009, Xaria finally winning her first Imperial there, along with Breckin and Ali both winning Grands in 2010 and then Dàrna making up to Grand there last year.  This year it lived up to past performance, with Sonia, out for the first time, winning first and Best of Breed in her kitten class, Donny winning his second CC and Best of Breed, and Annas taking the Reserve Olympian in a very strong class (even beating the newly Gold Olympian Mylward Sassafras), as well as taking the Best of Breed.

Donny was an absolute poppet all day, even taking part in the second demonstration presentation for the YES! scheme (young exhibitors).  This is a new initiative, getting the YES! Mentors, of which you may remember I am one, to demonstrate how to present a cat to young people on the scheme and those thinking of starting.  Donny was the ideal cat to use for this, because he just stood beautifully on the table, and was interested in everything that was going on.  He even stood up on his hind legs, with his paws on my chest, to give my nose a kiss, bless him!

To top off a good day, Donny went on to take Best Foreign Adult, our first time winning that accolade, let alone with a cat of our breeding.  Unfortunately, we forgot to take any photos on the day, so we had to take some of him with his rosettes, when we got home.

Donny with his Best of Breed and Best of Variety rosettes from the Lakeland
Donny with his Best of Breed and Best of Variety rosettes from the Lakeland

Katie

When I last posted, Katie had given birth to two still-born kittens, and was now helping Fi to look after her kittens.  Unfortunately, after a few days doing that, Katie lost interest in Fi’s kittens, and became depressed.  We moved her down the stairs to live with Donny, and for a few days she seemed to be happier, without the constant reminder of kittens around.  After that, however, she again became depressed, and for the next three weeks we had her in and out to the vet, running tests and trying to find out what was causing her depression.

Donny giving Katie a kiss
Donny giving Katie a kiss

For about a week, we were having to force-feed her, but she was getting so distressed by this, that we had to stop doing it.  We even discussed the possibility of having her on a drip at the vets, but they felt that there was no point doing that unless we could find a reason for the depression, because she couldn’t spend the rest of her life on a drip!

She spent most of her time lying in her basket looking miserable, and it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch, as she got thinner and thinner.  After a couple of weeks, she had lost so much muscle that she could hardly walk, yet we still had no medical explanation.  I came down one morning, and found her lying limp, barely moving, and with obvious swelling around her kidneys.  I took her straight to the vet, who ran some more tests, and reported that most of her organs were failing, and that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to sleep.

Katie taken without the bright light
Katie taken without use of lights

I asked them to wait until I could get back along, to be there at the end.  She was brought through in the arms of one of the vet nurses, with her drip attached, and laid on a blanket on the vet’s table.  The vet was able to inject the anaesthetic into the drip, rather than having to inject her directly, so we were able just to stroke her the whole time.  I am sure that most animals know when the end has come, and Katie was no different.  I hadn’t heard her purr since she had the still-births, yet as the vet pushed the plunger, she started purring.

The vets took some more tests, but we haven’t found anything to explain what happened.  The only thing we can think of is that Katie was always so precise, and liked everything to be perfect, and that she couldn’t cope with the idea of the still-births.  A friend of mine has had two still-born babies, and she said this: “It’s entirely possible that Fi’s kittens were a nice replacement at first… but then she realized they were just a replacement and hers were gone. Then, if she’s anything like me, Fi’s kittens probably pissed her off and put her further into depression.  It’s hard coming out on the other side and finding something to live for. It’s hard finding something to be happy about again. It’s hard to have any desire for ANYTHING anymore. You have no idea how hard I prayed and begged to be put to sleep, have a heart attack, a wreck, anything. I even tried to take matters into my own hands more than once. I know you loved her, and you did her the biggest favor you could have ever done for her.”

Donny and Katie sitting on the backing
Donny and Katie sitting on the backing

When we were taking the photos of Donny with his rosettes after the Lakeland, we started off with a white background, and later switched to a black one.  At that point, Katie came over to see what we were doing, and we took a few photos of her as well.  I wasn’t for a moment expecting those to be the last ones we would ever take of her.  It is some of those last photos that you see here.

Katie with her halo
Katie looking into the light

RIP little Katie.  Sweet dreams.

Xaria and Quinn’s New Home

You may remember that we had a potential owner here to meet the kittens just before my last post.  That was Tracey, who was actually looking for two kittens, but having met (and fallen in love with) Quinn, she decided that she would take Quinn and one kitten.  Obviously, the kittens weren’t ready to leave yet, so she came back to visit again a few days later.

Quinn looking gorgeous at Tracey's
Quinn looking gorgeous at Tracey's

Twenty years ago, Tracey had Russian Blues, and even had a litter of kittens from her girl, before a change of circumstances stopped her breeding plans.  When she visited us again a few days after her first visit, she asked to meet the other cats.  When she met Xaria, she literally started crying, because she missed her Russians so much.  When Xaria sat nicely in her arms, you could have knocked me over with a feather – Xaria had never sat like that for anyone.  Suddenly, I found myself asking if she wanted Xaria instead of a kitten, and she said yes.

As it happens, Xazzle has never got on very well with our other cats, so we’ve always had a problem deciding who to keep her with.  As a result, she has been moved around our house, trying every possible permutation, and the only cats that she would live nicely with were Apollo and Quinn.  I didn’t want to leave her out with Apollo, because it seems a shame for her to have to live in the garden, so she had been living with Quinn.

Xaria settling in
Xaria settling in

I took both girls down to Tracey’s a few days later, and they now seem to have settled in beautifully.  I couldn’t be more delighted, because we’ve found somewhere that Xazzle can be happy, and a home for Quinn, in one go, and they are only ten minutes away!  I’ve been down to see them several times, since, though Xaria is highly suspicious of me, in case I take her away again.  That’s exactly the same as she was with Elisabeth after coming to us initially – it took at least half-a-dozen visits before she trusted Elisabeth not to take her away again.

Dàrna and Grace’s Kittens

Both Dàrna and Grace had their kittens right on schedule – Dàrna on the 11th of July and Grace two days later, on the 13th.  I refer to the two litters together, because they have been together from the start – Dàrna acted as ‘midwife’ for Gracie’s labour, helping to deliver the kittens, cleaning them and Gracie, and showing Gracie what to do.  When Gracie seemed unsure about what to do with the placenta, Dàrna licked at one, and then pushed it under Gracie’s nose, as if to say “here, you’re supposed to eat it”.

Tiffanie & Ocicat Variant mums and their kittens
Dàrna & Grace with the kittens between them, aged four and six days

Dàrna had just two kittens again, and they benefited hugely from the arrival of Gracie’s five kittens two days later.  Before Gracie’s kittens were here, Dàrna’s two hadn’t been feeding particularly well, and as a result were not gaining as much as we would have liked.  After Gracie’s kittens arrived, Dàrna’s two began competing with them, and started making much better gains.

The Asian girl aged 7 days
The Asian girl aged 7 days

The Asian boy aged 32 days
The Asian boy aged 32 days

In Dàrna’s litter, the kittens were guaranteed to be Asians, rather than Tiffanies, because Apollo unfortunately does not carry longhair (we DNA-tested him).  The first out was a boy, who looked to be a brown silver shaded, followed by a girl, who was probably a brown tortie shaded (not silver).  Unfortunately, both kittens aspirated (breathed) some milk, and in spite of being given antibiotics, died due to the resultant pneumonia.  This is apparently a relatively common problem, which almost inevitably results in death, and neither Grace nor Dàrna seemed particularly concerned by the losses, just carrying on with the remaining five kittens, as if there had never been another two.

I found it a lot harder than they seemed to, particularly since I’d spent the week leading up to their deaths, desperately trying to help them clear the fluid from their lungs.  Since it happened, I’ve had at least four or five breeder friends tell me that they’ve lost kittens the same way, but we were really unlucky to have two in one litter.  Mind you, when it comes to losing kittens, when are we not really unlucky?!  The kittens are buried with Katie and her two kittens, so they will hopefully be playing together as a little family somewhere.

Four of Grace's kittens
Four of Grace's kittens - the two Classics, the boy and one of the Variants

Kitten 1 - the bigger Classic girl
Kitten 1 - the bigger Classic girl (pulling a silly face!)

Gracie started her labour by giving us a cinnamon classic girl, then two cinnamon variant girls, another cinnamon classic girl, and finally a tawny spotted boy.  The two classics and the spotty are our first Ocicats, our previous Ocicat litter being all Variants.  Two cinnamon Classics is a fabulous result, because cinnamon is my favourite colour of Ocicat, and I prefer the Classics to the standard Ocis.  Even better that the cinnamons are both girls!

Kitten 2 - the bigger Variant girl
Kitten 2 - the bigger Variant girl

Profile of Kitten 2
Profile of Kitten 2 - lovely dip!

Kitten 3 - the smaller Variant girl
Kitten 3 - the smaller Variant girl, and the more Abyssinian-looking of the two

Showing off some of her spotty tummy
Kitten 3 looking cute and showing off some of her spotty tummy

My hope had been to get a cinnamon girl for myself, plus another girl for Anita (Bryce – Anizz Ocicats & Tiffanies), and possibly a girl to offer to Stacie (Shorten – Ameeka Ocicats & Abyssinians, who bred Grace’s dam).  Assuming that the two Classic girls develop as well as it currently looks like they will, Anita and I have our girls.  If the boy develops well, I may be able to offer him to Stacie, and otherwise she could have the better of the variants, if she wishes.

Kitten 4 - the smaller Classic girl
Kitten 4 - the smaller Classic girl

Pretty Oci-type head
Pretty Oci-type head

Kitten 5 - the Ocicat boy
Kitten 5 - the Ocicat boy

Developing a lovely muzzle
Developing a lovely muzzle

Humberside & Lincs Show

I was really looking forward to the Humberside & Lincs show this year, for two reasons, the main one being that I was finally getting to steward for Lynda Ashmore, an engagement I had had to book almost two years in advance!  The second reason was that Donny had two chances to get his third, and final, Challenge Certificate, which would make him the first male Cagaran to win a title.

Elisabeth had been going to come down with us, but her Ziva had to have a C-section on the Thursday before.  Since we would be needing to stay away overnight due to the show having moved further south (to Newark, fairly close to Richard’s parents), it wasn’t possible for her to come.  Instead, we did a swap, where she looked after our kittens, and we took her cats down to the show.

Elisabeth's Dukey with his two CCs
Elisabeth's Dukey with his two CCs at the Humberside & Lincs

We had also borrowed Quinn back from Tracey for the show, having entered her before Tracey had approached us.  I had, however, warned Tracey that I thought Quinn might have one of the certificates withheld by Grace Denny, due to her coat being too long.  As it happens, the outcome was correct, but not from the judge that I would have expected – Grace Denny awarded the PC in the Humberside show, but Sarndra Devereux withheld in the Lincs.  Quinn therefore needs one more certificate to become a Premier, but given that Tracey had the girls in the Rexfest as Ped-Pets at the start of this month, and absolutely loved it, I don’t think that will be an issue!  Incidentally, both girls got their Mastercat and Best of Colour awards at the Rexfest – Xaria now only needs one more to become a Mastercat, having won the certificate there last year.

Quinn with her awards
Quinn with her awards

Annas didn’t place in either show at the Humber-Lincs, but I wasn’t expecting her to, given the competition.  Donny and I, on the other hand, both had excellent days.  Stewarding for Lynda was well worth the wait, and Donny won the CC and Best of Breed in both shows, so I was well pleased, and glad we made the effort to go the extra distance.

Donny with his CCs
Donny with his CCs - if that boy was any more laid back, he'd never move!

Annas with her Best of Breed and side class 1st
Annas with her Best of Breed and side class 1st - proving that even the top winners don't win every time

As we were packing up, at the end of the day, one of the judges informed me that he had chosen Donny for Best Foreign Adult.  I had no idea that he had gone up for Best of Variety, because only the Overall Best Foreign results were announced.  That’s his second BOV Adult in a row, and I couldn’t be more delighted with him.  He beat some fantastic cats for the award, so I can only assume that he’s such a big, soppy lump that the judges are forgiving him his worse bits!

Edinburgh and Chester Shows

The Edinburgh show was just the week after the Humberside & Lincs, and since we can only show every second week, we couldn’t actually show at both.  I was booked to steward for John Hansson, however, so knew I would definitely be attending.  As it happens, there were two Cagarans there, because Lona brought both Lainni and Tabh.  Lainni didn’t win her Grand, but Tabh was given his third, and final, PC, making him up to Premier.  He is the fourth titled Cagaran, the others being Fi, Lainni and Donny.

Having made Champion at the Humberside & Lincs, Donny was then eligible for the Grand class at the Chester show, four weeks later.  We had been planning to go to the Chester just to enjoy a day out in Chester, so we figured we might as well enter him in the Grand as a punt.  The judge was Di Harper, who isn’t keen on Donny, so we didn’t expect him to do anything, and sure enough, he wasn’t placed in the Grand.  He did, however, do very well in his side classes, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd against strong competition and in classes of at least six.

Update on Fi’s Kittens

Fi’s kittens are now 15 weeks, have had their vaccinations and can go to their new homes.  They have developed beautifully, and it is still a very close call between ‘Kitten 1’ and ‘Kitten 3’ as to who is the most typey.  The other two have also come on a lot, however, and although not showing as much show potential as their siblings, are still rather nice.  ‘Kitten 4’ reminds me of his gran (Dàrna) at the same age, and since she’s a Grand with two Imperial certificates, that can’t be so bad!  Likewise, ‘Kitten 2’ reminds me a lot of Cailin (another Shogun baby), who has two CCs and two Best in Show awards as a kitten, so I don’t think we can really complain about her, either!

Ayla and Derk on the little scratching post
Ayla and Derk on the little scratching post - this was taken on my phone camera, and it's done something odd to the colours

We decided fairly early-on that Kitten 1 was going to be Eala-something, Eala being Gaelic for ‘Swan’.  We have since settled on Eala-Bianach, which literally translates as ‘Furry Swan’, but it was picked because it has a nice sound, rather that due to the translation.  Her pet name is Ayla, which is how Eala is pronounced.  Her spots have pretty well completely disappeared, so we’ve registered her as a chocolate tortie silver shaded BCR, like Dàrna, though Ayla currently has a softer tone to her chocolate.  She is a very pretty girl, and we are keeping her to continue our breeding line.

Side view of Ayla's beautiful profile
Side view of Ayla's beautiful profile

Ayla sticking her tongue out
Ayla sticking her tongue out

Kitten 2 is Ealasáid, which is pronounced Elaset, and is gaelic for Elisabeth.  We decided on that name when she was about six weeks old, and the fiestiest kitten in the litter – she was named after Elisabeth (Stark), who is also fiesty!!  Her pet name is Elly, and she is definitely a chocolate tortie silver spotted (full expression), though a darker chocolate than her sister.  She is going to be living in St Andrews, with a lovely lady called Ying.

Ellie looking adorable in her basket on the windowledge
Ellie looking adorable in her basket on the windowledge

Ellie and Etak cuddling
Ellie and Etak cuddling - Etak is quite often to be found cuddling up with one of the others

Kitten 3’s pedigree name is Éiteag-Bàrr (pronounced Ehtak-Bawr), which is gaelic for ‘Cream Quartzite’, and his pet name is Etak.  He’s called that because his colouring reminds me of the stone, with a pale base overlaid with cream.  He still has spots, but they are very faint, because his whole colouration is very pale and delicate.  He’s a gorgeous boy, and will make a cracking show neuter.  He’s also a real softy – undoubtedly the gentlest in the litter, and will climb up onto the bed wanting cuddles.  I wish we were needing another boy, because I would have had no hesitation keeping him as a stud.

Etak's excellent break and straight nose
Etak's excellent break and straight nose

Gorgeous Etak in the red basket
Gorgeous Etak in the red basket

The final kitten is known as Derk, that being the pronunciation of the second part of his pedigree name, Èibhill-Dearg, which means ‘Red Ember’.  I think he is either a burmese-restriction red smoke or a red silver spotted, though he could be apricot, and isn’t necessarily a silver or burmese-restriction!!  We have registered him as a red silver spotted BCR, because the older he gets, the more he looks like that.

Derk looking cute in the basket
Derk looking cute on the red basket in the window

Derk looking ridiculous but showing off his fabulous chin!
Derk looking ridiculous but showing off his fabulous chin and nice profile!

Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while, will know that we don’t generally have people in to see the kittens until they’ve had their first vaccinations.  On this occasion, we made an exception for Ying, because she was going abroad to visit family for the whole of this month, and part of next month.  That obviously meant that she needed to meet the kittens before she went, if she was to have a choice of which one to take.  She came to visit twice last month, and decided to book Elly, whose fiesty temperament she fell in love with when Elly started swinging from her cardigan!

After the kittens had their first vaccinations, Elly and the two boys unfortunately came down with some sort of eye infection, and we therefore didn’t invite anyone else in to meet the kittens, until that could be cleared up.  Thankfully, they have been fine for over three weeks now, with no further sign of any issue.  The photos above were taken on the 19th of this month, so you can see that they are all completely better.  Having not had anyone in to meet them, though, we are obviously needing to look for homes for the two boys now, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, do let me know!

Kitten Update

Fi’s kittens are continuing to do well, and are now starting to wean and use the litter trays. Dàrna and Grace are both pregnant, and due around the second week in July, whereas Katie was pregnant but unfortunately lost the kittens. Donny and Quinn both won their first certificates at the Durham show, and we had an excellent weekend with Anita and Rob and our 30th birthday party.

Fi’s Kittens

Katie with Fi's kittens
Katie with Fi's kittens at just over 3 weeks

Fi’s kittens are now five weeks old, and doing really well.

Kittens 1 and 3 are the most typey, with very little to choose between them.  At the moment, I would say that Kitten 1 is fractionally the better of the two, which is very exciting, since she’s the one who seems to have chosen us and will therefore be staying here.  She has a beautiful rounded head, stunning nose break and muzzle and big, expressive eyes.  She’s also an absolute sweetheart, who purrs as soon as we stroke her, and who will come running across the room to say hello when they’re playing outside the pen.  She is definitely a chocolate tortie BCR silver, and I still think she’s probably a spotty, but the colour is still just coming in on the body.  Unfortunately, like her mother and grandmother before her, she is an absolute devil to photograph, pulling all sorts of hideous faces when the camera is on her.  She consistently looks worse than her siblings, which is exactly what Fi used to do to me when she was a kitten!

Kitten 1 showing off her chocolate paw pad
Kitten 1 showing off her chocolate paw pads

Kitten 1's beautiful profile
Beautiful profile

Kitten 3 also has a fabulous rounded head, excellent nose break and muzzle and lovely big eyes.  He still might turn out to be better than his sister, but at the moment his eyes are just marginally straighter in set.  The colour is developing on his body, and his spots are getting stronger by the day, so it definitely looks like he’s going to be a spotty.  I still think he’s a cream BCR silver, but there is so little colour there that it’s difficult to be sure.  We had various friends, family and colleagues round for a birthday barbecue on Saturday, and when one of my friends’ daughters came up to see the kittens, this lad sat on her knee as if he’d met kids every day of his life.  He’s the most gentle of all the kittens, and is going to be a big softie who just wants to be loved, bless him!

Kitten 3 stunning profile
Kitten 3's gorgeous profile

Cute little face
Cute, surprised little face

Kitten 2 has a good dome, muzzle and eye shape.  Her head is a little longer, and her eyes are a bit smaller, than the two above, but she’s still extremely nice.  If she wasn’t in a litter with the two above, we’d be absolute delighted with her, and quite happy to keep her to show!  Her markings are still looking lovely, though the ‘kitten fuzzies’ mean that they look crispest when viewed from the back.  She is a real character – very vocal and opinionated, but also a bigger purrer.  In both looks and temperament, she reminds me of our Katie-Shogun girl from last year, Cailin.  Since Cailin has two CCs in GCCF and two Best-in-Shows in Fifé, that can’t be bad!

Side shot of Kitten 2's head
Profile shot of Kitten 2

A bad attempt at showing kitten 2's spots
A bad attempt at showing her spots

Kitten 4 is the least typey, but is still a gorgeous kitten, and his type is perfectly acceptable.  If we weren’t looking at him in comparison to his extremely typey siblings, we’d probably be saying that he’s quite nice – everything is relative, and this is just an extremely nice litter.  Shogun and Fi have done us proud!  He has the longest head and the smallest eyes, but still has an excellent nose break, lovely chin, well-placed ears with a nicely rounded head between, and nice eye shape.  I’m now wondering if he might in fact be an apricot rather than a red, but we’ll just need to wait and see how the colour develops as he gets older.  He is the most variable in behaviour, being all soft and sleepy one minute and then jumping on his siblings the next.  I’ll be very interested to see how his temperament develops.

Kitten 4 yawning
Kitten 4 yawning

Kitten 4's cute little face
Kitten 4's cute little face

All four kittens are now using litter trays and are therefore out-and-about in the kitten room.  They have just discovered the bottom step of the stairs onto the windowledge, and play cute games of peek-a-boo on it, but they haven’t yet noticed that there are other steps above that one.  Their favourite place is on a furry cushion in the alcove below the window, and the look absolute adorable piled up on it.

They are also starting to eat solid food, though this lot are much more into biscuits than wet.  Kitten 4 is the only one who seems to prefer wet to biscuits, and the only thing he’s interested in so far, is what I call ‘kitten mush’ – babycat mousse mixed with kitten milk.  Mind you, put down a plate of kitten mush and he virtually hoovers it up in seconds, so at least he’s got the idea of using a dish!  His siblings are all tucking into biscuits like little piglets.

Kitten 3 eating his first biscuits whilst his siblings play

We had a lovely prospective owner here yesterday, to meet the babies, and she had all four clambering on her.  When she first arrived, Kitten 3 spat at her, which is just about the funniest thing imaginable when it’s coming from a teeny kitten.  By the time she had been here for a few minutes he had forgotten his initial dislike and was joining his siblings climbing around on her legs.  She was particularly taken with the character of Kitten 2, but loved the appearance of Kitten 4.  We did have a few people who had expressed an interest in these kittens, though, so whether she gets one of these or one of the next litter will depend on whether this lot are already booked.

Katie’s Kittens

Yes, Katie was indeed pregnant.  Unfortunately, she had two kittens still-born, one delivered herself, and one by C-section.  The kittens were both black silver shaded boys, and looked perfectly formed, so there is nothing to suggest why they died.  When the vets had Katie opened up for her Caesarean, I asked them to check her reproductive system for cysts etc. but they couldn’t see anything to suggest a problem, so we are none the wiser.

Breeder friends had told me that it is a lot less distressing to have still-born kittens than it is to lose a kitten that is born alive, but I wasn’t convinced.  I was surprised to discover that, whereas I was gutted when we lost little Aithreachas and absolutely devastated when we lost B-B, all I felt with the still-borns was sorry for Katie.

Katie cuddled up with Fi's kittens

She wasn’t at all happy when she could see the first still-born kitten, but seemed much happier once I had taken him away.  She and Fi were living together, and since she lost her babies, Katie has adopted Fi’s instead.  Helping to look after them has given her something to take her mind off her loss.  The kittens think it is great having two mums to feed from!  Generally, the boys seem to prefer their mum’s milk, whereas the girls seem to prefer milk from their ‘Aunty’ Katie.

Katie looking after Fi's boys
Katie looking after Fi's boys

I now have a real dilemma over what to do with Katie next time around, though.  You may remember that we ‘won’ a mating with a Burmese stud boy, in the auction at the Gala Dinner, and my intention was to send Katie down there.  If she’s not going to carry successfully, however, I don’t want to ‘waste’ such a valuable mating.  I could try putting her to Donny again, to test whether she’s going to carry successfully, but then who do I put to the Burmese?

At least I’ve got a few months to make up my mind, and in the meantime, thankfully we’ve got the other kittens to focus on instead.

Dàrna and Grace

Katie’s litter may have been still-born, but it still looks like we are going to be over-run with kittens in the next couple of months.  Grace and Dipsy are both pregnant and already starting to show, which could well mean that they are having larger litters.  Grace is only 4 1/2 weeks pregnant, and Dàrna 5 weeks yesterday, so they’re just a bit over half-way.  Dàrna is still living with Apollo to keep him company, but I will bring her in later this week, and she and Grace can move into the kitten room.  I’m not sure who we’ll put out to keep Apollo company then – perhaps Ali, bless him!

Both girls should be due the second week in July, and we’re just keeping our fingers firmly crossed for smooth deliveries and healthy kittens.

Durham Show

We took Donny and Quinn to the Durham show, the last weekend in May, where both picked up their first certificates: Donny the CC and Quinn the PC.  Both were also awarded the Best of Breed.  Their certificates were the 14th and 15th for our prefix, and they are the fifth and sixth cats of our prefix to win certificates.  We are obviously delighted, and I am looking forward to the next couple of shows, where we will see if we can get them made up to Champion and Premier, respectively.  Unfortunately, Donny appears to have inherited his mum and sister’s ability to look rubbish in photos, so I don’t have a single decent one of him!

Donny with his prizes
Donny with his awards

Quinn looking beautiful in her pen
Quinn looking beautiful in her pen

I had an excellent day stewarding for Chris Bamford in the Persian and Semi-Longhair sections, while Richard, Elisabeth and Karen (who had also travelled with us this time) enjoyed a barbecue with the Johnsons (Koreshka Russian Blues).  It was a gloriously sunny day, and the venue is surrounded by plenty of grass, so they had a fabulous time, though Richard ended up with slightly sore feet due to switching to sandals but forgetting to put sun-cream on his feet!  Thankfully there was decent air-conditioning inside, so we were nice and cool whilst judging the cats.

Quinn looking ridiculously grumpy
I couldn't resist putting in this one of Quinn, because she looks so hilariously moody, but was in fact purring at the time!

Other Bits

Richard was 30 back in April, and I am 30 later this month, so we were going to have a joint 30th party around the middle of May.  As it happened, the dates in the middle of May didn’t work for various reasons, so we decided to go for the first weekend in June, which turned out to be the Jubilee bank holiday weekend.  Anita and Rob (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) were able to come and stay with us for the weekend, and we had a lovely time talking cat with them.  Anita and I also spent a considerable amount of time in the kitten room having ‘kitten cuddles’!

Katie and Fi with the kittens
Fi, Katie and the kittens cuddled up together while Anita and I talked!

Our party was on the Saturday, which thankfully stayed dry, though we didn’t see a great deal of sun.  We had several of our ‘cat friends’, a couple of my friends from choir and then various family members, and had a barbecue in the garden, which was a lovely, informal way to celebrate.  The Thomsons (Saladin Abyssinians) and Elisabeth stayed on afterwards, and we had a late tea of baked potatoes with some of the leftovers from the barbecue.  I think they ended up leaving about midnight, though Richard and I stayed up talking to Anita until well into the ‘small hours’.

We spent the Sunday at the Gardening Scotland show through at Ingleston, for which we had got low cost tickets courtesy of Groupon!  As usual, that was a good day, and we only had rain for about a minute, just as we were arriving.  On the Monday we went round Calendar House, which is only about 10 minutes from us, in Falkirk, and then took a drive across to the Falkirk Wheel.  It was just starting a lift when we got there, so we watched the boats going around – the first time I’ve actually seen it in motion.  After that, Anita and Rob had to head back south, but I’m so pleased they finally made it up here.  Hopefully they’ll be back soon!

Fi’s Kittens and the London Pet Show

Fi has four lovely kittens, two of each gender, who are possibly all Tiffanies. We had a fantastic day at the London Pet Show, with Donny being the most perfect breed ambassador imaginable. Annas also had a good day out at the Nor’East, winning another Reserve Olympian. Finally, we might have a further three litters on the way, with Katie looking like she is indeed pregnant, and Dàrna and Gracie both having been mated.

I’ve been getting emails all week from people desperate for an update with photos, so here you go.  I’ve got a few videos this time, as well.

Kittens

Fi's 'Contraction Face'
This is Fi's 'Contraction Face' - mouth pouting, slitty eyes and whiskers pushed forwards. She pulled it whenever she was pushing, bless her!

Fi has given us our first kittens of 2012, and in the process our first litter from a Cagaran parent!

The four kittens cuddling up together at a few hours old
The four kittens cuddling up together at a few hours old

An exhausted Fi takes a well-earned sleep after the births
An exhausted Fi takes a well-earned sleep after the births

She is proving to be an absolutely wonderful mum, and is looking after her kittens just as well as she looked after her mother’s last year.

Fi looking after her kittens
Fi looking after her kittens

She had a litter of four, born over the bank holiday weekend at the start of the month, so they might be four months later than we had intended that she have them, but at least they’re here and growing well.

Fi with her four kittens suckling

All four have quite a bit of fluff at the backs of their necks, so it is just possible we might have been insanely lucky enough to have only Tiffanies.

Kitten 2 showing the longer fur that might mean she is a Tiffanie
Kitten 2 showing the longer fur that might mean she is a Tiffanie

Like her mum, Fi had the first half head first (the first of which took just as long to emerge as Fi herself did, but at least I knew what to expect), with the remainder being breech-birth – in Fi’s case they were all ‘full breech’, which is tail first (Dàrna had two partial breech, with legs first, and only one full breech).

The third kitten arriving full breech

Kitten 1 is a girl, and was the smallest kitten at a birthweight of 66g.  She is now up to over 190g, which is still small, but is an acceptable gain compared to her birth weight.

Kitten 1 looking tiny in my hands at 1 day old
Kitten 1 looking tiny in my hands at 1 day old

She has one of the best heads in the litter, with a lovely short nose and broad muzzle.  She’s very pale at the moment, but with darker ears, so I’m thinking either a chocolate or lilac with BCR (Burmese pattern of darker head, legs and tail).  I’m erring towards lilac at the moment, but wouldn’t want to bet on it!  She’s probably a spotty, though it is difficult to tell until the colour develops on her sides.  Likewise, I will reserve judgement on whether or not she is silver until her colour is more developed (and possibly a long time after that!).  She has the shortest coat of the four, which could mean that she is an Asian shorthair, but it still looks longer than Cailin’s did at the same age, and she is undoubtedly a Tiffanie, so who knows.

Comparison of colour between kittens 1 (above) and 3 (below)
Comparison of colour bewteen kittens 1 (top) and 3 (bottom)You can see a creamy tone to kitten 3, and a beige tone to kitten 1

Kitten 2 is also a girl, but was the largest kitten at 95g birth-weight.  She is over 265g now, and still the biggest.  She is definitely a spotted tabby with an underlying mackerel pattern, which is quite exciting, because mackerel is very rare in Asians.  I’m pretty sure she’s a chocolate silver (full expression, i.e. not Burmese pattern), and she has one of the longest coats, so I think she’s probably a Tiffanie.  She is very striking because of her markings, but her head is a little longer than her sister, so we shall see how she looks as she grows.

Kitten 2's cute little face at a day old
Kitten 2's cute little face at a day old

Kitten 3 is a boy, and is the palest of the four, being almost white at birth.  He was in the middle at 83g birth-weight, and is now up to just under 260g.  The boys have to be red, cream or apricot because of Fi being an apricot, and I think he must be a cream silver shaded BCR to be so pale.  He does, however, have very faint spotty ghost-markings, so it’ll be interesting to see whether those grow stronger or fade as his colour develops.  Like the paler girl, he has a lovely little head – possibly the best in the litter, in fact, so I can’t wait to see how he develops.  He has the second shortest coat, but does seem to have quite a bit of fluffiness to his tail, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed, since we’ve got someone wanting a Tiffanie boy to show.

Kitten 3's little face poking out between my hands
Kitten 3's little face poking out between my hands

Kitten 4 is a second boy, who started off at 92g, and has closely followed his big sister ever since, being only a few grams behind her, still.  He looks to be a red BCR (a lovely vibrant tangerine colour), but whether he is a self or some sort of pattern, and silver or not, I haven’t a clue at this stage.  He’s got the longest coat of the four, but I think also has the longest head, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on his development to see whether he could be show quality or purely a pet.  We have people looking for both!

Kitten 4 showing his colour and fluffy neck
Kitten 4 showing his fluffy neck - the colour here, is a bit washed out in the bright light, and is also stronger now that he is older

The girls have both eyes open, and the smaller boy has one eye open and the other half open.  Kitten 4 only has one eye half open and the other just a slit, making him the furthest behind.  For some reason, the boys are always slower than the girls at this stage.

London Pet Show

A panorama of the show
A panorama of the show, taken from above

The London Pet Show was, once again, an excellent opportunity to introduce our beautiful breeds to the public, and Donny proved to be a fantastic ambassador for the Asian Group.  He was everything we could have hoped he’d be, and more – walking up to people to say hello, and then lying in his basket letting everyone stroke him without the least bit of fuss.

Donny relaxing while visitors to the show stroke himHe has a lovely 'Burmese scowl', but it doesn't mean he is angry!

We were able to lift him into the laps of wheelchair users, and let little kids pick him up between two of them when he was too big for one alone.  If someone bent down to him he would kiss them on the nose, and every so often he turned around and reached up my front for a cuddle, which obviously had everyone exclaiming over how cute he was.  He was an absolute dream, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

Donny relaxing in his basket
Donny relaxing in his basket

His only ‘naughty’ moment the whole day was when he stole a little toy mouse from a child, but then I can’t really blame him for that, given that the child was waving the mouse in front of his face.  Donny did exactly what you might expect, having been woken from a nice snooze to find a mouse waving in front of his face – he reached up a paw, neatly swiped the mouse and proceeded to play with it.  Thankfully, the kid’s mum had seen the whole episode and took the child away saying “well, what did you expect?”.

Donny sleeping under the AGCS banner
Donny sleeping under the AGCS banner

Donny playing with his acquired toy mouse
Donny playing with his 'stolen' toy mouse - here he's chewing its tail

Cailin also did very well, though she was just coming off call, so was less keen to be out and handled.  She did come out whenever someone was particularly interested in feeling the Tiffanie coat, or seeing a Tiff at close quarters, but most of the time she just played or slept in her pen.  She was a lovely advert for how pretty they are, and I’m glad we had one there so that the public could meet them.  The only thing I feel was missing from a good cross-section representation of the Asian Group was a greater diversity of colour – a red-series and/or dilute would have been nice, because I had a few people look at Donny (brown smoke) and Cailin (chocolate silver shaded) and ask if they come in any colour other than brown!  I realised once I was there that because Donny and Quinn are both still kittens, we could actually have had the two of them sharing a pen, with Cailin in the other one (she is an adult already), which would have given us tortie, at least, but it can’t be helped.

Cailin having a cuddle with Anita
Anita and Cailin cuddling on one of Anita's visits to the AGCS stand

As always, Anita was very hospitable, giving us a delicious meal of lasagne (my favourite, though she didn’t know it) on the Friday night, and then packing rolls, crisps, tea and muffins for our lunch, before putting us up for the Saturday night as well.  It was lovely actually, to get to spend a bit more time with her and Rob than we normally manage when we’re only there for the one night.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of her at the LPS itself, because the Ocis had joined the show late, taking a cancellation, meaning that their stand was situated where the cancelled stand had been, instead of being given the option to have theirs near ours like last year.  Rob’s daughter, Kirsten, joined Anita on the Ocicat stand, and Richard and I looked after the Asians, so at least we had the two covered.

The Ocicat Club stand
Chippy in his pen on the Ocicat Club stand

Anita with Chippy
Anita with Chippy
Azi in her pen - she is Kia's sister
Azi in her pen - she is 3/4 sister to Grace's mum, 'our' Kia

Like last year, the show was so busy, and I was enjoying telling people about the Asians, so much that I didn’t actually manage to have a wander around the rest of the show.  I didn’t even get outside of the World of Cats area except when I popped up onto the balcony to take a video of the show from above.  I managed to snatch a quick chat in the morning, with Teresa Bryant (Brumeux Nebelungs) on the stand behind us, and then at the end of the show, with Vanessa Marriott (Rumba Burmese) on the stand opposite, and Tricia Bristow (Gossamyst Australian Mists) on the stand next to ours.

The Nebelungs in their basket
The Nebelungs in their basket

I would wholeheartedly recommend the show to any animal lover, and am already looking forward to next year and thinking about who we might take!

The view across the show from above, including a zoom-in on Donny

Other News

The Nor’East of Scotland show was also on last Saturday, and Elisabeth and the Thomsons were kind enough to agree to take Annas up there for us.  She did us proud once again, winning the Reserve Olympian from John Hansson, no less – I am delighted to think that John would award her a certificate of that level, because he won’t hesitate to withhold an Olympian or Reserve if he doesn’t think the cat is worthy!  She also won her Best of Breed, beating Lainni and Tabh again.  Lainni was awarded the Reserve Grand, but poor Tabh had his PC withheld – he was never intended to be a show cat though, and Lona only takes him for a bit of fun, so that’s not a huge surprise, though a bit harsh, since he’s such an absolute sweetie!  The Glendavan cats had an excellent day, winning everything from a kitten 1st and BOB through a CC and PC, Grand and Imperial to an Olympian for the stunning Kaiser!  Elisabeth’s lot also had a good day, with her star being Zach, who won his first Olympian and then went Best Foreign, much to Karen’s delight.

We owe a huge thanks to Karen for recording all the show results in our catalogue for us, in spite of her exciting results.  We also owe an even bigger thanks to Elisabeth and the Thomsons, because not only did they take Annas to the show, they also checked on the kittens and fed Fi both morning and evening for us!

After the LPS on Saturday, we drove down to Rosemary’s, and collected little Gracie, who Rosemary thinks had been mated by Curry on the Wednesday.  There were no observed matings, so we can’t be sure, but their behaviour suggested she had been mated, so we shall keep our fingers crossed.  Dàrna was also mated the week before last, by Apollo, and is still living in his run to keep him company – they are like a little married couple!  When Elisabeth and the Thomsons were round after the Nor’East, they decided to check on Katie, and they are of the opinion that she is indeed pregnant.  A week on, and I’m pretty sure I felt a kick today, which would confirm it.  I don’t really mind either way – if she is, Donny will be proven and we should hopefully have a litter including some Tiffanies.  If she isn’t, it’s one less litter to handle at the same time as the others, and she’ll be going to a beautiful cream Burmese boy later in the year.  What will be, will be, and we’ll just have to deal with the consequences!

Quinn

Before I finish, I had promised to post up some photos of Quinn for a friend, so here you go.  She’s a demon of a cat to photograph, because she’s always into something!  I am hoping that she can find a home with one of the kittens leaving this year, but in the meantime she’s keeping her brother company in the kitchen.

Quinn looking up at something instead of at the camera
Quinn looking up at the lights, instead of at the camera

Quinn coming to pounce on the camera
Coming to pounce on the camera because she heard the click

Quinn in one of her mischief-making poses
In one of her mischief-making poses - what is she up to?

Finally looking at the camera without trying to pounce
Finally looking at the camera without trying to pounce on it

Three Shows and a New Year

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

Maidstone & Medway Cat Show

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

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

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

Quinn scowling just like her mum does
Quinn looking sweet

Quinn posing beautifully
Quinn posing beautifully

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

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

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

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

Shogun looking gorgeous
Shogun looking gorgeous

Showing off that beautiful profile
Showing off that beautiful profile

The ‘Festive Season’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asian Group Cat Society Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apollo sleeping in his pen
Apollo sleeping in his pen

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

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

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

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

Notts & Derbys Cat Club

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dàrna standing under her rosette
Dàrna looking gorgeous

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

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

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

New Stud Boy

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

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

Decisions Made

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

Donny looking handsome
Donny looking handsome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thinking Ahead for 2012

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

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

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

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

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