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BREEDER PROFILE Conducted by Marianne Brett

Breeders Name: Marcia Owen Prefix: Goldlay Breed: Birmans, Burmese, Singapuras


You could say I’ve been around Burmese all my life as my mother bred them when I was a child and I had my first Brown girl at the age of 11. Due to family circumstances I only got to show her once and she certainly didn’t disgrace herself. Of course I was then hooked on the breed.

When I finally left home I knew I wanted to show and breed so found myself a lovely Cream girl who was later to become Ch & Pr Cream Damask. She was the start of the ‘Goldlay’ line, and all my Burmese go back to her.

Coincidentally I can trace my present Burmese back to the father of the girl I had as a child through a mating I did in the next generation. The Birmans joined us in 1980 and the Singapuras in the late 1990s.

I have been involved with the GCCF Supreme Show in excess of 25 years as the Committee Secretary, been a Committee member for the last 10 years for the Birman Cat Club and also the Singapura Cat Club.

I am also one of the founder members of the NBA Cat Club which is committed to educating Novice Breeders, by way of seminars and support.

What attracted you to your breeds?
The Burmese have always been part of my life. As to the Birmans, I really wanted something with a little more fur and after a lot of consideration between the Turkish Van and Birmans (the only two Semi Longhaired breeds at the time), settled on the Birman for its beauty and temperament, a decision I have never regretted.

The Singapuras captivated me when they came into the country in the early 1980s and I was so disappointed when they ‘disappeared’. I was so delighted when they appeared again in the mid 1990s and made sure this time that I got involved and had a kitten. I think their big eyes and big personality were the main attraction.

How did you come up with your prefix?
My mother’s first Burmese was called Minlu Goldlay and to retain the link I chose Goldlay. It has received many mis-spellings over the years but like a famous singer says, if you have to correct someone by reiterating the name, they remember you!

How did you get into showing?
My mother showed her Burmese a few times. One show I particular remember was Crystal Palace where we showed Mum and daughter and they did very well. When I had my first Cream girl I decided to give it another go and the bug has now bitten well and truly.

What has been your greatest moment so far?
I think my greatest moment has been with my Singapura, Imperial Grand Champion Worth Thewait. She was the first cat to gain the required Intermediate Certificates, the first to become Champion, Female Grand Champion and also the first Imperial Grand Champion title. She has also been showed at TICA shows and is the first UK Singapura to become a Quadruple Grand Champion in that registry.

What has been your funniest moment so far?
Actually this came quite recently at a TICA show and could also be classed as the most embarrassing moment, when Crystal couldn’t wait any longer for Mum to take her back to her pen and her litter tray so decided to take matters into her own paws in the ring. She must have made quite an impression as she went on to be placed in the final for that judge!

Do you have any breeding or showing tips?
Just make sure you have prepared your cat to the best of your ability, and if you don’t win, do congratulate the winner, one day it will be your turn. Always think of a show as a day out to see lots of cats and meet up with friends and like-minded breeders, and if you win it’s a bonus.

As for breeding, always try to do matings to benefit the breed and not just to fulfil specific kitten enquiries. Always breed from healthy stock and if there are any specific tests available to eliminate genetic problems, do make sure you have them done so that you don’t perpetuate problems for the breed in the future.

Ensure that you build up a good rapport with the breeder of your cat so that they become a friend and mentor for the future and if possible join a group or club so that you can ask all those silly questions of a relative stranger if you feel too embarrassed asking them of your mentor or friends.