Chinchillas - ‘the real deal’?
In his letter to OUR CATS, 26th January, David Johnson asks if the Chinchilla cats presented on the show bench recently are the ‘real deal’? I don’t know which cats or kittens in particular he is referring to, but I can assure him that the overwhelming majority of Chinchilla cats that I see at shows certainly are.
Breeders have worked long and hard to achieve the special ethereal look that the best Chinchillas possess, and that includes the tipping, not “ticking” please!
The standard clearly states: “Undercoat pure white, the coat on the back, flanks, head, ears and tail being tipped with black; this tipping to be evenly distributed, thus giving the characteristic sparkling silver appearance”.
Mr Johnson seems to assume that lightly tipped Chinchillas, which may appear white at a distance until placed next to a genetically white cat, are achieved by stripping out the tipped guard hairs, just leaving the undercoat.
The best lightly tipped coats are produced by careful selective breeding, and judicious grooming and presentation – this does not include stripping out all the guard hairs; presentation of the show Chinchilla takes time and patience.
Chinchillas here in the UK have been colourbred for many generations, and this makes their pure coats much prized by Silver Persian breeders worldwide, where outcrossing of Chinchillas to other colour Persians is becoming more prevalent in order to improve head type. This results in loss of eye colour and coat colour.
Mr Johnson wonders why Golden Persians show more tipping than Chinchillas. That is because the vast majority of Goldens on the showbench are Shadeds, not Shell Goldens.
At the AGM of the Chinchilla, Silver Tabby & Smoke Cat Society in April 1980, it was agreed unanimously that the Society would look after the interests and advancement of the Golden Persian; Diane Hopcraft was appointed as the Breed Recorder, and the SOP was drawn up, based on the CFA standard. Provisional recognition was granted from 1st June 1985 and finally Championship status from 1st June 1989.
When the Goldens first appeared on the showbench in 1979, the majority were Shaded, and to avoid confusion it was decided to submit one SOP.
The Society asked GCCF for permission to sub-divide the Golden Persians into Shell and Shaded. The Executive Committee considered this request at their meeting in November 1986, and the Society was advised that this would result in Goldens going back to Preliminary recognition. After seven years of hard work, and with the end almost in sight, it was decided to keep the one original standard.
With Silver Persians the circumstances are different, we have Chinchillas and Shaded Silvers. Those who prefer the more heavily tipped Silver cat can choose the Shaded Silver. What we don’t want to see are the “in-betweenies”, neither a Chinchilla nor a Shaded Silver, just a heavily tipped Chinchilla – that way lies patchy tipping and tarnishing, the bête noir of Chinchilla breeders.
Perhaps we can all do no better than to read the words of the renowned breeder and judge, Miss Evelyn Langston (of Allington), who was Secretary of the CST & SCS for 50 years from 1921 until her death in 1971. In her article written in 1949 (and reprinted here in the panel below), she describes the Chinchilla coat and characteristics we still strive for today, over 50 years later, and makes mention of “Sables”, the first Golden Persians.
Mrs Rosemary Fisher, Hon Secretary,
The Chinchilla, Silver Tabby & Smoke Cat Society
Well done Central Longhaired CC
AFTER attending the Central Longhaired Cat Club Show on 20 January, I would like to thank Show Manager Marion Pearson, Sheila Reynolds and staff for putting on such a wonderful show once again.
There was a great tombola run by Marion and plenty of side stalls. Well done Marion.
Bunny & Charles Wheelwright, Bunchillie Persians
WE would like to say thank you to all the kind folk that donated unwanted rosettes to our appeal. The kindness we received was overwhelming and, yes please, we do still need more!
The rosettes have been used to raise much needed funds for our voluntary charity by holding Fun Dog Shows.
On Sunday, 21 October 2007, we are holding our first ever Pet Cat Show. The funds will be shared between our charity and Katz Cottage Cat Rescue, run by Frances Rossi. Both charities work together and are organising the event hoping that it will be a great success.
Judges for the show will be well known non-pedigree judges, Jill Hunn and Pat Blacklock and also Dale Edgar (from Katz Cottage) and Julie Dutton (from Cat Haven).
There will be lots of classes for non pedigrees and pet pedigrees / half pedigrees.
For all details and schedule (which will be available at a later date) please send a SAE to Tracy Reeve, St Lucia, 92 Sutton Road, Wisbech, Cambs PE13 5DR. Please put ‘schedule’ on the corner of the envelope.
We are also appealing to firms to sponsor our show or to donate samples, etc. All details, please call Tracy on (01945) 482232.
The Cat Haven (Wisbech), Registered Charity No. 1101795