Cats in My Life.
Cats have not always been an object of my admiration, I would even say that there was a time when I regarded them as creatures of a "lower order", in any case not as creatures with whom one can form a really deep bond. I don't know whether it was a kind of revenge of their side or simply a result of some mysterious magic, but cats have changed my life dramatically. They made me change from a relatively safe and predictable lifestyle to one that would allow me to take care of my kittens at any time necessary, to stay at home during birth, to have a lifestyle that was flexible and easy to modify whenever my cats needed me. I didn't see any other option, because breeding is a responsible job, it's a constant readiness for different, unpredictable situations, it's a constant readiness to be by the side of a cat that might need me, no matter if it's a big one, a small one or one still in mummy's belly. I myself start every day by stroking each of my cat friends, it is impossible to leave the house without scratching the chins of all the willing ones, without asking them what they dreamt about and if they feel well :) Hurriedly shuffling paws and noses pressing into every bag, checking what I have brought back from the "hunt" today, make the tiredness pass away in the blink of an eye. And even though years of breeding have also brought me to tears more than once, made me feel helpless in the face of the forces of nature, the thought to stop taking care of my cats has never even crossed my mind for a moment.
It all started with one blue cat, for which I travelled far away, all the way to Szczecin, which is 450 km from my place. The first British Shorthair of course had to be blue, because only such British cats are noticed at first. Anyway, in 2004 there were not many catteries with British cats and you hardly heard about colours such as cream, chocolate or bi-colours. So in August 2004 we brought home a little blue princess.
I didn't know much about cats at that time, I was mainly relying on popular opinion and what I could hear from other breeders. Looking back I can see how many mistakes I made raising Clara. She was a cat with a difficult character, and she certainly shouldn't have gone to someone as inexperienced as I was, and I certainly shouldn't have listened to the bunch of "good advice" I was given at the time. The first two years I learned from my own mistakes. In fact, I am grateful to fate that I started with such a cat; Clara did not let me rest on my laurels, she made me search, dig, try to understand, question the common opinions, repeated even by veterinarians or some behaviourists of those times, who simply transferred the behaviours and principles of dog social organisation to understanding of cats. After all, I am grateful to Clara, who taught me how to access the sensitive nature of cats.
Clara accompanied us for 14 years. She crossed the rainbow on 28 August 2018, after a lost battle with cancer. :( Every year she showed us more and more love, giving up her independence in favour of human knees and hands. In spite of her independent and difficult character, her great timidity with regard to everything new and unknown - or perhaps because of it? - it was Clara, who awakened in me love for cats, animals that until then I had considered far below the deserving group. It is therefore to her that I owe the most thanks :)
Borgia, Clara's daughter, was born in my home and stole my heart from her first breath :) In fact, it was her who taught me a completely different contact with a cat, it was her who taught me how to give pills, she also let me know for the first time the taste of winning at cat shows. Borgia was very communicative and talkative, she asked for what she wanted without scruples, she would wake me up by poking my hands with her nose, because hands are the ones to stroke :) Sadly, she left me last year at the age of 16, joining her mom Clara on the other side of the rainbow.
Arabica is a real queen, and to think I used to be so stupid as to think she didn't like heights. She started exploring the heights when the number of beds upstairs exceeded the number 5, and now she really likes to sit either on the mezzanine or on any of the shelves. Arabica is now the oldest of my cats, aged 16, and it is on her beauty and wonderful temperament that I have built the 'female line' in the cattery. All my girls are her closer or further relatives :)
Then someone came into my home who I hadn't planned at all. That is, he was born calendar-wise more than a year after Arabica, but he was already with us when she arrived. Fado was born in very unfortunate circumstances, the only surviving cat from Borgia's second, and - as it later turned out - last litter. He was supposed to be a cream-coloured girl, the one dreamt of and waited for after Borgia, but he was a boy, and when, on the second day after his birth, it turned out that we had to fight for Borgia's life and that the fight meant feeding the tiny baby on my own, I decided to keep him, because in my pride I decided that no home would be good enough for him.... So this son of mine stayed for very selfish reasons, initially he was going to be neutered because at the time I wasn't planning on a male cat at all, but as time went on it turned out that it was a pity not to pass on the big head and solid paws to next generations. Fado is already retired of course, now at the age of 14 his favourite ay of spending time is wandering around my daughter's garden.
Gatta... It's a bond that's special to me. A kitty who DEFINITELY loves me, and not through the prism of bowls :) Gatta is very sensitive to voice, to words, to being spoken to. She clearly needs it. She runs at my leg like a puppy dog, checking what interesting thing I am carrying, and if maybe it is something for her, or maybe I will play, or something else. Gattula turned 14 this year.
In fact, I don't know why she makes me so happy, all in all she is nasty, burps when her claws are trimmed, doesn't like to be carried around, she is the reason I had to take an interest in BARF, in short, just trouble. Her children are also often such disdainful munchers, and homes have to be found for them twice as long. But she is the best of mothers, the most patient, all the children can count on her, she is always there when they need to be comforted, including me :) Her children have wonderful characters, surprisingly they generally do not inherit their mother's burbling, although they are all talkative :)
The most interesting thing about Gatta is her approach to stroking. She is very hungry for contact, but unlike my other cats, she is never pushy. She just looks meaningfully, waits for me to say "I'm coming, Gatta", runs joyfully to the nearest bed, and there she lays under my hands, and purrs and coos, and her whole body says how happy she is. Such is my love at first sight :)
Negra... Taking a picture of her is a real pain.... She's a quirky cat, gentle but with character, she knows what she wants and can achieve her goals, she's assertive and gentle at the same time. My next favourite :) Negra is already 11 years old.
Negra is one of the most "cuddly" of my cats. Extremely talkative, she talks to us all the time, she is probably the most talkative cat in our home :) What's more, sometimes I really have the impression that she normally shouts at me, in any case she emphatically expresses her resentment that why I am so late, and why I haven't opened her favourite can yet, and why actually my knees are not yet ready for her to sit down, and what is this laptop actually doing here, and where is my place I ask....
I only have Ori's photograph from my mobile, I need to take my camera to my mum :) Ori is calm and loving, although it all depends on the point of view, as she can ask to play even at 3 am. Mum has already learnt how to talk to her, and Ori has her wrapped around her finger, or around her claw I should say :) Orisia turned 11 this year.
Perla was not meant to stay with us, I told myself no, that I would not be persuaded by another pair of amber eyes, that I would give her up to a home where they already love her, that it would be for the best. Unfortunately, or perhaps for me, fortunately, the home had to put its cat plans on hold for the future, and I succumbed to the blue eyesof my daughter because Agnes, as never, insisted that Perla had to stay with us. So I didn't look for another home, and that's how Perla stayed with us.
Perla turned out to be a fantastic mum, despite the trauma she put me through with her first labour and the first two weeks after. She is my cardiologist's favourite :) She turned 11 this year. She is extremely active and lively, she can go literally anywhere, she loves to give me a heart attack by walking on the curtain rails :) She is a cat who really and unquestionably enjoys stroking her belly, stretching at her full length to expose every part of her body to stroke. So I stroke it, because what to do, then Perla lays down contentedly in the bed and sleeps next to me :)
Raya is the quirkiest of our cats, sometimes I have doubts about whether we even need her, and then there comes a moment when she comes and demands petting with real pretension. My beloved Ugly, I am the only one who can see that she is pretty, well love is blind! Raya is Perla's peer, which means she turned 11 this year, and like Perla she has an inexhaustible amount of energy. Her 'low suspension' means that she moves around chasing feathers as if glued to the floor. She is manoeuvrable, and needs VERY close attention, you have to play with her all the time, otherwise she would constantly ask for your attention :)
Raya has a wonderful character, she is calm and polite, a favourite of my Veterinarian. In even the worst situations she does not react nervously, she does not panic. This, of course, is just a sign that she needs all the more support and help in difficult moments. She was just as much of an exemplary mother as Clara.
Vesper is a huge weakness of mine, another clone of Gatta the Mother. Vesper is... is the source of all sorts of feelings, good and bad, a joy to have her as she is. She has a wonderful character, although she is very mouthy, she takes after her mum when clipping her claws, she also took after her dad the very worst things :) She torments us every day, insolently pushing herself onto our knees, into bed, under the duvet, on our heads, on our hands, under our arms, licking our noses, our eyes, in the most irritating places, especially when I pretend not to notice her, because I have to sleep sometime. I don't understand how it can be done so cleverly, well it's impossible to ignore her.... She also seems to have broken with the rule that tricolours are petite. She is squat, her paws are chunky, she is my huge pride :)
She runs like a dog similarly to Gatta, and because her eyes are round and always wide open with amazement, she looks really comical :) I can't believe she's already 10 years old!
Ina is one of the youngest of my cats, a daughter of Negra. When she was born, I was in despair because red kittens are usually boys. However, she turned out to be a girl, so of course she stayed with us. I think she's the smartest of my entire cat family, although by saying that I'm probably insulting the others :) . She is very active, she can effectively ask for attention and fun, she is the one who proved to me how quickly you can teach cats various tricks, you just need to have a cat with proper motivation :) Ina is very sensitive and delicate, she is easily frightened and just as easily interested in anything. She certainly doesn't sleep the allotted 2/3 of a cat's life, everything is too interesting! For 6 years now she has been filling my house with the stomp of her running paws, that's why I call her "Horsie" :)
Queenie is another cat that was not supposed to stay with me. Only her sister Bunia was to stay, this was to be the last cat in my house. My heart had always belonged to tricolour cats, such a bicolour creature was already there in the form of Ina, and yet.... For the first time a cat was born to me that was almost white, and the magic of colour worked. The bigger Queenie grew, the more beautiful she became, and since I already knew that this was the last of my breeding cats, somehow I couldn't give her up.
Queenie is different from all my other cats, quite like her colouring. She is distinguished, elegant, cautious but also bold, the picture of an unusual and at the same time perfect balance of opposites. So are her children, fantastically at homes in almost any combination. My Queen :)
Bunia is not much younger than Ina, she is another cat that I fell in love with "at first sight". The name was given by my daughter and it stuck immediately, because from the beginning it was so.... Bunia. She has a fantastic character, purrs at the slightest touch, cuddles very often and intensely, sometimes I can't stand her anymore. But how can I say no to such a Bunia....
Django is Vesper's peer and evokes very similar emotions in me. He is not as big as his father Fado, but to my delight he has carried over his father's most valuable traits in the children, namely a thick-boned, heavy build. He is very emotionally stable and I can see that the generations of calm, balanced males I have matched in his line will bear fruit. I wish he was bigger, but I forgive him everything, because with such a character a cat is always forgiven everything. Django is only 3 weeks younger than Vesper, so he is already 10 years old.
Everyone calls him all sorts of horrible nicknames, but Django romps around happily, won't even sit still for a moment. He is extremely communicative, he stares at me with his eyes, and when it comes to food, he is the most tuna-pampered glutton in my home....
Until recently, the youngest in the group was the rascal Kokido. When he was young, he loved to play with Fado's tail.... Kokido is like a soothing patch, we come home, look at him, and warmth spills over our hearts. He stayed with us by chance, because he is a kitten with a serious defect and I can't imagine who would want to look after him the way he needs to be looked after. I have described Kokidus's story in his private tabby, here I will not repeat myself, I only hope that he will be with us for a long time to come. This year the cat who should not be alive, turned 8 years old :)
Actually Junior is not my cat. He was supposed to be the fulfilment of my breeding dreams as a sire cat, but unfortunately, he forgot that it would be useful to have two testicles for this procedure.... So he was supposed to leave us, but this time my son was hit by Cupid's arrow and strongly protested, so Junior became his personal cat. He is very similar to his mother Vesper, constantly on the move but at the same time extremely cautious, which doesn't prevent him from being the first to see any renovation work, and you have to be really careful of him then. Such a Junior :)
There is still one girl left whose image I cherish in myself very carefully because, as I once wrote somewhere, the scariest thing about leaving is forgetting. We actually forget what someone looked like, how they laughed, what jokes they liked. Even if it were to hurt, I don't want to forget, because after all, there were so many happy moments. I am happy and grateful for all the progeny who remind me of her. If it hadn't been for unfair fate that took Ino over the rainbow at the age of 3,5, she would have turned 13 this year.