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?
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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’!
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…
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!
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.
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.
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…
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
The Somali kittens and Frenchie (now Sam) have found a new home together, and may be shown and even bred from, in the case of the girls. At recent shows, Small and Bobbi have made up to Champion, Donny won his fourth Imperial and Cheeky her first PC, plus we’ve had a couple of Reserve Grands for Eiteag and Ayla. Tia, Lhasa and Tilly have been mated, and we are waiting to see if they are pregnant.
I really must find a better approach to setting aside time to do regular updates – it’s been over two months since my last one, and that was three months from the previous one, so this is only my third post in the past six months!
Kittens in New Homes
When I last posted, we were looking for homes for the two Somali kittens (though I was tempted to keep Molly), and Frenchie. We had a whole host of enquiries for the Somalis and several for Frenchie as well, but one of the first enquiries was from a lovely couple who live near Alexandria and used to breed Siamese. They have recently lost their elderly Siamese and although they have two young Siamese as well, they were looking for something to fill the gap (I understand that need, having done exactly the same thing when we lost Tiger and then again when we lost Gealbhan). They came out to meet the kittens, with a view to getting two, and when they left us after a few hours of getting to know the kittens, and meeting all the adults, they said that they definitely wanted two, but had to discuss which two to have. As soon as they got home, however, they rang to say that they had decided that they would like all three, if that was possible.
The cats had all adored them, and Annas had even sat on Derek’s knee, which is as high a praise of a stranger as Annas can possibly offer – she’s not generally keen on new people. Irene also asked if we would consider allowing them to have a litter from Molly when she is old enough, and offered to keep Frenchie entire to act as a back-up for the outcross, in case Zuko couldn’t produce kittens for us. Between the cats’ reactions to them, the possibility of starting another Somali breeder, having a back-up to Zuko for the outcross and also the lovely thought of having the three kittens living together, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes.
The Somali kittens hadn’t had their second vaccinations yet, but Frenchie was ready to leave immediately, so they asked if they could have her first, with the Somalis to follow when they were ready. They decided to rename her Samantha, or Sam for short, and I drove her over to their house that weekend, where she settled in immediately, and decided that she was going to be mum to the two Siamese, who seem happy being mothered. Irene and Derek visited us a couple of weeks later, with their daughter, to see the Somali kittens again, and then the following weekend having received their second vaccinations, and with Harry neutered, I took the Somalis to join their new family. All three have settled in well with eachother and also their new Siamese brothers, and I think we’ll be seeing a couple of them at a show soon, so watch this space!
On a sad note, I have just received word that Hamish, one of Bobbi’s brothers, has been killed in the lane beside his house. Harry and Hamish were both cinnamon Ocicat Variants, and went to live together down in Ayrshire, where their owner absolutely doted on them. Unfortunately, Hamish got out and went onto the lane by the house, where one of the neighbours saw him being hit by a car doing at least 40mph, in spite of the 20mph speed limit. He was killed immediately, which at least means he didn’t suffer, but poor Harry is absolutely devastated. His owner thinks he probably saw the accident, because he came flying into the house looking really shaken, and has been reluctant to go outside since.
Since my last post, we’ve been to four shows: the Scottish, the Lancs, the Preston & Blackpool and the joint Midland Counties/Shorthair Cat Society/Asian Group Cat Society.
We had entered both Small and Dàrna in the Scottish, Small for her first CC, and Dàrna in case she didn’t win her fifth Imperial at the Shropshire. Having had her make up at the Shropshire, I considered leaving her at home for the Scottish, but since she was to be spayed the following week, it seemed a shame to miss the last possibility of taking her out as an entire. Small won her CC, and had some lovely comments from judges, and as it happens, Dàrna didn’t win the Imperial anyway, losing out to a very typey Devon Rex, but it was indeed lovely to have the two girls out as adults together one last time.
The Lancs was the last opportunity to take Zuko out as a Pedigree Pet, until he has finished his part in the outcross and been neutered (cats over six months must be neutered in the HP section), so obviously I wanted to take him and Small, since she was trying for her second CC. Since the Lancs were offering a reduced entry fee, we also decided to try Cheeky for her first PC, and had entered Hailey alongside Zuko. Unfortunately, I forgot that I had entered Hailey, so we didn’t actually take her to the show! Zuko had a good day, winning his 1st and Best of Colour, and with good results in his side classes, and Small won her second CC and Best of Breed, and had her coat described as having been “made in heaven”. Cheeky was very shy, and was also looking skinny due to living with Ali, who is an absolute hoover for food, so she didn’t get her award.
At the Preston & Blackpool, Hailey’s Pedigree Pet judge was to be Janet Wilshaw, whom I suspect would love her type, so I entered her there. A couple of days before the show, she fell off a scratching post whilst playing, and bumped her eye on the corner of a litter tray, resulting in a scratch and a very sore eye, so we couldn’t take her to that one either. As it happens, Janet was ill that day, so at least we didn’t miss having Janet judge her, but I’m still disappointed that we haven’t been able to take her out (like Zuko, she’s now too old to go out until she’s been spayed). Cheeky was still very skinny, and although shy, was much happier than at the Lancs, even rolling onto her back to have her tummy stroked before we left her in the morning, but still didn’t get her certificate. Small was our saving grace, making up to Champion with her third CC, and also taking BOB again.
As an aside, Hailey’s eye was sore for a few days, but was well enough that by the week after the show, she could have been shown, so the timing was just sod’s law!
Last Sunday was the joint show, and since this is Richard’s peak season, he can’t really take Monday’s off work, so I drove to this one myself. Anita invited me to stay on the Saturday and Sunday nights, so I took the Monday off and drove down on the Saturday and back Monday. We entered three cats to support the AGCS (Donny in the Imperial and Eiteag and Ayla in the Grand), and since we had the option, figured that we might as well enter them in the Shorthair show as well.
In addition, we decided to have another go with Cheeky, to see whether she continued to be more content with each show, and tried moving Ali to a different room straight after the Preston & Blackpool, leaving just Cheeky and Bru together, so that they could have food down all the time (Ali will just keep eating, even if it means he has to throw up to make more room, and gets very fat). That made a huge difference to Cheeky’s condition, and by the time of the show, her coat was glossier and she had filled out nicely. That improvement, combined with the fact that she was almost totally relaxed this time, meant that she was finally awarded her first certificate. Eiteag and Ayla both won a Reserve Grand in one show, and didn’t place in the other, but competition was strong, and we weren’t expecting them to win at all – they were only there to support the club, so I can’t be too upset! Donny didn’t place in one of the shows, but surprised me by winning the Imperial in the other (again, he was there just for support), taking his total to four, and meaning that he only has one to go!
Sue also had Bobbi entered in the Shorthair, to try for her third and final CC, which she won, making her the thirteenth titled Cagaran. Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances, Sue is not going to be able to take Bobbi, but since Anita lost one of her Ocicat girls last year, she is interested in having Bobbi. Although Anita already has Bobbi’s half-sister, the relationship is through their mother, who is first-generation from the outcross line, and the father’s pedigrees are completely different, so Bobbi could still be of benefit to Anita’s breeding.
In my last post, I said that we were planning to give Tia, Lhasa and Tilly one more call, and then mate all three of them in March, and for a change, we actually did what we were planning to do, putting Tia and Lhasa with Eiteag, and Tilly with Donny. We know that Tia was mated numerous times, Lhasa at least once, and Donny certainly made a good try of it with Tilly (he’d pulled most of the fur out of the back of her neck!), so we’re now just keeping our fingers crossed. All three girls have gained weight since being mated, but only Tilly actually seems to have pinked up. With the other two the weight gain could just be due to the relief of finally having had a mate after such a long gap. If they haven’t taken, we’ll try them again on their next calls, and I promise I’ll keep you posted!
On a totally non-cat subject, I’d like to thank those of you who came to the concert last night at the Church of the Holyrude in Stirling, where I was singing Mozart’s Requiem and some other pieces, with the Stirling City Choir. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and hope you did too!
It’s been quite a while since my last post, so there is plenty to catch up on, including several shows (London Pet Show, Nor’East, Suffolk & Norfolk, Durham/Northern Counties and Lakeland), the World Cat Congress and Gala Dinner and Australian Mist Seminar. Both Dàrna’s kitten and the Ocis continue to do well, and the Ocis are now starting to leave home. In addition, Keela and Grace have now been spayed, and are ready to look for new homes.
I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post – how time flies! I had a draft post saved here that started “the past couple of weekends have been really enjoyable, but also really tiring”, but I hadn’t got around to completing it and posting it up. Thinking back over the time since my last post, that opening comment could pretty-much just be extended to cover the entire period! I have very busy at work, and in my ‘spare’ time, have been doing judge’s class allocations for my first time as an Assistant Show Manager, which is an amazingly time-consuming process. So… what has happened since my last post?
London Pet Show
As in previous years, the London Pet Show proved to be a great success, and remains a fabulous opportunity for the GCCF and the breed clubs, to show off our wonderful breeds. Due to the number of people wanting to enter the World Cat Congress show the following weekend, many of the cats who would normally have been at LPS were unable to attend (in the GCCF, we are not allowed to show more than once in every two weekends). It was therefore more of a struggle than usual to get the required 24 breeds on each day, and so we offered to take more cats than usual.
The first three were borrowed from other people, on behalf of the Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland, of which I am the Secretary, and Richard is the Vice-Chairman:
Kenga (our Grace’s litter-sister, Cagaran Adhairc), who represented the Abyssinians as a Pedigree Pet. Her sire was a gorgeous usual Abyssinian, but her dam was a tawny Ocicat Classic. For the purposes of allowing the public to meet a breed, however (which is the point of the LPS), she looks and behaves like an Abyssinian.
For the Russians, we borrowed three of Elisabeth’s kittens, Iggy (commonly known as Ig-the-pig, because he’s a greedy wee rascal), Jerry (her new import boy from Holland), and her youngest, Jingle (usually called Small-Small, but as only Elisabeth could come up with, also sometimes called Jinny-Jingle-Beagle-Bingle!). Elisabeth was judging in Dundee the same day, so the Russian table was manned by Caroline Moore, who owns a Russian Blue neuter, and who absolutely fell in love with Jingle during the day.
Bru and Cheeky shared a double pen, representing the Ocicats and Ocicat Classics. They weren’t too sure about all the hustle and bustle of the show, and were only happy to be out of their pen, if they were being cuddled. Anita and Rob came with us to man the Ocicat table, and Anita spent most of the day cuddling Cheeky whilst people stroked her over the table.
The rest of ours were representing the Asian Group, and we tried to cover as much of it as we could in the four cats we took – Donny represented the Asian Smoke, Tia the Burmilla, Ayla the Tiffanie, and Eiteag, as a spotted tabby Tiffanie, was the closest we come to an Asian Tabby, so he came along as well.
Donny and Eiteag shared a pen, and when they weren’t out on the table, they were cuddled up together on their bed, sleeping or grooming eachother. Last year, Donny was happy to spend the entire day out on the table, and being passed from person to person, but he and Eiteag are both adolescent males now, and inclined to get a bit frisky if they can smell female cats! As a result, we had to spell the two of them, having them out for maybe fifteen minutes at a time, and then swapping over. Since we didn’t have anyone to man the Abyssinian table, Richard was taking it in turns between the boys and Kenga.
I was looking after our second table (one was technically for the Asian Shorthairs, and the other for the Tiffanies, but we had one of each on each table because of the gender split), with Tia and Ayla. Tia was happy to be out of her pen, but equally happy in it, whereas Ayla was ecstatic when she was out of her pen, and wanted out within minutes of being back inside the pen, so I had Ayla out most of the day. Whenever I put her back into her pen for a few minutes to encourage her to have something to eat and drink, I would then get Tia out until Ayla had decided that she wanted out again. The rest of the day, Tia sat in her pen looking beautiful, and people ooh-ing and ah-ing over her.
Ayla was my little star, though, and like her uncle Donny last year, was absolutely in her element, being passed from person to person, giving cuddles and kisses and just lapping up all the attention. She was a fabulous ambassador for the breed, and I think lots of people went home wanting an Asian of some description, as a result!
At the end of the show, I had a slightly tearful goodbye with her, as she left with the Australian Mist stud owner. I have been getting regular updates ever since, however, and it sounds like Ayla is missing me less than I’m missing her – she is spending the nights in the stud owner’s bedroom, and riding around the house on the stud owner’s shoulder. She had a couple of introductory meetings with the stud owner’s youngest boy, but he doesn’t seem to be interested yet, so Ayla’s been in with one of her proven studs instead, and although he definitely mated her back in May, she spent the next few weeks neither calling nor pinking up. However, she has finally decided to start calling again in the past week, and has now been mated again, so it’s just a waiting game to see whether she has taken this time. The stud owner will let me know if/when Ayla pinks up, and we can then try and work out the logistics of getting her home – I can’t wait!
Nor’East of Scotland Show
The show Elisabeth was judging at was the Nor’East of Scotland show. I mention it again for two reasons – firstly, because major congratulations are due to both Karen Hettman, and Elisabeth, and secondly, because there were four Cagaran cats at the show, in spite of us being in London.
The congratulations due to Karen and Elisabeth are because Karen’s two boys (whom Elisabeth bred) both ended up in Overall Best-in-Show pens, Zach (Dushenka Zerachiel) as Best Pedigree, and Stan (Dushenka Stanislav) as Best Household Pet – he has been shown as a Pedigree Pet since making up to Imperial in the Pedigree section. Unfortunately, Elisabeth missed the excitement because she had been given a lift by Ian Thomson, and he was given an early pass to head home!
Lona and Lesley were both there with two Cagarans each – Lona’s Lainni didn’t win her Imperial, but had strong competition, and Lesley’s Derk had the PC withheld on him, much to Elisabeth’s outrage (she thought he was the best of the four!). The other two had an excellent day, however, with Lesley’s Ella winning her third PC, making her up to Premier, and becoming our 9th titled cat, and Lona’s Tabh picking up his third Grand, giving him the Grand title (the third for our prefix). I am delighted for both owners, and can’t thank them enough for showing their cats so beautifully.
World Cat Congress Weekend
The following weekend saw us back down south, for the World Cat Congress. The WCC is a body made up of representatives from all the major cat registration bodies, including the major bodies in Europe, the US, Australia and South Africa. Each year the WCC has a meeting, hosted by one of the member organisations, where the various delegates get together to discuss issues that are of universal concern to all cat registration bodies, or at least of concern to several of the bodies. For instance, if the EU was going to introduce a new law relating to the ownership of cats, they might discuss a response to that, or if a new vaccination had been developed, they could look at how best to utilise it. Aside from the meeting itself, the WCC weekend also includes a show, dinner event and a seminar programme.
This year was the GCCF’s turn to host the congress, and the weekend started with a drinks reception and buffet on Friday evening, followed by plenty of gossiping in the bar afterwards. We stayed with Anita that night, but didn’t leave the hotel until midnight, so it was after 2am before we got to bed.
On Saturday morning we were up at 7am to head to Wood Green for the show. The WCC show was to be held back-to-back with the Suffolk & Norfolk show, giving exhibitors the chance to win two certificates on the same day. The S&N show is always a fairly large show, and the Wood Green venue is perfect for this type of event, having plenty of space for pens, trade stands, exhibitors and judges alike, not to mention excellent catering facilities and plenty of other things for visitors to do, aside from visiting the show (Wood Green is a large animal shelter).
I was originally booked to steward for Wayne Trevathan, who is a former director of CFA’s (Cat Fancier’s Association) Southern Region, and the CFA’s current WCC delegate. However, the show manager came to me at the reception, and asked if I would consider swapping with another steward, because there had been a mix-up, and that steward had been assigned to a judge who was judging one of her cat’s open classes (it is permitted to handle your own cats in miscellaneous classes, but not opens). As a result, I actually stewarded for Cheryle U’ren, who is the current International Liaison Office for the CCCA (Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia), their delegate to the WCC, and also the WCC’s Vice-President. She was great fun to steward for, and I sincerely hope I get a chance to work with her again in future.
After the show, we had the Gala Dinner, which was a fabulous night, as always. Anita and Rob came along this year, for the first time, as did David and Louise Miskelly. Both couples sat on the same nine-seater table as Richard, Elisabeth and I, and our table was completed by Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese and Asians), and one of her friends. The food was delicious, if a slightly strange choice, and we had some great conversations going. After the meal, the lights were turned down and people took to the dance floor, this being the first time the Gala Dinner has been followed by a disco. The best bit of the evening, however, as in previous years, was the gossiping in the bar after the main event was finished.
We stood for a while chatting to Kate Ekanger (Cloudborn Devons), and Jen and Laura Pinches (Velvarex Devons), who bred the Devons that we owned. When they headed off to bed, we spent a while with Emma Watts (Emanan Somalis), Saffi Rabey, whom I have stewarded for in the past, and is now a member of RACCS, having been a recent convert to the ownership of a Nebelung (her other cats are Maine Coons), and a few others. After a while we joined a group of the foreign judges, including Andreas Mobius, whom Elisabeth had stewarded for at the show, and had some fascinating insights into some of the other cat registries, not to mention a whole array of other topics! When they all headed off to bed, we moved again, and this time joined the hilarious John and Janet Wilshaw (Rossikhan Burmese), Dorothy Stone and others, and had an absolute whale of a time, chatting about everything from Burmese breed politics to the Wilshaw’s imminent 33-year anniversary, and Scottish Independence! We eventually all headed off to bed at about 3am, and it was after 3:30am by the time we actually got into bed!
We were back up at 7:30am on Sunday, to enjoy a cooked breakfast and plenty of chat with Rob, Anita, Elisabeth and John Hansson, before heading across for the seminar starting at 9:15am. The core topic of the seminar programme was ‘Responsible Breeding for Health and Welfare’, and it started with a fascinating insight into the way each of the registries promotes ethical breeding practices and feline welfare, including the various laws relating to the subject in each country. This was followed by talks from a representative of Royal Canin; Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, who conducted the well-known inquiry into dog breeding in 2010; Professor Tim Gruffydd-Jones, who must be one of the UK’s foremost feline geneticists, based out of Bristol Langford’s; and surely one of the world’s foremost feline geneticists, Lesley Lyons. I have heard both the latter speak on several occasions, yet they remain fabulously interesting, and I always come away having learnt lots of new information. Lesley’s was probably my favourite talk of the day, but it was also particularly interesting to hear Patrick Bateson’s opinions on the ethics of cat breeding, given his role in the dog-breeding inquiry. As both he and his daughter, Melissa (also a Professor) are themselves cat breeders, he has a personal understanding of our hobby, as well as his professional understanding of animal breeding more generally.
The seminar was followed by an open meeting, which gives ordinary members of the Cat Fancy the chance to put forward topics for the delegates to discuss at the main WCC closed meeting on the Monday. Most of the attendees showed typically British reticence, however, and the meeting was finished fairly quickly. We dropped both Anita and Elisabeth off on the way home, and finally got back to the house about 2am, so it was a long and tiring weekend, but very, very worthwhile. I wonder if I can save up enough money to go to next year’s congress in Miami, Florida?!
Durham and Northern Counties Show
The week after the WCC we were back down the motorway, though this time only as far as South Shields, for the Durham and Northern Counties double show. We had Bru entered only in the Durham, to try for his 3rd PC, which he won, making him the tenth Cagaran to win a title (and the first of our Ocis to do so).
We also had Donny and Eiteag entered in both shows, Donny for his first Imperials, and Eiteag for Grands. Both boys had strong competition, but Donny won both his Imperials (the first won by an entire of our prefix), and Eiteag was awarded the reserve Grand in one of the shows, in spite of being out of coat and having acne on his chin!
As if those results weren’t good enough, I came back to Donny’s pen near the end of the day, to find that he had also gone Best Foreign Adult again.
I had another enjoyable day stewarding for Chris Bamford, though the enjoyment was slightly marred in the early afternoon, when one of the Birmans became upset and attacked Pat Perkins, one of the other judges. She was badly scratched and bitten, and Richard ended up having to take her to the hospital for stitches and antibiotics. When we collected her again at the end of the day, she was feeling a lot more cheerful, however, and by the time we saw her at the Lakeland show a couple of weeks ago, she had already recovered to the point of just having some minor scarring on her hands and arm.
The weekend after that I was supposed to have a BAC meeting on the Sunday, but it was called off at the last minute, so we went with Mum and Dad to the boat, staying over on the Friday evening, and coming back to get the gardening done on the Sunday. The weather was fabulous, and we sailed down to the Kyles of Bute in glorious sunshine, and then sat at anchor, watching a red deer pick its way across the beach. We came back via the buoy where the dolphin has lived for the past couple of years, and were delighted to find her still in residence, and as playful as ever. I think we must have spent about half-an-hour just going round and round in circles beside her buoy, enjoying the experience of having her ride the pressure wave under the bow.
The next weekend was the Lakeland show, with a West of Scotland Committee meeting to be held in the morning, my birthday the same day, and then an Australian Mist seminar in Leicestershire on the Sunday. We therefore arranged to meet friends for a casual birthday lunch near the show hall, travelling on to drop Sonia off at stud south of Birmingham, staying the night with Rob and Anita, and then heading across for the seminar before heading home again. As it happens, the judge who would have been doing Sonia’s Grand class would be very unlikely to award her the certificate, so there didn’t seem much point entering her. We decided instead just to put her on exhibition, and thought that since we were staying with Anita that night, we would take Tilly to keep Sonia company in the exhibition pen, and then to let Anita see her again. I swithered for a while, and eventually decided to also have a punt with Annas in the Olympian class, since she picked up a Reserve there last year.
The Committee meeting was much quicker than these meetings usually are, and we headed outside to enjoy the sun. After a while, we took a leisurely stroll up to the farm shop for lunch, where some of our friends sang me a thankfully very quiet and fast rendition of Happy Birthday. Annas had really tough competition in the Olympian class, so there was no shame in not placing, but I was rather disappointed that the Best of Breed judge awarded the BOB to the boy, who is nowhere near as good an example of the breed as Annas. Sonia and Tilly seemed to enjoy their day, and were delighted with the concept of being able to come out for cuddles regularly without needing to be pulled about for judging!
After the show, we drove straight down to Di Taylor’s (Brizlincoat Somalis), and set Sonia up in her pen in Di’s gorgeous cattery facility. We have been promised a proper tour when we return to collect Sonia. We then headed across to Rob and Anita’s, where we were taken out for a lovely Indian meal, as a birthday treat. As usual, Anita and I stayed up far too late chatting, and I think it must have been well into the following morning before I crawled into bed.
The Australian Mist seminar was held in a tiny hall, in a village near Market Harborough. The reason for the seminar was that Dr Truda Straede, who created the breed, is spending a few weeks holidaying in Italy, and had agreed to make a detour across to the UK in order to do a breed seminar. The seminar was not supported by the GCCF, because the discussion would be based on the standard as applied in FiFé, but for people not involved in the breed, like us, that didn’t really matter. Dr Straede presented some of her research on the microscopic differences in hair structure between hairs of different colours and patterns, which was fascinating and very enlightening, and there was much entertaining discussion over coffee as well!
Last weekend was another ‘free’ weekend (i.e. one that isn’t taken up with ‘cat stuff’), and we had Elisabeth’s birthday barbecue on the Saturday afternoon/evening, and then a 10CC and Status Quo concert on the Sunday evening. We also squeezed in a trip to the cinema broadcast of one of the last performances of Helen Mirren’s ‘The Audience’, which proved to be laugh-out-loud funny, and well worth attending. Elisabeth’s barbecue was, as always, a great event, and a lovely opportunity to catch up on the lives of some of her friends, whom we only see periodically at her various get-togethers. The concert on the Sunday evening was excellent, and well worth the £45.
I knew every song that 10CC sang, but only knew one of them as a 10CC song (that being “I’m Not In Love”), and was very impressed at the breadth of styles their music covers, and also the multi-instrument talent of the group’s members. Status Quo’s much is more samey, but the band are great showmen, and I thoroughly enjoyed singing along at the top of my voice. Admittedly, some of the best entertainment of the evening was watching two girls who were probably in their late teens or early twenties, and had obviously had a bit much to drink, attempting to dance in front of the stands!
Tracey looked after all the cats, but especially Dàrna’s little one, during the weekends that we have been away, and made her usual fabulous job of it. She was round at least twice every day that we were away, not just throwing some food down, but actually spending hours at the house each time, going from room to room to make sure that all the cats receive plenty of attention – they probably get more when we are away than when we are here! She also checked and weighed the wee one each day, and nicknamed her ‘Scootcher’ because apparently she ‘Scootched’ around her box when she was small – she was certainly the most active Asian/Tiffanie we’ve had as a tiny kitten, walking around her box from the moment we got her back from the vets. Elisabeth, on the other hand, christened the kitten ‘Sparkle-Sparkle’, because apparently she has the sparkle-factor!
She continued her precocious behaviour, purring when feeding at only a day or two old, trying to climb out of the scales at weigh-in time from about a week old, and purring in response to being stroked at only eight days. She’s also growing really well, having doubled his birth weight by the time she was six days old (that is the target for a week old), and now being well over 800g at 7 weeks. Although I spent the first three or four weeks trying to persuade both myself and the kitten, that she was a boy, because I then wouldn’t be tempted to keep her, she declined to participate in my charade, and is quite obviously a girl. I am still trying valiantly to resist the temptation (she is Dàrna’s last kitten, etc. etc.), but whether I succeed will remain to be seen. Richard is keeping out of any discussion over whether or not she stays, which is probably wise, given that I will probably just make my own mind up anyway, almost regardless of what he says!
The lack of a decision over whether or not she is staying, does make decisions over naming rather more complicated. This is our ‘F-litter’, and she is either cream or apricot, so Fiona (from the gaelic for fair-haired) would be a good name for her, but that only works if she’s not staying here, because we already have a Fiona, and having two of them would be too complicated! She therefore remains nameless at present, being known only as Dàrna’s kitten, or the wee one, until we decide what we are doing. She will be due for her first vaccination next week, though, and we’ll need to have a name to put on the vaccination card, so we don’t have that long to decide.
The Ocicat kittens also continue to do well, having had their second vaccinations the first Saturday in June, and then the five who are registered on the Non-Active were neutered a couple of weeks ago, and have been living with us of late. It is rather nice not having to travel to Edinburgh every time I want to see my kittens, particularly since each vet visit has meant being up early enough to collect the kittens at 07:30, in order to be back at our vets with enough time to drop the kittens off and still get into work, then rushing off at 17:30 to collect them again, and take them back to Edinburgh. We have had all six kittens living with us, but Di’s family have decided that they would like to keep the tawny boy, and we feel that is the least we can do, given the favour that Di did for us in taking the kittens when she did, and then keeping them so that they didn’t have to have any upheaval in their early lives.
The first two (literally the first two – Cainnt and Crannag) went to their new homes last Saturday, and are now Hamish and Harry, respectively. Their owner has recently lost an Ocicat neuter boy, Oscar, who has been keeping her company since her husband died, and she has really been missing Oscar’s presence. She wanted an Ocicat to fill the hole left by Oscar’s death, but didn’t want one who looked so like him that she was constantly reminded of his loss. The ticked tabbies were therefore of particular interest, and although she initially liked the idea of having one of each colour, which wasn’t possible anyway, with Di’s family keeping the tawny, she actually found that she preferred the cinnamons. I think they will be a better match anyway, because they often spent time together, whereas the tawny boy is more independent.
The tawny girl continues to shine out as the pick of the litter, and I am still hoping that we can find someone interested in breeding from her, but the search is so far proving fruitless. I will continue looking for another couple of weeks, and if we haven’t found anyone by then, will have her neutered, and find her a pet home. That seems a real waste of a lovely example of the breed, with an amazing temperament and a fabulous pedigree, though, so I’m hoping we won’t have to do that. If you know of anyone who might be interested in breeding Ocis, do let me know!
The other two girls are still looking for their homes, so do also get in touch if you think you might know of someone who would be interested in one or both of them.
As a slight aside, I’ve also had some photos through from the owners of Carrie and Becca (the two cinnamon Variants from the last litter), who you may remember also went to live together. They look very happy and still just as good friends as they were when they left us.
Other Cat News
We also had Grace and Anita’s Keela spayed at the same time as the kittens, so will be looking for new homes for them in due course. Again, if you know of anyone who might be interested in a young adult (Keela will be three in September, and Grace has just turned two), then we would love to hear from you. We are hoping to get Grace made up to Master Cat before she leaves us, since now that she is spayed, she can be shown in the Pedigree Pet section again, something that hasn’t been possible since she was under six months old. We have therefore got her entered in a couple of shows later in the summer, and will start to look for a new home for her after that.
Keela is absolutely adorable with people, and will take however much attention you are prepared to lavish on her, giving lots of love in return. As an entire, she hated other cats, though, so we will wait a few weeks to see whether having her spayed will have softened her attitude towards her fellow felines. If not, she will have to go to a strictly single-cat household, her ideal probably being as a companion to someone who is retired and wants a cat to keep them company around the house.
My brother, Calum, has recently purchased his first house, and is now the proud owner of an idiotic Maine Coon, in the shape of our first pedigree cat, Call. For the past few years, we have had to keep Call and the other neuters separated from our entire girls, because Call is fine living with neuters, but starts spraying if he lives with one or more entire females. This has resulted in none of our cats getting what we feel to be enough of our time, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for us to spend a decent amount of time with each group. When the cats were all in together, they all got to spend time with us, which was far preferable. Calum taking Call has meant that we can start making re-introductions (and in many cases first introductions) between our neutered and entire cats, and although we will need to take this slowly, it is a huge relief to be able to start the process.
A Totally Unrelated Garden Visitor
This last is absolutely nothing to do with the cats, but I couldn’t resist sharing the video of a cute hedgehog that was in our garden last week. He was sitting on our driveway when we got back, and because it was still daylight, I thought maybe he was ill, so I offered him some cat food. Judging by the way that he tucked into the food, he certainly doesn’t seem to have been ill!
Starting over after a long gap between posts. All of our current cats are introduced, with photos, and an update is given on the kittens available.
It has been three months since I last posted, due to a mixture of illness (mine and Richard’s), and having too much to do, as usual. Since it’s been such a long time, I figured I might as well start afresh, with a re-introduction to us, and our cats.
For those who have followed this blog in the past, a quick update first. The Cumberland show, last month, was pretty special for the Cagaran cats, because we had our first TWO Grands on the same day! Lona Johnson’s Lainni made up to Grand Premier, and our Donny made Grand Champion. We were absolutely delighted, as you might imagine!
On a more sombre note, you will remember that we had to have our beautiful Katie put to sleep back in June, and also lost two kittens to chest infections which we believed were the result of them breathing in milk. A couple of months ago, we finally got all of the necropsy results back, and found out that the problem was actually a bacterial infection from the same family as e-coli.
Those of you who have visited us here, will know how careful we are about hygiene in the kitten room, but because the mothers were carrying the infection, our precautions were useless in this case. Thankfully, however, the lab was able to identify an antibiotic that kills that particular strain of infection, and we have now treated every cat in the house, to ensure that we don’t have a repeat of this year’s problems.
Now, back to the introductions…
Cagaran is a jointly-owned prefix, but I (Heather) do the blogging. The other half of the Cagaran ‘partnership’ is my partner/boyfriend, Richard. We’ve been together since 2001, were adopted by our first cat in 2002, and bought our first pedigree in 2005. We showed for the first time in 2008, and had our first litters in 2010. We have owned a number of different breeds, but our passion is Tiffanies, which are the semi-longhaired member of the Asian Group. We also work with Asian Shorthairs, who have the same fabulous temperament as the Tiffanies, but without the flowing coat, and have had a couple of litters of Ocicats.
At present we have fifteen cats for whom this is their permanent home.
Jinny is the oldest, and is also the cat whom we’ve had the longest, having adopted her from a rescue in January 2005. She is a longhaired moggy, and will be a teenager next year. She is the matriarch, and the other cats tend to do her bidding.
Next oldest are our two neuter boys: Call and Ali, who will both be eight next year. Call is a Maine Coon, and was our first pedigree cat. Ali is a shorthaired moggy, and came from the same rescue shelter as Jinny, where he was taken at just a couple of days old, with his feral mum.
Annas was our first Tiffanie, and the cat who made us fall in love with the breed. We didn’t buy her as a show cat, but it turned out that she made a rather good one, and was the first Tiffanie to become an Imperial Grand, and also the first (and still only) Tiffanie to win the UK title. She will be five at the start of next month.
Next is Dàrna, who was one of our foundation Tiffanie queens, and will be four in February. She is a Grand Champion, but her biggest asset is her purry, cuddly temperament. She had her first litter in 2010, from which Fiona is a Champion and Tabh is a Premier with two Grand certificates. Dàrna’s second litter was born in 2011, and in that we had Donny, who is a Grand, and Quinn, who made Premier at the Supreme, last weekend!
After Dàrna are Tia and Lhasa, who we are very lucky to have been entrusted with in the past few months, after their owners decided to give up breeding. Both girls are two, and have the most spectacular temperaments imaginable. Their breeders and previous owners must have given them a lot of love and care to have them become such adorable girls, and we are privileged to have the chance to continue that. Tia is a Burmilla, and Lhasa is another Tiffanie. Both girls are so ridiculously cuddly that it is almost impossible to get a photo of them, because virtually every photo has them either upside down, wriggling around wanting their bellies rubbed, or with their heads so close to the camera that it hasn’t a hope of focusing. The photo of Tia below is actually surprisingly decent, but we the one of Lhasa is just the best of a bad bunch – at least she has her eyes open, and isn’t upside down in this one!
Actually, between Tia and Lhasa comes Fiona, or just Fi, who was from Dàrna’s first litter. She was Best Kitten at her first show, the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society), and Best Foreign at her third, but unfortunately decided that she didn’t like being shown when she was a bit older, so we withdrew her from the bench when she made Champion. She had her first litter this summer, which were particularly special because they were our first out of a Cagaran parent. It helps that they are all beautiful! We still have two available, due to a change in the personal circumstances of a would-be owner, but more on them later.
Apollo is our beautiful stud boy, who came to us from Steve Crow and Tommy Goss. He is another Burmilla, and will be two next month. He has to live in an outside run, because he sprays, but is so soppy that he stands on his head in an attempt to squirm closer to us when we go out to spend time with him. He is also a Champion, and has one (surprise) Grand certificate, but is very immature-looking, so we will need to give him time to develop before showing him further.
Grace is next after Apollo. She is an Ocicat Variant, from an outcross mating between an Ocicat Classic and an Abyssinian. These matings are done to reduce the inbreeding levels within the breed, producing healthier kittens, and we were very fortunate to be allowed access to the beautiful Stanley to do the outcross. Grace had her first litter earlier this year, giving us two Variants like herself, one Ocicat and two Ocicat Classics. We still have the two Variants and the Ocicat available, but again, more on them later.
Donny comes next, at 15 months old. He was from Dàrna’s second litter, to a gorgeous old Burmese boy, who has since unfortunately passed away. As a result, Donny’s pedigree is very special, and we have therefore kept him to continue his Dad’s line. Like his half-sister (Fi), the year before him, Donny was Best Kitten at the AGCS, and has been Best Foreign Adult twice. He is an Asian Smoke, and we are incredibly lucky that he still doesn’t spray at present. How long that will continue for, we have no idea, but we’re enjoying having him living in our kitchen in the meantime. He has the most amazing temperament, and everyone who comes into our kitchen somehow winds up with him in their arms, though they usually have no idea how he got there!
After Donny is Sonia, who is a gorgeous Somali from George Gow. She was born in January of this year, and we bought her as an outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Tiffanies. Cinnamon is an allowed colour in Tiffs, but there are virtually none of them around, so Sonia is hopefully going to help us to both strengthen the gene pool for this colour, whilst also giving us an injection of new blood to benefit the breed more generally. She has two CCs (Challenge certificates), so only needs one more to become a Champion.
The babies of the bunch are Eiteag, Ayla and Cheeky, who are all from this year’s litters. Eiteag wasn’t originally going to be staying with us, but as he got older, he kept improving in type, and we decided to keep him to do a single mating for the Cinnamon programme. He can then be neutered and live as a companion to Donny, whom he shares the kitchen with, and the two cuddle around each other in the most adorable way.
Ayla is Eiteag’s sister, and is the kitten from that litter, who was always intended to be staying. She is an absolute poppet, and she chose us, rather than the other way around, cuddling up to me from a very early age. She loves shows, and is totally bomb-proof, as she proved at the Supreme last weekend, when she was being passed around from person to person, purring continuously and kissing people’s noses!
Cheeky is Grace’s daughter, and one of our first Ocicat Classics. Since Ocis are just a sideline for us, we let the best in the litter go to our friends Anita and Rob, because they breed Ocis more ‘seriously’ than we do. Cheeky was my favourite for temperament, though she is an absolute rascal, as the name suggests. We are planning to have a bit of fun showing her, to help the breed towards Championship recognition (they are Intermediates at present), but we will need to wait and see how she develops before we decide whether to have some Oci kittens from her.
Looking for New Homes:
We have five kittens and one adult looking for new homes at present, so if you know of someone who might be interested, do let us know!
Breckin was bought to be our foundation Ocicat queen, but we didn’t feel that her temperament was suitable for breeding, so had her spayed. Unfortunately, she still isn’t happy as part of a big group of cats, and feel that she would be better with just one or two other cats. After discussions with her breeder, Rita, we are therefore looking for a new home for her. She is very shy, and would need a patient owner who can take the time to settle her, but she is very loving when she relaxes.
Previous readers of this blog will remember Ying, who came to visit Fi’s kittens when they were just a few weeks old. She has since had the exciting news that she has been offered a six month placement in Australia. She didn’t want to uproot a kitten such a long distance for just six months, so both Derk and Ellie are still looking for their forever homes. They both love cuddles, and we often wake up to find them snuggled down into the bed. If we watch TV in the livingroom, we usually end up with one each, cuddled up on our laps, purring away. Both have developed beautifully, and would make lovely show neuters, or super, cuddly family pets. We were visited by a lovely family over the weekend, and Annas absolutely adored the wee boy, so I am hopeful that we might have found the right home for at least one of them.
The Oci kittens are now ready to go to find their families, and indeed Breagha has already gone off to live with Anita and Rob. They had her along to the Supreme last weekend, where she won her first and Best of Breed, and looked wonderfully relaxed, in spite of all the hustle of such a large show. Since we are keeping Cheeky, that leaves Bru, Carrie and Becca.
Bru has grown into a lovely young lad, with beautiful clear spots, and a sweet face. He likes his cuddles, and likes to curl up on top of us when we go to bed. Carrie is the boldest of the three, and is always the first to come and say hello. She is very talkative, but prefers to be stroked whilst sitting on the bed or a chair, rather than being picked up and cuddled. Becca used to be quite shy, but has really come into her own in the past couple of weeks. She now jumps up on the bed end and trills at us to ask to be picked up for a stroke.
Well… I will no doubt see some of you at the West of Scotland show, where I will be having my first shot as a judge, in the Household Pet section. When this was first suggested, I was just excited to participate in shows in a new way, but as the date approaches, I must confess to a bit of an attack of nerves. I’m sure that I’ll be fine once I’m actually there and judging, but at the moment it’s a daunting prospect. I’m also doing my first bit of show management preparation, for next year’s Scotia show, with judge invitations being my first role.
I think that’s it for tonight, but I will try and post more regularly, even if it’s just a quick photo update. All the best,
Kia and Quinn have been spayed, and Kia has settled into her new home. Apollo also seems to have settled, being a much happier boy since the Scottish. Fi may or may not be pregnant, but Keela definitely wasn’t, and is now back with us to have another shot with Shogun. Shogun is now a Champion, and Apollo won his first Grand.
Kia and Quinn were succesfully spayed the second week in January. When I collected them, the vet receptionist warned me that Quinn had been trying to lick her stitches, and had managed to remove the collar they had given her, three times whilst still in her pen at the practice. They didn’t think the collar would even last the evening, so we were just going to have to keep an eye on her licking, ourselves. She did indeed have the collar off within a couple of hours of getting home, so I put a tiny bit of Vicks vaporub in a circle around the area of the spay. Cats don’t like the smell (it’s menthol and eucalyptus), so she stopped trying to lick it and didn’t start again even once the vaporub had evaporated. As an aside, I was fascinated to see that her skin is pale – normally a dark-coloured cat would have dark skin, but it must be because she’s a smoke, and therefore has a pale undercoat, that hers is pink.
Both girls had their checkup ten days later, and since there were no problems, I let Sheona know that Kia would be okay to move in with them that weekend. We then had several busy days, because I am the secretary for RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland), whose AGM was the third weekend last month, and the AGM notification and papers had to go out 21 days in advance of the meeting. That was a welcome distraction from thinking about having to say goodbye to our sweet little Kia. I still haven’t started looking for a home for Quinn yet – really must get onto that, but I just keep putting it off…
Kia’s New Home
The last Sunday in January, we got all of Kia’s paperwork ready, and then put her into her basket for the journey. Normally, when you opened the door to the room that she was in, she was right behind it, ready to say hello. This time, Richard had to collect her from the far side of the room, so she definitely knew something was going on, and that set me off worrying whether we were doing the right thing.
When we got to Sheona’s, however, I opened the front of the basket, and in typical Ocicat fashion, Kia was immediately out and running around to explore her new surroundings. Richard and I sat in the livingroom with Sheona and Bruce, having a cup of tea, and after a few minutes, Kia started rubbing around their legs, but wouldn’t come near us. She would rub around them and then stand in front of them, looking at Richard and I as if to say “These people are acceptable. You can go now”. Once she was sure we got the message, she then came and gave us a quick cuddle on the couch, before going back to exploring and playing with her new toys. She absolutely loves their windowledges (which Sheona had cleared ready for Kia’s arrival!), because the flat is on the 4th floor, with views down the River Kelvin, and plenty of birds to chirp at. Even better, they all have radiators immediatley below them to keep her warm!
When we headed for the door, Kia took herself off into the bedroom and sat under the bed. It took us a few minutes to persuade her that she really was giong to be allowed to stay there, and then she came out to say a quick goodbye before going off to sit on one of the windowledges again. In some ways that actually made it easier, because she was so obviously perfectly content to move into a new environment. We’ve since had updates from Sheona, and even a video of Kia exploring, and she has settled in beautifully, which if we were honest we always knew she would. I think we just didn’t want to admit that she’d be fine without us!
Scottish Cat Club Show
The first weekend last month saw us going to the Scottish Cat Club show in Larkhall, just a bit south of Glasgow. This is one of the more local shows for us, so we went along to help set up on the Friday, and were allowed to set up our own pens at the same time. That meant that when we got there on the show morning, we only had to put down food and pop the cats in their pens. This was just as well, given that we were running very late due to having had to give Apollo a bath in the morning.
When I went to get him, he’d obviously been having a mud bath overnight, so our lovely apricot silver was now a grey! We got him cleaned up and had to put him straight into his basket without time to dry him off. We stuck him next to the space heater in the car, in the hope that the hot air would dry him out, but by the time we got to vetting-in, he was still very soggy, and kind of squelched onto the vet’s table. Given that this was the first time Steve was going to have seen him since we brought him home, this wasn’t the best possible start to the morning! As it happens, once Apollo was in his pen, I managed to get him dried off with a spare blanket, and then we went over his coat with a slicker brush, so by the time the judges saw him you would never have known!
We also took Shogun, Annas, Ali and little Donny. Lona was there with both Lainni and Tabh, so this was the first show where there have been three Cagarans in competition, which was rather nice! It was particularly lovely to see Tabh again – we haven’t seen him since the last time he was out on the bench, at this show last year, when he left us to go home with Lona! Lainni didn’t place in the Grand, but did well in her side classes, and Tabh won his first PC, making him the fourth Cagaran to win a certificate.
Annas won the Reserve Olympian, Ali got the Reserve Grand and came second in the last ever Scottish Royal Canin final (winning £20, which covered his entry fee!), Apollo won his first Grand, and Shogun won his third and qualifying CC, so he is now a Champion!
Donny is still just a kitten, so wasn’t up for any certificates, but he did well in his sides, and the judges liked his type, so that was the main thing.
Ever since we got Apollo at first, he had been uptight and nervy, refusing to settle. We thought we would try him at the Scottish, since it isn’t too far to travel, and see how he coped before entering anything else with him. However, the show saw him have a complete personality transplant, and he rolled around in his pen rubbing his head on anyone who stuck their hands in, and generally being adorable, so there’s no issue there. Even better, he has continued the transformation since we got back, and has been utterly adorable ever since. When we go out to his pen now, he comes out of his house and will rub against us and purr loudly, and gets so soppy that he virtually falls over in his efforts to get you to stroke him all over. We couldn’t be more delighted with the change, as we now have the sweet boy that we were expecting, though he still ‘talks’ with a loud Essex accent, lol!
Coventry & Leicester Show
A fortnight after the Scottish, we took the Friday afternoon off work, and drove down to stay with our friends, Tracy and Gary, collecting Elisabeth on the way. Tracy and Gary seem to put us up every few months, with assorted cats in tow, and are always gracious and good-natured, regardless of our odd departure times, and habit of arriving later than we thought. We are so lucky that they put up with us!
We were a couple of hours down the motorway when we realised that my handbag had been left at home. The main issue was that it contained the vaccination cards for not only our cats, but also for Keela, because we had forgotten to leave hers with Anita when we returned Keela in January. Thankfully, the GCCF has a rule that if you forget your vaccination card, you can send it in to the GCCF office within 7 days, so we had a debate about whether to turn around and go back, or carry on and just fill in the paperwork to send the cards in. I phoned Anita and asked if she would be okay with us doing the latter, and she said that was fine, as long as I was sure about the rule.
Poor Katie has had an eye infection for several weeks, starting around the time of the Notts & Derbys. You may remember that we didn’t take her to that show, because she was pulling funny faces on the show morning? It seems those silly faces were the beginning of this infection, for which we’ve been giving her eye drops ever since. It is improving, but the progress has been very slow. Since she’s supposed to get her drops every hour or two during the day, we couldn’t leave her at home whilst we went down to the show, so she came too. I sat in the back seat, and took her out of her basket every hour to put her drops in. We had to pull into a services at one point, because the bottle had fallen on the floor and rolled away under the seats – perhaps Katie pushed it off deliberately!
We got to Tracy and Gary’s a bit later than planned, but still in time to have a nice dinner with them, and a bit of a catch-up. Just after we had gone to bed, I heard a strange noise, and turned the light on to discover that Katie, whose stomach has been rather upset by her medication, had had a ‘little accident’ on the blanket over the top of the bed, and Donny was busy getting it all over his feet trying to clean it up. Thankfully it hadn’t gone through the blanket to the duvet underneath, so Richard got a bin-bag (we always carry some when travelling) and stuck the blanket in that, outside the front door (!), whilst I took Donny into the bathroom and got him cleaned up. We washed the blanket when we got home, and will post it back down to Tracy and Gary, because it didn’t seem fair to have them clean that up as well as looking after us! Oh the joys of travelling with animals. Actually, that’s not fair, because we’ve never had a problem before – there’s a first time for everything, I suppose.
Anyway, we got up and away on Saturday morning basically on schedule, and the journey took us less than an hour, putting us at the hall just after 8am. This is the show’s first year in a new venue, which wasn’t too far from the motorway and had excellent parking. Sue Moreland was the duty vet, and she is always easy to deal with, so we got the vetting-in paperwork completed without problem. Whilst I finished penning the cats, Richard went off to buy a slicker-brush and grooming glove, because those were in the handbag that had been left in Scotland. We had taken Annas, Dàrna and Donny, and all three looked lovely – especially Annas, whose coat showed up beautifully under the lighting in the new venue.
After penning the cats and getting them ready, Richard and I went off to get breakfast in the cafe, whose food was excellent and reasonably priced. Richard then went back to check on the cats, whilst I went to find the judges room and mark up my steward’s card. The show had received record entries, and three of the judges had been so popular that their original ‘books’ (list of cats to judge) had been just under 140 cats each! To put that into context, the recommended maximum number is 70, and 50 is considered a fairly heavy book. My judge, Elaine Culf, was one of the popular ones, but thankfully the show managers had managed to bring in some other judges, and move some of Elaine’s less critical classes over to them. Elaine only judges in the Semi-Longhair section at the moment, and we had some stunning Maine Coons and Birmans, in particular, and an absolutely gorgeous Siberian, who was her pick for Best Semi-Longhair kitten.
At one point, I collected a beautiful cream Birman neuter female from her pen, and when I realised that it was Mylward Sassafras (there are not many 12-year-old cream Birmans being shown, let alone ones that gorgeous), I knew that Annas wasn’t going to have got the Olympian, particularly given that the equally stunning Danleigh Starburst was in the pen next to Sassafras. Both girls have been extremely successful and are already Bronze Olympians, and Annas just isn’t quite up to their standard, beautiful as she is. Sure enough, Sassafras and Starburst had been awarded the female neuter Olympian and Reserve, but not placing in a class of eight fantastic exhibits is no great failing. I’ve never seen such big classes at the top levels as were there yesterday – it is lovely to see a class of 14 in an Olympian and ten in an Imperial. That’s proper competition! Dàrna was in the 10-in-the-Imperial class, and also didn’t place, but again I can’t get upset about her loosing out against such competition.
Donny won his kitten class and Best of Breed, and also did very well in his side classes – probably his best result being 2nd in the Foreign 50th Birthday class, which was huge, and against adults and neuters as well as kittens. The winner in that class was a beautiful Mau, and the judge said that Donny only lost out on maturity! I spoke to a couple of the judges after the show, and they were saying how lovely his head is, and how much he’s come on since they saw him at the AGCS! It’s lovely to get such good feedback for one of our own-bred kittens.
A week past yesterday, I had a day-trip to Newcastle for a work meeting with the northern account manager for PRS. I managed to pop briefly into the office at the very end of the working day, but had to leave sharp because we had the West of Scotland committee meeting in Glasgow that evening. This was the post-show meeting, so there was plenty to discuss, and by the end of the evening I was very much ready for my bed.
We are back into ‘AGM Season’, so Saturday saw us driving down to Anita’s, to stay overnight before the Ocicat AGM on Sunday. It was great to see little Cailin again, though she was a bit wary with us – probably because the last time we visited Anita’s we were dropping Keela off, and she was rather unpleasant to Cailin afterwards. We had a lovely meal with Anita and Rob, and plenty of cat-chat, then a nice easy start the next morning with just a 40-minute drive to the AGM.
As always, that was an enjoyable event, with a meal beforehand and tea and cake afterwards. We had taken Katie with us again, because she’s still on the eye-drops, and thought we might as well take Grace as her travelling companion, rather than Dàrna, as we normally would. That meant that I was able to take Grace in after the meeting, and let the experienced Oci breeders give me their thoughts on her. Rosemary thinks that she has the potential to give us some really good type kittens, and Stacie has suggested that we take her to Curry, who is Rosemary’s cinnamon Ocicat stud. He carries classic, so that would suit us perfectly, since it would have the potential to produce both Ocis and Classics, as well as the almost inevitable variants. We will probably take her down to Rosemary in a couple of months.
Fi was finally mated the last weekend in January, and having seen a mating, we now know that one of the issues (aside from her being a pain and rolling onto her back!) is that she is very long in the body, whereas he is quite compact, so he actually finds it quite difficult to mate her!
A week ago, she was very slightly pinked up, which can either mean a pregnancy, or that they are coming back into season. Obviously, we were hoping for the former, but when I got up last Saturday morning, Fi was rolling around on the floor, standing in the classic calling pose, and even making little calling noises. This was the first time she’s actually come properly into call like that, so I scooped her up and took her straight up the stairs to Shogun, who could hardly believe that I had finally brought him a girl who was both in season and happy to be mated – he kept sniffing at her and then looking at me in astonishment. After a few minutes, however, he got over his shock and proceeded to mate her four times inside half-an-hour. We then had to leave to go to the Oci AGM, but when we got back on Sunday, I popped her in with him for another ten minutes or so, and saw another two matings. Hopefully that will be enough to finally result in a pregnancy.
Keela unfortunately decided that she didn’t want to be pregnant after all (exactly what her mum did the first time), so we brought her back from the Coventry & Leicester show to try again with Shogun. She seemed to have forgotten who he is, and spent the first few days growling and hissing at him from the corner of the kitten pen, which we put her in until she settled a bit. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of having his loving little companion (Fi) taken out of the room and her being replaced with a screaming demon, bless him! She has now calmed down, though, and seems fine with him, so when she next comes into season we’ll be hoping that he can successfully mate her as well.
By the time Keela goes back to Anita, we will know for sure whether or not Fi is pregnant, and if she’s not, we might stick Katie in with Shogun instead, since she is also much shorter in the body, and therefore easier for him. She had beautiful kittens by him last year, and we haven’t yet kept anything from her, so that would also be fine. Fi could then go in with Apollo, who is getting a bit desperate for a girl, but I don’t want to put anyone with him until I know for sure what’s happening with Shogun. The complexities of cat-breeding!
The past couple of days have been rather busy for me at work, starting with a 4:30am rise yesterday, to drive to Liverpool for a 10:30am meeting with Sound & Secure, who are one of our installation partners. After that, I scooted across for an update meeting with Wren Kitchens in Howden, and a first visit with the Relish Bar and Grill in Doncaster. Since I wasn’t very far from Barnsley at the end of the day, I had contacted June, who owns Rafa (one of the kittens from Katie’s first litter – originally known as Soolay), to ask if I could pop in and say hello – something that she has always said we are welcome to do.
She suggested that not only should I come to say hello, but that I should stop with them for dinner, and then stay the night! I was bowled over by such a generous offer, and feel very lucky that we found such fantastic owners for Rafa. I was treated to some proper Yorkshire hospitality, with a delicious stew for dinner, copious quantities of tea, and hours of cat-chat. Rafa has grown into a really handsome boy, with the most spectacular ruff and incredibly rich colouration considering that Katie is a ‘high silver’ (i.e. bright silver with no rusty tones).
He also has the most adorable temperament – if he is lying in a seat that June wants to sit in, she just picks him up, and moves him to another seat, and he just lies there in whatever position she puts him down! She was telling me that he is working through all of the ‘non-cat’ people that they know, converting them one-by-one to how wonderful cats can be – what a fantastic ambassador for the feline population in general, and Tiffanies in particular. He and his companion, Riley, are obviously doted-on, and have everyone wrapped around their little paws.
This morning I had a meeting in Newcastle, with a new manager for another of our clients, Blue Inc. On the way back up the A1, I passed within a couple of hundred yards of Sophie’s owners, and knowing that their cats are often visible through the glass door, I couldn’t resist popping off to see if I could see her. Sure enough, when I arrived at their house, I could see her sitting in one of the windows, and when I went around to the door, she came into the hallway to look at me through the door.
She has also grown into a beautiful cat, and although Fi definitely has the better head of the two, Sophie has the most amazing tail. Last time I called in like that, I ended up with her moggy housemate climbing all over the inside of my car, but I didn’t see him this time. Sophie and William, their other Tiffanie, talked to me through the door for a while, and then I headed home to get ready for the Lancs show tomorrow, and the Asian BAC meeting on Sunday.
I swear once you start, the world of cat showing and breeding takes over your life!
We had a fantastic day at the West of Scotland, bringing home a new Intermediate Champion, a Reserve Imperial, an Imperial, an Olympian certificate and four Best of Breed/Best in Colour awards, as well as having won Best Foreign Adult and Best in Show Non-Pedigree. Shogun also picked up a CC and Best of Breed, Foghorn/Rilla won Best Pedigree Pet Kitten, and Lainni won the first Cagaran Grand certificate! To top off the weekend, Anita got in touch to tell us that Cailin had won Best in Show New Breed at a FIFé show.
Last weekend was a good weekend for the Cagaran Cats. Saturday was the silver anniversary (25th) show of the West of Scotland Cat Club, of which both Richard and I are on the committee. We took Friday afternoon off work to help set up the show hall, and had been shopping earlier in the week to get some silver clothing to dress up for the silver theme. We always like to support the Scottish shows by entering as many cats as we can afford, but since this was a special show (and therefore more expensive to run), we agreed to enter even more than we usually would! A couple of our previous kittens were also there with their new owners, making a total of three Cagarans in the main Pedigree section and one in the Household Pets. Unfortunately the lighting in the hall was very yellow, so most of my photos either didn’t come out or came out a horrible yellow colour!
Donny and Quinn were there, in the kitten classes, and completely took it in their stride. Quinn was a little unsure to begin with, but very sweet about it, and Donny was just fantastic, rolling around on his back to get his tummy stroked, and snuggling his face into your hand when you reached into the pen. Both won first in their Open class, and he took Best of Breed over his sister.
Shogun’s owner (Sarah Davidson, Karakoram Burmese & Asians) and his breeders (Kagura Asians & Burmese) had all agreed that we could try him out at a couple of shows, so we took him along to the West. Since he is four, and hasn’t been shown since he was a tiny kitten, we weren’t sure how he would take to it, but he was an absolute star. He was a little bit wide-eyed initially, but once he’d been stroked for a few minutes, he settled down and sat in his pen looking regal, with an expression that said “Yes, I am a God, and you may worship me”. He looked very handsome, and won his CC and Best of Breed!
Annas was up for her second Olympian certificate, looked gorgeous. As always, she was beautifully behaved and was awarded the certificate in a competitive class.
Since Kia had picked up Intermediate certificates at both Yorkshire and the Ulster, we decided to take her along for her third, and qualifying certificate. This she won, along with Best of Breed and lots of praise from the judges for both her lovely head and her temperament.
Kia’s daughter, Foghorn, is now called Rilla, and her owners brought her along for a shot in the Pedigree Pet section, like we did with Grace over in Ireland. When the judge first visited her pen, she tried to dive onto the floor as soon as the door was opened, and then got a bit of a fright being bundled back in. Thankfully, the judge visited her again later in the day, once she had calmed down again, and she not only won her first and Best of Colour, but went on to be awarded Best Pedigree Pet Kitten, so her owners were delighted!
Lona brought Lainni along to try for her first Grand certificate, which she won. This is the first Grand certificate for our prefix. Much to Lona’s delight, Lainni then went on to best Annas for Best of Breed – not bad for a kitten of our prefix to be beating a UK & Imperial Grand!!
Like her babies, Dàrna also had a good day, winning Best of Breed and the Reserve Imperial. I was working on the table at the show, managing the Best of Variety and Best in Show paperwork. The first stage of this is taking all the Best of Breed results and transcribing them onto the sheets for the Best of Variety Adult, Kitten and Neuter judges, so I knew which of our cats had been awarded Best of Breed. I then received those sheets back in, and had to copy the winners of each of those onto a new set of sheets for the Overall Best of Variety judges. As I filled in the Best Foreign Adult result, I copied over pen: “161”, gender: “F”, date of birth: “26/02/09” and then started to write breed number “68 43hsq”, but only got half way through writing it before registering that Dàrna was the only Tiffanie of her colour in the show, and that she had therefore gone Best Foreign Adult! This was her first win at that level, and although surprised due to the quality of the cats she had beaten, we were obviously delighted.
Once again, though, our star of the show was Jinny, who won the Imperial certificate, Best of Colour and first in all of her side classes, and then went on to win Best in Show Non-Pedigree again! She always looks so gorgeous up there in the top pen, and takes the whole thing in such a laid back manner that it is almost impossible to believe how terrified she was of everything when we got her. The thought of the progress she has made can still bring tears to my eyes. We came away with a trophy and a lovely stack of catty prizes including food, a bed and a covered litter tray, which is always useful!
The following day, I received a text from Anita giving me the wonderful news that Cailin had once again gone Best in Show New Breed at a FIFé show. The judge this time was from Switzerland, and was apparently so delighted with her that he had her out for about 15 minutes (they’re only supposed to take two or three minutes) and kept taking photographs to show the other judges back on the continent. Anita had her new Ocicat stud boy, Chippy, at the show as well, and Anita said that Cailin was fantastic at calming his nerves. Aside from being delighted for Anita, I’m also really pleased that little Cailin is proving such a brilliant ambassador for the Tiffanie breed in FIFé, where they are not currently recognised. Congratulations Anita, and long may she continue doing so!
The kittens have continued to do well, and are all looking lovely. Cannach and Foghorn have gone to their new homes, Cailin has a new home to go to, but Maltech now needs a different home. Our cats had a good day at the Ocicat and RBBA shows, and I have enjoyed stewarding at both the North West and the Cumberland, though we didn’t have any cats of our own entered.
Once again, it’s been over three weeks since my last update, because things are still very busy in the ‘Cagaran Household’. We’ve both been caught up at work, and had a family funeral to attend down in Devon, then on top of that, we’ve attended three/four shows, so there hasn’t been much spare time!
Katie’s kittens were vaccinated a couple of days after I last posted, and Cannach was neutered the week after that, then went to his new home a few days later. He seems to have settled in nicely, and is getting on with the older Asian neuters that his family own, as well as cuddling up with the family themselves.
His sister is not going to be going where we thought she was, because her intended owner visited another breeder and fell in love with one particular kitten there. Sometimes a kitten chooses their owner, rather than the other way around, and that can make for a really strong bond, so I advised Pippa to pay attention to that.
I had shown photos of the kittens to my friend Anita (who has Keela, from Dàrna’s first litter), and when I mentioned that I was going to have to look for a new home for the girl, Anita asked if she could have her. I wasn’t expecting Anita to want her, so was a bit taken aback, but absolutely delighted. They weren’t keen on the pedigree name, and the registration documents were just being sent off, so I gave Anita the choice, and the girl is actually going to be Cagaran Cailin-Anizz, Anizz being Anita’s prefix. Cailin is gaelic for ‘Damsel’, but is a pretty name in its own right, and is going to be her pet name as well. Cailin has come on an absolute treat, and is so promising that I am starting to wish that we were keeping her ourselves!
Kia’s kittens had their second vaccinations last week, and were thirteen weeks old yesterday. We dropped Foghorn off at her new home, and as always, it was lovely to watch her exploring her new room, and then playing with her new family. She will be sleeping in their spare bedroom to begin with, and the ‘kids’ (a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old) are going to take it in turns to sleep with her. Her new family wanted to understand everything that we do with the kittens, including clipping of claws, and microchipping, which are both things that we normally do where nobody else is watching. I was quite nervous doing them with an audience for the first time, but little Foghorn was beautifully behaved and didn’t even squeak when the needle went through her skin!
Maltech’s intended owner has unfortunately lost her job, and as a result she cannot take on the responsibility and cost of looking after another cat. I have therefore started the process of looking for an alternative home for him. I will be having him neutered this week, and it’s not a moment too soon, because he’s already getting interested in Katie and Fiona! He and Grace are the most adorable pair of rascals, tearing around the room with Fi and then rushing up to rub against you and purr.
Dàrna’s kittens are developing beautifully, and I am delighted to say that both are now looking distinctly smokey! They are little monkeys at the moment, rushing about and getting into all sorts of mischief, just as their Burmese ancestors are famous for. Whenever you walk into the kitten room, they come running over and climb onto your feet, clinging to your ankles. Richard calls them the ‘foot gremlins’, as a result. My parents looked after the kittens for us while we were down in Devon for the funeral, and I couldn’t help but laugh listening to my Dad trying to deal with being rushed by the babies! We took an absolute stack of photos yesterday, so I couldn’t resist sharing a selection here:
The weekend after my last update, we took Elisabeth down to the North West show, which we couldn’t actually enter ourselves because we wanted to support the Ocicat show the following weekend. Instead, I was given a stewarding engagement with a Dutch judge, who was my first experience of working with a foreign judge, and was an excellent test of my awareness of the system etc.
The following weekend was both the Ocicat and the RBBA (Russian Blue) shows, and the two were in venues about an hour apart. Elisabeth borrowed Karen Hettman’s two boys again, and we dropped her off at the RBBA with them and Xazzle, so she had three cats of her breeding, but none of them actually owned by her! Zach was the star of the day, winning the Imperial (on his first try), and also Best Male Neuter.
We couldn’t take Kia to the Oci show, because her kittens were born too recently (they must have been born at least 12 weeks previously), so we could only take our neuters along to support the club. Breckin won her first Grand certificate, and Tármus had her first time out in the Pedigree Pet section, winning her first Master Cat certificate and Best of Colour, bless her! As always, she loved the attention and I was reminded of how enjoyable she is to show.
Last weekend was the Cumberland show, and again we couldn’t enter our own cats because of having shown the previous week. Instead, I was stewarding for Ann Gregory, and we were obviously giving Elisabeth a lift with her cats. Ann is the only all-breed judge in the GCCF, and very well respected, so I was a bit nervous in case I made any mistakes. The day went well, however, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Our pick of the day was a most beautiful blue Burmese who had Ann and I in raptures for several minutes. That girl went on to win Overall Best Burmese, so we obviously weren’t the only ones who thought she was stunning. Our friends, the Miskellys (Glendavan Abyssinians and Ragdolls), who own the sire of Kia’s kittens, also had a fantastic day, with the beautiful Coen (Glendavan Roderick-Jaynes) winning overall Best in Show!
The kittens continue to do well, with the older ones now litter-trained and starting to eat solids, and the younger ones becoming more active by the day. We had a great day out at the Rexfest Show on Saturday, winning both Best Non-Pedigree and Best Pedigree Pet, and therefore obviously Overall Best Household Pet as well. Keela also did well at a show down south, winning her CC, BOB and having a red card day!
It’s been a busy few days since my last post, but everyone is doing well. No decent photos today, I’m afraid, because I haven’t had time to take any using the ‘proper’ camera, so I’ve only got the ones I’ve taken on my phone…
Katie’s kittens are five weeks this evening, and are now much more active and responsive. They are now using their litter trays, so have been given the run of the whole kitten room, and the girl comes rushing out to greet you when you walk into the room. The boy is still a lot quieter, but will come out and put his little paws on your foot if you stand beside his pen.
Both kittens are starting to take (very mushy) ‘solid’ food, but the boy is particularly interested in it, slurping away at the dish when it is put down. The girl will take some, but she is still going to be a while yet before she’s convinced of the idea! The boy looks to have the better head at the moment, because the girl seems to have slightly small eyes, unfortunately.
Kia’s kittens were three weeks at the weekend, and are still gaining weight at an impressive rate. The boy is only a few grams behind Katie’s son, and even the smallest girl isn’t more than 100g behind Katie’s daughter. They are already starting to examine their mum’s food, and will lick at wet food, so I think they’re going to be quite quick to wean. They are also incredibly steady on their feet, given their age, and are able to play pouncing games that I wouldn’t expect for at least another week or so.
Naomi Johnson (Vervain Burmese, Asians and Ocicats) was staying up here over the weekend, having judged at the Rexfest on Saturday. She called in today on her way home, to visit the kittens. She agrees that Katie’s daughter is a chocolate silver shaded (full expression), and thinks that both kittens are probably Tiffanies! We did have a look at the Oci babies, but they’re changing so much at the moment that it’s difficult to say anything much about which is better. At the moment the boy looks the best because his muzzle is stronger, but a few days ago, the girls had much better muzzles than he does, so who knows?!
Richard was working on Saturday, so I went to the Rexfest show myself, for the first time. We obviously don’t have any Rexes now, but it’s a great show with a completely unique atmosphere, so we decided to enter Ali and Jinny again. Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russian Blues) is training to be a pedigree judge, so had been asked if she would like to be one of the Household Pet judges (anyone can judge HPs). When I heard that, I couldn’t resist winding her up by entering Xaria as a Pedigree Pet. The hardest thing was remembering not to mention that we were entering, but thankfully I managed, because Elisabeth had absolutely no idea that any of our cats were going, let alone Xaria!
All three did well, Ali and Jinny winning their Grand certificatess and Best of Colour awards, and Xaria winning the Master Cat certificate and her Best of Colour as well! That was Jinny’s third Grand, so she is now officially Grand Master Cat Jinny, and topped off the day by going Best Non-Pedigree again. Xaria also went for the big one, taking Best Pedigree Pet, and then going one better and beating Jinny for Overall Best Household Pet (not chosen by Elisabeth, I hasten to add!). Elisabeth didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at seeing her first-bred Imperial-titled cat winning the Household Pet section, and said that she wasn’t sure whether to tell anyone. After I had pointed out that it is an indication of excellent temperament, however, she felt better, and decided that she would tell people about it after all!
We weren’t the only ones showing on Saturday – Anita was out at the Eastern Counties with Keela, who won her first CC and Best of Breed, and then went on to have a red card day, winning first place in all of her side classes. She is the third Cagaran Tiffanie to win a certificate, which is rather exciting. Anita texted me Keela’s results just after Best in Show had been decided at the Rexfest, so I was a bit overwhelmed!
Dàrna should be seven weeks pregnant at the moment, but we’re not sure. She does look pregnant, having gained weight in the right place, but we’re not convinced that she’s actually carrying anything other than extra fluid, so it could be a false pregnancy. If she is pregnant, the kittens should start moving in the next few days, which would obviously confirm the pregnancy. On the other hand, if it is a false pregnancy, those often stop at about this stage, so either way we should hopefully know soon. Watch this space…
We had a good day at the Lakeland show, Dàrna making up to Grand on the day, and Elisabeth’s kitten taking Overall Best Foreign. Ghost is now in his new home, and both pregnancies seem to be going fine.
Ghost has now gone to a new home, with a lovely couple south of Manchester. They have three other cats, and work from home, so there will be plenty of company for him. Plus, they treat their cats the same way we do – they are the centre of their universe, so they are perfect! He seems to be settling in well, though it didn’t quite go according to plan – when does it ever?!
We’ve also just had the pleasure of having two of Lynsey Thomas’ (Seysiana Somalis & Tiffanies) kittens stay over night with us. Their new owners weren’t going to have a chance to meet up with Lynsey, so we looked after the kittens to give their new owners a chance to pick them up. The kittens were completely adorable, and reminded me just why we wanted to breed!
Last weekend was the Lakeland Show in Kendal, and we took two of our own cats, plus Elisabeth and four of hers. Karen was also there with her two Dushenka boys, whom we took to the Durham a few weeks ago.
Fiona handled for all her judges again, but is still shouting loudly whenever she is taken out of the pen, so once again had all awards withheld in her Open classes. The only time she handled nicely was for Steve Crow (perhaps she knows that he’s her ‘grandpa’!), and he placed her first in a large and competitive class. If only she would keep her voice down, she could be winning so well, frustrating animal!
Dàrna did us proud, by winning her third (and qualifying) Grand Challenge certificate (from Joyce Green), making her up to Grand Champion! A little over a year ago, she made up to Champion the day that Steve and Tommy first took her home to Pippin. After the Lakeland, she went home with the stud owners, so that’s two years in a row that she’s won a new title the day she’s gone to stud!
The real stars of the show, however, were Elisabeth’s cats. Her stud boy won the Reserve Imperial, and Best of Breed Russian Adult. Zach, one of the neuter boys owned by Karen, won another Premier Certificate, and Best of Breed Russian Neuter. Lucy, who is Zach’s daughter (he fathered one litter before being neutered), won her kitten class and Best of Breed Russian Kitten (her brother won his kitten class) – that’s two years in a row that Elisabeth’s cats have won Best of Breed Adult, Kitten and Neuter at this show!
Tasha, who is (our Russian girl) Xaria’s mum, also won her third Grand, qualifying her for her Grand title, after a string of Reserves – she is now Grand Champion Dushenka Tashabella, and the eighth Dushenka to hold the Grand title! Little Lucy didn’t just stop with winning her open and Best of Breed, though, going on to take first Best Foreign Kitten, and then Overall Best Foreign! Her daddy, Zach, won Overall Best in Show at the Scottish Shorthair Show a couple of months ago – on top of Xaria’s Best Foreign win at the Durham, the Dushenka prefix isn’t exactly having a bad year so far!
Kia and Katie both still seem to be holding their pregnancies at the moment. Katie should be due in about 10 days, and Kia another 10 days after that. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly, and I can soon be writing those magic words again – “we have kittens”!!