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!
Donny won his third Imperial at the Cumberland, we had a good holiday, and the kittens continue to do well. The older kittens are now eight weeks old, and have names, but the little one is only four weeks old, and hasn’t yet been named.
It’s been just over four weeks since my last post, but not because there’s been anything wrong. We were away for a week’s holiday in the middle of last month, with Tracey looking after the cats, though we took Ayla and the kittens with us! Since we got back, I’ve been caught up with arrangements for the RACCS and West of Scotland shows in December, and completing judge bookings for next year’s Scotia show. This show management lark takes a ludicrous amount of time! In light of that, I will post the text just now, since it is written, and will add the photos on as I have them ready, so check back!
Feeding Eiteag’s Kitten
When I left off last time, Eiteag’s kitten was in with Ayla, because her mum had rejected her, but I was having to bottle-feed her to try and get her going. I went up a couple of times during the morning to give her another feed, but when I went up for lunch, she was latched onto Ayla, and suckling away. I tried putting her back with her mum again, at that point, but she behaved exactly as before, curling up to prevent the kitten gaining access to her teats, and then trying to bite the kitten whenever she tried to force her way in. I therefore gave her back to Ayla, and have continued to monitor her weight closely, because she has sometimes found it difficult to compete with the bigger kittens for milk, so I have given her a top-up feed whenever her gains haven’t been good.
We hadn’t planned on going to the Cumberland this year, because it was the day that we were meant to go on holiday. However, at the North West, I was persuaded to put in a late entry, since Eiteag hadn’t won his qualifying Grand that day, and Donny’s judge at the Cumberland was to be the same one who had just given his mum the Imperial, so seemed worth a punt. We pushed our holiday departure back by a day, but Richard stayed at home to get things ready, so I took the cats down the Cumberland myself.
I had an excellent day, having breakfast with Tracey after the cats were penned, and then the two of us headed off for a walk on Hadrian’s Wall, and climbed around the inside of a semi-ruined castle. We then went for lunch in the village of Brampton, and sat around chatting until after 3pm, so that the show was almost finished by the time we got back! When I penned the boys in the morning, they had both been in excellent moods, but the cat in the pen next to Eiteag was very growly, and he therefore shouted whenever he was taken out of his pen, just like his mum used to do. As a result, his judge decided not to handle him, and he was left unplaced, which was rather disappointing. Donny, on the other hand, followed his mum’s example from the previous show, and won the Imperial, in spite of having a very nice Abyssinian as competition. Perhaps Grace (the judge) is softening towards the Asians?
The following day, we were almost ready to go, when I decided that we couldn’t leave the kittens for Tracey to look after, and so we packed them up and took them with us. We were going for a week on a boat on the Clyde, but long-term readers of this blog will remember that we’ve had cats and kittens away on the boat before. In this case, we set up one of the forward toilets as a kitten pen, with a cardboard blockade across the door, and their heat mat, bed and litter tray on the floor. Ayla’s litter tray was in the shower, which she had to jump up to get into, so that kept the two trays separate, and her food and water was up on the worktop by the sink. Her kittens had their food and water on the wooden podium by the base of the toilet, which sounds a bit random, but the area had been thoroughly cleaned beforehand, and then lined with cardboard for extra safety.
The kittens hadn’t actually seen solid food before we arrived there, but when I put their biscuits down for them, there was such a fight over them that I ended up having to add a second dish, so that they could both eat at the same time. I’ve never had Asian kittens who are so protective of their food, so I presume that must come from the Australian Mist side. They also started using their trays for the first time over the first couple of days that we were away.
Obviously, Eiteag’s kitten wasn’t at that stage yet, not even having her eyes open at that point, but she was quite happy cuddled up in her little nest with Ayla to feed her. Each night and morning I brought the kittens through to our cabin to let them run around, and played with Ayla with a feather stick to wear off some of her excess energy. The little kitten would crawl around the bed for a bit, and then eventually settle down to sleep. Her eyes opened towards the end of our week away.
We had an excellent week, starting off by heading straight to Campbeltown, and seeing two Basking Sharks and a Minke whale on the way. We were there for a couple of days, which gave us a chance to do some walking, and then headed up the coast to Tarbert (on Loch Fyne). We saw the Minke whale at almost the same place as we had seen it on the way down, plus some Porpoise, and all manner of seabirds. A couple of days in Tarbert gave us a chance for some more walking, including going up into the castle, which was always cordoned off when I was younger, but has now been made safe, so that you can get up and into the tower.
On the Saturday, we headed across to where the dolphin lives (my brother has christened her ‘Kimi’, or something like that – a dolphin called Kimi. Really?!), and spent ages going back and forwards beside her territory, to let her come out and play under the bow. She doesn’t like people circling around her territory, nor does she like people getting into the water with her, but she absolutely loves being given the opportunity to ride a bow wave for a while. She won’t stray more than about half a mile, though, so you have to do figure-of-eights or circles beside her territory, to allow her to ride along without getting too far from home.
We spent the last night in the Kyles of Bute, and then headed back to Kip, where we’d left the car. The middle of that week saw me going down to London on the sleeper train, for a couple of business meetings, and the GCCF Council meeting. Having been away the previous week, Richard couldn’t take the time off to come down this time, so I did my best to speak for both the Scottish and West of Scotland clubs. It’s actually easier to speak for the West, because I’m on the Committee and therefore get to hear what the Committee think about things, whereas the Scottish doesn’t tend to tell me what they want said.
The following weekend was the Yorkshire show, which we had been planning to do ever since we weren’t able to visit Richardson’s Rosettes when we were down for the Teesside. Richardson’s make the rosettes for both the RACCS and West of Scotland shows, so we wanted to visit them to view their various ribbons etc. They were up in Perth for a show the day of the Teesside, so we arranged with them that we would come and see them when we came down for the Yorkshire. It’s still a trip of a couple of hours, but it’s less than half the distance that it would be from home! We had a great trip there, beginning with a chat about what the clubs were looking for, over tea and home-made cake, and then rummaging through their stacks and stacks of ribbon. What better way to spend an afternoon?!
Anne Gregory was going to be doing the Imperials for both Dàrna and Donny, and since she loves both of them, this was a great opportunity to try and get Dàrna’s last certificate, in particular. Steve Crow was doing the female neuter Olympian, so I also decided to bring Annas down just in case the competition wasn’t too strong. As expected, though, her Olympian class was huge, and very competitive, so she didn’t place. That didn’t bother me, but I was rather more miffed about the Imperials – Anne hadn’t been able to come to the show, and so the classes had been reassigned, which is fine, but they had been given to judges who I know don’t like Dàrna and Donny. Shirley Bullock was given Dàrna’s class, and she has never liked Dàrna, so I certainly wouldn’t have entered if she had been the judge originally, and Donny’s was judged by Maria Chapman-Beer, who withheld the Reserve on Donny at the Chester, and therefore definitely wouldn’t have been chosen for him. I don’t mind losing to better cats, but it is really annoying to have the judge changed to a judge who you know is never going to give the certificate to your cats. Humph!
Okay, so now we can bring the kittens up-to-date. Ayla’s two were eight weeks old yesterday, and the little one was four weeks (both litters were born on Wednesdays). The big kittens are absolute hooligans, careering around the room like a small herd of elephants. The boy is definitely the gentler of the two, and likes to come under the covers for a cuddle, but once his sister realises he’s there, she starts pouncing on him from on top of the covers, and your nice cuddle descends into anarchy that generally ends with him being rapidly ejected from the bed! They are very sweet, and love people, but the girl is definitely more boisterous than I would expect from an Asian, so I presume that’s the Australian influence. When she’s worn herself out, she adores cuddling up on someone, and looking like butter wouldn’t melt, and giving cute little kisses, but beware trying to cuddle when she wants to play – it doesn’t work!
Eiteag’s kitten, on the other hand, is very wide-eyed and watchful, and is one of the gentlest kittens I’ve ever come across. She just lies there in your hands, and if you stroke along her side, she rolls onto her back to get you to stroke her tummy. If she’s not asleep then she’s watching what’s going on, and will answer back when spoken to, which is very cute. In the past few days she has grown big enough to start pouncing back when the big kittens jump on her, and she will roll around with them, but she’s still far too small to really hold her own in a kitten tussle. She is just at the stage of starting to try the big kittens’ wet foods, but she’s not found any that she’s really enamoured with yet. Ayla thinks it is high time the kittens stopped feeding, though (fair enough when you consider that hers are eight weeks old, but not so good for the four-week-old), so we’re hoping that the little one decides to wean fairly soon.
The older litter is our ‘G’ litter, and since these kittens can’t be shown under their pedigree names, we don’t have to use the less obscure names. We’ve decided on Griseánach for the girl, which means ‘Rascal’, and is pronounced Krish-nach (ch as in loch), and Gliocas for the boy, which means ‘Sensible’, and is pronounced Klikas. Their pet names are nothing to do with their pedigree names, though, and were chosen by Tracey. Since the girl likes to give kisses, Tracey named her ‘Frenchie’, and since ‘Frenchie’ is a character in Grease, the boy is called ‘Zuko’. We haven’t decided on either pet or pedigree names for the little one yet, but I think her pet name is probably going to be either Rizzo or Sandy. There are no Gaelic words beginning with the letter ‘h’, because ‘h’ is used in lenition (a morphological feature of the Gaelic language, used in various places, but for instance to indicate past tense – see http://www.gaelicgrammar.org/~gaelic/mediawiki/index.php/Lenition), which means that it comes after letters and not before them. We are therefore looking at various Scots words and names instead of Gaelic for this one.
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!
The Tiff kittens have gone to their new home, and we had an excellent day at the West of Scotland show, with both Lhasa and Tia winning their first CCs, and me having a good first judging experience. The Oci kittens are still looking for their new homes, however.
The couple of weeks since my last post have gone well, and not been quite as busy as usual, which makes a nice change!
You may remember that I mentioned in my last post that a family had been to visit Ellie and Derk. Well, Lesley and Fraser decided that they would indeed like to adopt both kittens! Richard and I dropped the kittens off last Tuesday, and enjoyed a cup of tea with Lesley whilst watching them start to settle in, which is always a lovely experience for us.
The following day, Lesley sent me a text message to say that the kittens had slept cuddled up with her on the bed, and that she couldn’t wait to get home to see them. There really are very few things that can make a breeder’s day like a message like that will – hearing something like that reminds us why we wanted to breed, and makes the painful bits worthwhile.
West of Scotland Show
Richard and I both took the afternoon off work on Friday, as we have done for the past few years, to help set up the show hall for the West of Scotland. Once everything is ready, the people who have helped are then allowed to set up their show pens, which means that our cats can go straight into their pens when we arrive on show morning. Apologies for the yellow-toned photos, by the way – the lighting in the West’s hall is absolutely horrendous!
This year, we had entered four cats – Call, to try again for his final PC (Premier Certificate), Lhasa and Tia to try for their first CCs (Challenge Certificates), and Cheeky in the kitten class. Unfortunately for Call, there was a lovely Maine Coon neuter boy in the class against him, so Call didn’t win his certificate – in fact, he had a ‘blue card’ day, winning 2nd in every class!
The others all won what they were there for, though, with all three girls getting 1st in their breed class and then Best of Breed as well. Both Lhasa and Tia were also awarded their CCs – Lhasa beating two lovely girls in her class! For both Cheeky and Tia, this was their first time at a show, and for Lhasa it was her first time at a show of this format (she had previously been shown in FIFé, the European registration body). All the girls behaved beautifully, but Tia was especially remarkable – she was totally un-phased by all the hustle and bustle of the show, and was rolling around and paddle-pawing on her bedding in delight!
In addition to our own cats wins, we were also delighted to see another couple of Cagarans out with their owners. Quinn was there, and won another PC and her Best of Breed – although she made up to Premier at the Supreme, the West closed before then, so the rules prevent her from moving up into the higher class at the West. Lona had brought along Lainni, and since she made up to Grand at the Cumberland, she was in the Imperial this time. To our delight (and surprise), she was actually awarded the certificate! This is the first Imperial certificate won by a cat of our breeding, so we are doubly delighted. I can’t thank Lona enough for loving Lainni, looking after her so well, and of course, bringing her out to shows.
This show was also particularly exciting for me personally, because I was having my first trip out as a judge. Judges in the Pedigree section have to qualify through a process designed to ensure that they fully understand what the breed is supposed to look like, before they become a full judge. For the Household Pet (HP) section, on the other hand, the judges are not comparing the cat to a standard of points, but instead are looking for good condition and temperament. As a result, the HP judges can be anyone whom the show managers feel would be able to judge whether a cat has those characteristics.
When I was first asked if I would judge, it just seemed a really exciting honour, but in the past few weeks, I had been getting more and more nervous. By the day of the show, however, I was still feeling slightly nervous but mostly I was just excited. Elisabeth (Stark – Dushenka Russian Blues) was also judging (her third time out as a probationer pedigree judge), so we decided to act as stewards for eachother, so I was lucky enough to have a fabulously experienced steward for my first time.
We had some absolutely lovely cats, both in my classes in the HP section and in her classes in the Pedigree section, and I thoroughly enjoyed my day. I have written up my reports today, so I hope the cats’ owners will appreciate what I have said about their cats!
There is one final thing from the West, that I feel has to be noted, and that is Zach’s (Dushenka Zerachiel) win. He picked up his fifth Olympian certificate, making him up to Bronze Olympian, and in the process, becoming the first Russian Blue to hold the title. Congratulations to his owners and also to his breeder, Elisabeth.
We are still looking for homes for the three remaining Oci kittens, all of whom have now developed into the most adorable pets. When they were younger, I was a little worried because they were far more nervous than our Asian kittens normally are, but as they have grown they have just got friendlier and friendlier. When we go into their room now, they all tend to jump up on the bed, wanting stroked, and if we are too slow to pay them attention then they will tell us in no uncertain terms how unimpressed they are with us for the delay!
Bru is now really cuddly, and rubs around our legs when we are doing their litter trays or getting clothes out of the wardrobe. He loves to come and cuddle up with us in bed, or to lie on his back in our arms, and has a huge purr.
Carrie is the most outgoing with strangers, but prefers to be stroked whilst having all her paws on the ‘ground’, rather than being picked up. She absolutely loves her food, and is almost always the first into the food bowl, but if she hasn’t already been stroked before her food is put down, then she won’t eat more than a couple of mouthfuls without coming to try and get some fuss!
Becca is the most wary of strangers, but is also probably the most demanding of attention from us. She likes to come up and perch on our shoulders, but also comes and sits next to the pillow, waiting for us to wake up and stroke her. She has the richest colour in the litter, even though these photos don’t show it – she is a rich, warm ginger. She also has this habit of standing with one front paw raised, and looking at you as if she can see right into your soul.
If you know of anyone who would appreciate an interactive, talkative, playful, energetic, beautiful and loving pet, do tell them to get in touch!
Lots of catching up, with four shows out of the way, the possibiltiy of four litters soon, and plenty of cat-related club business and socialising. Fi is due her kittens next week, so we’re hoping for an easy birthing and a nice healthy litter!
I would start by saying that it seems like months since I last posted, but it virtually has been! I have never been as busy as I have been these past few months, mostly due to having taken on an enormous contract at work – a roll-out of audio systems (speakers and amplifiers) to 290 Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Duvetco stores nationwide. That project reached its successful conclusion on Friday of last week, however, coming in at just 0.38% better than my estimated figures. Now that it is finished, I’m hoping I might have more time for updating this and our website more often, and also finally completing my part of the GCCF rules revision.
I’m trying to remember what all has happened since my last post, but it’s all a bit of a blur. In terms of showing, my last post was the day before the Lancs show, so there’s that, plus the Preston & Blackpool, the Scottish Shorthair and the Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire double show. There’s also been another meeting of the Asian Breed Advisory Committee (BAC), the annual GCCF Gala Dinner, the Edinburgh & East AGM, the AGCS AGM, a West of Scotland Committee meeting and the AGM, a RACCS committee meeting, a Langford’s Breeders’ Seminar and two choir concerts (one singing Alto with the Stirling Gaelic choir, and the other as a Soprano for Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Stirling City choir)! Aside from that lot, and meetings at work, we also tried to fit in a few days away with my parents, from which Richard had to return for work reasons after just the weekend (but we did manage a lovely mountain climb!), and I had to spend the middle day working on the EWM roll-out. Geez, I feel exhausted just typing that!
So… which bits will you be interested in?
At the Lancs, Dàrna won the Reserve Imperial in a class of three, while, I completed the final engagement towards my steward’s badge, with Peter Collin in the Burmese section. I had been looking forward to my day with Peter, since stewarding for a Burmese judge is an excellent way to learn about the Asian type (they should be the same), and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him – I received my steward’s badge a couple of weeks later, so am now officially a GCCF Steward! I had also suggested to Pippa (who almost bought Cailin) that she bring her Tiffanie girl to that show, since it’s not too far from her, and it was lovely to catch up with her, and meet her girl, who won the CC but lost the Best of Breed to Dàrna. The star of the show was a Russian Blue boy of Elisabeth’s breeding, Korei, owned by Donna and Dave Johnson (Koreshka Russian Blues), who not only won the CC at his first adult show, but went on to become overall Best in Show – Elisabeth was ecstatic, as you can imagine!
There were no certificate wins at the Preston & Blackpool, though the three we had taken, Annas, Dàrna and Apollo, all won their Best of Breeds. Elisabeth had another good day, with Korei winning his second CC, Zach his qualifying Imperial certificate and Ziva her first Grand. I had an enjoyable day stewarding for Helen Marriott-Power, including my (rather nerve-wracking) first experience of being the sole steward for Best in Show. I have been getting ribbed ever since for having an extremely studious expression on my face throughout, but I didn’t want to mess up handling someone’s cat with everyone watching!
We had better results at the Scottish Shorthair – although Annas had the Olympian withheld by Grace Denny (she was placed first, though!), Lona was there with Laini, who won her second Grand, and Tabh, who won his second PC! Annas took Best of Breed. I’m guessing Lona’s two will probably be out for their qualifying certificates at the Nor’East, which unfortunately we are missing this year, due to it being on the same weekend as the London Pet Show. Gutted! Elisabeth’s lot also had another good day, with her imported stud boy winning his second CC, and little Dukey going Best Foreign Kitten!
That brings us on to the Beds/Camcat (Bedfordshire & District Cat Club & Cambridgeshire Cat Club) double-show at the weekend just gone – two all-breed shows sharing the large hall at Wood Green animal shelter near Huntingdon, which is one of my favourite show venues. This must be one of the largest shows after the Supreme, and has a real buzz about it as a result. We took a half day at work on Friday and collected Elisabeth before driving down to spend the night at Anita’s (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) in Rugby. On Saturday morning we packed everyone’s stuff and cats into our people-carrier, and set off to the show – five adults (myself and Richard, Elisabeth and Anita and Rob) and eight cats (three of ours, three of Elisabeth’s and two of Anita’s).
We had both an AGM and a committee meeting during the show day, so I had very deliberately not booked to steward or do tablework. While we were getting the cats penned, they were calling over the tannoy that they desperately needed stewards, and could anyone willing to steward come up to the table, and I’m standing there going “I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to do it” – I find it very difficult not to offer to help when it’s required. However, I managed, and I’m actually glad I did, because it was really nice to have a day where I could actually take my time over checking results, and get a chance to cuddle my cats and talk to other exhibitors. I love stewarding, but it was lovely just to be an ordinary exhibitor for a change, even if we did have meetings in the afternoon. In particular, it was great to get a chance to catch up with Amanda (Rushbrooke Asians, Burmese and Bengals), whom I haven’t seen since last autumn, and she has been very seriously ill in the meantime. She was looking great on Saturday, and had a nice cuddle with Annas (whom she bred) and Donny.
Elisabeth and Anita both took certificates home, with Elisabeth’s Ziva winning her second Grand, and Anita’s Chippy winning the CC in one of the shows. Elisabeth was also thrilled because Korei won his qualifying CC, making him something like the 30th titled cat she has bred! I was delighted to find that little Cailin won the CC in both shows, meaning that she only needs one more certificate. She has developed into a very pretty girl, but still has lots of maturing to do. That means that we currently have three Cagarans requiring one more certificate – Cailin, Laini and Tabh. I wonder whether it will be Tabh or Cailin who is the first to become the third titled Cagaran?!
I wasn’t expecting Annas to win the Olympian, because I guessed that Mylward Sassafras and Danleigh Starburst would be there, and sure enough, they were. They got the Oly and Reserve in one of the shows, but in the other the reserve went to a beautiful Mainman Burmese (the Oly was still won by Sassafras, though!). We had actually only entered Annas in one of the shows, because Grace Denny was the judge in the other (same as the Scottish Shorthair, but with more competition!), and likewise Donny. Both won their Best of Breed and did well in their side classes. In certificate terms, our star was Dàrna, who was entered in the two shows, and won the Reserve Imperial in both, against what I would have considered to be stronger competition – I was very surprised! She will now be retired from the bench for this year, to hopefully have some kittens with Apollo.
Speaking of kittens, we have everything happening at once again this year. Fi did indeed get pregnant the weekend of the Ocicat AGM, and is due her kittens next week. She looks nice and fat, so I’m hoping for a sensible-sized litter, rather than the two-kitten nonsense that we had last year! Fingers crossed for at least some Tiffanies, since that’s what everyone wants from us!
You may remember that Katie had a sore eye for a couple of months? It has now cleared up, and we are no longer having to give her eye drops, though it remains to be seen whether there will be any permanent scarring of the iris. Anyway, whilst it was still causing an issue, we decided to separate her from the others, in case it turned out to be infectious, but rather than keep her by herself, we decided to move Donny out with her, since it was going to be several weeks until he was next due at a show. To our surprise, however, we discovered him mating her a few days later, when he was just over seven months old! That was almost a month ago now, and Katie doesn’t seem to be able to quite make up her mind whether or not she is pregnant – one day she is pinked up and the next day it seems to fade, only to return the following day. We shall see. It is Katie that I would have intended mating Donny to eventually, but I wasn’t expecting him to be so young at the time – most Asian boys don’t start working until they are over a year old!
Gracie will also hopefully be having kittens in the not-to-distant future, since she is currently at Rosemary Caunter’s (Thickthorn Ocicats), to hopefully mate with her cinnamon boy, Curry, as you may remember was suggested by Stacie (Ameeka Ocicats and Abyssinians), at the Ocicat AGM.
We didn’t intend to have all the matings bunched up like this – the plan was that Fi would have had kittens in January (remember, she originally went in with Shogun in October), Grace and Dàrna would always have been due for mating around now, and then we’d have kept Katie back until later in the summer, because she’s not such a prolific caller, and can therefore wait longer between matings than Dàrna can. Instead Fi is just having hers as Dàrna and Grace go in with studs, and Katie might already be half-way through a pregnancy. I kind of hope she isn’t!! Either way, we will just have to borrow Amanda’s mottow and “manage the situation”.
Other Catty Bits
The RACCS show is now going to be back-to-back with the Supreme, something that has never been done before, and is both a great opportunity and horrendously complicated! The Asian BAC meeting was again interesting, and I am delighted that I was voted on – we have a new Asian probationer judge, and have also put one forward to progress to become a full judge at the June Council meeting. Speaking of people going forward at the June Council meeting, Elisabeth is going to be on the list to be voted on as a probationer judge of Russians!
The Gala dinner was another excellent event, with lots of good ‘cat chat’, a fun quiz (which our team won again this year!) and a fundraising auction in which we managed to bag the fantastic prize of a mating with a stunning Burmese stud cat, who isn’t usually available! The Langford’s Breeders’ Seminar was in Birmingham on the Sunday just gone, and like the last one, was an extremely beneficial day – the most interesting bits for me probably being Lesley Lyons talks on disease genetics and then later, colour genetics. There is another one being held in June, and we are definitely planning to be at that one as well – Elisabeth and I are also attending the FAB (Feline Advisory Bureau) study day in Edinburgh in a few weeks, which is on Feline emergency medicine, and should be very interesting.
Richard is now on the committee of the Edinburgh & East – I managed to step out of the way faster this time! I have been voted on as a full delegate to Council, for the West of Scotland, which we are both on the committee of, and for which Richard is now secretary. That lot out of the way, I think you’re now fully up-to-date on what’s been happening in the Cagaran Household. Hopefully the updates should be more frequent now that my EWM roll-out is completed.
The next item on our ‘agenda’ (other than Fi’s kittens, of course), is the London Pet Show, which is a fortnight from the weekend just gone. We’re taking Donny down to represent the AGCS with Anita’s Cailin, and she’s taking both Azi (Kia’s 3/4 sister) and Chippy to represent the Ocicats. It was such a great day last year that I’m really looking forward to it, and we’re busy harness-training Donny at the moment!
That’s it for tonight. The next post should hopefully be with photos of Fi’s kittens, so keep your fingers crossed for an easy labour for her…
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!
Three excellent sets of show results for the Cagaran cats, at the Maidstone & Medway, Asian Group Cat Society and Notts & Derbys shows. Keela seems to be pregnant and has gone home, we have brought home our new stud boy, CH Kagura Apollo, and have decided to spay and re-home Kia and Quinn.
Maidstone & Medway Cat Show
Like the West of Scotland, the Maidstone & Medway Cat Club had their 25th Anniversary show in December, which was also to be the last one managed by Anne Gregory before she gives up. I had asked Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese & Asians) to suggest some shows where I could steward for her, and this was one of the suggestions. When I mentioned that to Elisabeth (Dushenka Russian Blues), she calculated that it would be a good one for her because it would be Lucy’s first shot at a CC, and also the first show that her babies would be old enough for. Considering all of that, we couldn’t resist making the trip.
We took our three kittens (Donny, Quinn and Grace) plus Shogun, and Elisabeth took three of her kittens plus Lucy. We stayed near Warwick on the Friday night, which was the first night away from home for all of the babies. Our rooms were across the hallway, and I think we must have been just about the only people on our floor, which meant that there wasn’t too much noise to disturb the cats. None of them seemed the least bit phased, though Shogun wasn’t massively impressed with having to spend the night in the bathroom! Quinn and Grace cuddled up in bed with us, while Donny spent the night keeping us awake by knocking Richard’s glasses off the bedside table, playing with our toothbrushes and unpacking our bag all over the floor.
I had an interesting day stewarding for Sandra, and saw some beautiful cats. Meanwhile our own cats did well, and Shogun won his second CC. Elisabeth’s Lucy won her first, and all of the babies handled well, and met with approval from the judges.
The ‘Festive Season’
Once again this year, we ordered Christmas cards with one of our own photos on the front. We took the photo just before Maltech and Cailin went off to their new homes, in the few days after they had been introduced to Dàrna’s litter. That meant that we were able to have a Tiffanie, an Ocicat Variant and the two Asians all together in one photo. As before, it was a challenge to get the kittens to sit together, and the Christmassy backdrop that we created had virtually been destroyed by the time we got the final photo.
The series of photos below show just some of the many failed attempts to get a decent photo, but also just some cute ones that we took along the way. We were using a feather stick to try and get the kittens attention, but you’ll see that sometimes it failed to work, and sometimes it worked a little too well!
Richard’s parents came up to stay with us over Christmas, and some of my relatives were joining us for Christmas dinner, making a party of 14 in total. The day before Christmas Eve, the trip for the sockets in every room except the kitchen went faulty. As a result, we had to run extension-leads around the house to power the Christmas lights and fish tank, but at least we had still had power in the kitchen and light throughout the house! Dinner was very successful, and it was lovely to catch up with the family.
Keela was still behaving as if she hated Shogun, squealing and hissing at him whenever we went into the room. However, when I went up to see them on Christmas day, I found her sleeping curled up against his tummy. As soon as she saw me, she jumped up and started hissing and growling at him again as if she hated him, but by then I knew that she was just putting it on for my benefit. I checked her over, and discovered that her back nipples were just starting to show a slight flush. By the start of January, the flush had extended into full pinking from back to front, so it looks like he has successfully mated her.
Hogmanay was my grandfather’s 80th birthday, so we stayed overnight with my family in the Crown Plaza hotel in Glasgow, and went to the black-tie gala dinner there. This was another fantastic opportunity to catch up with family members, particularly my cousins who live in Guernsey, and another of my cousins who is about to move to Spain. Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook will no doubt already have seen the sets of highly embarrassing photos one of my cousins later posted of me dancing!
Asian Group Cat Society Show
The night of the 2nd was extremely windy, and by the time we got up the next morning, four large trees had come down across our driveway. It took us a couple of days to manage to get a tree surgeon out, and even then it took him two days just to cut us a route through the trees so that we could get the car out, and then he had to leave to get on with other jobs. The remains of the trees are still waiting for them to have time to return! By the time they were here for the second day, I was getting rather nervous, because we were due to be going to a show that weekend!
The first show of 2012, as usual, was the Asian Group Cat Society, which takes place alongside the Short Hair Cat Society show. This time, we took Annas for her 3rd Olympian, Dàrna for her 1st Imperial, Donny in the kitten classes, and Grace in her last show as a Pedigree Pet. Cats in the Household Pet section must be neutered once they are six months old, so we won’t be able to show her again until after she has had her litter and been spayed. On the way down to the show, we took Keela back to Anita’s, and also took a dropped off a girl who had been at stud with Elisabeth.
All four of our cats did well, both Annas and Dàrna winning their certificates, and Grace winning her Ped Pet class and Best of Colour out of five. Anita and Robert were there with Cailin, who was looking beautiful, and won her kitten class, Best of Breed, and three 1sts in her side classes.
Our star of the show was little Donny, who followed in his big sister Fi’s ‘paw-steps’, and went Best Kitten in the AGCS.
We had arranged to collect our new stud boy, Kagura Apollo, from the show, and he only needed one more CC to make up to Champion. As it was, he won the CC in both the AGCS and SHCS parts of the show, giving him the title plus a spare. Elisabeth also had a good day in the SHCS part of the show, with Lucy winning her 2nd CC, and both her kittens winning their Open classes. To top off the day, Dukey (Dushenka Duke Ellington) went overall Best Foreign!
Best Neuter was Teignage Sir Pouncealot, but Best Adult and Overall Best in Show was the beautiful Kagura Galadriel, so that’s two years in a row that a Kagura adult has been Overall Best in Show, and a Cagaran Best Kitten.
Not a bad day out, to take home between ourselves and Elisabeth, a Ped-Pet Best of Colour, two kitten Best of Breeds, a new Champion, another two CCs, an Imperial, an Olympian and two Best in Show awards!
Notts & Derbys Cat Club
Yesterday saw us heading down to the Notts & Derbys, which we didn’t get to last year, though Annas won one of her Imperials there back in 2010. I can hardly believe it’s two years since we were ‘chasing’ Imps with her, and now here we were back to try for an Oly!
We had entered Annas, Dàrna and Katie, and normally would have got our show stuff ready in the first half of last week. However, I had a new employee up for his first week’s training, and Richard also had a busy week due to the wind bringing lots of fences down, so we didn’t get around to it until Friday evening.
When we got Katie’s vaccination card out of the drawer, we discovered that it hadn’t been filled in for her last vaccination. I knew that she had been vaccinated with her 2011 (C-litter) kittens’ first vaccination, so we looked out the receipt, and sure enough, it shows a booster vaccination for ‘Katie’ and then the first vaccinations for her kittens. However, she is obviously entered in a show as Rushbrooke Airgead Cagaran, not as ‘Katie’, so the receipt wouldn’t prove that she was vaccinated. When we get the pink (registration) slips for our kittens, they come with a white copy for our records, so we photocopied the ones for the C-litter, to show that her kittens would have been the right age to be the ones whose vaccinations were recorded on the receipt. I was going to use all of that, and hope that the show manager would allow us to take her in. When we got up yesterday morning, however, she was pulling stupid faces and I decided that I couldn’t be bothered trying to argue her into the show hall, only to have her pull faces at the judge, so we left her at home with the Donny, Quinn and Gracie.
Annas looked fantastic, but the competition was very steep in all the Olympian classes, and she didn’t place this time. The certificate in her class went to the fabulous Mylward Sassafras, a Birman who is already a Bronze-level Olympian, meaning that this certificate counts towards her Silver Olympian title. The Reserve went to Perri Hutchison’s (Irrep Burmese) gorgeous 11-year-old, chocolate tortie Burmese, Hypnos Tigerlily of Irrep. I had the pleasure of handling her for the Breed class, and she was adorable!
In spite of not winning the Oly, Annas seems please with herself today, so she obviously feels that she did a good job. She did win the Best of Breed, and also had good results in her sides, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd, in each case beating quality cats. Dàrna also looked lovely, and won her second Imperial certificate, though the Best of Breed went to Diane Bunting’s (Xchardi Asians) beautiful own-bred girl, Xchardi Xsi Xsi, whom I loved as a kitten at the Humberside & Lincs show last summer. Like Annas, Dàrna also won a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her side class, beating a couple of other cats each time.
As usual, Elisabeth travelled with us, and Lucy did well, winning her third and qualifying CC, making her up to Champion, as well as joining Annas and Dàrna’s 1-2-3 club and winning a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her sides, again beating good cats each time. Karen Hettman was also there with Lucy’s Dad, Zach, who won another Imperial and a 1st and two 2nds in his sides, while her other boy, Stan, lost to Zach in the Imperial but won two 2nds in his sides.
New Stud Boy
Apollo is slowly settling in, though making sure that we are aware that he is no enamoured by the move! He spends a lot of his time sitting on one particular log in the run, keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings, and starts shouting to us as soon as we go through the gate. Whenever we leave the run, he immediately sniffs around the whole floor with a look of disgust, as if we’ve messed up his territory just by visiting. He is very sweet, and absolutely gorgeous. He looks very like Fiona, though his eye shape and muzzle are better than hers. Both are apricot silver, and his dam is Fi’s half-sister, so it isn’t that surprising that they look alike.
We will be starting to take him out for his Grands soon, so watch this space!
Kia has been calling a lot recently, but won’t be ready to go to stud for several months yet. Since she was such a hopeless mother last time around, we have decided to have her spayed. A lovely couple from Glasgow have been waiting over a year for an Ocicat or Ocicat Classic from us, but we only had the Ocicat Variant litter last year, so there wasn’t anything for them. They had absolutely fallen in love with Kia when they visited us, and she seemed to like them, so having decided to spay her, I contacted them to ask if they would be interested in her instead of a kitten. Sheona and a friend came to visit last weekend, and loved her just as much as last time, so she will be going to live with Sheona and Bruce after the spay.
Since Kia is going in to be spayed, it seemed sensible to finally decide which of Dàrna’s last kittens we are going to keep, and have the other one neutered at the same time. Originally I said that we would make the decision after seeing what the judges thought of the two at the West of Scotland show back at the start of December. I’ve been putting it off ever since, because although Donny has the better overall type, and was the favourite with the judges, Quinn is probably my personal favourite – she’s just so cute! She’s the one who jumps up onto the bed in the morning, and tries to snuggle down for a cuddle. She also makes me laugh with her insistence when she thinks it’s time for her to be fed.
Over the past few days, however, I’ve looked at what matings we might like to do in the next couple of years, and Donny does fit better into those plans. He is still absolutely adorable, and is definitely Richard’s preference – he’s been trying to persuade me to re-home her since the middle of last month. Donny has also been Elisabeth’s favourite since they were teeny-tinies, so she’ll be delighted. Annas also adores Donny, and is regularly found cuddling-up with him, or playing hide-seek-and-chase games behind, on, off, over and under the bedroom furniture. I took the photo this morning (using my phone), and if it wasn’t so rubbish, you’d be able to see a little patch of tousled fur next to Annas’ paw, where she had obviously been licking Donny’s back before I came into the room. It’s therefore only me who hates the idea of re-homing Quinn – I’m dreading having to see her going off with someone else!
She’ll make someone an adorable pet, or if we’re lucky, a lovely show neuter, because then I’d still get to see her occasionally. Her coat has improved dramatically, and although still a little long, it now has a lovely silky texture. Her tortie markings also mean that she’ll get away with murder with the judges! Her smoking is undoubtedly better than her brother’s, because you can’t see it at all until you part her coat, and then you can see the silvering underneath.
I’m not going to start advertising her for sale until after she’s been spayed. I think once that’s done I might find it a bit easier because I know she can’t be part of our breeding plans. That may well be total wishful-thinking, but I can hope!
Thinking Ahead for 2012
Fi is still up with Shogun, and still refusing to co-operate with his attempts to mate her. She has, however, been sick a few times in the past week, which although unpleasant, might actually be a good sign: she’s out of Dàrna, who suffers from morning sickness! All we can do is cross our fingers and keep checking her for signs of pinking-up.
I haven’t quite decide exactly what we’re doing with the other girls this year, and to some extent it depends how Donny develops. If he looks like being an early starter, I would hold Katie back to mate to him at the back end of the summer, in which case Dàrna would be going to Apollo. If Donny looks like he won’t be ready to work until the end of the year, I’ll put Katie to Apollo. Dàrna could then go down to Annas’ brother, Charlie, who is the only link I can find to Annas’ Dam’s line (Annas and Katie have the same sire so we already have that line), and I am therefore keen to keep a kitten from him. I’m also hoping to bring in a Tiffanie girl from a different line this year, to give us more flexibility in choosing who to mate to Donny (at present we only have Katie, plus his sister and his Dam).
Aside from the Asians, we will be completing our Ocicat outcross by taking Grace to an Ocicat stud. Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn Ocicats) has suggested her cinnamon boy, Curry, who has a lovely strong head and would therefore be a good mate for her. We also have the option to use Anita’s (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) young chocolate silver boy, Chippie, but we will need to see how he develops before we know if he would be a good mate. Both boys are Ocicats carrying classic, so either mating could give us a mixed litter of ticked (Variant), spotted (Ocicat) and classic (Ocicat Classic) kittens!
Of course sod’s law probably means we’ll have to change all of our plans due to something unforeseen at the moment, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…
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 first update for several months – lots of shows, GCCF centenary dinner and discussion forums, London Pet Show, the Ocicat seminar and several AGMs. Also an update on our breeding plans – Katie and Kia are both pregnant, and Dàrna will be going to stud soon.
Finally, a new update! Apologies to those who have emailed to ask if everything is okay. Whenever I came on to write an update, I found myself just looking at the photos of B-B, and never getting any further. However, I think it’s time to try and move on, so I’ll try to bring this up to date with our news. I’ll break it down into sections, though, so that you can read as little or as much as you want!
You may remember Ghost – he was the third of Dàrna’s kittens, and the biggest in the litter. He found a home with a lovely family down in Barrow-in-Furness, who collected him between Christmas and New Year. They breed Chihuahuas, but wanted a cat for their youngest child, Jack. Unfortunately, Jack turned out to have a severe cat allergy (so severe that he was stopping breathing during the night!), and we have therefore taken him back. The improvement in Jack’s symptoms has been almost instantaneous, so there is certainly no chance of him going back home.
We are therefore looking for a new home for him. He is currently eight months old, and sometimes behaves very much like a kitten, but is generally just that bit quieter and less boisterous. His family obviously took great care of him, because he is very loving – his favourite place is wrapped around your neck like a scarf! Obviously, he is used to dogs (all-be-it small ones), but has lived as an only cat for several months, so is a bit unsure of other cats. We are currently in the process of re-introducing him to ours, though, so hopefully he’ll get over that soon enough.
We will be looking after him until a new home is found, but he is still owned by Jane and her family. Prospective owners are more than welcome to visit him here, but any money would be going to Jane, who is hoping for £250 for him. He is fully vaccinated through to next Christmas and is up-to-date with flea and worming treatments.
The First ‘Cagaran Certificate’ – Lainni’s First PC
Our first litter are now officially adult, having turned 9 months in late March. The Nor’East of Scotland show was held on the 14th of this month, and Lona brought Lainni down to that. She looked lovely on the day, and won her BOB and also the Premier Certificate – the first certificate for the Cagaran prefix (hopefully the first of many)!
I was working on the table at the show, so didn’t get a chance to handle Lainni, but I stopped to say hello whenever I passed her pen, and every time she fell over sideways trying to rub herself against my hand through the bars – what a sweetie. Lona is obviously making a great job of raising her!
London Pet Show
The first London Pet Show was held at Olympia on the 7th and 8th of May. It was the first event of its kind in London, and I hope that it becomes an annual event. The show was split into five ‘zones’ for different types of animal – dogs, cats, exotics, small furries and aquatics. As part of the cat section, the GCCF had been offered a space in which to showcase our many breeds and what the GCCF does.
Richard and I attended on the Saturday, taking Fiona to represent the Asians, and Kia to represent the Ocicats. We were lucky enough to be joined by a second representative in each case – a Bombay alongside Fiona, and a lovely Ocicat (spotted) with Kia. As well as the owners of those cats, Anita came with us to help man both stands.
The day was a huge success, with thousands of people coming around and asking all sorts of questions about our breeds. Fiona looked adorable playing with a feather stick in her pen, and talking to people walking past, but it was Kia who was really in her element, thoroughly enjoying performing for the public. We had her out on her harness, dancing around after a feather stick, and drawing a huge crowd watching and taking photos.
She was so relaxed out that she ended up going over to have a shot at the agility, which she definitely enjoyed, though she was more keen on running through the tunnels than tackling the other obstacles – she kept running around the jumps and stairs on one side to go through the tunnel at one end, and then running around the other side to go through the tunnel at the other end!
I would highly recommend this show if they do it again in the future, and would undoubtedly attend again, even if it does mean a crazy drive to London with cats in tow! I was really disappointed to see that the Abyssinians were not represented at all – the breeders missed a real opportunity to introduce the breed to the public. I would have hated our Tiffanies or Ocicats to be in the same position – the show was just the most fantastic chance to show off our beautiful breeds, and answer the public’s questions on them, and I couldn’t be more pleased that we did it.
The Ocicat Seminar was held near Banbury on the 15th of May. This was a fantastic opportunity for breeders and judges alike, to gain an understanding of what the Ocicat breed should look like. There were lots of beautiful examples of the breed on show, from a tiny kitten right up to an Imperial-titled adult. The theme/focus of the seminar was the ‘wild look’ that the Ocicat should have, with the day aiming to give an understanding of the Ocicat in general, but in particular how the proper wild look is achieved.
The presentations started with an Ocicat Ivory, which is a pointed Ocicat – these occur occasionally in Ocicat litters, as a result of the recessive pointed gene coming through from their Siamese ancestors. These beautiful cats have most of their pigment restricted to their heads, tails and legs, like the Siamese, but they also usually show tabby ‘ghost markings’ on their sides. In this case, the Ivory was being used to demonstrate how it is not only the spots of the Ocicat that give it the wild look, but also the ‘type’ (the body structure).
Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn Ocicats) was the presenter, and she started by joking that this was one she had washed the spots off to allow us to see the type without the distraction of the pattern. Using an Ivory was a great way to show that an Ocicat has a specific body type, and should therefore still look like an Ocicat, even if it doesn’t have the Ocicat pattern. Rosemary then brought out her Imperial-titled girl, Thickthorn Lotus Blossom. Lotus is a beautiful chocolate (spotted) Ocicat, and showed perfectly what an Ocicat should look like once you put the spots back on!
Rosemary was followed by Stacie Shorten (Ameeka Abyssinians & Ocicats), who is Kia’s breeder. She was talking about the Ocicat Classic, and how its pattern differs from the Ocicat, but the type remains the same. She used two of her Ocicat Classics as demonstrators – Kia’s mum, Jazzy (Thickthorn Calypso), and Kia’s ¾ brother, Dragon (Ameeka Dragonfire).
Aside from the presentations, we also had a delicious lunch and a good chance to catch up with or meet lots of the other people involved with the Ocicat breed. Breed seminars really are a great place for both gaining a greater understanding of a breed, catching up with existing cat fancy friends and making new ones.
Other ‘Cat Activities’
We have attended quite a number of shows since the Scottish, all the way back in February, with varying success as always.
The Scottish was followed a fortnight later, by the Coventry and Leicester, which is down in Warwickshire. We had taken Dàrna and Xaria, the latter having been entered in this show before she won her fifth and final Imperial at the Scottish. Dàrna won her second Reserve Grand, and Xaria didn’t pick up anything at all, but she’s already an Imperial, so that really didn’t matter. I had an enjoyable morning stewarding for Marlene Buckeridge, though I had to leave her in the afternoon to attend the AGM for the AGCS. Thankfully we had finished most of our classes by then, and I’m grateful that she allowed me to go.
The week after the Coventry and Leicester, we were back down in the Midlands for the Ocicat Club’s AGM, which is always an enjoyable event. It starts with a delicious meal and lots of chat and hilarity, before moving on to the official business. The next week we were south again, though not quite as far, for the Lancashire, which is in Wigan, where Dàrna won yet another Reserve Grand and Best of Breed.
We had also taken Breckin – her first time out as a neuter, and she won the Premier Certificate and Best of Breed. Anita was also there with Keela in what was her first show, since we didn’t manage to get her into the AGCS. Keela looked utterly adorable, and was cuddling up to the judges. She also won her 1st Open and Best of Breed.
At the Lancs show, I was chatting to our friend, Olive Holt (Nemorez Asians and Burmese), and found out that her partner, Ian, was ill. Olive was supposed to be getting two new stud boys from Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese and Asians) in Fife, but since Ian normally does the driving for Olive, and Sarah doesn’t drive, transport for the boys was proving an issue. Sarah only lives about 40 minutes from us, and I was due to be down in Liverpool for a meeting on Tuesday morning.
Since I have had an open invitation to stay at Olive’s virtually since we first met a couple of years ago, I suggested that if I could stay with Olive on the Monday evening, I could bring the boys down then, and drive on from her in the morning. This idea was gratefully received, so we collected the boys on Sunday evening, had them stay overnight in our back bedroom (which isn’t accessible to our own cats), and then I dropped them off with Olive on the Monday.
A fortnight later we had a further reduction in show travelling distance, with a trip to Preston for the Preston and Blackpool. Dàrna didn’t win anything that day, because the awards went to the lovely Freya (GR CH Inyanga Instant Karma), owned by our friend Sue Dykes (Kashi Tibetan Terriers and Kashican Cats).
Fiona, on the other hand, had another exceptional day, winning her 1st Open and Best of Breed, but then going on to take Best Foreign Kitten and then Overall Best Foreign. Joyce Green then shortlisted her down to the last three for Overall Best in Show, finally giving it to the most beautiful and enormous British Black, but in the meantime the stewards had to stand there holding little Fi in the middle, with the British Black on one side and a stunning Seal Point Siamese on the other!
We then had a three week gap before the marathon journey to Devon for the Asian Cat Association show. Once again, Dàrna didn’t come away with anything, but we had rather expected that due to the quality of the other cats and the fact that she was in full season and therefore out of condition.
Unfortunately, Fi was also coming into season for the first time, and decided to shout very loudly whenever she was taken out of her pen. We decided to withdraw her from judging in case her shouting upset the other cats. This was obviously incredibly disappointing in light of the distances travelled, but that’s part of the risk of showing – the cats don’t always do what we want them to! We finished the day with a mad dash back up the road, in order to be home in time to attend the West of Scotland AGM on the Sunday.
Another one-week gap, and we were down to help Shirley show Monty for the first time, at the joint show of the Bedford and District and Cambridgeshire Cat Clubs. This is one of the shows held at the Woodgreen Animal Shelter near Huntingdon, which has to be one of the best show venues, always a pleasure to attend. Monty took his Best of Breed and also another Reserve Grand, which was great, but even better was seeing Shirley and Kili experiencing showing for the first time. Kili was absolutely ecstatic with Monty’s wins, and stood by his pen telling anyone who would listen that he was her cat, with the sort of obvious pride that only a child can display.
The show also turned out to be the venue for one of the GCCF’s ‘consultation forums’ on the proposed changes to the show structure and judging scheme. This was a good opportunity to hear more about the executive committee’s plans for the structure of the show sections (Semi-Longhair, Foreign etc.) and also the alterations that will hopefully be made to the way in which judges are trained.
It was good to see a decent number of people getting involved, and lots of valid questions were asked and answered. These events are being held in various locations around the country, to give the exhibitors from each area a chance to comment – we attended another at the Durham show a week past on Saturday, and a third at the Merseyside on the weekend just gone. If you are involved in the GCCF at all, I recommend attending one – I know that the Scottish one is to be at the Edinburgh show in July, if that’s relevant to you.
The weekend after the Beds and Camcat we didn’t have much travelling to do, and no shows – just the Scottish AGM on the Sunday (1st May). The week after that, however, was the London Pet show, and the one after that the Nor’East and the Ocicat seminar, all of which I have talked about above. That brings us up to two weekends ago (the weekend of the GCCF Centenary Dinner), and the weekend before last (the Durham show), both of which I have talked about below!
GCCF Centenary Dinner
This fantastic event was held at the Belfry hotel near Birmingham on the evening of the 21st May, which was the night of the Suffolk and Norfolk (and Bombay and Asian Self) show at Wood Green. We took Elisabeth down, and had arranged to meet Valerie Sheldrake at Wood Green to collect some more old catalogues, but decided to visit Shirley, Kili and Monty on the way there.
Monty has been living with Shirley since the weekend of the AGCS show in January, because she wanted Kili to experience owning a pet. She and Kili have become really attached to him, and have asked to keep him, which we weren’t sure about until we saw him there. This was the first time we had visited Shirley since we dropped Monty off in January, and it was lovely to see him looking so settled. The bond between him and Kili is obvious – he watches her every move, and even when he went through to the kitchen for some food, he kept dashing back to the livingroom door to check on her!
It is only having seen him so relaxed there, that I realised just how unsuited he actually was to living with us, where he was always slightly twitchy and wide-eyed because he’s not keen on other cats or men, both of which he had to live with here! Shirley’s is actually his dream-home – no men or other cats, so he can be centre of attention, and a little girl who is evidently his world. He was perfectly happy to see us, but his heart is now very obviously with Shirley and Kili, so it doesn’t seem fair to bring him back. At least he’s happy, which is the most important thing!
Durham County Show
Last Saturday’s Durham show was a spectacular success, when I had worried that it would be a complete flop! We took Fiona and Dàrna, as usual, but also Xaria, to ensure that she ‘keeps her paws in’ at shows ready to try for her second UK Grand certificate at the Supreme in November. We gave a lift to Elisabeth, who was taking two neutered boys bred by her, but owned by Karen Hettman – they are Xaria’s great-uncle Stan, and great-nephew Zach.
I was worried that Fi would shout again, which she did, but not nearly as badly as last time, and by the end of the day she had almost stopped completely, so it looks like it has been a hormonal adolescent ‘thing’. She won her 1st Open, BOB and also two 2nds and a 3rd in her side classes.
We didn’t expect Dàrna to win anything, because she is still looking a bit thin and lacking condition due to calling (we’ll need to take her to stud soon), but she gave us a pleasant surprise by winning the Grand and also her Best of Breed, as well as a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her side classes.
Zach won his third and qualifying Premier certificate, making him the 15th titled cat Elisabeth has bred, and took two 1sts and a 3rd in his sides. Stan had an excellent day, winning the Imperial (his 2nd) and Grand Premier certificates, and 1st in all of his side classes – a ‘red card day’.
The star of the show for us, though, was Xaria, who won another Imperial certificate and Best of Breed, plus two 1sts in her side classes, then going on to take Best Foreign Neuter, and finally Overall Best Foreign. That’s the third time she’s been Best Foreign, and the 5th time she’s won the level below that. If that’s ‘keeping her paws in’ for the Supreme, she must be planning something big!
I can hardly believe we’re back round to that time of year again – it seems no time at all since I was posting that Katie and Dàrna were with their first boyfriends. Looking back, I wrote that blog entry on the 11th of April last year – how time flies!
This year we took Katie across to Sarah Davidson’s, which wasn’t nearly as much of a wrench as last year, since it’s only about 40 minutes away. When we had collected Olive’s boys from Sarah in March, we met Sarah’s other cats, including her lovely spotted tabby Asian boy, Kagura Shogun (the cat in the middle image on the bottom row of photos on her Asian Page). He is a chocolate spotted tabby burmese pattern, with beautiful big eyes and really good size and weight, and carries non-agouti, dilute and the longhair gene.
Since Katie is a black silver shaded carrying non-silver and non-agouti, but probably not burmese pattern, chocolate, or dilute, we should have the same possible colour outcomes as last year – black silver shaded, black silver ticked, black smoke, black (golden/standard) shaded, black ticked and black. This year, the difference is that we should get a mixture of both shorthairs (Asians) and longhairs (Tiffanies), which will be a first for us, since last year’s matings were both Tiffanie to Tiffanie and could therefore only produce Tiffanies. Katie could of course turn out to be carrying other genes and then the kitten colours would be a complete surprise!
She has been very purry and cuddly for the past couple of weeks, and is now expanding by the day, so she is definitely pregnant. Her kittens will be due around the end of the first week in July – how exciting!
It is now almost 9 months since Kia had her miscarriage, and she has been in season almost continuously for several months, so was really needing to visit a boy. She therefore went in with a rather special boy just over three weeks ago, and does look like she is pregnant. She is also eating slightly more, and hasn’t come back into season either, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. Since she miscarried last time, and the boy is rather special, I’m not going to say too much else about him until the kittens are safely here.
Dàrna has also been calling almost continuously, and is losing condition, so we can’t hold off mating her for too much longer. I am therefore planning to take her to stud later in the month, and we’ll just have to hope that none of the litters are too big, or we’re going to be overrun with kittens and struggling to find homes for them all! She will also be going to a very special boy, whom we met for the first time at the weekend just gone – he is absolutely gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see what they produce together.
Keep your fingers and toes crossed for some lovely babies, and some even lovelier homes for them!!
B-B sadly had to be put to sleep due to a sudden illness last month, but his siblings are still doing well. We had a good day out at the Scottish show, and are starting to make plans for this year’s litters.
Farewell to B-B
The latter part of January was pretty horrendous, with B-B being very ill. Initially the vets thought he had FIP, so couldn’t give him any treatment. Then we had tests done, which came back negative, so they thought it must have been some sort of bacterial vasculitis, and began treatment. Unfortunately, by the time we started this, the vasculitis had already damaged his kidneys, so we had to have him put to sleep after they failed suddenly.
We were obviously still nervous about FIP, so have had the lab in Edinburgh conduct a necropsy on him. At present, we are still waiting for the results of the histopathology tests, but the internal examination found none of the granulomatous legions that characterise FIP, making it unlikely that this is what killed him. We should get the rest of the results next week.
I am absolutely devastated, and can’t believe our beautiful B-B is gone. He was the first of Dàrna’s partial-breach kittens, so I had to literally pull him into this world, and I stroked his little head as he left it again. He was an early favourite of ours, both because he was so stunning, and because he was the first of the litter to really have a definite personality. We named him weeks before any of the others, because he suited his name so well – he always was a little imp, right to the end. He used to sit on top of us at night, and purred constantly.
RIP wee man. We miss you.
We entered the Scottish show a couple of months ago, and I was booked to steward for John Trotter. Added to that, Lona had entered Tabh (who is now well settled in his new home), and Fiona had entered Alek in the pedigree pet section. A few weeks ago, we thought that we wouldn’t be able to attend the show due to B-B’s illness, but with B-B gone, we realised that there was no point moping around the house missing him. I was hoped that John wouldn’t have lots of chocolate Burmese, though, because that would have been too much.
We had Fiona in the kitten class, Xaria going for her 5th (and final) Imperial, and Ali entered in the regional final of the Royal Canin Stakes. The judges were again impressed with Fiona, saying that she was very Burmese in type, and she won Best of Breed. She then topped her day off by receiving a nomination for Best in Show – since each judge was only allowed to nominate one cat from the section, that’s pretty good going!
Xaria did us proud by winning the Imperial, making her now officially Imperial Grand Premier!
Ali was third in the Royal Canin final,winning us £20, and also won the heat to qualify for next year’s final, giving us another £16, so he has once again more than paid for his own show entry. The moggies are good at that!
Tabh was his usual adorable self, taking the whole experience in his stride once again. As before, the judges said that he is an attractive boy, though not the best Tiffanie, type-wise, but has a fantastic temperament. The was Alek’s first show, and he was a bit nervous initially, and spent most of the day scowling grumpily. He did well, though, and looked absolutely gorgeous!
I had a good day stewarding for John, with some lovely cats to handle, including having Fiona and Tabh in one of the side classes. My favourite (apart from those two, of course!), was a lilac Burmese kitten, who had the lovely impish face and beautiful eye set – her ears are still a bit big at the moment, but hopefully she will grow into those as she gets older, in which case she’ll be a stunning adult. John was very pleasant, and at the end of the day, he signed my first official stewarding certificate – I have finally joined the stewarding scheme, after months of people saying I should!
Anita took Keela to a Felis Brittanica (FIFé) show at the end of January, and she won Best in Show! Not a bad show start for Dàrna’s first litter, to have two of the girls win Best in Show at their first outings. Wouldn’t it be lovely if that continued?!
Katie and Kia are both calling almost constantly now, so I’m hoping to take the two of them to stud early next month, which would give us kittens around the middle of May. Hopefully we will finally get a chance to just enjoy a litter grow up and leave us without problems! Since we’ve had an issue with B-B being ill, I’m waiting for a couple of test results back on the girls first, before we take them, just to make sure there are no lurking problems that we could pass on to the studs.