Part 3: Our First Queens
(and Number Nine!)
Whilst in Lancaster, Richard and I bred rabbits (black and chocolate tans), and after our first experience of the pedigree cat world, whilst looking for Call, we had decided that we would one day get involved in breeding. As Annas progressed on the show bench, people started saying to us that we should breed from her. Breeding is never something that you should enter into lightly, so we started researching it. After a lot of thought and preparation, we realised that our circumstances were as good for breeding cats as they were ever going to be, and decided to take the plunge. You can find more information about what is involved, including the costs, in the Breeding section of the 'Other Cat-Related Info'.
We talked to Amanda about the suggestion of breeding Annas but were all in agreement that she wasn't going to be the best queen for us to start with because her Dam and Grand-Dam both made poor mums who were reluctant to look after their kittens. Hardly the best start for first-time breeders! After seeing the preparation that we had put into it, Amanda suggested, instead, that she would let us have the next 'breeding quality' girl that she had from her new outcross queen, Dulcie. We were thrilled by this offer, since Amanda had never previously sold a kitten for breeding.
By chance, Dulcie gave birth to a lovely silver shaded girl not long after that and Amanda was as good as her word, even allowing us to choose Katie's name. The fact that she allowed us to have Katie is particularly remarkable, given that there turned out to be no other girls in the litter, meaning that we had the only one in spite of much interest from elsewhere. Amanda herself had been hoping to keep a girl from that litter and had to wait a further two litters to get her own girl! We will be forever grateful to Amanda for her integrity.
Around the same time, one of our other friends, Elisabeth Stark (Dushenka Russian Blues) was thinking about re-homing a girl out of one of her previous year's litters who had been kept back whilst Elisabeth considered her for breeding. Elisabeth had decided not to breed from this girl, Xaria, but she did have lovely type, so Elisabeth wanted her to go to a 'show home'. We apparently seemed like a good choice, so Xaria joined us the day after we collected Katie from Amanda's, taking our total to nine cats.
After further consideration, we decided that we would prefer to have two Tiffanie queens so that we could try to breed them at around the same time, enabling them to provide support to eachother in raising their litters. We knew that there was a good chance this wouldn't work out (as indeed it didn't, due to one of the girls not getting pregnant on the first visit to studs), but it seemed a good dream! After looking around for a while, I was put in touch with Joy Wakenshaw (Dayjoy Tiffanies and Norwegian Forest Cats) in Northumberland. Having being thoroughly checked for suitability as potential owners, we were able to bring DÓrna home as our second queen and tenth member of the family.