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?
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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’!
Quinn made Grand at the Nor’East, Cheeky made Premier at the Lakeland and we had another good day representing the Asian Group at the London Pet Show. Tilly has a litter of four kittens, born on the 22nd of May – two boys and two girls in a variety of colours – and Tia and Lhasa are due imminently. In addition, two of Anita’s Cagarans have also had litters – two ‘oops’ kittens for Cailin and three lovely Ocicats for Bobbi.
Once again it is well over two months since my last post, and I must offer my apologies to all the people who have messaged me asking if everything is okay and begging for an update on whether we have kittens – sorry! We haven’t had any problems and in fact, everything is great – we’ve just had confirmation that every cat in the household is Tritrich negative (yay!) and we have plenty of exciting kitten news…
We’ve only done two competitive shows since my last post: the Scottish Shorthair back in April, and the Lakeland in the middle of last month. We also represented the Asians at the London Pet Show again, in May.
Our most exciting show news is actually from the Nor’East, which we attended to help, but couldn’t show at ourselves due to the LPS being the following weekend. Thankfully there were still some Cagaran’s present, with Lona showing Lainni and Tracey showing Quinn, however. The tortie devil did us proud, winning her third and final Grand certificate, making her up to Grand Premier – the fourth Cagaran to win the Grand title, and the first Cagaran to hold three titles (Premier, Grand and Mastercat). Congratulations to both Tracey and Quinn and thanks, Tracey, for giving her such a fabulous home!
At both the Scottish Shorthair and the Lakeland, we only took Cheeky to try for her PCs, which she won, making her up to Premier. This seems somehow fitting, given that the Lakeland is the show at which our original Ocicat neuter, Tármus, made Premier back in 2009! Tármus got us interested in breeding Ocis and Cheeky is the last of our dabble in the breed, so I guess that makes the Lakeland the bookends of our Ocicat experience. The Lakeland this year was also on the most gorgeous day, so Richard and I went for a long walk, taking in Kendal Castle and one of the local ridges with stunning 360º views – down to Morecambe bay, up into the mountains of the Lakes and across to the western Dales.
The London Pet Show was fabulous as usual and we had a fantastic day. We took four representatives for the Asian breed: Ayla and Small representing Tiffanies (and showing a silver and a non-silver) and Zuko and Hailey representing Asian Shorthairs. As previous readers of our blog will know, Hailey hadn’t yet made it to a show, so I was half prepared to just have her sitting in her pen to allow people to see a classic Asian (they’re pretty rare), but she turned out to be our superstar for the day – she and Ayla spent the whole day sitting out on their bed, cleaning each other and talking to their adoring public. I was so proud! Zuko also spent most of the day on the table, cuddled up in his bed and allowing the spectators to give him whatever attention they wanted but without really paying them much attention. Small didn’t like the noise from the tannoy system that was blasting out on the next exhibit, so she was more relaxed in her pen, where she sprawled around looking adorable and talking to the people who looked in through the front of her cage.
The night of the LPS was also the annual GCCF Gala Dinner, so we went straight from London to Cambridge. We shared a table with Anita and Elisabeth, among others, and had a fabulous night. This year they had a karaoke machine which those of you who knew me in my teens will not be surprised to hear that I was persuaded to sing on. After supporting ‘the Birman crew’ who couldn’t remember how the verses of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ went, I also sang a couple of duets with Sally Rainbow-Ockwell – what a team we made! I think we finally went to bed about 4am, tired but having had a fantastic time, and I’m already looking forward to next year…
Okay, the reason that most of you are probably reading this – the kittens…
Tilly delivered six kittens on the 22nd of May, but unfortunately she had four big kittens and two tiny ones. The tinies were just too small: one never breathed at all and the other slipped away after about half-an-hour of mouth-to-mouth and attempts to stimulate him the way I did with Hailey last year. I continued my efforts for probably ten or fifteen minutes after that but eventually had to accept that I wasn’t going to be successful this time. As is usually the case with mother cats, Tilly showed absolutely no interest in the two kittens that died, not even attempting to open their sacks or clean them up, so she obviously knew what I wouldn’t admit until there could be no doubt. As sad as the loss of those two little ones made me, I am delighted to report that the other four are lively and adorable and doing really well. They will be six weeks this week and are starting to show their individual personalities.
Kitten 1 is a chocolate silver shaded male, and I think he’s a shorthair. He’s quite gentle but very outgoing and loves his cuddles, especially if you lie him on his back and rub his shoulders and the sides of his neck. Actually, this whole litter seem to find that completely mesmeric and will flop like little ragdolls when I do that.
Kitten 2 is a black smoke female, and looks to be a Tiffanie. At the moment, she is the shyest but also the most talkative in the litter and likes to follow us around the room. She always answers back when she’s spoken to, and reminds me a lot of her mum.
Kitten 3 is a chocolate silver shaded Burmese restriction female. Her coat is fairly short, so she might be a shorthair, but the texture and appearance reminds me of Cailin’s (Tilly’s mum) at the same age, and she turned out to be a Tiffanie, so I’m reserving judgement at the moment. She is an absolute minx, but has been Richard’s favourite since the start and there’s something very endearing about her. She and the fourth kitten are the adventurers and are always the first two to try everything: when we moved the kittens down to the back bedroom yesterday, I asked Richard how long he reckoned it would be before one of those two found their way up into the box on the scratching post and sure enough, maybe five minutes later, there she was!
Kitten 4 is a brown smoke (Burmese restriction) male, like his father, but he’s a Tiffanie, whereas Donny is a shorthair. He’s always been the biggest kitten in the litter, earning him the nickname ‘Lump’ from an early age, but as he’s grown up, he’s become so like his Dad in temperament as well as looks that he’s now known as ‘mini-Doop’ (Doop being one of Donny’s nicknames). As if two nicknames aren’t enough, my brother calls him Yoda, due to his wise, slightly mournful expression. As you might gather from the number of nicknames, he’s a bit of a character, but in a very laid-back manner. Whereas Kitten 3 tackles her adventures with an endearing cheekiness, he just takes everything in his stride and since nothing phases him, he’s frequently the first to try new things. He started eating biscuits at less than three weeks old and was the first to figure out how to jump out of the kitten pen.
At the moment, you’ll gather that Kittens 3 and 4 have more personality than the other two, who are just very sweet and gentle at the moment. I would expect that by the time I next do an update, I’ll have a lot more to say about them because they’re personalities will have developed more fully by then.
Both Tia and Lhasa are heavily pregnant and due any time from today. I honestly will try and at least do a quick update after the births, to let you know the kittens have arrived safely! Aside from our own kittens, Anita’s also had litters from both Cailin (CH Cagaran Cailin-Anizz) and Bobbi (Cagaran Ceann-Ciatach) recently. Cailin had an ‘oops’ mating with Anita’s Ocicat stud, so the kittens are technically first-generation Asians – one silver spotted girl and a silver shaded boy. Bobbi was mated to a Swedish import boy that Anita’s been wanting to have a litter from and she had three kittens: a tawny boy, a chocolate boy and a chocolate girl. The chocolate girl will be staying with Anita to both continue the outcross line (You may remember that Bobbi was second-generation from our Ocicat-Abyssinian outcross) and keep the new Swedish line in Anita’s breeding programme.
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.
Since my last post, we’ve been to four shows: the Scottish, the Lancs, the Preston & Blackpool and the joint Midland Counties/Shorthair Cat Society/Asian Group Cat Society.
We had entered both Small and Dàrna in the Scottish, Small for her first CC, and Dàrna in case she didn’t win her fifth Imperial at the Shropshire. Having had her make up at the Shropshire, I considered leaving her at home for the Scottish, but since she was to be spayed the following week, it seemed a shame to miss the last possibility of taking her out as an entire. Small won her CC, and had some lovely comments from judges, and as it happens, Dàrna didn’t win the Imperial anyway, losing out to a very typey Devon Rex, but it was indeed lovely to have the two girls out as adults together one last time.
The Lancs was the last opportunity to take Zuko out as a Pedigree Pet, until he has finished his part in the outcross and been neutered (cats over six months must be neutered in the HP section), so obviously I wanted to take him and Small, since she was trying for her second CC. Since the Lancs were offering a reduced entry fee, we also decided to try Cheeky for her first PC, and had entered Hailey alongside Zuko. Unfortunately, I forgot that I had entered Hailey, so we didn’t actually take her to the show! Zuko had a good day, winning his 1st and Best of Colour, and with good results in his side classes, and Small won her second CC and Best of Breed, and had her coat described as having been “made in heaven”. Cheeky was very shy, and was also looking skinny due to living with Ali, who is an absolute hoover for food, so she didn’t get her award.
At the Preston & Blackpool, Hailey’s Pedigree Pet judge was to be Janet Wilshaw, whom I suspect would love her type, so I entered her there. A couple of days before the show, she fell off a scratching post whilst playing, and bumped her eye on the corner of a litter tray, resulting in a scratch and a very sore eye, so we couldn’t take her to that one either. As it happens, Janet was ill that day, so at least we didn’t miss having Janet judge her, but I’m still disappointed that we haven’t been able to take her out (like Zuko, she’s now too old to go out until she’s been spayed). Cheeky was still very skinny, and although shy, was much happier than at the Lancs, even rolling onto her back to have her tummy stroked before we left her in the morning, but still didn’t get her certificate. Small was our saving grace, making up to Champion with her third CC, and also taking BOB again.
As an aside, Hailey’s eye was sore for a few days, but was well enough that by the week after the show, she could have been shown, so the timing was just sod’s law!
Last Sunday was the joint show, and since this is Richard’s peak season, he can’t really take Monday’s off work, so I drove to this one myself. Anita invited me to stay on the Saturday and Sunday nights, so I took the Monday off and drove down on the Saturday and back Monday. We entered three cats to support the AGCS (Donny in the Imperial and Eiteag and Ayla in the Grand), and since we had the option, figured that we might as well enter them in the Shorthair show as well.
In addition, we decided to have another go with Cheeky, to see whether she continued to be more content with each show, and tried moving Ali to a different room straight after the Preston & Blackpool, leaving just Cheeky and Bru together, so that they could have food down all the time (Ali will just keep eating, even if it means he has to throw up to make more room, and gets very fat). That made a huge difference to Cheeky’s condition, and by the time of the show, her coat was glossier and she had filled out nicely. That improvement, combined with the fact that she was almost totally relaxed this time, meant that she was finally awarded her first certificate. Eiteag and Ayla both won a Reserve Grand in one show, and didn’t place in the other, but competition was strong, and we weren’t expecting them to win at all – they were only there to support the club, so I can’t be too upset! Donny didn’t place in one of the shows, but surprised me by winning the Imperial in the other (again, he was there just for support), taking his total to four, and meaning that he only has one to go!
Sue also had Bobbi entered in the Shorthair, to try for her third and final CC, which she won, making her the thirteenth titled Cagaran. Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances, Sue is not going to be able to take Bobbi, but since Anita lost one of her Ocicat girls last year, she is interested in having Bobbi. Although Anita already has Bobbi’s half-sister, the relationship is through their mother, who is first-generation from the outcross line, and the father’s pedigrees are completely different, so Bobbi could still be of benefit to Anita’s breeding.
In my last post, I said that we were planning to give Tia, Lhasa and Tilly one more call, and then mate all three of them in March, and for a change, we actually did what we were planning to do, putting Tia and Lhasa with Eiteag, and Tilly with Donny. We know that Tia was mated numerous times, Lhasa at least once, and Donny certainly made a good try of it with Tilly (he’d pulled most of the fur out of the back of her neck!), so we’re now just keeping our fingers crossed. All three girls have gained weight since being mated, but only Tilly actually seems to have pinked up. With the other two the weight gain could just be due to the relief of finally having had a mate after such a long gap. If they haven’t taken, we’ll try them again on their next calls, and I promise I’ll keep you posted!
On a totally non-cat subject, I’d like to thank those of you who came to the concert last night at the Church of the Holyrude in Stirling, where I was singing Mozart’s Requiem and some other pieces, with the Stirling City Choir. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and hope you did too!
We had a good day at the Eastern Counties/Bombay & Asian show, with Tilly winning two CCs, Grace two MCs and the tawny Ocicat kitten her 1st and Best of Breed. We then borrowed Call back from my brother to take to the Edinburgh, winning his Premier title in the process. Caomh and Roo have both gone to their new homes, leaving just the two spotty Ocis to find homes, and Dàrna’s kitten is now called Cagaran Fileánta, and has had her first vaccinations.
I really must stop writing the text for posts and then getting sidetracked before I get a chance to add the photos. When I started this post, it began “It’s a much shorter time between this post than my last”, which is now certainly not true, given that it’s over two months since the last one again! That’s what I get for getting involved in show management – I knew that it was a time-consuming process, but I had no idea just how much time it actually takes.
I think perhaps the best strategy for future updates might be just to upload the text once it’s written and then add photos later.
We went down to the Eastern Counties the second weekend in July, primarily because the Bombay & Asian Breed Club was held ‘back-to-back’ (sharing the show hall) with that show this year. That meant that any Asians had the opportunity to try for two certificates, and since Tilly turned adult at the start of the month, we took her to try for her first two CCs. She not only won these, but also one Best of Breed (against a multiple-Olympian-winner!) and four first prizes in side classes, including some really big ones.
We took Grace down as a Pedigree Pet, and since HPs can also be entered in both shows, she was able to win two Mastercat certificates on the day. That means that both Tilly and Grace only need one more certificate to win their titles!
We also took the tawny Ocicat girl, who obviously doesn’t compete for certificates yet, but was up against another young girl who has been sold as a breeding queen. The other girl had absolutely crystal clear and perfect markings, but our girl definitely had the better type, so I was interested to see what the judges did with them. The two girls were up against eachother twice – once in their Open class, and then again in one of their miscellaneous classes under a different judge, and on both occasions, our girl was placed above the other, which I was delighted with.
We were meant to be picking Sonia up on the way home from the show, but she had come back into call on the Thursday before the show, and since she’s well settled with Di at the moment, it seemed more sensible to leave her there and see if she can take this call. Maiden queens often fail to get pregnant from their first matings, so it’s nothing we hadn’t expected. Ayla also started calling that weekend, so we were crossing our fingers that the two girls might both get pregant and be able to have their kittens around the same time.
The following weekend was the Edinburgh & East of Scotland, but we obviously couldn’t show our own cats because of having done the show the previous weekend. I do like to support the Scottish shows if I can, though, so I asked Calum if he would let us borrow Call back for one last show. Calum is going to be letting Call outside once he has fully settled in his new home, which means that we would be unlikely to get another chance to get him into show preparation.
Thankfully, Calum said we could take him, and he finally won his qualifying PC, making him up to Premier. He is therefore now officially ‘Premier Elmcoon Basil’, and is no longer the only cat that we’ve owned since finding out about showing, to not have won a title. He also won two 1sts and a 2nd in his side classes, and was even awarded the cup for Best Maine Coon Neuter. What a star!
I had an excellent day stewarding for John Trotter across the Foreign and Burmese sections, with a few Brits and a Siamese thrown in for good measure. My pick of the day was a beautiful Asian Ticked Tabby kitten, owned and bred by Sarah Davidson (Karakoram Burmese & Asians), who was also John’s nomination for Best of Variety Foreign, and then went on to win the Overall Best of Variety. I think she’s a granddaughter of Shogun, and therefore a niece of both Eiteag and Ayla, and a cousin of Tilly, so it’s not surprising that I liked her look! We also got to handle Quinn, whose type John absolute adored, and he was gutted when he discovered that her smoke wasn’t good enough for him to award the Grand.
Excellent Day at Chester
You may remember that we did the Chester show for the first time, last year, and thoroughly enjoyed having a day out in Chester, so we decided to do it again this year. Unfortunately, Elisabeth was judging, so I ended up being persuaded to steward, which was a bit of a disappointment. I did enjoy my day stewarding, as I always do, but I must confess that I would rather have spent the day browsing Chester with Richard, who had a lovely day wandering in the old city. We also took Pamela White, who owns two of Elisabeth’s Russians, and Elisabeth, so at least we got to share the transport. Apologies for the rubbish photos – the hall-lighting was rather yellow, and we’re using the little point-and-shoot camera at the moment, because our proper camera is broken, which makes getting decent photos of our lot nigh on impossible!
Even if we didn’t have the full ‘Chester experience’, our show results made it worthwhile having entered, with all the cats winning something. Donny didn’t win his Imperial, but did beat two lovely Burmillas for Best of Breed – excellent to win against some competition for a change! The Tiffs were obviously against eachother for Best of Breed, which Dàrna won, along with her third Imperial. Eiteag and Tilly both had their own successes, though, Eiteag winning the Grand, and Tilly taking the CC to make up to Champion. They all had good results in side classes as well. To top off an already great set of results, Donny and Dàrna were shortlisted with Pamela’s Lina as the last three for Best Foreign Adult, so regardless of which one actually won it, they had come down in our car! In the end, it was Dàrna who took the award – her second BOV Adult win.
After the show, Elisabeth and Pamela headed home with the Thomsons (Saladin Abyssinians), and we carried on down to Rob and Anita’s, because we had an AGCS Committee meeting the following day. This was another possible opportunity to pick up Sonia, but she still wasn’t showing any signs of being pregnant, and remained very settled, so we decided just to leave her where she is for the moment. The Committee meeting was an enjoyable day, as the AGCS meetings always are, and I was elected as Secretary, which made sense given that I have taken the minutes at the meetings for the past two years, due to the previous Secretary having other commitments.
If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know that the Teesside is one of the consistencies in our annual calendar. Since they were the club who sponsored our prefix application, we always like to try and support the show. This year, we took Eiteag and Tia to try for Grands, because Steve Crow was the judge, and I thought he would like them both. We also took Dàrna’s kitten, who is nicknamed ‘Small’ for the time-being, in absence of any better name for her. Making up the ‘set’, was Grace, trying for her final Mastecat certificate. Having learnt our lesson at Chester, we just took the Teesside photos on Richard’s phone, and I think you’ll agree that the results are much better.
We had something of a spectacular day – Grace making up to Mastercat, both Eiteag and Tia winning the Grands, and both being nominated for Best of Variety.
This was Small’s first show, but like her Dad, Grand and Great-Gran before her, she behaved like an absolute sweetheart, charming the judges and winning her Best of Breed. She started the morning in her Dad’s pen, so that she had company whilst she got the feel of the show, and then moved back to her own pen, where she behaved as if she’d been to countless shows before.
I had an excellent day stewarding for Pamela Beard-Smith in the British section, and having finished my stewarding, was told that Tia was being taken up to the Best in Show Pens – she had gone Overall Best Foreign!
Scotia – My First Time as Assistant Show Management
This year’s Scotia was my first time as Assistant Show Manager, and although it certainly wasn’t the easiest task, I did survive! We started off with seventeen judges, of which seven cancelled in the run-up to the show, for reasons ranging from operations and an emergency hospitalisation, to a cat needing emergency vet treatment. We managed to replace a couple, but only had twelve judges by the end, yet all the judges took the resultant extra cats without complaint, and worked really hard for us. I can’t thank them all enough, and also Sarah Davidson, one of the actual Show Managers, for giving me the opportunity to learn from her.
Today was the Wyvern, and since Elisabeth was judging this year, she asked if I would steward for her. If I was going to go all that way to steward, it seemed daft not to show, especially when the Wyvern is such a lovely show to do. I brought Dàrna to try for the Imperial, and since Dorothy Stone was going to be judging both the Ocicat and Tiffanie kitten classes, and generally loves our cats, I decided to bring Bobbie and Small as well.
As always, I had a thoroughly enjoyable day, and although Dàrna didn’t win the Imperial (there were four cats in the class, and the Imperial and Reserve winners were were worth the award), she did win her Best of Breed, and had good side-class results. The kittens also had a good day, especially Small, who was shortlisted into the last four for Best Foreign Kitten. As before, she behaved beautifully, and was an absolute poppet – I had more than one judge tell me they wanted to put her in their pockets to take her home. I am so proud of her!
Unfortunately, without Richard there to keep me in order, I completely forgot to take any photos, which I’m rather gutted about.
The week running up to the Edinburgh, we had a visit from a lovely couple who had recently lost their elderly Oriental, and wanted a companion for their Siamese. They wanted to get a kitten to improve the likelihood of their Siamese accepting her, and they also wanted a breed that was likely to be similarly interactive and people-oriented. Having done a bit of research, they thought Ocicats sounded ideal, and came to meet our babies. They were immediately taken by our little ticked tabby girl, and she gave them lots of cuddles and kisses to ensure they were thoroughly convinced!
Her new owners phoned me the day after she moved in with them, to say that they had never seen a more confident little cat, and that she had just moved in as if she’d never been anywhere else. When she met the dog for the first time, she just marched up, said “hello” and then carried on exploring, without hardly breaking step. Likewise, she just went straight up to the Siamese, touched noses with her and then moved on without a hiss, growl or any apparent cautiousness. That is one thing I definitely do like about (nice-tempered) Ocicats – they are so easy to integrate because they don’t seem to comprehend that another cat might not like them.
Roo went back to Di’s a couple of weeks later, and Bobby is now reserved for a breeder, so that just leaves Milly to find a new home. I have had a couple of enquiries for her, but nothing definite yet, so I would still love to hear from anyone who knows of someone who might suit her.
Dàrna’s kitten is now 18 weeks, and as you might have gathered by the fact that we are currently calling her ‘Small’, we don’t have a proper ‘pet name’ for her yet – nothing has jumped out at us as suiting her. Small isn’t particularly appropriate, because she is a really good-sized girl (like her Mum), but she is the smallest household member at present, so it works at the moment. Elisabeth calls her ‘Sparkle-sparkle’, because apparently she has the ‘Sparkle Factor’, but we refuse to have a cat called ‘Sparkle’! She has the cutest little ‘mohawk’ in the middle of her head (a little tuft of fur that always sticks up there), so we have wondered about something to do with ‘Mo’ or ‘Hawk’, but we haven’t got there yet. I’m sure something will come to us at some point, and in the meantime she can remain as ‘Small’.
We had to give her an ‘official’ name back in July, in order to be able to make up her vaccination card, so I narrowed the list of possibilities down to a shortlist of about half-a-dozen, but hadn’t managed to get any further than that – again, none of the names leapt out as being hers. In the end, Richard made the decision from the shortlist, so her pedigree name is Cagaran Fileánta, which is pronounced ‘Feelawnta’, and means ‘Poetic’.
Ayla was originally expected to have her kittens next week, but she must have been mated earlier than the stud owner realised, and actually had them late on Wednesday. She is proving to be a fabulous mummy, with the kittens starting out being good weights, and gaining between 8g and 13g in the first 12 hours alone! Since the kittens are Burmese Restriction, it will be quite a while before we can be even remotely sure on colour, but that is hardly anything new!
I had the Asian BAC meeting on the Sunday following the Edinburgh, and was unanimously elected as the BAC’s representative to Council, which I see as a huge honour and responsibility, since it makes me the official spokesperson for the breed. I had hoped to apply to the judging scheme this year, because I had originally been told that the minimum requirement is 3 years of breeding experience, which we had last month, but the rule is now 4 years. I was initially disappointed not to be able to apply, but being made the official spokesperson for the breed (something that I wouldn’t be allowed to do if I was working through the judging scheme) goes a long way to making-up for that disappointment!
While we were on our way to collect Ayla, Anita and Rob arrived at our house for the weekend (great planning, that!), because they were up for the first FIFé show in Scotland, which was held in Perth. Lona was also attending the show, with Lainni and Tabh, among others, and had some good results, with Tabh taking Best New Breed Neuter on the Saturday (losing out to Sarah’s beautiful Chloe, whom I mentioned earlier), and Lainni taking Overall Best New Breed on the Sunday! Cailin didn’t do a great deal at the show, but for once she was actually in call at the right time, so she spent the Saturday night through to Monday morning in with Donny, and there was plenty of rolling around and trilling going on, so fingers crossed they managed something. If she is pregnant, those will be the first kittens to have two Cagaran parents, which will be quite exciting!
I really will try not to take so long before my next post, so watch this space…
It’s been quite a while since my last post, so there is plenty to catch up on, including several shows (London Pet Show, Nor’East, Suffolk & Norfolk, Durham/Northern Counties and Lakeland), the World Cat Congress and Gala Dinner and Australian Mist Seminar. Both Dàrna’s kitten and the Ocis continue to do well, and the Ocis are now starting to leave home. In addition, Keela and Grace have now been spayed, and are ready to look for new homes.
I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last post – how time flies! I had a draft post saved here that started “the past couple of weekends have been really enjoyable, but also really tiring”, but I hadn’t got around to completing it and posting it up. Thinking back over the time since my last post, that opening comment could pretty-much just be extended to cover the entire period! I have very busy at work, and in my ‘spare’ time, have been doing judge’s class allocations for my first time as an Assistant Show Manager, which is an amazingly time-consuming process. So… what has happened since my last post?
London Pet Show
As in previous years, the London Pet Show proved to be a great success, and remains a fabulous opportunity for the GCCF and the breed clubs, to show off our wonderful breeds. Due to the number of people wanting to enter the World Cat Congress show the following weekend, many of the cats who would normally have been at LPS were unable to attend (in the GCCF, we are not allowed to show more than once in every two weekends). It was therefore more of a struggle than usual to get the required 24 breeds on each day, and so we offered to take more cats than usual.
The first three were borrowed from other people, on behalf of the Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland, of which I am the Secretary, and Richard is the Vice-Chairman:
Kenga (our Grace’s litter-sister, Cagaran Adhairc), who represented the Abyssinians as a Pedigree Pet. Her sire was a gorgeous usual Abyssinian, but her dam was a tawny Ocicat Classic. For the purposes of allowing the public to meet a breed, however (which is the point of the LPS), she looks and behaves like an Abyssinian.
For the Russians, we borrowed three of Elisabeth’s kittens, Iggy (commonly known as Ig-the-pig, because he’s a greedy wee rascal), Jerry (her new import boy from Holland), and her youngest, Jingle (usually called Small-Small, but as only Elisabeth could come up with, also sometimes called Jinny-Jingle-Beagle-Bingle!). Elisabeth was judging in Dundee the same day, so the Russian table was manned by Caroline Moore, who owns a Russian Blue neuter, and who absolutely fell in love with Jingle during the day.
Bru and Cheeky shared a double pen, representing the Ocicats and Ocicat Classics. They weren’t too sure about all the hustle and bustle of the show, and were only happy to be out of their pen, if they were being cuddled. Anita and Rob came with us to man the Ocicat table, and Anita spent most of the day cuddling Cheeky whilst people stroked her over the table.
The rest of ours were representing the Asian Group, and we tried to cover as much of it as we could in the four cats we took – Donny represented the Asian Smoke, Tia the Burmilla, Ayla the Tiffanie, and Eiteag, as a spotted tabby Tiffanie, was the closest we come to an Asian Tabby, so he came along as well.
Donny and Eiteag shared a pen, and when they weren’t out on the table, they were cuddled up together on their bed, sleeping or grooming eachother. Last year, Donny was happy to spend the entire day out on the table, and being passed from person to person, but he and Eiteag are both adolescent males now, and inclined to get a bit frisky if they can smell female cats! As a result, we had to spell the two of them, having them out for maybe fifteen minutes at a time, and then swapping over. Since we didn’t have anyone to man the Abyssinian table, Richard was taking it in turns between the boys and Kenga.
I was looking after our second table (one was technically for the Asian Shorthairs, and the other for the Tiffanies, but we had one of each on each table because of the gender split), with Tia and Ayla. Tia was happy to be out of her pen, but equally happy in it, whereas Ayla was ecstatic when she was out of her pen, and wanted out within minutes of being back inside the pen, so I had Ayla out most of the day. Whenever I put her back into her pen for a few minutes to encourage her to have something to eat and drink, I would then get Tia out until Ayla had decided that she wanted out again. The rest of the day, Tia sat in her pen looking beautiful, and people ooh-ing and ah-ing over her.
Ayla was my little star, though, and like her uncle Donny last year, was absolutely in her element, being passed from person to person, giving cuddles and kisses and just lapping up all the attention. She was a fabulous ambassador for the breed, and I think lots of people went home wanting an Asian of some description, as a result!
At the end of the show, I had a slightly tearful goodbye with her, as she left with the Australian Mist stud owner. I have been getting regular updates ever since, however, and it sounds like Ayla is missing me less than I’m missing her – she is spending the nights in the stud owner’s bedroom, and riding around the house on the stud owner’s shoulder. She had a couple of introductory meetings with the stud owner’s youngest boy, but he doesn’t seem to be interested yet, so Ayla’s been in with one of her proven studs instead, and although he definitely mated her back in May, she spent the next few weeks neither calling nor pinking up. However, she has finally decided to start calling again in the past week, and has now been mated again, so it’s just a waiting game to see whether she has taken this time. The stud owner will let me know if/when Ayla pinks up, and we can then try and work out the logistics of getting her home – I can’t wait!
Nor’East of Scotland Show
The show Elisabeth was judging at was the Nor’East of Scotland show. I mention it again for two reasons – firstly, because major congratulations are due to both Karen Hettman, and Elisabeth, and secondly, because there were four Cagaran cats at the show, in spite of us being in London.
The congratulations due to Karen and Elisabeth are because Karen’s two boys (whom Elisabeth bred) both ended up in Overall Best-in-Show pens, Zach (Dushenka Zerachiel) as Best Pedigree, and Stan (Dushenka Stanislav) as Best Household Pet – he has been shown as a Pedigree Pet since making up to Imperial in the Pedigree section. Unfortunately, Elisabeth missed the excitement because she had been given a lift by Ian Thomson, and he was given an early pass to head home!
Lona and Lesley were both there with two Cagarans each – Lona’s Lainni didn’t win her Imperial, but had strong competition, and Lesley’s Derk had the PC withheld on him, much to Elisabeth’s outrage (she thought he was the best of the four!). The other two had an excellent day, however, with Lesley’s Ella winning her third PC, making her up to Premier, and becoming our 9th titled cat, and Lona’s Tabh picking up his third Grand, giving him the Grand title (the third for our prefix). I am delighted for both owners, and can’t thank them enough for showing their cats so beautifully.
World Cat Congress Weekend
The following weekend saw us back down south, for the World Cat Congress. The WCC is a body made up of representatives from all the major cat registration bodies, including the major bodies in Europe, the US, Australia and South Africa. Each year the WCC has a meeting, hosted by one of the member organisations, where the various delegates get together to discuss issues that are of universal concern to all cat registration bodies, or at least of concern to several of the bodies. For instance, if the EU was going to introduce a new law relating to the ownership of cats, they might discuss a response to that, or if a new vaccination had been developed, they could look at how best to utilise it. Aside from the meeting itself, the WCC weekend also includes a show, dinner event and a seminar programme.
This year was the GCCF’s turn to host the congress, and the weekend started with a drinks reception and buffet on Friday evening, followed by plenty of gossiping in the bar afterwards. We stayed with Anita that night, but didn’t leave the hotel until midnight, so it was after 2am before we got to bed.
On Saturday morning we were up at 7am to head to Wood Green for the show. The WCC show was to be held back-to-back with the Suffolk & Norfolk show, giving exhibitors the chance to win two certificates on the same day. The S&N show is always a fairly large show, and the Wood Green venue is perfect for this type of event, having plenty of space for pens, trade stands, exhibitors and judges alike, not to mention excellent catering facilities and plenty of other things for visitors to do, aside from visiting the show (Wood Green is a large animal shelter).
I was originally booked to steward for Wayne Trevathan, who is a former director of CFA’s (Cat Fancier’s Association) Southern Region, and the CFA’s current WCC delegate. However, the show manager came to me at the reception, and asked if I would consider swapping with another steward, because there had been a mix-up, and that steward had been assigned to a judge who was judging one of her cat’s open classes (it is permitted to handle your own cats in miscellaneous classes, but not opens). As a result, I actually stewarded for Cheryle U’ren, who is the current International Liaison Office for the CCCA (Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia), their delegate to the WCC, and also the WCC’s Vice-President. She was great fun to steward for, and I sincerely hope I get a chance to work with her again in future.
After the show, we had the Gala Dinner, which was a fabulous night, as always. Anita and Rob came along this year, for the first time, as did David and Louise Miskelly. Both couples sat on the same nine-seater table as Richard, Elisabeth and I, and our table was completed by Sandra Woodley (Honpuss Burmese and Asians), and one of her friends. The food was delicious, if a slightly strange choice, and we had some great conversations going. After the meal, the lights were turned down and people took to the dance floor, this being the first time the Gala Dinner has been followed by a disco. The best bit of the evening, however, as in previous years, was the gossiping in the bar after the main event was finished.
We stood for a while chatting to Kate Ekanger (Cloudborn Devons), and Jen and Laura Pinches (Velvarex Devons), who bred the Devons that we owned. When they headed off to bed, we spent a while with Emma Watts (Emanan Somalis), Saffi Rabey, whom I have stewarded for in the past, and is now a member of RACCS, having been a recent convert to the ownership of a Nebelung (her other cats are Maine Coons), and a few others. After a while we joined a group of the foreign judges, including Andreas Mobius, whom Elisabeth had stewarded for at the show, and had some fascinating insights into some of the other cat registries, not to mention a whole array of other topics! When they all headed off to bed, we moved again, and this time joined the hilarious John and Janet Wilshaw (Rossikhan Burmese), Dorothy Stone and others, and had an absolute whale of a time, chatting about everything from Burmese breed politics to the Wilshaw’s imminent 33-year anniversary, and Scottish Independence! We eventually all headed off to bed at about 3am, and it was after 3:30am by the time we actually got into bed!
We were back up at 7:30am on Sunday, to enjoy a cooked breakfast and plenty of chat with Rob, Anita, Elisabeth and John Hansson, before heading across for the seminar starting at 9:15am. The core topic of the seminar programme was ‘Responsible Breeding for Health and Welfare’, and it started with a fascinating insight into the way each of the registries promotes ethical breeding practices and feline welfare, including the various laws relating to the subject in each country. This was followed by talks from a representative of Royal Canin; Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, who conducted the well-known inquiry into dog breeding in 2010; Professor Tim Gruffydd-Jones, who must be one of the UK’s foremost feline geneticists, based out of Bristol Langford’s; and surely one of the world’s foremost feline geneticists, Lesley Lyons. I have heard both the latter speak on several occasions, yet they remain fabulously interesting, and I always come away having learnt lots of new information. Lesley’s was probably my favourite talk of the day, but it was also particularly interesting to hear Patrick Bateson’s opinions on the ethics of cat breeding, given his role in the dog-breeding inquiry. As both he and his daughter, Melissa (also a Professor) are themselves cat breeders, he has a personal understanding of our hobby, as well as his professional understanding of animal breeding more generally.
The seminar was followed by an open meeting, which gives ordinary members of the Cat Fancy the chance to put forward topics for the delegates to discuss at the main WCC closed meeting on the Monday. Most of the attendees showed typically British reticence, however, and the meeting was finished fairly quickly. We dropped both Anita and Elisabeth off on the way home, and finally got back to the house about 2am, so it was a long and tiring weekend, but very, very worthwhile. I wonder if I can save up enough money to go to next year’s congress in Miami, Florida?!
Durham and Northern Counties Show
The week after the WCC we were back down the motorway, though this time only as far as South Shields, for the Durham and Northern Counties double show. We had Bru entered only in the Durham, to try for his 3rd PC, which he won, making him the tenth Cagaran to win a title (and the first of our Ocis to do so).
We also had Donny and Eiteag entered in both shows, Donny for his first Imperials, and Eiteag for Grands. Both boys had strong competition, but Donny won both his Imperials (the first won by an entire of our prefix), and Eiteag was awarded the reserve Grand in one of the shows, in spite of being out of coat and having acne on his chin!
As if those results weren’t good enough, I came back to Donny’s pen near the end of the day, to find that he had also gone Best Foreign Adult again.
I had another enjoyable day stewarding for Chris Bamford, though the enjoyment was slightly marred in the early afternoon, when one of the Birmans became upset and attacked Pat Perkins, one of the other judges. She was badly scratched and bitten, and Richard ended up having to take her to the hospital for stitches and antibiotics. When we collected her again at the end of the day, she was feeling a lot more cheerful, however, and by the time we saw her at the Lakeland show a couple of weeks ago, she had already recovered to the point of just having some minor scarring on her hands and arm.
The weekend after that I was supposed to have a BAC meeting on the Sunday, but it was called off at the last minute, so we went with Mum and Dad to the boat, staying over on the Friday evening, and coming back to get the gardening done on the Sunday. The weather was fabulous, and we sailed down to the Kyles of Bute in glorious sunshine, and then sat at anchor, watching a red deer pick its way across the beach. We came back via the buoy where the dolphin has lived for the past couple of years, and were delighted to find her still in residence, and as playful as ever. I think we must have spent about half-an-hour just going round and round in circles beside her buoy, enjoying the experience of having her ride the pressure wave under the bow.
The next weekend was the Lakeland show, with a West of Scotland Committee meeting to be held in the morning, my birthday the same day, and then an Australian Mist seminar in Leicestershire on the Sunday. We therefore arranged to meet friends for a casual birthday lunch near the show hall, travelling on to drop Sonia off at stud south of Birmingham, staying the night with Rob and Anita, and then heading across for the seminar before heading home again. As it happens, the judge who would have been doing Sonia’s Grand class would be very unlikely to award her the certificate, so there didn’t seem much point entering her. We decided instead just to put her on exhibition, and thought that since we were staying with Anita that night, we would take Tilly to keep Sonia company in the exhibition pen, and then to let Anita see her again. I swithered for a while, and eventually decided to also have a punt with Annas in the Olympian class, since she picked up a Reserve there last year.
The Committee meeting was much quicker than these meetings usually are, and we headed outside to enjoy the sun. After a while, we took a leisurely stroll up to the farm shop for lunch, where some of our friends sang me a thankfully very quiet and fast rendition of Happy Birthday. Annas had really tough competition in the Olympian class, so there was no shame in not placing, but I was rather disappointed that the Best of Breed judge awarded the BOB to the boy, who is nowhere near as good an example of the breed as Annas. Sonia and Tilly seemed to enjoy their day, and were delighted with the concept of being able to come out for cuddles regularly without needing to be pulled about for judging!
After the show, we drove straight down to Di Taylor’s (Brizlincoat Somalis), and set Sonia up in her pen in Di’s gorgeous cattery facility. We have been promised a proper tour when we return to collect Sonia. We then headed across to Rob and Anita’s, where we were taken out for a lovely Indian meal, as a birthday treat. As usual, Anita and I stayed up far too late chatting, and I think it must have been well into the following morning before I crawled into bed.
The Australian Mist seminar was held in a tiny hall, in a village near Market Harborough. The reason for the seminar was that Dr Truda Straede, who created the breed, is spending a few weeks holidaying in Italy, and had agreed to make a detour across to the UK in order to do a breed seminar. The seminar was not supported by the GCCF, because the discussion would be based on the standard as applied in FiFé, but for people not involved in the breed, like us, that didn’t really matter. Dr Straede presented some of her research on the microscopic differences in hair structure between hairs of different colours and patterns, which was fascinating and very enlightening, and there was much entertaining discussion over coffee as well!
Last weekend was another ‘free’ weekend (i.e. one that isn’t taken up with ‘cat stuff’), and we had Elisabeth’s birthday barbecue on the Saturday afternoon/evening, and then a 10CC and Status Quo concert on the Sunday evening. We also squeezed in a trip to the cinema broadcast of one of the last performances of Helen Mirren’s ‘The Audience’, which proved to be laugh-out-loud funny, and well worth attending. Elisabeth’s barbecue was, as always, a great event, and a lovely opportunity to catch up on the lives of some of her friends, whom we only see periodically at her various get-togethers. The concert on the Sunday evening was excellent, and well worth the £45.
I knew every song that 10CC sang, but only knew one of them as a 10CC song (that being “I’m Not In Love”), and was very impressed at the breadth of styles their music covers, and also the multi-instrument talent of the group’s members. Status Quo’s much is more samey, but the band are great showmen, and I thoroughly enjoyed singing along at the top of my voice. Admittedly, some of the best entertainment of the evening was watching two girls who were probably in their late teens or early twenties, and had obviously had a bit much to drink, attempting to dance in front of the stands!
Tracey looked after all the cats, but especially Dàrna’s little one, during the weekends that we have been away, and made her usual fabulous job of it. She was round at least twice every day that we were away, not just throwing some food down, but actually spending hours at the house each time, going from room to room to make sure that all the cats receive plenty of attention – they probably get more when we are away than when we are here! She also checked and weighed the wee one each day, and nicknamed her ‘Scootcher’ because apparently she ‘Scootched’ around her box when she was small – she was certainly the most active Asian/Tiffanie we’ve had as a tiny kitten, walking around her box from the moment we got her back from the vets. Elisabeth, on the other hand, christened the kitten ‘Sparkle-Sparkle’, because apparently she has the sparkle-factor!
She continued her precocious behaviour, purring when feeding at only a day or two old, trying to climb out of the scales at weigh-in time from about a week old, and purring in response to being stroked at only eight days. She’s also growing really well, having doubled his birth weight by the time she was six days old (that is the target for a week old), and now being well over 800g at 7 weeks. Although I spent the first three or four weeks trying to persuade both myself and the kitten, that she was a boy, because I then wouldn’t be tempted to keep her, she declined to participate in my charade, and is quite obviously a girl. I am still trying valiantly to resist the temptation (she is Dàrna’s last kitten, etc. etc.), but whether I succeed will remain to be seen. Richard is keeping out of any discussion over whether or not she stays, which is probably wise, given that I will probably just make my own mind up anyway, almost regardless of what he says!
The lack of a decision over whether or not she is staying, does make decisions over naming rather more complicated. This is our ‘F-litter’, and she is either cream or apricot, so Fiona (from the gaelic for fair-haired) would be a good name for her, but that only works if she’s not staying here, because we already have a Fiona, and having two of them would be too complicated! She therefore remains nameless at present, being known only as Dàrna’s kitten, or the wee one, until we decide what we are doing. She will be due for her first vaccination next week, though, and we’ll need to have a name to put on the vaccination card, so we don’t have that long to decide.
The Ocicat kittens also continue to do well, having had their second vaccinations the first Saturday in June, and then the five who are registered on the Non-Active were neutered a couple of weeks ago, and have been living with us of late. It is rather nice not having to travel to Edinburgh every time I want to see my kittens, particularly since each vet visit has meant being up early enough to collect the kittens at 07:30, in order to be back at our vets with enough time to drop the kittens off and still get into work, then rushing off at 17:30 to collect them again, and take them back to Edinburgh. We have had all six kittens living with us, but Di’s family have decided that they would like to keep the tawny boy, and we feel that is the least we can do, given the favour that Di did for us in taking the kittens when she did, and then keeping them so that they didn’t have to have any upheaval in their early lives.
The first two (literally the first two – Cainnt and Crannag) went to their new homes last Saturday, and are now Hamish and Harry, respectively. Their owner has recently lost an Ocicat neuter boy, Oscar, who has been keeping her company since her husband died, and she has really been missing Oscar’s presence. She wanted an Ocicat to fill the hole left by Oscar’s death, but didn’t want one who looked so like him that she was constantly reminded of his loss. The ticked tabbies were therefore of particular interest, and although she initially liked the idea of having one of each colour, which wasn’t possible anyway, with Di’s family keeping the tawny, she actually found that she preferred the cinnamons. I think they will be a better match anyway, because they often spent time together, whereas the tawny boy is more independent.
The tawny girl continues to shine out as the pick of the litter, and I am still hoping that we can find someone interested in breeding from her, but the search is so far proving fruitless. I will continue looking for another couple of weeks, and if we haven’t found anyone by then, will have her neutered, and find her a pet home. That seems a real waste of a lovely example of the breed, with an amazing temperament and a fabulous pedigree, though, so I’m hoping we won’t have to do that. If you know of anyone who might be interested in breeding Ocis, do let me know!
The other two girls are still looking for their homes, so do also get in touch if you think you might know of someone who would be interested in one or both of them.
As a slight aside, I’ve also had some photos through from the owners of Carrie and Becca (the two cinnamon Variants from the last litter), who you may remember also went to live together. They look very happy and still just as good friends as they were when they left us.
Other Cat News
We also had Grace and Anita’s Keela spayed at the same time as the kittens, so will be looking for new homes for them in due course. Again, if you know of anyone who might be interested in a young adult (Keela will be three in September, and Grace has just turned two), then we would love to hear from you. We are hoping to get Grace made up to Master Cat before she leaves us, since now that she is spayed, she can be shown in the Pedigree Pet section again, something that hasn’t been possible since she was under six months old. We have therefore got her entered in a couple of shows later in the summer, and will start to look for a new home for her after that.
Keela is absolutely adorable with people, and will take however much attention you are prepared to lavish on her, giving lots of love in return. As an entire, she hated other cats, though, so we will wait a few weeks to see whether having her spayed will have softened her attitude towards her fellow felines. If not, she will have to go to a strictly single-cat household, her ideal probably being as a companion to someone who is retired and wants a cat to keep them company around the house.
My brother, Calum, has recently purchased his first house, and is now the proud owner of an idiotic Maine Coon, in the shape of our first pedigree cat, Call. For the past few years, we have had to keep Call and the other neuters separated from our entire girls, because Call is fine living with neuters, but starts spraying if he lives with one or more entire females. This has resulted in none of our cats getting what we feel to be enough of our time, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for us to spend a decent amount of time with each group. When the cats were all in together, they all got to spend time with us, which was far preferable. Calum taking Call has meant that we can start making re-introductions (and in many cases first introductions) between our neutered and entire cats, and although we will need to take this slowly, it is a huge relief to be able to start the process.
A Totally Unrelated Garden Visitor
This last is absolutely nothing to do with the cats, but I couldn’t resist sharing the video of a cute hedgehog that was in our garden last week. He was sitting on our driveway when we got back, and because it was still daylight, I thought maybe he was ill, so I offered him some cat food. Judging by the way that he tucked into the food, he certainly doesn’t seem to have been ill!
Another excellent day at the Scottish show, with six Cagarans winning certificates, and Sonia making up to Champion. Dàrna is in with Eiteag, Fi is in with Donny and Grace looks about ready to pop, so we should have our first 2013 kittens soon.
I wrote the wording for this post on the 19th of last month, but it has taken me until today to find the time to pull some pictures together! On the 16th, we had the delight of a local show, for a change: the Scottish Cat Club show in Larkhall, south of Glasgow. We didn’t have to get out of our beds until 06:30!
There were a total of seven Cagarans entered, the highest number in one show to date, and six of them won certificates! We had Donny in to try for his first Imperial, and Etak and Ayla for their first CCs, then Lona had Tabh entered for another Grand, Lesley had Etak and Ayla’s littermates, Derk and Ella, in for their first PCs, and Tracey had Quinn entered in the Pedigree Pet section, to try for her third Mastercat certificate. We had also taken Dàrna, to try for her third Imperial, and Sonia for her third CC.
Much to our delight, all of the Cagarans owned by other people won the certificates they had gone for, so Quinn made up to Mastercat (PR Cagaran Dorlach & MC Quinn!), Tabh is now sitting on two Grands, and the youngsters won their first PCs.
Etak and Ayla also won their CCs, so that was the whole of that litter winning their first certificates on the same day – a clean sweep of the Tiffanie breed certificate classes! Sonia also won her CC, so she is now a Champion, which is particularly good news, since she’s due for mating soon.
Neither Dàrna nor Donny placed in the Imperial class, but they were both up against some really lovely cats, so there’s no great shame in that.
To top off an excellent day, Karen Hettman’s Zach, who was bred by our best friend, Elisabeth (Dushenka Russian Blues), not only won his second Silver Olympian certificate, but also went Overall Best in Show!
2013 Matings – Again!
Since we’re not needing to keep anything from Tia this year, I’m now thinking that I might try mating her to Apollo – the kittens from that mating should be spectacular, but they won’t carry longhair, so they’re not much use to us as Tiffanie breeders. We should, however, get some cracking show-quality Burmillas, and if we could find some nice show homes for them, it would be great to see some more Burmillas on the show bench. Having decided that, and since we also don’t need to keep anything from Dàrna this year, I’ve put her in with Etak, which gives us guaranteed Tiffs.
I was considering putting Lhasa to Donny, to see if we could produce a brown self Tiffanie to help the Tibetan programme, but I’ve now found out that for various reasons, there is now only one Tibetan breeder left, and she doesn’t use Tiffanies in her breeding. That means that I can send Lhasa down to Quin (Helen’s Burmese boy), which leaves Donny available to be mated with Fi, which is what I’ve done, because she’s another one we don’t need to keep anything from this year. That mating should hopefully give us 50% Tiffs, though the two previous matings we’ve done to longhair carriers have given us entirely Tiffs, which means we’re probably due for a whole litter of shorthairs! Assuming we do sent Lhasa down to use the mating to Quin, we’ll put Tilly to a boy who is from the only surviving line that I can find that is related to Annas’ (our original Tiffanie) mother’s mother!
Last week, I hadn’t decided any of this, but Dàrna and Fi were the first to come into season, so that kind of made my mind up on order, which helped with the decision about which matings to do.
On the Oci side, Grace is almost ready to burst, and looks hugely pregnant. Apologies for the photo quality – whenever I get a proper camera out, she behaves like an idiot, so the only photos I’ve got are phone ones. Still, you get the idea…
We have finally found a home for Bru, who went with his new owner last week, and is now settling in. He is living with a vet student in Glasgow, and although he spent the first night hiding, he is now coming out to play, and will hopefully be fully settled soon. It almost always takes longer to settle a 7-month-old, than it would at 14 weeks, but it still shouldn’t take more than a few days. When I have some photo updates, I will post them for you.
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.
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.
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!
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!
We had a good day at the AGCS show, with Ayla winning Best Kitten, Tia making up to Champion, and Lhasa winning one CC, leaving her with just one more to go. We also collected our little Katie-granddaughter, Tilly, who is already firm friends with Ayla.
I know I normally leave it a bit longer between posts, but I couldn’t wait to share our news this time. Incidentally, we dropped the two Oci Variant girls off as planned on Friday, and they began settling in almost immediately. The family they have gone to live with seem absolutely perfect to be owned by a couple of Ocicats, so I am looking forward to some photo updates!
Both the AGCS (Asian Group Cat Society) and RACCS (Russian and Abyssinian Cat Club of Scotland) had very successful shows yesterday. RACCS had a total of 59 entries, which is excellent for a first show. The Best-In-Show line-up was excellent, and included cats and kittens from both old and new prefixes. The overall BIS was a stunning Aby kitten, who had won over quite a few of the judges during the day. It was great to see all our hard work coming to fruition, and I think quite a bit of alcohol was consumed, though I didn’t actually manage to grab any. I did get a piece of the delicious cake, though!
On the AGCS side, I was disappointed to hear that Steve and Tommy were not going to make it due to Steve having injured his ankle during the Christmas break. It did leave the way clear for a different prefix to win Best Adult, and this year it was Rocadanne Candyfloss, a Bombay, who took that award. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to say that we won our Best Kitten award again this year, making the hat-trick. Fiona the first year, Donny the second, and now Fi’s daughter, Ayla. As usual, Ayla was an absolute poppet, couldn’t have been sweeter, and also had a ‘red card day’ (winning every class she was entered). Best Neuter, and the overall Best in Show winner was the same cat that won Best Neuter last year, Teignage Sirpouncealot. It is always lovely to see two Tiffs in the Best in Show pens. Perhaps one year we’ll manage to have a Tiff in every pen!
We also had Etak at the show, and he was equally beautifully behaved. We put Ayla into his pen in the morning, and the two of them were utterly adorable, munching their food side by side. Etak was placed second in his open, but had fabulous results in his side classes (first in all of them), even beating the boy that he lost to in the open. Different judges have different opinions, and that’s just the way it goes, sometimes!
As well as the kittens, we had taken Lhasa and Tia, both entered in the AGCS and the Shorthair, and therefore with the potential to win two certificates on the day. Tia did just that, making her up to Champion in three straight shows (two days!). She had a red card day in the AGCS, and had three firsts and a third in the Shorthair. As often happens at double shows, however, the two judges disagreed about who was the better between Lhasa and her competition, so Lhasa won the CC in one show, but was placed second in the other. She just needs one more certificate to become a Champion, but Ayla is old enough to try for CCs at the next show we go to, so Lhasa might just need to wait a bit!
There were another two Cagarans there on the day – Tracey had taken Quinn to support the two clubs, and Anita had taken little Breagha, though she could only be entered in the Shorthair show. Quinn didn’t have a particularly good day, not winning the Grand in either show, though she did have some good side-class results. Breagha was given her 1st and Best of Breed, and placed well in her side classes against strong competition.
Another New Arrival
We seem to have had a bit of an influx of new cats recently, between Sonia coming to us for the cinnamon outcross, and Lhasa and Tia arriving due to their owners giving up breeding. We have, however, got another new arrival, but this time a teeny kitten.
If you’ve been following this blog, you will know that we lost our first queen, Katie, last summer, and that I was concerned that we had lost her line? You may remember, however that her daughter, Cailin, went to live with our friend Anita, back in 2011? Cailin is still entire, so when we lost Katie, I asked Anita if she would consider mating her and letting us have one of the kittens. She said that she would be delighted to give us something back, and so together we chose a boy who is virtually unrelated to our existing cats. The resulting pedigree brings together a lot of fabulous prefixes – Kagura, Nemorez, Vervain, Kevona, Kennbury, Fandango, Merinda, and of course Amanda’s Rushbrooke.
Cailin had her kittens back in October, and our kitten came home with us yesterday, looking and acting so much like her granny that it feels almost like we’ve gone back in time and brought Katie home again. Her name is Tilly, which is from her pedigree name (chosen by us), which is Tilleadh gu Cagaran, or ‘Return to Cagaran’.
She and Ayla travelled home together in one basket, and when I woke up this morning, they were sleeping on top of one another, snuggled in the covers. She is an absolute sweetie, and I am delighted to have a little bit of Katie back in the house.
Introducing Sonia, our first Somali, and saying farewell to Katie, Xaria and Quinn. We have had some good show results, and another two litters, and Fi’s kittens continue to do well.
It is over two months since I last posted an update, and there has been lots of news in that time, both good and bad.
I am delighted to introduce Sonia, Gowlaren Sonia Cagaran, our first Somali! She is a usual, but carries sorrel (cinnamon), making her a potential outcross to bring a new cinnamon line into our Asians. She was bred by George Gow (a senior GCCF judge), who was going to keep her to show. However, we happened to be visiting, and when I fell in love with her, he asked if I was interested in her. The only proviso is that we have to show her – hardly an issue!
She is a beautiful girl, with a great temperament and a lovely pedigree incorporating some fabulous old lines. She is one of the sweetest cats we’ve ever had, and has to be stroked before she can eat her food. She is rather prone to virtually tripping us up, though, because she’s so determined to glue herself to our ankles!
She is currently living with Fi and her kittens, and since Sonia is still a kitten herself (although she’s the same size as Fi now!), she is loving playing with Fi’s kittens. The two boys, in particular, are quite often found racing her around the room.
The Lakeland Show has always been a good one for us, with Call winning one of his PCs and Xaria and Tármus making up to Premier there in 2009, Xaria finally winning her first Imperial there, along with Breckin and Ali both winning Grands in 2010 and then Dàrna making up to Grand there last year. This year it lived up to past performance, with Sonia, out for the first time, winning first and Best of Breed in her kitten class, Donny winning his second CC and Best of Breed, and Annas taking the Reserve Olympian in a very strong class (even beating the newly Gold Olympian Mylward Sassafras), as well as taking the Best of Breed.
Donny was an absolute poppet all day, even taking part in the second demonstration presentation for the YES! scheme (young exhibitors). This is a new initiative, getting the YES! Mentors, of which you may remember I am one, to demonstrate how to present a cat to young people on the scheme and those thinking of starting. Donny was the ideal cat to use for this, because he just stood beautifully on the table, and was interested in everything that was going on. He even stood up on his hind legs, with his paws on my chest, to give my nose a kiss, bless him!
To top off a good day, Donny went on to take Best Foreign Adult, our first time winning that accolade, let alone with a cat of our breeding. Unfortunately, we forgot to take any photos on the day, so we had to take some of him with his rosettes, when we got home.
When I last posted, Katie had given birth to two still-born kittens, and was now helping Fi to look after her kittens. Unfortunately, after a few days doing that, Katie lost interest in Fi’s kittens, and became depressed. We moved her down the stairs to live with Donny, and for a few days she seemed to be happier, without the constant reminder of kittens around. After that, however, she again became depressed, and for the next three weeks we had her in and out to the vet, running tests and trying to find out what was causing her depression.
For about a week, we were having to force-feed her, but she was getting so distressed by this, that we had to stop doing it. We even discussed the possibility of having her on a drip at the vets, but they felt that there was no point doing that unless we could find a reason for the depression, because she couldn’t spend the rest of her life on a drip!
She spent most of her time lying in her basket looking miserable, and it was absolutely heart-breaking to watch, as she got thinner and thinner. After a couple of weeks, she had lost so much muscle that she could hardly walk, yet we still had no medical explanation. I came down one morning, and found her lying limp, barely moving, and with obvious swelling around her kidneys. I took her straight to the vet, who ran some more tests, and reported that most of her organs were failing, and that the kindest thing to do would be to put her to sleep.
I asked them to wait until I could get back along, to be there at the end. She was brought through in the arms of one of the vet nurses, with her drip attached, and laid on a blanket on the vet’s table. The vet was able to inject the anaesthetic into the drip, rather than having to inject her directly, so we were able just to stroke her the whole time. I am sure that most animals know when the end has come, and Katie was no different. I hadn’t heard her purr since she had the still-births, yet as the vet pushed the plunger, she started purring.
The vets took some more tests, but we haven’t found anything to explain what happened. The only thing we can think of is that Katie was always so precise, and liked everything to be perfect, and that she couldn’t cope with the idea of the still-births. A friend of mine has had two still-born babies, and she said this: “It’s entirely possible that Fi’s kittens were a nice replacement at first… but then she realized they were just a replacement and hers were gone. Then, if she’s anything like me, Fi’s kittens probably pissed her off and put her further into depression. It’s hard coming out on the other side and finding something to live for. It’s hard finding something to be happy about again. It’s hard to have any desire for ANYTHING anymore. You have no idea how hard I prayed and begged to be put to sleep, have a heart attack, a wreck, anything. I even tried to take matters into my own hands more than once. I know you loved her, and you did her the biggest favor you could have ever done for her.”
When we were taking the photos of Donny with his rosettes after the Lakeland, we started off with a white background, and later switched to a black one. At that point, Katie came over to see what we were doing, and we took a few photos of her as well. I wasn’t for a moment expecting those to be the last ones we would ever take of her. It is some of those last photos that you see here.
RIP little Katie. Sweet dreams.
Xaria and Quinn’s New Home
You may remember that we had a potential owner here to meet the kittens just before my last post. That was Tracey, who was actually looking for two kittens, but having met (and fallen in love with) Quinn, she decided that she would take Quinn and one kitten. Obviously, the kittens weren’t ready to leave yet, so she came back to visit again a few days later.
Twenty years ago, Tracey had Russian Blues, and even had a litter of kittens from her girl, before a change of circumstances stopped her breeding plans. When she visited us again a few days after her first visit, she asked to meet the other cats. When she met Xaria, she literally started crying, because she missed her Russians so much. When Xaria sat nicely in her arms, you could have knocked me over with a feather – Xaria had never sat like that for anyone. Suddenly, I found myself asking if she wanted Xaria instead of a kitten, and she said yes.
As it happens, Xazzle has never got on very well with our other cats, so we’ve always had a problem deciding who to keep her with. As a result, she has been moved around our house, trying every possible permutation, and the only cats that she would live nicely with were Apollo and Quinn. I didn’t want to leave her out with Apollo, because it seems a shame for her to have to live in the garden, so she had been living with Quinn.
I took both girls down to Tracey’s a few days later, and they now seem to have settled in beautifully. I couldn’t be more delighted, because we’ve found somewhere that Xazzle can be happy, and a home for Quinn, in one go, and they are only ten minutes away! I’ve been down to see them several times, since, though Xaria is highly suspicious of me, in case I take her away again. That’s exactly the same as she was with Elisabeth after coming to us initially – it took at least half-a-dozen visits before she trusted Elisabeth not to take her away again.
Dàrna and Grace’s Kittens
Both Dàrna and Grace had their kittens right on schedule – Dàrna on the 11th of July and Grace two days later, on the 13th. I refer to the two litters together, because they have been together from the start – Dàrna acted as ‘midwife’ for Gracie’s labour, helping to deliver the kittens, cleaning them and Gracie, and showing Gracie what to do. When Gracie seemed unsure about what to do with the placenta, Dàrna licked at one, and then pushed it under Gracie’s nose, as if to say “here, you’re supposed to eat it”.
Dàrna had just two kittens again, and they benefited hugely from the arrival of Gracie’s five kittens two days later. Before Gracie’s kittens were here, Dàrna’s two hadn’t been feeding particularly well, and as a result were not gaining as much as we would have liked. After Gracie’s kittens arrived, Dàrna’s two began competing with them, and started making much better gains.
In Dàrna’s litter, the kittens were guaranteed to be Asians, rather than Tiffanies, because Apollo unfortunately does not carry longhair (we DNA-tested him). The first out was a boy, who looked to be a brown silver shaded, followed by a girl, who was probably a brown tortie shaded (not silver). Unfortunately, both kittens aspirated (breathed) some milk, and in spite of being given antibiotics, died due to the resultant pneumonia. This is apparently a relatively common problem, which almost inevitably results in death, and neither Grace nor Dàrna seemed particularly concerned by the losses, just carrying on with the remaining five kittens, as if there had never been another two.
I found it a lot harder than they seemed to, particularly since I’d spent the week leading up to their deaths, desperately trying to help them clear the fluid from their lungs. Since it happened, I’ve had at least four or five breeder friends tell me that they’ve lost kittens the same way, but we were really unlucky to have two in one litter. Mind you, when it comes to losing kittens, when are we not really unlucky?! The kittens are buried with Katie and her two kittens, so they will hopefully be playing together as a little family somewhere.
Gracie started her labour by giving us a cinnamon classic girl, then two cinnamon variant girls, another cinnamon classic girl, and finally a tawny spotted boy. The two classics and the spotty are our first Ocicats, our previous Ocicat litter being all Variants. Two cinnamon Classics is a fabulous result, because cinnamon is my favourite colour of Ocicat, and I prefer the Classics to the standard Ocis. Even better that the cinnamons are both girls!
My hope had been to get a cinnamon girl for myself, plus another girl for Anita (Bryce – Anizz Ocicats & Tiffanies), and possibly a girl to offer to Stacie (Shorten – Ameeka Ocicats & Abyssinians, who bred Grace’s dam). Assuming that the two Classic girls develop as well as it currently looks like they will, Anita and I have our girls. If the boy develops well, I may be able to offer him to Stacie, and otherwise she could have the better of the variants, if she wishes.
Humberside & Lincs Show
I was really looking forward to the Humberside & Lincs show this year, for two reasons, the main one being that I was finally getting to steward for Lynda Ashmore, an engagement I had had to book almost two years in advance! The second reason was that Donny had two chances to get his third, and final, Challenge Certificate, which would make him the first male Cagaran to win a title.
Elisabeth had been going to come down with us, but her Ziva had to have a C-section on the Thursday before. Since we would be needing to stay away overnight due to the show having moved further south (to Newark, fairly close to Richard’s parents), it wasn’t possible for her to come. Instead, we did a swap, where she looked after our kittens, and we took her cats down to the show.
We had also borrowed Quinn back from Tracey for the show, having entered her before Tracey had approached us. I had, however, warned Tracey that I thought Quinn might have one of the certificates withheld by Grace Denny, due to her coat being too long. As it happens, the outcome was correct, but not from the judge that I would have expected – Grace Denny awarded the PC in the Humberside show, but Sarndra Devereux withheld in the Lincs. Quinn therefore needs one more certificate to become a Premier, but given that Tracey had the girls in the Rexfest as Ped-Pets at the start of this month, and absolutely loved it, I don’t think that will be an issue! Incidentally, both girls got their Mastercat and Best of Colour awards at the Rexfest – Xaria now only needs one more to become a Mastercat, having won the certificate there last year.
Annas didn’t place in either show at the Humber-Lincs, but I wasn’t expecting her to, given the competition. Donny and I, on the other hand, both had excellent days. Stewarding for Lynda was well worth the wait, and Donny won the CC and Best of Breed in both shows, so I was well pleased, and glad we made the effort to go the extra distance.
As we were packing up, at the end of the day, one of the judges informed me that he had chosen Donny for Best Foreign Adult. I had no idea that he had gone up for Best of Variety, because only the Overall Best Foreign results were announced. That’s his second BOV Adult in a row, and I couldn’t be more delighted with him. He beat some fantastic cats for the award, so I can only assume that he’s such a big, soppy lump that the judges are forgiving him his worse bits!
Edinburgh and Chester Shows
The Edinburgh show was just the week after the Humberside & Lincs, and since we can only show every second week, we couldn’t actually show at both. I was booked to steward for John Hansson, however, so knew I would definitely be attending. As it happens, there were two Cagarans there, because Lona brought both Lainni and Tabh. Lainni didn’t win her Grand, but Tabh was given his third, and final, PC, making him up to Premier. He is the fourth titled Cagaran, the others being Fi, Lainni and Donny.
Having made Champion at the Humberside & Lincs, Donny was then eligible for the Grand class at the Chester show, four weeks later. We had been planning to go to the Chester just to enjoy a day out in Chester, so we figured we might as well enter him in the Grand as a punt. The judge was Di Harper, who isn’t keen on Donny, so we didn’t expect him to do anything, and sure enough, he wasn’t placed in the Grand. He did, however, do very well in his side classes, winning a 1st, a 2nd and a 3rd against strong competition and in classes of at least six.
Update on Fi’s Kittens
Fi’s kittens are now 15 weeks, have had their vaccinations and can go to their new homes. They have developed beautifully, and it is still a very close call between ‘Kitten 1’ and ‘Kitten 3’ as to who is the most typey. The other two have also come on a lot, however, and although not showing as much show potential as their siblings, are still rather nice. ‘Kitten 4’ reminds me of his gran (Dàrna) at the same age, and since she’s a Grand with two Imperial certificates, that can’t be so bad! Likewise, ‘Kitten 2’ reminds me a lot of Cailin (another Shogun baby), who has two CCs and two Best in Show awards as a kitten, so I don’t think we can really complain about her, either!
We decided fairly early-on that Kitten 1 was going to be Eala-something, Eala being Gaelic for ‘Swan’. We have since settled on Eala-Bianach, which literally translates as ‘Furry Swan’, but it was picked because it has a nice sound, rather that due to the translation. Her pet name is Ayla, which is how Eala is pronounced. Her spots have pretty well completely disappeared, so we’ve registered her as a chocolate tortie silver shaded BCR, like Dàrna, though Ayla currently has a softer tone to her chocolate. She is a very pretty girl, and we are keeping her to continue our breeding line.
Kitten 2 is Ealasáid, which is pronounced Elaset, and is gaelic for Elisabeth. We decided on that name when she was about six weeks old, and the fiestiest kitten in the litter – she was named after Elisabeth (Stark), who is also fiesty!! Her pet name is Elly, and she is definitely a chocolate tortie silver spotted (full expression), though a darker chocolate than her sister. She is going to be living in St Andrews, with a lovely lady called Ying.
Kitten 3’s pedigree name is Éiteag-Bàrr (pronounced Ehtak-Bawr), which is gaelic for ‘Cream Quartzite’, and his pet name is Etak. He’s called that because his colouring reminds me of the stone, with a pale base overlaid with cream. He still has spots, but they are very faint, because his whole colouration is very pale and delicate. He’s a gorgeous boy, and will make a cracking show neuter. He’s also a real softy – undoubtedly the gentlest in the litter, and will climb up onto the bed wanting cuddles. I wish we were needing another boy, because I would have had no hesitation keeping him as a stud.
The final kitten is known as Derk, that being the pronunciation of the second part of his pedigree name, Èibhill-Dearg, which means ‘Red Ember’. I think he is either a burmese-restriction red smoke or a red silver spotted, though he could be apricot, and isn’t necessarily a silver or burmese-restriction!! We have registered him as a red silver spotted BCR, because the older he gets, the more he looks like that.
Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while, will know that we don’t generally have people in to see the kittens until they’ve had their first vaccinations. On this occasion, we made an exception for Ying, because she was going abroad to visit family for the whole of this month, and part of next month. That obviously meant that she needed to meet the kittens before she went, if she was to have a choice of which one to take. She came to visit twice last month, and decided to book Elly, whose fiesty temperament she fell in love with when Elly started swinging from her cardigan!
After the kittens had their first vaccinations, Elly and the two boys unfortunately came down with some sort of eye infection, and we therefore didn’t invite anyone else in to meet the kittens, until that could be cleared up. Thankfully, they have been fine for over three weeks now, with no further sign of any issue. The photos above were taken on the 19th of this month, so you can see that they are all completely better. Having not had anyone in to meet them, though, we are obviously needing to look for homes for the two boys now, so if you know of anyone who might be interested, do let me know!
Fi’s kittens are continuing to do well, and are now starting to wean and use the litter trays. Dàrna and Grace are both pregnant, and due around the second week in July, whereas Katie was pregnant but unfortunately lost the kittens. Donny and Quinn both won their first certificates at the Durham show, and we had an excellent weekend with Anita and Rob and our 30th birthday party.
Fi’s kittens are now five weeks old, and doing really well.
Kittens 1 and 3 are the most typey, with very little to choose between them. At the moment, I would say that Kitten 1 is fractionally the better of the two, which is very exciting, since she’s the one who seems to have chosen us and will therefore be staying here. She has a beautiful rounded head, stunning nose break and muzzle and big, expressive eyes. She’s also an absolute sweetheart, who purrs as soon as we stroke her, and who will come running across the room to say hello when they’re playing outside the pen. She is definitely a chocolate tortie BCR silver, and I still think she’s probably a spotty, but the colour is still just coming in on the body. Unfortunately, like her mother and grandmother before her, she is an absolute devil to photograph, pulling all sorts of hideous faces when the camera is on her. She consistently looks worse than her siblings, which is exactly what Fi used to do to me when she was a kitten!
Kitten 3 also has a fabulous rounded head, excellent nose break and muzzle and lovely big eyes. He still might turn out to be better than his sister, but at the moment his eyes are just marginally straighter in set. The colour is developing on his body, and his spots are getting stronger by the day, so it definitely looks like he’s going to be a spotty. I still think he’s a cream BCR silver, but there is so little colour there that it’s difficult to be sure. We had various friends, family and colleagues round for a birthday barbecue on Saturday, and when one of my friends’ daughters came up to see the kittens, this lad sat on her knee as if he’d met kids every day of his life. He’s the most gentle of all the kittens, and is going to be a big softie who just wants to be loved, bless him!
Kitten 2 has a good dome, muzzle and eye shape. Her head is a little longer, and her eyes are a bit smaller, than the two above, but she’s still extremely nice. If she wasn’t in a litter with the two above, we’d be absolute delighted with her, and quite happy to keep her to show! Her markings are still looking lovely, though the ‘kitten fuzzies’ mean that they look crispest when viewed from the back. She is a real character – very vocal and opinionated, but also a bigger purrer. In both looks and temperament, she reminds me of our Katie-Shogun girl from last year, Cailin. Since Cailin has two CCs in GCCF and two Best-in-Shows in Fifé, that can’t be bad!
Kitten 4 is the least typey, but is still a gorgeous kitten, and his type is perfectly acceptable. If we weren’t looking at him in comparison to his extremely typey siblings, we’d probably be saying that he’s quite nice – everything is relative, and this is just an extremely nice litter. Shogun and Fi have done us proud! He has the longest head and the smallest eyes, but still has an excellent nose break, lovely chin, well-placed ears with a nicely rounded head between, and nice eye shape. I’m now wondering if he might in fact be an apricot rather than a red, but we’ll just need to wait and see how the colour develops as he gets older. He is the most variable in behaviour, being all soft and sleepy one minute and then jumping on his siblings the next. I’ll be very interested to see how his temperament develops.
All four kittens are now using litter trays and are therefore out-and-about in the kitten room. They have just discovered the bottom step of the stairs onto the windowledge, and play cute games of peek-a-boo on it, but they haven’t yet noticed that there are other steps above that one. Their favourite place is on a furry cushion in the alcove below the window, and the look absolute adorable piled up on it.
They are also starting to eat solid food, though this lot are much more into biscuits than wet. Kitten 4 is the only one who seems to prefer wet to biscuits, and the only thing he’s interested in so far, is what I call ‘kitten mush’ – babycat mousse mixed with kitten milk. Mind you, put down a plate of kitten mush and he virtually hoovers it up in seconds, so at least he’s got the idea of using a dish! His siblings are all tucking into biscuits like little piglets.
We had a lovely prospective owner here yesterday, to meet the babies, and she had all four clambering on her. When she first arrived, Kitten 3 spat at her, which is just about the funniest thing imaginable when it’s coming from a teeny kitten. By the time she had been here for a few minutes he had forgotten his initial dislike and was joining his siblings climbing around on her legs. She was particularly taken with the character of Kitten 2, but loved the appearance of Kitten 4. We did have a few people who had expressed an interest in these kittens, though, so whether she gets one of these or one of the next litter will depend on whether this lot are already booked.
Yes, Katie was indeed pregnant. Unfortunately, she had two kittens still-born, one delivered herself, and one by C-section. The kittens were both black silver shaded boys, and looked perfectly formed, so there is nothing to suggest why they died. When the vets had Katie opened up for her Caesarean, I asked them to check her reproductive system for cysts etc. but they couldn’t see anything to suggest a problem, so we are none the wiser.
Breeder friends had told me that it is a lot less distressing to have still-born kittens than it is to lose a kitten that is born alive, but I wasn’t convinced. I was surprised to discover that, whereas I was gutted when we lost little Aithreachas and absolutely devastated when we lost B-B, all I felt with the still-borns was sorry for Katie.
She wasn’t at all happy when she could see the first still-born kitten, but seemed much happier once I had taken him away. She and Fi were living together, and since she lost her babies, Katie has adopted Fi’s instead. Helping to look after them has given her something to take her mind off her loss. The kittens think it is great having two mums to feed from! Generally, the boys seem to prefer their mum’s milk, whereas the girls seem to prefer milk from their ‘Aunty’ Katie.
I now have a real dilemma over what to do with Katie next time around, though. You may remember that we ‘won’ a mating with a Burmese stud boy, in the auction at the Gala Dinner, and my intention was to send Katie down there. If she’s not going to carry successfully, however, I don’t want to ‘waste’ such a valuable mating. I could try putting her to Donny again, to test whether she’s going to carry successfully, but then who do I put to the Burmese?
At least I’ve got a few months to make up my mind, and in the meantime, thankfully we’ve got the other kittens to focus on instead.
Dàrna and Grace
Katie’s litter may have been still-born, but it still looks like we are going to be over-run with kittens in the next couple of months. Grace and Dipsy are both pregnant and already starting to show, which could well mean that they are having larger litters. Grace is only 4 1/2 weeks pregnant, and Dàrna 5 weeks yesterday, so they’re just a bit over half-way. Dàrna is still living with Apollo to keep him company, but I will bring her in later this week, and she and Grace can move into the kitten room. I’m not sure who we’ll put out to keep Apollo company then – perhaps Ali, bless him!
Both girls should be due the second week in July, and we’re just keeping our fingers firmly crossed for smooth deliveries and healthy kittens.
We took Donny and Quinn to the Durham show, the last weekend in May, where both picked up their first certificates: Donny the CC and Quinn the PC. Both were also awarded the Best of Breed. Their certificates were the 14th and 15th for our prefix, and they are the fifth and sixth cats of our prefix to win certificates. We are obviously delighted, and I am looking forward to the next couple of shows, where we will see if we can get them made up to Champion and Premier, respectively. Unfortunately, Donny appears to have inherited his mum and sister’s ability to look rubbish in photos, so I don’t have a single decent one of him!
I had an excellent day stewarding for Chris Bamford in the Persian and Semi-Longhair sections, while Richard, Elisabeth and Karen (who had also travelled with us this time) enjoyed a barbecue with the Johnsons (Koreshka Russian Blues). It was a gloriously sunny day, and the venue is surrounded by plenty of grass, so they had a fabulous time, though Richard ended up with slightly sore feet due to switching to sandals but forgetting to put sun-cream on his feet! Thankfully there was decent air-conditioning inside, so we were nice and cool whilst judging the cats.
Richard was 30 back in April, and I am 30 later this month, so we were going to have a joint 30th party around the middle of May. As it happened, the dates in the middle of May didn’t work for various reasons, so we decided to go for the first weekend in June, which turned out to be the Jubilee bank holiday weekend. Anita and Rob (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies) were able to come and stay with us for the weekend, and we had a lovely time talking cat with them. Anita and I also spent a considerable amount of time in the kitten room having ‘kitten cuddles’!
Our party was on the Saturday, which thankfully stayed dry, though we didn’t see a great deal of sun. We had several of our ‘cat friends’, a couple of my friends from choir and then various family members, and had a barbecue in the garden, which was a lovely, informal way to celebrate. The Thomsons (Saladin Abyssinians) and Elisabeth stayed on afterwards, and we had a late tea of baked potatoes with some of the leftovers from the barbecue. I think they ended up leaving about midnight, though Richard and I stayed up talking to Anita until well into the ‘small hours’.
We spent the Sunday at the Gardening Scotland show through at Ingleston, for which we had got low cost tickets courtesy of Groupon! As usual, that was a good day, and we only had rain for about a minute, just as we were arriving. On the Monday we went round Calendar House, which is only about 10 minutes from us, in Falkirk, and then took a drive across to the Falkirk Wheel. It was just starting a lift when we got there, so we watched the boats going around – the first time I’ve actually seen it in motion. After that, Anita and Rob had to head back south, but I’m so pleased they finally made it up here. Hopefully they’ll be back soon!