GP, RW Bejeweled Sterling Silver
by PAULINE RYAN, Bejeweled Exotics & Himalayans & LEE HARPER
Published September 2015

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This is the story of two remarkable females—one human and one feline. Pauline Ryan had been breeding and showing cats under the Bejeweled cattery name for almost nine years, but it always seemed like bad luck prevented her from ever granding a cat. Then, in 2013, a lynxpoint Exotic kitten was born in her cattery with a recurring health problem—a prolapsing rectum. Almost everyone told Pauline to put the kitten down—that more surgery would be a waste of money.

But Pauline didn't listen to that advice . . .


GP, RW Bejeweled Sterling Silver
CFA Northwest Region's 25th Best Cat in Premiership 2014-2015
Photo by Chanan

My name is Pauline Ryan and I live in Southern Oregon.  When I was in my twenties, I began breeding and showing Persians but I was also married and raising a family so the demands on my time and finances forced me to reconsider.   I kept a few of my breeders as beloved pets and put my dream on the shelf for almost 15 years . . .

On Feb 3, 2005 my last Persian suddenly passed away.  For the first time in my life, I was without a cat by my side.  I had always wanted an Exotic Shorthair, so this was my perfect opportunity to again dip my toe in to the cat fancy waters—only this time with an Exotic.  I immediately started searching for a special kitten. Through a series of emails and referrals,  I found a suitable breeder in Georgia.  She even had kittens available!

I chose my kitten and when I realized that it was born on Feb 3, 2005, the same date I had lost my last Persian, I felt it was meant to be mine—despite everyone I knew telling me I was crazy for buying a cat that would need to be shipped across the entire width of the United States from Georgia to Portland, almost 2600 miles.  


CH Mypalspurr Sweet Jewel of Bejeweled
Photo by Jim

My original intent was just to show her for fun but the more I researched, the more enthusiastic I became about the possibility of her having kittens. When I made new friends at the CFA cat show who helped mentor and encourage me, I decided to give breeding a shot. 

Perseverance

Fast forward to 2013 . . .

I had been breeding and showing for almost 9 years, yet had never granded a cat.  Several times I had a kitty come close to having enough points, but I always seemed to run into a roadblock. One cat was spooked at a show; another began cycling; another decided he'd rather breed than show.  It was always something.  

I think most people would have been discouraged,  but for me it was never just about winning.  I loved the social aspect of showing and so I persevered. I maintained a small breeding program and showed whenever possible.

A Difficult Labor

In the spring of 2013, I had a wonderful opportunity to borrow a breeding sire from my friend Kathy Durdick of Ristokat Himalayans.  GC, RW A KitKat Cowboy Casanova of Ristokat (known as Teddy) came to stay with me for several months.   I mated him with my homozygous flamepoint zot girl, CH Bejeweled Maui Coral, and started counting down the days to the kittens’ arrival.  


Dam: CH Bejeweled Maui Coral and Sire: GC, RW A KitKat Cowboy Casanova of Ristokat
Photo by Chanan (left) Photo by L. Johnson (right)

In the late evening of August 10, 2013, Maui went into labor.  She was actively pushing but not much was happening.  Our vet was not available until morning so my daughter, Ally Beth, and I took turns sitting up all night with Maui monitoring her progress. 

By morning she had delivered a  stillborn kitten.  I felt Maui was too exhausted to deliver the rest of the litter herself so as soon as our vet opened we rushed Maui to the hospital for an emergency C-section.   Four more kittens were delivered.  We took them home and by that night they were all nursing and doing well.  

Over the next few days the smallest kitten sadly passed away.  We were down to three babies, two tortiepoint girls and a flamepoint boy, but they all were thriving.  

A Problem

The three siblings grew, played, developed.  Each was doing beautifully and all three were lovely quality too.  I felt so fortunate.  Maui started weaning her kittens right on schedule and the babies began eating kitten food.

Then, when the kittens were almost 10 weeks old, I woke up one morning to discover one of the little girls had something hanging out her butt!   I had never seen anything like it.  Almost two inches of red, swollen flesh protruded from her anus.

I called several of my breeder friends for advice.  They explained she had a Prolapsed Rectum and that I needed to get her to the vet ASAP.  

While seated in my vet's waiting room I researched prolapsed rectum on my phone.  When a rectum "prolapses", part of the lower intestine which is normally inside the body turns inside out and protrudes out of the anus.

Treatment involves pushing the tissue back in to its normal position inside the body and then placing a few sutures around the anus to prevent it from being pushed out again during a bowel movement.  These "purse string" sutures allow stool to pass out but prevents the colon from inverting again.  The stitches are usually left in place at least 5 days.

Though the exact cause of a prolapsed rectum is not known, excess straining during a bowel movement either from constipation or diarrhea may be a contributing factor.  The kitten never had diarrhea so it may have been that she was constipated.

My vet anesthetized the kitten, and with the aid of generously applied KY jelly, the prolapse was reduced, a purse string stitch added, Amoxicillin prescribed, and home we went with directions to keep the kitten confined, monitor intake and output, and to return in a week to remove the stitch.

Home

We needed to track how much she ate and her bowel movements so we confined her to a playpen, separating her from her mother and littermates.  She was not a happy camper.  She cried from being alone even though we did everything possible to comfort her.

Four days after the original prolapse, the stitch was removed and she seemed to be doing well.


A Roller Coaster Ride

Although the vet was pleased with her progress, the next month became a a true roller-coaster ride.

Seven days after the purse string stitch was removed, she prolapsed again. Of course our veterinarian was closed.  On the phone he suggested bringing her in overnight and and they would repeat the surgery in morning.  I opted to keep her home so she was more relaxed and so I could monitor her.

By morning, the prolapse had completely receded but I took her to the vet anyway.  Her x-ray revealed a full colon and full bladder.  My vet prescribed Albon and said to stop all antibiotics.  Although he offered to have her stay that day for observation, I again opted to take her home so she was less stressed.  I set her up again in her kitty condo and belatedly went to my job.

Three Times

Late in the afternoon my husband called to say she had prolapsed again.  I rushed home, and off we went to the vet again even though it was after hours by the time we arrived.

He put her under anesthesia again, pushed everything back in and stitched another purse string to hold it in place. Once again, we sequestered her in the kitty condo, letting her out for supervised play with her when we could keep a close eye on her.

This time the stitch was left in for 12 days before it was removed.  Everything was looking great.  Hopes were high that this time everything would stay where it was supposed to be.

Number Four

The evening after the purse string was removed she prolapsed for a fourth time.  This time she also had diarrhea. I crated her and tried syringing a sugar water solution directing on the prolapse to help shrink the tissue hoping it might go back in on its own. I sat up with her most of the night but there was little progress.

I learned that after repeated prolapses, the colon would be sewn in place to prevent a recurrence.  Several experienced cat breeders told me this type of surgery often doesn't work—indeed, that it was a waste of money.  I resolved to take my kitten to the vet first thing in morning to discuss the possibility of sewing the colon in place—either that or putting her down.

First thing in the morning I called the vet to let him know I was on my way.  When I transferred the kitten from the larger crate to my travel carrier I was delighted to see that the prolapse had receded completely back to normal.  I still took her to vet.   He didn't want to do the surgery yet, preferring to wait until she was bigger. He even suggested she might grow out of it.  He asked me to change her food.   If she still prolapsed again, he would do another purse string stitch.

All the while this kitten did not have a name as I planned on placing her in a pet home and I like to let the new owners name their kitten.  Her vet records said "No Name" and the techs all called her “Nonawmay”.  They fell in love with the little girl.

Placing her in a pet home was off the table unless this problem could be resolved.  I couldn't give up on this courageous little kitten . . .

Fifth Time

I took her home and things seemed better.  I carefully monitored her food and her bowel movements, making sure she wasn't straining.  I wanted her stools formed but a little on the soft side.  A month went by and I began to believe that things were finally back on track.

She prolapsed for a fifth time. Five times!

Back to the vet.  I begged him to do the surgery to sew everything in place.  He finally agreed, and kept her overnight to fast her before performing the surgery in th morning. He would spay her at the same time.

When he opened her up they discovered she had a "midline defect".  Everything was there and the correct size but her bladder was shifted to the left and some organs were not exactly in the correct places.  He put everything back the way it was supposed to be, attached her colon to the lining to prevent it from coming out again, and spayed her. 

After an overnight stay for recovery I was able to bring her home the next day. 

Bejeweled Sterling Silver

Within days she was recovering nicely and eventually she was integrated back into the household.

As we weathered crisis after crisis, this kitten had grown very close to me, even thinking I was her mother.  We now had a bond unlike any I had experienced with any cat before.  She followed me everywhere I went in the house during the day.  She slept at my head every night.  I realized she was never going to that pet home.  We were now heart-mates. She would remain with me always . . . so now she needed a name.

In honor of her coat color, she was christened "Bejeweled Sterling Silver".  Her sister was named Bejeweled Rhinestone Cowgirl and their brother was Bejeweled Maui Casanova.  I had always planned on keeping the sister and brother as part of my breeding program, so now all three siblings would remain part of my feline family.


Silver relaxes on the sofa with her sister . . .

My Problem Child Becomes a Star

When Silver was old enough I began showing her along with her sister and brother.  Showing these three kittens was so different from anything I had experienced before.  At one show I won more ribbons in two days than I had won in 9 years of exhibiting.  I quickly realized this litter was extra special. 


Silver relaxes in her grooming space at the show

On June 7, 2014 my dream came true when Silver officially became GP Bejeweled Sterling Silver.  My little problem kitten that had such a rocky start in life became my first cat ever to earn the title of Grand!

My girl had beaten the odds, won my heart, and gave me a gift I had been chasing for 10 years . . .


Pauline Ryan with new Grand GP Bejeweled Sterling Silver, CFA judge Pam Moser and Pauline's daughter, Ally Beth.

Her sister, GC Bejeweled Rhinestone Cowgirl, granded in Championship a month later.   Their brother took a little longer because I couldn’t get to as many shows, but in March, 2015 he became GC Bejeweled Maui Casanova.

With three new Grands from a single litter I was over the moon!  It was time to stay home.


GC Bejeweled Rhinestone Cowgirl, Tortie Lynxpoint ESH
Photo by Chanan


GC Bejeweled Maui Casanova, Flame Lynxpoint ESH Male
Photo by Chanan

A Friend Calls . . .

Then the telephone rang. It was my friend Kathy Durdick (and owner of Silver's papa) asking if I was going to show Silver anymore this season. I told her I wasn’t planning on it because I had other things that needed my time and attention.  

She explained to me that Silver was sitting in 27th place in our Regional standings—and if I brought her out to the last few shows of the season, she might just possibly earn enough points to slide her into the top 25 for a Regional Winner title. 

What?! Okay, then yes indeed I planned on continuing showing.  Without a second thought I entered Silver in the last two shows of the season . . . and she did indeed do well enough to move into 25th highest cat in Premiership in the Northwest Region.  I was beyond excited, thrilled and and just a little shocked to have my wonderful baby not only be my first Grand ever, my first homebred Grand AND now my first ever Regional Winner too . . . GP, RW Bejeweled Sterling Silver.


GP, RW Bejeweled Sterling Silver
CFA Northwest Region's 25th Best Cat in Premiership 2014-2015
Photo by Chanan

I am so glad I did not give up and put her to sleep when she was having her medical issues.  She is hands down the best cat I have ever bred and that I have ever owned.  Silver is a FOREVER cat in my home . . . and my heart.

GP, RW Bejeweled Sterling Silver

Tortie Lynxpoint Exotic Shorthair Female

CFA Northwest Region's 25th Best Cat in Premiership 2015

Born August 11, 2013
Sire: GC, RW A KitKat Cowboy Casanova of Ristokat
Dam: CH Bejeweled Maui Coral
Breeder/Owner: Pauline Ryan


Photo by Chanan


Photo by Chanan


Photo by Chanan


Photo by Chanan


Photo by Chanan


Photo by Chanan

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