ON THE SPOT
NEWSLETTER OF THE AUSTRALIAN MIST CAT FANCIERS ASSOCIATION INC
A complete set of 'On the Spot' is lodged with the Australian Serials section of the National Library of Australia
|BODY TYPE DISCUSSION||TABLE ANALYSING BODY TYPE|
|THE AUSTRALIAN MIST COAT||AUSTRALIAN MIST EYE COLOUR|
|LETTERS extracts from reader/owner letters|
HEALTH SPOT (from 49, 50) ON SNAKEBITE AND TICKS
(from 52) SPIDERBITES PART 1
(from 53) SPIDERBITES PART 2
(from 55) CAT SCRATCH FEVER
(from 56) EYE ULCERS AND CORNEAL ULCERS
(from 57) UPDATE ON FELINE LEUKAEMIA/LEUCOGEN VACCINATION
SILKIA, A VERY IMPORTANT LADY from No 49
OLD CATS, LETTERS FROM OUR READERS from No 50
BELOW : EDITORIALS 51- 68 September 2000 - December 2004
CHERYL, FIRIEL & AUSTRALIAN MIST, Part of our history, from No 51
From Newsletter No 51, September 2000
I had a fascinating call from a new ‘kitten father’ today, a bachelor gentleman who has recently acquired a female Australian Mist -- not from me --- but having exhausted all the ideas of the breeder he finally rang me for suggestions.
His little girl was peeing all over the place - not all the time, what should he do? After questioning him, I ascertained that initially he had used different litter from her rearing home - and a new tray. I thought to myself - this is a good thing to remind all breeders about -please remember to tell your buyers what kitty litter the kitten is used to ( as well as food!). I am sure that this was the basis of the kitten’s misbehaviour in the first place --- but matters escalated, because the bachelor gentleman looked on the net to see what answers he could find - and he took the ‘show her the place and punish her route’. Now we are probably all aware that this doesn’t work with children, and certainly not with kittens - this kitten KNEW she had done wrong - in fact she would run and hide in her bed - or the litter tray - and wait to be growled at - in other words, the whole activity was an attention getting device ....... The bachelor gentleman after changing to the correct litter had also followed the path of confining her, slowly increasing the area to which she had access - and she would behave perfectly for a number of days - then suddenly, there would be another wet patch ... So now, I have advised him to totally ignore the wet patches, and her, and not even let her see him clean up, also re-institute the small space and slowly expand .... and try Oil of Citronella wiped very sparingly on wetted places.
The bachelor gentleman commented himself on how fast she learnt - and while he would like to keep his unit fresh and sweet, there was no suggestion that he might part company with her ... he is quite besotted in spite of her behaviour! He says that she has every cat toy know to kittendom, and a super new multistorey cat tree - perhaps she though if she was naughty again she might get another toy?
Along the way he did tell me a very funny story, which I should also like to share with you - perhaps it also has a moral - to do with male pride?
One of the suggestions off the net was that cats don’t like walking on aluminium foil - so he duly spread it round in strategic places, whereupon she would simply pee somewhere that wasn’t covered ... Eventually his lounge room was wall to wall foil, and when he had some mates in for a beer, they all studiously ignored it . However, as they were leaving, one of them had to ask what it was for - was it some new way of improving the thermal properties of his flat? Having no intention of confessing that it was to do with toilet training his kitten, he said yes, it was to improve the rate of spread of heat from his overhead ducted heating ..... Now that mate’s wife says their house is full of foil, and our bachelor friend is wondering whether he should ‘fess up!.
Truda M Straede, Editor
From On the Spot 52 December 2000
As you can see from the listing above, we have had no changes to our Executive - just some welcome additions to our Committee. Welcome aboard - it is pleasing to see that our committee now extends to Victoria, and to Country New South Wales. All our committee members have bred at least one litter of Australian Mist - both Kylie and Patricia have just reared their first litters - and both have recently acquired a second queen. Even our Patron, Rhondda has had a hand in rearing Australian Mist kittens, as she kindly cared for one of my girls and her kittens while I spent a week in Victoria during October.
Regarding the dispersal of breeders, Patricia will become a Country NSW breeder and I will be joining the Victorian breeders late in 2001 - John and I are moving to Victoria. In preparation I have started ‘downsizing’ my cattery - though the ‘workers’ are not being sacked - just relocated. Several existing breeders have taken on their first stud cat/s, and several have taken on additional queens.
While the reasons for my move are mixed, including very sad ones, I believe that I should seize the opportunity to rethink my role in the breed. The popularity of the breed is now such that I believe that it can sink or swim in its own right - I no longer need to cosset and conserve every line, for fear that something will be permanently lost. I am currently interested in the improvements that I hope to introduce with my new blood line, and with breeding from and showing the choicest of my own stock. I have also considered that life holds more than being a cat slave ... so I am heading for a maximum total of 40 cats. I am moving to the Dandenongs, and have already approached the relevant Council - yes, I can breed, but there will be a substantial yearly license fee, as well as $15/head annual registration for each cat - yet another good reason for reducing numbers a bit! The eagerness with which my offers of breeding cats were accepted indicated to me that my move was very well timed for our other breeders also. My first offer was made on a Thursday, on Saturday three studs and a brood queen winged their way to Victoria ....
I have rather a large number of desexed older cats (and some really are old) that need to be included in this 40, unless I can find them new homes. I have placed a number of girls, and a couple more are promised, but there are a considerable number of older neuters still in need of a home. Particularly I need a couple of ‘outside cat’ homes (with somewhere safe to sleep at night), for a couple of cats that never stopped spraying after desexing, and are not suitable as house pets .......
The Association’s first AGM was held on line - I had fun juggling messages, and we seemed to have chosen a bad time - Sunday morning - traffic over the net was slow,- better timing next year!.
The new committee members are of course a product of this meeting. The Association is also the proud owner of one third of a super photocopier/printer on which the paper copies of the Newsletter can be produced after approval of contributing to this purchase in General Business. We anticipate that small publications for our members, and for sale to those interested, will be able to be produced on this copier. As a starter, I would like to offer breeders the facility of extra Newsletters to give out with their kittens - just send me a stamped ($2-45) self addressed A4 envelope with a note about how many copies they need of which newsletter. I would also be happy to produce copies of their diet chart and instructions sheet - a disc or email would be best - but clear, scannable typed copy is fine - I can then print them out a nice looking handout ....
Some of the reports from the AGM will be found further on, and the Minutes should be available in the March 01 Newsletter.
The End of year Awards were presented at my Silver Anniversary Party for 25 years in the Cat Fancy. A goodly collection of breeders, owners and friends were present, and from the noise level, I judged that a good time was had by all. Congratulations must go to the 5 Medallion winners : Nintu Marmor Bezique for being Supreme Exhibit for the second year in a row, his owner Dr Valerie Hamilton for being Exhibitor of the Year with 3 top exhibits, Rebecca Leane for Novice/Junior Exhibitor of the year, who with her father Pat Leane had 2 top exhibits, to Dr Straede as Breeder of the Year, and to Jim and Janet Hogan’s Shantelle (Djindi Warru), for Purrsonality Exhibit of the Year. Kelly Fletcher, all the way from Hobart, won the ‘Cheryl’s Cats’ raffle in aid of the Distress Fund, and in combination with a $10 donation from Lorna Lauw (thankyou Lorna), we raised $125 for the fund. Cheryl’s last ‘Charity case’, Hugo, put in a brief appearance to bless proceedings.
Most exciting news too, Jim and Janet have achieved an Australian Mist FIRST - Djindi Warru tied for SPAY CAT OF THE YEAR in the NSWCFA Cat of the Year Awards. A really big cheer for the three of them - and all the effort that we know such an achievement entails. Oh, and Yes, they did choose another Australian Mist at the Party this Year ...this time a well planned lilac spotted lady, with which to start the new show year!
Jim says that it is just as well that the party will be in Victoria next year, as they really have just about reached cat capacity!
The final piece of interesting information is that we will be having an Australian Mist Specialist Ring in 2001, at the Siamese and Short Hair Show, to be held on Saturday March 17, 2001. Mrs Rhondda Watson, our Patron, is the President of this Club. There will be two closed judging rings as part of the main show, then an Open Ring, judged by Mrs Cheryle U’ren, specially for Australian Mist. The specialist ring will be a single price entry for an Open/Age class plus automatic entry into 4 side classes for all exhibits. I will supply the Show Secretary with a list of all our Interstate Exhibitors and Breeders so that all will receive a copy of the Show Schedule in good time. I hope that many of you will be able to come - or even to send up your best cat as an exhibit - this is our Fifteenth Anniversary Breed Show, and we look forward to a good turnout. The owners of the new line first generation kittens are also being invited to join us in an AOV class, which should be interesting. The kittens cannot be judged on their colour or pattern, hence emphasis will be on conformation and coat texture. I am really looking forward to seeing several of them together just before they become adults. I believe that already they have diverged quite considerably in body and head shape, and indeed in colour.
I, for one am not sorry to see the last of the year 2000. Not being the least bit interested in the Olympic Games, the year has had very few upsides for me. Perhaps the best was the discovery of friends and supporters in my hours of need - the loss of Cheryl, and the destruction of the erstwhile unity of all Australian Mist Breeders. As from the bitter ashes of this split has emerged a mature Australian Mist Cat Fanciers Association, so I hope that from Cheryl’s loss, we who survive her will grow in wisdom.
Roll on 2001, may it bless us all.Truda M Straede, Editor
From On the Spot 53 March 2001
I obviously owe you all an apology - this certainly couldn’t be considered to be March 2001! However, I hope ‘Better Late Than Never’ might apply!
There was a very slow start to the Show Season in NSW, as after the Kitten Show in January we had a number of cancelled shows - until the March- April period, when it positively rained shows and exhibitions .... Of course the premier event for the Australian Mist was our Fifteenth Anniversary Show, held on Saturday the 17 March, 2001, with a really superb line-up of quality Australian Mist - 2 litters, 18 kittens (including 5 of the first cross Oberon x Eunomia kittens for the new line), 14 Entire cats and 11 Desexed cats. There were visitors from as far away as Tasmania (Kelly and Julie Fletcher), infrequent exhibitors, such as Chris & Leanne Ohma, new exhibitors, such as Annette Hoare and Barbara Ward - and reluctant exhibitors Rachel Barendregt (at least reluctant chauffeur/husband Ron who didn’t want to get out of bed!)
Everyone had gone to a great deal of trouble to present their cats beautifully, and our Judge ( and Association Member) Mrs Cheryle U’ren commented on this several times. Cheryle was ‘ably’ assisted by long time friend, NSWCFA President and also Association Member Mr Denis Turner as Steward. Perhaps the only thing which marred the day was the fact that we were all crammed into the main hall at Forrestville, as the small hall had been unavailable --- and it was very noisy by the time that our Open Judging was carried out. However, there was a long time during the morning when our members were able sit together and natter, go out together, and generally socialise, so it turned into a very pleasant day, capped by the excitement of the actual judging and presentations.
I particularly want to thank the ‘homers’ of three of the new line female kittens in bringing their little girls along to be judged - they all looked quite lovely - and I think afforded some of the judges with a bit of fun - and it was most enlightening to see them all together. I was interested to see that a couple of them looked very much like abys (except for all the rings and bars and necklaces), as they have aby type heads, whereas a couple of them have very definite Australian Mist tendencies - with broad muzzles and well developed whisker pads. All have retained their beautiful colouration, so the next generation should be great fun. One only has come into season so far (Andromeda who lives with Oberon’s mother, Wendy McDonald), but I expect all will have done so by the end of July, as all are very well grown and again very even in size.
Before leaving the topic of our show, I will say congratulations to Cindy Grimes and Sue Rodger-Withers, respectively the owner and breeder of Qihai Startrekker, Supreme Exhibit. Trekker is an entire female, nearly seven years old, in superb condition and with a head to die for. As a blue she has kept her delicately spotted coat, and her eyes are a beautiful green. I think that she epitomises one of my intentions with this breed - that they ‘wear well’, that is, that a good show cat keeps on keeping on, only maturing with time, so that there is no need to constantly ‘upgrade’ with a younger cat to continue to win at shows. This is an attribute of Russians, which I always envied - they too are a breed which lasts well, and a breed which continues to breed safely into what is definitely feline middle age.
If any of you have checked out the breed listings on the web on the Burke’s Backyard site, you will see that I have put the ‘average life expectancy’ for the breed up to 12-13 years. I am increasingly gleaning evidence that this is more than justified. At the next major event of the show year in NSW, the Royal Easter Show, I was once again inundated with satisfied Australian Mist owners - many of then with 12, 13, 14 or 15 year old cats --- so we must all, breeders and owners alike, be doing something right!
At the Royal Easter Show we had a good turnout, with considerable success in Top 5 awards. There were no less than 3 chocolate spay cats - and in one ring, 2 of them won places in the top 5 (3rd & 5th), while in the other ring a chocolate and brown were placed ( Best & 4th). In the female cats in one ring we also received 2 places - a 2nd and a 5th. We were also placed in one Neuter Top 5.
At the Kitten Carnival, Trish Beech was most thrilled to receive her first Top 5 placing with Nintu Illicit Desire coming 4th in the Female kittens.
It was pleasing to see so many familiar, and some new, faces at the Royal, though we did miss a couple of regulars - Lynden Franklin and Mhaire Higgins.
As usual, I did go along to one of the ‘fun’ days - in this case the Breeds Day, and talked myself hoarse extolling the virtues of the Australian Mist - and giving a series of talks to the public about the joys of owning a cat in general. This year I also Stewarded, which was an interesting experience, though very exhausting, culminating in my attendance at the show on a total of 5 days.
Margaret Chaney, the NSWCFA Archivist, chose the Australian Mist this year to be one of her 2 featured breeds in the ‘Round Room’. It was a truly beautiful display of ribbons, rosettes, photographs, certificates and medallions. Thankyou to the owners and breeders of the top winning cats (Awatea Kohu Ariki, Beltane Bessemer, Djindi Warru, Nintu Marmor Bezique, Nintu Family Idol), who so generously lent us their precious memorabilia - I am sure you will all agree that it was beautifully displayed, and will join with me in thanking Margaret for her skill in displaying it.
Amongst the Memorabilia was something which I treasure very much. The Inaugural Distinguished Service Award of the NSW Cat Fanciers Association, which was presented to me for my services to the Cat Fancy (including the creation of the Australian Mist Breed) at the 2000 Cat of the Year Presentation Luncheon, held on the 18 February, 2001. This auspicious occasion also saw the breed reach another milestone, with the presentation of the Best Spay Cat award to Djindi Warru’s (albeit it was a tie for first place!) proud owners, Jim and Janet Hogan. This is only our second Cat of the Year Award, and our first Best.
Further honours in NSW Cat of the Year Awards must now be left in the capable hands of the breeders and exhibitors that I leave behind me. Matters are well in hand for the big move - currently scheduled for mid November. We have bought a lovely Federation house on 5 acres at Bunyip in Victoria. There are plenty of outbuildings - but lots of work ahead to convert one of them into a super new cattery - and the verandah also needs replacing - and widening - for more cats. John is going to be a busy boy - after he retires later this year - and he thinks we will also need to have another large barn put up to house the 16,000 books .....
The new house has a small garden composed largely of superb mature trees - an Evergreen Oak to die for, two Tulip trees, and a huge Golden Elm, so there is a great foundation for a new (and somewhat smaller!) garden than at Vale Ridge. There is also an excellent site for a vegie and herb garden, and pumping rights from the Bunyip River. In the longer term I want to plant the bare paddock with a zone of fruit and nut trees near the house, and revegetate the rest with local native plant material (which I will collect and grow from seed myself). I am hoping that there will be a house warming-come-End of year Presentation on Sunday 16 December 2001 - a little later than usual, to allow us time to shake down a bit. I look forward to seeing both new and familiar faces at this annual event.
As I am still providing you all with reasons why this Newsletter is so late, I must tell you that I have been making a combined 80th Birthday (my Mum’s) and Wedding (John & I) cake - right from scratch - cake, almond paste, fondant and piping -- all now finished. And I can tell you, as John doesn’t read this Newsletter, that I have also spent days making my Wedding Present to him ....
I was invited to go to Brisbane on the day after our Specialist Show (and oh it was hot) to speak at a seminar organised by their Siamese and Shorthair Cat Society. following their show. I had the pleasure of meeting two of our members, Bill and Greta Brennan, and their two superbly coloured (plump!!) Australian Mists, an existing Australian Mist owner and her pet who were collecting a second kitten, Monica Scheck and her often exhibited pet and a new kitten owner. I was allowed to use their new and old pets to demonstrate various points about the breed. While there I stayed with Erin Brown and Penny Dunkly who have the most superb boarding cattery and kennels, the extra kittens and cats I took up to discuss thought they were in heaven. Nancy Parkinson, from TICA, had been the special judge for their show, and the seminar was really intended to pick her brains - and boy, that was a worthwhile experience. I learnt a very great deal about all aspects of judging, judges’ training, and the breeds that she was specifically discussing, as she was also staying with Erin and Penny, and was excellent company. I met my first Japanese Bobtail, in the fur, and Selkirk Rex kittens - yummy cats in sheeps clothing - I had to smack my own hand -, buying a pair of Maine Coons is enough Truda --- (What does a devoted cat breeder do as a hobby? Answer: They buy another breed of cat ....)
This visit brings me to my last ‘excuse’ for being late - I have finished the first draft of ‘History, Development, Analysis and Understanding of the Australian Mist Breed Standard’, the first of the individual books with which we intend to replace over time, the general ‘Cats in the Mist’. This was a fascinating experience in remembering - I went through all the old correspondence with the RASCC and NSWCFA, newsletters, articles etc - and archived them properly - and used them to make up a continuous history. This is the volume which will also contain the complete Australian Mist Breeding Cat data base - so if anyone has recently kept new potential breeding stock, please let me know the full details (see the listing in Cats in the Mist for required information). I was able to use our wonderful Xerox Workstation to produce several copies of this 80 page draft document - presenting one to Nancy, one to Erin (who is training to be a Judge) and sending one to Mrs Cheryle U’ren, who I have asked to write the preface. At the moment this project is on hold, both to allow it to ‘mature’ but primarily because I must work on the move. I have even stopped mating cats - there is just not enough time in the day to care for lots of kittens and sort out the contents of this house prior to moving - and I don’t want to take with me ‘junk!!’ - if I can help it!.
Finally, the reduction of my numbers is progressing, as well as new participants in breeding and showing, with new kittens, a number of existing breeders now have a nice selection of stud cats, and a couple of established brood queens. A number of girls have been spayed and placed in pet homes. The new line kittens from Pan are delightful, and one of them is off to a ‘homer’ who is looking forward to rearing his second litter of kittens, after a break of 10 years ....
Sadly one of our oldest breeders, and Treasurer, Jeanette Perkins, from Western Australia has decided that there might be life after breeding cats ... consequently she is intending to become the owner of only desexed Australian Mist, and has returned two breeding cats to me. She does intend to continue as our Treasurer for the time being. I would like to thank her for her long years of support for the breed, and for her pioneering work in WA - as well as for exporting to the USA!! We will all miss her.
Dr Valerie Hamilton, our Secretary, while she isn’t becoming the owner of only desexed Australian Mist is of the opinion that she is already the owner of far too many desexed Australian Mist (and others!), and is calling a pause to breeding. She says that as I reduce my numbers, she will meet me with her population if she doesn’t stop being tempted by new kittens! Valerie will continue to show her cats and remains as Secretary and Public Officer of the Association. Although both Valerie and Jeanette are staying with us, I think that this is the moment to say thankyou to them both for their role in establishing our Incorporated association, and getting the breed onto an Australia-wide footing.
I cannot guarantee that there will be a Newsletter in June - but I will try to deliver some kind of approximation then - after all, we can’t miss that issue - that’s when we ask you all for money!!
Truda M Straede Editor
From On the Spot 54 June 2001
It is with considerable sadness that I open this editorial, to let you all know that one of our most enthusiastic owners of Desexed Australian Mist, Mrs Janet Hogan has passed from this earth. I had anticipated that this Newsletter would be celebrating our SECOND EVER CCCA Championship title, sharing with Jim and Janet Hogan the excitement of their win at Griffith, with Djindi Warru. While we of course do congratulate Jim on his persistence and far travelling in pursuit of this elusive award, I know that all of our members will wish to offer him also their condolences on the loss of Janet.
Janet was a great fighter - the recipient of a kidney transplant many years ago, and a diabetic, she lost a leg less than a year ago, and it was with considerable satisfaction that Jim noted that after this operation, which she was very reluctant to undergo, she had a veritable ‘Indian Summer’ - a whole 8 months without requiring admission to hospital. Her final illness started when she a Jim were at Griffith for the Show - Janet didn’t make it to the show, but was able to share with Jim the pleasure of the CCCA win.
It was my pleasure to judge Jim and Janets’ domestic cats at their very first foray into cat showing - little did I guess that the rather shy and diffident couple, obviously bursting with pride over their beautifully presented domestics, were to become not only great friends, but the ‘parents’ of a gaggle of Australian Mists (as well as plenty more lucky domestics!).
Jan and Jim were regular attenders at Australian Mist events, and of course, were both present at the 2000 Cat of the Year Award Luncheon to receive the first ever Australian Mist BEST ‘Cat of the Year’ award - with of course, Djindi Warru.
Jan’s funeral was a very well attended affair - it was abundantly obvious that her cheerful and optimistic personality had won her many friends throughout her life, and that she will be missed by many.
This Newsletter, while not quite as late as the last one, is possibly the last one which you will receive for a while - though I promise that you will have it made up to you .... at the moment I am working in the midst of packing up the library - we purchased wooden packing boxes to accommodate 9 cubic metres of books - and that won’t be all, as there are also many such boxes left from previous moves. I truly had no idea how long it was likely to take to pack this house - I am sure that you will all laugh to know that it took me 3 days to pack the trophy room - sorting all the ribbons into cats, discarding/recycling many, cleaning all the silver trophies, and wrapping and wrapping --- I expect these ‘first packed’ will be amongst the last unpacked ....
Of course, we have also been married since the last Newsletter - and one of our number, the Secretary, Dr Valerie Hamilton was my Matron of Honour. I have included an edited version of an article by the Best Man, Dick Jenssen, a long time friend of John’s, for your entertainment - please forgive the rather Science Fiction bias - as this is the hobby through which John originally met Dick. I hope that some of the Victorian centred members may have the pleasure of meeting some of those same Science Fiction friends at our
House Warming- cum- Annual Christmas Party -
on Sunday 16 December 2001 at 15 South Bank Road, BUNYIP 3815
(and yes we do have a phone number - 03 5629 6211 - but don’t try to use it until after the start of September).
I am sure that you would all also like me to extend condolences to Valerie, who lost her father - in his nineties, last week. I do hope that Valerie inherited his genes for longevity with health - he died in his own home, in full possession of his wits - and wouldn’t we all like to do likewise!
Another milestone was passed for me last week, with the birth of the last litter of Australian Mist to be born at Vale Ridge, 5 lilac and chocolate spotted to Alyxia and Epicure. One is already spoken for.
The saga of the red points has also reached closure, Kalypso, and his mate, Reggay, are now ensconced in John’s room, giving him a hard time every night - a very lively pair of red point Balinese, Kalypso being the kitten that Cheryl had dreamed about ... Their Dad has been desexed and gone to a pet home, but I still have Mum, - and most of the girls - 1 Balinese and 2 Variants - looking for good homes. They are really delightful kittens, but I am sure that they think that they are Australian Mist, not Balinese, judging from the way that they eat!
A couple of breeders (one new and one old) have had their first litters from mature queens that I have placed - the excited letter from the Northern Territory of course also marks a first for us - Wendy is our first breeder and exhibitor in this state. Cindy has a lovely litter from Gypsy and Idol, exactly the same mating as the litter which I showed at our Specialist ring in March - of which 2 kittens were placed in the top 10. One of theses girls, Nereid, in Western Australia, migrated from the cattery to her owner’s bed within a couple of days of arriving.... So as well as ‘good lookers’ Cindy’s kittens should be very nice people.
Poor Kylie is beginning to wonder what she is doing wrong - 2 litters in succession of 1 kitten each --- but I would suggest that this reflects my experience - not only this year, but also in past years - litters do seem to be smaller when conceived in the late part of decreasing daylight half of the year - or should I say that there is a very much better chance of a big litter when the litter is conceived as daylight increases - ie spring births are most favourable in terms of survival .... The effect is still present even in highly bred pedigree cats, though no-where as strong as it is in even the Australian domestic and feral populations, where ‘natural’ selection is still operating very strongly. In our breed, with its Abyssinian ancestry, and domestic component, the effect is likely to be more marked than in some more ‘tropical origin’ and very old breeds like Siamese, though it is still a pattern relatively common in breeds originating from more northern climes, such as Persian and British .... somehow I don’t think my Maine Coon has heard of this theory though - she isn’t yet an adult and has called several times ---on decreasing daylength. Of course calling frequency also decreases and increases under the different daylength regimes as well as potential litter size.
And of course, this is the June Issue - and yes we are asking you all for money - (other than those who have joined in the last month, who are considered to have paid for the 2001-02 year). Please fill in the renewal form and return it to me with your subscription - cheques/money orders are still made out to me....
Truda M Straede,
From On the Spot 55 September 2001
Possibly the event of the last three months was the CCCA National Show, held in Canberra on 21-22 July. The venue, if somewhat tight packed on the Saturday, was elegant, warm, comfortable and very central - the public attendance was excellent. The organisation was nothing short of superb - if there were any hitches, no exhibitor knew anything about it - and of most merit in my eyes was that the final top awards over the whole 6 rings were based on cumulative points from all placings in each ring. Though the top was not an Australian Mist, I am proud to say that it went to a NSW Burmese bred by an erstwhile Australian Mist breeder (Ceska Brown); Vesimba Tuscanae Star belongs to Ray Duparc, who has just succumbed to the lure of breeding, after very successfully showing a neuter for the last 2 years.
However, while the top awards went elsewhere, the Australian Mist had some real fun - Cindy in particular had plenty to write home about - she was placed in every Desexed Cat ring, at least, Bessemer was ...she won the CCCA title in every ring (and is now I believe, our very first CCCA GRAND Champion). Dr Janina Melnikova (from Byloruss) was so bowled over by the Australian Mist that she placed all three desexed in her ring - with Qihai Animation First, Beltane Bessemer Second, and Nintu Festival Jacana (who lives with Cindy’s Mum) sixth. Cindy also had success with Beltane Brixton, her very sooky brown spotted stud, under Cheryl U’ren - winning 5th Best Entire Cat - out of over 40 cats.
My male kitten, Oceanus, had a mixed career - one 10th and one Second (under Janina again!) I must say that in the kitten department, I did rather better with my Maine Coon lad, Merlin, with two 8th, two 10th and one second place. However, the real surprise for me was Idol, in the adults - for the first three lots of judging he didn’t even win Best of Breed - then under Vicki Shields (USA) he won 4th Best, Dr Adriana Kajan (USA) he won 9th best, and Janina again loved him so much that he was her BEST entire Group 3 cat ..... but better was still to come - at her finals, out of all the cats and kittens in show, she placed him as her Reserve Exhibit ---- I didn’t even realise that I was in the running until the announcement at presentation time ....
Apart from the pleasure of all the wins, we (Naomi Taylor was also present with Gordon) all did a great deal of publicising of the breed. I also managed to meet a selection of Maine Coon breeders, and even more importantly to see their cats, and to hear what the Judges were looking for. At the Cocktail Party launching the Feline Health Research Fund I was also able to talk long to both Adriana and Janina, and to renew my acquaintance with Vicki. All three are very interested in the genetics experiment we are carrying out during the development of the new line - and all will keep track through our web site, and by email. Janina in particular, is by profession a geneticist, and publishes on cats. Adriana is also a biological scientist being a viral pathologist, so we all had considerable common ground.
The Australian Mist Breeders also received formal thanks for our contribution to the Feline Genome Project, when Dr Kerry Fowler launched the Foundation - some of you may remember that I collected over 50 samples of blood from Australian Mist, as our unique Australian contribution to the mapping of the Feline Genome. Hopefully, eventually this contribution should be of direct benefit to the breed, as well as in a more general sense contributing to cat well being. The cats collected were properly recorded (I sent an annotated copy of our Breed Book with the samples), and covered a wide range of blood lines, and generations of the breed.
The new blood lines progress - two of the Aby x girls are in kitten - one in Victoria belonging to June Butterworth and mine. I am hoping that at least 2 more will be mated in the next few weeks. One of Pan’s daughters (belonging to Dr David Ashton) from Orana is calling regularly - I think that she might be mated to Amyntor, my Aby x stud - with a rather long chance of an Australian Mist kitten - but also with our first throw at combining the two outcross foundation studs .... we will see.
I have not been showing much, but Jim has really been tripping all over the place, and Djindi Warru is again right up there at the head of the NSWCFA Cat of the Year competition.
A couple of new Australian Mist exhibitors too, Jeanette Philip in Western Australia has shown her Odysseus, and Nereid for the first time. Ody won Best Kitten in one ring - as Jeanette said ‘ He knew he was a winner, sprawled out in his cage, on his back with feet in the air, purring at any one who looked at him. He really enjoyed his day.’ Sounds as though she has a real show temperament there.... Nereid, the now adult brown spotted girl was less impressed - but none-the-less, she was Reserve and 4th Best Entire cat in each of the two rings . To top off this start, Jeanette won the raffle - a big bag of Breeder’s Choice litter, as well as a cat bed, toys, boxes of Supercoat and 4 rosettes ‘It was all very rewarding. Ody didn’t spray all day so it was perfect!’ We all wish her many more such exciting days - after all she started the day at 2.30am!.
The other ‘new’ exhibitor isn’t really - we are pleased to welcome back former exhibitor Rose Carabott, who has purchased a new spay kitten from Vanessa Crosland - Severin Alexis - at her first show she was 4th best kitten ......and Purrsonality Kitten . Sounds like another promising show career ahead.
Finally, Gillian Napier deserves a mention - she showed four exhibits at the Goldfields Cat Club - and did very well with her spay, Nintu Grey Elouise coming 9th in the top 10 cats, and 6th with her brood queen, Nintu Marmor Eirene. Gillian also has news - she is leaving Victoria to become a South Australian - her husband, Peter Fairweather, has just won a Professorship, which he takes up in December. I thought my move was bad enough - but Gillian also breeds Alpacas ---- so a suitable property has to be found for them as well - and all in a short time.
Our move is advancing slowly. Rather more slowly than anticipated, as John is spending every weekend for 12 months as a guest of Her Majesty. The final outcome of the Court Case resulting from Cheryl’s death was 2 years with a non parole period of 12 months to be served as periodic detention. I am also doing all the driving, as of course, he also lost his licence for 12 months.
I have made several visits to Bunyip, and am now more often there than here - still hoping to move in November but the Barn which we need to have constructed before I can, will take 8-12 weeks to be approved (then only 4 weeks to construct!!) Any one interested in coming to the End of Year Party (Sunday 16 December) should therefore really let me know - so that I can keep you updated ...You can ring me on 0245 750227, or leave a message for me on John’s phone 0245 750415, or ring me/leave a message on 03 5629 6211.
On the subject of publicity, we have recently featured in CAES & CIA, a Brazilian Pet Magazine - the quarter page feature included 2 photographs which were supplied by Naomi Taylor, one is one of our postcards - Bessemer in the garden, and I think that the other is Gordon ....they really look good! Jeanette Philip also sent me a delightful picture of herself and Nereid from her local paper under the title ‘Aussie cat is real laid back’ (!!), and the caption reading ‘MIST-ICAL: Jeanette Philip will soon be the only breeder of the Australian cat breed, Australian Mist in WA.’ A very nice little article, acknowledging Te-Kooti, the inspiration for the breed, and incidentally the name chosen by Jeanette as her prefix.
Finally, rather old news by now, there was a rather nice write up in the Hills News, June 26, 2001, including a photo of yours truly and two kittens......
Kitten sales are slow at present, after a burst of inquiries following the Burke’s Backyard Breeders’ Directory publication - but I am sure that spring (and having the federal election over....) will stimulate further inquiries. I am rather at a loose end with no kittens, this house largely packed up - all I want to do is to be building and gardening at Bunyip.
I have no idea where or when the next On the Spot will be composed, but I would remind all of you that have not renewed your member ship that this is your last newsletter ...We also need to have an Annual General Meeting - tentatively the suggestion is that it should be held on Sunday 16th of December at 11am, with both an in person and an on line component ....but there will be notification once I am more definite on my move date.
Truda M Straede, Editor
From Issue 56, December 2001 (LATE!!)
Welcome to 2002 - and apologies for the tardiness of this newsletter - finally the move to Victoria did catch up with me.
In mid November with 20 cats on board, including 4 queens with young litters, I set off very early in the morning and drove, rested, watered cats etc for an endlessly long day - crowned by a long hold up on the Monash Freeway, as a result of car accident some time before. When I arrived at Bunyip, I found everything in readiness - three of the new girl houses on the verandah were complete, with vinyl laid and floors painted, beds set up and litter trays and water bowls full. I have been lucky to find excellent assistants in my new neighbours. The cats were extremely happy with it, and simply said ’Where’s dinner?’, a matter which was rapidly attended to.
This easy acceptance of change has characterised each group of cats which I have brought with me, they have taken the long confined journey in their stride and settled in without a murmur, another tribute to the temperament of the Australian Mist, and very reassuring for all owners present and future.
The brood queens were equally self assured, and none of the kittens went back a single gram, though I am sure that it helped that the pens, beds and all the furnishings of their new places were familiar, a feature which also helped with the adult cats.
When I brought the outside cats, I was a little hesitant to let them out for a couple of days, though I have had constructed a two metre tall colourbond fence to limit the area in which they could roam. But I need not have worried, the shyest cat hid in his bed for a couple of days, then disappeared overnight a couple of times - but this was because he was enjoying the new environment, and didn’t actually want to go to bed!
By the time I had all the cats (except 7 studs, still to come) installed, it was time for Christmas --- and being our first Christmas in Victoria, the round of family visiting was intensive.
Not long after Christmas, I did at least start on the End of Year Awards - the results are included in this issue. Once I had printed the certificates, and was ready to post out to the winners, I found that the engravers in both of my nearest shopping centres were on holiday - so the Supreme Exhibit winner, Dr Valerie Hamilton’s Taleetha, has had to wait an extra 3 weeks to receive her medallion. As we had a rather extravagant trophy event at our 15th Anniversary Show early in the year, only one medallion was given this year, the prizes were kept simple, and there was no function to celebrate the annual awards.
Congratulations to all winners, and to all those who competed, and who perhaps didn’t make the final list. I know that several of our members like to keep an eye on the website updates so please keep up your regular submission of results during 2002. The 2002 competition year started on 1 November 2001, and will finish on 30 November 2002, and this year we will indeed have a Christmas party, and presentation function in December.
The new bloodline is progressing, with the birth of four Generation 2 litters to date. So far, the three Aby x marbled girls, crossed with marbled mist have turned up only ticked and marbled kittens, which neither proves or disproves my spotting hypothesis. We have however, had our first spotted kittens, from Pan’s blue spotted daughter Byblis, to Amyntor, the Aby x stud. This is the first time the two foundation studs of the new line have been combined. The kittens look very promising, though at 2 weeks old, they could not as yet be expected to display any of the finer points of the breed!.
On a more sombre note is the letter from Kari, about Willoughby --- I can only say, please keep your Australian Mist indoors, or shout him/her to a Modular Pet Park, so that such appalling experiences don’t come the way of your beloved pet.
Even more distressing, one of our former members has left, leaving a very bad taste in our mouths. She simply had a girl she was given euthanased, because she said that she was a ‘herpes carrier and made her kittens sick twice’. This is a rather surprising claim in the context of the brood queen’s breeding career, as mother of 4 previous litters, the progeny including two breeding queens, one of which has herself had 2 litters, again with 3 breeding queens in the progeny, one of which has also been bred from. No sign of herpes shedding anywhere in these litters or the descendants.
This former member did not contact the previous owner of the queen to ask her to take her back, nor even to request assistance from the AMCFA Distress Fund, to have the girl desexed and placed in a pet home. It demonstrates an appalling lack of real care for her cats on the part of the past member to fail to put first the welfare of her cats, specially when we make it so easy for unexpected expenses to be defrayed. It is situations like this for which the Distress Fund is specifically designed.
Her claim that the infection in her kittens cost her ‘a couple of thousand dollars’ to clear up is also most disturbing, suggesting that the veterinary advice and assistance she obtained was somewhat lacking.
Just a reminder to all members that we are here to help you if your circumstances change....... Continue to love and regard your pets as part of your family, should they become objects solely of personal gratification you are both at risk ......
Truda M Straede Editor
From On the Spot 57, March 2002 (not quite as late!)
The show season is in full swing again, with Rachel, Truda, Naomi and Wendy (from Darwin) all scoring Best in Show with exhibits of their own breeding. Of particular note is Wendy’s success with an award of Supreme Exhibit for Latona Dawn Fraser, at her first show as an adult --- in fact Dawn belongs to Wendy’s son Geoff - who was over the moon!
The Royal Easter Show brought out a very goodly display of Australian Mist, with 22 adults catalogued, and only 2 absentees. Twelve exhibitors were represented, and honours were spread around. - with Naomi Taylor in her absence, with one exhibit only, Momur Magic Pudding winning Best Female Cat in one ring. Two different cats, from 2 different breeders won a third in the male cat Top 5 (one was Truda’ Epicure, now at the ripe age of 9), and Truda’s Nintu Marmor Ana Cardi won a forth in the ring headed by the Magic Pudding .... All the way from Tasmania, Julie and Kelly Fletcher’s Trabmakov Aneaboof won a fourth in the Spay Top 5.
My choice of all the cats and kittens exhibited went to a truly delicious peach spotted female cat, Beltane Misti Sunrise, owned and bred by Barbara Dorrell. Both the Late Rev Jim Dykes and the Late Jenine Meehan, successive owners of the Beltane prefix, and breeders of her ancestors would be proud to see this superb young girl.
The kitten day was a real surprise - there were 6 kittens entered, and from the 3 boys, two were placed in the Top 5 - first and third. I was amazed to win Best in Show with my only kitten exhibit (I nearly didn’t bother to go as I was so tired after driving from Sydney, and I was faced with 3 days in a row at the Royal) four month old blue spotty Nintu Jellico Cat. Julie’s Trabmakov Colossus, at 8 months won third in the same ring. Colossus is indeed aptly named, being a very large lad! This was definitely a case of the sublime to the ridiculous! However, congratulations all round, not only for the wins, but also for the usual marathon effort publicising our cats, all of which behaved in their usual people loving manner, ‘enduring’ endless patting and cuddling with laid back languor.
Much to my surprise, my first completely Victorian Australian Mist litter (made and raised here) consisted of 8 kittens - 7 of them boys. I elected to exhibit this litter at 11 weeks old, and won Supreme Litter in both rings -(following my first show here where I won Supreme Litter in both rings with my first Maine Coon litter). Several of the individual kittens did extremely well, with Best of Breed awards, and Top 10 placings. On the basis of these results, I am running on a second boy from the litter .... (naughty ..).
Word from breeders, not only of Australian Mist, from around Australia suggests that the kitten market is very slow at present - this is certainly my experience, and I don’t think it is due to my being new in Victoria - I largely sold my first 3 litters before they were ready to leave home. So just a word of warning folks - slow down a bit .... work on the kittens already ‘in the pipeline’ and save those next matings till later in the year.
It appears that there is to be a new Cat Magazine ‘Australasian Cat’ which will be a lift out from National Dog. I am not yet sure about when it will kick off (though June is possible), but with the wide circulation of National Dog to piggy back on, I suspect it will be an excellent place to advertise.
This new Magazine is being created because the original National Cat has been purchased by the Waratah National Cat Alliance founders. This body is not recognised by either of the National Cat bodies that comprise 99% of the Australian Cat Fancy, the ACF and CCCA, so cannot be patronised by their members with any degree of comfort. I hope that not only breeders, but also Australian Mist friends will keep an eye out for this new magazine, by leafing idly through National Dog at the newsagents --- though I am sure the first edition will trumpet this new feature loudly on its cover!! Once I know more about advertising rates, I will let you know.
Please remember that I don’t really want to write this whole Newsletter myself. Send in those articles and letters - our readers love them, and they paint a great picture of the progress of our breed in the hearts of their owners - surely of equal importance to the success on the bench, but only measurable through your letters and comments.
The Association Website is up and running again at its new location:
Truda M Straede Editor
From ON THE SPOT 58 JUNE 2002
As will be immediately obvious to you all, I am again trying a new format. I have recently upgraded to Windows 98, and remembering what a mess later versions of Windows were, when my old version tried to read them, I have decided that all the email recipients of the Newsletter can access it on line, and print it out in whole or in part, if they wish. This will also give me the facility to show you all pictures - in colour for the lucky on line recipients, while the snail mail subscribers will receive good quality photocopies made by our excellent Xerox photocopier/printer. There will also be a minimum of effort required to transfer portions of the Newsletter to our longer term on line association website, when the selected article will become accessible to all who find our site. Initially, access to the current Newsletter will be available only to subscribers, each complete newsletter will stay in place until replaced by the next one. 'Back copies' will be of the paper version only, as is currently the case.
I would like feedback if you have problems with page overun when you print the Newsletter out - different printers do see the pages differently. I am trying to keep to a not too overcrowded A4 page for each link - which means that the printed version might appear to have rather more wasted space than before. In some cases, there will be features designed originally for the website, which will be far too large to print on an A4 page - these already form part of our/my website, and will remain until superceded by other pages, or updates. Somewhat edited paper versions will be prepared for the posted Newsletter. A case in point, in this issue, is the saga of the building of my cattery..... And, of course, on line recipients - please report any broken links ASAP!!
Membership renewals are slowly coming in - please note that after the end of June you are on 'grace and favour' time, and that by the end of September, when the next issue is due, you will no longer be a member... so please get out the form I sent you last time, and send it back with your money. Please note CHEQUES MUST BE MADE PAYABE TO DR T M STRAEDE NOT AMCFA!!
There has not been a great deal of activity on the show front - though you will see that the values are creeping up slowly in each category. Likewise, the kitten market has been extremely quiet, with Rachel and Trish with kittens to sell or nearly ready to sell. I have some youngsters also, and only a very few bookings. It must be this winter weather, at least in part. I have certainly found that there is a general idea (and it is of course, generally correct!) in the market, that there aren't any kittens in winter. I wish you would tell my girls that - they also don't believe the one about not calling in the the cold, short days of winter.... at least, not all of them do. I am relieved to say that some of them are not quite as enthusiastic as usual, which makes sleeping easier at night!
From ON THE SPOT 59 SEPTEMBER 2002
The year is racing by - so fast that September slipped away without my staring the Newsletter. First it was too soon - then I drove to Sydney, complete with cats, to stay with one of our members, and to attend as both Judge and Exhibitor the Western Districts Cat Club Show. This was a thoroughly enjoyable event - I judged all the Group 3 side classes - including cuddling the entrants in 'Show Temperament'. Two of the local members came to the show, with their lovely young Australian Mists as exhibits. As they were entered in the side classes, I had a good opportunity to handle them and inspect them thoroughly without knowing to whom they belonged - and fine samples of the breed they were. As it isn't very easy to find homes for the spin off kittens from my new blood lines here in Victoria, I took with me 2 very large kittens - a black spotted tabby boy (Harry) and Harriet, his lilac spotted sister, as exhibits in the Companion Cat show. Harry scooped the pool - Supreme domestic exhibit in both rings .... and there were two contenders for his hand in permanent adoption ...... to add to my pleasure, I sold his sister the day after my return to Victoria. She went with ribbons!
At the end of the same week I attended the Royal Melbourne Show for two days in a row - and one of them was absolutely freezing! I had heard that this was a truly dreadful show, with very poor facilities for the cats and their exhibitors. In consequence, there were very few entries - a far cry from the over flowing pavilion in NSW at the Royal Easter Show on Group 3 adult day! However, the facilities were not bad at all, a product of the current attempt to upgrade and generally improve the show and facilities overall. The cat show was tucked into a 'Wonderful World of Pets' pavilion - there were pet rats, ferrets, 'tarantulas', chickens and numerous other wonders. There were also a couple of rather noisy stage shows, and cat breed presentations. The cats took it all in their stride, and the lovely young lilac boy, Ellis, repeated his Western Districts success with a Top 10 place. There were three Australian Mist Exhibitors present, with a very handsome lineup of cats - and they were well represented in the Top 10 exhibits, on both days. Numerous friends of the Australian Mist found their way to visit - including Lynden Franklin, our Vice President - she was down to simply visit - no cats, dogs or horses. Several proud owners regaled me with the exploits of their Australian Mists - 'Rowdy' seemed to be a very popular sire (Nintu Even Roundel who lives in SA now with Gillian Napier), and his kittens of particularly remarkable personality.
Wendy Sherborne is continuing to pursue a very successful show career with her NT tribe - but I will let her tell the story herself - and the results also reflect her success. Wendy is set on the high road to several End of Year Awards, including something special for all the effort she has put into popularising the Australian Mist in the Northern Territory. She is hoping to actually breed a second litter, as she now has enough orders for her to risk a mating (without having to keep most of the kittens herself!)
Our Distress Fund has had its first application following sad and distressing news from Tasmania. Also, we would like to extend our thanks to Naomi Taylor who placed an adult Australian Mist that had become homeless. Naomi needed no reimbursement as the expenses were covered by the new owner. There have been a few losses in the last few months, with a rather sad little roll call of past pusses, including my beloved Nintu Born Epicure.
As we wend our way towards the end of another year, I realise that it is almost 12 months since I moved here - and time to plan for the End of Year Awards, Christmas party, and housewarming - which will be held on Sunday 8th December. Lunch and award presentations are part of the activities. All members are of course welcome to attend, but please let me know soon, so that I can send you an individual invitation - and so that I can keep track of the numbers!
Truda Straede, EDITOR
From ON THE SPOT 60 DECEMBER 2002
Another year has come to an end (yes folks, I'm late as usual!), and we have notched up a few more steps in the progression of our breed, and our lives. Rachel has a great many kittens, and a new son, Trish has a delightful website of her own, with photos taken by Rachel when she was very pregnant, Valerie has won Exhibit of the Year (Again!!), Pat Leane has finally had a litter of one kitten from one of his girls (now over 3 years old) and we have had more exposure on the world stage, with an appearance in a Hungarian Cat Magazine (AMACSKA). The latter came about when the President of the Hungarian Cat Association, who also edits this magazine, came to the CCCA National to judge during 2002 , and as is usual, fell in love with the breed. She used a very large number of photos from my website, and that of Gillian Napier, with very pleasing results - not that I can read the text, other than the cat's names ...but 4 glossy pages of pictures and text is most acceptable! The Cats and Kittens Annual again features Australian Mist - this time as a 'Breeder's Tale', taken from our Newsletter, and illustrated with Australian Mist kitten pictures. This article paid for a small ad for the association, listing an Australia wide selection of phone numbers for inquiries. Plans are afoot for next year to use some of the Association money to pay for a larger ad - possibly as a combined effort between the individuals who usually pay for their own personal ads, the association, and the 'in kind' payment I receive for contributing an article. I will keep breeders posted, but in the meantime, keep taking good photographs (they have to be colour prints for this magazine).
The kitten market is very slow with all the talk of war, and many of us have rather a large number of kittens available now, or over the next few months. I personally, have stopped mating cats until my stocks have run down a bit. A pain, because I am getting to the really interesting part of the Experimental new line - the first Generation 3 kittens are very exciting, and I have recently kept my first Generation 2 future stud. Up till now, I have primarily mated the Generation 1 hybrids (x domestic, and x Abyssinian) back into my full register population, and kept girls. But now I have bred a boy of sufficiently good type to warrant keeping him, so that I will be in the position to mate the two halves of the new line together to achieve Generation 3 kittens. Generation 3 cats can, of course, when mated to generation 3 or Full Register cats, produce Full Register kittens - so the new blood lines will soon be available to all breeders - at least they will be if I dare to breed more litters of kittens! The promise of improved colour from the Abyssinian line is being fulfilled, as is the improvement in coat fullness from Pan, the domestic's line. I am also thrilled at the excellent mouths, good teeth and vigour of kittens from both new introductions. Those of you familiar with Silkia, now over 10 years old, will be thrilled to hear that she has had a small, 13th litter including a delicious peach spotted girl. The almost complete eradication of allergy problems from my population has led me to start to concentrate more on peach and gold, with a young gold stud who has sired a lovely mixed colour first litter, and this new peach girl. The Generation 2 Stud (Leuka) also happens to be a very nicely spotted peach. My initial intention was in fact, to breed only chocolate, lilac, gold and peach, but potential buyers persauded me that blues were lovely, and in consequence, we als had to have brown .... As there have been some wonderful cats in blue and brown, I have never regretted this, and as we did have an allergy problem associated with the palest colours, it was probably a good thing that we did!
We had our first party in Victoria celebrating the End of Year Awards, and the housewarming for 'Evergreen' on Sunday 8th December. Many of our local members were able to attend, unfortunately more accepted, but had to give their apologies at the last minute. We had our usual presentations, with each persons' citations read out to the assembled company of over 40 family and friends. The citations are listed later in the Newsletter, in combination with the End of Year results. There was much eating and drinking as usual, and much cattery inspecting, and wandering round talking to cats. Next year I hope that more local members may be able to attend (and that we may have more to do so!) We have also held our third On Line AGM, during which there was a lively discussion of the 'Kitten Selling Undertaking' motion foreshadowed in the last Newsletter. The policy decision is detailed later on.
Finally, we come to a sad note. Mrs Doris Burnage, who was for many years one of the breed's staunchest supporters, died on 21st October 2002, at the grand age of 96. Doris was founding member of the RASCC and a member of the Management Committee until her retirement after 50 years of service. As an All Breeds judge she was well known all over Australia, and as a friend for ones' breed, she was without compare. During the development of the Spotted Mist, she consistently supported my efforts, both on the Management Committee and the Show Bench. She really appreciated the delightful temperament of the breed, and was mildly surprised at the quality and consistency of the breed 'When I first saw that collection of moggies, I never dreamed that you would create this' ,she said on one occasion. In recognition of her support throughout the breed development, she was the only person other than a breeder or exhibitor of Australian Mist to be presented with one of our 'Spot On' medallions, which occurred on the 20th Anniversary of the Breed Foundation, in 1996. Doris was a great friend to our breed, and my life is less rich for her passing, though behind her she leaves many memories of warmth, enthusiasm and common sense, the hallmark of the great lady that she was.
All that remains is to wish all of our members a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.
Truda M Straede Editor
From ON THE SPOT 61 MARCH 2003
Under the gloom of impending war, the business of Cat Shows goes on - but not kitten sales. Everyone says that they are slow, an experience now shared by the purveyors of all goods and services not deemed essential. I must say that I have had inquiries, and even long (time wasting!!) visits, but very few have resulted in sales. Maine Coons, being even more expensive than Australian Mist, despite a recent burst of publicity in Victoria have suffered this fate to an even greater extent. Of course, the Whiskas ad with a blue Australian Mist in it means also that people only want blues .... though if I can lure them to visit, that is not necessarily what they choose. To lighten my gloom, I entered a generation 2 black spotted tabby in the Kitten Show, as a Group 4 (Companion) and promptly won best Group 4 kitten, and Runner - Up group 4 Exhibit. I then entered him at Warragul - and won Best Group 4 Exhibit in both rings. I am quite positive that the other Group 4 exhibitors were very pleased that I had also managed to sell him as a pet for a young boy's birthday, and that they wouldn't ever have to compete against him again! Of course, it was very largely his superb temperament which both won him the awards, and found him a home, a sure sign that the new line in no way fails to meet the breed temperament criterion. Emma, whose first litter was 'naughty' (a local Tom broke into her house...) said exactly the same thing, the kittens all had superb natures. Libby has also suffered the naughty litter syndrome - she failed to seperate her undesexed domestic early enough, and not only her Australian Mist, but also her Rag Doll had hybrid kittens. Of course, I had decided that I wouldn't have any more kittens for a while, so have been putting queensfrom one group in with Pan (retired foundation domestic), who was vasectomised before I left Sydney, and the other group with Amyntor, the Aby x Mist stud, also now vasectomised. However, all came unstuck (at least one side of Pan's vasectomy did!!) I have already one litter of 6 black spotted tabbies, with 2 more litters on the way. Yes you may well laugh, after recovering from my shock, so did I, in a rueful kind of way. Pan is now desexed, and a suitable outlet for the first litter has been offered, by a vet friend whose only comment was 'Well, what did you expect when you named him after a fertility god?' I have also committed a real naughtiness - keeping a blue spotted tabby neuter as a pet - Lu Puss, currently supervising this Editorial from the In Tray. He will, however, have to go to shows - can't have him living in the lap of luxury without paying the rent!
One light spot in the gloom is my successful export of a very pretty, naughty lilac spotted girl to a young man in California. He is besotted ( though somewhat lacking in sleep as she always wants to play at bedtime) and is talking of a second later in the year. There is also the general level of interest from all over the place, specially now that I have paid to have my website added to some big cat sites in the US. It appears that a couple more sales may come about later in the year - so I am cautiously planning to have a couple of litters. I can only hope, with every other Australian, that the drought breaks at home, and that diplomacy and common sense triumph overseas. Truda M Straede
From ON THE SPOT 62 JUNE 2003
We have at last, a few End of Year results, and a few shows under our belts. The Royal Easter Show was well attended (as usual!!) , with 6 breeders and fanciers in attendance, though not all necessarily exhibiting. Patricia Beech's Nintu home Joker was fourth Best Male Cat under Mrs C U'ren (Vic), and Nintu Marmor Ana Cardi was fourth Best Female Cat under Mrs H Lowe (ACT). It was pleasant to meet not only the local Australian Mist breeders, including the Vice President, Lynden Franklin and her whole clan of daughters and their children, but also many of my old Cat fancy friends from NSW. The show was as usual well run, and the ribbons very worth while receiving. I must say that I do miss the NSW ribbons - very few are given in Victoria, likewise very few rosettes, if one doesn't win at least a Top 10 place, a handful of cards is all one is likely to take home.
At the FCCV Open Show, Mrs Tempany's Leokatz Lilac Alise, and Nintu Marmor Alfie and Dr Sue Roger-Withers Qihai Starquestor took the honours for the Australian Mist, with Alfie winning a Runner-Up to Best in Show Desexed Cat under Geoff Beckett.
The most exciting event for me was my trip to the Northern Territory, for the ACF National Show. Here I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Sherborne, and seeing her very handsome selection of Australian Mist. These are really lovely specimens, as well as being very well cared for, as attested by their well filled contours. Mr Rod U'ren had told me that he had judged some 'very nice samples of the breed' in the NT - I must say that I thought he was being polite - but I should have known better - he really meant it! I was particularly impressed with the beautiful heads, particularly the good whisker pads, and firm chins of all Wendy's cats. Her brown spotted Neuter, Latona Rob de Castella is a stunning cat - both type and colour are just about 'right' - and he is a very big boy .... however, he has decided that he no longer cares for shows, so was the only one of Wendy's cats not present at the National. Wendy was pleased to meet Idol 'in the fur', he is the sire of her present collection; she is hoping for the patter of many (not too many!!) more paws as two of her ladies visited Ellis while he was there. I also thought her 'spare' girl, chocolate spotted Latona Sarah Kerrigan was rather nice - so I brought Kerri home in exchange. I am also hoping for the patter of tiny paws, as she has already called ....
The real turn up for the books was the Generation 3 male kitten Thera Nova Perseus that I took to exhibit - he won 3 of the 4 Best Australian Mist Exhibit awards, though not placed in the Top 10 Kittens, whilst Idol was 10th Best Entire Exhibit under the Canadian Judge, Roger Lawrence. Corinne Michaux from Belgium, who first saw Australian Mist at the FCCV Open, again favoured peach marbled, grass green eyed Nintu Marmor Ami Fourier for her Best Australian Mist Exhibit. Because I won all 4 of the Best Australian Mist Exhibit awards donated by the AMCFA and myself for this show, I have redonated one for a NT show later in the year, and I am taking one to Tasmania when I go to Judge and exhibit in July. The ACF National show has a well deserved reputation as a very good social event, confirmed by this particular sample. Not only did a 'Group 5 - BIG CATS' exhibit turn up; Private Sabre, Panthera tigris tigris, mascot of the 5/7th Battalion RAR (he gave his party piece 'rear and roar'), there was Lord Mayor's reception, welcome barbecue and show dinner, as well as judges speaking, and the ACF AGM. The boarding cattery where the pusses stayed when not at the show was delightful, Jenny Cordingly was ever helpful, and the cats and kittens appeared to enjoy their stay. The kittens were allowed out of their cages to play once all the other show boarders had gone, and Jenny helped me to sell a Maine Coon kitten to a Fancier in Catherine.
The ACF National was of course judged under the ACF breed standard, which is somewhat different from the CCCA standard, which is the one which we approved, and to which I breed. This difference may well explain why a very strongly marked chocolate spotted kitten was preferred to the the more subtly coloured spotted adults present. This may also underlie the favour shown to the marbled cats present with three of the four judges awarding Best of Breed to marbled cats, and two also awarding their Runner-Up to marbled. Judges who judge under more than one standard do seem to be somewhat confused by the differences, particularly in the spotted pattern standard. There is some possibility that the ACF standard may be able to be restored to have similar meaning to the CCCA standard at some time in the future, which would be helpful to both the breed, and to the judges. By far and away the most consistently correct head type was exhibited by the spotted cats present - both the ones which I took, and Wendy's mob. On balance, the chocolate spotted boy did have the better head type too, specially when compared to the Best adult chosen by each judge, other than Corinne, who appeared to have interpreted the standard as requiring an altogether lighter framed cat, with much less pronounced whisker pads, who chose the female kitten Osmantha, as her best kitten, then preferred her marbled choice, Fourier, over her, for Best Exhibit.
While I was away a litter arrived, ably assisted into the world by Marlene Chasemore, who played midwife over a very cold night, then cared for Unity until I returned. Her care meant that there were 5 lovely lilac/chocolate babies to collect - after a not uneventful stay, including 3 visits to our vet ( Ros Fleay) to resolve prenatal problems, then a very nasty abcess/mastitis a few days after the kittens were born.
I am not alone in having new kittens, on the last day of May, the first 'Milletaches' (thousand spots) litter was born to Nintu Jolie Galaxie and Nintu Marmor Faramir - including blue and lilac spotted, and blue marbled kittens. In the middle of May, Emma's Nintu Jelly Dancer had her second litter (the first were a 'naughty' litter to a handsome mog) to Nintu Marmor Yggdrasil, they appear to predominantly lilac ... My next litter will I hope be gold and peach, and after that ?? - almost a complete range of colour and pattern possible .... However, compared with the previous rate at which I was breeding litters, this is very modest indeed. Kittens inquiries trickle in, and kittens pack their bags and leave home .... and we have succumbed to yet another mouth - this time a charity case Chihuahua - a delightful little black and tan girl .... I don't think we have ever before been to the vet without an animal or two, this time we simply dropped in to pay the bill incurred while we were away - and came home with Taffy and her surviving puppy, born by caesarean that morning ..... we're hopeless. In a way I think that this was a kind of 'poetic justice', as Ros did manage to place for me a litter of 8 of those naughty Pan kittens. They went very quickly, and have all been back to Ros for their second vaccination. The rest of the naughty Pan kittens went to Sydney with us at Easter - and all had been placed within a week. A selection of older kittens, and retired cats also found homes, on a slightly longer time frame, including Kouros, who now lives as a stable cat on the property of the vet who places my cats for me. I am beginning to place the Generation 1 cats from the new line too - now that I have fertile children, with their Generation 3 offspring growing up. I have kept Amyntor, the only male from the Abyssinian cross litter, as my vasectomised stud. The last of the girls, Atalanta, was carried off in triumph very recently by an Australian Mist owner, whose 18 year old Aby cross neuter had recently departed - she couldn't believe her luck - looks like an aby, but half Australian Mist - might have been meant for her!
From ON THE SPOT, 63, September 2003
As a quick glimpse at the End of year Awards will indicate, some new cats have appeared in the list - Trabmakov and Kelmots cats from Julie and Kelly Fletcher. These indicate my recent trip to Tasmania, where I judged at the Abyssinian Cat Club show on what seemed to me to be the coldest day of the year (it didn't rise above 70 all day). I handled a really delightful array of Group 3 cats and kittens, and also Group 4, the domestic pets. While I of course knew to whom the Australian Mist must belong, I had never previously seen any of these cats, so it was quite exciting to have a good class to judge. I particularly liked Trabmakov Marty Boy - and a couple of the lasses which I saw at home the next day! Julie and Kelly have some very nice cats, with particularly well developed whisker pads, chins and muzzles, and some very interesting coats.
During the show, I was whipped away to attend the Christening of Kelly and Matthew's daughter, Maddison, in a delightful Church, in front of a positively huge collection of friends and relatives. I was a bit sorry that I had to return to finish my judging assignment, as it looked as though it was going to be a good party - it was - it was still going on when, complete with the nine cats which I had taken with me to exhibit, I arrived to stay for a couple of nights with Julie - though the guest of Honour, in view of her tender age, had retired.
This visit,and my previous trip to the Northern Territory have given me the opportunity to look at more Australian Mist being bred in other states. I myself have also been exhibiting essentially the same group of cats at these far flung shows, and in both NSW and Victoria, under a mix of local, interstate and overseas judges. My disquiet has been growing. My delightful young stud, Nintu Marmor Ami Fourier has repeatedly done very well (including a Best in Show). Now he is a delightful cat with wonderful grass green eyes BUT ..... These observations and what they have lead to is dealt with in my report on the CCCA Judges' Conference, at which I presented both a progress report on my new bloodline, and by invitation, was given an opportunity to discuss this disquiet with Judges from all over Australia.
John and I made a quick round trip to Sydney for the CCCA National Show - I was sorry not to see any Australian Mist other than my own, then the following weekend I was able to judge at the Governing Council Open Show. In this latter case, I judged no Australian Mist at all. A pity, because I believe it likely that I would have placed at least one in my Top 10. However, I can understand the exhibitor's reticence as I am familiar with the cats as a fellow exhibitor, as well as being the breed founder! This does create something of a quandery in my mind as a judge - I could be both overly partial, or overly critical, and could, I suppose, be perceived to be either (or both!) on any one occasion. So I am damned if I do, and damned if I don't. Grounds enough to be grateful to not have to judge Australian Mist, if a bit regretful to miss an opportunity to asses them in the overall context of all the competing Group 3 breeds.
Wendy has the patter of tiny feet with a vengeance! Ellis is a very proud Dad, to 4 marbled babies to Latona, and 7 mixed colours and patterns to Dawnie. Wendy is, to say the least, somewhat overwhelmed .... The lovely girl, Kerri, that I brought home from Darwin did call, and was mated - then she was very ill - 10 days in hospital, surgery to untwist her stomach, wouldn't eat, was miserable ... we still don't know what set all of this off, but I am glad, and grateful to my vet Ros Fleay to still have her. She did remain pregnant for some time, but nothing developed to full term. I now have one very happy, well upholstered girl, and am waiting for her to call again so that we can try again. Kitten inquiries are somewhat brisker, both Nathalie and Emma have sold their kittens (in fact, Nathalie's ad could have sold an army of kittens if they had been ready THAT DAY!) I expect that this was in part due to the time of the year, as well as the luxurious ad placed by Nathalie. My oldest litter is spoken for, and we are half way through the 7 week old one, with some nibbles for the 10 day old one. I do have some Maine Coons due soon, and possibly of a couple of Experimental litters later. Trying to match the rate of breeding to the market is very tricky, specially when I really want to move faster through the experimental generations.
On our trip to Sydney we again placed a couple of retired brood queens, and a couple of large unsold kittens, though subsequently I have been able to place a couple of each locally, to buyers who would rather have something a little older because of their work and family circumstances. Our 'charity' doglet, Taffy, has now grown quite a lot of hair, and is definitely not pure Chihuahua, rather some kind of Terrier cross. Her one puppy, touch and go for the first week, has grown into a very jolly little fellow - though goodness knows what his sire was - or how big he will be!
'The Companionable Cat' progresses. The booklet is beginning to shape up, each time I work intensively on it it grows a bit more, and the existing text is edited a bit more tightly. I think that I will have it ready before the end of the year. I prepared a mock up of it to take to the Judges' Conference with me, where our Patron, Mrs Rhondda Watson cast a quick eye over it, and has subsequently written a Patron's message as part of the Introduction. She was very keen to stress the contribution that the breed can make to Responsible Pet Ownership, having been selectively bred to live happily indoors. One of my older litter kittens is going to play a purrsonal role in this campaign - he is going to a school pet educator, and will spend much of his life passing from pat to pat, as well as living with dogs at home, and going to cat shows.
We do seem to have suffered a great reduction in Membership, if the lack of renewals is anything to go by. I will however, send this Newsletter to the previous list, in the hope that I can shake a few more renewals from the tree! However, if you don't renew, this is positively your last Newsletter - it's been nice having your support for a little while, I hope that you continue to enjoy your Australian Mist for a long, long while.
Truda M Straede EditorFrom ON THE SPOT, 64, December 2003
Another year over!! Where do they flee to?
2003 has been marked by slow kitten sales, revision of our standard, much tripping around interstate by myself, and reaching Full Register (JUST!) for the new Thera blood line of Australian Mist. There have been few active competitors on the Show scene, leading to an almost embarrassing domination of the End of Year Awards by my own cats. However, congratulations to Valerie for once again winning Exhibit of the Year - again with a cat of her own breeding - and a different one from last year. Newcomer, Libbie Burns, is also to be congratulated on her Fourth placing, with a girl from her own first bred litter. I hope to see more of you competing next year.
The presentations were carried out by Allbreeds Judge Rod U'ren, at my End of Year party. Exhibitors were totally unrepresented except for myself, but several owners, including my mother, my Darwin brother (Ed), member David Ashton and admirer, Marlene Chasemore (who cared for Unity while we were visiting the NT in June), were present. Rod read out each citation certificate, and added a few pleasant words of his own. The highlight of the presentation was that of the Riki Memorial Award, which went to Patricia Beech this year. We had invited Trish to come and stay, but because of a new job, she was unable to make it. Trish has, amongst other things, been involved in the filming of 'Cutest Kittens', a documentary on kittens in all their aspects. 'Froggie', her Australian Mist kitten with collapsing back legs featured as a character in this documentary. Froggie's charm is a great advertisement for the breed, and Trish's efforts on his behalf a great advertisement of the caring attitude which won her the Riki Memorial Award. I hope that you will keep an eye out for this documentary being shown on TV.
As I was to win so many prizes, I reduced the number of medallions given to 2, for the first two Exhibits of the Year, and for the other placings largely used a selection of cage covers, bases and dilly bags made by Trish during the year, and which I had had embroidered with the 'Spot On' Logo. Instead of a bronze medallion, my Third Best Exhibit was a cat shaped draught excluder - with a separate embroidered medallion attached to the bow round his neck. This has given me the idea that I could have patches embroidered for members to buy, and to sew onto their own shirts ..... anyone interested .....
More important business is the Standard revision - now complete, and submitted to the CCCA council. It will be considered at the meeting in June 2004, in the meantime Australia wide, Group 3 Judges are being invited to comment, and at least some CCCA affiliates have sent it out to all their breeders for comment. This process appears to depend on the regulations of the State body. However, I have included the relevant portions of the present standard, and the matching portion of the Revised Draft, for your consideration. I must say that I think that the revisions have captured the head type very much better than the old standard, and I am personally satisfied to use it as both a breeding and Judging guide. Any comments would be welcome.
In regard to progress on the replacement booklet for 'Cats in the Mist', despite the time that I have already spent on it, I have discussed with several members the need to go ahead with it at all. Almost no-one uses the existing book even now, presumably providing their own guides to kitten care when they sell kittens. There are still about 50 'Cats in the Mist' here with me, and other stocks in Sydney, so unless there is a major outcry, I am letting the matter rest for the moment, and attempting to work on the standard book - which of course, is now delayed until the new draft has been through the CCCA in June next year. I am aware that this is becoming a very long drawn out process, but I think that it will be worthwhile once complete. In the meantime I am sporadically working on scanning at least one photo of almost every breeding cat that I have ever bred into a huge data base - and I would like good digital pictures of the breeding cats of other members - or even good quality colour prints.
Finally, we held our 2003 AGM as a phone conference, notified ( and papers provided) on -line. While I haven't yet received the final bill, this was over very rapidly, and was quite painless for all concerned. There were no items of general business to be discussed, which would of course be time consuming, and make a phone hook-up expensive. However, it seems possible that we could make some kind of combination on-line/phone conference if there was general business, as motions need to be notified well ahead of an AGM, and all potential on-line attendees could be notified of the motion, and their opinions garnered beforehand .... Which brings me to the Constitution. Now that sufficient time has passed since the split in the Australian Mist breeders, I intend to provide all members with a copy of the Constitution as attachments to the next few Newsletters. Please assemble the sheets, and keep as your permanent record.
All this means that this Newsletter will largely consist of 'business' - but I can't finish without saying thankyou to Trish Drinkwater for her donation to the Distress Fund, and letting you all know that I have resident an elderly blue spotted boy 'Tiger', born 7/4/91, and his equally aged black Scottish Fold mate, TC (16/2/91), whose Mum went into a Nursing Home recently. They came with a dowry of food, litter, and a little cash - all very welcome, as it seems likely that I will have them for the rest of their lives - and I didn't need to draw on the Distress Fund. Tiger was bred in Victoria by a two litter breeder, Sue Boughton, and is the litter brother of Awatea Kohu Boggles and Mushroom, both of whom I had as stud cats, after they were rescued from someone in Victoria who was going to backyard breed - but who could not obtain registration for them, nor a female! Tiger is doing very well as Boggles died in '98 and Mushie in 2000 respectively. They are living with a selection of my girls, and while they couldn't be said to be happy, they are now eating properly, and socializing with my cats (when we aren't looking!).
Best wishes to all owners, breeders and their feline charges for 2004 - may it bring your heart's desire.
Truda M Straede Editor
From ON THE SPOT, 65, March 2004
This is likely to be the smallest Newsletter on record. The show year has barely started, and I haven’t any letters or emails to include.
The sojourn of Tiger, the elderly blue spotted Australian Mist was very short. He and his Scottish Fold mate TC, settled in quite well, but then Tiger became very reluctant to eat. He started to look very thin and greasy. The pity is that I even had an offer of a home for him. But it was not to be. He started to look jaundiced, and I thought ‘liver’. So off to the vet we went – indeed his liver was failing – and he had a huge hard mass in the liver – presumably a tumour. He now sleeps beneath a seedling plum tree in my fruit-forest-to-be. It is difficult to know whether he would have lived much longer if he had been able to stay in his own home, though the stress of the change could well have precipitated the final stages of this long standing condition. Poor TC, who had been very pleased and confident, though more friendly with my girls than with Tiger, appeared to have the feline equivalent of a stroke, and walked around with his head on one side, and had considerable difficulty finding the food plate. While he had become quite thin, the vet couldn’t find anything else wrong with him, and he has slowly improved, so that while he still looks a bit lopsided, he is eating better, and still enjoying his new friends.
I am glad that I agreed to take them, on the whole I have very few cats of my own which are as old, as so many are placed in pet homes while in their prime. I have, in consequence, much less experience of the ageing cat than the young, breeding one. None-the-less, I still have owners of older Australian Mists who contact me for advice. I have learnt from this experience that perhaps it isn’t always the kindest thing to try to rehome old cats, or at least it might be a good idea to have them very carefully checked over before doing so. While one part of me is glad that Tiger was able to go in his own time, I wonder whether the tumour might not have been discovered if he had been examined carefully, and his life slightly shortened, and him spared the stress of change. On the other hand, I expect that TC’s incipient event would have been impossible to predict, as he is otherwise a perfectly healthy cat ….
This brings me to the subject of making provision for our cats when we know that our circumstances are to change, and in the event that we should suddenly exit this existence. In the former case, such as moving house to a place where it is not legally possible to have any or so many cats, longer term planning is usually possible. In fact, the person who wanted to take Tiger is going to take in 2 Australian Mist neuters because their owner knows that she is not able to take them to her new home. The distress fund, while not needing in this case to provide any financial support can act as a clearing house for such cats. It is only because I posted Tiger on the website that I had made contact with this potential home, so that when one of our members mentioned that she needed a new home for 2 of her cats, I was able to suggest to both parties that they negotiate.
In the case of one’s own potential sudden departure, I think that it is important to have taken some steps to ensure that provision has been made to rehome the cats. To this end I have personally left a sum of money to be devoted to this purpose alone, and named two people in my will, who I consider competent to make decisions about placing/desexing breeding stock, with an eye to the continuance of the breed. I have, of course also informed them of their potential responsibility! While most cat owners do not have the huge numbers that I have, it is worthwhile formalising in writing, decisions about pets, and making some provision for them. It is not a good idea to leave it to the good will of relatives – who regrettably, often are not good willed!
I am beginning to think that it is unlikely that the Australian Mist as a breed will survive me. There is a general shrinkage of the pet market, particularly for cats, due in part to sociological changes, more apartment living, smaller families, two working parent homes, combined with the attitude to cats as feral pests which have destroyed our wildlife, and the resulting laws concerning cat numbers and control. Whatever one thinks about the veracity of these views, the impact has been severe on cat breeders, with further impacts to come. It doesn’t help that many pet owners still think that it is OK for their pets to roam at will, nor that many breeders really don’t care where their kittens go, nor understand that they should breed fewer litters. There isn’t much value in a kitten just because there are so many – not just ‘natural’ domestic ones, but also pedigree ones. Australian Mist, while having a devoted following amongst pet owners, have too few breeders to sustain a viable population once my cattery is deducted. The split within the breed does us no good, with rudeness and disparaging remarks being offered to potential kitten buyers when they make phone inquiries, differing standards, and rejection/addition of colours and patterns by some breeders. Once we spoke with one voice. Now we are just like all other breeds. Such a pity, when so many of us believe that we have a most superior feline friend.
??A nick in time saves nine??
Our Distress Fund has had some further use. With the agreement of the committee we funded the desexing of two rather large (6 month old) male kittens, part of 9 unsold kittens in Darwin. The price of the desexing will be refunded to the Association when the kittens are sold. I also took 2 other of these male kittens – one I may keep as a stud (and pay the breeder for him), the other I will be having desexed, and hope to sell. He is a rather shy chocolate spot, and will be ready from mid March. A couple of the other kittens (females) will be going to Kim Kendall, our friendly vet in NSW, who will desex them and find them homes. Since this matter was brought to my attention, the number has been whittled down, with a couple more sold in Darwin, and one given as a gift, as well as the ones for Kim and I. This again is an example of how we can help – had the boys been left undesexed any longer they would have started to spray and/or mate their sisters, compounding the problem. The boys would then have been much harder to place – and well, the girls would have started the problem all over again. Because a couple were desexed, and sold, the progressive desexing/placing of the rest has become self funding, with the final step to be refunding the AMCFA’s initial outlay.
Thankyou to Vanessa Crosland for her generous donation of $25 to this same Distress Fund!
Truda M Straede Editor
From ON THE SPOT, 66, June 2004
Several interesting things have happened in the last three months.
Firstly the revised standard has been completed, and was submitted to the CCCA by the FCCV – only to be set aside because no standard revisions are being accepted for any Group 3 standard at this time. This means that the proposal is left lying on the table until such time as a review is set in motion. When this might be is in the lap of the gods. As a result of this decision, I am now going ahead to complete my book on the development of the Breed Standard, and including this new standard as ‘the Standard which is yet to come’!
One very good feature of the whole exercise, is, however, that it originated from the Judge’s Conference in 2003, so I will probably be asked about progress at the 2004 Judges’ Conference, AND all the Group 3 Judges throughout Australia have received a copy, which they were invited to comment on. I hope that this means that they have at least read it, compared it with the old standard, and given some thought to their understanding of the Australian Mist type. Perhaps we will reap the benefit of this even without the official passage of the standard.
The submitted revised standard is included later in this Newsletter for your information.
The second matter of interest is that Burke’s Backyard has prepared a new program with Rachel on the Australian Mist. The emphasis is on the Childrens’ Pet aspect of the breed, and I can certainly think of no better environment for this to be portrayed than amongst Rachel’s blossoming family. So let us hope! This reminder to the General Public will, I hope refresh general interest in our breed, and lift my depression a bit. By the way, thankyou for the letters of support from some of our owners!
On a more cheerful note again, I have completed ‘The Companionable Cat, Culture and Care of the Australian Mist’, and printed and bound a sample set at my own expense. I have also purchased enough paper etc to enable me to print an initial run of 100 copies for the Association. It looks as though the books will cost between $2 and $2-50/copy to produce, so that a charge of $5/copy should provide the Association with a nice little profit. I hope that breeders will puchase copies to be handed out with their kittens, at this price, plus the cost of postage to them. All I have to do now is spend at least 2 days seriously printing, laminating and binding this first run!
The 2004 Royal Easter Show (now seems such a long time ago) was a very pleasant affair, as usual. The new set-up of the pavilion certainly contributed to the comfort of exhibitors, with room to sit and chat while resting away from the public. Australian Mist achieved modest results, in the adult cats with Top 5 placings in the female cat, and male cat, where Trish’s Nintu Home Joker was a star turn. On the kitten day, my young lilac spotted lad, Nintu Justinus Nestor also starred, with a Top 5 placing. The two little new line babies entertained the public, Astarte, the blue marbled girl being particularly popular.
We do have a few more show results towards our End of Year Awards – however, it does appear that potential participants don’t really understand what results to send to me – so I have outlined what is needed later in this Newsletter.
Wendy has finally reduced her population of larger kittens to a modest number, and been able to return the ‘Desexing Seed Fund’ sent to her from our Distress Fund. Thankyou Wendy – and yes, the fellow I bought is coming along well, and I have had a good report on the boy I sold on your behalf. On the subject of the Distress Fund, thankyou also to David Ashton, who included a donation of $25 with his 2004-05 Membership Renewal.
Here’s hoping for further cheerful news next time!
Truda M Straede Editor
From ON THE SPOT, 67,September 2004
Yes, yes, I know!! It’s dreadfully late again – but I’ve had a hectic September, and there’s lots to tell you!
First of all, congratulations to Rachel, whose children, human and feline all looked very relaxed and confident on Burke’s Backyard, when finally it was screened on Friday 24 September. Some very nice looking young cats, some little babies (some of which were Trish’s, and some mine from previous filmings) and some quite unneccessary remarks from the vet!! The screening was during the Royal Melbourne Show and a couple of exhibitors said the next day ‘ I see that Burke’s Backyard stabbed you in the back this time – welcome to the club!’
Of course we are well aware that we have had an allergy problem in the breed – but this is certainly old news for us. It is possible that older cats are now showing up at vets with the problem, but young stock should be much improved. This was one of the reasons for creating the new bloodline – I had desexed so many cats with potential problems in an effort to clean up our gene pool, that we needed vigorous non allergic new blood. It is important also to remember to continue to use, and to advise new owners to use Keylomin Organic for dogs/greyhounds, and to be scrupulous about not using for breeding any cat which shows allergy symptoms. It is possible also that there continues to be a source of new allergic cats from the breeders who broke away from us in 2000. Their breeding stock hasn’t been subjected to such vigorous culling, as their gene pool was already very limited, and I know that they started with some cats which it would have been better not to continue to breed from, because I have found the same lines to be problematic ….
However, I am pleased to say that there has been a renewal of interest in our breed, with quite a lot of people at my most recent show telling me that they had seen the segment, wanting to see them ‘in the fur’ and the more thoughtful, asking me about the vet’s comments. So thankyou Rachel, a job well done!
On the subject of showing and breeding (and new members), we had a great showing at the CCCA National show in Brisbane in July. I had flu, and was quite a misery, but my six kittens scored six top 10 rosettes – at a six ring show. Thera Marmor Astarte (blue marbled) was definitely the star, her pretty face and pretty ways attracting many delighted remarks from the audience, and judges. However, it was Thera Apollonia, my brown spotted girl, and Nintu Jester Pete, a brown spotted boy kitten who drew our latest recruit to the population of Australian Mist Breeders. Camille Dumas, now the owner of Thera Bathsheba, who will be winging her way to Brisbane next week is a breeder of delightful Somalis. Both she and her husband couldn’t keep away from the brown spotties … culminating in an order –and wasn’t I lucky – Osmantha had only one girl, she was brown spotted, and one of the 2 best in the litter. So welcome Camille to our association, and I hope to much success showing and breeding from the first Thera brood queen to be sold.
Another of our new members is Geoff Paton, who I was very pleased to meet at the National. His gold spotted neuter Nintu Jerrins Laddie is quite something – and I realise that I sold him the best kitten from the litter, the boy I kept isn’t nearly as nice! Geoff is gradually being sucked into the cat world, going to meetings, and more and more shows….. (You never know he might decide to breed …..).
Before going to Brisbane, I prepared a presentation volume on the Australian Mist for the 4 overseas judges, and had these given to them by one of the Show organising committee. Thanks were conveyed back to me, but the real pay off came at the Royal Melbourne Show. I was judging Group 3 on the first day, and the other judge was supposed to be the same South African judge as at the National . However, I arrived to find that he had been replaced by Ingrid de Wat, who the minute she was introduced to me said ‘ The Australian Mist lady, oh I’ve read your book’. I was a bit nonplussed at first, till I discovered that she was referring to the presentation volume, which has toured all the shorthair judges in South Africa! We got on very well together, enjoying a very pleasant lunch with the FCCV Chairman, and I subsequently invited her to visit on the Monday after the show. This was a most interesting event, she and I share many views about breeding, and she was blessed with the ability to tell interesting cat stories without becoming lost in irrelevant details. She left with a copy of each of the breed books, old and new for herself, as well as a copy of both volumes of ‘Breeding Cats … a practical guide.’ I do hope that I manage to engineer some further such opportunities, as this seems to me to be the only way that we will eventually manage to export our breed to other countries. I quite understand the problem of buying sight unseen – I am personally just too scared to spend such a huge sum of money importing a Maine Coon, when I have no chain of personal contact with a breeder.
It isn’t that I don’t have inquiries from overseas, I do. But I suspect that they have the same type of problem, or don’t understand my conditions, or they have never bred anything, so are obviously unsuitable … or as happened recently they are agents for someone else, and catch themselves out by telling me a lie….
There is no doubt that it isn’t the Australian Mist alone which are under the threat that the breed will not survive. For us it is most serious, as unlike Abyssinians, Russians, Devon Rex, there is no other place from which they can be imported, and too many eggs are in the Bunyip basket …. I have been talking to breeders of other breeds, people who themselves are ageing, but are the only breeders of some particular breed in this state/fancy - the complaint is the same, there is no young blood; no-one to take over; no-one who is prepared to make the commitment to advance the breed, whatever it is, with all the responsibilities now entailed by our much greater knowledge of inherited health problems – and our greater ability to screen for them, and select against them.
In a way all these things are tied together with the increasingly punitive attitude of the state to cat ownership, and the realisation by the responsible owner that a cat should be confined. The fact that cats consequently live longer, means that they become much more important members of the ever smaller family, so the expectation is that we, the breeders, will produce a cat which is healthy, and lives a very long time. It really is quite a responsibility – not at all the same criterion as the ‘win at all cost’ philosophy of fly by night competitor/breeders…. It was in this respect that I found Ingrid so interesting, she has come to much the same view of her hobby – that we have a wider responsibilty, and underlying it is the primary selection factor for all breeding – HEALTH, followed by TEMPERAMENT. We certainly wouldn’t have any argument about that!
Now to return to that competative theme, more or less – it will be the 20th anniversary of our breed in 2006 – 16th July to be exact, and as at the 10th And 15th anniversaries, I would like to arrange a celebration. On the tenth and fifteenth anniversary, a specialist ring, for Australian Mist only was held in conjunction with an Allbreeds Championship Show, in NSW, where the breed was founded.
To celebrate the twentieth anniversary, here in Victoria, such an event is not possible, because of the way in which the awards are structured in this state. Therefore it is proposed that a non challenge awarding, but partly competitive, and partly participatory event be held in celebration. An outline of the proposal is included later in this newsletter – and thankyou to both Denis Turner, who has seen the proposal, for pledging a contribution to the trophies, and our Patron, Rhondda Watson, who has promised the Patron’s Prize for Supreme Exhibit – and who is so excited by the idea that she has already booked bed and board with a local judge, so that she can attend! Thankyou also to Rhondda, who donated $35 towards our End of Year Trophies, when she renewed her membership.
I hope you all find the proposal interesting – I am about to send it off to the FCCV – and the prefferred date I will be asking for is Sunday 14th May 2006, which I have already been informed is a weekend with no show here in Victoria. The first litter was born in May 1986, and of course, recognition of the breed followed its inspection and approval by the Management Committee of the RASCC in July 1986.
Generous donations to our Distress Fund have also arrived with Membership renewals, $50 from Mary Neal, $19 from Trish Drinkwater, and $15 each from Wendy Wenzel and Bill & Linda Roberts.
Talking of the Distress Fund, the Tale of TC and Tiger came to an end in August. TC, who had a stroke earlier in the year, from which he mostly recovered, gradually developed all kinds of problems which led eventually to him having really no interest in life, so after consultation we decided that our one and only Scottish Fold should be laid to rest in the garden with his friend Tiger.
Finally, welcome to our third New Member, Louis Bretherton, who shows two of Wendy Sherborne’s desexed cats in the NT. He will be our sole representative there after December, when Wendy moves to Queensland. Louis already has quite a few points in our End of Year Competition. Keep up the good work, Louis.
Truda Straede Editor
From ON THE SPOT, 68, December 2004
Yes, yes, late as usual!! This time I plead grass; grass which grew so fast through our warmish and dampish October to December that I had to mow every week, and even then it looked unmown after less than 4 days!!
Anyway, here we are, starting out into a New Year. I would like to welcome back onto the Committee Mrs Wendy Sherborne, who has relocated to Queensland, and regrettably no longer owns any Australian Mist. She will however remain as a friend to our breed, and undoubtedly will be seeing Mr Geoff Paton, who has also joined the Committee – and is being further drawn into the Cat fancy in Queensland. Mrs Elizabeth Burns has also joined us, another Victorian member. As the Vice President says ‘ I wish all committees involved so little work’ – well things may just well change a bit with planning for the 2006 20th Anniversary Show bound to gather pace towards the end of 2005.
The Anniversary Show is definitely approved to go ahead, the date confirmed (Saturday 13 MAY 2006) in the BUNYIP Community Hall, which has already been booked, and deposit paid. I have already invited Mr Rod U’ren, and Mrs Val Harney, both of whom have accepted our invitation, and reserved the date for us.
So far we have at least 4 exhibitors, but of course hope to make it more. ?Non exhibiting long time members, are planning to come from interstate, and I certainly hope that we can rustle up plenty more! If you are interested in forming part of one of the (maximum of) 3 Breeder/assessment teams, please let me know, so that we can start tossing ideas around …..
The End of Year Awards for 2004 look somewhat different from the previous couple of years – congratulations to all winners. I was particularly excited to see such a good representation of the the New Bloodline Thera cats. I look forward to their progeny starring in the years to come.
Wendy finished up her career as a breeder and exhibitor of Australian Mist on a high note with a star role in the CANT Annual Awards.
Bze Gt Gd Ch Nintu Marmor Latona tied for Best Australian Mist Cat with Bze Gt Gd Ch Latona Dawn Fraser and Bze Gt Gd PN Robert de Castella was Best Australian Mist Desexed & Group 3 Desexed of the Year.
Latona Azure Dawn was Best Australian Mist Kitten & Best Kitten Exhibit Overall.
Wendy wrote ‘BTW – couldn’t help bragging – I was lucky enough to be awarded the President’s Trophy for fundraising efforts during my time with CANT. Quite a shock, but Louis (Bretherton)(the rat) was in on it, as was my husband, and neither of them told me!’
Wendy will undoubtedly be quite an asset for the Queensland Club lucky enough to claim her!
The End of Year Awards were displayed at the Annual Party, prior to being posted to the winners. Both John and I now have an embroidered pocket on a T-shirt to wear at shows, and I hope that various other winners will be wearing them proudly to their shows during 2005. There was no Riki Memorial Award this Year, the next one I have in mind I hope to present in person to the winner at the 2006 Anniversary Show. Likewise, I had a single medallion only engraved for my Best and Runner-up wins, with the third place medallion going to Geoff Paton. I did however, have one interstate visitor, Mrs Mhaire Higgins, who had written to me in great grief at the loss of her Beautiful Zeus (Nintu Essential Helper), who was the first Australian Mist ever to feature in the Cat of the Year Awards in NSW…. Mhaire came to assist me with the party (and oh boy can she clean silver, it still looks terrific), and to investigate the potential parents for a new show neuter kitten …. Well to cut a long story short, she slept with my ‘kittens ready for sale’ and fell in love with a truly wicked young blue marbled lad…. He winged his way to Newcastle two days before Christmas, in company with a silver Maine Coon spay cat for daughter Cathy – and both are now living in clover. (Ah, but they don ‘t realise it yet, they have yet to pay the rent – by going to shows, and we hope, doing some winning!)
The party was also to celebrate my 60th birthday. Along with ‘Hebe’ (a very soulful bust to place in the garden) and the first of our craftsman made oak carvers, came a card from Monica Scheck, including a nice piece of ‘catterel’, which I include below for your delectation!
The appearance of the Australian Mist on Burke’s Backyard, and the end of this program, led us to decide at the AGM that I should write a letter of thanks to Don. I have done so. I for one am very sad to see the program go, though it is a good thing to see that the magazine goes from strength to strength. Lynden contributed (with help from her friends) to the Cats and Kittens Annual 2004 – if you haven’t yet seen it, ask your Newsagent. It is, as always, a beautifully presented production, well worthy of inclusion in your cat library – even without the bonus of the Vice President’s contribution.
The FCCV journal, Feline Focus ran its first breed profile in December 2004 – and guess who featured – why the Australian Mist, of course! (And an old and rather flattering photo of Riki and I). From this I think we may gain a new Australian Mist exhibitor with the FCCV …..
I can’t leave 2004 behind without sparing a thought for its terrible ending, and the fate of not only humans, but of all those farm animals, and pets which perished when the tsunami crashed ashore. While this natural disaster had nothing to do with global warming, I cannot but help fear that there are more catastrophic events ahead for spaceship earth, which are likely to touch us all even more personally.
Truda M Straede Editor
Cats around the world take note
Whether you have a short or long coat
Praise the founder of this fantastic breed
Very handsome cats indeed
The ‘Australian Mist’ is its name
Changed from ‘Spotted’ – its still the same
Two types – marbled and spotted
Show me an owner who’s not besotted
Truda has given us the purrfect cat
For this we must raise our hat
Truda now reaches her 60th milestone
That’s nothing to bemoan
Best wishes your feline friends send to you
With a gentle purr and a gleeful mew!!!!
HAPPY 60TH BIRTHDAY TRUDA
RETURN TO AMCFA