Catching Up Once Again!

Eiteag’s kitten is now named Hailey, short for ‘Haillie-a-Jo’. Dàrna made up to Imperial and everyone else continues to do well.

We had a good day at the Supreme show, with Small in competition and Eiteag and Dàrna on Club Row. Both RACCS and the West of Scotland went well, which was a relief, given that I was ASM for the former, and we were both ASMs for the latter.

It’s been three months since my last post – I’m really not very good at this regular-posting malarky, am I?!  Before Christmas, I had a very good excuse – Assistant Show Managing for two shows in December was a lot of work.  However, I started writing this post between Christmas and New Year, and there’s really no excuse for it not to have been finished ages ago.  However, I will finish it today!

Surprise Kittens

You may remember that we sent Sonia away to stud back in June, but after three months of she and the stud cuddling up together but apparently not doing anything, we brought her home again.  Well… on the evening of the 8th of November (Friday), I picked Sonia up for a cuddle, and realised that her nipples were swollen, and that she looked distinctly pregnant!

She had been kept in isolation in the spare room, since returning from stud, because she was having bad diarrhoea, for which we hadn’t yet managed to determine a cause.  However, she had managed to escape from the spare room a couple of times, which wasn’t a problem, because she only escaped into the hallway, and there aren’t any other cats in there anyway.  However, occasionally Donny also escapes from the bathroom, where he and Eiteag live to keep them apart from the girls, and although I couldn’t recall the two ever escaping at the same time, I had the horrible thought that perhaps she and Donny had been out together and he had mated her.

At that point, Ayla and her kittens were still in the kitten room, so that night we shut the other cats out of the front bedroom and gave it a thorough clean, intending to let it stand for a few days before moving Ayla and her kittens into it, and then the kitten room could be cleaned out and allowed to stand for a few days before Sonia was moved into there.  We usually leave a room empty for a few days before moving kittens or pregnant girls in, just to be on the safe side with the delicate immune systems.

On the Sunday evening, however, I picked Sonia up and realised that she was spotting blood.  My first thought was to wonder if something had gone wrong with the pregnancy, but then I realised that she was actually in pre-labour.  We considered leaving Sonia where she was, because we wouldn’t normally move a queen so close to birthing, but the spare room really isn’t suitable for a queen with kittens – there are all sorts of places where the kittens could be hidden away, or could fall or get separated from their mum.  We therefore moved Ayla and her kittens into the front bedroom, gave the kitten room a thorough clean, and then moved Sonia across to there.  On the plus-side, having her kittens when she did left no doubt as to who the father was, because she would have had to have conceived whilst still at stud!

We spent the night in the kitten room, and early the next morning, I thought I heard Ayla’s adopted kitten squealing.  I dreamt that one of the other kittens was standing on her, but somewhere deep in my subconscious, something was obviously awake, and registered that Ayla and her kittens weren’t in the room with us any more.  I got up and checked the kitten pen, and sure enough, there was Sonia, sitting on top of the stack that she had made out of all the bedding, perched on top of the heat mat, and on the opposite side of the pen, lying on the bare floor, was a kitten.

When I touched him, he was very cold, but immediately responded by starting to shout, loudly.  I rearranged the bedding, cleaned him up, and laid him in against his mum.  I waited a couple of hours to see if she was going to have another, because I had thought I could feel two the previous evening, but no matter how hard I palpated her abdomen now, I could feel no sign of another kitten, so I assumed I must have been mistaken.

That evening, Tracey came up to visit, and I took her up to see the newborn.  As we walked into the room, Sonia was lying on her side in the pen and out slid a second kitten.  Her reaction to this second kitten was the same as the first: she didn’t mind the kitten being there, but was totally uninterested in doing anything with her.  I got the kitten cleaned up, whilst she screamed blue murder, and then settled her alongside her brother, against Sonia’s tummy.

By the following day, the girl had lost weight, so I tried to get her to latch on and suckle, but she seemed to struggle to do so.  I made up a bottle of milk formula and offered her that, and she drained it dry within seconds, so there was obviously nothing wrong with her ability to suck.  That continued right up until the kittens were weaned – the boy was drinking from his mum, but the girl didn’t seem to be able to get latched on, so I had to bottle-feed her.  I know that an inability to suckle properly is sometimes a symptom of flat-chested syndrome, so I kept checking her ribcage for abnormalities, but have found none, so there seems to be absolutely no reason for her inability to feed from Sonia.

Anyway, Sonia’s kittens are now approaching three months old, and have moved into the livingroom with some of our adults and neuters.  When they were younger, they were the messiest kittens we have ever seen, and we had to keep them penned when we weren’t in the room, until they were about eight weeks old.  Sonia wanted nothing to do with them from when they were about four weeks, so we were lucky that they were quite early to eat solids.  The girl is still a very messy eater, not in the sense of throwing the food around, but just that she manages to cover her entire head in it, to the point that Tracey has named her ‘Messy Molly’.  She has named the boy ‘Harry Houdini’, due to his ability to get out of wherever you put him, in order to come and find people to cuddle up to.

We are now looking for new homes for both kittens, though the girl’s type has developed so beautifully that I’m sorely tempted!

Supreme Show

At the 2012 Supreme, we only entered Ayla, as a kitten, and she enjoyed it so much that we decided that we would enter Small in the kitten class in 2013.  This time, however, we had also offered to take cats to represent the breed on Club Row, with a joint table for the Asian Group Cat Society and Bombay and Asian Cats Breed Club.  We had a double pen for Donny and Eiteag to share, and a single pen for Dàrna, with the table in between.

We were staying with Anita on both the Friday and Saturday nights, and like last time, the boys were sharing the stud run in her car-port.  This time, however, it was Anita’s husband, Rob, who had cleaned the run out ready for our arrival, and he hadn’t made as good a job of removing the smell of her stud boy, as Anita usually manages.  Donny is definitely not keen on other stud boys, and as a result, was completely freaked by the smell of Anita’s boy, and in absense of any other cats, seemed to decide that Eiteag was the strange boy he could smell.  We had to separate the two boys for the night (the stud run has compartments), and decided just to leave Donny at the house to calm down, rather than taking him to the show.

We therefore ended up having just Tiffs on the club table, which is not something we normally do – if we’re representing the Asian breed group, we normally try and take cats that represent the group as fully as possible.  If we had known that Tia wasn’t going to be pregnant by the time of the Supreme, we would have entered her, but she should have been pregnant by then (she hadn’t come into season from the late summer through to now).  As it happens, it was rather nice having Small in competition, and both her parents on Club Row, because it meant that when I was talking to people in front of Small’s pen, that I could tell them that they could meet her parents on Club Row.

Both Dàrna and Eiteag were beautifully behaved, and made fantastic ambassadors for the breed.  Dàrna spent most of the day lying in her basket on the table, so that passersby could stroke her, marvelling at the gorgeous silky texture of the Tiffanie coat.  Whenever Dàrna wanted to go back into her pen for a few minutes peace, or a bite to eat, Eiteag would come out onto the table and bound around playing with his feather stick.  He wasn’t so practical to have out for any length of time, because he wanted to go off and explore, so we would only keep him out for as long as it took him to get bored of his toys and decide that he wanted to go for a wander.  By that point, Dàrna would be ready to come back out again, so we’d put him back in his pen, and have her back out instead.

In terms of juding, the Supreme takes a different format to all other GCCF shows, with the cats housed in decorated pens in the centre of the hall, with a series of ‘rings’ around the outside of the hall.  The rings have plain pens into which the cats are moved by stewards in preparation for being judged, and the cats are then taken from these pens onto the judges’ tables for judging.  Unlike other GCCF shows, the cats’ owners, and other spectators, can stand right in front of where the judging takes place, and listen to what the judges are saying about the cats.  After a class has been judged, the stewards will often ask if any of the owners  are present, and let them take their own cats back to the pens.

Small was an absolute superstar, taking the whole day in her stride, just like her Auntie Ayla did last year.  Hers was one of the first classes judged by Grace Denny, and I went over to watch her being judged.  As the steward was handing her to Grace, I heard her say “this one’s got a huge purr”, or something similar, and I watched with pride as Small cuddled into Grace.  I love it when our cats win, but I love even more to see them showing off the breed’s fabulous temperament.

In the event, Small was not only adorable, she also won, taking both 1st in her kitten class, and Best of Breed, and then going on to be shortlisted for Best of Variety.  Grace praised her coat, saying it was one of the best she has seen on a kitten of her age, and that she is a lovely big girl.  Given that one of the key reasons we kept Small is her size, I was delighted to hear Grace say that.  Afterwards, Grace asked if I bred her, and I said I had, and told Grace that she had given Small’s mother an Imperial at the North West Show.  Grace made my day by saying “well, hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to give her an Imperial as well, one day”.  I was absolutely delighted!

Once Small’s judging was finished, I put a sign on her pen saying that she had gone to join her parents on Club Row, with the pen numbers, and took her up so that we had the three together for the rest of the day.  Incidentally, by the time we got back to the house, Donny had got over his pique, and was absolutely desperate for Eiteag’s company, and the two spent most of the rest of the evening grooming eachother, much to my relief.  Meanwhile, Richard and I took Rob and Anita out for dinner and then to watch the 3D screening of the 50th Anniversary, ‘Day of the Doctor’, Doctor Who special at the cinema!

RACCS Show

RACCS had their second show on the 7th of December, in Annan, which was the venue that the Committee originally chose, before all the messing about after the Supreme show moved date in 2012.  This was my second time as an Assistant Show Manager (ASM), but the first show that I really had a key role in organising, not least in that I suggested the hall originally, so I was a little nervous beforehand!  The show did receive an entry of 54 cats, which is really good for a breed club, especially on its first stand-alone show, so that allayed my fears slightly.

I needn’t have worried at all, though, because the show came off without a hitch.  The feedback from both judges and exhibitors for the hall was excellent, the atmosphere was friendly and there was a good number of gorgeous cats, who were almost all impeccably behaved.  Also, Elisabeth and Karen were ecstatic, because Zach won Overall Best in Show, which was a lovely end to the day.

West of Scotland Show

A fortnight later, we had the West of Scotland show, which had received a fabulous entry of 313 cats – more than 20 entries above that received for any Scottish show in the past few years.  Considering the fuss that was made at last year’s AGM, about the date being too close to Christmas, with people saying that exhibitors would never come to a show on the 21st, I was delighted to see the entry so high.  It does rather suggest that the exhibitors were pleased with the date, and it meant that we could absolutely go to town on the Christmas theme!  For instance, as joint-ASMs, Richard and I had the pleasure of designing Christmas-themed rosettes, which went down well with exhibitors.

I received a call early on the morning of the show, from exhibitors who were coming up from Wales, to say that their car had broken down 2 1/2 hours south of us.  They said that the AA man said the repair would only take 10 minutes once he had the correct part, and had gone to get said part, but that he didn’t think the parts shop opened until 8am.  The maths wasn’t too difficult there, to realise that meant they wouldn’t be at the show until at least 10:30 – half an hour after the show was meant to start.

I told them that since I was ASM, I would need to check with the show manager, but that I thought we could probably manage to hold those classes back for them.  Shortly after arriving in the show hall, I received a text message from another exhibitor, to say that they were stuck in a very slow diversion around a closure on the M74.  Over the next half our or so, several exhibitors also came up to the front to say that various friends had asked them to let us know that they were stuck in this same diversion.

In the end, we did what I had seen done at another show in the past, and asked the judges just to skip past any empty pens they came across in the first hour.  The exhibitors who had the breakdown were the last to arrive, and they had also been caught in the diversion, of course.  In the event, they were vetted in (we had kept one vet on standby) at 11:17, but it was definitely worth their while, because they went on to win not only an Olympian certificate, but also Best in Show!

Anyone working on a show at any level above Section Manager is not allowed to enter their cats in competition.  Our cats therefore couldn’t compete, but we did take Small and Dàrna on exhibition.  A few Cagarans had been entered in competition by their new owners, however, including Lainni, who won the Reserve Imperial and Best of Breed Tiffanie; Quinn, who had the Reserve Grand withheld on her (presumably for lack of silver undercoat, though she also wasn’t in the best mood); and Bobbie, in her first adult show, winning her 1st CC and Best of Breed Ocicat.  Special mention has to go to Sarndra Devereux’s stunning Bombay boy, Tarby (GR CH Rainsong Jolly-Jack-Tar), who was Overall Best Foreign exhibit.

Christmas and New Year

This year, Richard’s parents went off to Hong Kong and Thailand to visit friends over the Christmas holidays, so we spent the time with my family and various friends.  As I said earlier, we also spent plenty of time with the cats, which has been lovely, because our lives are so busy the rest of the year that it’s sometimes difficult to find time just to… be with them, not doing anything.

Seven plates laid out with the cats' Christmas Dinners on them
The cats’ Christmas Dinners – roast beef trimmings and Applaws Tuna Loin.  One plate per group, divided according to how many cats are in the group

Four of the cats around one of the plates of Christmas Dinner
Tucking in to Christmas Dinner – Jinny top left, Dàrna top right, Annas bottom left and Small bottom right

We went to the family service at the church on Christmas Eve, where my Mum was singing in the choir, and then went back to Mum and Dad’s for a cup of tea.  That turned into several hours of singing on the karaoke with my parents and Calum, and between that at the carol singing earlier in the evening, I was completely hoarse by the time we headed home at about 2am.

Three kittens and Ayla grouped around their plate of Christmas Dinner
Ayla and the kittens enjoying their Christmas Dinner
(Frenchie top left, Hailey top right, Zuko bottom left and Ayla bottom right)

Christmas Day was at my parents this year, and due to my sister going off to her boyfriend’s for Christmas Dinner, my Grandparents going to one of my Aunts, and various other relatives linking up in various ways, there were only five of us for dinner.  When Richard and I had dinner here two years ago, there were sixteen of us, so five was bizarrely few – my Mum hardly knew what to do with herself!

For New Year, Elisabeth and Tracey joined us for a snack-and-pizza tea, over the first half of a DVD.  At 11:30, Tracey left (something to do with a superstition about first-footing herself), and we switched over to Jools Holland.  A few minutes before midnight, we headed outside, and let off a firework on the front lawn at the bells, with a row of little furry faces watching from the house windows (our cats all love watching fireworks).  Back inside, we opened a bottle of champagne, and then settled down to a night of DVD-watching, eventually heading to bed at 8am.

Getting up again at noon, we enjoyed our annual New Year cooked breakfast (including fruit dumpling and fried pancakes and potato scones, mmm!), over another DVD.  Elisabeth and I ended up watching the Sound of Music on TV, and then we ran her home on our way to a family get-together at my Grandparents.  There can surely be few better ways to spend time than with family, friends and a housefull of cats?!

Notts & Derbys Show

We went to the Notts & Derbys show during the middle of last month, because it’s literally only fifteen minutes from Richard’s parents house, and can therefore be combined with a nice family visit.  I wanted to see what some of the judges thought of Zuko and Frenchie, so we entered them in the HP section, and since we were taking them, we decided to take Ayla along for the ride.  As it happens, she was actually awarded the Reserve Grand, beating one other, which was more than I expected, given her size.  Zuko won his kitten class and he and his mum both had good results in their side classes.  Our star of the show, though, was Frenchie, who placed well in all her sides, won her kitten class and beat her brother for ‘Best of Colour’, and then went on to win Best Pedigree Pet and then Best Household Pet.  One of the judges wrote that she is a star in the making, and she certainly adored her day out at the show, so I’m hoping that we can find someone interested in taking her out again in future.

Shropshire Show

We really enjoyed the Shropshire Show last year, because we had a lovely day looking at potteries, and lunch at the Wedgewood museum.  It is also pretty central to the AGCS Committee, so when we were discussing a potential venue for the club’s AGM, I suggested the Shropshire as the venue.  That was agreed, and since I was obviously going to have to be there to take the minutes, we clearly had to enter!

We only took two – Dàrna to try for her final Imperial, and Small in her last time out as a kitten (she is 9 months today).  Both girls were adorable as usual, and we got Small won her first and Best of Breed, getting some really encouraging comments from the judges in the process, which I was delighted about.  However, what absolutely made our day was Dàrna taking that final Imperial, and in the process becoming the first Imperial Grand Champion that we have owned (our other Imperials have been neuters), and only the sixth Imperial-titled Tiffanie (Annas was the first, and there have been four in-between).  She also made Donny the first cat we’ve owned to have two Imperial-titled parents.  She will now be spayed and can retire from the hormone swings of being an entire.

Eiteag’s Kitten

When I last posted, we were trying to decide on an ‘H-name’ for Eiteag’s kitten, and we eventually settled on Haillie-a-Jo, which means ‘Totally a Sweetheart’ in old Scots.  Her pet name comes directly from her pedigree name, and is Hailey.  Her type has continued to develop beautifully, and still has the most amazing nature.  We have also had her hernia operated on successfully, and she now flies round the room with her ‘siblings’, which is lovely to see.  The vet and vet nurse told us that the muscle had been torn from the pelvic bone the whole way up to the rib-cage.  The vet nurse said that when they first opened her up, they all just stood and looked for a few seconds, because they couldn’t believe the extent of the damage that her mum had caused.  On a positive note, at least the fact that they could see that it had been torn means that we can put to bed any residual fears about genetic causes for the hernia!

What’s Next?

Well, Tia, Lhasa and Tilly are finally back in season, so I’m thinking that we’ll give them one full call and then mate them on their next call, sometime next month.  We may be totally mad, but since the three of them live together, and do everything together, we’re going to try mating the three at around the same time, and see if they’ll raise their kittens together.  That would mean that we’d be having three litters in late spring/early summer.  We’re going to try putting both Lhasa and Tia to Eiteag, since he is meant to be neutered after that, and I’d like to see what both girls produce with him, and Tilly to Donny.  The latter mating, and Tia’s have the potential to give us a mixture of Tiffanies and Asian Shorthairs, but Lhasa’s litter would be guaranteed to be all Tiffs, which would be nice.

We’ve got a few shows lined up over the next three months, and are hoping to be able to get Small made up to Champion and Cheeky to Premier.  After that, we’ve got nobody ‘needing’ to be titled, so I think we might take a break from showing and let our depleted cash reserves re-build!  Who knows, though…

We Did It!

We had a good day at the AGCS show, with Ayla winning Best Kitten, Tia making up to Champion, and Lhasa winning one CC, leaving her with just one more to go. We also collected our little Katie-granddaughter, Tilly, who is already firm friends with Ayla.

I know I normally leave it a bit longer between posts, but I couldn’t wait to share our news this time.  Incidentally, we dropped the two Oci Variant girls off as planned on Friday, and they began settling in almost immediately.  The family they have gone to live with seem absolutely perfect to be owned by a couple of Ocicats, so I am looking forward to some photo updates!

The Shows

Both the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society) and RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland) had very successful shows yesterday. RACCS had a total of 59 entries, which is excellent for a first show. The Best-In-Show line-up was excellent, and included cats and kittens from both old and new prefixes. The overall BIS was a stunning Aby kitten, who had won over quite a few of the judges during the day. It was great to see all our hard work coming to fruition, and I think quite a bit of alcohol was consumed, though I didn’t actually manage to grab any. I did get a piece of the delicious cake, though!

The RACCS club table laid with alcohol and crisps
The RACCS club table laid with alcohol and crisps

On the AGCS side, I was disappointed to hear that Steve and Tommy were not going to make it due to Steve having injured his ankle during the Christmas break. It did leave the way clear for a different prefix to win Best Adult, and this year it was Rocadanne Candyfloss, a Bombay, who took that award. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to say that we won our Best Kitten award again this year, making the hat-trick. Fiona the first year, Donny the second, and now Fi’s daughter, Ayla. As usual, Ayla was an absolute poppet, couldn’t have been sweeter, and also had a ‘red card day’ (winning every class she was entered). Best Neuter, and the overall Best in Show winner was the same cat that won Best Neuter last year, Teignage Sirpouncealot. It is always lovely to see two Tiffs in the Best in Show pens. Perhaps one year we’ll manage to have a Tiff in every pen!

The Best in Show pens with occupants - Ayla is being nosy as usual!
The Best in Show pens with occupants - Ayla is being nosy as usual!

We also had Etak at the show, and he was equally beautifully behaved.  We put Ayla into his pen in the morning, and the two of them were utterly adorable, munching their food side by side.  Etak was placed second in his open, but had fabulous results in his side classes (first in all of them), even beating the boy that he lost to in the open.  Different judges have different opinions, and that’s just the way it goes, sometimes!

The kittens eating breakfast side-by-side

As well as the kittens, we had taken Lhasa and Tia, both entered in the AGCS and the Shorthair, and therefore with the potential to win two certificates on the day. Tia did just that, making her up to Champion in three straight shows (two days!). She had a red card day in the AGCS, and had three firsts and a third in the Shorthair. As often happens at double shows, however, the two judges disagreed about who was the better between Lhasa and her competition, so Lhasa won the CC in one show, but was placed second in the other. She just needs one more certificate to become a Champion, but Ayla is old enough to try for CCs at the next show we go to, so Lhasa might just need to wait a bit!

Tia in her pen with rows of rosettes
Tia in her pen with rows of rosettes

Lhasa with her CC
Lhasa with her CC

There were another two Cagarans there on the day – Tracey had taken Quinn to support the two clubs, and Anita had taken little Breagha, though she could only be entered in the Shorthair show.  Quinn didn’t have a particularly good day, not winning the Grand in either show, though she did have some good side-class results.  Breagha was given her 1st and Best of Breed, and placed well in her side classes against strong competition.

Another New Arrival

We seem to have had a bit of an influx of new cats recently, between Sonia coming to us for the cinnamon outcross, and Lhasa and Tia arriving due to their owners giving up breeding.  We have, however, got another new arrival, but this time a teeny kitten.

If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that we lost our first queen, Katie, last summer, and that I was concerned that we had lost her line?  You may remember, however that her daughter, Cailin, went to live with our friend Anita, back in 2011?  Cailin is still entire, so when we lost Katie, I asked Anita if she would consider mating her and letting us have one of the kittens.  She said that she would be delighted to give us something back, and so together we chose a boy who is virtually unrelated to our existing cats.  The resulting pedigree brings together a lot of fabulous prefixes – Kagura, Nemorez, Vervain, Kevona, Kennbury, Fandango, Merinda, and of course Amanda’s Rushbrooke.

Cailin had her kittens back in October, and our kitten came home with us yesterday, looking and acting so much like her granny that it feels almost like we’ve gone back in time and brought Katie home again.  Her name is Tilly, which is from her pedigree name (chosen by us), which is Tilleadh gu Cagaran, or ‘Return to Cagaran’.

Ayla cuddled up on top of Tilly
Tilly cuddled up in the covers, underneath Ayla

She and Ayla travelled home together in one basket, and when I woke up this morning, they were sleeping on top of one another, snuggled in the covers.  She is an absolute sweetie, and I am delighted to have a little bit of Katie back in the house.

New Homes and West of Scotland Show

The Tiff kittens have gone to their new home, and we had an excellent day at the West of Scotland show, with both Lhasa and Tia winning their first CCs, and me having a good first judging experience. The Oci kittens are still looking for their new homes, however.

The couple of weeks since my last post have gone well, and not been quite as busy as usual, which makes a nice change!

Fi’s Kittens

You may remember that I mentioned in my last post that a family had been to visit Ellie and Derk.  Well, Lesley and Fraser decided that they would indeed like to adopt both kittens!  Richard and I dropped the kittens off last Tuesday, and enjoyed a cup of tea with Lesley whilst watching them start to settle in, which is always a lovely experience for us.

Ellie & Derk settling in
Ellie and Derk looking pretty settled on the evening we dropped them off

Ellie and Derk cuddled on the bed at 2am
Ellie and Derk cuddled up beside Lesley on the bed at 2am

The following day, Lesley sent me a text message to say that the kittens had slept cuddled up with her on the bed, and that she couldn’t wait to get home to see them.  There really are very few things that can make a breeder’s day like a message like that will – hearing something like that reminds us why we wanted to breed, and makes the painful bits worthwhile.

West of Scotland Show

Richard and I both took the afternoon off work on Friday, as we have done for the past few years, to help set up the show hall for the West of Scotland.  Once everything is ready, the people who have helped are then allowed to set up their show pens, which means that our cats can go straight into their pens when we arrive on show morning.  Apologies for the yellow-toned photos, by the way – the lighting in the West’s hall is absolutely horrendous!

Call peeking out round his blankets
Call peeking out round his blankets

Little Cheeky scowling out from her blankets
Little Cheeky looking thoroughly bored near the end of the day

This year, we had entered four cats – Call, to try again for his final PC (Premier Certificate), Lhasa and Tia to try for their first CCs (Challenge Certificates), and Cheeky in the kitten class.  Unfortunately for Call, there was a lovely Maine Coon neuter boy in the class against him, so Call didn’t win his certificate – in fact, he had a ‘blue card’ day, winning 2nd in every class!

Lhasa looking rather pleased with herself
Lhasa looking rather pleased with herself

The others all won what they were there for, though, with all three girls getting 1st in their breed class and then Best of Breed as well.  Both Lhasa and Tia were also awarded their CCs – Lhasa beating two lovely girls in her class!  For both Cheeky and Tia, this was their first time at a show, and for Lhasa it was her first time at a show of this format (she had previously been shown in FIFé, the European registration body).  All the girls behaved beautifully, but Tia was especially remarkable – she was totally un-phased by all the hustle and bustle of the show, and was rolling around and paddle-pawing on her bedding in delight!

Beautiful Tia showing off her stunning Burmese type
Beautiful Tia showing off her stunning Burmese type

In addition to our own cats wins, we were also delighted to see another couple of Cagarans out with their owners.  Quinn was there, and won another PC and her Best of Breed – although she made up to Premier at the Supreme, the West closed before then, so the rules prevent her from moving up into the higher class at the West.  Lona had brought along Lainni, and since she made up to Grand at the Cumberland, she was in the Imperial this time.  To our delight (and surprise), she was actually awarded the certificate!  This is the first Imperial certificate won by a cat of our breeding, so we are doubly delighted.  I can’t thank Lona enough for loving Lainni, looking after her so well, and of course, bringing her out to shows.

Lainni with her Imperial rosette
Lainni with her Imperial rosette

This show was also particularly exciting for me personally, because I was having my first trip out as a judge.  Judges in the Pedigree section have to qualify through a process designed to ensure that they fully understand what the breed is supposed to look like, before they become a full judge.  For the Household Pet (HP) section, on the other hand, the judges are not comparing the cat to a standard of points, but instead are looking for good condition and temperament.  As a result, the HP judges can be anyone whom the show managers feel would be able to judge whether a cat has those characteristics.

Quinn looking scowly as her pen is dismantled at the end of the day
Quinn looking scowly as her pen is dismantled at the end of the day

When I was first asked if I would judge, it just seemed a really exciting honour, but in the past few weeks, I had been getting more and more nervous.  By the day of the show, however, I was still feeling slightly nervous but mostly I was just excited.  Elisabeth (Stark – Dushenka Russian Blues) was also judging (her third time out as a probationer pedigree judge), so we decided to act as stewards for eachother, so I was lucky enough to have a fabulously experienced steward for my first time.

We had some absolutely lovely cats, both in my classes in the HP section and in her classes in the Pedigree section, and I thoroughly enjoyed my day.  I have written up my reports today, so I hope the cats’ owners will appreciate what I have said about their cats!

There is one final thing from the West, that I feel has to be noted, and that is Zach’s (Dushenka Zerachiel) win.  He picked up his fifth Olympian certificate, making him up to Bronze Olympian, and in the process, becoming the first Russian Blue to hold the title.  Congratulations to his owners and also to his breeder, Elisabeth.

Ocicat Kittens

We are still looking for homes for the three remaining Oci kittens, all of whom have now developed into the most adorable pets.  When they were younger, I was a little worried because they were far more nervous than our Asian kittens normally are, but as they have grown they have just got friendlier and friendlier.  When we go into their room now, they all tend to jump up on the bed, wanting stroked, and if we are too slow to pay them attention then they will tell us in no uncertain terms how unimpressed they are with us for the delay!

The three kittens who are still available - Becca (left), Carrie and Bru
The three kittens who are still available - Becca (left), Carrie and Bru

Bru is now really cuddly, and rubs around our legs when we are doing their litter trays or getting clothes out of the wardrobe.  He loves to come and cuddle up with us in bed, or to lie on his back in our arms, and has a huge purr.

Bru's gorgeous markings
Bru's gorgeous markings

Bru's cute little face
Bru's cute little face

Carrie is the most outgoing with strangers, but prefers to be stroked whilst having all her paws on the ‘ground’, rather than being picked up.  She absolutely loves her food, and is almost always the first into the food bowl, but if she hasn’t already been stroked before her food is put down, then she won’t eat more than a couple of mouthfuls without coming to try and get some fuss!

Carrie doing her best meercat pose
Carrie doing her best meercat impression

Side shot of Carrie showing the 'trout spotting' amongst the ticking, and her gorgeous colour
Side shot of Carrie showing the 'trout spotting' amongst her ticking

Becca is the most wary of strangers, but is also probably the most demanding of attention from us.  She likes to come up and perch on our shoulders, but also comes and sits next to the pillow, waiting for us to wake up and stroke her.  She has the richest colour in the litter, even though these photos don’t show it – she is a rich, warm ginger.  She also has this habit of standing with one front paw raised, and looking at you as if she can see right into your soul.

Becca giving the camera her intense look
Becca in her favourite pose

Becca doing her meercat impression
Becca doing her meercat impression

If you know of anyone who would appreciate an interactive, talkative, playful, energetic, beautiful and loving pet, do tell them to get in touch!

Another Catch-Up Post – Kittens Soon!

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

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

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

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

So… which bits will you be interested in?

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

Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Annas looking stunning
Annas delivering another beautiful scowl and looking stunning

Kittens

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

Fi looking nice and fat

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

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

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

Other Catty Bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Shows and a New Year

Three excellent sets of show results for the Cagaran cats, at the Maidstone & Medway, Asian Group Cat Society and Notts & Derbys shows. Keela seems to be pregnant and has gone home, we have brought home our new stud boy, CH Kagura Apollo, and have decided to spay and re-home Kia and Quinn.

Maidstone & Medway Cat Show

Donny examining his rosettes
Donny says "What are these things doing in my bed?"

Donny curled up asleep
"Doesn't matter, I'll turn around and go back to sleep"

Like the West of Scotland, the Maidstone & Medway Cat Club had their 25th Anniversary show in December, which was also to be the last one managed by Anne Gregory before she gives up.  I had asked Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese & Asians) to suggest some shows where I could steward for her, and this was one of the suggestions.  When I mentioned that to Elisabeth (Dushenka Russian Blues), she calculated that it would be a good one for her because it would be Lucy’s first shot at a CC, and also the first show that her babies would be old enough for.  Considering all of that, we couldn’t resist making the trip.

Quinn scowling just like her mum does
Quinn looking sweet

Quinn posing beautifully
Quinn posing beautifully

We took our three kittens (Donny, Quinn and Grace) plus Shogun, and Elisabeth took three of her kittens plus Lucy.  We stayed near Warwick on the Friday night, which was the first night away from home for all of the babies.  Our rooms were across the hallway, and I think we must have been just about the only people on our floor, which meant that there wasn’t too much noise to disturb the cats.  None of them seemed the least bit phased, though Shogun wasn’t massively impressed with having to spend the night in the bathroom!  Quinn and Grace cuddled up in bed with us, while Donny spent the night keeping us awake by knocking Richard’s glasses off the bedside table, playing with our toothbrushes and unpacking our bag all over the floor.

Grace 'paddle-pawing' and making it virtually impossible to get a decent photo
Grace 'paddle-pawing' and making it virtually impossible to get a decent photo

Grace proving that she is her mother's daughter, and eating her prize cards
Grace proving that she is her mother's daughter, and eating her prize cards

I had an interesting day stewarding for Sandra, and saw some beautiful cats.  Meanwhile our own cats did well, and Shogun won his second CC.  Elisabeth’s Lucy won her first, and all of the babies handled well, and met with approval from the judges.

Shogun looking gorgeous
Shogun looking gorgeous

Showing off that beautiful profile
Showing off that beautiful profile

The ‘Festive Season’

Once again this year, we ordered Christmas cards with one of our own photos on the front.  We took the photo just before Maltech and Cailin went off to their new homes, in the few days after they had been introduced to Dàrna’s litter.  That meant that we were able to have a Tiffanie, an Ocicat Variant and the two Asians all together in one photo.  As before, it was a challenge to get the kittens to sit together, and the Christmassy backdrop that we created had virtually been destroyed by the time we got the final photo.

The Three Designs for the Christmas card
The Three Final designs - same photo, but different layouts and surrounds

The series of photos below show just some of the many failed attempts to get a decent photo, but also just some cute ones that we took along the way.  We were using a feather stick to try and get the kittens attention, but you’ll see that sometimes it failed to work, and sometimes it worked a little too well!

One of the early shots with the backing still fully in place
One of the early shots - note the crease-free background with tinsel draped along the back, but only sparingly on the base

One of the later shots once the backing was falling down
One of the later shots - kittens sitting in a pile of tinsel, and the backing falling down

The second shot we took
The second shot we took - Dàrna's two tinies were much too interested in the tinsel to bother looking at the feather stick

Maltech/Simba getting too close to the camera
Maltech/Simba deciding that the camera was the most interesting thing

Quinn pouncing on tinsel
Quinn trying to decide which bit of tinsel to pounce on first

Trying a different camera angle
We tried a different camera angle to see if that made it any easier - it didn't!

A kitten stack with Donny in the bottom eyeing up one of the baubles
A kitten stack with Donny in the bottom, eyeing up one of the baubles and licking his lips...

And he's got it!
...and attack! A successful capture that was accompanied by much growling!

Richard’s parents came up to stay with us over Christmas, and some of my relatives were joining us for Christmas dinner, making a party of 14 in total.  The day before Christmas Eve, the trip for the sockets in every room except the kitchen went faulty.  As a result, we had to run extension-leads around the house to power the Christmas lights and fish tank, but at least we had still had power in the kitchen and light throughout the house!  Dinner was very successful, and it was lovely to catch up with the family.

The table set for Christmas dinner
The table set for Christmas Dinner

The family enjoying the meal together
The family enjoying the meal together

Keela was still behaving as if she hated Shogun, squealing and hissing at him whenever we went into the room.  However, when I went up to see them on Christmas day, I found her sleeping curled up against his tummy.  As soon as she saw me, she jumped up and started hissing and growling at him again as if she hated him, but by then I knew that she was just putting it on for my benefit.  I checked her over, and discovered that her back nipples were just starting to show a slight flush.  By the start of January, the flush had extended into full pinking from back to front, so it looks like he has successfully mated her.

Hogmanay was my grandfather’s 80th birthday, so we stayed overnight with my family in the Crown Plaza hotel in Glasgow, and went to the black-tie gala dinner there.  This was another fantastic opportunity to catch up with family members, particularly my cousins who live in Guernsey, and another of my cousins who is about to move to Spain.  Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook will no doubt already have seen the sets of highly embarrassing photos one of my cousins later posted of me dancing!

Asian Group Cat Society Show

The night of the 2nd was extremely windy, and by the time we got up the next morning, four large trees had come down across our driveway.  It took us a couple of days to manage to get a tree surgeon out, and even then it took him two days just to cut us a route through the trees so that we could get the car out, and then he had to leave to get on with other jobs.  The remains of the trees are still waiting for them to have time to return!  By the time they were here for the second day, I was getting rather nervous, because we were due to be going to a show that weekend!

Fir trees down on the driveway
Looking down the driveway - the second tree is just visible in the background, but the third is hidden beyond that

The first show of 2012, as usual, was the Asian Group Cat Society, which takes place alongside the Short Hair Cat Society show.  This time, we took Annas for her 3rd Olympian, Dàrna for her 1st Imperial, Donny in the kitten classes, and Grace in her last show as a Pedigree Pet.  Cats in the Household Pet section must be neutered once they are six months old, so we won’t be able to show her again until after she has had her litter and been spayed.  On the way down to the show, we took Keela back to Anita’s, and also took a dropped off a girl who had been at stud with Elisabeth.

Annas scowling from her corner as usual
Annas scowling from her corner as usual

Dàrna with her Imperial certificate and rosette
Dàrna with her Imperial certificate and rosette

All four of our cats did well, both Annas and Dàrna winning their certificates, and Grace winning her Ped Pet class and Best of Colour out of five.  Anita and Robert were there with Cailin, who was looking beautiful, and won her kitten class, Best of Breed, and three 1sts in her side classes.

Grace doing another impression of her mummy
Grace doing another impression of her mummy and making it impossible to get a decent photo of her

Cailin in her pen covered in red
Cailin looking rather lovely in her pen, with her First Open rosette and her three 1st-place prize cards

Our star of the show was little Donny, who followed in his big sister Fi’s ‘paw-steps’, and went Best Kitten in the AGCS.

Donny in his Best Kitten pen
Donny peeking out of his Best Kitten pen - I can't believe it's a year since Fi was in there!

Sarndra Devereux having a good look at Donny
Sarndra Devereux, the Best in Show judge, having a good look at him

Sarndra judging Donny for Best in Show
Sarndra judging him for Best in Show. I love the expression on his face

Sarndra succumbing to his charms and having a cuddle
Sarndra succumbing to his charms and having a cuddle

We had arranged to collect our new stud boy, Kagura Apollo, from the show, and he only needed one more CC to make up to Champion.  As it was, he won the CC in both the AGCS and SHCS parts of the show, giving him the title plus a spare.  Elisabeth also had a good day in the SHCS part of the show, with Lucy winning her 2nd CC, and both her kittens winning their Open classes.  To top off the day, Dukey (Dushenka Duke Ellington) went overall Best Foreign!

Apollo sleeping in his pen
Apollo sleeping in his pen

Best Neuter was Teignage Sir Pouncealot, but Best Adult and Overall Best in Show was the beautiful Kagura Galadriel, so that’s two years in a row that a Kagura adult has been Overall Best in Show, and a Cagaran Best Kitten.

Teignage Sir Pouncealot being judged for Best in Show
Teignage Sir Pouncealot being judged for Best in Show

Steve Crow with the beautiful Kagura Galadriel, Best In Show exhibit
Steve Crow with his own-bred Kagura Galadriel, Best in Show exhibit

Not a bad day out, to take home between ourselves and Elisabeth, a Ped-Pet Best of Colour, two kitten Best of Breeds, a new Champion, another two CCs, an Imperial, an Olympian and two Best in Show awards!

Notts & Derbys Cat Club

Yesterday saw us heading down to the Notts & Derbys, which we didn’t get to last year, though Annas won one of her Imperials there back in 2010.  I can hardly believe it’s two years since we were ‘chasing’ Imps with her, and now here we were back to try for an Oly!

Annas actually looking at the camera for a change
Annas actually looking at the camera for a change - this is possibly the only show shot we've got of her looking interested!

We had entered Annas, Dàrna and Katie, and normally would have got our show stuff ready in the first half of last week.  However, I had a new employee up for his first week’s training, and Richard also had a busy week due to the wind bringing lots of fences down, so we didn’t get around to it until Friday evening.

When we got Katie’s vaccination card out of the drawer, we discovered that it hadn’t been filled in for her last vaccination.  I knew that she had been vaccinated with her 2011 (C-litter) kittens’ first vaccination, so we looked out the receipt, and sure enough, it shows a booster vaccination for ‘Katie’ and then the first vaccinations for her kittens.  However, she is obviously entered in a show as Rushbrooke Airgead Cagaran, not as ‘Katie’, so the receipt wouldn’t prove that she was vaccinated.  When we get the pink (registration) slips for our kittens, they come with a white copy for our records, so we photocopied the ones for the C-litter, to show that her kittens would have been the right age to be the ones whose vaccinations were recorded on the receipt.  I was going to use all of that, and hope that the show manager would allow us to take her in.  When we got up yesterday morning, however, she was pulling stupid faces and I decided that I couldn’t be bothered trying to argue her into the show hall, only to have her pull faces at the judge, so we left her at home with the Donny, Quinn and Gracie.

The lighting was so bright that you can actually see features on a photo of Annas
The lighting was so bright in the hall that you can actually make out features on a photo of Annas - it is amazingly difficult to take a decent photo of a self black cat!

Annas looked fantastic, but the competition was very steep in all the Olympian classes, and she didn’t place this time.  The certificate in her class went to the fabulous Mylward Sassafras, a Birman who is already a Bronze-level Olympian, meaning that this certificate counts towards her Silver Olympian title.  The Reserve went to Perri Hutchison’s (Irrep Burmese) gorgeous 11-year-old, chocolate tortie Burmese, Hypnos Tigerlily of Irrep.  I had the pleasure of handling her for the Breed class, and she was adorable!

Dàrna standing under her rosette
Dàrna looking gorgeous

In spite of not winning the Oly, Annas seems please with herself today, so she obviously feels that she did a good job.  She did win the Best of Breed, and also had good results in her sides, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd, in each case beating quality cats.  Dàrna also looked lovely, and won her second Imperial certificate, though the Best of Breed went to Diane Bunting’s (Xchardi Asians) beautiful own-bred girl, Xchardi Xsi Xsi, whom I loved as a kitten at the Humberside & Lincs show last summer.  Like Annas, Dàrna also won a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her side class, beating a couple of other cats each time.

Dàrna posing with her rosette
Dàrna posing with her certificate and rosette

As usual, Elisabeth travelled with us, and Lucy did well, winning her third and qualifying CC, making her up to Champion, as well as joining Annas and Dàrna’s 1-2-3 club and winning a 1st, 2nd and 3rd in her sides, again beating good cats each time.  Karen Hettman was also there with Lucy’s Dad, Zach, who won another Imperial and a 1st and two 2nds in his sides, while her other boy, Stan, lost to Zach in the Imperial but won two 2nds in his sides.

New Stud Boy

Apollo is slowly settling in, though making sure that we are aware that he is no enamoured by the move!  He spends a lot of his time sitting on one particular log in the run, keeping a watchful eye on his surroundings, and starts shouting to us as soon as we go through the gate.  Whenever we leave the run, he immediately sniffs around the whole floor with a look of disgust, as if we’ve messed up his territory just by visiting.  He is very sweet, and absolutely gorgeous.  He looks very like Fiona, though his eye shape and muzzle are better than hers.  Both are apricot silver, and his dam is Fi’s half-sister, so it isn’t that surprising that they look alike.

We will be starting to take him out for his Grands soon, so watch this space!

Decisions Made

Kia has been calling a lot recently, but won’t be ready to go to stud for several months yet.  Since she was such a hopeless mother last time around, we have decided to have her spayed.  A lovely couple from Glasgow have been waiting over a year for an Ocicat or Ocicat Classic from us, but we only had the Ocicat Variant litter last year, so there wasn’t anything for them.  They had absolutely fallen in love with Kia when they visited us, and she seemed to like them, so having decided to spay her, I contacted them to ask if they would be interested in her instead of a kitten.  Sheona and a friend came to visit last weekend, and loved her just as much as last time, so she will be going to live with Sheona and Bruce after the spay.

Donny looking handsome
Donny looking handsome

Since Kia is going in to be spayed, it seemed sensible to finally decide which of Dàrna’s last kittens we are going to keep, and have the other one neutered at the same time.  Originally I said that we would make the decision after seeing what the judges thought of the two at the West of Scotland show back at the start of December.  I’ve been putting it off ever since, because although Donny has the better overall type, and was the favourite with the judges, Quinn is probably my personal favourite – she’s just so cute!  She’s the one who jumps up onto the bed in the morning, and tries to snuggle down for a cuddle.  She also makes me laugh with her insistence when she thinks it’s time for her to be fed.

Quinn demanding her breakfast - isn't she adorably funny?

Over the past few days, however, I’ve looked at what matings we might like to do in the next couple of years, and Donny does fit better into those plans.  He is still absolutely adorable, and is definitely Richard’s preference – he’s been trying to persuade me to re-home her since the middle of last month.  Donny has also been Elisabeth’s favourite since they were teeny-tinies, so she’ll be delighted.  Annas also adores Donny, and is regularly found cuddling-up with him, or playing hide-seek-and-chase games behind, on, off, over and under the bedroom furniture.  I took the photo this morning (using my phone), and if it wasn’t so rubbish, you’d be able to see a little patch of tousled fur next to Annas’ paw, where she had obviously been licking Donny’s back before I came into the room.  It’s therefore only me who hates the idea of re-homing Quinn – I’m dreading having to see her going off with someone else!

Annas placing a proprietorial paw on Donny
Annas placing a proprietorial paw on Donny

She’ll make someone an adorable pet, or if we’re lucky, a lovely show neuter, because then I’d still get to see her occasionally.  Her coat has improved dramatically, and although still a little long, it now has a lovely silky texture.  Her tortie markings also mean that she’ll get away with murder with the judges!  Her smoking is undoubtedly better than her brother’s, because you can’t see it at all until you part her coat, and then you can see the silvering underneath.

Quinn showing off her tortie smoke colouring
Quinn showing off her tortie smoke colouring - the only place you can see the silver undercoat is on her shoulder, where the fur is parting slightly

I’m not going to start advertising her for sale until after she’s been spayed.  I think once that’s done I might find it a bit easier because I know she can’t be part of our breeding plans.  That may well be total wishful-thinking, but I can hope!

Quinn looking stunning
Quinn looking stunning!
I hadn't noticed the little pink bit on her nose until we took this photo!

Thinking Ahead for 2012

Fi is still up with Shogun, and still refusing to co-operate with his attempts to mate her.  She has, however, been sick a few times in the past week, which although unpleasant, might actually be a good sign: she’s out of Dàrna, who suffers from morning sickness!  All we can do is cross our fingers and keep checking her for signs of pinking-up.

I haven’t quite decide exactly what we’re doing with the other girls this year, and to some extent it depends how Donny develops.  If he looks like being an early starter, I would hold Katie back to mate to him at the back end of the summer, in which case Dàrna would be going to Apollo.  If Donny looks like he won’t be ready to work until the end of the year, I’ll put Katie to Apollo.  Dàrna could then go down to Annas’ brother, Charlie, who is the only link I can find to Annas’ Dam’s line (Annas and Katie have the same sire so we already have that line), and I am therefore keen to keep a kitten from him.  I’m also hoping to bring in a Tiffanie girl from a different line this year, to give us more flexibility in choosing who to mate to Donny (at present we only have Katie, plus his sister and his Dam).

Aside from the Asians, we will be completing our Ocicat outcross by taking Grace to an Ocicat stud.  Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn Ocicats) has suggested her cinnamon boy, Curry, who has a lovely strong head and would therefore be a good mate for her.  We also have the option to use Anita’s (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) young chocolate silver boy, Chippie, but we will need to see how he develops before we know if he would be a good mate.  Both boys are Ocicats carrying classic, so either mating could give us a mixed litter of ticked (Variant), spotted (Ocicat) and classic (Ocicat Classic) kittens!

Gorgeous Grace looking very mature
Gorgeous Grace looking very mature for her six months

Of course sod’s law probably means we’ll have to change all of our plans due to something unforeseen at the moment, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…

Catching Up

Most of the kittens have gone to their new homes, as has Tármus. Cailin had a spectacular day at the Fifé Winners Show, and our lot had good days at both the Yorkshire and the Ulster shows. We will soon hopefully have kittens on the way from Fiona…

Wow, it’s been almost two months since my last update, and plenty has moved on since then.  You’ll be glad to know that everything is fine, though, and the reason for the delay is simply that we’ve been ridiculously busy!

Yorkshire Show

We took three cats to Yorkshire this year: Kia, Grace and Cailin.

Kia showing her lovely head
Kia's lovely head

Kia demonstrating a beautiful Classic pattern
Kia modelling a beautiful Classic pattern

Kia was up for her first Intermediate certificate, which she won, along with Best of Breed, and Cailin also won her Best of Breed and first in her kitten class.  She was nearly awarded Best of Variety kitten, but after several minutes of debating, the judges decided that they weren’t certain enough that we had her colour correctly registered, and so decided not to risk it.  She is registered as a full-expression chocolate silver ticked, but her markings are so dark that the judges wondered if she might actually be a brown burmese restriction silver ticked instead.  I was obviously disappointed that she didn’t get it, but it’s still good to know that they considered her type good enough to bother arguing over the colour!  Grace was just in the ped pets, because she can’t go into competition in the pedigree section due to being a variant.  Both kittens (and Kia, actually), were absolutely fantastic with the judges, giving them cuddles and purrs, which is always lovely to see!

Cailin in her pen with her rosettes
Cailin with her rosettes

Grace sleeping amongst her prize cards
Grace sleeping amongst her prize cards

As is often the case, we had Elisabeth and her cats with us, but this time also Karen Hettman and her cats.  Once again, Zach had a fantastic day, winning the Imperial and then Best of Breed and finally Best Foreign Neuter again!

Zach looking handsome with his rosettes and prize cards
Zach looking handsome with his rosettes and prize cards

Anita drove up from Rugby to meet us at the show, and she took Cailin home from there.  Within a few hours, she was completely settled in and sleeping curled up with Anita’s new baby Ocicat boy, who is only a couple of weeks older than she is.  Keela wasn’t too sure what to make of the newcomer, because Keela has always been Anita’s baby, but Cailin is straight onto Anita’s lap the minute she sits down.  Keela seems to be coming around, though, and if our experience of Tiffs is anything to go by, they will end up being the best of friends.

Dàrna’s Kittens

Dàrna’s kittens had their first vaccinations the week after that, so we had to choose names to be able to put something on their vaccination cards!  The girl’s pet name is Quinn, short for Harlequin, due to the pattern on her face.  She is a typical naughty tortie, so her pedigree name is Dòrlach, which is gaelic for ‘handful’.  The boy’s pedigree name is Deathach-Donn, which is gaelic for brown smoke, and his pet name is Donny, from the latter part of his name.  I’m hoping that he does indeed turn out to be a brown smoke, rather than just a brown, or his name is going to look pretty silly!!  Both kittens are growing well, and at a bit over 11 weeks, are 1.25 and 1.15kg, which is pretty well bang-on the expected weight.

Donny and Quinn playing with Grace

Ulster Show

The first weekend this month saw us heading over to Belfast for the Ulster show, which involved a slightly crazy 26-hour round-trip, leaving our house at about 23:30 on the Friday, and getting back at about 01:30 on the Sunday morning.  Like last year, we had Kate Ekanger and Elisabeth with us, but this time we also had Karen’s two Russian boys instead of one of Sarah Davidson’s lot.

Kia looking very laid back in her pen
Kia looking very laid back in her pen at the show

Grace lolling in her pen
Grace proving that she is her mother's daughter

We had a great day, with Kia winning her second Intermediate and Best of Breed, Grace winning first in her Ped Pet class, and Best of Colour, then going on to be chosen as overall Best Household Pet, and Annas winning her Best of Breed and the first Olympian certificate ever awarded to a Tiffanie!  Kate’s two both won their respective classes and their Best of Breeds, and Karen’s boys won the Reserve Imperial and the Imperial, and in the case of Zach, also the Best of Breed and then Best Foreign Neuter!  Some of our friends also had a very successful day, with their boy Coen (Glendavan Roderick-Jaynes) winning his fifth and qualifying Olympian, to make him the first ever shorthair Olympian.  The star of the show, though, was Elisabeth’s little Lucy (Zach’s daughter), who won her class and Best of Breed, then went on to take first Best Foreign Kitten, then overall Best Foreign, and finally overall Best in Show!

Annas scowling in her pen
Annas with her Olympian and Best of Breed rosettes

Elisabeth and Lucy at the Best in Show pens
Elisabeth holding Lucy after her Best in Show win

Maltech’s New Home

Maltech was neutered the week after my last post, and I took him to his new home the day after the Ulster show.  He is now living with a lovely family in Bridge of Allan, and is to be called Simba, after the Lion King, which it suits him perfectly!  Since Maltech/Simba and Tármus had become close, and she was being bullied by Xaria, we asked if his owners would be interested in taking the two of them, and after meeting her, they agreed.  The wee girl whom he is living with had a toy snake on a stick, and she and Simba ran around playing together the entire time I was at their house.  Tármus was less sure of herself, and just sat on the sofa with one of her new owners stroking her.  When it came time for me to leave, Simba was so busy playing that I didn’t even get a second glance, but when I went over to stroke Tármus, she rolled over onto her side and immediately started purring, which set me off into floods of tears.  I’m sure it’s the right thing to do for her, but it doesn’t make saying goodbye a great deal easier.

Maltech cuddled up next to me in bed on the day he left
Maltech cuddling up to me in bed on his last morning with us

Cailin’s Win

That evening, I had a very excited phone call from Anita, telling me that she had manage to get a last minute pass to take little Cailin to the Fifé Winners Show (Fifé being an alternative to the GCCF), and that she had only gone and won overall Best in Show New Breed!  I knew that Anita was planning to take Cailin on exhibition, but she hadn’t told us that she had managed to get her into competition.  The show’s organisers had made an exception this year, to allow kittens between four and six months to enter the show without qualifying, whereas all other exhibits had to have qualified at a previous show.  Little Cailin was too young to have managed to qualify, but she delighted the judges and their decision to have her as Best in Show was unanimous!  I am absolutely delighted for Anita!

Cailin being judged at the FiFe Winners Show
Cailin being judged at the FiFe Winners Show

Cailin being held up as the BIS Winner
Cailin being held up as the BIS Winner

As a random aside, alongside the photos from the Winners Show, Anita also sent me some photos of Cailin and Keela at home, which I thought you might like to see.

Cailin exploring in Anita's secure garden
Cailin exploring outside and loving every minute

Cailin looking gorgeous on the wall
Anita has a secure garden where they can play in safety

Keela trying her Houdini act on the fence
Keela trying her Houdini act

Keela on her first birthday
Keela on her first birthday

Supreme

We then had a couple of weeks off before the Supreme, where we had Annas on exhibition for the Asian Group Cat Society and Bombay & Asian Self Clubs.  We also had Xaria up for her second UK Grand certificate, and Dàrna along because I wanted a pen to put pretty pictures of our kittens on top of!  As it happens, the judge debated for ages over whether to give her the Best of Breed, which he didn’t do in the end, but just the fact that he considered it made me very happy!  Both girls placed second in their UK classes, which was better than I thought Dàrna might manage, but rather disappointing with Xaria.

Darna in her pen at the Supreme
Dàrna with her pen topper showing photos of our cats - the real reason she was taken to the Supreme!
Xaria in her pen at the Supreme
Xaria in her pen

Keela was also there, and placed third in a class of five lovely girls, which wasn’t too bad.  I also got to meet Luna, who is almost a full sister to our first litter – she has the same sire, and her dam is a full sister of Katie’s.  Luna looks very like Lainni, which isn’t surprising given their pedigrees!

What’s Next?

Fiona is due for mating, and since we were so pleased with Cailin and her brother, we decided to take Fi to their sire, Kagura Shogun.  Unfortunately, Sarah has had someone ask if she can take back a cat that she sold a while ago, due to a change in their circumstances, and she was trying to decide where to put this other cat.  We came up with the solution that we have Shogun ‘on loan’, so that she can use his pen to house the returning cat, and since he has never sprayed, we are able to have him in our spare room and let him mate Fi in the comfort of her own home!  She’s not keen on strange cats, so we weren’t sure what the introduction would be like, but she must fancy him, because there wasn’t even a hiss, and she started flirting within him almost as soon as they were introduced.  We also have Keela here at the moment, having brought her back from the Supreme so that she could go to him as well!

Hopefully both girls will soon have kittens on the way, which would be the first generation born to a Cagaran parent…

Kitten Update: 14 Weeks, 13 Weeks and 7 Weeks

The kittens have continued to do well, and are all looking lovely. Cannach and Foghorn have gone to their new homes, Cailin has a new home to go to, but Maltech now needs a different home. Our cats had a good day at the Ocicat and RBBA shows, and I have enjoyed stewarding at both the North West and the Cumberland, though we didn’t have any cats of our own entered.

Once again, it’s been over three weeks since my last update, because things are still very busy in the ‘Cagaran Household’.  We’ve both been caught up at work, and had a family funeral to attend down in Devon, then on top of that, we’ve attended three/four shows, so there hasn’t been much spare time!

Kittens

Katie’s kittens were vaccinated a couple of days after I last posted, and Cannach was neutered the week after that, then went to his new home a few days later.  He seems to have settled in nicely, and is getting on with the older Asian neuters that his family own, as well as cuddling up with the family themselves.

The two litters together
All five kittens cuddling up before Cannach went off to his new home

His sister is not going to be going where we thought she was, because her intended owner visited another breeder and fell in love with one particular kitten there.  Sometimes a kitten chooses their owner, rather than the other way around, and that can make for a really strong bond, so I advised Pippa to pay attention to that.

I had shown photos of the kittens to my friend Anita (who has Keela, from Dàrna’s first litter), and when I mentioned that I was going to have to look for a new home for the girl, Anita asked if she could have her.  I wasn’t expecting Anita to want her, so was a bit taken aback, but absolutely delighted.  They weren’t keen on the pedigree name, and the registration documents were just being sent off, so I gave Anita the choice, and the girl is actually going to be Cagaran Cailin-Anizz, Anizz being Anita’s prefix.  Cailin is gaelic for ‘Damsel’, but is a pretty name in its own right, and is going to be her pet name as well.  Cailin has come on an absolute treat, and is so promising that I am starting to wish that we were keeping her ourselves!

Cailin showing her beautiful 'Burmese scowl'
Cailin showing her beautiful 'Burmese scowl'

Cailin having just woken up
Cailin looking sleepy having just been woken up

Kia’s kittens had their second vaccinations last week, and were thirteen weeks old yesterday.  We dropped Foghorn off at her new home, and as always, it was lovely to watch her exploring her new room, and then playing with her new family.  She will be sleeping in their spare bedroom to begin with, and the ‘kids’ (a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old) are going to take it in turns to sleep with her.  Her new family wanted to understand everything that we do with the kittens, including clipping of claws, and microchipping, which are both things that we normally do where nobody else is watching.  I was quite nervous doing them with an audience for the first time, but little Foghorn was beautifully behaved and didn’t even squeak when the needle went through her skin!

Foghorn looking lovely
Foghorn looking beautiful but very Abyssinian!
The three Ocis in a bed
The three Ocis: Maltech (left), Foghorn (front), and Grace (right)

Maltech’s intended owner has unfortunately lost her job, and as a result she cannot take on the responsibility and cost of looking after another cat.  I have therefore started the process of looking for an alternative home for him.  I will be having him neutered this week, and it’s not a moment too soon, because he’s already getting interested in Katie and Fiona!  He and Grace are the most adorable pair of rascals, tearing around the room with Fi and then rushing up to rub against you and purr.

Maltech
Maltech looking like he is up to something

Dàrna’s kittens are developing beautifully, and I am delighted to say that both are now looking distinctly smokey!  They are little monkeys at the moment, rushing about and getting into all sorts of mischief, just as their Burmese ancestors are famous for.  Whenever you walk into the kitten room, they come running over and climb onto your feet, clinging to your ankles.  Richard calls them the ‘foot gremlins’, as a result.  My parents looked after the kittens for us while we were down in Devon for the funeral, and I couldn’t help but laugh listening to my Dad trying to deal with being rushed by the babies!  We took an absolute stack of photos yesterday, so I couldn’t resist sharing a selection here:

Both kittens together
Both kittens together - I love the girl's look of grudging tolerance!
The girl from the side
This shows off the girl's lovely little nose and beautiful break
The girl looking cute
The tortie markings are more obvious on her right side than her left
Dàrna cleaning her daughter
Dàrna cleans her daughter - this reminds me of the scene in Disney's'The Lion King', when Simba says "Mom, you're messing up my mane"
The boy chewing his paw
The boy looking utterly adorable, chewing on his own paw

The boy lying on his back looking cute
The boy lying on his back looking cute - he had just finished attempting to bite Richard's fingers and catch the camera lens in his paws

The boy showing his stunning profile
Profile shot of the boy showing his gorgeous break, short nose and rounded head
The boy looking gorgeous
The boy looking gorgeous

Shows

The weekend after my last update, we took Elisabeth down to the North West show, which we couldn’t actually enter ourselves because we wanted to support the Ocicat show the following weekend.  Instead, I was given a stewarding engagement with a Dutch judge, who was my first experience of working with a foreign judge, and was an excellent test of my awareness of the system etc.

The following weekend was both the Ocicat and the RBBA (Russian Blue) shows, and the two were in venues about an hour apart.  Elisabeth borrowed Karen Hettman’s two boys again, and we dropped her off at the RBBA with them and Xazzle, so she had three cats of her breeding, but none of them actually owned by her!  Zach was the star of the day, winning the Imperial (on his first try), and also Best Male Neuter.

We couldn’t take Kia to the Oci show, because her kittens were born too recently (they must have been born at least 12 weeks previously), so we could only take our neuters along to support the club.  Breckin won her first Grand certificate, and Tármus had her first time out in the Pedigree Pet section, winning her first Master Cat certificate and Best of Colour, bless her!  As always, she loved the attention and I was reminded of how enjoyable she is to show.

Breckin with her rosettes
Breckin with her rosettes

Tarmus taking a quick break from eating!
Tármus looking thoughtful

Last weekend was the Cumberland show, and again we couldn’t enter our own cats because of having shown the previous week.  Instead, I was stewarding for Ann Gregory, and we were obviously giving Elisabeth a lift with her cats.  Ann is the only all-breed judge in the GCCF, and very well respected, so I was a bit nervous in case I made any mistakes.  The day went well, however, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Our pick of the day was a most beautiful blue Burmese who had Ann and I in raptures for several minutes.  That girl went on to win Overall Best Burmese, so we obviously weren’t the only ones who thought she was stunning.  Our friends, the Miskellys (Glendavan Abyssinians and Ragdolls), who own the sire of Kia’s kittens, also had a fantastic day, with the beautiful Coen (Glendavan Roderick-Jaynes) winning overall Best in Show!

Dàrna with her daughter and Cailin
Dàrna with her daughter and Cailin

Kitten Updates – Eleven, Nine and Four Weeks, and another Cagaran title!

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!

Four of the kittens together
Two of the Ocis and the two Tiffs on the bed

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 Kittens

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.

Kirsty looking gorgeous
Kirsty looking gorgeous whilst sleepy

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.

Cannach looking up at the camera
Cannach looking up at a feather stick held just off to the side of the camera

Cannach's cute little nose
Cannach's cute little nose - not perfect, but not bad either!

Kia’s Kittens

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!

Grace showing the first hint of the square Oci muzzle
Grace starting to show signs of having a square Oci muzzle

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.

Foghorn looking much more grown-up
Foghorn looking very grown-up

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!

Maltech looking adorable
Maltech thinking about pouncing on the camera!

Dàrna’s Kittens

Mum and babies
Dàrna with the babies

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!

The boy looking adorable
The boy looking adorable

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 girl looking evil
Look at that face - she's going to be a right little demon!

Other News

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…

First Cagaran Title and More Kittens

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

Fiona with her CC
Beautiful Fiona with her CC

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!

Breckin with her rosette and BOB plaque
Breckin with her 1st Open rosette and Best Of Breed plaque

Elisabeth's Basil
Eilsabeth's Basil looking handsome, with his rosettes and plaque

Dàrna’s Kittens

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.

The boy at birth
The boy just after birth

Dàrna with her kittens today
Dàrna with her kittens today

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.

Dàrna's kittens
Dàrna's kittens at one day old - girl on the left (tortie face), boy on the right

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

The Oci boy
The Oci boy

The first Oci girl
The first Oci girl

Foghorn with the others in the background
Foghorn with the others in the background

The two Tiffs and two of the Ocis cuddling together
The two Tiffs, the Oci boy and the first Oci girl cuddling

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.

The first Oci girl and Katie's son cuddling
The first Oci girl and Katie's son cuddling

Katie's daughter with some of the other kittens
Katie's daughter looking up from a kitten heap

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!

Katie with all the kittens
Katie with all the kittens - 'Foghorn' at the front, and then the other two Ocis and Katie's daughter feeding from her, and her son asleep on the right

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…

Lainni and Tabh together
Two of last year's kittens - Katie's daughter, Lainni (right) and Dàrna's son, Tabh (left). They enjoy access to a cat-secure garden area

Rafa relaxing
Another of Katie's kittens from last year, Rafa (whom we knew as Soolay). This is what Katie's current boy will look like when he is older!

Kitten Updates and Rexfest Show

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

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

Kittens

Katie with her sleepy kittens
Katie with her sleepy kittens

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

Katie

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

Katie's kittens cuddling up
Katie's kittens cuddling

Kia's boy
Kia's boy looking impish

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

Kia's first girl
Kia's first girl

Kia's second girl
Kia's second girl

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

Rexfest Show

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

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

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

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

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

Other News

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

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