GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Absolutely Fabulous

CFA’s Kitten of the Year 2016-2017

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GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Playing With Fire
CFA’s 3rd Best Kitten 2016-2017

BY OMAR F. GONZALEZ & GARY L. VEACH, Briar-Mar Manx
Published May 2017

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CFA's Kitten of the Year 2017 is a calico female Manx named GC, NW Briar-Mar's Absolutely Fabulous.  This gorgeous girl known as "Abby" is bred and co-owned by Omar F. Gonzalez, Gary L. Veach and Gay Van Weelden.

This is her story, and the story of her half-sister, GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Playing With Fire . . .


GC, NW Briar-Mar's Absolutely Fabulous
CFA's Kitten of the Year 2017

Photo by Chanan

Gary and I wanted to add the black gene to our Manx breeding program since most of our cats are reds, red and whites and whites.  We turned to our good friend and mentor, Gay Van Weelden of Mistysprings Manx.  Our breeding program is based solely on Gay’s lines, so we asked Gay if she had a suitable black and white female that we could lease for a litter.

Gay had a lovely female, CH Mistysprings Deco Dolly that she thought would suit us.  Dolly was a beautiful girl with a short body, perfect black/white pattern and pretty expression.  Gay hand-delivered her to us at the 2015 CFA World Show in Philadelphia, PA.

Dolly made herself right at home with us.  In addition to her obvious beauty she was a very sweet tempered cat.  My only concern was her age.  Although a proven mother, and in lovely condition, Dolly was seven years old . . . not really old, but no longer young either.

Dolly came in season a few months after coming to us.  Hoping for a calico kitten, we decided to mate Dolly with our red tabby, GC, BW, NW Mistysprings Chicago Fire, who had already produced several national winners for us.


Abby's Sire: GC BW NW Mistysprings Chicago Fire
Photo by Chanan

He was bred to Dolly and we were all excited waiting to see what the breeding would produce.

After three weeks, unfortunately, Dolly didn't pink up.  It appeared she wasn't pregnant. I had been concerned about her age already, so I assumed that she was too old to conceive again.

An Unexpected Gift . . .

It was the morning of March 8th, 2016.  I awoke to the cry of a kitten.  We had no litters at the time, so I immediately went searching to find who was making that distinctive mewing sound.

To our delight, we discovered Dolly proudly nursing a single, perfectly marked, rumpy calico newborn kitten.  Dolly had never shown any signs of being pregnant (although with only one kitten that was perhaps was no surprise).  In speaking with Gay, we later discovered Dolly had never had more than one or two kittens in a litter.

The kitty gods were truly smiling on us on that day.  Dolly's singleton was the calico rumpy we had been dreaming about.  From the start she looked most promising, and continued to develop beautifully with each passing week.  We named her Briar-Mar's Absolutely Fabulous — after all, that's what she was. “Abby” was a true miracle kitten.

Living Up To Her Name . . .

Abby’s first show at 4 months was the prestigious Garden State Cat Club event in New Jersey.

Small and a bit intimidated by the large, loud and very busy show hall, Abby still lived up to her name by being the highest scoring kitten in the show.  It was just the beginning of a "fabulous" show career.  She would go on to be the highest scoring kitten in all her shows with the exception of one time when she missed top honors by just 5 points.

She zoomed up the national rankings, reaching the Best Kitten in CFA top spot in the first weekend in September.


Abby
Photo by Chanan

Abby's Half-Sister, Betty

Meanwhile, at home we were raising another litter sired by GC, BW, NW Mistysprings Chicago Fire out of one of our kitten winners from last year, GC, NW Briar-Mar’s All About the Bass.


Betty's Dam: GC NW Briar-Mar’s All About the Bass
Photo by Chanan

The breeding produced a lovely red tabby and white female we named Briar-Mar’s Playing With Fire, “Betty” to her friends.  Betty, of course, was a half-sister to Abby.

We loved both these kittens . . . and wanted to try to show Betty as well as Abby . . . but expecting judges to put up two Manx kittens in a final was perhaps asking for too much.  So, we showed Betty alongside Abby for a couple of shows while she was young, just to get her used to showing.  Even though several judges used both kittens in their finals, we decided to leave Betty at home until we felt “Abby” had enough points to stay solidly at the top of CFA's national kitten rankings.

Once Abby was comfortable at #1 Kitten, we could concentrate on showing Betty.


Betty
Photo by Chanan

By mid-October, it was Betty's turn — and it did not take long for her kitten career to take off. Like her half-sister before her, Betty excelled in the show ring and moved quickly up the kitten rankings of CFA.

Abby’s last kitten show was supposed to be Cotton States, but we made the decision to only take Betty since we felt that Abby’s #1 Kitten ranking was not going to be challenged.  Betty went on to be highest scoring kitten at the Cotton States campaign show.

The CFA International Show 2017

Both girls went on to the 2017 CFA International Show held in Novi, Michigan.  Abby entered as an Open in the Red Show, while Betty was still a kitten in the Purple Show.

Abby granded in one show going Best Champion in all but one ring where she was 2nd Best CH.

Betty was highest scoring kitten in the Purple Show, earning 4 Best Kittens out of the 7 rings. She went on to grand in one show two weeks later.


Gary Veach with Betty at CFA's World Show 2017

Two Briar-Mar Kitten National Winners For 2017

At the end of the season, GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Absolutely Fabulous was CFA’s Kitten of the Year 2016-2017 . . . and her half-sister, GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Playing With Fire was CFA’s 3rd Best Kitten 2016-2017.

Our Briar-Mar baby girls had indeed done us proud.


GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Absolutely Fabulous
Photo by Chanan


GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Playing With Fire
Photo by Chanan

The Next Generation . . .

Both girls are now raising their own litters and we hope the saga continues . . . 

As with any success, it could not be possible without the support and help from others.  Our story would not be worth telling if not for the incredible generosity of Gay Van Weelden of Mistysprings Manx.  She has always been there for advice, support and continues to share her cats with us.  If not for Gay, there would not be a Briar-Mar Manx.

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More photos from the show career of

GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Absolutely Fabulous
Calico Female Shorthair Manx

CFA's Kitten of The Year 2016-2017

Born March 8th, 2016

Sire: GC, BW, NW Mistysprings Chicago Fire
Dam: CH Mistysprings Deco Dolly
Breeder/Owners: Omar F. Gonzalez / Gary L. Veach / Gay Van Weelden


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GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Playing With Fire
Red Classic Tabby & White Female Shorthair Manx

CFA's Third Best Kitten of The Year 2016-2017

Born March 20, 2016

Sire: GC, BW, NW Mistysprings Chicago Fire
Dam: GC, NW Briar-Mar’s All About the Bass

Breeder/Owners: Omar F. Gonzalez / Gary L. Veach


GC, NW Briar-Mar’s Playing With Fire
Photo by Chanan


Abby with CFA Judge Melanie Morgan


Betty with Judge Yaeko Takano


CFA Judge Kathy Black examines Betty

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