Summer 2015 Update

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

Kitten Update:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kitten News

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

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

Other News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Kittens

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

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

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

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

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

Another Catch-Up and…. Kittens!!

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

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

Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kittens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Kitten Update

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

Fi’s Kittens

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

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

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

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

Kitten 1's beautiful profile
Beautiful profile

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

Kitten 3 stunning profile
Kitten 3's gorgeous profile

Cute little face
Cute, surprised little face

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

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

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

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

Kitten 4 yawning
Kitten 4 yawning

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

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

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

Kitten 3 eating his first biscuits whilst his siblings play

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

Katie’s Kittens

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

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

Katie cuddled up with Fi's kittens

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

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

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

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

Dàrna and Grace

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

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

Durham Show

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

Donny with his prizes
Donny with his awards

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

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

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

Other Bits

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

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

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

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

Fi’s Kittens and the London Pet Show

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

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

Kittens

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

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

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

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

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

Fi looking after her kittens
Fi looking after her kittens

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

Fi with her four kittens suckling

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

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

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

The third kitten arriving full breech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

London Pet Show

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

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

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

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

Donny relaxing in his basket
Donny relaxing in his basket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Nebelungs in their basket
The Nebelungs in their basket

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

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

Other News

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

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

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

Quinn

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

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

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

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

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

Another Catch-Up Post – Kittens Soon!

Lots of catching up, with four shows out of the way, the possibiltiy of four litters soon, and plenty of cat-related club business and socialising. Fi is due her kittens next week, so we’re hoping for an easy birthing and a nice healthy litter!

I would start by saying that it seems like months since I last posted, but it virtually has been!  I have never been as busy as I have been these past few months, mostly due to having taken on an enormous contract at work – a roll-out of audio systems (speakers and amplifiers) to 290 Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Duvetco stores nationwide.  That project reached its successful conclusion on Friday of last week, however, coming in at just 0.38% better than my estimated figures.  Now that it is finished, I’m hoping I might have more time for updating this and our website more often, and also finally completing my part of the GCCF rules revision.

I’m trying to remember what all has happened since my last post, but it’s all a bit of a blur.  In terms of showing, my last post was the day before the Lancs show, so there’s that, plus the Preston & Blackpool, the Scottish Shorthair and the Bedfordshire/Cambridgeshire double show.  There’s also been another meeting of the Asian Breed Advisory Committee (BAC), the annual GCCF Gala Dinner, the Edinburgh & East AGM, the AGCS AGM, a West of Scotland Committee meeting and the AGM, a RACCS committee meeting, a Langford’s Breeders’ Seminar and two choir concerts (one singing Alto with the Stirling Gaelic choir, and the other as a Soprano for Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Stirling City choir)!  Aside from that lot, and meetings at work, we also tried to fit in a few days away with my parents, from which Richard had to return for work reasons after just the weekend (but we did manage a lovely mountain climb!), and I had to spend the middle day working on the EWM roll-out.  Geez, I feel exhausted just typing that!

The view from the mountain behind Melfort Village
The view from the top of Cruach nam Fearna, looking South-West (ish) towards the north of Jura and the Dorus Mòr

So… which bits will you be interested in?

Apollo at the Lancs
Gorgeous Apollo in his pen at the Lancs

Shows

At the Lancs, Dàrna won the Reserve Imperial in a class of three, while, I completed the final engagement towards my steward’s badge, with Peter Collin in the Burmese section.  I had been looking forward to my day with Peter, since stewarding for a Burmese judge is an excellent way to learn about the Asian type (they should be the same), and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him – I received my steward’s badge a couple of weeks later, so am now officially a GCCF Steward!  I had also suggested to Pippa (who almost bought Cailin) that she bring her Tiffanie girl to that show, since it’s not too far from her, and it was lovely to catch up with her, and meet her girl, who won the CC but lost the Best of Breed to Dàrna.  The star of the show was a Russian Blue boy of Elisabeth’s breeding, Korei, owned by Donna and Dave Johnson (Koreshka Russian Blues), who not only won the CC at his first adult show, but went on to become overall Best in Show – Elisabeth was ecstatic, as you can imagine!

Dàrna looking beautiful at the Lancs
Dàrna looking gorgeous at the Lancs

Annas at the Preston & Blackpool
Stunning Annas modelling the classic Burmese/Asian 'scowl'

Elisabeth's Silvabel
Another beautiful head - Elisabeth's Silvabel looking lovely

There were no certificate wins at the Preston & Blackpool, though the three we had taken, Annas, Dàrna and Apollo, all won their Best of Breeds.  Elisabeth had another good day, with Korei winning his second CC, Zach his qualifying Imperial certificate and Ziva her first Grand.  I had an enjoyable day stewarding for Helen Marriott-Power, including my (rather nerve-wracking) first experience of being the sole steward for Best in Show.  I have been getting ribbed ever since for having an extremely studious expression on my face throughout, but I didn’t want to mess up handling someone’s cat with everyone watching!

Apollo looking sleepy in his blankets
A sleepy Apollo peeks out of his blankets

Stewarding for Helen Marriott-Power at the Preston & Blackpool
Looking through the crowd at me stewarding for Helen at Best in Show - I was concentrating hard!

We had better results at the Scottish Shorthair – although Annas had the Olympian withheld by Grace Denny (she was placed first, though!), Lona was there with Laini, who won her second Grand, and Tabh, who won his second PC!  Annas took Best of Breed.  I’m guessing Lona’s two will probably be out for their qualifying certificates at the Nor’East, which unfortunately we are missing this year, due to it being on the same weekend as the London Pet Show.  Gutted!  Elisabeth’s lot also had another good day, with her imported stud boy winning his second CC, and little Dukey going Best Foreign Kitten!

That brings us on to the Beds/Camcat (Bedfordshire & District Cat Club & Cambridgeshire Cat Club) double-show at the weekend just gone – two all-breed shows sharing the large hall at Wood Green animal shelter near Huntingdon, which is one of my favourite show venues.  This must be one of the largest shows after the Supreme, and has a real buzz about it as a result.  We took a half day at work on Friday and collected Elisabeth before driving down to spend the night at Anita’s (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) in Rugby.  On Saturday morning we packed everyone’s stuff and cats into our people-carrier, and set off to the show – five adults (myself and Richard, Elisabeth and Anita and Rob) and eight cats (three of ours, three of Elisabeth’s and two of Anita’s).

We had both an AGM and a committee meeting during the show day, so I had very deliberately not booked to steward or do tablework.  While we were getting the cats penned, they were calling over the tannoy that they desperately needed stewards, and could anyone willing to steward come up to the table, and I’m standing there going “I’m not going to do it, I’m not going to do it” – I find it very difficult not to offer to help when it’s required.  However, I managed, and I’m actually glad I did, because it was really nice to have a day where I could actually take my time over checking results, and get a chance to cuddle my cats and talk to other exhibitors.  I love stewarding, but it was lovely just to be an ordinary exhibitor for a change, even if we did have meetings in the afternoon.  In particular, it was great to get a chance to catch up with Amanda (Rushbrooke Asians, Burmese and Bengals), whom I haven’t seen since last autumn, and she has been very seriously ill in the meantime.  She was looking great on Saturday, and had a nice cuddle with Annas (whom she bred) and Donny.

Donny in his pen at the Beds/Camcat
Donny looking very mature for his eight months!

Korei looking handsome
Donna & Dave's Korei looking handsome in his pen

Elisabeth and Anita both took certificates home, with Elisabeth’s Ziva winning her second Grand, and Anita’s Chippy winning the CC in one of the shows.  Elisabeth was also thrilled because Korei won his qualifying CC, making him something like the 30th titled cat she has bred!  I was delighted to find that little Cailin won the CC in both shows, meaning that she only needs one more certificate.  She has developed into a very pretty girl, but still has lots of maturing to do.  That means that we currently have three Cagarans requiring one more certificate – Cailin, Laini and Tabh.  I wonder whether it will be Tabh or Cailin who is the first to become the third titled Cagaran?!

Cailin looking gorgeous
Cailin looking gorgeous - we are delighted at how well she's turned out

Cailin looking beautiful
I look at photos like this, though and kick myself that we didn't keep her!

I wasn’t expecting Annas to win the Olympian, because I guessed that Mylward Sassafras and Danleigh Starburst would be there, and sure enough, they were.  They got the Oly and Reserve in one of the shows, but in the other the reserve went to a beautiful Mainman Burmese (the Oly was still won by Sassafras, though!).  We had actually only entered Annas in one of the shows, because Grace Denny was the judge in the other (same as the Scottish Shorthair, but with more competition!), and likewise Donny.  Both won their Best of Breed and did well in their side classes.  In certificate terms, our star was Dàrna, who was entered in the two shows, and won the Reserve Imperial in both, against what I would have considered to be stronger competition – I was very surprised!  She will now be retired from the bench for this year, to hopefully have some kittens with Apollo.

Darna with her two Reserve Imperial rosettes
Darna surprising us with her two Reserve Imperial rosettes

Annas looking stunning
Annas delivering another beautiful scowl and looking stunning

Kittens

Speaking of kittens, we have everything happening at once again this year.   Fi did indeed get pregnant the weekend of the Ocicat AGM, and is due her kittens next week.  She looks nice and fat, so I’m hoping for a sensible-sized litter, rather than the two-kitten nonsense that we had last year!  Fingers crossed for at least some Tiffanies, since that’s what everyone wants from us!

Fi looking nice and fat

You may remember that Katie had a sore eye for a couple of months?  It has now cleared up, and we are no longer having to give her eye drops, though it remains to be seen whether there will be any permanent scarring of the iris.  Anyway, whilst it was still causing an issue, we decided to separate her from the others, in case it turned out to be infectious, but rather than keep her by herself, we decided to move Donny out with her, since it was going to be several weeks until he was next due at a show.  To our surprise, however, we discovered him mating her a few days later, when he was just over seven months old!  That was almost a month ago now, and Katie doesn’t seem to be able to quite make up her mind whether or not she is pregnant – one day she is pinked up and the next day it seems to fade, only to return the following day.  We shall see.  It is Katie that I would have intended mating Donny to eventually, but I wasn’t expecting him to be so young at the time – most Asian boys don’t start working until they are over a year old!

Gracie will also hopefully be having kittens in the not-to-distant future, since she is currently at Rosemary Caunter’s (Thickthorn Ocicats), to hopefully mate with her cinnamon boy, Curry, as you may remember was suggested by Stacie (Ameeka Ocicats and Abyssinians), at the Ocicat AGM.

We didn’t intend to have all the matings bunched up like this – the plan was that Fi would have had kittens in January (remember, she originally went in with Shogun in October), Grace and Dàrna would always have been due for mating around now, and then we’d have kept Katie back until later in the summer, because she’s not such a prolific caller, and can therefore wait longer between matings than Dàrna can.  Instead Fi is just having hers as Dàrna and Grace go in with studs, and Katie might already be half-way through a pregnancy.  I kind of hope she isn’t!!  Either way, we will just have to borrow Amanda’s mottow and “manage the situation”.

Other Catty Bits

The RACCS show is now going to be back-to-back with the Supreme, something that has never been done before, and is both a great opportunity and horrendously complicated!  The Asian BAC meeting was again interesting, and I am delighted that I was voted on – we have a new Asian probationer judge, and have also put one forward to progress to become a full judge at the June Council meeting.  Speaking of people going forward at the June Council meeting, Elisabeth is going to be on the list to be voted on as a probationer judge of Russians!

The Gala dinner was another excellent event, with lots of good ‘cat chat’, a fun quiz (which our team won again this year!) and a fundraising auction in which we managed to bag the fantastic prize of a mating with a stunning Burmese stud cat, who isn’t usually available!  The Langford’s Breeders’ Seminar was in Birmingham on the Sunday just gone, and like the last one, was an extremely beneficial day – the most interesting bits for me probably being Lesley Lyons talks on disease genetics and then later, colour genetics.  There is another one being held in June, and we are definitely planning to be at that one as well – Elisabeth and I are also attending the FAB (Feline Advisory Bureau) study day in Edinburgh in a few weeks, which is on Feline emergency medicine, and should be very interesting.

Richard is now on the committee of the Edinburgh & East – I managed to step out of the way faster this time!  I have been voted on as a full delegate to Council, for the West of Scotland, which we are both on the committee of, and for which Richard is now secretary.  That lot out of the way, I think you’re now fully up-to-date on what’s been happening in the Cagaran Household.  Hopefully the updates should be more frequent now that my EWM roll-out is completed.

The next item on our ‘agenda’ (other than Fi’s kittens, of course), is the London Pet Show, which is a fortnight from the weekend just gone.  We’re taking Donny down to represent the AGCS with Anita’s Cailin, and she’s taking both Azi (Kia’s 3/4 sister) and Chippy to represent the Ocicats.  It was such a great day last year that I’m really looking forward to it, and we’re busy harness-training Donny at the moment!

Donny's first day of 'harness-training' - he wasn't impressed
Second day of 'training' - ignoring the harness and playing instead

That’s it for tonight.  The next post should hopefully be with photos of Fi’s kittens, so keep your fingers crossed for an easy labour for her…

A New Home and Two Shows

Kia and Quinn have been spayed, and Kia has settled into her new home. Apollo also seems to have settled, being a much happier boy since the Scottish. Fi may or may not be pregnant, but Keela definitely wasn’t, and is now back with us to have another shot with Shogun. Shogun is now a Champion, and Apollo won his first Grand.

Kia and Quinn were succesfully spayed the second week in January. When I collected them, the vet receptionist warned me that Quinn had been trying to lick her stitches, and had managed to remove the collar they had given her, three times whilst still in her pen at the practice. They didn’t think the collar would even last the evening, so we were just going to have to keep an eye on her licking, ourselves. She did indeed have the collar off within a couple of hours of getting home, so I put a tiny bit of Vicks vaporub in a circle around the area of the spay. Cats don’t like the smell (it’s menthol and eucalyptus), so she stopped trying to lick it and didn’t start again even once the vaporub had evaporated.  As an aside, I was fascinated to see that her skin is pale – normally a dark-coloured cat would have dark skin, but it must be because she’s a smoke, and therefore has a pale undercoat, that hers is pink.

Donny and Quinn cuddled up on the evening after her spay
Cuddling after Quinn's spay - note the pale skin!

The two cuddled up together
Quinn and Donny cuddled up together in the bed on the windowledge, looking adorable

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!

Kia in Sheona's shopping bag
Kia in Sheona's shopping bag - "Don't go out, Mummy, I want to play!"

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!

Apollo looking gorgeous
Gorgeous Apollo sitting in his pen with his Grand rosette

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.

Lainni in her pen at the Scottish
Lainni looking pretty in her pen

Tabh in his pen at the Scottish
Tabh peering peering at the camera

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!

Shogun peering out from behind his rosettes
Shogun looking adorable

Ali looking adorable
Ali paddle-pawing on his vetbed

Donny with his rosettes
Donny with his rosettes

Annas in amongst her rosettes
Annas in amongst her rosetttes

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.

Apollo

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!

Apollo looking cute
Apollo rolling around demonstrating his new, sweeter temperament

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.

Annas looking very black
Annas looking very black

Donny sprawled in his pen
Donny sprawled in his pen

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.

Gorgeous Dàrna looking funny, as usual
Gorgeous Dàrna pulling a daft face, as she likes to do in photos!

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.

Catty Meetings

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.

Pregnancy Update

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!

Kitten Visit

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.

Rafa in his favourite seat - June's!
Rafa in his favourite seat - June's!

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).

Rafa showing off his fantastic ruff and incredible colour
Rafa showing off his fantastic ruff and rich colour

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.

Rafa lying in the position in which June put him down
Rafa lying in the position in which June put him down

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.

Sophie looking out of the window
Sophie sitting in the window looking at me

Sophie looking at me through the glass door
Sophie looking at me through the glass 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.

Sophie and William looking out through the glass door
Sophie and William looking out through the glass door

I swear once you start, the world of cat showing and breeding takes over your life!

Kitten Update – Four and Six Weeks

The kittens are continuing to do well, and are all past or approaching the 600g mark. Kia’s are now starting to show their ticking, and all five are becoming very lively and playful.

The kittens are all doing really well, and I actually made time to use the proper camera this week.  Admittedly, you wouldn’t know that the photos were taken on a better camera, because the kittens won’t sit still, but at least I tried!

Katie's kittens together
Katie's kittens

Kia's kittens together
Kia's kittens

Katie’s Kittens

Katie’s kittens do indeed appear to be Tiffanies, and both are actually turning out to be quite promising, in spite of my previous misgivings about the girl.  Unfortunately, the boy’s jaw set is not correct, so he won’t be able to be shown, but the girl has come on leaps and bounds, and is developing a beautiful expression.  Her head has also balanced up a lot, so that her eyes don’t look too small any more.  She really doesn’t like to sit nicely for photos, though!

Katie's daughter
Katie's girl almost sitting nicely

Katie's daughter looking silly
... and the moment is over

Both kittens are now completely adapted to using the litter trays (without a single accident!), and are readily eating solid food, though still suckling from their mum at night.  Both are over 600g, and have continued to exceed their weekly growth targets.

Katie's son face-on
Katie's boy looking cute

Katie's boy side-on
Showing off his beautiful little nose

They are increasingly playful, so we have moved them down to the front bedroom, where they have more space and lots more toys.  That also frees the kitten room for Dàrna to move into.  We will start introducing some of the other cats into the front bedroom for short periods, so that the kittens can get used to interacting with adults.

I have their first vaccinations booked for a fortnight tomorrow – I never fail to be amazed at how fast the time goes.  One minute you’re collecting a girl from stud and crossing your fingers that she’s pregnant, and the next the kittens are having their vaccinations and ready to start meeting potential owners!

Katie's kittens posing together
Katie's kittens posing together

Kia’s Kittens

Kia’s three are all developing lovely ticking now, and the first girl can look so like her mummy that it’s freaky.  At the moment the boy is longer in the head, and has a more oriental eye set than the girls, so I prefer the two girls to him (which is good, since we want to keep a girl!).  Their appearance is changing by the day, though, so we shall see.

Kia's girls together
Kia's girls together - 'Girl 1' in front, 'Foghorn' behind

All three are still growing like weeds, and the boy is already over 600g, with the girls not far behind.  The boy started taking his mum’s biscuits on Monday, and at least one of the girls has now followed suit.  We had the first ‘deposits’ in the litter tray yesterday as well, so the kittens are pretty advanced as well as huge!

Kia's boy
Kia's boy

Kia's First Girl
'Girl 1' looking adorable

We actually had Kia and her kittens away with us for four days at the end of last week.  Back in April, I arranged with my parents that we would join them for a short break, and although I had friends and colleagues coming in to check on the cats and kittens multiple times each day, we didn’t like the idea of leaving the younger kittens, particularly given Kia’s previous scatter-brained behaviour.

Kia's First Girl
'Girl 1' again

Kia's Second Girl - Foghorn
Foghorn being quiet for a change

We debated back and forwards for several days about whether to cancel, and in the end decided just to pack them up and take them with us.  Kia seemed to love being away, and the kittens were quite happy curled up in their little travel basket with a twice-daily run around the room to keep them amused.

Foghorn shouting
... and one reminding us why she's nicknamed 'Foghorn'

Foghorn shouting again
... and another - she looks like she's going to eat the polar bear!

Back in the house, they’ve figured out how to jump onto the platform that I weigh them on, and are starting to try and clamber out of the front of the pen.  I think we might need to raise the front tonight to stop them escaping.  Kia obviously thought that it was time for them to start learning to hunt as well, because there was a toy mouse in the pen yesterday evening, which the kittens were merrily attempting to tear apart.

Ticking coming in
The ticking starting to show

Trout spotting on the boy
The 'trout spotting' that appeared first

Dàrna – Pregnant or Not?

It looks like Dàrna is pregnant after all, but she still feels very soft, so I’m not sure that she’s carrying many.  I’m hoping to be proved wrong, though, because I’d like more than the litters of two and three that we’ve had so far this year!  Assuming that everything goes as expected (when does it ever?!), she is due the middle of next week, so keep your fingers crossed…

Kitten Updates and Rexfest Show

The kittens continue to do well, with the older ones now litter-trained and starting to eat solids, and the younger ones becoming more active by the day. We had a great day out at the Rexfest Show on Saturday, winning both Best Non-Pedigree and Best Pedigree Pet, and therefore obviously Overall Best Household Pet as well. Keela also did well at a show down south, winning her CC, BOB and having a red card day!

It’s been a busy few days since my last post, but everyone is doing well.  No decent photos today, I’m afraid, because I haven’t had time to take any using the ‘proper’ camera, so I’ve only got the ones I’ve taken on my phone…

Kittens

Katie with her sleepy kittens
Katie with her sleepy kittens

Katie’s kittens are five weeks this evening, and are now much more active and responsive. They are now using their litter trays, so have been given the run of the whole kitten room, and the girl comes rushing out to greet you when you walk into the room. The boy is still a lot quieter, but will come out and put his little paws on your foot if you stand beside his pen.

Katie

Both kittens are starting to take (very mushy) ‘solid’ food, but the boy is particularly interested in it, slurping away at the dish when it is put down. The girl will take some, but she is still going to be a while yet before she’s convinced of the idea!  The boy looks to have the better head at the moment, because the girl seems to have slightly small eyes, unfortunately.

Katie's kittens cuddling up
Katie's kittens cuddling

Kia's boy
Kia's boy looking impish

Kia’s kittens were three weeks at the weekend, and are still gaining weight at an impressive rate. The boy is only a few grams behind Katie’s son, and even the smallest girl isn’t more than 100g behind Katie’s daughter. They are already starting to examine their mum’s food, and will lick at wet food, so I think they’re going to be quite quick to wean. They are also incredibly steady on their feet, given their age, and are able to play pouncing games that I wouldn’t expect for at least another week or so.

Kia's first girl
Kia's first girl

Kia's second girl
Kia's second girl

Naomi Johnson (Vervain Burmese, Asians and Ocicats) was staying up here over the weekend, having judged at the Rexfest on Saturday. She called in today on her way home, to visit the kittens. She agrees that Katie’s daughter is a chocolate silver shaded (full expression), and thinks that both kittens are probably Tiffanies!  We did have a look at the Oci babies, but they’re changing so much at the moment that it’s difficult to say anything much about which is better.  At the moment the boy looks the best because his muzzle is stronger, but a few days ago, the girls had much better muzzles than he does, so who knows?!

Rexfest Show

Richard was working on Saturday, so I went to the Rexfest show myself, for the first time.  We obviously don’t have any Rexes now, but it’s a great show with a completely unique atmosphere, so we decided to enter Ali and Jinny again.  Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russian Blues) is training to be a pedigree judge, so had been asked if she would like to be one of the Household Pet judges (anyone can judge HPs).  When I heard that, I couldn’t resist winding her up by entering Xaria as a Pedigree Pet.  The hardest thing was remembering not to mention that we were entering, but thankfully I managed, because Elisabeth had absolutely no idea that any of our cats were going, let alone Xaria!

Ali rubbing against his pen door
Ali 'paddle-pawing' and rubbing his head on his pen door - he is so cheery at shows!

Jinny disappearing behind her rosettes
Jinny in her Best in Show Pen, disappearing behind her awards - she was curled up, virtually oblivious to all the attention

All three did well, Ali and Jinny winning their Grand certificatess and Best of Colour awards, and Xaria winning the Master Cat certificate and her Best of Colour as well!  That was Jinny’s third Grand, so she is now officially Grand Master Cat Jinny, and topped off the day by going Best Non-Pedigree again.  Xaria also went for the big one, taking Best Pedigree Pet, and then going one better and beating Jinny for Overall Best Household Pet (not chosen by Elisabeth, I hasten to add!).  Elisabeth didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at seeing her first-bred Imperial-titled cat winning the Household Pet section, and said that she wasn’t sure whether to tell anyone.  After I had pointed out that it is an indication of excellent temperament, however, she felt better, and decided that she would tell people about it after all!

Xaria in her BIS pen
Xaria in her BIS pen with her rosettes - lilac is Xaria's favourite colour, too

Other News

We weren’t the only ones showing on Saturday – Anita was out at the Eastern Counties with Keela, who won her first CC and Best of Breed, and then went on to have a red card day, winning first place in all of her side classes.  She is the third Cagaran Tiffanie to win a certificate, which is rather exciting.  Anita texted me Keela’s results just after Best in Show had been decided at the Rexfest, so I was a bit overwhelmed!

Dàrna should be seven weeks pregnant at the moment, but we’re not sure.  She does look pregnant, having gained weight in the right place, but we’re not convinced that she’s actually carrying anything other than extra fluid, so it could be a false pregnancy.  If she is pregnant, the kittens should start moving in the next few days, which would obviously confirm the pregnancy.  On the other hand, if it is a false pregnancy, those often stop at about this stage, so either way we should hopefully know soon.  Watch this space…

Kitten Update

Katie’s kittens are now a week old and doing well, Kia is almost at her due date, and Dàrna is back from stud and looking pregnant. Fiona won her first two CCs at the double show in Doncaster on Saturday, also the first two CCs for our prefix!

The Kittens

Katie’s kittens are growing well, both having sailed past their double-birth-weight one-week target at about five days old. As of this morning, they are a good bit over 200g, and the boy’s eyes were just starting to open in the inner corners. He is hilarious when he’s eating, because he does the same sort of huge ‘star-jump’ motion that his half-sister Lainni did last year!

Katie feeding the kittens
Katie with the kittens

I haven’t actually checked genders again since I first decided on them, so I really ought to have another look now to make sure we do have one boy and one girl.  I haven’t the faintest clue whether they are Asians or Tiffanies at this stage, only that they both look to have about the same length of coat, though I could be completely wrong there!

Face-shot of the boy at day 8
The boy's cute little face - his left eye is just starting to open

The girl shouting
The girl shouting - she's the 'gobby' one of the two

Pregnancy Update

Kia is now very close to her due date – I’m thinking either tonight or tomorrow night.  Jinny is in with her at the moment, and the two of them seem to be best mates at the moment.

Kia looking pregnant
Kia looking 'lumpy' and pregnant - note the kitten lump on her left side!

Kia and Jinny rubbing against eachother
Kia and Jinny rubbing against eachother. Jinny is fantastic with Kia, putting up with being manically cleaned on a regular basis!

Kia has started to move into her birthing box, though she prefers if one of us climbs in there with her.  I turned her heat pad on the other day, and then spent about half-an-hour hunched up in the box with her to keep her company whilst she rolled around on it.  Her box has a lid on it, because she quite likes caves, but at least it’s a good bit bigger than Katie’s, otherwise we’d never fit!

Kia in her birthing box
Kia in her birthing box, looking grumpy because we weren't in with her!

We collected Dàrna from Ally and Arty on Monday, and she is definitely still looking pregnant, and eating lots, so fingers crossed there, too.

Show Update

We were down at the Humberside and Lincolnshire double show on Saturday.  The two clubs hold their all-breed shows in the same hall, and cats can therefore enter both shows.  We had only taken Fi, but she did us proud, winning not only our first Cagaran CC (Challenge Certificate), but also the second – taking the certificate in both shows!  She now only needs one more to become a champion, so fingers crossed she can do that the next time she’s out…