Summer 2015 Update

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

Kitten Update:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kitten News

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

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

Other News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even More Kittens

Tia and Lhasa had seven kittens each, but sadly two of Lhasa’s tiny kittens didn’t make it. The remaining twelve kittens, as well as Tilly’s four, have all grown well, though. Dàrna won her first two PCs at the Humberside & Lincs show and Small has gone off to stud with one of Helen Marriott-Power’s boys. Richard was elected as Vice-Chair of the AGCS.

Unfortunately, I can’t get WordPress to accept any image uploads this evening, so I’m putting the blog up and will add the images as soon as it’s possible to get them uploaded.

Okay, so it’s taken me ages to get around to doing another update after my announcement of the arrival of Tia’s kittens, but at least you got the announcement of one of the births in a timely fashion! With looking after the three litters, including having to syringe-feed Tia’s smallest ones, there was just never a good moment to post.

Tia and Lhasa’s Combined Litter

Unfortunately, Tia’s second-smallest kitten died part-way through the Friday, but somehow he had seemed like he was never meant to be. Far more devastating was the loss of her smallest at 12 days: by the time you’ve been syringe-feeding a kitten for as long as that, you’re starting to think that it’s going to make it, but she died in my hands after her early-evening feed and I was absolutely devastated. Thanking heaven for small mercies, though, the biggest of Tia’s tinies did pull through and is now probably the most characterful kitten in the whole litter!

Once Tia’s kittens arrived, we had to cover her nest box or Lhasa would hop in and try to run off with the kittens to her nest box. When Lhasa went into labour, Tia climbed into the box with her, lay down behind her so that Lhasa was leaning against her, and gave her a quick lick as if to say “I’m here; just breathe”. As each kitten arrived, the two girls cleaned them up together and then Tia looked after the newborns while Lhasa concentrated on the next delivery. It was very cute to watch the two experienced mums working together – when we’ve had two girls sharing during a delivery in the past, it’s been one experienced girl and one first-timer, so it was interesting to see how these two divided the duties, rather than one coaching the other.

Once Lhasa was finished, and the kittens were all cleaned up, we changed the bedding to take away the delivery-soiled towels, and then moved Tia’s kittens into the nest alongside Lhasa’s, since it was obvious that the two would be happier in together. The two litters have therefore grown up as one giant litter, and I’m sure they don’t have a clue which of the two is actually their mum.

They are just approaching six weeks and are starting to show individual personalities, but at the moment these are not distinctive enough for us to start naming them. They are therefore still known as ‘Tia’s Kitten 1’, ‘Lhasa’s Kitten 6′, and so on:

Tia’s Kitten 1 – lilac tortie BCR (Burmese Colour Restriction) silver shaded Burmilla female.

Tia’s Kitten 2 – lilac tortie BCR silver spotted Burmilla or Tiffanie (not sure) female. At the moment, I’m leaning towards this one being ours.

Tia’s Kitten 3 – lilac FEX (Full Expression, i.e. not BCR) spotted Asian Tabby male (might be silver). At the moment, this boy is reserved for Sarah Davidson, who owned the kittens’ grandsire, Shogun, because she has been wanting to get another spotty stud since Shogun was neutered. She’ll come and look at him when he is a bit older, and decide whether she wants him or not.

Tia’s Kitten 4 – brown tortie BCR shaded Burmilla female.

Tia’s Kitten 7 – brown silver shaded (tipped) Burmilla male. This is the one who was hand-fed for the first week or so and he is such a character and loves his cuddles and kisses.

Lhasa’s Kitten 1 – chocolate tortie BCR classic tabby Tiffanie female (might be silver). This is probably my favourite of Lhasa’s kittens for type, but since we’re keeping a girl from Tia’s litter, I want to keep one of Lhasa’s boys instead. Typical!

Lhasa’s Kitten 2 – brown BCR silver shaded Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 3 – lilac (maybe chocolate) BCR silver shaded Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 4 – lilac (maybe chocolate) BCR silver classic tabby Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 5 – chocolate tortie BCR silver shaded Tiffanie female. At the moment, she is reserved for John and Theresa Beale, because they’re looking for a silver shaded Tiffanie female. Again, we’ll see how she develops before they decide for certain.

Lhasa’s Kitten 6 – chocolate BCR silver spotted tabby Tiffanie male.

Lhasa’s Kitten 7 – brown BCR silver spotted tabby Tiffanie male.

At the moment, the kitten we keep from Lhasa’s litter is between Kitten 4 and Kitten 7, but I won’t decide until we see how both type and personality develop over the next few weeks.

The fact that both Tia and Lhasa’s litters contained seven kittens takes Eiteag’s average to four kittens per litter, which is the expected average and therefore allays my fears about there being something amiss with his fertility due to both Small and Hailey being single-kitten-litters.  That means that if the people in Eastern Europe who had previously expressed an interest in him are still looking for a Tiffanie stud, I would feel much more comfortable letting him go out there, knowing that he is fully fertile.  My original thinking was to have him neutered once we had the litters from Tia and Lhasa, but having seen him working, he enjoys his job far too much to take that away from him.  Donny doesn’t care either way – he would be just as happy to be a neutered pet as to be a stud cat, but Eiteag loves working as a stud!

Tilly’s Kittens:

Tilly’s kittens are getting close to being ready to leave us, so I really must start looking for new homes.  They will have their second vaccinations later this week, go in to be neutered/spayed next week and then be ready to go to their new homes the week after.

Kitten 1 – chocolate FEX silver shaded Burmilla male.  Pet name: Imp.  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Impich, which means ‘persuade’, because he’s very vocal about telling you when he wants food, play or a cuddle.  It’s pronounced as it looks, with ‘ch’ as in the Scottish ‘loch’.  He’s a right little monkey and gets up to all sorts of mischief with his partner in crime, Mischka (Kitten 3).

Kitten 2 – black FEX smoke Tiffanie female.  Pet name: Isla.  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ìla, which is the Gaelic form of the island name Islay.  It’s pronounced the same way as the island (the pronunciation ending in ‘a’ rather than ‘ay’).

Kitten 3 – chocolate BCR silver shaded Burmilla female.  Pet name: Mischka (chosen by her new owners).  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Ifrinnach, which means ‘fiend’ or ‘demon’, because she’s an absolute devil-child!

Kitten 4 – brown BCR smoke Tiffanie male.  Pet name: Mini-Doop or Doopy-Two (due to his resemblance to his Dad), Sumo or Lump (due to his size) or Yoda (because my brother thinks he looks like Yoda).  Pedigree name: (Cagaran) Iùmh-rud, which means ‘lump’.  It’s pronounced Ee-oov-root.

Other Cat Stuff:

The Edinburgh & East show was on the 19th of July, and though we couldn’t enter because we decided to do the Humberside & Lincs the following weekend, we did help to set up on the Friday evening and then visited to assist the following day.  I spent a lovely day stewarding for Steve Crow, whom I haven’t stewarded for in a couple of years.

The Humberside & Lincs show is in Newark, which is only about 40 minutes from Richard’s parents house, so is always a good excuse to pay them a visit.  That weekend also suited the bulk of the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society) Committee for their summer Committee meeting, and if we were going to be going as far as Kettering for that meeting, we decided that we might as well fit in the double-show at the same time.  We took Dàrna to try for her first PCs and also arranged for Helen Marriott-Power to take Small home with her from the show, to ‘meet’ one of her stud boys.  Since Small was going to be at the show for that purpose anyway, we decided to enter her in the Grand on the off-chance that the judge would be in a lenient mood, but really she still looks too immature to win and indeed she wasn’t placed in either show.  She did win Best of Breed in both shows, though, as did Dàrna, who also won the two PCs.  During the show day, Richard and I caught up on some shopping in Grantham and had a lovely walk in the gardens of the National-Trust-owned Belton House.

At the Committee meeting the following day, Steve stepped down as Chairman, since he is now Chairman of the GCCF itself, and Sarndra Devereux (Rainsong Burmese and Asians) took over as Chair with Richard elected to the position of Vice-Chair.  As always, the meeting was held in the beer garden of a pub in Kettering and was a fabulously relaxed afternoon.

On the way home, we called in at Anita’s, since she had been unable to attend the meeting due to midwife duties for Breagha.  This did let us meet the three litters that Anita has at the moment, thought – two ‘oops’ Tiffanie x Ocicat kittens from Cailin (Anita’s Ocicat stud boy, Chippie, managed to get to her!); three gorgeous Ocicats (one tawny, two cinnamon) from Bobbi by a lovely Swedish import boy, of which Anita is keeping the girl; and another three from Breagha by Chippie – a chocolate silver Ocicat Classic, a cinnamon silver Ocicat and a cinnamon Ocicat.  We joked that we and Anita have our litters the wrong way around at the moment – we have three litters from girls we didn’t breed, including one bred by Anita (though we did breed her mum), and she has three litters from girls that we bred!

Cailin and her chocolate spotted tabby daughter in a basket at Anita's
Cailin and her very Oci-like half-Oci daughter

Cailin's silver shaded son asleep on a blanket
Cailin’s very Asian-like half-Oci son

We’ve also just had Tármus (our first Ocicat neuter girl) and Simba (one of the grown-up kittens form our first Ocicat litter) back to stay with us for their three-week summer holiday (their people were away to the US for a special birthday celebration).  I always enjoy having these two back for their holidays, not least because it gives us a chance to see how they’re both doing, three years after leaving us.

Another Catch-Up and…. Kittens!!

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

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

Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kittens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Kittens Going and New Ones on the Way

The Somali kittens and Frenchie (now Sam) have found a new home together, and may be shown and even bred from, in the case of the girls. At recent shows, Small and Bobbi have made up to Champion, Donny won his fourth Imperial and Cheeky her first PC, plus we’ve had a couple of Reserve Grands for Eiteag and Ayla. Tia, Lhasa and Tilly have been mated, and we are waiting to see if they are pregnant.

I really must find a better approach to setting aside time to do regular updates – it’s been over two months since my last one, and that was three months from the previous one, so this is only my third post in the past six months!

Kittens in New Homes

When I last posted, we were looking for homes for the two Somali kittens (though I was tempted to keep Molly), and Frenchie.  We had a whole host of enquiries for the Somalis and several for Frenchie as well, but one of the first enquiries was from a lovely couple who live near Alexandria and used to breed Siamese.  They have recently lost their elderly Siamese and although they have two young Siamese as well, they were looking for something to fill the gap (I understand that need, having done exactly the same thing when we lost Tiger and then again when we lost Gealbhan).  They came out to meet the kittens, with a view to getting two, and when they left us after a few hours of getting to know the kittens, and meeting all the adults, they said that they definitely wanted two, but had to discuss which two to have.  As soon as they got home, however, they rang to say that they had decided that they would like all three, if that was possible.

The cats had all adored them, and Annas had even sat on Derek’s knee, which is as high a praise of a stranger as Annas can possibly offer – she’s not generally keen on new people.  Irene also asked if we would consider allowing them to have a litter from Molly when she is old enough, and offered to keep Frenchie entire to act as a back-up for the outcross, in case Zuko couldn’t produce kittens for us.  Between the cats’ reactions to them, the possibility of starting another Somali breeder, having a back-up to Zuko for the outcross and also the lovely thought of having the three kittens living together, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes.

The Somali kittens hadn’t had their second vaccinations yet, but Frenchie was ready to leave immediately, so they asked if they could have her first, with the Somalis to follow when they were ready.  They decided to rename her Samantha, or Sam for short, and I drove her over to their house that weekend, where she settled in immediately, and decided that she was going to be mum to the two Siamese, who seem happy being mothered.  Irene and Derek visited us a couple of weeks later, with their daughter, to see the Somali kittens again, and then the following weekend having received their second vaccinations, and with Harry neutered, I took the Somalis to join their new family.  All three have settled in well with eachother and also their new Siamese brothers, and I think we’ll be seeing a couple of them at a show soon, so watch this space!

On a sad note, I have just received word that Hamish, one of Bobbi’s brothers, has been killed in the lane beside his house.  Harry and Hamish were both cinnamon Ocicat Variants, and went to live together down in Ayrshire, where their owner absolutely doted on them.  Unfortunately, Hamish got out and went onto the lane by the house, where one of the neighbours saw him being hit by a car doing at least 40mph, in spite of the 20mph speed limit.  He was killed immediately, which at least means he didn’t suffer, but poor Harry is absolutely devastated.  His owner thinks he probably saw the accident, because he came flying into the house looking really shaken, and has been reluctant to go outside since.

Recent Shows

Since my last post, we’ve been to four shows: the Scottish, the Lancs, the Preston & Blackpool and the joint Midland Counties/Shorthair Cat Society/Asian Group Cat Society.

We had entered both Small and Dàrna in the Scottish, Small for her first CC, and Dàrna in case she didn’t win her fifth Imperial at the Shropshire.  Having had her make up at the Shropshire, I considered leaving her at home for the Scottish, but since she was to be spayed the following week, it seemed a shame to miss the last possibility of taking her out as an entire.  Small won her CC, and had some lovely comments from judges, and as it happens, Dàrna didn’t win the Imperial anyway, losing out to a very typey Devon Rex, but it was indeed lovely to have the two girls out as adults together one last time.

The Lancs was the last opportunity to take Zuko out as a Pedigree Pet, until he has finished his part in the outcross and been neutered (cats over six months must be neutered in the HP section), so obviously I wanted to take him and Small, since she was trying for her second CC.  Since the Lancs were offering a reduced entry fee, we also decided to try Cheeky for her first PC, and had entered Hailey alongside Zuko.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I had entered Hailey, so we didn’t actually take her to the show!  Zuko had a good day, winning his 1st and Best of Colour, and with good results in his side classes, and Small won her second CC and Best of Breed, and had her coat described as having been “made in heaven”.  Cheeky was very shy, and was also looking skinny due to living with Ali, who is an absolute hoover for food, so she didn’t get her award.

At the Preston & Blackpool, Hailey’s Pedigree Pet judge was to be Janet Wilshaw, whom I suspect would love her type, so I entered her there.  A couple of days before the show, she fell off a scratching post whilst playing, and bumped her eye on the corner of a litter tray, resulting in a scratch and a very sore eye, so we couldn’t take her to that one either.  As it happens, Janet was ill that day, so at least we didn’t miss having Janet judge her, but I’m still disappointed that we haven’t been able to take her out (like Zuko, she’s now too old to go out until she’s been spayed).  Cheeky was still very skinny, and although shy, was much happier than at the Lancs, even rolling onto her back to have her tummy stroked before we left her in the morning, but still didn’t get her certificate.  Small was our saving grace, making up to Champion with her third CC, and also taking BOB again.

As an aside, Hailey’s eye was sore for a few days, but was well enough that by the week after the show, she could have been shown, so the timing was just sod’s law!

Last Sunday was the joint show, and since this is Richard’s peak season, he can’t really take Monday’s off work, so I drove to this one myself.  Anita invited me to stay on the Saturday and Sunday nights, so I took the Monday off and drove down on the Saturday and back Monday.  We entered three cats to support the AGCS (Donny in the Imperial and Eiteag and Ayla in the Grand), and since we had the option, figured that we might as well enter them in the Shorthair show as well.

In addition, we decided to have another go with Cheeky, to see whether she continued to be more content with each show, and tried moving Ali to a different room straight after the Preston & Blackpool, leaving just Cheeky and Bru together, so that they could have food down all the time (Ali will just keep eating, even if it means he has to throw up to make more room, and gets very fat).  That made a huge difference to Cheeky’s condition, and by the time of the show, her coat was glossier and she had filled out nicely.  That improvement, combined with the fact that she was almost totally relaxed this time, meant that she was finally awarded her first certificate.  Eiteag and Ayla both won a Reserve Grand in one show, and didn’t place in the other, but competition was strong, and we weren’t expecting them to win at all – they were only there to support the club, so I can’t be too upset!  Donny didn’t place in one of the shows, but surprised me by winning the Imperial in the other (again, he was there just for support), taking his total to four, and meaning that he only has one to go!

Sue also had Bobbi entered in the Shorthair, to try for her third and final CC, which she won, making her the thirteenth titled Cagaran.  Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances, Sue is not going to be able to take Bobbi, but since Anita lost one of her Ocicat girls last year, she is interested in having Bobbi.  Although Anita already has Bobbi’s half-sister, the relationship is through their mother, who is first-generation from the outcross line, and the father’s pedigrees are completely different, so Bobbi could still be of benefit to Anita’s breeding.

Next Litters

In my last post, I said that we were planning to give Tia, Lhasa and Tilly one more call, and then mate all three of them in March, and for a change, we actually did what we were planning to do, putting Tia and Lhasa with Eiteag, and Tilly with Donny.  We know that Tia was mated numerous times, Lhasa at least once, and Donny certainly made a good try of it with Tilly (he’d pulled most of the fur out of the back of her neck!), so we’re now just keeping our fingers crossed.  All three girls have gained weight since being mated, but only Tilly actually seems to have pinked up.  With the other two the weight gain could just be due to the relief of finally having had a mate after such a long gap.  If they haven’t taken, we’ll try them again on their next calls, and I promise I’ll keep you posted!

On a totally non-cat subject, I’d like to thank those of you who came to the concert last night at the Church of the Holyrude in Stirling, where I was singing Mozart’s Requiem and some other pieces, with the Stirling City Choir.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and hope you did too!

Good News Catch-Up

It’s been quite a while since my last post, so there is plenty to catch up on, including several shows (London Pet Show, Nor’East, Suffolk & Norfolk, Durham/Northern Counties and Lakeland), the World Cat Congress and Gala Dinner and Australian Mist Seminar. Both Dàrna’s kitten and the Ocis continue to do well, and the Ocis are now starting to leave home. In addition, Keela and Grace have now been spayed, and are ready to look for new homes.

I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post – how time flies!  I had a draft post saved here that started “the past couple of weekends have been really enjoyable, but also really tiring”, but I hadn’t got around to completing it and posting it up.  Thinking back over the time since my last post, that opening comment could pretty-much just be extended to cover the entire period!  I have very busy at work, and in my ‘spare’ time, have been doing judge’s class allocations for my first time as an Assistant Show Manager, which is an amazingly time-consuming process.  So… what has happened since my last post?

London Pet Show

Looking down on the World of Cats area
Looking down on the World of Cats area

As in previous years, the London Pet Show proved to be a great success, and remains a fabulous opportunity for the GCCF and the breed clubs, to show off our wonderful breeds. Due to the number of people wanting to enter the World Cat Congress show the following weekend, many of the cats who would normally have been at LPS were unable to attend (in the GCCF, we are not allowed to show more than once in every two weekends). It was therefore more of a struggle than usual to get the required 24 breeds on each day, and so we offered to take more cats than usual.

Our cats took up five double pens, so we had the whole of one side of an aisle, and two-thirds of the other
Our cats took up five double pens, so we had the whole of one side of an aisle, and two-thirds of the other

The first three were borrowed from other people, on behalf of the Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland, of which I am the Secretary, and Richard is the Vice-Chairman:

Kenga (our Grace’s litter-sister, Cagaran Adhairc), who represented the Abyssinians as a Pedigree Pet. Her sire was a gorgeous usual Abyssinian, but her dam was a tawny Ocicat Classic. For the purposes of allowing the public to meet a breed, however (which is the point of the LPS), she looks and behaves like an Abyssinian.

Kenga sitting in her pen, pretending to be an Abyssinian
Kenga pretending to be an Abyssinian

For the Russians, we borrowed three of Elisabeth’s kittens, Iggy (commonly known as Ig-the-pig, because he’s a greedy wee rascal), Jerry (her new import boy from Holland), and her youngest, Jingle (usually called Small-Small, but as only Elisabeth could come up with, also sometimes called Jinny-Jingle-Beagle-Bingle!). Elisabeth was judging in Dundee the same day, so the Russian table was manned by Caroline Moore, who owns a Russian Blue neuter, and who absolutely fell in love with Jingle during the day.

The three Russians in their pen
The three Russians in their pen

Jingle Belle out on the table
Jingle Belle out on the table

Bru and Cheeky shared a double pen, representing the Ocicats and Ocicat Classics. They weren’t too sure about all the hustle and bustle of the show, and were only happy to be out of their pen, if they were being cuddled. Anita and Rob came with us to man the Ocicat table, and Anita spent most of the day cuddling Cheeky whilst people stroked her over the table.

The aisle in front of the Ocicat table
Busy aisle in front of the Ocicat table

Bru and Cheeky in their basket
Bru and Cheeky in their basket

The rest of ours were representing the Asian Group, and we tried to cover as much of it as we could in the four cats we took – Donny represented the Asian Smoke, Tia the Burmilla, Ayla the Tiffanie, and Eiteag, as a spotted tabby Tiffanie, was the closest we come to an Asian Tabby, so he came along as well.

Beautiful Tia playing with a toy
Beautiful Tia playing with a toy

The boys enjoying their lunch
The boys enjoying their lunch

Donny and Eiteag shared a pen, and when they weren’t out on the table, they were cuddled up together on their bed, sleeping or grooming eachother. Last year, Donny was happy to spend the entire day out on the table, and being passed from person to person, but he and Eiteag are both adolescent males now, and inclined to get a bit frisky if they can smell female cats! As a result, we had to spell the two of them, having them out for maybe fifteen minutes at a time, and then swapping over. Since we didn’t have anyone to man the Abyssinian table, Richard was taking it in turns between the boys and Kenga.

I was looking after our second table (one was technically for the Asian Shorthairs, and the other for the Tiffanies, but we had one of each on each table because of the gender split), with Tia and Ayla. Tia was happy to be out of her pen, but equally happy in it, whereas Ayla was ecstatic when she was out of her pen, and wanted out within minutes of being back inside the pen, so I had Ayla out most of the day. Whenever I put her back into her pen for a few minutes to encourage her to have something to eat and drink, I would then get Tia out until Ayla had decided that she wanted out again. The rest of the day, Tia sat in her pen looking beautiful, and people ooh-ing and ah-ing over her.

Anita and I manning one of the Asian stands, with Tia and Ayla both out on the table
Anita and I manning one of the Asian stands, with Tia and Ayla both out on the table – it is Tia’s tail you can see; Ayla is in the fleecy basket

Ayla was my little star, though, and like her uncle Donny last year, was absolutely in her element, being passed from person to person, giving cuddles and kisses and just lapping up all the attention. She was a fabulous ambassador for the breed, and I think lots of people went home wanting an Asian of some description, as a result!

At the end of the show, I had a slightly tearful goodbye with her, as she left with the Australian Mist stud owner. I have been getting regular updates ever since, however, and it sounds like Ayla is missing me less than I’m missing her – she is spending the nights in the stud owner’s bedroom, and riding around the house on the stud owner’s shoulder. She had a couple of introductory meetings with the stud owner’s youngest boy, but he doesn’t seem to be interested yet, so Ayla’s been in with one of her proven studs instead, and although he definitely mated her back in May, she spent the next few weeks neither calling nor pinking up.  However, she has finally decided to start calling again in the past week, and has now been mated again, so it’s just a waiting game to see whether she has taken this time. The stud owner will let me know if/when Ayla pinks up, and we can then try and work out the logistics of getting her home – I can’t wait!

Nor’East of Scotland Show

The show Elisabeth was judging at was the Nor’East of Scotland show.  I mention it again for two reasons – firstly, because major congratulations are due to both Karen Hettman, and Elisabeth, and secondly, because there were four Cagaran cats at the show, in spite of us being in London.

The congratulations due to Karen and Elisabeth are because Karen’s two boys (whom Elisabeth bred) both ended up in Overall Best-in-Show pens, Zach (Dushenka Zerachiel) as Best Pedigree, and Stan (Dushenka Stanislav) as Best Household Pet – he has been shown as a Pedigree Pet since making up to Imperial in the Pedigree section.  Unfortunately, Elisabeth missed the excitement because she had been given a lift by Ian Thomson, and he was given an early pass to head home!

Lona and Lesley were both there with two Cagarans each – Lona’s Lainni didn’t win her Imperial, but had strong competition, and Lesley’s Derk had the PC withheld on him, much to Elisabeth’s outrage (she thought he was the best of the four!).  The other two had an excellent day, however, with Lesley’s Ella winning her third PC, making her up to Premier, and becoming our 9th titled cat, and Lona’s Tabh picking up his third Grand, giving him the Grand title (the third for our prefix).  I am delighted for both owners, and can’t thank them enough for showing their cats so beautifully.

World Cat Congress Weekend

The following weekend saw us back down south, for the World Cat Congress. The WCC is a body made up of representatives from all the major cat registration bodies, including the major bodies in Europe, the US, Australia and South Africa. Each year the WCC has a meeting, hosted by one of the member organisations, where the various delegates get together to discuss issues that are of universal concern to all cat registration bodies, or at least of concern to several of the bodies. For instance, if the EU was going to introduce a new law relating to the ownership of cats, they might discuss a response to that, or if a new vaccination had been developed, they could look at how best to utilise it. Aside from the meeting itself, the WCC weekend also includes a show, dinner event and a seminar programme.

This year was the GCCF’s turn to host the congress, and the weekend started with a drinks reception and buffet on Friday evening, followed by plenty of gossiping in the bar afterwards. We stayed with Anita that night, but didn’t leave the hotel until midnight, so it was after 2am before we got to bed.

On Saturday morning we were up at 7am to head to Wood Green for the show. The WCC show was to be held back-to-back with the Suffolk & Norfolk show, giving exhibitors the chance to win two certificates on the same day. The S&N show is always a fairly large show, and the Wood Green venue is perfect for this type of event, having plenty of space for pens, trade stands, exhibitors and judges alike, not to mention excellent catering facilities and plenty of other things for visitors to do, aside from visiting the show (Wood Green is a large animal shelter).

I was originally booked to steward for Wayne Trevathan, who is a former director of CFA’s (Cat Fancier’s Association) Southern Region, and the CFA’s current WCC delegate. However, the show manager came to me at the reception, and asked if I would consider swapping with another steward, because there had been a mix-up, and that steward had been assigned to a judge who was judging one of her cat’s open classes (it is permitted to handle your own cats in miscellaneous classes, but not opens). As a result, I actually stewarded for Cheryle U’ren, who is the current International Liaison Office for the CCCA (Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia), their delegate to the WCC, and also the WCC’s Vice-President. She was great fun to steward for, and I sincerely hope I get a chance to work with her again in future.

After the show, we had the Gala Dinner, which was a fabulous night, as always.  Anita and Rob came along this year, for the first time, as did David and Louise Miskelly.  Both couples sat on the same nine-seater table as Richard, Elisabeth and I, and our table was completed by Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese and Asians), and one of her friends.  The food was delicious, if a slightly strange choice, and we had some great conversations going.  After the meal, the lights were turned down and people took to the dance floor, this being the first time the Gala Dinner has been followed by a disco.  The best bit of the evening, however, as in previous years, was the gossiping in the bar after the main event was finished.

We stood for a while chatting to Kate Ekanger (Cloudborn Devons), and Jen and Laura Pinches (Velvarex Devons), who bred the Devons that we owned.  When they headed off to bed, we spent a while with Emma Watts (Emanan Somalis), Saffi Rabey, whom I have stewarded for in the past, and is now a member of RACCS, having been a recent convert to the ownership of a Nebelung (her other cats are Maine Coons), and a few others.  After a while we joined a group of the foreign judges, including Andreas Mobius, whom Elisabeth had stewarded for at the show, and had some fascinating insights into some of the other cat registries, not to mention a whole array of other topics!  When they all headed off to bed, we moved again, and this time joined the hilarious John and Janet Wilshaw (Rossikhan Burmese), Dorothy Stone and others, and had an absolute whale of a time, chatting about everything from Burmese breed politics to the Wilshaw’s imminent 33-year anniversary, and Scottish Independence!  We eventually all headed off to bed at about 3am, and it was after 3:30am by the time we actually got into bed!

We were back up at 7:30am on Sunday, to enjoy a cooked breakfast and plenty of chat with Rob, Anita, Elisabeth and John Hansson, before heading across for the seminar starting at 9:15am.  The core topic of the seminar programme was ‘Responsible Breeding for Health and Welfare’, and it started with a fascinating insight into the way each of the registries promotes ethical breeding practices and feline welfare, including the various laws relating to the subject in each country.  This was followed by talks from a representative of Royal Canin; Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, who conducted the well-known inquiry into dog breeding in 2010; Professor Tim Gruffydd-Jones, who must be one of the UK’s foremost feline geneticists, based out of Bristol Langford’s; and surely one of the world’s foremost feline geneticists, Lesley Lyons.  I have heard both the latter speak on several occasions, yet they remain fabulously interesting, and I always come away having learnt lots of new information.  Lesley’s was probably my favourite talk of the day, but it was also particularly interesting to hear Patrick Bateson’s opinions on the ethics of cat breeding, given his role in the dog-breeding inquiry.  As both he and his daughter, Melissa (also a Professor) are themselves cat breeders, he has a personal understanding of our hobby, as well as his professional understanding of animal breeding more generally.

The seminar was followed by an open meeting, which gives ordinary members of the Cat Fancy the chance to put forward topics for the delegates to discuss at the main WCC closed meeting on the Monday.  Most of the attendees showed typically British reticence, however, and the meeting was finished fairly quickly.  We dropped both Anita and Elisabeth off on the way home, and finally got back to the house about 2am, so it was a long and tiring weekend, but very, very worthwhile.  I wonder if I can save up enough money to go to next year’s congress in Miami, Florida?!

Durham and Northern Counties Show

The week after the WCC we were back down the motorway, though this time only as far as South Shields, for the Durham and Northern Counties double show.  We had Bru entered only in the Durham, to try for his 3rd PC, which he won, making him the tenth Cagaran to win a title (and the first of our Ocis to do so).

Bru looking sleepy in the early afternoon
Bru looking sleepy

Bru examining his PC
Examining his Premier Certificate

We also had Donny and Eiteag entered in both shows, Donny for his first Imperials, and Eiteag for Grands.  Both boys had strong competition, but Donny won both his Imperials (the first won by an entire of our prefix), and Eiteag was awarded the reserve Grand in one of the shows, in spite of being out of coat and having acne on his chin!

Eiteag with his Reserve Grand certificate
Eiteag sitting at the front of his pen, with his Reserve Grand certificate

Donny looking ridiculous
Donny rolling around, looking ridiculous, in front of his rosettes

As if those results weren’t good enough, I came back to Donny’s pen near the end of the day, to find that he had also gone Best Foreign Adult again.

Donny posing beautifully with his rosettes, certificates and Best of Variety card
Donny posing beautifully with his rosettes, two Imperial certificates and the card for Best of Variety Adult

I had another enjoyable day stewarding for Chris Bamford, though the enjoyment was slightly marred in the early afternoon, when one of the Birmans became upset and attacked Pat Perkins, one of the other judges.  She was badly scratched and bitten, and Richard ended up having to take her to the hospital for stitches and antibiotics.  When we collected her again at the end of the day, she was feeling a lot more cheerful, however, and by the time we saw her at the Lakeland show a couple of weeks ago, she had already recovered to the point of just having some minor scarring on her hands and arm.

The weekend after that I was supposed to have a BAC meeting on the Sunday, but it was called off at the last minute, so we went with Mum and Dad to the boat, staying over on the Friday evening, and coming back to get the gardening done on the Sunday.  The weather was fabulous, and we sailed down to the Kyles of Bute in glorious sunshine, and then sat at anchor, watching a red deer pick its way across the beach.  We came back via the buoy where the dolphin has lived for the past couple of years, and were delighted to find her still in residence, and as playful as ever.  I think we must have spent about half-an-hour just going round and round in circles beside her buoy, enjoying the experience of having her ride the pressure wave under the bow.

The deer picking her way across the shore
The deer picking her way across the shore

Looking back towards Arran on the sail home
Looking back towards Arran on the sail home

Lakeland Show

The next weekend was the Lakeland show, with a West of Scotland Committee meeting to be held in the morning, my birthday the same day, and then an Australian Mist seminar in Leicestershire on the Sunday.  We therefore arranged to meet friends for a casual birthday lunch near the show hall, travelling on to drop Sonia off at stud south of Birmingham, staying the night with Rob and Anita, and then heading across for the seminar before heading home again.  As it happens, the judge who would have been doing Sonia’s Grand class would be very unlikely to award her the certificate, so there didn’t seem much point entering her.  We decided instead just to put her on exhibition, and thought that since we were staying with Anita that night, we would take Tilly to keep Sonia company in the exhibition pen, and then to let Anita see her again.  I swithered for a while, and eventually decided to also have a punt with Annas in the Olympian class, since she picked up a Reserve there last year.

A sleepy Annas showing off her perfect coat
A sleepy Annas showing off her perfect coat

The exhibition pen
The exhibition pen with display boards on the top

The Committee meeting was much quicker than these meetings usually are, and we headed outside to enjoy the sun.  After a while, we took a leisurely stroll up to the farm shop for lunch, where some of our friends sang me a thankfully very quiet and fast rendition of Happy Birthday.  Annas had really tough competition in the Olympian class, so there was no shame in not placing, but I was rather disappointed that the Best of Breed judge awarded the BOB to the boy, who is nowhere near as good an example of the breed as Annas.  Sonia and Tilly seemed to enjoy their day, and were delighted with the concept of being able to come out for cuddles regularly without needing to be pulled about for judging!

Tilly and Sonia in their pen
Tilly (left) and Sonia in their pen

Two peering faces
Two peering faces

After the show, we drove straight down to Di Taylor’s (Brizlincoat Somalis), and set Sonia up in her pen in Di’s gorgeous cattery facility.  We have been promised a proper tour when we return to collect Sonia.  We then headed across to Rob and Anita’s, where we were taken out for a lovely Indian meal, as a birthday treat.  As usual, Anita and I stayed up far too late chatting, and I think it must have been well into the following morning before I crawled into bed.

The Australian Mist seminar was held in a tiny hall, in a village near Market Harborough.  The reason for the seminar was that Dr Truda Straede, who created the breed, is spending a few weeks holidaying in Italy, and had agreed to make a detour across to the UK in order to do a breed seminar.  The seminar was not supported by the GCCF, because the discussion would be based on the standard as applied in FiFé, but for people not involved in the breed, like us, that didn’t really matter.  Dr Straede presented some of her research on the microscopic differences in hair structure between hairs of different colours and patterns, which was fascinating and very enlightening, and there was much entertaining discussion over coffee as well!

Last weekend was another ‘free’ weekend (i.e. one that isn’t taken up with ‘cat stuff’), and we had Elisabeth’s birthday barbecue on the Saturday afternoon/evening, and then a 10CC and Status Quo concert on the Sunday evening.  We also squeezed in a trip to the cinema broadcast of one of the last performances of Helen Mirren’s ‘The Audience’, which proved to be laugh-out-loud funny, and well worth attending.  Elisabeth’s barbecue was, as always, a great event, and a lovely opportunity to catch up on the lives of some of her friends, whom we only see periodically at her various get-togethers.  The concert on the Sunday evening was excellent, and well worth the £45.

I knew every song that 10CC sang, but only knew one of them as a 10CC song (that being “I’m Not In Love”), and was very impressed at the breadth of styles their music covers, and also the multi-instrument talent of the group’s members.  Status Quo’s much is more samey, but the band are great showmen, and I thoroughly enjoyed singing along at the top of my voice.  Admittedly, some of the best entertainment of the evening was watching two girls who were probably in their late teens or early twenties, and had obviously had a bit much to drink, attempting to dance in front of the stands!

Dàrna’s Kitten

The kitten at 13 days
In her bed, at 13 days old

The kitten with her mum at 13 days
With her mum, at 13 days old

Tracey looked after all the cats, but especially Dàrna’s little one, during the weekends that we have been away, and made her usual fabulous job of it.  She was round at least twice every day that we were away, not just throwing some food down, but actually spending hours at the house each time, going from room to room to make sure that all the cats receive plenty of attention – they probably get more when we are away than when we are here!  She also checked and weighed the wee one each day, and nicknamed her ‘Scootcher’ because apparently she ‘Scootched’ around her box when she was small – she was certainly the most active Asian/Tiffanie we’ve had as a tiny kitten, walking around her box from the moment we got her back from the vets.  Elisabeth, on the other hand, christened the kitten ‘Sparkle-Sparkle’, because apparently she has the sparkle-factor!

The kitten with her mum and granny at 22 days
With mum and granny Fiona, at 22 days

With mum and gran at day 35
Cuddled up on the bed with mum and granny Fiona, at 35 days

She continued her precocious behaviour, purring when feeding at only a day or two old, trying to climb out of the scales at weigh-in time from about a week old, and purring in response to being stroked at only eight days.  She’s also growing really well, having doubled his birth weight by the time she was six days old (that is the target for a week old), and now being well over 800g at 7 weeks.  Although I spent the first three or four weeks trying to persuade both myself and the kitten, that she was a boy, because I then wouldn’t be tempted to keep her, she declined to participate in my charade, and is quite obviously a girl.  I am still trying valiantly to resist the temptation (she is Dàrna’s last kitten, etc. etc.), but whether I succeed will remain to be seen.  Richard is keeping out of any discussion over whether or not she stays, which is probably wise, given that I will probably just make my own mind up anyway, almost regardless of what he says!

The kitten and her mum at day 25
Cuddled with mum, at 25 days old

The kitten curled up almost asleep aged 54 days
Curled up, at 54 days

The lack of a decision over whether or not she is staying, does make decisions over naming rather more complicated.  This is our ‘F-litter’, and she is either cream or apricot, so Fiona (from the gaelic for fair-haired) would be a good name for her, but that only works if she’s not staying here, because we already have a Fiona, and having two of them would be too complicated!  She therefore remains nameless at present, being known only as Dàrna’s kitten, or the wee one, until we decide what we are doing.  She will be due for her first vaccination next week, though, and we’ll need to have a name to put on the vaccination card, so we don’t have that long to decide.

With mum at 41 days
Looking alert beside her sleepy mum, at 41 days

Ocicat Kittens

The Ocicat kittens also continue to do well, having had their second vaccinations the first Saturday in June, and then the five who are registered on the Non-Active were neutered a couple of weeks ago, and have been living with us of late.  It is rather nice not having to travel to Edinburgh every time I want to see my kittens, particularly since each vet visit has meant being up early enough to collect the kittens at 07:30, in order to be back at our vets with enough time to drop the kittens off and still get into work, then rushing off at 17:30 to collect them again, and take them back to Edinburgh.  We have had all six kittens living with us, but Di’s family have decided that they would like to keep the tawny boy, and we feel that is the least we can do, given the favour that Di did for us in taking the kittens when she did, and then keeping them so that they didn’t have to have any upheaval in their early lives.

The tawny boy
The tawny boy – they call him ‘Roo’

The first two (literally the first two – Cainnt and Crannag) went to their new homes last Saturday, and are now Hamish and Harry, respectively.  Their owner has recently lost an Ocicat neuter boy, Oscar, who has been keeping her company since her husband died, and she has really been missing Oscar’s presence.  She wanted an Ocicat to fill the hole left by Oscar’s death, but didn’t want one who looked so like him that she was constantly reminded of his loss.  The ticked tabbies were therefore of particular interest, and although she initially liked the idea of having one of each colour, which wasn’t possible anyway, with Di’s family keeping the tawny, she actually found that she preferred the cinnamons.  I think they will be a better match anyway, because they often spent time together, whereas the tawny boy is more independent.

Harry and Hamish the day after leaving
Harry and Hamish the day after leaving

Harry and Hamish a few days later
The same location a few days later

The tawny girl continues to shine out as the pick of the litter, and I am still hoping that we can find someone interested in breeding from her, but the search is so far proving fruitless.  I will continue looking for another couple of weeks, and if we haven’t found anyone by then, will have her neutered, and find her a pet home.  That seems a real waste of a lovely example of the breed, with an amazing temperament and a fabulous pedigree, though, so I’m hoping we won’t have to do that.  If you know of anyone who might be interested in breeding Ocis, do let me know!

The tawny girl at 15 weeks
The tawny girl at 15 weeks

The other two girls are still looking for their homes, so do also get in touch if you think you might know of someone who would be interested in one or both of them.

The other two girls the day they were spayed
The other two girls the day they were spayed

As a slight aside, I’ve also had some photos through from the owners of Carrie and Becca (the two cinnamon Variants from the last litter), who you may remember also went to live together.  They look very happy and still just as good friends as they were when they left us.

Becca (left) and Carrie, at just under a year old
Becca (left) and Carrie, at just under a year old

And cuddled up together
Cuddled up together – Becca is facing the camera

Other Cat News

We also had Grace and Anita’s Keela spayed at the same time as the kittens, so will be looking for new homes for them in due course.  Again, if you know of anyone who might be interested in a young adult (Keela will be three in September, and Grace has just turned two), then we would love to hear from you.  We are hoping to get Grace made up to Master Cat before she leaves us, since now that she is spayed, she can be shown in the Pedigree Pet section again, something that hasn’t been possible since she was under six months old.  We have therefore got her entered in a couple of shows later in the summer, and will start to look for a new home for her after that.

Keela is absolutely adorable with people, and will take however much attention you are prepared to lavish on her, giving lots of love in return.  As an entire, she hated other cats, though, so we will wait a few weeks to see whether having her spayed will have softened her attitude towards her fellow felines.  If not, she will have to go to a strictly single-cat household, her ideal probably being as a companion to someone who is retired and wants a cat to keep them company around the house.

Keela sitting in a ridiculous position in her bed
Keela sitting in a ridiculous position in her bed

My brother, Calum, has recently purchased his first house, and is now the proud owner of an idiotic Maine Coon, in the shape of our first pedigree cat, Call.  For the past few years, we have had to keep Call and the other neuters separated from our entire girls, because Call is fine living with neuters, but starts spraying if he lives with one or more entire females.  This has resulted in none of our cats getting what we feel to be enough of our time, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for us to spend a decent amount of time with each group.  When the cats were all in together, they all got to spend time with us, which was far preferable.  Calum taking Call has meant that we can start making re-introductions (and in many cases first introductions) between our neutered and entire cats, and although we will need to take this slowly, it is a huge relief to be able to start the process.

A Totally Unrelated Garden Visitor

This last is absolutely nothing to do with the cats, but I couldn’t resist sharing the video of a cute hedgehog that was in our garden last week.  He was sitting on our driveway when we got back, and because it was still daylight, I thought maybe he was ill, so I offered him some cat food.  Judging by the way that he tucked into the food, he certainly doesn’t seem to have been ill!

Shropshire Show Success

We had an excellent day at the Shropshire, with Tilly enjoying her first show, Lhasa winning her Champion title and Etak winning Best Foreign Kitten.

Last weekend we attended the Shropshire show for the first time, and it proved to be an excellent day!

We had only decided to do the show after the Shorthair/AGCS, where Lhasa won one of the possible two CCs, leaving her in need of a final certificate.  Since Ayla is now an adult (scary thought!), we wanted to be able to start bringing her out, but had hoped to get Lhasa made up to Champion before that happens.  Thankfully, Steve Crow loved her, so she won her 3rd and qualifying CC, giving her the title.  She also won two firsts and a second in her side classes, a great result given the calibre of some of the other cats entered in those classes.

Lhasa with her rosettes
Lhasa with her rosettes

Lhasa with her prize cards
Lhasa with her prize cards

Since Tilly was too young to be entered in the Shorthair/AGCS, we decided to enter her in the Shropshire, as her first experience on the bench.  She took the whole thing totally in her stride, though we did pop her into Etak’s pen first thing in the morning, to help her settle in.  They had travelled part of the way down together, but we eventually separated them after getting bored of Etak making ‘sexy noises’ at her.  He is such a cradle-snatcher – just like his uncle Donny, who wanted to mate Ayla when she was about the same age!  Tilly won her breed class, and then took a first and two seconds in her side classes, again a good result considering the competition and how young she is.

Tilly looking content
Tilly looking content

Tilly with her rosette
Tilly with her rosette

Etak was our star of the show, however, not only winning his kitten class and beating Tilly for the Best of Breed, and then taking firsts in his side classes, but going on to win Best Foreign Kitten!  This was his last show as a kitten, because he turned adult five days later, so it was an amazing way for him to end his ‘kitten career’.  It also means that all four of the kittens whom we have kept from our own breeding have taken a Best of Variety as a kitten – Fi, Donny and Ayla all having taken Best Kitten at the AGCS in their respective years, and Fi also having taken Overall Best Foreign at the Preston & Blackpool.  Fi is still the only one to have taken an Overall Best of Variety at an all-breed show, and only Donny has taken a top award as an adult, going Best Foreign Adult twice last summer, but we’ll be hoping for more of those in the future!

Etak looking sleepy
Etak looking sleepy

Etak's Best of Variety Rosette
Etak's Best of Variety Rosette

2013 Matings

I have been mulling-over our various options for matings, but keep changing my mind about which girls to put with which boy.  I know that I am definitely going to put Ayla to an Australian Mist boy for the first part of my cinnamon outcross, but beyond that it gets a bit fuzzy.  I was going to send Fi out to stud, but the boy I was going to use is no longer available, so now I’m thinking of putting her to Apollo – since he doesn’t carry the longhair gene, the kittens would all be shorthair, and all be cream or apricot, but the type should be lovely.  Dàrna was going to go to Apollo, but if I put Fi in with him then I might try putting Dàrna to Etak instead.  If I don’t put her to Etak then I might put Lhasa with him, but otherwise she would either go in with Donny, or go out to Helen Marriott-Power’s cream Burmese boy, Quin.  Then there’s Tia, whom I might put with Donny, but possibly Apollo, or maybe even send her out to Sandra Woodley’s classic tabby boy, Caspian!  Oh, decisions.

The weekend between the cancelled Notts & Derbys and the Shropshire, we were back down in Loughborough for a family funeral, and collected Gracie from stud in the process.  She is definitely pregnant, and growing well – the speed at which she’s expanding is making me slightly terrified as to how many kittens we may end up with.  Watch this space!

Update and Starting Over

Starting over after a long gap between posts. All of our current cats are introduced, with photos, and an update is given on the kittens available.

It has been three months since I last posted, due to a mixture of illness (mine and Richard’s), and having too much to do, as usual.  Since it’s been such a long time, I figured I might as well start afresh, with a re-introduction to us, and our cats.

Update:

For those who have followed this blog in the past, a quick update first.  The Cumberland show, last month, was pretty special for the Cagaran cats, because we had our first TWO Grands on the same day!  Lona Johnson’s Lainni made up to Grand Premier, and our Donny made Grand Champion.  We were absolutely delighted, as you might imagine!

On a more sombre note, you will remember that we had to have our beautiful Katie put to sleep back in June, and also lost two kittens to chest infections which we believed were the result of them breathing in milk.  A couple of months ago, we finally got all of the necropsy results back, and found out that the problem was actually a bacterial infection from the same family as e-coli.

Those of you who have visited us here, will know how careful we are about hygiene in the kitten room, but because the mothers were carrying the infection, our precautions were useless in this case.  Thankfully, however, the lab was able to identify an antibiotic that kills that particular strain of infection, and we have now treated every cat in the house, to ensure that we don’t have a repeat of this year’s problems.

Now, back to the introductions…

Cagaran is a jointly-owned prefix, but I (Heather) do the blogging.  The other half of the Cagaran ‘partnership’ is my partner/boyfriend, Richard.  We’ve been together since 2001, were adopted by our first cat in 2002, and bought our first pedigree in 2005.  We showed for the first time in 2008, and had our first litters in 2010.  We have owned a number of different breeds, but our passion is Tiffanies, which are the semi-longhaired member of the Asian Group.  We also work with Asian Shorthairs, who have the same fabulous temperament as the Tiffanies, but without the flowing coat, and have had a couple of litters of Ocicats.

Our Cats:

At present we have fifteen cats for whom this is their permanent home.

Jinny is the oldest, and is also the cat whom we’ve had the longest, having adopted her from a rescue in January 2005.  She is a longhaired moggy, and will be a teenager next year.  She is the matriarch, and the other cats tend to do her bidding.

Jinny - one of the most stunning moggies alive!
Jinny - one of the most stunning moggies alive!

Next oldest are our two neuter boys: Call and Ali, who will both be eight next year.  Call is a Maine Coon, and was our first pedigree cat.  Ali is a shorthaired moggy, and came from the same rescue shelter as Jinny, where he was taken at just a couple of days old, with his feral mum.

Call looking handsome
Call looking handsome

Ali looking sweet
Ali looking sweet

Annas was our first Tiffanie, and the cat who made us fall in love with the breed.  We didn’t buy her as a show cat, but it turned out that she made a rather good one, and was the first Tiffanie to become an Imperial Grand, and also the first (and still only) Tiffanie to win the UK title.  She will be five at the start of next month.

Annas scowling
Annas scowling and looking glorious!

Next is Dàrna, who was one of our foundation Tiffanie queens, and will be four in February.  She is a Grand Champion, but her biggest asset is her purry, cuddly temperament.  She had her first litter in 2010, from which Fiona is a Champion and Tabh is a Premier with two Grand certificates.  Dàrna’s second litter was born in 2011, and in that we had Donny, who is a Grand, and Quinn, who made Premier at the Supreme, last weekend!

Dàrna looking beautiful on black
Dàrna looking beautiful on black fleece

After Dàrna are Tia and Lhasa, who we are very lucky to have been entrusted with in the past few months, after their owners decided to give up breeding.  Both girls are two, and have the most spectacular temperaments imaginable.  Their breeders and previous owners must have given them a lot of love and care to have them become such adorable girls, and we are privileged to have the chance to continue that.  Tia is a Burmilla, and Lhasa is another Tiffanie.  Both girls are so ridiculously cuddly that it is almost impossible to get a photo of them, because virtually every photo has them either upside down, wriggling around wanting their bellies rubbed, or with their heads so close to the camera that it hasn’t a hope of focusing.  The photo of Tia below is actually surprisingly decent, but we the one of Lhasa is just the best of a bad bunch – at least she has her eyes open, and isn’t upside down in this one!

A rare in-focus photo of Tia where her eyes are open
A rare photo of Tia that is actually in focus and where her eyes are open

The closest we have to a decent photo of Lhasa!
The closest we have to a decent photo of Lhasa - she had just rolled over

Actually, between Tia and Lhasa comes Fiona, or just Fi, who was from Dàrna’s first litter.  She was Best Kitten at her first show, the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society), and Best Foreign at her third, but unfortunately decided that she didn’t like being shown when she was a bit older, so we withdrew her from the bench when she made Champion.  She had her first litter this summer, which were particularly special because they were our first out of a Cagaran parent.  It helps that they are all beautiful!  We still have two available, due to a change in the personal circumstances of a would-be owner, but more on them later.

Stunning Fi, with her luminous eyes
Stunning Fi, with her luminous eyes

Apollo is our beautiful stud boy, who came to us from Steve Crow and Tommy Goss.  He is another Burmilla, and will be two next month.  He has to live in an outside run, because he sprays, but is so soppy that he stands on his head in an attempt to squirm closer to us when we go out to spend time with him.  He is also a Champion, and has one (surprise) Grand certificate, but is very immature-looking, so we will need to give him time to develop before showing him further.

Apollo's gorgeous, typey face
Apollo's gorgeous, typey face

Grace is next after Apollo.  She is an Ocicat Variant, from an outcross mating between an Ocicat Classic and an Abyssinian.  These matings are done to reduce the inbreeding levels within the breed, producing healthier kittens, and we were very fortunate to be allowed access to the beautiful Stanley to do the outcross.  Grace had her first litter earlier this year, giving us two Variants like herself, one Ocicat and two Ocicat Classics.  We still have the two Variants and the Ocicat available, but again, more on them later.

Grace pulling a daft face, but like her Mum, she's very hard to photograph
Grace pulling a daft face - like her Mum, she's very hard to photograph

Donny comes next, at 15 months old.  He was from Dàrna’s second litter, to a gorgeous old Burmese boy, who has since unfortunately passed away.  As a result, Donny’s pedigree is very special, and we have therefore kept him to continue his Dad’s line.  Like his half-sister (Fi), the year before him, Donny was Best Kitten at the AGCS, and has been Best Foreign Adult twice.  He is an Asian Smoke, and we are incredibly lucky that he still doesn’t spray at present.  How long that will continue for, we have no idea, but we’re enjoying having him living in our kitchen in the meantime.  He has the most amazing temperament, and everyone who comes into our kitchen somehow winds up with him in their arms, though they usually have no idea how he got there!

Ridiculous Donny in a mixing bowl
Ridiculous Donny in a mixing bowl

After Donny is Sonia, who is a gorgeous Somali from George Gow.  She was born in January of this year, and we bought her as an outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Tiffanies.  Cinnamon is an allowed colour in Tiffs, but there are virtually none of them around, so Sonia is hopefully going to help us to both strengthen the gene pool for this colour, whilst also giving us an injection of new blood to benefit the breed more generally.  She has two CCs (Challenge certificates), so only needs one more to become a Champion.

Sonia is really starting to blossom as she gets older
Sonia is really starting to blossom as she gets older

The babies of the bunch are Eiteag, Ayla and Cheeky, who are all from this year’s litters.  Eiteag wasn’t originally going to be staying with us, but as he got older, he kept improving in type, and we decided to keep him to do a single mating for the Cinnamon programme.  He can then be neutered and live as a companion to Donny, whom he shares the kitchen with, and the two cuddle around each other in the most adorable way.

Eiteag and Donny cuddled up together in their favourite basket
Eiteag and Donny cuddled up together in their favourite basket

Ayla is Eiteag’s sister, and is the kitten from that litter, who was always intended to be staying.  She is an absolute poppet, and she chose us, rather than the other way around, cuddling up to me from a very early age.  She loves shows, and is totally bomb-proof, as she proved at the Supreme last weekend, when she was being passed around from person to person, purring continuously and kissing people’s noses!

My gorgeous baby girl - Ayla
My gorgeous baby girl - Ayla

Cheeky is Grace’s daughter, and one of our first Ocicat Classics.  Since Ocis are just a sideline for us, we let the best in the litter go to our friends Anita and Rob, because they breed Ocis more ‘seriously’ than we do.  Cheeky was my favourite for temperament, though she is an absolute rascal, as the name suggests.  We are planning to have a bit of fun showing her, to help the breed towards Championship recognition (they are Intermediates at present), but we will need to wait and see how she develops before we decide whether to have some Oci kittens from her.

Cheeky playing with a Christmas tree bobble
Cheeky playing with a Christmas tree bobble

Looking for New Homes:

We have five kittens and one adult looking for new homes at present, so if you know of someone who might be interested, do let us know!

Breckin was bought to be our foundation Ocicat queen, but we didn’t feel that her temperament was suitable for breeding, so had her spayed.  Unfortunately, she still isn’t happy as part of a big group of cats, and feel that she would be better with just one or two other cats.  After discussions with her breeder, Rita, we are therefore looking for a new home for her.  She is very shy, and would need a patient owner who can take the time to settle her, but she is very loving when she relaxes.

Beautiful Breckin
Beautiful Breckin

Previous readers of this blog will remember Ying, who came to visit Fi’s kittens when they were just a few weeks old.  She has since had the exciting news that she has been offered a six month placement in Australia.  She didn’t want to uproot a kitten such a long distance for just six months, so both Derk and Ellie are still looking for their forever homes.  They both love cuddles, and we often wake up to find them snuggled down into the bed.  If we watch TV in the livingroom, we usually end up with one each, cuddled up on our laps, purring away.  Both have developed beautifully, and would make lovely show neuters, or super, cuddly family pets.  We were visited by a lovely family over the weekend, and Annas absolutely adored the wee boy, so I am hopeful that we might have found the right home for at least one of them.

Cute Derk
Cute Derk

Pretty Ellie
Pretty Ellie

The Oci kittens are now ready to go to find their families, and indeed Breagha has already gone off to live with Anita and Rob.  They had her along to the Supreme last weekend, where she won her first and Best of Breed, and looked wonderfully relaxed, in spite of all the hustle of such a large show.  Since we are keeping Cheeky, that leaves Bru, Carrie and Becca.

Bru looking adorable
Bru looking adorable

Carrie (left) and Becca half-asleep
Carrie (left) and Becca half-asleep

Bru has grown into a lovely young lad, with beautiful clear spots, and a sweet face.  He likes his cuddles, and likes to curl up on top of us when we go to bed.  Carrie is the boldest of the three, and is always the first to come and say hello.  She is very talkative, but prefers to be stroked whilst sitting on the bed or a chair, rather than being picked up and cuddled.  Becca used to be quite shy, but has really come into her own in the past couple of weeks.  She now jumps up on the bed end and trills at us to ask to be picked up for a stroke.

What’s Next?

Well… I will no doubt see some of you at the West of Scotland show, where I will be having my first shot as a judge, in the Household Pet section.  When this was first suggested, I was just excited to participate in shows in a new way, but as the date approaches, I must confess to a bit of an attack of nerves.  I’m sure that I’ll be fine once I’m actually there and judging, but at the moment it’s a daunting prospect.  I’m also doing my first bit of show management preparation, for next year’s Scotia show, with judge invitations being my first role.

I think that’s it for tonight, but I will try and post more regularly, even if it’s just a quick photo update.  All the best,

Heather x

Three Wins, Several New Arrivals and Three Farewells

Introducing Sonia, our first Somali, and saying farewell to Katie, Xaria and Quinn. We have had some good show results, and another two litters, and Fi’s kittens continue to do well.

It is over two months since I last posted an update, and there has been lots of news in that time, both good and bad.

Sonia

I am delighted to introduce Sonia, Gowlaren Sonia Cagaran, our first Somali!  She is a usual, but carries sorrel (cinnamon), making her a potential outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Asians.  She was bred by George Gow (a senior GCCF judge), who was going to keep her to show.  However, we happened to be visiting, and when I fell in love with her, he asked if I was interested in her.  The only proviso is that we have to show her – hardly an issue!

Beautiful Sonia stretched out
Beautiful Sonia looking very mature, but aged just 7 1/2 months

She is a beautiful girl, with a great temperament and a lovely pedigree incorporating some fabulous old lines.  She is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had, and has to be stroked before she can eat her food.  She is rather prone to virtually tripping us up, though, because she’s so determined to glue herself to our ankles!

Sonia's gorgeous head
Sonia's gorgeous head

Sonia feeding with Fi's kittens
Sonia feeding with Fi's kittens

She is currently living with Fi and her kittens, and since Sonia is still a kitten herself (although she’s the same size as Fi now!), she is loving playing with Fi’s kittens.  The two boys, in particular, are quite often found racing her around the room.

Lakeland Show

The Lakeland Show has always been a good one for us, with Call winning one of his PCs and Xaria and Tármus making up to Premier there in 2009, Xaria finally winning her first Imperial there, along with Breckin and Ali both winning Grands in 2010 and then Dàrna making up to Grand there last year.  This year it lived up to past performance, with Sonia, out for the first time, winning first and Best of Breed in her kitten class, Donny winning his second CC and Best of Breed, and Annas taking the Reserve Olympian in a very strong class (even beating the newly Gold Olympian Mylward Sassafras), as well as taking the Best of Breed.

Donny was an absolute poppet all day, even taking part in the second demonstration presentation for the YES! scheme (young exhibitors).  This is a new initiative, getting the YES! Mentors, of which you may remember I am one, to demonstrate how to present a cat to young people on the scheme and those thinking of starting.  Donny was the ideal cat to use for this, because he just stood beautifully on the table, and was interested in everything that was going on.  He even stood up on his hind legs, with his paws on my chest, to give my nose a kiss, bless him!

To top off a good day, Donny went on to take Best Foreign Adult, our first time winning that accolade, let alone with a cat of our breeding.  Unfortunately, we forgot to take any photos on the day, so we had to take some of him with his rosettes, when we got home.

Donny with his Best of Breed and Best of Variety rosettes from the Lakeland
Donny with his Best of Breed and Best of Variety rosettes from the Lakeland

Katie

When I last posted, Katie had given birth to two still-born kittens, and was now helping Fi to look after her kittens.  Unfortunately, after a few days doing that, Katie lost interest in Fi’s kittens, and became depressed.  We moved her down the stairs to live with Donny, and for a few days she seemed to be happier, without the constant reminder of kittens around.  After that, however, she again became depressed, and for the next three weeks we had her in and out to the vet, running tests and trying to find out what was causing her depression.

Donny giving Katie a kiss
Donny giving Katie a kiss

For about a week, we were having to force-feed her, but she was getting so distressed by this, that we had to stop doing it.  We even discussed the possibility of having her on a drip at the vets, but they felt that there was no point doing that unless we could find a reason for the depression, because she couldn’t spend the rest of her life on a drip!

She spent most of her time lying in her basket looking miserable, and it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch, as she got thinner and thinner.  After a couple of weeks, she had lost so much muscle that she could hardly walk, yet we still had no medical explanation.  I came down one morning, and found her lying limp, barely moving, and with obvious swelling around her kidneys.  I took her straight to the vet, who ran some more tests, and reported that most of her organs were failing, and that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to sleep.

Katie taken without the bright light
Katie taken without use of lights

I asked them to wait until I could get back along, to be there at the end.  She was brought through in the arms of one of the vet nurses, with her drip attached, and laid on a blanket on the vet’s table.  The vet was able to inject the anaesthetic into the drip, rather than having to inject her directly, so we were able just to stroke her the whole time.  I am sure that most animals know when the end has come, and Katie was no different.  I hadn’t heard her purr since she had the still-births, yet as the vet pushed the plunger, she started purring.

The vets took some more tests, but we haven’t found anything to explain what happened.  The only thing we can think of is that Katie was always so precise, and liked everything to be perfect, and that she couldn’t cope with the idea of the still-births.  A friend of mine has had two still-born babies, and she said this: “It’s entirely possible that Fi’s kittens were a nice replacement at first… but then she realized they were just a replacement and hers were gone. Then, if she’s anything like me, Fi’s kittens probably pissed her off and put her further into depression.  It’s hard coming out on the other side and finding something to live for. It’s hard finding something to be happy about again. It’s hard to have any desire for ANYTHING anymore. You have no idea how hard I prayed and begged to be put to sleep, have a heart attack, a wreck, anything. I even tried to take matters into my own hands more than once. I know you loved her, and you did her the biggest favor you could have ever done for her.”

Donny and Katie sitting on the backing
Donny and Katie sitting on the backing

When we were taking the photos of Donny with his rosettes after the Lakeland, we started off with a white background, and later switched to a black one.  At that point, Katie came over to see what we were doing, and we took a few photos of her as well.  I wasn’t for a moment expecting those to be the last ones we would ever take of her.  It is some of those last photos that you see here.

Katie with her halo
Katie looking into the light

RIP little Katie.  Sweet dreams.

Xaria and Quinn’s New Home

You may remember that we had a potential owner here to meet the kittens just before my last post.  That was Tracey, who was actually looking for two kittens, but having met (and fallen in love with) Quinn, she decided that she would take Quinn and one kitten.  Obviously, the kittens weren’t ready to leave yet, so she came back to visit again a few days later.

Quinn looking gorgeous at Tracey's
Quinn looking gorgeous at Tracey's

Twenty years ago, Tracey had Russian Blues, and even had a litter of kittens from her girl, before a change of circumstances stopped her breeding plans.  When she visited us again a few days after her first visit, she asked to meet the other cats.  When she met Xaria, she literally started crying, because she missed her Russians so much.  When Xaria sat nicely in her arms, you could have knocked me over with a feather – Xaria had never sat like that for anyone.  Suddenly, I found myself asking if she wanted Xaria instead of a kitten, and she said yes.

As it happens, Xazzle has never got on very well with our other cats, so we’ve always had a problem deciding who to keep her with.  As a result, she has been moved around our house, trying every possible permutation, and the only cats that she would live nicely with were Apollo and Quinn.  I didn’t want to leave her out with Apollo, because it seems a shame for her to have to live in the garden, so she had been living with Quinn.

Xaria settling in
Xaria settling in

I took both girls down to Tracey’s a few days later, and they now seem to have settled in beautifully.  I couldn’t be more delighted, because we’ve found somewhere that Xazzle can be happy, and a home for Quinn, in one go, and they are only ten minutes away!  I’ve been down to see them several times, since, though Xaria is highly suspicious of me, in case I take her away again.  That’s exactly the same as she was with Elisabeth after coming to us initially – it took at least half-a-dozen visits before she trusted Elisabeth not to take her away again.

Dàrna and Grace’s Kittens

Both Dàrna and Grace had their kittens right on schedule – Dàrna on the 11th of July and Grace two days later, on the 13th.  I refer to the two litters together, because they have been together from the start – Dàrna acted as ‘midwife’ for Gracie’s labour, helping to deliver the kittens, cleaning them and Gracie, and showing Gracie what to do.  When Gracie seemed unsure about what to do with the placenta, Dàrna licked at one, and then pushed it under Gracie’s nose, as if to say “here, you’re supposed to eat it”.

Tiffanie & Ocicat Variant mums and their kittens
Dàrna & Grace with the kittens between them, aged four and six days

Dàrna had just two kittens again, and they benefited hugely from the arrival of Gracie’s five kittens two days later.  Before Gracie’s kittens were here, Dàrna’s two hadn’t been feeding particularly well, and as a result were not gaining as much as we would have liked.  After Gracie’s kittens arrived, Dàrna’s two began competing with them, and started making much better gains.

The Asian girl aged 7 days
The Asian girl aged 7 days

The Asian boy aged 32 days
The Asian boy aged 32 days

In Dàrna’s litter, the kittens were guaranteed to be Asians, rather than Tiffanies, because Apollo unfortunately does not carry longhair (we DNA-tested him).  The first out was a boy, who looked to be a brown silver shaded, followed by a girl, who was probably a brown tortie shaded (not silver).  Unfortunately, both kittens aspirated (breathed) some milk, and in spite of being given antibiotics, died due to the resultant pneumonia.  This is apparently a relatively common problem, which almost inevitably results in death, and neither Grace nor Dàrna seemed particularly concerned by the losses, just carrying on with the remaining five kittens, as if there had never been another two.

I found it a lot harder than they seemed to, particularly since I’d spent the week leading up to their deaths, desperately trying to help them clear the fluid from their lungs.  Since it happened, I’ve had at least four or five breeder friends tell me that they’ve lost kittens the same way, but we were really unlucky to have two in one litter.  Mind you, when it comes to losing kittens, when are we not really unlucky?!  The kittens are buried with Katie and her two kittens, so they will hopefully be playing together as a little family somewhere.

Four of Grace's kittens
Four of Grace's kittens - the two Classics, the boy and one of the Variants

Kitten 1 - the bigger Classic girl
Kitten 1 - the bigger Classic girl (pulling a silly face!)

Gracie started her labour by giving us a cinnamon classic girl, then two cinnamon variant girls, another cinnamon classic girl, and finally a tawny spotted boy.  The two classics and the spotty are our first Ocicats, our previous Ocicat litter being all Variants.  Two cinnamon Classics is a fabulous result, because cinnamon is my favourite colour of Ocicat, and I prefer the Classics to the standard Ocis.  Even better that the cinnamons are both girls!

Kitten 2 - the bigger Variant girl
Kitten 2 - the bigger Variant girl

Profile of Kitten 2
Profile of Kitten 2 - lovely dip!

Kitten 3 - the smaller Variant girl
Kitten 3 - the smaller Variant girl, and the more Abyssinian-looking of the two

Showing off some of her spotty tummy
Kitten 3 looking cute and showing off some of her spotty tummy

My hope had been to get a cinnamon girl for myself, plus another girl for Anita (Bryce – Anizz Ocicats & Tiffanies), and possibly a girl to offer to Stacie (Shorten – Ameeka Ocicats & Abyssinians, who bred Grace’s dam).  Assuming that the two Classic girls develop as well as it currently looks like they will, Anita and I have our girls.  If the boy develops well, I may be able to offer him to Stacie, and otherwise she could have the better of the variants, if she wishes.

Kitten 4 - the smaller Classic girl
Kitten 4 - the smaller Classic girl

Pretty Oci-type head
Pretty Oci-type head

Kitten 5 - the Ocicat boy
Kitten 5 - the Ocicat boy

Developing a lovely muzzle
Developing a lovely muzzle

Humberside & Lincs Show

I was really looking forward to the Humberside & Lincs show this year, for two reasons, the main one being that I was finally getting to steward for Lynda Ashmore, an engagement I had had to book almost two years in advance!  The second reason was that Donny had two chances to get his third, and final, Challenge Certificate, which would make him the first male Cagaran to win a title.

Elisabeth had been going to come down with us, but her Ziva had to have a C-section on the Thursday before.  Since we would be needing to stay away overnight due to the show having moved further south (to Newark, fairly close to Richard’s parents), it wasn’t possible for her to come.  Instead, we did a swap, where she looked after our kittens, and we took her cats down to the show.

Elisabeth's Dukey with his two CCs
Elisabeth's Dukey with his two CCs at the Humberside & Lincs

We had also borrowed Quinn back from Tracey for the show, having entered her before Tracey had approached us.  I had, however, warned Tracey that I thought Quinn might have one of the certificates withheld by Grace Denny, due to her coat being too long.  As it happens, the outcome was correct, but not from the judge that I would have expected – Grace Denny awarded the PC in the Humberside show, but Sarndra Devereux withheld in the Lincs.  Quinn therefore needs one more certificate to become a Premier, but given that Tracey had the girls in the Rexfest as Ped-Pets at the start of this month, and absolutely loved it, I don’t think that will be an issue!  Incidentally, both girls got their Mastercat and Best of Colour awards at the Rexfest – Xaria now only needs one more to become a Mastercat, having won the certificate there last year.

Quinn with her awards
Quinn with her awards

Annas didn’t place in either show at the Humber-Lincs, but I wasn’t expecting her to, given the competition.  Donny and I, on the other hand, both had excellent days.  Stewarding for Lynda was well worth the wait, and Donny won the CC and Best of Breed in both shows, so I was well pleased, and glad we made the effort to go the extra distance.

Donny with his CCs
Donny with his CCs - if that boy was any more laid back, he'd never move!

Annas with her Best of Breed and side class 1st
Annas with her Best of Breed and side class 1st - proving that even the top winners don't win every time

As we were packing up, at the end of the day, one of the judges informed me that he had chosen Donny for Best Foreign Adult.  I had no idea that he had gone up for Best of Variety, because only the Overall Best Foreign results were announced.  That’s his second BOV Adult in a row, and I couldn’t be more delighted with him.  He beat some fantastic cats for the award, so I can only assume that he’s such a big, soppy lump that the judges are forgiving him his worse bits!

Edinburgh and Chester Shows

The Edinburgh show was just the week after the Humberside & Lincs, and since we can only show every second week, we couldn’t actually show at both.  I was booked to steward for John Hansson, however, so knew I would definitely be attending.  As it happens, there were two Cagarans there, because Lona brought both Lainni and Tabh.  Lainni didn’t win her Grand, but Tabh was given his third, and final, PC, making him up to Premier.  He is the fourth titled Cagaran, the others being Fi, Lainni and Donny.

Having made Champion at the Humberside & Lincs, Donny was then eligible for the Grand class at the Chester show, four weeks later.  We had been planning to go to the Chester just to enjoy a day out in Chester, so we figured we might as well enter him in the Grand as a punt.  The judge was Di Harper, who isn’t keen on Donny, so we didn’t expect him to do anything, and sure enough, he wasn’t placed in the Grand.  He did, however, do very well in his side classes, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd against strong competition and in classes of at least six.

Update on Fi’s Kittens

Fi’s kittens are now 15 weeks, have had their vaccinations and can go to their new homes.  They have developed beautifully, and it is still a very close call between ‘Kitten 1’ and ‘Kitten 3’ as to who is the most typey.  The other two have also come on a lot, however, and although not showing as much show potential as their siblings, are still rather nice.  ‘Kitten 4’ reminds me of his gran (Dàrna) at the same age, and since she’s a Grand with two Imperial certificates, that can’t be so bad!  Likewise, ‘Kitten 2’ reminds me a lot of Cailin (another Shogun baby), who has two CCs and two Best in Show awards as a kitten, so I don’t think we can really complain about her, either!

Ayla and Derk on the little scratching post
Ayla and Derk on the little scratching post - this was taken on my phone camera, and it's done something odd to the colours

We decided fairly early-on that Kitten 1 was going to be Eala-something, Eala being Gaelic for ‘Swan’.  We have since settled on Eala-Bianach, which literally translates as ‘Furry Swan’, but it was picked because it has a nice sound, rather that due to the translation.  Her pet name is Ayla, which is how Eala is pronounced.  Her spots have pretty well completely disappeared, so we’ve registered her as a chocolate tortie silver shaded BCR, like Dàrna, though Ayla currently has a softer tone to her chocolate.  She is a very pretty girl, and we are keeping her to continue our breeding line.

Side view of Ayla's beautiful profile
Side view of Ayla's beautiful profile

Ayla sticking her tongue out
Ayla sticking her tongue out

Kitten 2 is Ealasáid, which is pronounced Elaset, and is gaelic for Elisabeth.  We decided on that name when she was about six weeks old, and the fiestiest kitten in the litter – she was named after Elisabeth (Stark), who is also fiesty!!  Her pet name is Elly, and she is definitely a chocolate tortie silver spotted (full expression), though a darker chocolate than her sister.  She is going to be living in St Andrews, with a lovely lady called Ying.

Ellie looking adorable in her basket on the windowledge
Ellie looking adorable in her basket on the windowledge

Ellie and Etak cuddling
Ellie and Etak cuddling - Etak is quite often to be found cuddling up with one of the others

Kitten 3’s pedigree name is Éiteag-Bàrr (pronounced Ehtak-Bawr), which is gaelic for ‘Cream Quartzite’, and his pet name is Etak.  He’s called that because his colouring reminds me of the stone, with a pale base overlaid with cream.  He still has spots, but they are very faint, because his whole colouration is very pale and delicate.  He’s a gorgeous boy, and will make a cracking show neuter.  He’s also a real softy – undoubtedly the gentlest in the litter, and will climb up onto the bed wanting cuddles.  I wish we were needing another boy, because I would have had no hesitation keeping him as a stud.

Etak's excellent break and straight nose
Etak's excellent break and straight nose

Gorgeous Etak in the red basket
Gorgeous Etak in the red basket

The final kitten is known as Derk, that being the pronunciation of the second part of his pedigree name, Èibhill-Dearg, which means ‘Red Ember’.  I think he is either a burmese-restriction red smoke or a red silver spotted, though he could be apricot, and isn’t necessarily a silver or burmese-restriction!!  We have registered him as a red silver spotted BCR, because the older he gets, the more he looks like that.

Derk looking cute in the basket
Derk looking cute on the red basket in the window

Derk looking ridiculous but showing off his fabulous chin!
Derk looking ridiculous but showing off his fabulous chin and nice profile!

Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while, will know that we don’t generally have people in to see the kittens until they’ve had their first vaccinations.  On this occasion, we made an exception for Ying, because she was going abroad to visit family for the whole of this month, and part of next month.  That obviously meant that she needed to meet the kittens before she went, if she was to have a choice of which one to take.  She came to visit twice last month, and decided to book Elly, whose fiesty temperament she fell in love with when Elly started swinging from her cardigan!

After the kittens had their first vaccinations, Elly and the two boys unfortunately came down with some sort of eye infection, and we therefore didn’t invite anyone else in to meet the kittens, until that could be cleared up.  Thankfully, they have been fine for over three weeks now, with no further sign of any issue.  The photos above were taken on the 19th of this month, so you can see that they are all completely better.  Having not had anyone in to meet them, though, we are obviously needing to look for homes for the two boys now, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, do let me know!

Kitten Update

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

Fi’s Kittens

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

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

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

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

Kitten 1's beautiful profile
Beautiful profile

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

Kitten 3 stunning profile
Kitten 3's gorgeous profile

Cute little face
Cute, surprised little face

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

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

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

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

Kitten 4 yawning
Kitten 4 yawning

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

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

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

Kitten 3 eating his first biscuits whilst his siblings play

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

Katie’s Kittens

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

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

Katie cuddled up with Fi's kittens

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

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

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

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

Dàrna and Grace

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

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

Durham Show

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

Donny with his prizes
Donny with his awards

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

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

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

Other Bits

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

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

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

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

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…