Part 4: The Ocicats and Number Thirteen
Although Tiffanies are our passion, we were also very fond of Tßrmus and thought it was a shame that we never saw any Ocicats on the show bench in Scotland. When I spoke to a couple of Ocicat breeders about this, they said that the breed was needing more breeders, especially in the north, so we decided that we would try working with the Ocicats as well as the Tiffanies. Both breeds fulfilled our 'criteria' of being good family pets but also being breeds in which we could make a real difference, since neither breed has many people working with it. Whilst looking for our second Tiffanie queen I had therefore also started talking to some breeders about getting an Ocicat girl.
After speaking to Rosemary Caunter (Thickthorn Ocicats), who was very supportive of our desire to get involved with the Ocicats, I got in touch with Stacie and Ian Shorten (Ameeka Abyssinians and Ocicats) in Lincolnshire. I explained that I was interested in working with both the Ocicats and the Ocicat Classics, which was a new variety of Ocicat (classic tabby rather than spotted) that was working through the intermediate stage, progressing towards Championship status (which we were able to help them achieve).
Stacie had two young litters of Classics that looked likely to contain something promising but didn't have any of the traditional spotted Ocicats of suitable quality. Instead, she put us in touch with Rita Leggett (Yesso Ocicats) in Norfolk, who did have an appropriate female kitten available. I travelled down to Lincoln and Norwich to visit both lots of kittens and agreed that we would take one of the classic girls (Kia) from Stacie and Ian, and the spotty girl (Breckin) from Rita.
Around the same time that the Ocicat girls were born, Lorraine had bred a litter of kittens from Gealbhan's Aunt. In that litter was a stunning wee boy (Monty) with a fantastic personality, and Lorraine thought he would be perfect for us. She invited us through to meet him and inevitably we fell in love. We tried very hard to resist and poor Lorraine didn't know whether we would take him until he was virtually ready to leave home. In the end, though, we couldn't help ourselves and eventually succumbed to his charms, taking our furry family to a total of thirteen!