Cat Chat By Chris Stalker V.N
Two winning kittens
Christine Duffy contacted me recently to give me her news…Christine said “I am so pleased to tell you that, two of the kittens that I bred last year are making me very proud. Simplisiam Smooth Talker (Sonny), a Lilac Point Siamese, has now made Champion in three straight shows at ten- months and three weeks; with his last four shows being red card days.
Simplisiam Startarumour, (Rumour) a Blue Point Siamese and litter sister to the lilac point boy, is well on the way to also making it to her third CC, but unfortunately an altercation with a wasp, she was intent on catching last week will hold off her show career for a while! I have repeated the mating and so I am keeping my fingers crossed and not tempting fate just yet.”
Christine added that “We started showing one Siamese kitten as a hobby in 1983, enjoying a good level of show success, seeing some lovely cats, meeting some really interesting people and making some very good friends.
As our interest and knowledge grew it was inevitable that eventually we would want to breed our own pedigree kittens for the show bench and thereby also have some really beautiful quality kittens for pet homes.
Oh! How a lovely little hobby can grow...into pedigrees, bloodlines, genetics, many sleepless nights, huge bills for food and supplies, seriously hard work at times and as John says sometimes it really does feel like the National Debt! But along with the disappointments, there is also so much pleasure.
Our lives now happily revolve around our hobby of our beautiful cats, cat shows, time spent on cat club committee’s, regular telephone calls with long distance cat friends, lovely visits from cat friends and folk we meet who become real good friends.
We have only two breeding cats and therefore we are small time cat breeders, we feel that this is far more important than having lots of kittens. We pride ourselves that our Siamese kittens are carefully and lovingly home reared pedigree kittens which will mature in to much loved and adored adults.
It is the exhibiting side of the cat fancy that is more our interest - the thrill of the competition and the pleasure of catching up with long distance friends, it is great to have a good get together at a cat show, sharing our combined interest, having a good laugh. and genuinely delighting in each others achievements throughout the very long show day.
Last Saturday, I had a super day at the Manchester & District Cat Club show, on 5th May. There was a very good entry, lots of ‘retail therapy’ to be had and star of TV’s Coronation Street, Malcolm Hebden was the guest of honour. I met Malcolm while he was judging the local primary school’s painting competition. Later in the day, Malcolm presented the prizes to the BIS winners. I will be writing a feature on this show, in a forthcoming issue of OUR CATS.
Chance to own a Louis Wain!
An extensive body of work by feline artist Louis Wain (1860-1939) has emerged from a private collection to go under the hammer at Bonhams in London later this month.
Famed for his humorous illustrations of large-eyed cats and kittens, Wain’s work has become increasingly collectable and sought-after. Nearly 40 of the artists’ best-loved works will be sold at estimates varying from £300 – £8,000 at Bonhams’ Sale of Modern Pictures and Illustrations at Knightsbridge on 22nd May 2007.
As a cat-lover himself and sometime President of the National Cat Club, Wain’s inspiration for his fanciful cartoon-style creatures came from his own black and white cat, Peter, who
comforted his wife Emily as she lay dying from cancer after only three years of marriage.
Wain taught him tricks such as wearing spectacles and pretending to read, and in 1886 his first drawings of anthropomorphised cats were published in the Christmas issue of the Illustrated London News, entitled ‘A Kittens’ Christmas Party.’
Wain went on to produce several hundred illustrations a year, featuring cats with exaggerated facial expressions, walking upright, wearing sophisticated contemporary clothing and enjoying such human activities as playing cards, fishing, smoking, serving tea, and playing musical instruments. These sketches and paintings often parodied human behaviour, satirizing the fads and fashions of the day, and proved extremely popular as prints and greetings cards in Victorian England.
Wain’s prolific output was marred throughout his life by severe mental problems, and he developed a serious and hostile schizophrenia, whish resulted in his being committed to a pauper’s ward in 1924 of Springfield Mental Hospital.
Public figures such as H.G. Wells appealed against the conditions in which Wain was kept, and the personal intervention of the Prime Minister led to the artist being transferred to Bedlam and then in 1930 to Napsbury Hospital in St Albans, which had a pleasant garden and a group of resident cats. Wain’s later paintings are commonly used in psychology teaching to demonstrate the correlation between his change in style and the deterioration of his mental condition.
The Wains to be sold at Bonhams have come primarily from a single-owner collection compiled by the late Mr Neville, and these, together with several separately entered lots, showcase the range and charm of Wain’s work, with other animals such as dogs and birds featuring in both naturalistic and witty sketches.
For more information on the sale see www.bonhams.com
Seen in Saga
I loved this cartoon, featured in this month’s Saga magazine – and yes, I do qualify to read this publication – but only just!