Cagaran Altachdainn (Grace)
Altachdainn is gaelic for 'Grace', and is pronounced Altacht-eye ('ch' as in loch)
OCI n 22 v / 73 41V
Ocicat (Classic) Variant, Tawny (Ticked Tabby)
Inbreeding Co-efficient: 0.0% (10 generations)
Grace was the second girl that we kept of our own breeding. She is the result of an outcross mating from Ocicat to Abyssinian. This is done to reduce the inbreeding levels, which are quite high in the Ocicat breed (typically 20-25% over 10 generations, where the maximum safe level is considered to be 25%). The offspring of a mating from Ocicat to Abyssinian always have the ticked tabby pattern, like their Abyssinian parent, and are known as 'Ocicat Variants'. These can't be shown as Pedigrees, because the ticked tabby coat does not comply with the Ocicat standard (they can be shown as Household Pets, though), but they carry the genes to produce the spotted and/or classic tabby pattern of the Ocicat. These second generation kittens are full Ocicats and can be shown.
Grace's sire was the very lovely Usual Abyssinian, Stanley, (Riverfern Vulcan), who was owned by David and Louise Miskelly (Glendavan Abyssinians), to whom we are very grateful for the opportunity to do the outcross. Her dam was our Ocicat Classic girl, Kia, and Grace reminds me a lot of her mother. When Grace was a youngster, we found out that Kia's sire (a Swedish Import Ocicat Classic) carried the gene for the PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) eye defect. With much trepidation, we sent off our DNA swabs for testing, and were delighted when they came back clear. At the same time, we took the opportunity to do a colour profile on her, and discovered that she carries the cinnamon gene.
Although the primary purpose of keeping an outcross kitten is to reduce the inbreeding levels, we obviously wanted to avoid losing too much of the Ocicat 'look'. Of all the kittens in the litter, Grace was the one whose physical structure was most correct for an Ocicat, and she also had the strongest 'breakthrough markings' in her coat pattern, which some people suggest means that she will produce the clearest patterns. She has a slightly shorter head than would be typical of an Ocicat, but I actually like the shorter Ocicats, so that suited me. Other than that, she picked up much of her mum's Ocicat traits - large, well-set ears, long body with solid boning, slight profile dip, lovely Ocicat eyes (very like her mum's!), a beautiful soft Ocicat coat texture and a nicely square muzzle. Her dad has a stronger chin than Kia does, and he has passed this on.
Abyssinians and Ocicats are quite similar in nature, but where there are differences, Grace is a lovely mixture of the two breeds. She is very friendly, interactive and excitable, yet also loves to give kisses and cuddles, and has the most adorable purr. She grew up with Katie's second litter of Tiffanies, as well as her own siblings, so is probably also slightly more gentle than the average Ocicat kitten would be. Even so, when she gets going she fairly crashes around the room, causing chaos with her toys!
To be shown in the main Pedigree Section at shows, Ocicats must be either spotted or classic tabby. Since Grace is a ticked tabby, she can only be shown in the 'Pedigree Pet' section of the 'Household Pets' (HP), which is judged on Condition and Temperament, rather than a comparison to the Standard of Points for the breed. Cats in the HP section must be neutered if they are over the age of six months, so we were only able to show Grace until she was six months old, and then after she had been neutered. Grace was shown in the HP section four times as a kitten, and had some excellent results, including Best of Colour against five cats in one show, and seven in another, and the award of Best Household Pet Kitten at another. She has been shown twice since being neutered, the first at a 'double' show (where two clubs hold their show in the same hall, at the same time, and exhibits can be entered in both shows), where she won the certificate in both shows, and then once more where she again picked up the certificate. She is therefore officially now 'Master Cat Grace', and the eleventh cat of our breeding to win a title of some sort!
For her first litter, we sent Grace down to one of Rosemary Caunter's (Thickthorn Ocicats) import boys in Hampshire. Curry is a cinnamon Ocicat (spotted) but carries the classic gene. Since Kia is an Ocicat Classic, we knew that Grace had to carry the classic gene, enabling her to produce Ocicat Classics to Curry, as well as Ocicats. The DNA test had told us that Grace carries cinnamon, so we also knew that she could produce cinnamons as well as tawnys. In the end, she gave us a lovely mixture - two female cinnamon Variants (ticked tabbies), two female cinnamon Ocicat Classics and one tawny Ocicat (spotted tabby). One of the Ocicat Classics has gone to live with Anita as a breeding queen, and we kept the other, Cheeky, for one litter, after which she went to a new home as a companion for her brother, Bru.
Her second litter was to the stunning Ben, the UK's first male Imperial-titled Ocicat - I GR CH Yesso Barnato. He is a chocolate, carrying cinnamon, so they could have had black (tawny), chocolate and cinnamon. The kittens were born on the 3rd of March, and we had three boys and three girls, in a mixture of tawny and cinnamon - three cinnamon ticked tabby Variants (two boys, one girl), a tawny ticked tabby Variant boy, and two spotty girls, one tawny and one cinnamon.
In the autumn of 2013, we were given the opportunity to re-home Breckin to a farm in Aberdeenshire, but she has always hated being without the company of other cats, so we needed to re-home someone with her. Since Grace was the one who was most likely to enjoy the lifestyle of a country mouser, she was the obvious choice, so the two of them now live together as farm cats.
Four of Grace's kittens have been shown:
CH Cagaran Ceann-Ciatach (Bobbie) - owned by Anita Bryce (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies)
Ocicat, Tawny (Spotted Tabby)
PR Cagaran Brucach (Bru) - owned by Sharon Russell
Ocicat, Tawny (Spotted Tabby)
PR Cagaran Bragoil (Cheeky) - owned by Sharon Russell
Ocicat Classic, Cinnamon (Classic Tabby)
Cagaran Brčagha-Anizz (Breagha) - owned by Anita Bryce (Anizz Ocicats and Tiffanies)
Ocicat Classic, Cinnamon (Classic Tabby) - twice Best New Variety in FIFé
The other seven kittens haven't been shown:
Cagaran Bagarach (Carrie) - Ocicat Variant, Cinnamon Ticked Tabby
Cagaran Beathag (Becca) - Ocicat Variant, Cinnamon Ticked Tabby
Cagaran Cainnt (Hamish) - Ocicat Variant, Cinnamon Ticked Tabby
Cagaran Crannag (Harry) - Ocicat Variant, Cinnamon Ticked Tabby
Cagaran Caomh (Mia) - Ocicat Variant, Cinnamon Ticked Tabby
Cagaran Ceafán (Roo) - Ocicat Variant, Tawny Ticked Tabby
Cagaran Ciarán (Milly) - Ocicat, Cinnamon (Spotted Tabby)