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Snowshoe - Breeder’s Seminar

ON Saturday, 11 March 2006, the Snowshoe Cat Society held its first event. It was a Seminar, held at Ullenhall Village Hall, near Henley in Arden, Warwickshire. Whilst this was aimed primarily at breeders of Snowshoes, some of our delegates were, in fact, pet owners, and had no interest in breeding or showing, but were keen to learn more about this comparatively rare, but beautiful, and affectionate breed. Our enthusiasts travelled from as far away as Doncaster to the north and Waltham Abbey to the south.

The Club Stand

We provided coffee and biscuits for people to welcome them on their arrival. The subjects covered during the morning were the Origins and History of the Showshoe, Standard of Points, Type and Pattern. How to socialise your kitten advice with weaning and litter training. We then had a break for lunch which was included in the cost, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the selection of delicious sandwiches that had been provided by the local pub, The Winged Spur. Everyone commented on how good they were, and these were followed by free cream eclairs, tea and coffee, all of which went down a treat, accompanied by lively conversation.

Pictured are (left to right) Anne Templeman, Chris Thompson holding ‘Brig’ and Janet Ryan.

After lunch the main topic was “What a judge looks for in a Snowshoe”. This last item was followed by an exercise involving all present. Mollie, our Chairman, who ran the Seminar, had brought four cats of her own. Their pens were simply labelled Cat 1, 2, etc. We were then split into four groups and each group in turn had to “Judge” each cat and complete a critique, just as the judges do at shows.

This was greeted with enthusiasm and gave everybody the opportunity to handle Snowshoes other than their own. The cats ranged from a young and very playful kitten who insisted on joining in with the conversation to a much more experienced neuter, who has won 11 Merits so far at GCCF shows, and a young Blue Tabby Point stud, the only Blue Tabby Point stud in the UK.

It was really interesting to hear the comments being made. “Good profile, three distinct planes” - “well muscled, nicely balanced” - “clear contrast between body and point colour” - “lovely strong blue eye colour, well matched pattern on legs” etc. Everyone had obviously been paying attention.

Pictured (left to right) are Paula Rossi, Mark Rossie and Clare Burbidge with ‘Reno’.

Each group was then asked to nominate the Snowshoe that they thought best on the day and give their reasons. Questions were invited throughout the day and we provided handouts of the subjects covered. We also had a display board with lots of lovely photographs of Snowshoes and various books and photo albums that also had beautiful pictures as well as Mollie’s own book, ‘The Snowshoe Cat’, which was available for sale, along with our Snowshoe Cat Society key rings to help boost funds.

Pictured are (left to right) Hilary Quinn, Leslie White, John Clark and ‘Qetesh’.

The day closed with tea and biscuits and any final questions before we all set off home, a journey of several hours for some Snowshoe admirers. Judging by the comments made as people were leaving and the phone calls and e-mails received afterwards, I think we can safely say that the Seminar was a real success and well worth the time and effort involved.

We are looking forward to our next event, as yet unde-cided, and hope even more of you will come and join us.

Report by HILARY QUINN - Photographs by PAT WESTWOOD