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I have been breeding since 1985. I had a beautiful BSH Blue called Tammy, who I bought from a novice breeder in Addlestone (near where I now live). I wanted a female, and she told me that Tammy was the pick of the litter - a show quality kitten. She certainly was beautiful, but extremely fluffy, and as she grew, so did her coat!

Being a complete novice myself, I decided to show her (she was, after all, the best kitten in the world, even if she was a longhair!). I bought the GCCF Standard of Points, and decided that, although she wouldn't score anything for her coat, she was sufficiently compliant in all other aspects to do passably well in a show. So I bought all the equipment, sent off for several show schedules, and sat back and waited.

Well I didn't get into any of the first few shows. I couldn't understand why, I decided that perhaps it was because I wasn't a member. So I joined the Croydon Cat Club, and entered the show at Sandown race course in Feb 1986. I was accepted for the show, and I was so excited.

The long awaited day loomed, and I groomed, clipped, cleaned and fussed like a pro. On the Saturday morning, I crammed my potential show stopper and all her show trappings in the passenger seat of my Fiat X1/9, and set off bright and early. I had uncontrollable butterflies in my stomach as I waited in the vetting in queue, but all went well, and finally Tammy was safely installed in her pen.

A 'fellow' exhibitor peered in at Tammy and snootily remarked "what is it?". Well, a British Blue, of course, was my reply. "oh" she said "I thought perhaps it was a new breed"! I wasn't put off. I dutifully retired from the hall at 10 o'clock to await the results. I was lucky enough to meet Alison Doherty (MACHACOY) in the canteen, who was on her own, so she kept me occupied for the next two hours showing me explicit photos of her cat (Gr Ch Koocatz Kandyfloss - Benjy's grandmother) at stud! Alison and I have been good friends ever since.

We returned to the hall, to find that Alison's kitten had won the class - and Tammy had been disqualified!! I wanted to crawl away and die! I decided to console myself by spending some money, so after reassuring Tammy that she was the best cat there, I went off to browse the side stalls for cat goodies.

When I returned later on, there was a man in a white coat hanging around the pen asking passers-by who's cat Tammy was. Oh God, I thought, are they going to evict me from the show? So I hid behind a conveniently situated post, and tried to look detached.

Eventually, I could take it no longer, so I owned up to owning Tammy. The man turned out to be Mr. Watts, Tammy's open class judge. He was extremely nice, and wanted to explain to me why he had to disqualify Tammy. He had realised I must be a novice, and advised me not to bother showing her again, but that she had a lovely type, and suggested that I might like to breed from her ...... and the rest, as they say, is history, except to say that I had to wait until Tammy was nearly 18 months old until she called!

Mr. Watts had offered me to use one of his (& his wife's) studs, but by the time Tammy was in call, Zircon (Alison's kitten) was working, so a match was made. Despite Tammy's protestation's and indignant spitting she had four kittens - all boys! The plan was to keep a nice short-coated girl for showing. Two of the boys where longhairs, and before I had a chance to try again, Tammy meet a "man" in the garden and produced five beautiful bicolour kittens! Three where blue, one black and one was probably a white, although at the time she had black dots on her head. This was very close to the previous litter, so I had to wait a good long while before she could have anymore.

Well after that I did manage to breed a litter of all shorthairs, and kept one. But with two queens I decided I needed my own stud - hence the arrival of Benjy. I then saw a Blue Tortie & White at a show, and fell in love. There were not many about at the time - but I was lucky enough to find Pat Ross, a breeder in Twickenham, with two in a litter. Enter Lacey. I just seemed to collect colours after that.

After my not very auspicious beginnings in the Cat Fancy, I discovered that my real interest was in the genetics side of breeding. I bought a copy of "The Book of the Cat" (Pan), an excellent reference book which is sadly no longer in print (although you can sometimes come by copies on Ebay and in discount book stores). I worked out that I could get 32 different combinations of colour/pattern/sex from a mating between Benjy and Lacey! .

Copyright © 2013 Catbalu
This page was created 4th March 1997,
Most recent revision 3rd March 2013