Part 2: Moving North -
Numbers Four to Seven
In 2006 we moved from Lancaster to Scotland, taking our trio with us. In early 2007 I was surfing online and noticed that there were Abyssinian breeders, Maureen and Lorraine Pontello (Pontaby Abyssinians), only about a 15 minute drive from our house. I had admired the look of Abys for a few years so I phoned the breeders and asked if we could go round just to meet their cats. We should have known that just looking wasn't going to be possible, and we came away having been 'chosen' by one adorable wee sorrel boy. We called him Gealbhan, and his lovely, rich, cinnamon colour was close enough to a red to keep me happy!
Unfortunately, Gealbhan went missing in January 2008 - a rabbit had chewed a hole in the mesh that was supposed to keep the cats in and he had gone out through it. Some of the neighbourhood kids later told us that they had seen him being put into a van in the street beside the house and we found out that the area had seen a spate of thefts of cats of pedigree heritage or appearance.
Gealbhan had been such a character that we really missed his presence when he was gone, in spite of still having the other three. Once a couple of months had passed by, we started looking at getting a cat to fill the gap (are you seeing a pattern emerging here??). We didn't want another Aby so soon, since it would remind us too much of Gealbhan, so we looked for other breeds with lively, interactive personalities. We decided that Ocicats sounded perfect, or possibly Devon Rexes and I started contacting breeders of both. We had read some pretty strange things about Devons, so one Devon breeder (Kate Ekanger, Cloudborn Devon Rex and LaPerms) arranged for us to meet with some of her previous kittens who lived with a couple in Falkirk. We thought they were lovely and decided that they were what we would look for.
After a few more weeks we found Jen and Laura Pinches (Velvarex Devon Rexes) in Bolton, who had a litter of five girls of the right age to be seeing visitors. We made the trip down to meet the kittens the next day. One wee tortie had never shown an interest in any other visitors but was all over us straight away and so once again we were chosen by our new kitten. However, towards the end of our visit, the only cream kitten in the litter finally emerged from the bed that she had been sleeping in and attached herself to Richard. We left the Pinches having reserved the tortie (Amlach), but only got half way up the M6 before we phoned them to ask if we could reserve the cream as well (Coimhlion). She was always very much Richard's cat.
Meanwhile, my friend Amanda (Rushbrooke Asians, Burmese and Bengals) in Cambridgeshire had been in touch to ask if I would consider doing her a favour by taking in a former Ocicat breeding queen who was now spayed and needing a new home for various reasons. Amanda wanted her to go to a multi-cat home (that was all she had ever known) and one where she could have secure, outside access, both of which we could offer, so I went and met the cat whilst on a business trip in the area. She had the most fantastic temperament so I agreed to take her and arranged to go and collect her a few weeks later once she had been spayed. That cat was Tßrmus.
When I went to collect Tßrmus, some of Amanda's Tiffanie kittens, who had only been tiny balls of fluff when I first went to meet Tßrmus, were now running around in the living-room. One was a gorgeous black girl. For years, Richard had been saying that he would like a black cat so I asked Amanda if the kitten was reserved. She wasn't, so I reserved 'Annas' as a surprise birthday present for Richard.
Although we didn't have any interest in showing, the Pinches asked us if we could bring the Devons along to the very friendly and enjoyable 'Rexfest' show, run by the Scottish Rex Cat Club (SRCC) in August, which we agreed to do. Since Annas' brother, Charlie, had taken best Foreign kitten in his first show, Amanda suggested that we should try showing Annas as well, so we decided to take her to the Teesside Cat Club show the same month. Neither the Devons nor Annas did particularly well at those first shows but we had a great time and decided to enter some more. Over the next few months we 'caught the show bug' and have since shown all of our cats, including the moggies. As she grew older, Annas started to develop quite nicely and by the time she had made up to Champion in January, we were completely hooked!