Archive for April, 2007

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CoonTICA cat show – Easter Purrade – 14/15 April

26 April, 2007

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(Vickie Shields, TICA AllBreed judge, signing a winner’s rosette at the Easter Purrade show on 14 April, 2007.  Photo used by kind permission of Vickie Shields.)

I had the time of my life at the EasterPurrade cat show, organised by the CoonTICA cat club two weekends ago.

As you’ve guessed, CoonTICA is a Maine Coon cat club affiliated to The International Cat Association, though the club is open to all whether you have a Maine Coon or any other breed of cat.  Similarly the Easter Purrade show (like most TICA cat shows) had all breeds of cat being exhibited.

For a number of years I’ve visited shows as a visitor, and once with my cats, and although I enjoyed admiring the beautiful cats and chatting to fellow breeders and satisfying my cat-toy addiction, I’d never really felt a part of the show.

This time, I volunteered to help out, and Ros and Martin Wood kindly offered me the position of ring steward in one of the show rings.

A TICA show has several show rings, in which holding cat pens are arranged on 3 sides of a square, in the centre of which is a table where the judge does her judging.  A ring clerk sits next to the table recording the show scores.  In front of the ring are rows of chairs for people to sit and watch the judging.  Cats are brought in my their owners and placed in the pens and the judge takes out each cat and places it on the table.  The ring steward’s job is to disinfect and clean the pens after the cats have gone back to their permanent pens in the benching area.

Being a ring steward is not a difficult job, but you need to be quick cleaning the cages because of the fast turnaround of cats in between classes.  As it was my first time, I was dead nervous, but I was lucky to be placed under the wing of Martin Wood (of Woodycoon Maine Coons), a highly-respected breeder and one of the founder members of CoonTICA, who was recording the scores as ring clerk.

The ring I was allotted was the Congress ring, and the judge was Vickie Shields from the US.

I tell you, I learnt so much that day.  Vickie was so generous and approachable, she talked to the audience, and shared her experience with them and myself.  As I was literally seated next to the judging table, I could see up close what a good cat was like.

And there were so many great cats!  Many of the top cats in the UK were at that show and the standards were very high.

I’m going to post some more on what I learnt that day, but in the meantime, if you want to have a great day out at a cat show, CoonTICA are organising another show, JustFur Cats, on 9 and 10 June at the Wood Green Animal Shelter in Cambridgeshire.

Better still, if you’re a cat breeder and want to learn more, get involved.  I know I shall – I’ve been bitten by the show clerk bug!

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The stud cat – UK GRCH Kaiulani Jakatta Jackson

19 April, 2007

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This is the absolutely gorgeous stud boy whom my queen, Ananda, spent five days with.

UK GRCH Kaiulani Jakatta Jackson is also known as Charlie.  His owner is Sue Deane of Zydeco Maine Coons.  Sue is a very experienced breeder who’s held in high esteem by other breeders.

Charlie is a brown tabby of very good Maine Coon type.  He’s also tested negative for the known gene for HCM.  Just as importantly, Charlie has a superb temperament.  (There are some breeders who say that kittens inherit temperament from the sire.)  Charlie is so easy to handle, every year he features at the National Cat Show held in London Olympia at one of the club tables – he must be one of the few cats who’s happy to sit on a table to meet the public, wearing only a harness to keep him secure.  Little wonder that Charlie’s looks and personality has won him to date (in GCCF) 10 CCs, 3 Reserve Grand Champion, 5 Grand ChamCharlieFace2pion and 2 UK Grand Champion Certificates.  He also has an Imperial Certificate.

Thank you, Sue, for letting my girl visit your boy!

(I’m superstitious so I won’t count the kittens before they’re born, but Sue says they mated at least four times, so watch this space!)

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How to re-introduce a cat who’s been away

18 April, 2007

As you all know, Ananda was away on her Club 18-30 holiday with the Stud.  She was only gone for five days, but I was worried about how to re-introduce her back into the household.  Not only would she have been away for several days, but she would come back reeking of a strange cat.  I was concerned how my other two cats (especially Maya the Asbo Bengal) would react.

I used the same trick I had last year when Ananda was away for a week at stud.  When we got her home I opened her basket alone in a room without the other two cats.  Then I rubbed her over with mine and hubby’s used socks so that our scent got spread over her.  Then I let the other two cats into the room.

It worked.  The other two cats did sniff her bum rather a lot, but they seemed to recognise her and didn’t give her a hard time. 

I don’t know if this trick would have worked had she been away for a longer period of time.  I suspect that her scent markers were still prevalent in the house and so she didn’t come across as a stranger.  And maybe I’ve got fairly tolerant cats.  I know of other breeders who’ve re-introduced queens who’ve been away only to have the existing cats gang up on the returnee.

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Update:  Actually, it was Maya the Bengal, who was the most unsettled of the three cats.  The day we sent Ananda to stud, Maya started meowing for prolonged periods of time for no apparent reason, and she’s been having crying spates since then.  Yesterday I caught her scraping a bag full of newspaper, and when I went to investigate there was cat pee all over the bag.  I don’t know if it was her or Ananda.  Either way, it’s what’s termed by cat behaviourists as “inappropriate elimination” and a sign of either stress or a urinary infection.  I will have to watch them both carefully.  This is worrying because I always thought Maya was the more robust of the two female cats, but it may be that she found Ananda’s absence unsettling.

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You know you’re a Cat Breeder (4) when …

5 April, 2007

… the first person you buy an Easter Egg for, is the vet … .

Milk Chocolate Easter Egg with Mini EggsDark Chocolate Easter Egg with Mini Eggs

 HAPPY EASTER EVERYBODY!

www.catswhiskers.uk.com

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Thank you for sending me photos of Catswhiskers cats

2 April, 2007

This is a belated thank-you to all the Catswhiskers kitten owners who sent me photos for my Catswhiskers flickr album, web-site and this blog.

A picture paints a thousand words, and I’ve really enjoyed looking at photos of the kittens in their new homes … watching them grow up into beautiful cats.

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As a thank-you, I’ve sent everyone who sent me photos of their Catswhiskers kittens a desktop calendar specially-customised with photos of their kittens – please keep the photos coming, they are much appreciated!

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(above:  Ananda admiring herself on the calendar)

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… yes, they did.

1 April, 2007

The stud cat’s owner called me this morning: Ananda and her boy had mated.

The owner had gone into the queen’s quarters early this morning to feed Ananda and change her litter tray, and Ananda seemed quite settled and relaxed about the stud, so she let Ananda into his quarters. There was no hanging around for the both of them and they mated almost immediately.

Ananda’s a gentle soul and even though she hissed at him after they’d mated, she didn’t thwack him with her claws as some female cats are known to do.

They are now both enjoying the metaphorical cigarette together.

The stud cat’s owner was thrilled and so was I!