GC, BW, NW Belamy's Desiderata of Cinema

BY BLAKE MAYES
Cinema Persians
Published May 2014

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CFA Cat of the Year 2013-2014 is GC, BW, NW Belamy's Desiderata of Cinema, a stunning calico Persian bred by Monika Vowe-Lamys, co-owned and co-shown by Blake Mayes, Dennis Adler and Connie Stewart.   This is their story . . .


GC, BW, NW Belamy's Desiderata of Cinema

CFA Cat Of The Year 2013-2014
Photo by Chanan

Cinema Persians

Our names are Blake Mayes and Dennis Adler.  We started breeding Persians under the Cinema cattery name in 1990, specializing in copper-eyed white Persians.  We have been very fortunate to have had multiple National and Regional Winners as well as many Grand Champions.  Our first big winner was GC, NW Toshika's Day Dreamer of Cinema, a copper-eyed white Persian who was CFA's 13th Best Cat 1991-1992.

Today we are a small cattery located in Boise, Idaho.


GC, NW Toshika's Day Dreamer of Cinema
Photo by Carl Widmer

Valentino

Dennis and I never intended to buy a new Persian in 2013 — and especially not a bicolor.  We are first and foremost breeders of white Persians. We already had our national campaign cat for the season — an exquisite boy named Cinema's Valentino who we co-owned with our good friend, Connie Stewart.  The plan was that I would show Valentino for the first three or four months of the 2013-2014 show season then Connie would take over when I was no longer able to take the time off from my job in real estate. 


GC, BW, NW Cinema's Valentino of Wishes

Photo by Chanan

Sight Unseen

In April of 2013 I received a long-distance call from Connie.  She was attending a cat show in Europe and had just seen one of the most beautiful Persians she'd ever encountered.  Connie has owned or shown too many national winning Persians to count, including several Cats Of The Year, so when she praises a Persian, it is saying a lot. 

Connie continued to rave about the year-old calico named Belamy's Desiderata that she has seen in Germany.  She wouldn't stop talking about her.  It really peaked my interest when I heard the same praise from judges and other exhibitors who had seen the cat.  I looked "Desi" up on CFA's Herman and discovered she was a one-show grand with 680 points!   

A few weeks later Connie called to tell me that Desi's breeder, Monika Vowe of Belamy Persians, was willing to sell her.  Within a few emails the deal was made, money wired and sight unseen Desi was ours.  I was already campaigning Valentino at the time and I was unsure how I'd manage to show them both at the same time, but I knew Desi was very special and we wanted her in our breeding program.
 
The Best Laid Plans . . .

Arrangements were made for Desi to travel almost 6000 miles from Germany to Los Angeles, California via Lufthansa Airlines.  I would fly from Boise to L.A., landing around the same time as the kitty.  Connie, who lives in L.A., would pick me up at the airport, we'd drive to the cargo terminal to get Desi, complete all the paperwork necessary to import a cat into the country, and then I'd fly home to Idaho with Desi the same day.  She'd have a few days to settle into her new home with us and then off to a show we'd go together with Valentino. 

Well, even the best laid plans can go quickly awry . . .

I arrived in L.A. as scheduled and waited for Connie.  A few minutes turned into hours. No Connie.  She was not answering her phone.  I began to panic.

Back in Idaho, my partner Dennis was frantically making phone calls and finally got in touch with Connie's housekeeper.  Connie has diabetes and had been rushed to the hospital that morning in critical condition.  I was on my own.

I had no idea how to locate Desi at the airport, but figured Lufthansa Airlines was a good place to start. 

When I inquired at their passenger desk I was told that the cat had indeed arrived safely, but I had to go to the cargo terminal to pick her up — two miles away!  I rented a car with a GPS and successfully drove to the cargo office.  Desi was there, but all her paperwork was in Connie's name, not mine, so they could not (and would) not release her to me. 

It was now noon in L.A. We had until 5PM when the cargo office would close to get everything sorted out.  If Desi was not claimed by closing time, Lufthansa would keep her overnight at an animal shelter — and send her back to Germany in the morning.

I was now in an absolute frenzy.  I was determined not to leave L.A. without Desi. 

Red Tape!

I canceled my flight back home and began calling everyone I could think of who might help.  Finally, I got in touch with friend and CFA judge, Vickie Nye.  Vickie was Facebook friends with Monika and would try to contact her in Germany to let her know what had happened. 

Within a few minutes Vickie called me back.  She'd been in touch with Monika who said she would start calling Lufthansa to try to get the name on the airbill changed from Connie's to mine.  Monika contacted cargo in L.A. and luckily there was a German translator available. It took three hours, but by 4:30PM, my name was on the airbill and they would release Desi to me — but first, I had to have her import papers passed and stamped by United States Customs.  Of course, the customs office was over two miles away and I had only 30 minutes to get there, complete the paperwork and return to the cargo department before they closed. 

I snatched up the papers and dashed to the car. It was a race against the clock . . . but I finally claimed Desi from cargo at 4:59PM. 

Relieved and smiling, I opened Desi's carrier door — only to discover she was soaking wet!  Apparently a 5 gallon water bottle had been set on top of her carrier and had been leaking on her for hours.  After all that had happened this day, it was just one more little disaster to overcome.

Exhausted, I rented a hotel room, bought the basic essentials for both Desi and myself, and purchased a new ticket back home to Idaho for the following day.   We finally arrived in Boise on Wednesday and headed off to Desi's first US show on Friday — where she was highest scoring cat in Championship. What a trooper!


Desi was a dream to show
Photo by Chanan

A Dream Kitty
 
Desi is the cat that every breeder and exhibitor dreams of for so many reasons.  She was so easy to show.  All the little "tricks" we do as exhibitors to keep our show cats looking and feeling their best were never needed for Desi.  She carried huge coat and weight all on her own.  She never closed her eyes in the ring, never had attitude and never soured from all the traveling and showing every weekend.  I can easily say that for the first time in my 25 years of showing cats in CFA  I knew I had one of the top cats at every show we entered.  She was an absolute dream.

You'd think that the things I would remember the most from her national campaign would be the many times she was Best Across The Board, or when she was Best Cat In Show at the CFA World Show 2013. But it's not the actual wins themselves that I treasure most . . . what I loved to do was stand behind the spectators chairs at ringside.  When the judge would take Desi out of the cage and place her on the judging table, a hush would fall over the crowd.  I know that with so many competitive personalities at a cat show, drama can happen between exhibitors, but everyone seemed to realize that Desi was extra special and they always seemed to just want to see and admire her.   Exhibitors who had been showing and breeding for decades asked if they could touch her.  I was humbled at the admiration everyone felt for Desi . . .


Desi Head Study
Photo by Chanan

Campaigning Two
 
I showed Desi and Valentino together for three months.  By then, Connie had made a full recovery and was ready to hit the campaign trail — and I was more than ready to get off it and get back to work.  Connie began her time with Desi and Valentino.  Dennis and I watched from the sidelines in awe as both cats climbed higher and higher in the national standings each month.

Most breeders dream of producing a CFA Cat Of The Year (COTY).  We felt that our homebred boy, Valentino, had a shot at it.  When Desi moved ahead of Valentino in the national standings, we knew if we kept showing Desi that we'd be sacrificing Valentino's chances of being COTY.   It wasn't an easy decision, but we felt that Desi was destined for the top slot.  We couldn't deny her.

The decision was made to keep showing Desi while also continuing to campaign Valentino — even though we knew we were now showing Valentino for second place. 

Halo

As you can imagine, we were ver-r-r-r-r-y busy campaigning Desi and Valentino.  At the same time we had a litter of six white kittens at home.  There was one kitten that stood out.  "Halo" was a blue-eyed white boy that was more than double the size of his littermates.  Connie has always loved blue-eyed whites and when she saw Halo she was immediately smitten.  She asked if she could have him, we agreed and off they went.

It was late in the year and the kitten counts were winding down so we knew Halo didn't have enough time to rack up points in the show ring.  Connie showed him a few times and he did very well, but he was already 7 months old and the counts were low.  He went to San Diego, CA for what we had thought would be his last show.

He did extremely well and left the show in 28th place in the national kitten standings. 

A national win was so close, but Halo aged out in just 8 days.  We had just one more show to pick up enough points to squeeze into the top 25.

There was a show in Hong Kong the following weekend.  The kitten count looked good.  It was Halo's only shot at earning an NW.  The decision was made Sunday night. We would go for it!  Connie and Dennis purchased tickets to Hong Kong and a few days later they were on their way.  

Halo was highest scoring kitten at the show and moved all the way from 28th to 18th.  We were in shock.  He had done it!

He aged out a few days later.

 

GC, NW Cinema's Halo of Wishes - CFA's 18th Best Kitten 2013-2014
Photo by Chanan

COTY
 
A month before the end of the season, Desi showed signs of cycling for the first time.  I had promised myself we'd never endanger Desi's future as a breeding cat regardless of where she stood nationally.  She had amassed over 9,000 points, was #1 in Championship and no one could catch her.  We knew it was time to stop.   I took her home from a show in Los Angeles and a few days later shaved off her magnificent coat. 

Meantime, Valentino was is a tight race for the #2 slot in Championship. 

We kept on showing . . .

A Postscript

It was a phenomenal year for Cinema Persians. Desi was CFA's Cat Of The Year. Valentino did capture the Second Best Cat In Championship — the first time the same exhibitor had cats be 1st and 2nd in Championship . . .  and Halo makes it three national winners all in one season. It was an experience of a lifetime for us. We will never forget this incredible show season.

Desi is now our treasured pet, enjoying the full run of the house with our other family feline, GC, BW, NW Artemis Stardust Memory of Cinema who was CFA's 2nd Best Cat for 2004-2005.  We are now looking forward to the pitter-pat of little Desi's running around very soon.     


GC, BW, NW Artemis Stardust Memory of Cinema
Photo by Chanan

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Below are photos from the show career of

GC, BW, NW Belamy's Desiderata of Cinema

Calico Female Persian

CFA Cat Of The Year
CFA's Best Cat In Championship 2013-2014
CFA's Best Persian 2013-2014

Born June 24, 2012
Sire: CH Belamy Chopard
Dam: Belamy Hot Pursuit
Breeder: Monika Vowe-Lamys
Owners: Blake Mayes, Dennis Adler and Connie Stewart


Photo by Chanan


Desi waits patiently on the grooming table until she is called to the ring . . .


Judge Wayne Trevathan selects Desi as Best of the Best at the CFA World Show 2013


Desi with Connie Stewart


Desi at the airport on the way home from a show in Japan . . .


Desi relaxing on the sofa and sporting her "retirement" haircut . . .

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