Tia and Lhasa had seven kittens each, but sadly two of Lhasa’s tiny kittens didn’t make it. The remaining twelve kittens, as well as Tilly’s four, have all grown well, though. Dàrna won her first two PCs at the Humberside & Lincs show and Small has gone off to stud with one of Helen Marriott-Power’s boys. Richard was elected as Vice-Chair of the AGCS.
Unfortunately, I can’t get WordPress to accept any image uploads this evening, so I’m putting the blog up and will add the images as soon as it’s possible to get them uploaded.
Okay, so it’s taken me ages to get around to doing another update after my announcement of the arrival of Tia’s kittens, but at least you got the announcement of one of the births in a timely fashion! With looking after the three litters, including having to syringe-feed Tia’s smallest ones, there was just never a good moment to post.
Tia and Lhasa’s Combined Litter
Unfortunately, Tia’s second-smallest kitten died part-way through the Friday, but somehow he had seemed like he was never meant to be. Far more devastating was the loss of her smallest at 12 days: by the time you’ve been syringe-feeding a kitten for as long as that, you’re starting to think that it’s going to make it, but she died in my hands after her early-evening feed and I was absolutely devastated. Thanking heaven for small mercies, though, the biggest of Tia’s tinies did pull through and is now probably the most characterful kitten in the whole litter!
Once Tia’s kittens arrived, we had to cover her nest box or Lhasa would hop in and try to run off with the kittens to her nest box. When Lhasa went into labour, Tia climbed into the box with her, lay down behind her so that Lhasa was leaning against her, and gave her a quick lick as if to say “I’m here; just breathe”. As each kitten arrived, the two girls cleaned them up together and then Tia looked after the newborns while Lhasa concentrated on the next delivery. It was very cute to watch the two experienced mums working together – when we’ve had two girls sharing during a delivery in the past, it’s been one experienced girl and one first-timer, so it was interesting to see how these two divided the duties, rather than one coaching the other.
Once Lhasa was finished, and the kittens were all cleaned up, we changed the bedding to take away the delivery-soiled towels, and then moved Tia’s kittens into the nest alongside Lhasa’s, since it was obvious that the two would be happier in together. The two litters have therefore grown up as one giant litter, and I’m sure they don’t have a clue which of the two is actually their mum.
They are just approaching six weeks and are starting to show individual personalities, but at the moment these are not distinctive enough for us to start naming them. They are therefore still known as ‘Tia’s Kitten 1’, ‘Lhasa’s Kitten 6′, and so on:
Tia’s Kitten 2 – lilac tortie BCR silver spotted Burmilla or Tiffanie (not sure) female. At the moment, I’m leaning towards this one being ours.
Tia’s Kitten 3 – lilac FEX (Full Expression, i.e. not BCR) spotted Asian Tabby male (might be silver). At the moment, this boy is reserved for Sarah Davidson, who owned the kittens’ grandsire, Shogun, because she has been wanting to get another spotty stud since Shogun was neutered. She’ll come and look at him when he is a bit older, and decide whether she wants him or not.
Tia’s Kitten 4 – brown tortie BCR shaded Burmilla female.
Tia’s Kitten 7 – brown silver shaded (tipped) Burmilla male. This is the one who was hand-fed for the first week or so and he is such a character and loves his cuddles and kisses.
Lhasa’s Kitten 1 – chocolate tortie BCR classic tabby Tiffanie female (might be silver). This is probably my favourite of Lhasa’s kittens for type, but since we’re keeping a girl from Tia’s litter, I want to keep one of Lhasa’s boys instead. Typical!
Lhasa’s Kitten 2 – brown BCR silver shaded Tiffanie male.
Lhasa’s Kitten 5 – chocolate tortie BCR silver shaded Tiffanie female. At the moment, she is reserved for John and Theresa Beale, because they’re looking for a silver shaded Tiffanie female. Again, we’ll see how she develops before they decide for certain.
At the moment, the kitten we keep from Lhasa’s litter is between Kitten 4 and Kitten 7, but I won’t decide until we see how both type and personality develop over the next few weeks.
The fact that both Tia and Lhasa’s litters contained seven kittens takes Eiteag’s average to four kittens per litter, which is the expected average and therefore allays my fears about there being something amiss with his fertility due to both Small and Hailey being single-kitten-litters. That means that if the people in Eastern Europe who had previously expressed an interest in him are still looking for a Tiffanie stud, I would feel much more comfortable letting him go out there, knowing that he is fully fertile. My original thinking was to have him neutered once we had the litters from Tia and Lhasa, but having seen him working, he enjoys his job far too much to take that away from him. Donny doesn’t care either way – he would be just as happy to be a neutered pet as to be a stud cat, but Eiteag loves working as a stud!
Tilly’s kittens are getting close to being ready to leave us, so I really must start looking for new homes. They will have their second vaccinations later this week, go in to be neutered/spayed next week and then be ready to go to their new homes the week after.
Kitten 1 – chocolate FEX silver shaded Burmilla male. Pet name: Imp. Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Impich, which means ‘persuade’, because he’s very vocal about telling you when he wants food, play or a cuddle. It’s pronounced as it looks, with ‘ch’ as in the Scottish ‘loch’. He’s a right little monkey and gets up to all sorts of mischief with his partner in crime, Mischka (Kitten 3).
Kitten 2 – black FEX smoke Tiffanie female. Pet name: Isla. Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ìla, which is the Gaelic form of the island name Islay. It’s pronounced the same way as the island (the pronunciation ending in ‘a’ rather than ‘ay’).
Kitten 3 – chocolate BCR silver shaded Burmilla female. Pet name: Mischka (chosen by her new owners). Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ifrinnach, which means ‘fiend’ or ‘demon’, because she’s an absolute devil-child!
Kitten 4 – brown BCR smoke Tiffanie male. Pet name: Mini-Doop or Doopy-Two (due to his resemblance to his Dad), Sumo or Lump (due to his size) or Yoda (because my brother thinks he looks like Yoda). Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Iùmh-rud, which means ‘lump’. It’s pronounced Ee-oov-root.
Other Cat Stuff:
The Edinburgh & East show was on the 19th of July, and though we couldn’t enter because we decided to do the Humberside & Lincs the following weekend, we did help to set up on the Friday evening and then visited to assist the following day. I spent a lovely day stewarding for Steve Crow, whom I haven’t stewarded for in a couple of years.
The Humberside & Lincs show is in Newark, which is only about 40 minutes from Richard’s parents house, so is always a good excuse to pay them a visit. That weekend also suited the bulk of the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society) Committee for their summer Committee meeting, and if we were going to be going as far as Kettering for that meeting, we decided that we might as well fit in the double-show at the same time. We took Dàrna to try for her first PCs and also arranged for Helen Marriott-Power to take Small home with her from the show, to ‘meet’ one of her stud boys. Since Small was going to be at the show for that purpose anyway, we decided to enter her in the Grand on the off-chance that the judge would be in a lenient mood, but really she still looks too immature to win and indeed she wasn’t placed in either show. She did win Best of Breed in both shows, though, as did Dàrna, who also won the two PCs. During the show day, Richard and I caught up on some shopping in Grantham and had a lovely walk in the gardens of the National-Trust-owned Belton House.
At the Committee meeting the following day, Steve stepped down as Chairman, since he is now Chairman of the GCCF itself, and Sarndra Devereux (Rainsong Burmese and Asians) took over as Chair with Richard elected to the position of Vice-Chair. As always, the meeting was held in the beer garden of a pub in Kettering and was a fabulously relaxed afternoon.
On the way home, we called in at Anita’s, since she had been unable to attend the meeting due to midwife duties for Breagha. This did let us meet the three litters that Anita has at the moment, thought – two ‘oops’ Tiffanie x Ocicat kittens from Cailin (Anita’s Ocicat stud boy, Chippie, managed to get to her!); three gorgeous Ocicats (one tawny, two cinnamon) from Bobbi by a lovely Swedish import boy, of which Anita is keeping the girl; and another three from Breagha by Chippie – a chocolate silver Ocicat Classic, a cinnamon silver Ocicat and a cinnamon Ocicat. We joked that we and Anita have our litters the wrong way around at the moment – we have three litters from girls we didn’t breed, including one bred by Anita (though we did breed her mum), and she has three litters from girls that we bred!
We’ve also just had Tármus (our first Ocicat neuter girl) and Simba (one of the grown-up kittens form our first Ocicat litter) back to stay with us for their three-week summer holiday (their people were away to the US for a special birthday celebration). I always enjoy having these two back for their holidays, not least because it gives us a chance to see how they’re both doing, three years after leaving us.
Quinn made Grand at the Nor’East, Cheeky made Premier at the Lakeland and we had another good day representing the Asian Group at the London Pet Show. Tilly has a litter of four kittens, born on the 22nd of May – two boys and two girls in a variety of colours – and Tia and Lhasa are due imminently. In addition, two of Anita’s Cagarans have also had litters – two ‘oops’ kittens for Cailin and three lovely Ocicats for Bobbi.
Once again it is well over two months since my last post, and I must offer my apologies to all the people who have messaged me asking if everything is okay and begging for an update on whether we have kittens – sorry! We haven’t had any problems and in fact, everything is great – we’ve just had confirmation that every cat in the household is Tritrich negative (yay!) and we have plenty of exciting kitten news…
We’ve only done two competitive shows since my last post: the Scottish Shorthair back in April, and the Lakeland in the middle of last month. We also represented the Asians at the London Pet Show again, in May.
Our most exciting show news is actually from the Nor’East, which we attended to help, but couldn’t show at ourselves due to the LPS being the following weekend. Thankfully there were still some Cagaran’s present, with Lona showing Lainni and Tracey showing Quinn, however. The tortie devil did us proud, winning her third and final Grand certificate, making her up to Grand Premier – the fourth Cagaran to win the Grand title, and the first Cagaran to hold three titles (Premier, Grand and Mastercat). Congratulations to both Tracey and Quinn and thanks, Tracey, for giving her such a fabulous home!
At both the Scottish Shorthair and the Lakeland, we only took Cheeky to try for her PCs, which she won, making her up to Premier. This seems somehow fitting, given that the Lakeland is the show at which our original Ocicat neuter, Tármus, made Premier back in 2009! Tármus got us interested in breeding Ocis and Cheeky is the last of our dabble in the breed, so I guess that makes the Lakeland the bookends of our Ocicat experience. The Lakeland this year was also on the most gorgeous day, so Richard and I went for a long walk, taking in Kendal Castle and one of the local ridges with stunning 360º views – down to Morecambe bay, up into the mountains of the Lakes and across to the western Dales.
The London Pet Show was fabulous as usual and we had a fantastic day. We took four representatives for the Asian breed: Ayla and Small representing Tiffanies (and showing a silver and a non-silver) and Zuko and Hailey representing Asian Shorthairs. As previous readers of our blog will know, Hailey hadn’t yet made it to a show, so I was half prepared to just have her sitting in her pen to allow people to see a classic Asian (they’re pretty rare), but she turned out to be our superstar for the day – she and Ayla spent the whole day sitting out on their bed, cleaning each other and talking to their adoring public. I was so proud! Zuko also spent most of the day on the table, cuddled up in his bed and allowing the spectators to give him whatever attention they wanted but without really paying them much attention. Small didn’t like the noise from the tannoy system that was blasting out on the next exhibit, so she was more relaxed in her pen, where she sprawled around looking adorable and talking to the people who looked in through the front of her cage.
The night of the LPS was also the annual GCCF Gala Dinner, so we went straight from London to Cambridge. We shared a table with Anita and Elisabeth, among others, and had a fabulous night. This year they had a karaoke machine which those of you who knew me in my teens will not be surprised to hear that I was persuaded to sing on. After supporting ‘the Birman crew’ who couldn’t remember how the verses of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ went, I also sang a couple of duets with Sally Rainbow-Ockwell – what a team we made! I think we finally went to bed about 4am, tired but having had a fantastic time, and I’m already looking forward to next year…
Okay, the reason that most of you are probably reading this – the kittens…
Tilly delivered six kittens on the 22nd of May, but unfortunately she had four big kittens and two tiny ones. The tinies were just too small: one never breathed at all and the other slipped away after about half-an-hour of mouth-to-mouth and attempts to stimulate him the way I did with Hailey last year. I continued my efforts for probably ten or fifteen minutes after that but eventually had to accept that I wasn’t going to be successful this time. As is usually the case with mother cats, Tilly showed absolutely no interest in the two kittens that died, not even attempting to open their sacks or clean them up, so she obviously knew what I wouldn’t admit until there could be no doubt. As sad as the loss of those two little ones made me, I am delighted to report that the other four are lively and adorable and doing really well. They will be six weeks this week and are starting to show their individual personalities.
Kitten 1 is a chocolate silver shaded male, and I think he’s a shorthair. He’s quite gentle but very outgoing and loves his cuddles, especially if you lie him on his back and rub his shoulders and the sides of his neck. Actually, this whole litter seem to find that completely mesmeric and will flop like little ragdolls when I do that.
Kitten 2 is a black smoke female, and looks to be a Tiffanie. At the moment, she is the shyest but also the most talkative in the litter and likes to follow us around the room. She always answers back when she’s spoken to, and reminds me a lot of her mum.
Kitten 3 is a chocolate silver shaded Burmese restriction female. Her coat is fairly short, so she might be a shorthair, but the texture and appearance reminds me of Cailin’s (Tilly’s mum) at the same age, and she turned out to be a Tiffanie, so I’m reserving judgement at the moment. She is an absolute minx, but has been Richard’s favourite since the start and there’s something very endearing about her. She and the fourth kitten are the adventurers and are always the first two to try everything: when we moved the kittens down to the back bedroom yesterday, I asked Richard how long he reckoned it would be before one of those two found their way up into the box on the scratching post and sure enough, maybe five minutes later, there she was!
Kitten 4 is a brown smoke (Burmese restriction) male, like his father, but he’s a Tiffanie, whereas Donny is a shorthair. He’s always been the biggest kitten in the litter, earning him the nickname ‘Lump’ from an early age, but as he’s grown up, he’s become so like his Dad in temperament as well as looks that he’s now known as ‘mini-Doop’ (Doop being one of Donny’s nicknames). As if two nicknames aren’t enough, my brother calls him Yoda, due to his wise, slightly mournful expression. As you might gather from the number of nicknames, he’s a bit of a character, but in a very laid-back manner. Whereas Kitten 3 tackles her adventures with an endearing cheekiness, he just takes everything in his stride and since nothing phases him, he’s frequently the first to try new things. He started eating biscuits at less than three weeks old and was the first to figure out how to jump out of the kitten pen.
At the moment, you’ll gather that Kittens 3 and 4 have more personality than the other two, who are just very sweet and gentle at the moment. I would expect that by the time I next do an update, I’ll have a lot more to say about them because they’re personalities will have developed more fully by then.
Both Tia and Lhasa are heavily pregnant and due any time from today. I honestly will try and at least do a quick update after the births, to let you know the kittens have arrived safely! Aside from our own kittens, Anita’s also had litters from both Cailin (CH Cagaran Cailin-Anizz) and Bobbi (Cagaran Ceann-Ciatach) recently. Cailin had an ‘oops’ mating with Anita’s Ocicat stud, so the kittens are technically first-generation Asians – one silver spotted girl and a silver shaded boy. Bobbi was mated to a Swedish import boy that Anita’s been wanting to have a litter from and she had three kittens: a tawny boy, a chocolate boy and a chocolate girl. The chocolate girl will be staying with Anita to both continue the outcross line (You may remember that Bobbi was second-generation from our Ocicat-Abyssinian outcross) and keep the new Swedish line in Anita’s breeding programme.
It’s been quite a while since my last post, so there is plenty to catch up on, including several shows (London Pet Show, Nor’East, Suffolk & Norfolk, Durham/Northern Counties and Lakeland), the World Cat Congress and Gala Dinner and Australian Mist Seminar. Both Dàrna’s kitten and the Ocis continue to do well, and the Ocis are now starting to leave home. In addition, Keela and Grace have now been spayed, and are ready to look for new homes.
I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post – how time flies! I had a draft post saved here that started “the past couple of weekends have been really enjoyable, but also really tiring”, but I hadn’t got around to completing it and posting it up. Thinking back over the time since my last post, that opening comment could pretty-much just be extended to cover the entire period! I have very busy at work, and in my ‘spare’ time, have been doing judge’s class allocations for my first time as an Assistant Show Manager, which is an amazingly time-consuming process. So… what has happened since my last post?
London Pet Show
As in previous years, the London Pet Show proved to be a great success, and remains a fabulous opportunity for the GCCF and the breed clubs, to show off our wonderful breeds. Due to the number of people wanting to enter the World Cat Congress show the following weekend, many of the cats who would normally have been at LPS were unable to attend (in the GCCF, we are not allowed to show more than once in every two weekends). It was therefore more of a struggle than usual to get the required 24 breeds on each day, and so we offered to take more cats than usual.
The first three were borrowed from other people, on behalf of the Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland, of which I am the Secretary, and Richard is the Vice-Chairman:
Kenga (our Grace’s litter-sister, Cagaran Adhairc), who represented the Abyssinians as a Pedigree Pet. Her sire was a gorgeous usual Abyssinian, but her dam was a tawny Ocicat Classic. For the purposes of allowing the public to meet a breed, however (which is the point of the LPS), she looks and behaves like an Abyssinian.
For the Russians, we borrowed three of Elisabeth’s kittens, Iggy (commonly known as Ig-the-pig, because he’s a greedy wee rascal), Jerry (her new import boy from Holland), and her youngest, Jingle (usually called Small-Small, but as only Elisabeth could come up with, also sometimes called Jinny-Jingle-Beagle-Bingle!). Elisabeth was judging in Dundee the same day, so the Russian table was manned by Caroline Moore, who owns a Russian Blue neuter, and who absolutely fell in love with Jingle during the day.
Bru and Cheeky shared a double pen, representing the Ocicats and Ocicat Classics. They weren’t too sure about all the hustle and bustle of the show, and were only happy to be out of their pen, if they were being cuddled. Anita and Rob came with us to man the Ocicat table, and Anita spent most of the day cuddling Cheeky whilst people stroked her over the table.
The rest of ours were representing the Asian Group, and we tried to cover as much of it as we could in the four cats we took – Donny represented the Asian Smoke, Tia the Burmilla, Ayla the Tiffanie, and Eiteag, as a spotted tabby Tiffanie, was the closest we come to an Asian Tabby, so he came along as well.
Donny and Eiteag shared a pen, and when they weren’t out on the table, they were cuddled up together on their bed, sleeping or grooming eachother. Last year, Donny was happy to spend the entire day out on the table, and being passed from person to person, but he and Eiteag are both adolescent males now, and inclined to get a bit frisky if they can smell female cats! As a result, we had to spell the two of them, having them out for maybe fifteen minutes at a time, and then swapping over. Since we didn’t have anyone to man the Abyssinian table, Richard was taking it in turns between the boys and Kenga.
I was looking after our second table (one was technically for the Asian Shorthairs, and the other for the Tiffanies, but we had one of each on each table because of the gender split), with Tia and Ayla. Tia was happy to be out of her pen, but equally happy in it, whereas Ayla was ecstatic when she was out of her pen, and wanted out within minutes of being back inside the pen, so I had Ayla out most of the day. Whenever I put her back into her pen for a few minutes to encourage her to have something to eat and drink, I would then get Tia out until Ayla had decided that she wanted out again. The rest of the day, Tia sat in her pen looking beautiful, and people ooh-ing and ah-ing over her.
Ayla was my little star, though, and like her uncle Donny last year, was absolutely in her element, being passed from person to person, giving cuddles and kisses and just lapping up all the attention. She was a fabulous ambassador for the breed, and I think lots of people went home wanting an Asian of some description, as a result!
At the end of the show, I had a slightly tearful goodbye with her, as she left with the Australian Mist stud owner. I have been getting regular updates ever since, however, and it sounds like Ayla is missing me less than I’m missing her – she is spending the nights in the stud owner’s bedroom, and riding around the house on the stud owner’s shoulder. She had a couple of introductory meetings with the stud owner’s youngest boy, but he doesn’t seem to be interested yet, so Ayla’s been in with one of her proven studs instead, and although he definitely mated her back in May, she spent the next few weeks neither calling nor pinking up. However, she has finally decided to start calling again in the past week, and has now been mated again, so it’s just a waiting game to see whether she has taken this time. The stud owner will let me know if/when Ayla pinks up, and we can then try and work out the logistics of getting her home – I can’t wait!
Nor’East of Scotland Show
The show Elisabeth was judging at was the Nor’East of Scotland show. I mention it again for two reasons – firstly, because major congratulations are due to both Karen Hettman, and Elisabeth, and secondly, because there were four Cagaran cats at the show, in spite of us being in London.
The congratulations due to Karen and Elisabeth are because Karen’s two boys (whom Elisabeth bred) both ended up in Overall Best-in-Show pens, Zach (Dushenka Zerachiel) as Best Pedigree, and Stan (Dushenka Stanislav) as Best Household Pet – he has been shown as a Pedigree Pet since making up to Imperial in the Pedigree section. Unfortunately, Elisabeth missed the excitement because she had been given a lift by Ian Thomson, and he was given an early pass to head home!
Lona and Lesley were both there with two Cagarans each – Lona’s Lainni didn’t win her Imperial, but had strong competition, and Lesley’s Derk had the PC withheld on him, much to Elisabeth’s outrage (she thought he was the best of the four!). The other two had an excellent day, however, with Lesley’s Ella winning her third PC, making her up to Premier, and becoming our 9th titled cat, and Lona’s Tabh picking up his third Grand, giving him the Grand title (the third for our prefix). I am delighted for both owners, and can’t thank them enough for showing their cats so beautifully.
World Cat Congress Weekend
The following weekend saw us back down south, for the World Cat Congress. The WCC is a body made up of representatives from all the major cat registration bodies, including the major bodies in Europe, the US, Australia and South Africa. Each year the WCC has a meeting, hosted by one of the member organisations, where the various delegates get together to discuss issues that are of universal concern to all cat registration bodies, or at least of concern to several of the bodies. For instance, if the EU was going to introduce a new law relating to the ownership of cats, they might discuss a response to that, or if a new vaccination had been developed, they could look at how best to utilise it. Aside from the meeting itself, the WCC weekend also includes a show, dinner event and a seminar programme.
This year was the GCCF’s turn to host the congress, and the weekend started with a drinks reception and buffet on Friday evening, followed by plenty of gossiping in the bar afterwards. We stayed with Anita that night, but didn’t leave the hotel until midnight, so it was after 2am before we got to bed.
On Saturday morning we were up at 7am to head to Wood Green for the show. The WCC show was to be held back-to-back with the Suffolk & Norfolk show, giving exhibitors the chance to win two certificates on the same day. The S&N show is always a fairly large show, and the Wood Green venue is perfect for this type of event, having plenty of space for pens, trade stands, exhibitors and judges alike, not to mention excellent catering facilities and plenty of other things for visitors to do, aside from visiting the show (Wood Green is a large animal shelter).
I was originally booked to steward for Wayne Trevathan, who is a former director of CFA’s (Cat Fancier’s Association) Southern Region, and the CFA’s current WCC delegate. However, the show manager came to me at the reception, and asked if I would consider swapping with another steward, because there had been a mix-up, and that steward had been assigned to a judge who was judging one of her cat’s open classes (it is permitted to handle your own cats in miscellaneous classes, but not opens). As a result, I actually stewarded for Cheryle U’ren, who is the current International Liaison Office for the CCCA (Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia), their delegate to the WCC, and also the WCC’s Vice-President. She was great fun to steward for, and I sincerely hope I get a chance to work with her again in future.
After the show, we had the Gala Dinner, which was a fabulous night, as always. Anita and Rob came along this year, for the first time, as did David and Louise Miskelly. Both couples sat on the same nine-seater table as Richard, Elisabeth and I, and our table was completed by Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese and Asians), and one of her friends. The food was delicious, if a slightly strange choice, and we had some great conversations going. After the meal, the lights were turned down and people took to the dance floor, this being the first time the Gala Dinner has been followed by a disco. The best bit of the evening, however, as in previous years, was the gossiping in the bar after the main event was finished.
We stood for a while chatting to Kate Ekanger (Cloudborn Devons), and Jen and Laura Pinches (Velvarex Devons), who bred the Devons that we owned. When they headed off to bed, we spent a while with Emma Watts (Emanan Somalis), Saffi Rabey, whom I have stewarded for in the past, and is now a member of RACCS, having been a recent convert to the ownership of a Nebelung (her other cats are Maine Coons), and a few others. After a while we joined a group of the foreign judges, including Andreas Mobius, whom Elisabeth had stewarded for at the show, and had some fascinating insights into some of the other cat registries, not to mention a whole array of other topics! When they all headed off to bed, we moved again, and this time joined the hilarious John and Janet Wilshaw (Rossikhan Burmese), Dorothy Stone and others, and had an absolute whale of a time, chatting about everything from Burmese breed politics to the Wilshaw’s imminent 33-year anniversary, and Scottish Independence! We eventually all headed off to bed at about 3am, and it was after 3:30am by the time we actually got into bed!
We were back up at 7:30am on Sunday, to enjoy a cooked breakfast and plenty of chat with Rob, Anita, Elisabeth and John Hansson, before heading across for the seminar starting at 9:15am. The core topic of the seminar programme was ‘Responsible Breeding for Health and Welfare’, and it started with a fascinating insight into the way each of the registries promotes ethical breeding practices and feline welfare, including the various laws relating to the subject in each country. This was followed by talks from a representative of Royal Canin; Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, who conducted the well-known inquiry into dog breeding in 2010; Professor Tim Gruffydd-Jones, who must be one of the UK’s foremost feline geneticists, based out of Bristol Langford’s; and surely one of the world’s foremost feline geneticists, Lesley Lyons. I have heard both the latter speak on several occasions, yet they remain fabulously interesting, and I always come away having learnt lots of new information. Lesley’s was probably my favourite talk of the day, but it was also particularly interesting to hear Patrick Bateson’s opinions on the ethics of cat breeding, given his role in the dog-breeding inquiry. As both he and his daughter, Melissa (also a Professor) are themselves cat breeders, he has a personal understanding of our hobby, as well as his professional understanding of animal breeding more generally.
The seminar was followed by an open meeting, which gives ordinary members of the Cat Fancy the chance to put forward topics for the delegates to discuss at the main WCC closed meeting on the Monday. Most of the attendees showed typically British reticence, however, and the meeting was finished fairly quickly. We dropped both Anita and Elisabeth off on the way home, and finally got back to the house about 2am, so it was a long and tiring weekend, but very, very worthwhile. I wonder if I can save up enough money to go to next year’s congress in Miami, Florida?!
Durham and Northern Counties Show
The week after the WCC we were back down the motorway, though this time only as far as South Shields, for the Durham and Northern Counties double show. We had Bru entered only in the Durham, to try for his 3rd PC, which he won, making him the tenth Cagaran to win a title (and the first of our Ocis to do so).
We also had Donny and Eiteag entered in both shows, Donny for his first Imperials, and Eiteag for Grands. Both boys had strong competition, but Donny won both his Imperials (the first won by an entire of our prefix), and Eiteag was awarded the reserve Grand in one of the shows, in spite of being out of coat and having acne on his chin!
As if those results weren’t good enough, I came back to Donny’s pen near the end of the day, to find that he had also gone Best Foreign Adult again.
I had another enjoyable day stewarding for Chris Bamford, though the enjoyment was slightly marred in the early afternoon, when one of the Birmans became upset and attacked Pat Perkins, one of the other judges. She was badly scratched and bitten, and Richard ended up having to take her to the hospital for stitches and antibiotics. When we collected her again at the end of the day, she was feeling a lot more cheerful, however, and by the time we saw her at the Lakeland show a couple of weeks ago, she had already recovered to the point of just having some minor scarring on her hands and arm.
The weekend after that I was supposed to have a BAC meeting on the Sunday, but it was called off at the last minute, so we went with Mum and Dad to the boat, staying over on the Friday evening, and coming back to get the gardening done on the Sunday. The weather was fabulous, and we sailed down to the Kyles of Bute in glorious sunshine, and then sat at anchor, watching a red deer pick its way across the beach. We came back via the buoy where the dolphin has lived for the past couple of years, and were delighted to find her still in residence, and as playful as ever. I think we must have spent about half-an-hour just going round and round in circles beside her buoy, enjoying the experience of having her ride the pressure wave under the bow.
The next weekend was the Lakeland show, with a West of Scotland Committee meeting to be held in the morning, my birthday the same day, and then an Australian Mist seminar in Leicestershire on the Sunday. We therefore arranged to meet friends for a casual birthday lunch near the show hall, travelling on to drop Sonia off at stud south of Birmingham, staying the night with Rob and Anita, and then heading across for the seminar before heading home again. As it happens, the judge who would have been doing Sonia’s Grand class would be very unlikely to award her the certificate, so there didn’t seem much point entering her. We decided instead just to put her on exhibition, and thought that since we were staying with Anita that night, we would take Tilly to keep Sonia company in the exhibition pen, and then to let Anita see her again. I swithered for a while, and eventually decided to also have a punt with Annas in the Olympian class, since she picked up a Reserve there last year.
The Committee meeting was much quicker than these meetings usually are, and we headed outside to enjoy the sun. After a while, we took a leisurely stroll up to the farm shop for lunch, where some of our friends sang me a thankfully very quiet and fast rendition of Happy Birthday. Annas had really tough competition in the Olympian class, so there was no shame in not placing, but I was rather disappointed that the Best of Breed judge awarded the BOB to the boy, who is nowhere near as good an example of the breed as Annas. Sonia and Tilly seemed to enjoy their day, and were delighted with the concept of being able to come out for cuddles regularly without needing to be pulled about for judging!
After the show, we drove straight down to Di Taylor’s (Brizlincoat Somalis), and set Sonia up in her pen in Di’s gorgeous cattery facility. We have been promised a proper tour when we return to collect Sonia. We then headed across to Rob and Anita’s, where we were taken out for a lovely Indian meal, as a birthday treat. As usual, Anita and I stayed up far too late chatting, and I think it must have been well into the following morning before I crawled into bed.
The Australian Mist seminar was held in a tiny hall, in a village near Market Harborough. The reason for the seminar was that Dr Truda Straede, who created the breed, is spending a few weeks holidaying in Italy, and had agreed to make a detour across to the UK in order to do a breed seminar. The seminar was not supported by the GCCF, because the discussion would be based on the standard as applied in FiFé, but for people not involved in the breed, like us, that didn’t really matter. Dr Straede presented some of her research on the microscopic differences in hair structure between hairs of different colours and patterns, which was fascinating and very enlightening, and there was much entertaining discussion over coffee as well!
Last weekend was another ‘free’ weekend (i.e. one that isn’t taken up with ‘cat stuff’), and we had Elisabeth’s birthday barbecue on the Saturday afternoon/evening, and then a 10CC and Status Quo concert on the Sunday evening. We also squeezed in a trip to the cinema broadcast of one of the last performances of Helen Mirren’s ‘The Audience’, which proved to be laugh-out-loud funny, and well worth attending. Elisabeth’s barbecue was, as always, a great event, and a lovely opportunity to catch up on the lives of some of her friends, whom we only see periodically at her various get-togethers. The concert on the Sunday evening was excellent, and well worth the £45.
I knew every song that 10CC sang, but only knew one of them as a 10CC song (that being “I’m Not In Love”), and was very impressed at the breadth of styles their music covers, and also the multi-instrument talent of the group’s members. Status Quo’s much is more samey, but the band are great showmen, and I thoroughly enjoyed singing along at the top of my voice. Admittedly, some of the best entertainment of the evening was watching two girls who were probably in their late teens or early twenties, and had obviously had a bit much to drink, attempting to dance in front of the stands!
Tracey looked after all the cats, but especially Dàrna’s little one, during the weekends that we have been away, and made her usual fabulous job of it. She was round at least twice every day that we were away, not just throwing some food down, but actually spending hours at the house each time, going from room to room to make sure that all the cats receive plenty of attention – they probably get more when we are away than when we are here! She also checked and weighed the wee one each day, and nicknamed her ‘Scootcher’ because apparently she ‘Scootched’ around her box when she was small – she was certainly the most active Asian/Tiffanie we’ve had as a tiny kitten, walking around her box from the moment we got her back from the vets. Elisabeth, on the other hand, christened the kitten ‘Sparkle-Sparkle’, because apparently she has the sparkle-factor!
She continued her precocious behaviour, purring when feeding at only a day or two old, trying to climb out of the scales at weigh-in time from about a week old, and purring in response to being stroked at only eight days. She’s also growing really well, having doubled his birth weight by the time she was six days old (that is the target for a week old), and now being well over 800g at 7 weeks. Although I spent the first three or four weeks trying to persuade both myself and the kitten, that she was a boy, because I then wouldn’t be tempted to keep her, she declined to participate in my charade, and is quite obviously a girl. I am still trying valiantly to resist the temptation (she is Dàrna’s last kitten, etc. etc.), but whether I succeed will remain to be seen. Richard is keeping out of any discussion over whether or not she stays, which is probably wise, given that I will probably just make my own mind up anyway, almost regardless of what he says!
The lack of a decision over whether or not she is staying, does make decisions over naming rather more complicated. This is our ‘F-litter’, and she is either cream or apricot, so Fiona (from the gaelic for fair-haired) would be a good name for her, but that only works if she’s not staying here, because we already have a Fiona, and having two of them would be too complicated! She therefore remains nameless at present, being known only as Dàrna’s kitten, or the wee one, until we decide what we are doing. She will be due for her first vaccination next week, though, and we’ll need to have a name to put on the vaccination card, so we don’t have that long to decide.
The Ocicat kittens also continue to do well, having had their second vaccinations the first Saturday in June, and then the five who are registered on the Non-Active were neutered a couple of weeks ago, and have been living with us of late. It is rather nice not having to travel to Edinburgh every time I want to see my kittens, particularly since each vet visit has meant being up early enough to collect the kittens at 07:30, in order to be back at our vets with enough time to drop the kittens off and still get into work, then rushing off at 17:30 to collect them again, and take them back to Edinburgh. We have had all six kittens living with us, but Di’s family have decided that they would like to keep the tawny boy, and we feel that is the least we can do, given the favour that Di did for us in taking the kittens when she did, and then keeping them so that they didn’t have to have any upheaval in their early lives.
The first two (literally the first two – Cainnt and Crannag) went to their new homes last Saturday, and are now Hamish and Harry, respectively. Their owner has recently lost an Ocicat neuter boy, Oscar, who has been keeping her company since her husband died, and she has really been missing Oscar’s presence. She wanted an Ocicat to fill the hole left by Oscar’s death, but didn’t want one who looked so like him that she was constantly reminded of his loss. The ticked tabbies were therefore of particular interest, and although she initially liked the idea of having one of each colour, which wasn’t possible anyway, with Di’s family keeping the tawny, she actually found that she preferred the cinnamons. I think they will be a better match anyway, because they often spent time together, whereas the tawny boy is more independent.
The tawny girl continues to shine out as the pick of the litter, and I am still hoping that we can find someone interested in breeding from her, but the search is so far proving fruitless. I will continue looking for another couple of weeks, and if we haven’t found anyone by then, will have her neutered, and find her a pet home. That seems a real waste of a lovely example of the breed, with an amazing temperament and a fabulous pedigree, though, so I’m hoping we won’t have to do that. If you know of anyone who might be interested in breeding Ocis, do let me know!
The other two girls are still looking for their homes, so do also get in touch if you think you might know of someone who would be interested in one or both of them.
As a slight aside, I’ve also had some photos through from the owners of Carrie and Becca (the two cinnamon Variants from the last litter), who you may remember also went to live together. They look very happy and still just as good friends as they were when they left us.
Other Cat News
We also had Grace and Anita’s Keela spayed at the same time as the kittens, so will be looking for new homes for them in due course. Again, if you know of anyone who might be interested in a young adult (Keela will be three in September, and Grace has just turned two), then we would love to hear from you. We are hoping to get Grace made up to Master Cat before she leaves us, since now that she is spayed, she can be shown in the Pedigree Pet section again, something that hasn’t been possible since she was under six months old. We have therefore got her entered in a couple of shows later in the summer, and will start to look for a new home for her after that.
Keela is absolutely adorable with people, and will take however much attention you are prepared to lavish on her, giving lots of love in return. As an entire, she hated other cats, though, so we will wait a few weeks to see whether having her spayed will have softened her attitude towards her fellow felines. If not, she will have to go to a strictly single-cat household, her ideal probably being as a companion to someone who is retired and wants a cat to keep them company around the house.
My brother, Calum, has recently purchased his first house, and is now the proud owner of an idiotic Maine Coon, in the shape of our first pedigree cat, Call. For the past few years, we have had to keep Call and the other neuters separated from our entire girls, because Call is fine living with neuters, but starts spraying if he lives with one or more entire females. This has resulted in none of our cats getting what we feel to be enough of our time, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for us to spend a decent amount of time with each group. When the cats were all in together, they all got to spend time with us, which was far preferable. Calum taking Call has meant that we can start making re-introductions (and in many cases first introductions) between our neutered and entire cats, and although we will need to take this slowly, it is a huge relief to be able to start the process.
A Totally Unrelated Garden Visitor
This last is absolutely nothing to do with the cats, but I couldn’t resist sharing the video of a cute hedgehog that was in our garden last week. He was sitting on our driveway when we got back, and because it was still daylight, I thought maybe he was ill, so I offered him some cat food. Judging by the way that he tucked into the food, he certainly doesn’t seem to have been ill!
Another excellent day at the Scottish show, with six Cagarans winning certificates, and Sonia making up to Champion. Dàrna is in with Eiteag, Fi is in with Donny and Grace looks about ready to pop, so we should have our first 2013 kittens soon.
I wrote the wording for this post on the 19th of last month, but it has taken me until today to find the time to pull some pictures together! On the 16th, we had the delight of a local show, for a change: the Scottish Cat Club show in Larkhall, south of Glasgow. We didn’t have to get out of our beds until 06:30!
There were a total of seven Cagarans entered, the highest number in one show to date, and six of them won certificates! We had Donny in to try for his first Imperial, and Etak and Ayla for their first CCs, then Lona had Tabh entered for another Grand, Lesley had Etak and Ayla’s littermates, Derk and Ella, in for their first PCs, and Tracey had Quinn entered in the Pedigree Pet section, to try for her third Mastercat certificate. We had also taken Dàrna, to try for her third Imperial, and Sonia for her third CC.
Much to our delight, all of the Cagarans owned by other people won the certificates they had gone for, so Quinn made up to Mastercat (PR Cagaran Dorlach & MC Quinn!), Tabh is now sitting on two Grands, and the youngsters won their first PCs.
Etak and Ayla also won their CCs, so that was the whole of that litter winning their first certificates on the same day – a clean sweep of the Tiffanie breed certificate classes! Sonia also won her CC, so she is now a Champion, which is particularly good news, since she’s due for mating soon.
Neither Dàrna nor Donny placed in the Imperial class, but they were both up against some really lovely cats, so there’s no great shame in that.
To top off an excellent day, Karen Hettman’s Zach, who was bred by our best friend, Elisabeth (Dushenka Russian Blues), not only won his second Silver Olympian certificate, but also went Overall Best in Show!
2013 Matings – Again!
Since we’re not needing to keep anything from Tia this year, I’m now thinking that I might try mating her to Apollo – the kittens from that mating should be spectacular, but they won’t carry longhair, so they’re not much use to us as Tiffanie breeders. We should, however, get some cracking show-quality Burmillas, and if we could find some nice show homes for them, it would be great to see some more Burmillas on the show bench. Having decided that, and since we also don’t need to keep anything from Dàrna this year, I’ve put her in with Etak, which gives us guaranteed Tiffs.
I was considering putting Lhasa to Donny, to see if we could produce a brown self Tiffanie to help the Tibetan programme, but I’ve now found out that for various reasons, there is now only one Tibetan breeder left, and she doesn’t use Tiffanies in her breeding. That means that I can send Lhasa down to Quin (Helen’s Burmese boy), which leaves Donny available to be mated with Fi, which is what I’ve done, because she’s another one we don’t need to keep anything from this year. That mating should hopefully give us 50% Tiffs, though the two previous matings we’ve done to longhair carriers have given us entirely Tiffs, which means we’re probably due for a whole litter of shorthairs! Assuming we do sent Lhasa down to use the mating to Quin, we’ll put Tilly to a boy who is from the only surviving line that I can find that is related to Annas’ (our original Tiffanie) mother’s mother!
Last week, I hadn’t decided any of this, but Dàrna and Fi were the first to come into season, so that kind of made my mind up on order, which helped with the decision about which matings to do.
On the Oci side, Grace is almost ready to burst, and looks hugely pregnant. Apologies for the photo quality – whenever I get a proper camera out, she behaves like an idiot, so the only photos I’ve got are phone ones. Still, you get the idea…
We have finally found a home for Bru, who went with his new owner last week, and is now settling in. He is living with a vet student in Glasgow, and although he spent the first night hiding, he is now coming out to play, and will hopefully be fully settled soon. It almost always takes longer to settle a 7-month-old, than it would at 14 weeks, but it still shouldn’t take more than a few days. When I have some photo updates, I will post them for you.
Starting over after a long gap between posts. All of our current cats are introduced, with photos, and an update is given on the kittens available.
It has been three months since I last posted, due to a mixture of illness (mine and Richard’s), and having too much to do, as usual. Since it’s been such a long time, I figured I might as well start afresh, with a re-introduction to us, and our cats.
For those who have followed this blog in the past, a quick update first. The Cumberland show, last month, was pretty special for the Cagaran cats, because we had our first TWO Grands on the same day! Lona Johnson’s Lainni made up to Grand Premier, and our Donny made Grand Champion. We were absolutely delighted, as you might imagine!
On a more sombre note, you will remember that we had to have our beautiful Katie put to sleep back in June, and also lost two kittens to chest infections which we believed were the result of them breathing in milk. A couple of months ago, we finally got all of the necropsy results back, and found out that the problem was actually a bacterial infection from the same family as e-coli.
Those of you who have visited us here, will know how careful we are about hygiene in the kitten room, but because the mothers were carrying the infection, our precautions were useless in this case. Thankfully, however, the lab was able to identify an antibiotic that kills that particular strain of infection, and we have now treated every cat in the house, to ensure that we don’t have a repeat of this year’s problems.
Now, back to the introductions…
Cagaran is a jointly-owned prefix, but I (Heather) do the blogging. The other half of the Cagaran ‘partnership’ is my partner/boyfriend, Richard. We’ve been together since 2001, were adopted by our first cat in 2002, and bought our first pedigree in 2005. We showed for the first time in 2008, and had our first litters in 2010. We have owned a number of different breeds, but our passion is Tiffanies, which are the semi-longhaired member of the Asian Group. We also work with Asian Shorthairs, who have the same fabulous temperament as the Tiffanies, but without the flowing coat, and have had a couple of litters of Ocicats.
At present we have fifteen cats for whom this is their permanent home.
Jinny is the oldest, and is also the cat whom we’ve had the longest, having adopted her from a rescue in January 2005. She is a longhaired moggy, and will be a teenager next year. She is the matriarch, and the other cats tend to do her bidding.
Next oldest are our two neuter boys: Call and Ali, who will both be eight next year. Call is a Maine Coon, and was our first pedigree cat. Ali is a shorthaired moggy, and came from the same rescue shelter as Jinny, where he was taken at just a couple of days old, with his feral mum.
Annas was our first Tiffanie, and the cat who made us fall in love with the breed. We didn’t buy her as a show cat, but it turned out that she made a rather good one, and was the first Tiffanie to become an Imperial Grand, and also the first (and still only) Tiffanie to win the UK title. She will be five at the start of next month.
Next is Dàrna, who was one of our foundation Tiffanie queens, and will be four in February. She is a Grand Champion, but her biggest asset is her purry, cuddly temperament. She had her first litter in 2010, from which Fiona is a Champion and Tabh is a Premier with two Grand certificates. Dàrna’s second litter was born in 2011, and in that we had Donny, who is a Grand, and Quinn, who made Premier at the Supreme, last weekend!
After Dàrna are Tia and Lhasa, who we are very lucky to have been entrusted with in the past few months, after their owners decided to give up breeding. Both girls are two, and have the most spectacular temperaments imaginable. Their breeders and previous owners must have given them a lot of love and care to have them become such adorable girls, and we are privileged to have the chance to continue that. Tia is a Burmilla, and Lhasa is another Tiffanie. Both girls are so ridiculously cuddly that it is almost impossible to get a photo of them, because virtually every photo has them either upside down, wriggling around wanting their bellies rubbed, or with their heads so close to the camera that it hasn’t a hope of focusing. The photo of Tia below is actually surprisingly decent, but we the one of Lhasa is just the best of a bad bunch – at least she has her eyes open, and isn’t upside down in this one!
Actually, between Tia and Lhasa comes Fiona, or just Fi, who was from Dàrna’s first litter. She was Best Kitten at her first show, the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society), and Best Foreign at her third, but unfortunately decided that she didn’t like being shown when she was a bit older, so we withdrew her from the bench when she made Champion. She had her first litter this summer, which were particularly special because they were our first out of a Cagaran parent. It helps that they are all beautiful! We still have two available, due to a change in the personal circumstances of a would-be owner, but more on them later.
Apollo is our beautiful stud boy, who came to us from Steve Crow and Tommy Goss. He is another Burmilla, and will be two next month. He has to live in an outside run, because he sprays, but is so soppy that he stands on his head in an attempt to squirm closer to us when we go out to spend time with him. He is also a Champion, and has one (surprise) Grand certificate, but is very immature-looking, so we will need to give him time to develop before showing him further.
Grace is next after Apollo. She is an Ocicat Variant, from an outcross mating between an Ocicat Classic and an Abyssinian. These matings are done to reduce the inbreeding levels within the breed, producing healthier kittens, and we were very fortunate to be allowed access to the beautiful Stanley to do the outcross. Grace had her first litter earlier this year, giving us two Variants like herself, one Ocicat and two Ocicat Classics. We still have the two Variants and the Ocicat available, but again, more on them later.
Donny comes next, at 15 months old. He was from Dàrna’s second litter, to a gorgeous old Burmese boy, who has since unfortunately passed away. As a result, Donny’s pedigree is very special, and we have therefore kept him to continue his Dad’s line. Like his half-sister (Fi), the year before him, Donny was Best Kitten at the AGCS, and has been Best Foreign Adult twice. He is an Asian Smoke, and we are incredibly lucky that he still doesn’t spray at present. How long that will continue for, we have no idea, but we’re enjoying having him living in our kitchen in the meantime. He has the most amazing temperament, and everyone who comes into our kitchen somehow winds up with him in their arms, though they usually have no idea how he got there!
After Donny is Sonia, who is a gorgeous Somali from George Gow. She was born in January of this year, and we bought her as an outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Tiffanies. Cinnamon is an allowed colour in Tiffs, but there are virtually none of them around, so Sonia is hopefully going to help us to both strengthen the gene pool for this colour, whilst also giving us an injection of new blood to benefit the breed more generally. She has two CCs (Challenge certificates), so only needs one more to become a Champion.
The babies of the bunch are Eiteag, Ayla and Cheeky, who are all from this year’s litters. Eiteag wasn’t originally going to be staying with us, but as he got older, he kept improving in type, and we decided to keep him to do a single mating for the Cinnamon programme. He can then be neutered and live as a companion to Donny, whom he shares the kitchen with, and the two cuddle around each other in the most adorable way.
Ayla is Eiteag’s sister, and is the kitten from that litter, who was always intended to be staying. She is an absolute poppet, and she chose us, rather than the other way around, cuddling up to me from a very early age. She loves shows, and is totally bomb-proof, as she proved at the Supreme last weekend, when she was being passed around from person to person, purring continuously and kissing people’s noses!
Cheeky is Grace’s daughter, and one of our first Ocicat Classics. Since Ocis are just a sideline for us, we let the best in the litter go to our friends Anita and Rob, because they breed Ocis more ‘seriously’ than we do. Cheeky was my favourite for temperament, though she is an absolute rascal, as the name suggests. We are planning to have a bit of fun showing her, to help the breed towards Championship recognition (they are Intermediates at present), but we will need to wait and see how she develops before we decide whether to have some Oci kittens from her.
Looking for New Homes:
We have five kittens and one adult looking for new homes at present, so if you know of someone who might be interested, do let us know!
Breckin was bought to be our foundation Ocicat queen, but we didn’t feel that her temperament was suitable for breeding, so had her spayed. Unfortunately, she still isn’t happy as part of a big group of cats, and feel that she would be better with just one or two other cats. After discussions with her breeder, Rita, we are therefore looking for a new home for her. She is very shy, and would need a patient owner who can take the time to settle her, but she is very loving when she relaxes.
Previous readers of this blog will remember Ying, who came to visit Fi’s kittens when they were just a few weeks old. She has since had the exciting news that she has been offered a six month placement in Australia. She didn’t want to uproot a kitten such a long distance for just six months, so both Derk and Ellie are still looking for their forever homes. They both love cuddles, and we often wake up to find them snuggled down into the bed. If we watch TV in the livingroom, we usually end up with one each, cuddled up on our laps, purring away. Both have developed beautifully, and would make lovely show neuters, or super, cuddly family pets. We were visited by a lovely family over the weekend, and Annas absolutely adored the wee boy, so I am hopeful that we might have found the right home for at least one of them.
The Oci kittens are now ready to go to find their families, and indeed Breagha has already gone off to live with Anita and Rob. They had her along to the Supreme last weekend, where she won her first and Best of Breed, and looked wonderfully relaxed, in spite of all the hustle of such a large show. Since we are keeping Cheeky, that leaves Bru, Carrie and Becca.
Bru has grown into a lovely young lad, with beautiful clear spots, and a sweet face. He likes his cuddles, and likes to curl up on top of us when we go to bed. Carrie is the boldest of the three, and is always the first to come and say hello. She is very talkative, but prefers to be stroked whilst sitting on the bed or a chair, rather than being picked up and cuddled. Becca used to be quite shy, but has really come into her own in the past couple of weeks. She now jumps up on the bed end and trills at us to ask to be picked up for a stroke.
Well… I will no doubt see some of you at the West of Scotland show, where I will be having my first shot as a judge, in the Household Pet section. When this was first suggested, I was just excited to participate in shows in a new way, but as the date approaches, I must confess to a bit of an attack of nerves. I’m sure that I’ll be fine once I’m actually there and judging, but at the moment it’s a daunting prospect. I’m also doing my first bit of show management preparation, for next year’s Scotia show, with judge invitations being my first role.
I think that’s it for tonight, but I will try and post more regularly, even if it’s just a quick photo update. All the best,
Introducing Sonia, our first Somali, and saying farewell to Katie, Xaria and Quinn. We have had some good show results, and another two litters, and Fi’s kittens continue to do well.
It is over two months since I last posted an update, and there has been lots of news in that time, both good and bad.
I am delighted to introduce Sonia, Gowlaren Sonia Cagaran, our first Somali! She is a usual, but carries sorrel (cinnamon), making her a potential outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Asians. She was bred by George Gow (a senior GCCF judge), who was going to keep her to show. However, we happened to be visiting, and when I fell in love with her, he asked if I was interested in her. The only proviso is that we have to show her – hardly an issue!
She is a beautiful girl, with a great temperament and a lovely pedigree incorporating some fabulous old lines. She is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had, and has to be stroked before she can eat her food. She is rather prone to virtually tripping us up, though, because she’s so determined to glue herself to our ankles!
She is currently living with Fi and her kittens, and since Sonia is still a kitten herself (although she’s the same size as Fi now!), she is loving playing with Fi’s kittens. The two boys, in particular, are quite often found racing her around the room.
The Lakeland Show has always been a good one for us, with Call winning one of his PCs and Xaria and Tármus making up to Premier there in 2009, Xaria finally winning her first Imperial there, along with Breckin and Ali both winning Grands in 2010 and then Dàrna making up to Grand there last year. This year it lived up to past performance, with Sonia, out for the first time, winning first and Best of Breed in her kitten class, Donny winning his second CC and Best of Breed, and Annas taking the Reserve Olympian in a very strong class (even beating the newly Gold Olympian Mylward Sassafras), as well as taking the Best of Breed.
Donny was an absolute poppet all day, even taking part in the second demonstration presentation for the YES! scheme (young exhibitors). This is a new initiative, getting the YES! Mentors, of which you may remember I am one, to demonstrate how to present a cat to young people on the scheme and those thinking of starting. Donny was the ideal cat to use for this, because he just stood beautifully on the table, and was interested in everything that was going on. He even stood up on his hind legs, with his paws on my chest, to give my nose a kiss, bless him!
To top off a good day, Donny went on to take Best Foreign Adult, our first time winning that accolade, let alone with a cat of our breeding. Unfortunately, we forgot to take any photos on the day, so we had to take some of him with his rosettes, when we got home.
When I last posted, Katie had given birth to two still-born kittens, and was now helping Fi to look after her kittens. Unfortunately, after a few days doing that, Katie lost interest in Fi’s kittens, and became depressed. We moved her down the stairs to live with Donny, and for a few days she seemed to be happier, without the constant reminder of kittens around. After that, however, she again became depressed, and for the next three weeks we had her in and out to the vet, running tests and trying to find out what was causing her depression.
For about a week, we were having to force-feed her, but she was getting so distressed by this, that we had to stop doing it. We even discussed the possibility of having her on a drip at the vets, but they felt that there was no point doing that unless we could find a reason for the depression, because she couldn’t spend the rest of her life on a drip!
She spent most of her time lying in her basket looking miserable, and it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch, as she got thinner and thinner. After a couple of weeks, she had lost so much muscle that she could hardly walk, yet we still had no medical explanation. I came down one morning, and found her lying limp, barely moving, and with obvious swelling around her kidneys. I took her straight to the vet, who ran some more tests, and reported that most of her organs were failing, and that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to sleep.
I asked them to wait until I could get back along, to be there at the end. She was brought through in the arms of one of the vet nurses, with her drip attached, and laid on a blanket on the vet’s table. The vet was able to inject the anaesthetic into the drip, rather than having to inject her directly, so we were able just to stroke her the whole time. I am sure that most animals know when the end has come, and Katie was no different. I hadn’t heard her purr since she had the still-births, yet as the vet pushed the plunger, she started purring.
The vets took some more tests, but we haven’t found anything to explain what happened. The only thing we can think of is that Katie was always so precise, and liked everything to be perfect, and that she couldn’t cope with the idea of the still-births. A friend of mine has had two still-born babies, and she said this: “It’s entirely possible that Fi’s kittens were a nice replacement at first… but then she realized they were just a replacement and hers were gone. Then, if she’s anything like me, Fi’s kittens probably pissed her off and put her further into depression. It’s hard coming out on the other side and finding something to live for. It’s hard finding something to be happy about again. It’s hard to have any desire for ANYTHING anymore. You have no idea how hard I prayed and begged to be put to sleep, have a heart attack, a wreck, anything. I even tried to take matters into my own hands more than once. I know you loved her, and you did her the biggest favor you could have ever done for her.”
When we were taking the photos of Donny with his rosettes after the Lakeland, we started off with a white background, and later switched to a black one. At that point, Katie came over to see what we were doing, and we took a few photos of her as well. I wasn’t for a moment expecting those to be the last ones we would ever take of her. It is some of those last photos that you see here.
RIP little Katie. Sweet dreams.
Xaria and Quinn’s New Home
You may remember that we had a potential owner here to meet the kittens just before my last post. That was Tracey, who was actually looking for two kittens, but having met (and fallen in love with) Quinn, she decided that she would take Quinn and one kitten. Obviously, the kittens weren’t ready to leave yet, so she came back to visit again a few days later.
Twenty years ago, Tracey had Russian Blues, and even had a litter of kittens from her girl, before a change of circumstances stopped her breeding plans. When she visited us again a few days after her first visit, she asked to meet the other cats. When she met Xaria, she literally started crying, because she missed her Russians so much. When Xaria sat nicely in her arms, you could have knocked me over with a feather – Xaria had never sat like that for anyone. Suddenly, I found myself asking if she wanted Xaria instead of a kitten, and she said yes.
As it happens, Xazzle has never got on very well with our other cats, so we’ve always had a problem deciding who to keep her with. As a result, she has been moved around our house, trying every possible permutation, and the only cats that she would live nicely with were Apollo and Quinn. I didn’t want to leave her out with Apollo, because it seems a shame for her to have to live in the garden, so she had been living with Quinn.
I took both girls down to Tracey’s a few days later, and they now seem to have settled in beautifully. I couldn’t be more delighted, because we’ve found somewhere that Xazzle can be happy, and a home for Quinn, in one go, and they are only ten minutes away! I’ve been down to see them several times, since, though Xaria is highly suspicious of me, in case I take her away again. That’s exactly the same as she was with Elisabeth after coming to us initially – it took at least half-a-dozen visits before she trusted Elisabeth not to take her away again.
Dàrna and Grace’s Kittens
Both Dàrna and Grace had their kittens right on schedule – Dàrna on the 11th of July and Grace two days later, on the 13th. I refer to the two litters together, because they have been together from the start – Dàrna acted as ‘midwife’ for Gracie’s labour, helping to deliver the kittens, cleaning them and Gracie, and showing Gracie what to do. When Gracie seemed unsure about what to do with the placenta, Dàrna licked at one, and then pushed it under Gracie’s nose, as if to say “here, you’re supposed to eat it”.
Dàrna had just two kittens again, and they benefited hugely from the arrival of Gracie’s five kittens two days later. Before Gracie’s kittens were here, Dàrna’s two hadn’t been feeding particularly well, and as a result were not gaining as much as we would have liked. After Gracie’s kittens arrived, Dàrna’s two began competing with them, and started making much better gains.
In Dàrna’s litter, the kittens were guaranteed to be Asians, rather than Tiffanies, because Apollo unfortunately does not carry longhair (we DNA-tested him). The first out was a boy, who looked to be a brown silver shaded, followed by a girl, who was probably a brown tortie shaded (not silver). Unfortunately, both kittens aspirated (breathed) some milk, and in spite of being given antibiotics, died due to the resultant pneumonia. This is apparently a relatively common problem, which almost inevitably results in death, and neither Grace nor Dàrna seemed particularly concerned by the losses, just carrying on with the remaining five kittens, as if there had never been another two.
I found it a lot harder than they seemed to, particularly since I’d spent the week leading up to their deaths, desperately trying to help them clear the fluid from their lungs. Since it happened, I’ve had at least four or five breeder friends tell me that they’ve lost kittens the same way, but we were really unlucky to have two in one litter. Mind you, when it comes to losing kittens, when are we not really unlucky?! The kittens are buried with Katie and her two kittens, so they will hopefully be playing together as a little family somewhere.
Gracie started her labour by giving us a cinnamon classic girl, then two cinnamon variant girls, another cinnamon classic girl, and finally a tawny spotted boy. The two classics and the spotty are our first Ocicats, our previous Ocicat litter being all Variants. Two cinnamon Classics is a fabulous result, because cinnamon is my favourite colour of Ocicat, and I prefer the Classics to the standard Ocis. Even better that the cinnamons are both girls!
My hope had been to get a cinnamon girl for myself, plus another girl for Anita (Bryce – Anizz Ocicats & Tiffanies), and possibly a girl to offer to Stacie (Shorten – Ameeka Ocicats & Abyssinians, who bred Grace’s dam). Assuming that the two Classic girls develop as well as it currently looks like they will, Anita and I have our girls. If the boy develops well, I may be able to offer him to Stacie, and otherwise she could have the better of the variants, if she wishes.
Humberside & Lincs Show
I was really looking forward to the Humberside & Lincs show this year, for two reasons, the main one being that I was finally getting to steward for Lynda Ashmore, an engagement I had had to book almost two years in advance! The second reason was that Donny had two chances to get his third, and final, Challenge Certificate, which would make him the first male Cagaran to win a title.
Elisabeth had been going to come down with us, but her Ziva had to have a C-section on the Thursday before. Since we would be needing to stay away overnight due to the show having moved further south (to Newark, fairly close to Richard’s parents), it wasn’t possible for her to come. Instead, we did a swap, where she looked after our kittens, and we took her cats down to the show.
We had also borrowed Quinn back from Tracey for the show, having entered her before Tracey had approached us. I had, however, warned Tracey that I thought Quinn might have one of the certificates withheld by Grace Denny, due to her coat being too long. As it happens, the outcome was correct, but not from the judge that I would have expected – Grace Denny awarded the PC in the Humberside show, but Sarndra Devereux withheld in the Lincs. Quinn therefore needs one more certificate to become a Premier, but given that Tracey had the girls in the Rexfest as Ped-Pets at the start of this month, and absolutely loved it, I don’t think that will be an issue! Incidentally, both girls got their Mastercat and Best of Colour awards at the Rexfest – Xaria now only needs one more to become a Mastercat, having won the certificate there last year.
Annas didn’t place in either show at the Humber-Lincs, but I wasn’t expecting her to, given the competition. Donny and I, on the other hand, both had excellent days. Stewarding for Lynda was well worth the wait, and Donny won the CC and Best of Breed in both shows, so I was well pleased, and glad we made the effort to go the extra distance.
As we were packing up, at the end of the day, one of the judges informed me that he had chosen Donny for Best Foreign Adult. I had no idea that he had gone up for Best of Variety, because only the Overall Best Foreign results were announced. That’s his second BOV Adult in a row, and I couldn’t be more delighted with him. He beat some fantastic cats for the award, so I can only assume that he’s such a big, soppy lump that the judges are forgiving him his worse bits!
Edinburgh and Chester Shows
The Edinburgh show was just the week after the Humberside & Lincs, and since we can only show every second week, we couldn’t actually show at both. I was booked to steward for John Hansson, however, so knew I would definitely be attending. As it happens, there were two Cagarans there, because Lona brought both Lainni and Tabh. Lainni didn’t win her Grand, but Tabh was given his third, and final, PC, making him up to Premier. He is the fourth titled Cagaran, the others being Fi, Lainni and Donny.
Having made Champion at the Humberside & Lincs, Donny was then eligible for the Grand class at the Chester show, four weeks later. We had been planning to go to the Chester just to enjoy a day out in Chester, so we figured we might as well enter him in the Grand as a punt. The judge was Di Harper, who isn’t keen on Donny, so we didn’t expect him to do anything, and sure enough, he wasn’t placed in the Grand. He did, however, do very well in his side classes, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd against strong competition and in classes of at least six.
Update on Fi’s Kittens
Fi’s kittens are now 15 weeks, have had their vaccinations and can go to their new homes. They have developed beautifully, and it is still a very close call between ‘Kitten 1’ and ‘Kitten 3’ as to who is the most typey. The other two have also come on a lot, however, and although not showing as much show potential as their siblings, are still rather nice. ‘Kitten 4’ reminds me of his gran (Dàrna) at the same age, and since she’s a Grand with two Imperial certificates, that can’t be so bad! Likewise, ‘Kitten 2’ reminds me a lot of Cailin (another Shogun baby), who has two CCs and two Best in Show awards as a kitten, so I don’t think we can really complain about her, either!
We decided fairly early-on that Kitten 1 was going to be Eala-something, Eala being Gaelic for ‘Swan’. We have since settled on Eala-Bianach, which literally translates as ‘Furry Swan’, but it was picked because it has a nice sound, rather that due to the translation. Her pet name is Ayla, which is how Eala is pronounced. Her spots have pretty well completely disappeared, so we’ve registered her as a chocolate tortie silver shaded BCR, like Dàrna, though Ayla currently has a softer tone to her chocolate. She is a very pretty girl, and we are keeping her to continue our breeding line.
Kitten 2 is Ealasáid, which is pronounced Elaset, and is gaelic for Elisabeth. We decided on that name when she was about six weeks old, and the fiestiest kitten in the litter – she was named after Elisabeth (Stark), who is also fiesty!! Her pet name is Elly, and she is definitely a chocolate tortie silver spotted (full expression), though a darker chocolate than her sister. She is going to be living in St Andrews, with a lovely lady called Ying.
Kitten 3’s pedigree name is Éiteag-Bàrr (pronounced Ehtak-Bawr), which is gaelic for ‘Cream Quartzite’, and his pet name is Etak. He’s called that because his colouring reminds me of the stone, with a pale base overlaid with cream. He still has spots, but they are very faint, because his whole colouration is very pale and delicate. He’s a gorgeous boy, and will make a cracking show neuter. He’s also a real softy – undoubtedly the gentlest in the litter, and will climb up onto the bed wanting cuddles. I wish we were needing another boy, because I would have had no hesitation keeping him as a stud.
The final kitten is known as Derk, that being the pronunciation of the second part of his pedigree name, Èibhill-Dearg, which means ‘Red Ember’. I think he is either a burmese-restriction red smoke or a red silver spotted, though he could be apricot, and isn’t necessarily a silver or burmese-restriction!! We have registered him as a red silver spotted BCR, because the older he gets, the more he looks like that.
Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while, will know that we don’t generally have people in to see the kittens until they’ve had their first vaccinations. On this occasion, we made an exception for Ying, because she was going abroad to visit family for the whole of this month, and part of next month. That obviously meant that she needed to meet the kittens before she went, if she was to have a choice of which one to take. She came to visit twice last month, and decided to book Elly, whose fiesty temperament she fell in love with when Elly started swinging from her cardigan!
After the kittens had their first vaccinations, Elly and the two boys unfortunately came down with some sort of eye infection, and we therefore didn’t invite anyone else in to meet the kittens, until that could be cleared up. Thankfully, they have been fine for over three weeks now, with no further sign of any issue. The photos above were taken on the 19th of this month, so you can see that they are all completely better. Having not had anyone in to meet them, though, we are obviously needing to look for homes for the two boys now, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, do let me know!
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 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 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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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’!
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!
Kia and Quinn have been spayed, and Kia has settled into her new home. Apollo also seems to have settled, being a much happier boy since the Scottish. Fi may or may not be pregnant, but Keela definitely wasn’t, and is now back with us to have another shot with Shogun. Shogun is now a Champion, and Apollo won his first Grand.
Kia and Quinn were succesfully spayed the second week in January. When I collected them, the vet receptionist warned me that Quinn had been trying to lick her stitches, and had managed to remove the collar they had given her, three times whilst still in her pen at the practice. They didn’t think the collar would even last the evening, so we were just going to have to keep an eye on her licking, ourselves. She did indeed have the collar off within a couple of hours of getting home, so I put a tiny bit of Vicks vaporub in a circle around the area of the spay. Cats don’t like the smell (it’s menthol and eucalyptus), so she stopped trying to lick it and didn’t start again even once the vaporub had evaporated. As an aside, I was fascinated to see that her skin is pale – normally a dark-coloured cat would have dark skin, but it must be because she’s a smoke, and therefore has a pale undercoat, that hers is pink.
Both girls had their checkup ten days later, and since there were no problems, I let Sheona know that Kia would be okay to move in with them that weekend. We then had several busy days, because I am the secretary for RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland), whose AGM was the third weekend last month, and the AGM notification and papers had to go out 21 days in advance of the meeting. That was a welcome distraction from thinking about having to say goodbye to our sweet little Kia. I still haven’t started looking for a home for Quinn yet – really must get onto that, but I just keep putting it off…
Kia’s New Home
The last Sunday in January, we got all of Kia’s paperwork ready, and then put her into her basket for the journey. Normally, when you opened the door to the room that she was in, she was right behind it, ready to say hello. This time, Richard had to collect her from the far side of the room, so she definitely knew something was going on, and that set me off worrying whether we were doing the right thing.
When we got to Sheona’s, however, I opened the front of the basket, and in typical Ocicat fashion, Kia was immediately out and running around to explore her new surroundings. Richard and I sat in the livingroom with Sheona and Bruce, having a cup of tea, and after a few minutes, Kia started rubbing around their legs, but wouldn’t come near us. She would rub around them and then stand in front of them, looking at Richard and I as if to say “These people are acceptable. You can go now”. Once she was sure we got the message, she then came and gave us a quick cuddle on the couch, before going back to exploring and playing with her new toys. She absolutely loves their windowledges (which Sheona had cleared ready for Kia’s arrival!), because the flat is on the 4th floor, with views down the River Kelvin, and plenty of birds to chirp at. Even better, they all have radiators immediatley below them to keep her warm!
When we headed for the door, Kia took herself off into the bedroom and sat under the bed. It took us a few minutes to persuade her that she really was giong to be allowed to stay there, and then she came out to say a quick goodbye before going off to sit on one of the windowledges again. In some ways that actually made it easier, because she was so obviously perfectly content to move into a new environment. We’ve since had updates from Sheona, and even a video of Kia exploring, and she has settled in beautifully, which if we were honest we always knew she would. I think we just didn’t want to admit that she’d be fine without us!
Scottish Cat Club Show
The first weekend last month saw us going to the Scottish Cat Club show in Larkhall, just a bit south of Glasgow. This is one of the more local shows for us, so we went along to help set up on the Friday, and were allowed to set up our own pens at the same time. That meant that when we got there on the show morning, we only had to put down food and pop the cats in their pens. This was just as well, given that we were running very late due to having had to give Apollo a bath in the morning.
When I went to get him, he’d obviously been having a mud bath overnight, so our lovely apricot silver was now a grey! We got him cleaned up and had to put him straight into his basket without time to dry him off. We stuck him next to the space heater in the car, in the hope that the hot air would dry him out, but by the time we got to vetting-in, he was still very soggy, and kind of squelched onto the vet’s table. Given that this was the first time Steve was going to have seen him since we brought him home, this wasn’t the best possible start to the morning! As it happens, once Apollo was in his pen, I managed to get him dried off with a spare blanket, and then we went over his coat with a slicker brush, so by the time the judges saw him you would never have known!
We also took Shogun, Annas, Ali and little Donny. Lona was there with both Lainni and Tabh, so this was the first show where there have been three Cagarans in competition, which was rather nice! It was particularly lovely to see Tabh again – we haven’t seen him since the last time he was out on the bench, at this show last year, when he left us to go home with Lona! Lainni didn’t place in the Grand, but did well in her side classes, and Tabh won his first PC, making him the fourth Cagaran to win a certificate.
Annas won the Reserve Olympian, Ali got the Reserve Grand and came second in the last ever Scottish Royal Canin final (winning £20, which covered his entry fee!), Apollo won his first Grand, and Shogun won his third and qualifying CC, so he is now a Champion!
Donny is still just a kitten, so wasn’t up for any certificates, but he did well in his sides, and the judges liked his type, so that was the main thing.
Ever since we got Apollo at first, he had been uptight and nervy, refusing to settle. We thought we would try him at the Scottish, since it isn’t too far to travel, and see how he coped before entering anything else with him. However, the show saw him have a complete personality transplant, and he rolled around in his pen rubbing his head on anyone who stuck their hands in, and generally being adorable, so there’s no issue there. Even better, he has continued the transformation since we got back, and has been utterly adorable ever since. When we go out to his pen now, he comes out of his house and will rub against us and purr loudly, and gets so soppy that he virtually falls over in his efforts to get you to stroke him all over. We couldn’t be more delighted with the change, as we now have the sweet boy that we were expecting, though he still ‘talks’ with a loud Essex accent, lol!
Coventry & Leicester Show
A fortnight after the Scottish, we took the Friday afternoon off work, and drove down to stay with our friends, Tracy and Gary, collecting Elisabeth on the way. Tracy and Gary seem to put us up every few months, with assorted cats in tow, and are always gracious and good-natured, regardless of our odd departure times, and habit of arriving later than we thought. We are so lucky that they put up with us!
We were a couple of hours down the motorway when we realised that my handbag had been left at home. The main issue was that it contained the vaccination cards for not only our cats, but also for Keela, because we had forgotten to leave hers with Anita when we returned Keela in January. Thankfully, the GCCF has a rule that if you forget your vaccination card, you can send it in to the GCCF office within 7 days, so we had a debate about whether to turn around and go back, or carry on and just fill in the paperwork to send the cards in. I phoned Anita and asked if she would be okay with us doing the latter, and she said that was fine, as long as I was sure about the rule.
Poor Katie has had an eye infection for several weeks, starting around the time of the Notts & Derbys. You may remember that we didn’t take her to that show, because she was pulling funny faces on the show morning? It seems those silly faces were the beginning of this infection, for which we’ve been giving her eye drops ever since. It is improving, but the progress has been very slow. Since she’s supposed to get her drops every hour or two during the day, we couldn’t leave her at home whilst we went down to the show, so she came too. I sat in the back seat, and took her out of her basket every hour to put her drops in. We had to pull into a services at one point, because the bottle had fallen on the floor and rolled away under the seats – perhaps Katie pushed it off deliberately!
We got to Tracy and Gary’s a bit later than planned, but still in time to have a nice dinner with them, and a bit of a catch-up. Just after we had gone to bed, I heard a strange noise, and turned the light on to discover that Katie, whose stomach has been rather upset by her medication, had had a ‘little accident’ on the blanket over the top of the bed, and Donny was busy getting it all over his feet trying to clean it up. Thankfully it hadn’t gone through the blanket to the duvet underneath, so Richard got a bin-bag (we always carry some when travelling) and stuck the blanket in that, outside the front door (!), whilst I took Donny into the bathroom and got him cleaned up. We washed the blanket when we got home, and will post it back down to Tracy and Gary, because it didn’t seem fair to have them clean that up as well as looking after us! Oh the joys of travelling with animals. Actually, that’s not fair, because we’ve never had a problem before – there’s a first time for everything, I suppose.
Anyway, we got up and away on Saturday morning basically on schedule, and the journey took us less than an hour, putting us at the hall just after 8am. This is the show’s first year in a new venue, which wasn’t too far from the motorway and had excellent parking. Sue Moreland was the duty vet, and she is always easy to deal with, so we got the vetting-in paperwork completed without problem. Whilst I finished penning the cats, Richard went off to buy a slicker-brush and grooming glove, because those were in the handbag that had been left in Scotland. We had taken Annas, Dàrna and Donny, and all three looked lovely – especially Annas, whose coat showed up beautifully under the lighting in the new venue.
After penning the cats and getting them ready, Richard and I went off to get breakfast in the cafe, whose food was excellent and reasonably priced. Richard then went back to check on the cats, whilst I went to find the judges room and mark up my steward’s card. The show had received record entries, and three of the judges had been so popular that their original ‘books’ (list of cats to judge) had been just under 140 cats each! To put that into context, the recommended maximum number is 70, and 50 is considered a fairly heavy book. My judge, Elaine Culf, was one of the popular ones, but thankfully the show managers had managed to bring in some other judges, and move some of Elaine’s less critical classes over to them. Elaine only judges in the Semi-Longhair section at the moment, and we had some stunning Maine Coons and Birmans, in particular, and an absolutely gorgeous Siberian, who was her pick for Best Semi-Longhair kitten.
At one point, I collected a beautiful cream Birman neuter female from her pen, and when I realised that it was Mylward Sassafras (there are not many 12-year-old cream Birmans being shown, let alone ones that gorgeous), I knew that Annas wasn’t going to have got the Olympian, particularly given that the equally stunning Danleigh Starburst was in the pen next to Sassafras. Both girls have been extremely successful and are already Bronze Olympians, and Annas just isn’t quite up to their standard, beautiful as she is. Sure enough, Sassafras and Starburst had been awarded the female neuter Olympian and Reserve, but not placing in a class of eight fantastic exhibits is no great failing. I’ve never seen such big classes at the top levels as were there yesterday – it is lovely to see a class of 14 in an Olympian and ten in an Imperial. That’s proper competition! Dàrna was in the 10-in-the-Imperial class, and also didn’t place, but again I can’t get upset about her loosing out against such competition.
Donny won his kitten class and Best of Breed, and also did very well in his side classes – probably his best result being 2nd in the Foreign 50th Birthday class, which was huge, and against adults and neuters as well as kittens. The winner in that class was a beautiful Mau, and the judge said that Donny only lost out on maturity! I spoke to a couple of the judges after the show, and they were saying how lovely his head is, and how much he’s come on since they saw him at the AGCS! It’s lovely to get such good feedback for one of our own-bred kittens.
A week past yesterday, I had a day-trip to Newcastle for a work meeting with the northern account manager for PRS. I managed to pop briefly into the office at the very end of the working day, but had to leave sharp because we had the West of Scotland committee meeting in Glasgow that evening. This was the post-show meeting, so there was plenty to discuss, and by the end of the evening I was very much ready for my bed.
We are back into ‘AGM Season’, so Saturday saw us driving down to Anita’s, to stay overnight before the Ocicat AGM on Sunday. It was great to see little Cailin again, though she was a bit wary with us – probably because the last time we visited Anita’s we were dropping Keela off, and she was rather unpleasant to Cailin afterwards. We had a lovely meal with Anita and Rob, and plenty of cat-chat, then a nice easy start the next morning with just a 40-minute drive to the AGM.
As always, that was an enjoyable event, with a meal beforehand and tea and cake afterwards. We had taken Katie with us again, because she’s still on the eye-drops, and thought we might as well take Grace as her travelling companion, rather than Dàrna, as we normally would. That meant that I was able to take Grace in after the meeting, and let the experienced Oci breeders give me their thoughts on her. Rosemary thinks that she has the potential to give us some really good type kittens, and Stacie has suggested that we take her to Curry, who is Rosemary’s cinnamon Ocicat stud. He carries classic, so that would suit us perfectly, since it would have the potential to produce both Ocis and Classics, as well as the almost inevitable variants. We will probably take her down to Rosemary in a couple of months.
Fi was finally mated the last weekend in January, and having seen a mating, we now know that one of the issues (aside from her being a pain and rolling onto her back!) is that she is very long in the body, whereas he is quite compact, so he actually finds it quite difficult to mate her!
A week ago, she was very slightly pinked up, which can either mean a pregnancy, or that they are coming back into season. Obviously, we were hoping for the former, but when I got up last Saturday morning, Fi was rolling around on the floor, standing in the classic calling pose, and even making little calling noises. This was the first time she’s actually come properly into call like that, so I scooped her up and took her straight up the stairs to Shogun, who could hardly believe that I had finally brought him a girl who was both in season and happy to be mated – he kept sniffing at her and then looking at me in astonishment. After a few minutes, however, he got over his shock and proceeded to mate her four times inside half-an-hour. We then had to leave to go to the Oci AGM, but when we got back on Sunday, I popped her in with him for another ten minutes or so, and saw another two matings. Hopefully that will be enough to finally result in a pregnancy.
Keela unfortunately decided that she didn’t want to be pregnant after all (exactly what her mum did the first time), so we brought her back from the Coventry & Leicester show to try again with Shogun. She seemed to have forgotten who he is, and spent the first few days growling and hissing at him from the corner of the kitten pen, which we put her in until she settled a bit. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of having his loving little companion (Fi) taken out of the room and her being replaced with a screaming demon, bless him! She has now calmed down, though, and seems fine with him, so when she next comes into season we’ll be hoping that he can successfully mate her as well.
By the time Keela goes back to Anita, we will know for sure whether or not Fi is pregnant, and if she’s not, we might stick Katie in with Shogun instead, since she is also much shorter in the body, and therefore easier for him. She had beautiful kittens by him last year, and we haven’t yet kept anything from her, so that would also be fine. Fi could then go in with Apollo, who is getting a bit desperate for a girl, but I don’t want to put anyone with him until I know for sure what’s happening with Shogun. The complexities of cat-breeding!
The past couple of days have been rather busy for me at work, starting with a 4:30am rise yesterday, to drive to Liverpool for a 10:30am meeting with Sound & Secure, who are one of our installation partners. After that, I scooted across for an update meeting with Wren Kitchens in Howden, and a first visit with the Relish Bar and Grill in Doncaster. Since I wasn’t very far from Barnsley at the end of the day, I had contacted June, who owns Rafa (one of the kittens from Katie’s first litter – originally known as Soolay), to ask if I could pop in and say hello – something that she has always said we are welcome to do.
She suggested that not only should I come to say hello, but that I should stop with them for dinner, and then stay the night! I was bowled over by such a generous offer, and feel very lucky that we found such fantastic owners for Rafa. I was treated to some proper Yorkshire hospitality, with a delicious stew for dinner, copious quantities of tea, and hours of cat-chat. Rafa has grown into a really handsome boy, with the most spectacular ruff and incredibly rich colouration considering that Katie is a ‘high silver’ (i.e. bright silver with no rusty tones).
He also has the most adorable temperament – if he is lying in a seat that June wants to sit in, she just picks him up, and moves him to another seat, and he just lies there in whatever position she puts him down! She was telling me that he is working through all of the ‘non-cat’ people that they know, converting them one-by-one to how wonderful cats can be – what a fantastic ambassador for the feline population in general, and Tiffanies in particular. He and his companion, Riley, are obviously doted-on, and have everyone wrapped around their little paws.
This morning I had a meeting in Newcastle, with a new manager for another of our clients, Blue Inc. On the way back up the A1, I passed within a couple of hundred yards of Sophie’s owners, and knowing that their cats are often visible through the glass door, I couldn’t resist popping off to see if I could see her. Sure enough, when I arrived at their house, I could see her sitting in one of the windows, and when I went around to the door, she came into the hallway to look at me through the door.
She has also grown into a beautiful cat, and although Fi definitely has the better head of the two, Sophie has the most amazing tail. Last time I called in like that, I ended up with her moggy housemate climbing all over the inside of my car, but I didn’t see him this time. Sophie and William, their other Tiffanie, talked to me through the door for a while, and then I headed home to get ready for the Lancs show tomorrow, and the Asian BAC meeting on Sunday.
I swear once you start, the world of cat showing and breeding takes over your life!
The kittens are all doing well, with the oldest ones almost ready to go to their new homes. I attended my first meeting of the Asian BAC, and we had a good day at the Scotia show.
The past three weeks have been ridiculously busy. I started this blog post when it was titled ‘Nine, Seven and One Week’, then updated it and changed the title to ‘Ten, Eight and Two Weeks’, then ‘Eleven, Nine and Three Weeks’, and now finally the current title! I’ve managed to get a few words down each time, but didn’t have a chance to pull some photos together until earlier this week, and then couldn’t get half of them to upload, grrrr. So… hope it’s worth the wait!
All three litters are doing well, and the older kittens are now the best of friends. To watch them playing, you would think they were littermates, chasing around like a herd of elephants, and pouncing on eachother. For the past couple of weeks they have had our Tiffanie neuter, Annas, as company as well, to help them get used to other adult cats. The kittens were, however, completely unphased by her presence, though she spent the first week or so scowling at them from the windowledge, and only jumping down when she thought they were asleep, to scoff some of their food!
Two of our good friends came up to stay with us over the first weekend this month, and spent lots of time playing with the kittens. It was great to see how well the kittens responded to meeting strangers and being handled. Tracy and Gary came up to visit when we had kittens last year, so whether they come up to visit us or the kittens would be an interesting matter for debate! Mind you, we’ve also stayed at their house with kittens in tow – the last time they saw any of our kittens was when we stayed at their house the night before the AGCS show back in January, with Tabh, B-B and Fiona. They were amazed to see how grown-up Fi now is, and she was all over them giving cuddles!
Katie’s two had their first vaccinations over a fortnight ago now, and are booked to have their second on Friday of this week. Katie was due her booster at the same time, so we took her with the kittens, and she spent her time trying to snuggle under them to hide, whilst they just sat there peering out at everything going on around them, totally unconcerned.
They now have pedigree names, and I will be sending the registration documents into the GCCF this week. As usual, the names are gaelic, and will have our prefix, Cagaran, on the front, and since these kittens are our third Tiff/Asian litter, they begin with ‘C’. At the moment the boy has the same name for both pedigree and pet, which is Cannach, pronounced Kanach (-ch as in loch) and meaning ‘Mild’, since he is a sweet wee man. The girl’s owner had contacted me fairly early on, so I was able to give her a choice of names, and she picked Càirdeas, which is pronounced Kyrstas (-ky as in sky) and means ‘Friendship’, due to the way that she welcomed the Oci kittens when they were put in with her as newborns. We are using Kirsty as a pet name, but her owner is probably going to change that once they get to know eachother better.
Pippa, whom Kirsty will be living with, has had neutered Burmese until now, and loves their temperament, but prefers the flowing Tiffanie coat. She is considering breeding Tiffs, so she came up to visit us, and she and I got on really well. She loved the look of Kirsty, who has developed beautifully (as has her brother!), so she will be joining Pippa’s Burmese neuter from around the end of the month.
A week past yesterday, we drove up to Aberdeenshire to see the family whom Cannach will be going to live with. They have two female Asian neuters (who are rather nice!) and until recently had a Burmese boy who was an ex stud boy. Unfortunately, he died a couple of months ago, and they have been missing having a boy around, so we took Cannach up so that they could meet him. We took Kirsty as well, to keep him company, and the two travelled together beautifully. They had a little tub of litter in the back of their basket, and both used that on the journey. When we got to the house, the two daughters got the kittens out of their basket and gave them a cuddle, then they put them on the sofa, where they promptly curled up with the girls’ Dad. Since Cannach is actually to be a birthday present for him, that was quite a smart move on the part of the kittens! Thankfully, the family were delighted with the wee lad (who is not so wee now, actually, at 1.25kg!), and decided that they would like him, so he will be going up there at the start of next month, after he has been neutered.
The Oci kittens had their first vaccinations on Friday of last week, so can now start ‘entertaining’ potential owners. I’ve had a fair bit of interest in them, which is a relief, because I was really worried that nobody would want the Variants. Whether any of the homes will come off, I have no idea, but at least there is some interest. The two girls now look much more like their brother than they did when they were younger, and I’m really pleased with the way they are turning out. All three are a really good size, being well over 1kg already, and Maltech is absolutely enormous, at over 1.2kg!
We have chosen names for them as well as the Tiff kittens, but decided to run the Oci litters separately and have therefore gone back to ‘A’ for their names. We’ve used up some of the difficult to spell and pronounce names with this litter: since they are Variants and therefore cannot be shown, there is no chance of a poor show manager having to pronounce their names! The boy is Aomáilteach, which is pronounced ‘Oomaltech’ (-ch as in loch) and means ‘Mischievous’, with a pet name of Maltech or Mal. The first of the Oci girls is Altachdainn, which is pronounced Altachd-eye and means ‘Grace’, and Grace is her pet name. The second Oci girl is Adhairc, which is pronounced Aghurk (-gh is similar to ch at the end of loch, but more gutteral) and means ‘Foghorn’, since that’s what she’s been known as since the start, though she’s a lot quieter now that she’s older.
We will be keeping Grace, and I’m hoping that we have a pet home lined up for Maltech. Foghorn has two potential owners, because she had been booked to go to a couple down south, but they have had some financial issues, so aren’t sure if they can afford to look after another cat at the moment. If they are not having her, then she is possibly going to live in Edinburgh with a family who used to have an Abyssinian, and have recently relocated from America. They have held off having a cat since their Aby died several years ago, because they knew that they would be moving at some point, but now that they have completed the move they want to add a cat to their family again. They couldn’t decide between an Abyssinian and an Ocicat, so our ‘Ocabys’ would be the perfect compromise. We have them coming to visit this evening, so we’ll see what the kittens think of them!
Dàrna’s babies had their eyes fully opened by the time they were ten days old, and are now pouncing on each other and starting to play. We rearranged their pen at the weekend, to add a litter tray and a dish of food, so that they can start to make use of those when they are ready. Dàrna is still determined to have the kittens anywhere other than where they are supposed to be, and has moved them to every bed, basket and cubby-hole in the kitten room, including (of course) the ‘human’ bed. Her current favourite location for them is in a little basket in the corner of the room, sandwiched between a chest of drawers and the wall. Every time I go into the room I move them back into the pen, so that they have the litter tray and food nearby, and every time we go back into the room, she has moved them again. Last year we eventually gave up and let her keep them in the middle of the floor (which is where she had chosen for last year’s litter), but for the time-being, I am trying not to let her win again this year!
Both kittens are developing beautifully, with lovely short muzzles, rounded heads and good nose-breaks. The boy is starting to develop ghost-markings on his face, so I’m hoping that means that he is a smoke. I saw Tommy Goss (one of the owners of Fi’s sire) at a BAC (Breed Advisory Committee) meeting yesterday, and he thought the boy looked like a smoke in the pictures I had, so fingers very crossed. The girl has always looked paler down her sides, but whether that is just due to the tortie or actually that she is silver as well, I am not sure yet. They are definitely a brown and a brown tortie, but beyond that we’ll just have to wait and see!
The weekend before the one just gone saw us heading down to the North East of England to run Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russian Blues) to the Northern Counties show. We took the opportunity of heading in that general direction to pay a visit to friends who are moving to Australia next month, so going all that way to take someone else to a show wasn’t as daft as people suggested! Elisabeth had a really good day, with her little Russian girl, Lucy, taking Best Foreign Kitten again! Our friend Olive Holt (Nemorez Asians and Burmese) also had a good day, winning Best Burmese Adult with the little Burmese boy whom I took down to her from Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese and Asians) back in the spring.
On the Saturday just gone, we were a bit closer to home, at the Scotia show in Milngavie, just outside Glasgow. Our pedigrees are mostly ‘tied up’ with kitten duties at the moment, so we took the two mogs (Jinny and Ali) and decided to pop Annas out as well, since she had been looking longingly at the baskets whenever we were taking the others to shows recently. Sure enough, she seemed quite content to be back out on the bench, though Jinny was our star, taking Best Non-Pedigree again (the highest award available at the Scotia). Annas took the Best of Breed over her little niece, Lainni (Katie’s daughter from last year – Cagaran Asgaidh-Àlainn), who did us proud, winning her 3rd and qualifying PC – a second title for the Cagaran prefix, yay! Lainni’s ‘stable-mate’, Gus (a half-brother of our first Aby, Gealbhan) also had a good day, winning his second Olympian certificate. The Abys had a pretty good day, actually, with Coen (Glendavan Leonidas) winning his third Olympian, and Abys going Best Foreign Neuter and Best Foreign Adult. The Best Foreign Kitten award went to Dushenka Carabella, who was bred by Elisabeth, but is owned by other friends, the Pontellos (Pontaby Abyssinians, and soon Russians as well!).
Sunday was also an interesting day, being my first meeting with the Asian BAC (Breed Advisory Committee), which you may remember that I was voted onto at the AGCS committee meeting back in the summer. I flew down to Stansted in the morning, where I was collected by Steve Crow and Tommy Goss (who had already collected Carolyn Clark), and they kindly ran me to the meeting and back again, afterwards. I wasn’t sure what the meeting itself was going to be like, because you have multiple potentially ‘rival’ views coming together, but everyone was professional and civil, and I found it an enjoyable experience. I’m already looking forward to many more…
Dàrna’s kittens have arrived, and the older kittens continue to do well. Fiona won her third and qualifying CC at the Teesside show, giving us our first Cagaran title.
It’s been about ten days since my last update, and things have certainly moved on in that time. Katie’s kittens are almost eight weeks, Kia’s are six and Dàrna’s were born on Wednesday of last week as expected. We also had an exciting day on Saturday, at the Teesside show…
Teesside Show – First Cagaran Title
We have a bit of a soft spot for the Teesside, both because it was the first all-bred show we did (with Annas, three years ago), and because they were the club who sponsored our prefix application. It therefore seems somehow fitting that it should be the Teesside that witnessed the first title for that prefix – little Fiona won her third CC, making her officially Champion Cagaran Beannachd-Fionn!! Breckin also had a good day, winning her third and qualifying PC, making her now a Premier as well as the Champion title that she won before being spayed. Elisabeth had a good day as well, with Zach winning his Grand Title, then going Best Foreign Neuter again, and one of her kittens receiving a Best in Show nomination!
We were expecting Dàrna’s kittens around the middle of last week, and sure enough she delivered bang on schedule. Unfortunately, she did indeed only have two. Earlier in the year we treated all three girls for an infection, but the only treatment available is an off-license drug that has therefore not had any studies undertaken on it. We had to sign forms to say that we understood that when the vets prescribed the treatment, and it looks like there has been some sort of effect on Fertility. With three girls now having had markedly smaller litters than would have been expected, I don’t think there can be much doubt. We just have to hope that the effects don’t last.
On a more positive note, however, both kittens are looking very nice, with lovely rounded heads, short muzzles and good nose breaks. We have one of each gender, but as usual are not sure on colours, beyond the certainty that the girl is a tortie of some description. It is possible that the boy is a brown smoke burmese pattern, and the girl a blue tortie smoke burmese pattern, but we won’t know for a while yet. Both parents are burmese pattern, meaning that the kittens have to be, and Graham doesn’t carry the chocolate gene, so the kittens can’t be chocolate. Were that not the case, at birth I would have guessed them to be full expression: a chocolate self and a lilac tortie self.
Most litters are produced overnight, so we expected Dàrna’s to be the same. Instead, they were already there when I arrived home from work – tucked up in the bed of course, meaning that sheets and duvet had to be washed, instead of the still clean towels in the birthing box. Fi had been living with her mum in the run-up to the birth, as company, but we had planned to remove her to give Dàrna the privacy that most queens prefer. We would have taken her out that evening, but since the kittens arrived during the day, Fi was still there, and was busy cleaning her mum, and toileting the kittens. We tried taking her out to give Dàrna peace, but Dàrna just stood at the door and shouted until we put Fi back in, and she has been making a fab job of sharing the mothering duties ever since.
The Older Kittens
On Friday we decided to move Kia’s kittens into the front bedroom with the two Tiff kittens, since five is a much better number for playing together than a two and a three! The Tiffs were very interested in the new arrivals, but the Ocis were not enamored with the move, and spent that first evening growling and hissing under a chest of drawers. The following morning they had started venturing out, but there was a sort of invisible line across the room, which the Tiff kittens seemed to more-or-less stay on one side of, and the Ocis on the other. By yesterday the kittens were playing alongside eachother, with the demarcation gone, but they still weren’t playing together. Today, however, they were playing together and curling up with eachother to sleep.
Katie was delighted at the prospect of more kittens to mother, though whether or not she recognised them as the ones whom she suckled as tinies, there is no way to tell. The Ocis initially rejected her advances as well, but today has seen two of them feeding from Katie alongside Katie’s own kittens, so it looks like they have decided to be one big family!
We have had interest in all of the older kittens, and with the Tiffs having their first vaccinations this coming Friday, they should be getting their first visitors in the next couple of weeks. We’ve already been introducing them to various friends and family members to make sure that they are well socialised, and I plan to introduce some of our other cats later this week, as well! Fingers crossed that we can find homes for these, that are just as wonderful as those we found for last year’s litters…