Unfortunately, I can’t get WordPress to accept any image uploads this evening, so I’m putting the blog up and will add the images as soon as it’s possible to get them uploaded.
Okay, so it’s taken me ages to get around to doing another update after my announcement of the arrival of Tia’s kittens, but at least you got the announcement of one of the births in a timely fashion! With looking after the three litters, including having to syringe-feed Tia’s smallest ones, there was just never a good moment to post.
Tia and Lhasa’s Combined Litter
Unfortunately, Tia’s second-smallest kitten died part-way through the Friday, but somehow he had seemed like he was never meant to be. Far more devastating was the loss of her smallest at 12 days: by the time you’ve been syringe-feeding a kitten for as long as that, you’re starting to think that it’s going to make it, but she died in my hands after her early-evening feed and I was absolutely devastated. Thanking heaven for small mercies, though, the biggest of Tia’s tinies did pull through and is now probably the most characterful kitten in the whole litter!
Once Tia’s kittens arrived, we had to cover her nest box or Lhasa would hop in and try to run off with the kittens to her nest box. When Lhasa went into labour, Tia climbed into the box with her, lay down behind her so that Lhasa was leaning against her, and gave her a quick lick as if to say “I’m here; just breathe”. As each kitten arrived, the two girls cleaned them up together and then Tia looked after the newborns while Lhasa concentrated on the next delivery. It was very cute to watch the two experienced mums working together – when we’ve had two girls sharing during a delivery in the past, it’s been one experienced girl and one first-timer, so it was interesting to see how these two divided the duties, rather than one coaching the other.
Once Lhasa was finished, and the kittens were all cleaned up, we changed the bedding to take away the delivery-soiled towels, and then moved Tia’s kittens into the nest alongside Lhasa’s, since it was obvious that the two would be happier in together. The two litters have therefore grown up as one giant litter, and I’m sure they don’t have a clue which of the two is actually their mum.
They are just approaching six weeks and are starting to show individual personalities, but at the moment these are not distinctive enough for us to start naming them. They are therefore still known as ‘Tia’s Kitten 1’, ‘Lhasa’s Kitten 6′, and so on:
Tia’s Kitten 2 – lilac tortie BCR silver spotted Burmilla or Tiffanie (not sure) female. At the moment, I’m leaning towards this one being ours.
Tia’s Kitten 3 – lilac FEX (Full Expression, i.e. not BCR) spotted Asian Tabby male (might be silver). At the moment, this boy is reserved for Sarah Davidson, who owned the kittens’ grandsire, Shogun, because she has been wanting to get another spotty stud since Shogun was neutered. She’ll come and look at him when he is a bit older, and decide whether she wants him or not.
Tia’s Kitten 4 – brown tortie BCR shaded Burmilla female.
Tia’s Kitten 7 – brown silver shaded (tipped) Burmilla male. This is the one who was hand-fed for the first week or so and he is such a character and loves his cuddles and kisses.
Lhasa’s Kitten 1 – chocolate tortie BCR classic tabby Tiffanie female (might be silver). This is probably my favourite of Lhasa’s kittens for type, but since we’re keeping a girl from Tia’s litter, I want to keep one of Lhasa’s boys instead. Typical!
Lhasa’s Kitten 2 – brown BCR silver shaded Tiffanie male.
Lhasa’s Kitten 5 – chocolate tortie BCR silver shaded Tiffanie female. At the moment, she is reserved for John and Theresa Beale, because they’re looking for a silver shaded Tiffanie female. Again, we’ll see how she develops before they decide for certain.
At the moment, the kitten we keep from Lhasa’s litter is between Kitten 4 and Kitten 7, but I won’t decide until we see how both type and personality develop over the next few weeks.
The fact that both Tia and Lhasa’s litters contained seven kittens takes Eiteag’s average to four kittens per litter, which is the expected average and therefore allays my fears about there being something amiss with his fertility due to both Small and Hailey being single-kitten-litters. That means that if the people in Eastern Europe who had previously expressed an interest in him are still looking for a Tiffanie stud, I would feel much more comfortable letting him go out there, knowing that he is fully fertile. My original thinking was to have him neutered once we had the litters from Tia and Lhasa, but having seen him working, he enjoys his job far too much to take that away from him. Donny doesn’t care either way – he would be just as happy to be a neutered pet as to be a stud cat, but Eiteag loves working as a stud!
Tilly’s kittens are getting close to being ready to leave us, so I really must start looking for new homes. They will have their second vaccinations later this week, go in to be neutered/spayed next week and then be ready to go to their new homes the week after.
Kitten 1 – chocolate FEX silver shaded Burmilla male. Pet name: Imp. Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Impich, which means ‘persuade’, because he’s very vocal about telling you when he wants food, play or a cuddle. It’s pronounced as it looks, with ‘ch’ as in the Scottish ‘loch’. He’s a right little monkey and gets up to all sorts of mischief with his partner in crime, Mischka (Kitten 3).
Kitten 2 – black FEX smoke Tiffanie female. Pet name: Isla. Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ìla, which is the Gaelic form of the island name Islay. It’s pronounced the same way as the island (the pronunciation ending in ‘a’ rather than ‘ay’).
Kitten 3 – chocolate BCR silver shaded Burmilla female. Pet name: Mischka (chosen by her new owners). Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ifrinnach, which means ‘fiend’ or ‘demon’, because she’s an absolute devil-child!
Kitten 4 – brown BCR smoke Tiffanie male. Pet name: Mini-Doop or Doopy-Two (due to his resemblance to his Dad), Sumo or Lump (due to his size) or Yoda (because my brother thinks he looks like Yoda). Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Iùmh-rud, which means ‘lump’. It’s pronounced Ee-oov-root.
Other Cat Stuff:
The Edinburgh & East show was on the 19th of July, and though we couldn’t enter because we decided to do the Humberside & Lincs the following weekend, we did help to set up on the Friday evening and then visited to assist the following day. I spent a lovely day stewarding for Steve Crow, whom I haven’t stewarded for in a couple of years.
The Humberside & Lincs show is in Newark, which is only about 40 minutes from Richard’s parents house, so is always a good excuse to pay them a visit. That weekend also suited the bulk of the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society) Committee for their summer Committee meeting, and if we were going to be going as far as Kettering for that meeting, we decided that we might as well fit in the double-show at the same time. We took Dàrna to try for her first PCs and also arranged for Helen Marriott-Power to take Small home with her from the show, to ‘meet’ one of her stud boys. Since Small was going to be at the show for that purpose anyway, we decided to enter her in the Grand on the off-chance that the judge would be in a lenient mood, but really she still looks too immature to win and indeed she wasn’t placed in either show. She did win Best of Breed in both shows, though, as did Dàrna, who also won the two PCs. During the show day, Richard and I caught up on some shopping in Grantham and had a lovely walk in the gardens of the National-Trust-owned Belton House.
At the Committee meeting the following day, Steve stepped down as Chairman, since he is now Chairman of the GCCF itself, and Sarndra Devereux (Rainsong Burmese and Asians) took over as Chair with Richard elected to the position of Vice-Chair. As always, the meeting was held in the beer garden of a pub in Kettering and was a fabulously relaxed afternoon.
On the way home, we called in at Anita’s, since she had been unable to attend the meeting due to midwife duties for Breagha. This did let us meet the three litters that Anita has at the moment, thought – two ‘oops’ Tiffanie x Ocicat kittens from Cailin (Anita’s Ocicat stud boy, Chippie, managed to get to her!); three gorgeous Ocicats (one tawny, two cinnamon) from Bobbi by a lovely Swedish import boy, of which Anita is keeping the girl; and another three from Breagha by Chippie – a chocolate silver Ocicat Classic, a cinnamon silver Ocicat and a cinnamon Ocicat. We joked that we and Anita have our litters the wrong way around at the moment – we have three litters from girls we didn’t breed, including one bred by Anita (though we did breed her mum), and she has three litters from girls that we bred!
We’ve also just had Tármus (our first Ocicat neuter girl) and Simba (one of the grown-up kittens form our first Ocicat litter) back to stay with us for their three-week summer holiday (their people were away to the US for a special birthday celebration). I always enjoy having these two back for their holidays, not least because it gives us a chance to see how they’re both doing, three years after leaving us.
Once again it is well over two months since my last post, and I must offer my apologies to all the people who have messaged me asking if everything is okay and begging for an update on whether we have kittens – sorry! We haven’t had any problems and in fact, everything is great – we’ve just had confirmation that every cat in the household is Tritrich negative (yay!) and we have plenty of exciting kitten news…
We’ve only done two competitive shows since my last post: the Scottish Shorthair back in April, and the Lakeland in the middle of last month. We also represented the Asians at the London Pet Show again, in May.
Our most exciting show news is actually from the Nor’East, which we attended to help, but couldn’t show at ourselves due to the LPS being the following weekend. Thankfully there were still some Cagaran’s present, with Lona showing Lainni and Tracey showing Quinn, however. The tortie devil did us proud, winning her third and final Grand certificate, making her up to Grand Premier – the fourth Cagaran to win the Grand title, and the first Cagaran to hold three titles (Premier, Grand and Mastercat). Congratulations to both Tracey and Quinn and thanks, Tracey, for giving her such a fabulous home!
At both the Scottish Shorthair and the Lakeland, we only took Cheeky to try for her PCs, which she won, making her up to Premier. This seems somehow fitting, given that the Lakeland is the show at which our original Ocicat neuter, Tármus, made Premier back in 2009! Tármus got us interested in breeding Ocis and Cheeky is the last of our dabble in the breed, so I guess that makes the Lakeland the bookends of our Ocicat experience. The Lakeland this year was also on the most gorgeous day, so Richard and I went for a long walk, taking in Kendal Castle and one of the local ridges with stunning 360º views – down to Morecambe bay, up into the mountains of the Lakes and across to the western Dales.
The London Pet Show was fabulous as usual and we had a fantastic day. We took four representatives for the Asian breed: Ayla and Small representing Tiffanies (and showing a silver and a non-silver) and Zuko and Hailey representing Asian Shorthairs. As previous readers of our blog will know, Hailey hadn’t yet made it to a show, so I was half prepared to just have her sitting in her pen to allow people to see a classic Asian (they’re pretty rare), but she turned out to be our superstar for the day – she and Ayla spent the whole day sitting out on their bed, cleaning each other and talking to their adoring public. I was so proud! Zuko also spent most of the day on the table, cuddled up in his bed and allowing the spectators to give him whatever attention they wanted but without really paying them much attention. Small didn’t like the noise from the tannoy system that was blasting out on the next exhibit, so she was more relaxed in her pen, where she sprawled around looking adorable and talking to the people who looked in through the front of her cage.
The night of the LPS was also the annual GCCF Gala Dinner, so we went straight from London to Cambridge. We shared a table with Anita and Elisabeth, among others, and had a fabulous night. This year they had a karaoke machine which those of you who knew me in my teens will not be surprised to hear that I was persuaded to sing on. After supporting ‘the Birman crew’ who couldn’t remember how the verses of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ went, I also sang a couple of duets with Sally Rainbow-Ockwell – what a team we made! I think we finally went to bed about 4am, tired but having had a fantastic time, and I’m already looking forward to next year…
Okay, the reason that most of you are probably reading this – the kittens…
Tilly delivered six kittens on the 22nd of May, but unfortunately she had four big kittens and two tiny ones. The tinies were just too small: one never breathed at all and the other slipped away after about half-an-hour of mouth-to-mouth and attempts to stimulate him the way I did with Hailey last year. I continued my efforts for probably ten or fifteen minutes after that but eventually had to accept that I wasn’t going to be successful this time. As is usually the case with mother cats, Tilly showed absolutely no interest in the two kittens that died, not even attempting to open their sacks or clean them up, so she obviously knew what I wouldn’t admit until there could be no doubt. As sad as the loss of those two little ones made me, I am delighted to report that the other four are lively and adorable and doing really well. They will be six weeks this week and are starting to show their individual personalities.
Kitten 1 is a chocolate silver shaded male, and I think he’s a shorthair. He’s quite gentle but very outgoing and loves his cuddles, especially if you lie him on his back and rub his shoulders and the sides of his neck. Actually, this whole litter seem to find that completely mesmeric and will flop like little ragdolls when I do that.
Kitten 2 is a black smoke female, and looks to be a Tiffanie. At the moment, she is the shyest but also the most talkative in the litter and likes to follow us around the room. She always answers back when she’s spoken to, and reminds me a lot of her mum.
Kitten 3 is a chocolate silver shaded Burmese restriction female. Her coat is fairly short, so she might be a shorthair, but the texture and appearance reminds me of Cailin’s (Tilly’s mum) at the same age, and she turned out to be a Tiffanie, so I’m reserving judgement at the moment. She is an absolute minx, but has been Richard’s favourite since the start and there’s something very endearing about her. She and the fourth kitten are the adventurers and are always the first two to try everything: when we moved the kittens down to the back bedroom yesterday, I asked Richard how long he reckoned it would be before one of those two found their way up into the box on the scratching post and sure enough, maybe five minutes later, there she was!
Kitten 4 is a brown smoke (Burmese restriction) male, like his father, but he’s a Tiffanie, whereas Donny is a shorthair. He’s always been the biggest kitten in the litter, earning him the nickname ‘Lump’ from an early age, but as he’s grown up, he’s become so like his Dad in temperament as well as looks that he’s now known as ‘mini-Doop’ (Doop being one of Donny’s nicknames). As if two nicknames aren’t enough, my brother calls him Yoda, due to his wise, slightly mournful expression. As you might gather from the number of nicknames, he’s a bit of a character, but in a very laid-back manner. Whereas Kitten 3 tackles her adventures with an endearing cheekiness, he just takes everything in his stride and since nothing phases him, he’s frequently the first to try new things. He started eating biscuits at less than three weeks old and was the first to figure out how to jump out of the kitten pen.
At the moment, you’ll gather that Kittens 3 and 4 have more personality than the other two, who are just very sweet and gentle at the moment. I would expect that by the time I next do an update, I’ll have a lot more to say about them because they’re personalities will have developed more fully by then.
Both Tia and Lhasa are heavily pregnant and due any time from today. I honestly will try and at least do a quick update after the births, to let you know the kittens have arrived safely! Aside from our own kittens, Anita’s also had litters from both Cailin (CH Cagaran Cailin-Anizz) and Bobbi (Cagaran Ceann-Ciatach) recently. Cailin had an ‘oops’ mating with Anita’s Ocicat stud, so the kittens are technically first-generation Asians – one silver spotted girl and a silver shaded boy. Bobbi was mated to a Swedish import boy that Anita’s been wanting to have a litter from and she had three kittens: a tawny boy, a chocolate boy and a chocolate girl. The chocolate girl will be staying with Anita to both continue the outcross line (You may remember that Bobbi was second-generation from our Ocicat-Abyssinian outcross) and keep the new Swedish line in Anita’s breeding programme.
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!
So we’re into 2013 already – Happy New Year! It seems hardly any time since we were out to celebrate my Grandpa’s 80th last Hogmanay, and yet at the same time, so much has happened in the past year.
We did our usual Cagaran Christmas card, with a photo of some of our recent kittens. Like last year, we had the same photo on three different designs of card, because we couldn’t decide which design we preferred.
I’ve had lots of people ask me if the photo is real, and if so, how we got it. The answer is lots and lots of photos – 761 to be precise! I wanted the photo to contain both Ocis and Tiffs, and I was hoping to get all three patterns of Ocis. We built our ‘set’ in the hallway, by lining the window alcove with black fleece, and hanging a piece of mesh from the hook in the ceiling that we use to hang a lantern at Christmas time. I then dangled strands of beads, and tied silver bobbles onto the mesh. We poured a load of other bobbles into the bottom of the alcove (a box laid across the front, and covered in the fleece kept them in, creating a miniature ball pool), and then ran some white fairy lights through them. We also brought out a flood light and several desk lamps, in an attempt to create a bright enough space that the camera could work fast enough to catch a load of rapidly-moving kittens.
I brought out Etak, Ayla, Bru, Cheeky and Carrie, and put them all into the alcove. I waved a cat toy around to try and get the kittens’ attention (frequently unsuccessful, I may add), whilst Richard started snapping. We kept going for forty minutes, until we thought we must surely have something that would work. I thought you might like to share some of the ‘failed’ attempts: there are photos which contain all of the kittens, but only one is facing the right way…
Or they are facing the right way, but pulling stupid faces…
Or where four are sitting beautifully but one or two refuse to look towards the camera…
Or is obscured behind the decorations…
Or one has gone under another…
Ones where one is moving around so much that they are just a blur…
Ones where some are coming, and others going…
Ones where they have all abandoned the alcove, and all we have is a departing tail…
In the case of Cheeky and Ayla, we also have plenty where they are trying to destroy the ‘set’…
Some are even perfectly nice photos, just not what we were looking for…
Mostly, we have lots and lots of photos that look like something from a spot-the-difference game, with just tiny movements between each one, in the hope of getting one that works! These are the photos chosen for the card:
This coming weekend is an exciting one for us, because we’re going down to the Shorthair and Joint Foreign show, and dropping the two Variant girls off at their new home in Cardiff. I am always excited to see our kittens going to their new homes, and it’s particularly lovely when two can go together.
The show is exciting for two reasons – one, you may remember that Richard and I are both on the committee of RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland), and that club is having its first ever show as part of the Joint Foreign show. The second reason is that the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society), of which we are also committee members, is another of the Joint shows, and we have won the Best Kitten award there the past two years. It would be lovely to win it for a third year, but one of the best things about the AGCS show is seeing such a fabulous selection of Asians turn out, so even if we don’t win, the AGCS is bound to be an enjoyable show. I can’t wait!
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!
It has been three months since I last posted, due to a mixture of illness (mine and Richard’s), and having too much to do, as usual. Since it’s been such a long time, I figured I might as well start afresh, with a re-introduction to us, and our cats.
For those who have followed this blog in the past, a quick update first. The Cumberland show, last month, was pretty special for the Cagaran cats, because we had our first TWO Grands on the same day! Lona Johnson’s Lainni made up to Grand Premier, and our Donny made Grand Champion. We were absolutely delighted, as you might imagine!
On a more sombre note, you will remember that we had to have our beautiful Katie put to sleep back in June, and also lost two kittens to chest infections which we believed were the result of them breathing in milk. A couple of months ago, we finally got all of the necropsy results back, and found out that the problem was actually a bacterial infection from the same family as e-coli.
Those of you who have visited us here, will know how careful we are about hygiene in the kitten room, but because the mothers were carrying the infection, our precautions were useless in this case. Thankfully, however, the lab was able to identify an antibiotic that kills that particular strain of infection, and we have now treated every cat in the house, to ensure that we don’t have a repeat of this year’s problems.
Now, back to the introductions…
Cagaran is a jointly-owned prefix, but I (Heather) do the blogging. The other half of the Cagaran ‘partnership’ is my partner/boyfriend, Richard. We’ve been together since 2001, were adopted by our first cat in 2002, and bought our first pedigree in 2005. We showed for the first time in 2008, and had our first litters in 2010. We have owned a number of different breeds, but our passion is Tiffanies, which are the semi-longhaired member of the Asian Group. We also work with Asian Shorthairs, who have the same fabulous temperament as the Tiffanies, but without the flowing coat, and have had a couple of litters of Ocicats.
At present we have fifteen cats for whom this is their permanent home.
Jinny is the oldest, and is also the cat whom we’ve had the longest, having adopted her from a rescue in January 2005. She is a longhaired moggy, and will be a teenager next year. She is the matriarch, and the other cats tend to do her bidding.
Next oldest are our two neuter boys: Call and Ali, who will both be eight next year. Call is a Maine Coon, and was our first pedigree cat. Ali is a shorthaired moggy, and came from the same rescue shelter as Jinny, where he was taken at just a couple of days old, with his feral mum.
Annas was our first Tiffanie, and the cat who made us fall in love with the breed. We didn’t buy her as a show cat, but it turned out that she made a rather good one, and was the first Tiffanie to become an Imperial Grand, and also the first (and still only) Tiffanie to win the UK title. She will be five at the start of next month.
Next is Dàrna, who was one of our foundation Tiffanie queens, and will be four in February. She is a Grand Champion, but her biggest asset is her purry, cuddly temperament. She had her first litter in 2010, from which Fiona is a Champion and Tabh is a Premier with two Grand certificates. Dàrna’s second litter was born in 2011, and in that we had Donny, who is a Grand, and Quinn, who made Premier at the Supreme, last weekend!
After Dàrna are Tia and Lhasa, who we are very lucky to have been entrusted with in the past few months, after their owners decided to give up breeding. Both girls are two, and have the most spectacular temperaments imaginable. Their breeders and previous owners must have given them a lot of love and care to have them become such adorable girls, and we are privileged to have the chance to continue that. Tia is a Burmilla, and Lhasa is another Tiffanie. Both girls are so ridiculously cuddly that it is almost impossible to get a photo of them, because virtually every photo has them either upside down, wriggling around wanting their bellies rubbed, or with their heads so close to the camera that it hasn’t a hope of focusing. The photo of Tia below is actually surprisingly decent, but we the one of Lhasa is just the best of a bad bunch – at least she has her eyes open, and isn’t upside down in this one!
Actually, between Tia and Lhasa comes Fiona, or just Fi, who was from Dàrna’s first litter. She was Best Kitten at her first show, the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society), and Best Foreign at her third, but unfortunately decided that she didn’t like being shown when she was a bit older, so we withdrew her from the bench when she made Champion. She had her first litter this summer, which were particularly special because they were our first out of a Cagaran parent. It helps that they are all beautiful! We still have two available, due to a change in the personal circumstances of a would-be owner, but more on them later.
Apollo is our beautiful stud boy, who came to us from Steve Crow and Tommy Goss. He is another Burmilla, and will be two next month. He has to live in an outside run, because he sprays, but is so soppy that he stands on his head in an attempt to squirm closer to us when we go out to spend time with him. He is also a Champion, and has one (surprise) Grand certificate, but is very immature-looking, so we will need to give him time to develop before showing him further.
Grace is next after Apollo. She is an Ocicat Variant, from an outcross mating between an Ocicat Classic and an Abyssinian. These matings are done to reduce the inbreeding levels within the breed, producing healthier kittens, and we were very fortunate to be allowed access to the beautiful Stanley to do the outcross. Grace had her first litter earlier this year, giving us two Variants like herself, one Ocicat and two Ocicat Classics. We still have the two Variants and the Ocicat available, but again, more on them later.
Donny comes next, at 15 months old. He was from Dàrna’s second litter, to a gorgeous old Burmese boy, who has since unfortunately passed away. As a result, Donny’s pedigree is very special, and we have therefore kept him to continue his Dad’s line. Like his half-sister (Fi), the year before him, Donny was Best Kitten at the AGCS, and has been Best Foreign Adult twice. He is an Asian Smoke, and we are incredibly lucky that he still doesn’t spray at present. How long that will continue for, we have no idea, but we’re enjoying having him living in our kitchen in the meantime. He has the most amazing temperament, and everyone who comes into our kitchen somehow winds up with him in their arms, though they usually have no idea how he got there!
After Donny is Sonia, who is a gorgeous Somali from George Gow. She was born in January of this year, and we bought her as an outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Tiffanies. Cinnamon is an allowed colour in Tiffs, but there are virtually none of them around, so Sonia is hopefully going to help us to both strengthen the gene pool for this colour, whilst also giving us an injection of new blood to benefit the breed more generally. She has two CCs (Challenge certificates), so only needs one more to become a Champion.
The babies of the bunch are Eiteag, Ayla and Cheeky, who are all from this year’s litters. Eiteag wasn’t originally going to be staying with us, but as he got older, he kept improving in type, and we decided to keep him to do a single mating for the Cinnamon programme. He can then be neutered and live as a companion to Donny, whom he shares the kitchen with, and the two cuddle around each other in the most adorable way.
Ayla is Eiteag’s sister, and is the kitten from that litter, who was always intended to be staying. She is an absolute poppet, and she chose us, rather than the other way around, cuddling up to me from a very early age. She loves shows, and is totally bomb-proof, as she proved at the Supreme last weekend, when she was being passed around from person to person, purring continuously and kissing people’s noses!
Cheeky is Grace’s daughter, and one of our first Ocicat Classics. Since Ocis are just a sideline for us, we let the best in the litter go to our friends Anita and Rob, because they breed Ocis more ‘seriously’ than we do. Cheeky was my favourite for temperament, though she is an absolute rascal, as the name suggests. We are planning to have a bit of fun showing her, to help the breed towards Championship recognition (they are Intermediates at present), but we will need to wait and see how she develops before we decide whether to have some Oci kittens from her.
Looking for New Homes:
We have five kittens and one adult looking for new homes at present, so if you know of someone who might be interested, do let us know!
Breckin was bought to be our foundation Ocicat queen, but we didn’t feel that her temperament was suitable for breeding, so had her spayed. Unfortunately, she still isn’t happy as part of a big group of cats, and feel that she would be better with just one or two other cats. After discussions with her breeder, Rita, we are therefore looking for a new home for her. She is very shy, and would need a patient owner who can take the time to settle her, but she is very loving when she relaxes.
Previous readers of this blog will remember Ying, who came to visit Fi’s kittens when they were just a few weeks old. She has since had the exciting news that she has been offered a six month placement in Australia. She didn’t want to uproot a kitten such a long distance for just six months, so both Derk and Ellie are still looking for their forever homes. They both love cuddles, and we often wake up to find them snuggled down into the bed. If we watch TV in the livingroom, we usually end up with one each, cuddled up on our laps, purring away. Both have developed beautifully, and would make lovely show neuters, or super, cuddly family pets. We were visited by a lovely family over the weekend, and Annas absolutely adored the wee boy, so I am hopeful that we might have found the right home for at least one of them.
The Oci kittens are now ready to go to find their families, and indeed Breagha has already gone off to live with Anita and Rob. They had her along to the Supreme last weekend, where she won her first and Best of Breed, and looked wonderfully relaxed, in spite of all the hustle of such a large show. Since we are keeping Cheeky, that leaves Bru, Carrie and Becca.
Bru has grown into a lovely young lad, with beautiful clear spots, and a sweet face. He likes his cuddles, and likes to curl up on top of us when we go to bed. Carrie is the boldest of the three, and is always the first to come and say hello. She is very talkative, but prefers to be stroked whilst sitting on the bed or a chair, rather than being picked up and cuddled. Becca used to be quite shy, but has really come into her own in the past couple of weeks. She now jumps up on the bed end and trills at us to ask to be picked up for a stroke.
Well… I will no doubt see some of you at the West of Scotland show, where I will be having my first shot as a judge, in the Household Pet section. When this was first suggested, I was just excited to participate in shows in a new way, but as the date approaches, I must confess to a bit of an attack of nerves. I’m sure that I’ll be fine once I’m actually there and judging, but at the moment it’s a daunting prospect. I’m also doing my first bit of show management preparation, for next year’s Scotia show, with judge invitations being my first role.
I think that’s it for tonight, but I will try and post more regularly, even if it’s just a quick photo update. All the best,
It is over two months since I last posted an update, and there has been lots of news in that time, both good and bad.
I am delighted to introduce Sonia, Gowlaren Sonia Cagaran, our first Somali! She is a usual, but carries sorrel (cinnamon), making her a potential outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Asians. She was bred by George Gow (a senior GCCF judge), who was going to keep her to show. However, we happened to be visiting, and when I fell in love with her, he asked if I was interested in her. The only proviso is that we have to show her – hardly an issue!
She is a beautiful girl, with a great temperament and a lovely pedigree incorporating some fabulous old lines. She is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had, and has to be stroked before she can eat her food. She is rather prone to virtually tripping us up, though, because she’s so determined to glue herself to our ankles!
She is currently living with Fi and her kittens, and since Sonia is still a kitten herself (although she’s the same size as Fi now!), she is loving playing with Fi’s kittens. The two boys, in particular, are quite often found racing her around the room.
The Lakeland Show has always been a good one for us, with Call winning one of his PCs and Xaria and Tármus making up to Premier there in 2009, Xaria finally winning her first Imperial there, along with Breckin and Ali both winning Grands in 2010 and then Dàrna making up to Grand there last year. This year it lived up to past performance, with Sonia, out for the first time, winning first and Best of Breed in her kitten class, Donny winning his second CC and Best of Breed, and Annas taking the Reserve Olympian in a very strong class (even beating the newly Gold Olympian Mylward Sassafras), as well as taking the Best of Breed.
Donny was an absolute poppet all day, even taking part in the second demonstration presentation for the YES! scheme (young exhibitors). This is a new initiative, getting the YES! Mentors, of which you may remember I am one, to demonstrate how to present a cat to young people on the scheme and those thinking of starting. Donny was the ideal cat to use for this, because he just stood beautifully on the table, and was interested in everything that was going on. He even stood up on his hind legs, with his paws on my chest, to give my nose a kiss, bless him!
To top off a good day, Donny went on to take Best Foreign Adult, our first time winning that accolade, let alone with a cat of our breeding. Unfortunately, we forgot to take any photos on the day, so we had to take some of him with his rosettes, when we got home.
When I last posted, Katie had given birth to two still-born kittens, and was now helping Fi to look after her kittens. Unfortunately, after a few days doing that, Katie lost interest in Fi’s kittens, and became depressed. We moved her down the stairs to live with Donny, and for a few days she seemed to be happier, without the constant reminder of kittens around. After that, however, she again became depressed, and for the next three weeks we had her in and out to the vet, running tests and trying to find out what was causing her depression.
For about a week, we were having to force-feed her, but she was getting so distressed by this, that we had to stop doing it. We even discussed the possibility of having her on a drip at the vets, but they felt that there was no point doing that unless we could find a reason for the depression, because she couldn’t spend the rest of her life on a drip!
She spent most of her time lying in her basket looking miserable, and it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch, as she got thinner and thinner. After a couple of weeks, she had lost so much muscle that she could hardly walk, yet we still had no medical explanation. I came down one morning, and found her lying limp, barely moving, and with obvious swelling around her kidneys. I took her straight to the vet, who ran some more tests, and reported that most of her organs were failing, and that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to sleep.
I asked them to wait until I could get back along, to be there at the end. She was brought through in the arms of one of the vet nurses, with her drip attached, and laid on a blanket on the vet’s table. The vet was able to inject the anaesthetic into the drip, rather than having to inject her directly, so we were able just to stroke her the whole time. I am sure that most animals know when the end has come, and Katie was no different. I hadn’t heard her purr since she had the still-births, yet as the vet pushed the plunger, she started purring.
The vets took some more tests, but we haven’t found anything to explain what happened. The only thing we can think of is that Katie was always so precise, and liked everything to be perfect, and that she couldn’t cope with the idea of the still-births. A friend of mine has had two still-born babies, and she said this: “It’s entirely possible that Fi’s kittens were a nice replacement at first… but then she realized they were just a replacement and hers were gone. Then, if she’s anything like me, Fi’s kittens probably pissed her off and put her further into depression. It’s hard coming out on the other side and finding something to live for. It’s hard finding something to be happy about again. It’s hard to have any desire for ANYTHING anymore. You have no idea how hard I prayed and begged to be put to sleep, have a heart attack, a wreck, anything. I even tried to take matters into my own hands more than once. I know you loved her, and you did her the biggest favor you could have ever done for her.”
When we were taking the photos of Donny with his rosettes after the Lakeland, we started off with a white background, and later switched to a black one. At that point, Katie came over to see what we were doing, and we took a few photos of her as well. I wasn’t for a moment expecting those to be the last ones we would ever take of her. It is some of those last photos that you see here.
RIP little Katie. Sweet dreams.
Xaria and Quinn’s New Home
You may remember that we had a potential owner here to meet the kittens just before my last post. That was Tracey, who was actually looking for two kittens, but having met (and fallen in love with) Quinn, she decided that she would take Quinn and one kitten. Obviously, the kittens weren’t ready to leave yet, so she came back to visit again a few days later.
Twenty years ago, Tracey had Russian Blues, and even had a litter of kittens from her girl, before a change of circumstances stopped her breeding plans. When she visited us again a few days after her first visit, she asked to meet the other cats. When she met Xaria, she literally started crying, because she missed her Russians so much. When Xaria sat nicely in her arms, you could have knocked me over with a feather – Xaria had never sat like that for anyone. Suddenly, I found myself asking if she wanted Xaria instead of a kitten, and she said yes.
As it happens, Xazzle has never got on very well with our other cats, so we’ve always had a problem deciding who to keep her with. As a result, she has been moved around our house, trying every possible permutation, and the only cats that she would live nicely with were Apollo and Quinn. I didn’t want to leave her out with Apollo, because it seems a shame for her to have to live in the garden, so she had been living with Quinn.
I took both girls down to Tracey’s a few days later, and they now seem to have settled in beautifully. I couldn’t be more delighted, because we’ve found somewhere that Xazzle can be happy, and a home for Quinn, in one go, and they are only ten minutes away! I’ve been down to see them several times, since, though Xaria is highly suspicious of me, in case I take her away again. That’s exactly the same as she was with Elisabeth after coming to us initially – it took at least half-a-dozen visits before she trusted Elisabeth not to take her away again.
Dàrna and Grace’s Kittens
Both Dàrna and Grace had their kittens right on schedule – Dàrna on the 11th of July and Grace two days later, on the 13th. I refer to the two litters together, because they have been together from the start – Dàrna acted as ‘midwife’ for Gracie’s labour, helping to deliver the kittens, cleaning them and Gracie, and showing Gracie what to do. When Gracie seemed unsure about what to do with the placenta, Dàrna licked at one, and then pushed it under Gracie’s nose, as if to say “here, you’re supposed to eat it”.
Dàrna had just two kittens again, and they benefited hugely from the arrival of Gracie’s five kittens two days later. Before Gracie’s kittens were here, Dàrna’s two hadn’t been feeding particularly well, and as a result were not gaining as much as we would have liked. After Gracie’s kittens arrived, Dàrna’s two began competing with them, and started making much better gains.
In Dàrna’s litter, the kittens were guaranteed to be Asians, rather than Tiffanies, because Apollo unfortunately does not carry longhair (we DNA-tested him). The first out was a boy, who looked to be a brown silver shaded, followed by a girl, who was probably a brown tortie shaded (not silver). Unfortunately, both kittens aspirated (breathed) some milk, and in spite of being given antibiotics, died due to the resultant pneumonia. This is apparently a relatively common problem, which almost inevitably results in death, and neither Grace nor Dàrna seemed particularly concerned by the losses, just carrying on with the remaining five kittens, as if there had never been another two.
I found it a lot harder than they seemed to, particularly since I’d spent the week leading up to their deaths, desperately trying to help them clear the fluid from their lungs. Since it happened, I’ve had at least four or five breeder friends tell me that they’ve lost kittens the same way, but we were really unlucky to have two in one litter. Mind you, when it comes to losing kittens, when are we not really unlucky?! The kittens are buried with Katie and her two kittens, so they will hopefully be playing together as a little family somewhere.
Gracie started her labour by giving us a cinnamon classic girl, then two cinnamon variant girls, another cinnamon classic girl, and finally a tawny spotted boy. The two classics and the spotty are our first Ocicats, our previous Ocicat litter being all Variants. Two cinnamon Classics is a fabulous result, because cinnamon is my favourite colour of Ocicat, and I prefer the Classics to the standard Ocis. Even better that the cinnamons are both girls!
My hope had been to get a cinnamon girl for myself, plus another girl for Anita (Bryce – Anizz Ocicats & Tiffanies), and possibly a girl to offer to Stacie (Shorten – Ameeka Ocicats & Abyssinians, who bred Grace’s dam). Assuming that the two Classic girls develop as well as it currently looks like they will, Anita and I have our girls. If the boy develops well, I may be able to offer him to Stacie, and otherwise she could have the better of the variants, if she wishes.
Humberside & Lincs Show
I was really looking forward to the Humberside & Lincs show this year, for two reasons, the main one being that I was finally getting to steward for Lynda Ashmore, an engagement I had had to book almost two years in advance! The second reason was that Donny had two chances to get his third, and final, Challenge Certificate, which would make him the first male Cagaran to win a title.
Elisabeth had been going to come down with us, but her Ziva had to have a C-section on the Thursday before. Since we would be needing to stay away overnight due to the show having moved further south (to Newark, fairly close to Richard’s parents), it wasn’t possible for her to come. Instead, we did a swap, where she looked after our kittens, and we took her cats down to the show.
We had also borrowed Quinn back from Tracey for the show, having entered her before Tracey had approached us. I had, however, warned Tracey that I thought Quinn might have one of the certificates withheld by Grace Denny, due to her coat being too long. As it happens, the outcome was correct, but not from the judge that I would have expected – Grace Denny awarded the PC in the Humberside show, but Sarndra Devereux withheld in the Lincs. Quinn therefore needs one more certificate to become a Premier, but given that Tracey had the girls in the Rexfest as Ped-Pets at the start of this month, and absolutely loved it, I don’t think that will be an issue! Incidentally, both girls got their Mastercat and Best of Colour awards at the Rexfest – Xaria now only needs one more to become a Mastercat, having won the certificate there last year.
Annas didn’t place in either show at the Humber-Lincs, but I wasn’t expecting her to, given the competition. Donny and I, on the other hand, both had excellent days. Stewarding for Lynda was well worth the wait, and Donny won the CC and Best of Breed in both shows, so I was well pleased, and glad we made the effort to go the extra distance.
As we were packing up, at the end of the day, one of the judges informed me that he had chosen Donny for Best Foreign Adult. I had no idea that he had gone up for Best of Variety, because only the Overall Best Foreign results were announced. That’s his second BOV Adult in a row, and I couldn’t be more delighted with him. He beat some fantastic cats for the award, so I can only assume that he’s such a big, soppy lump that the judges are forgiving him his worse bits!
Edinburgh and Chester Shows
The Edinburgh show was just the week after the Humberside & Lincs, and since we can only show every second week, we couldn’t actually show at both. I was booked to steward for John Hansson, however, so knew I would definitely be attending. As it happens, there were two Cagarans there, because Lona brought both Lainni and Tabh. Lainni didn’t win her Grand, but Tabh was given his third, and final, PC, making him up to Premier. He is the fourth titled Cagaran, the others being Fi, Lainni and Donny.
Having made Champion at the Humberside & Lincs, Donny was then eligible for the Grand class at the Chester show, four weeks later. We had been planning to go to the Chester just to enjoy a day out in Chester, so we figured we might as well enter him in the Grand as a punt. The judge was Di Harper, who isn’t keen on Donny, so we didn’t expect him to do anything, and sure enough, he wasn’t placed in the Grand. He did, however, do very well in his side classes, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd against strong competition and in classes of at least six.
Update on Fi’s Kittens
Fi’s kittens are now 15 weeks, have had their vaccinations and can go to their new homes. They have developed beautifully, and it is still a very close call between ‘Kitten 1’ and ‘Kitten 3’ as to who is the most typey. The other two have also come on a lot, however, and although not showing as much show potential as their siblings, are still rather nice. ‘Kitten 4’ reminds me of his gran (Dàrna) at the same age, and since she’s a Grand with two Imperial certificates, that can’t be so bad! Likewise, ‘Kitten 2’ reminds me a lot of Cailin (another Shogun baby), who has two CCs and two Best in Show awards as a kitten, so I don’t think we can really complain about her, either!
We decided fairly early-on that Kitten 1 was going to be Eala-something, Eala being Gaelic for ‘Swan’. We have since settled on Eala-Bianach, which literally translates as ‘Furry Swan’, but it was picked because it has a nice sound, rather that due to the translation. Her pet name is Ayla, which is how Eala is pronounced. Her spots have pretty well completely disappeared, so we’ve registered her as a chocolate tortie silver shaded BCR, like Dàrna, though Ayla currently has a softer tone to her chocolate. She is a very pretty girl, and we are keeping her to continue our breeding line.
Kitten 2 is Ealasáid, which is pronounced Elaset, and is gaelic for Elisabeth. We decided on that name when she was about six weeks old, and the fiestiest kitten in the litter – she was named after Elisabeth (Stark), who is also fiesty!! Her pet name is Elly, and she is definitely a chocolate tortie silver spotted (full expression), though a darker chocolate than her sister. She is going to be living in St Andrews, with a lovely lady called Ying.
Kitten 3’s pedigree name is Éiteag-Bàrr (pronounced Ehtak-Bawr), which is gaelic for ‘Cream Quartzite’, and his pet name is Etak. He’s called that because his colouring reminds me of the stone, with a pale base overlaid with cream. He still has spots, but they are very faint, because his whole colouration is very pale and delicate. He’s a gorgeous boy, and will make a cracking show neuter. He’s also a real softy – undoubtedly the gentlest in the litter, and will climb up onto the bed wanting cuddles. I wish we were needing another boy, because I would have had no hesitation keeping him as a stud.
The final kitten is known as Derk, that being the pronunciation of the second part of his pedigree name, Èibhill-Dearg, which means ‘Red Ember’. I think he is either a burmese-restriction red smoke or a red silver spotted, though he could be apricot, and isn’t necessarily a silver or burmese-restriction!! We have registered him as a red silver spotted BCR, because the older he gets, the more he looks like that.
Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while, will know that we don’t generally have people in to see the kittens until they’ve had their first vaccinations. On this occasion, we made an exception for Ying, because she was going abroad to visit family for the whole of this month, and part of next month. That obviously meant that she needed to meet the kittens before she went, if she was to have a choice of which one to take. She came to visit twice last month, and decided to book Elly, whose fiesty temperament she fell in love with when Elly started swinging from her cardigan!
After the kittens had their first vaccinations, Elly and the two boys unfortunately came down with some sort of eye infection, and we therefore didn’t invite anyone else in to meet the kittens, until that could be cleared up. Thankfully, they have been fine for over three weeks now, with no further sign of any issue. The photos above were taken on the 19th of this month, so you can see that they are all completely better. Having not had anyone in to meet them, though, we are obviously needing to look for homes for the two boys now, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, do let me know!
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!
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…
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!