GC, BWR, NW Kasanovakatz Reynah

CFA Cat Of The Year 2018

BY STEPHANIE MOHR, Kasanovakatz Burmillas & LORI HOLLISTER
Published May 2018

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CFA's Cat Of The Year 2018 is a stunning seal sepia shaded silver longhair female Burmilla named GC, BWR, NW Kasanovakatz Reynah. Reynah is not only the first of her breed to be Best Cat In Championship in CFA, she is the first Burmilla national winner in the history of CFA!   This history-making kitty is bred by Stephanie Mohr of Kasanovakatz Burmillas and co-owned by Stephanie Mohr, Lori Hollister, Gregory & Leigh Sorokin.

This is their story . . .


GC, BWR, NW Kasanovakatz Reynah
CFA's Cat Of The Year 2018

Photo by Chanan


The Burmilla is a relatively new breed in CFA. It's just 4 years since it gained championship status and the right to earn show titles.

The breed originated in England in 1981 in the home of Baroness Miranda Von Kirchberg (Astahazy Cattery) where an accidental mating between a Silver Chinchilla male Persian and a female Lilac Burmese resulted in the birth of four female kittens, all shorthaired and black shaded silver in color.  The stunningly beautiful kittens excited much interest in the cat world.  A controlled breeding program was established.  Standards were produced in 1984, and the breed gained championship status in the United Kingdom's GGCF and Europe's FIFe cat registries in the 1990s. 

CFA accepted Burmillas to championship status in 2014, followed by TICA in 2015.


The Kasanovakatz "R" Litter

My name is Stephanie Mohr.  With my husband, Russell, we have a small CFA & TICA registered hobby cattery located in Northern California, breeding quality Burmillas under the cattery name Kasanovakatz.

I work for the Sacramento Sheriff's Department after having been a Registered Veterinary Technician at several veterinary hospitals and county animal services.  Russell is a retired wildlife biologist. He really loves our cats and even helps with mid-wife duties!

In the spring of 2016, I bred CH Kasanovakatz Kendal to CH Kasanovakatz Dynah.  Dynah was a super-mom, having produced several award-winning progeny including:

  • GC, BW Kasanovakatz Heather: the first LH Burmilla Grand Champion in CFA.
  • SGC Kasanovakatz Heath: the first Burmilla Supreme Grand Champion in TICA (Heath & Heather are littermates).
  • GC, BWR, RW / TICA SGC Kasanovakatz Mykah: the first LH Burmilla to earn both CFA Grand Championship and TICA Supreme Grand Champion titles

Understandably I was excited about her next litter of kittens. My hopes were running high.


Reynah's mother and producer "extraordinaire", CH Kasanovakatz Dynah


Reynah's sire CH Kasanovakatz Kendal in a photo taken at 6 months of age. 

Immediately after the Kasanovakatz “R” litter was born, a longhair girl caught my eye. 

I hoped the new “R” longhair baby girl would be a keeper.  As the kittens grew, this little female became super “zoomy”.  All of our babies go through the “zoomies”, but this girl zoomed everywhere!  Unless she was sleepy, she was almost impossible to photograph. She just never stood still. 

The time came to name the kittens and I wanted the longhair girl’s name to be similar to those of her mother, Dynah, and older half-sister, Mykah.  I chose the name Reynah.  The unusual spelling is intentional.

Baby Reynah


Baby Reynah at 5 weeks of age

As a youngster, there was no way to predict how Reynah would mature.  She wasn't much to look at during her "awkward" stage.  She was simply not very attractive, but I was determined to let her grow up before making any decisions about her future. 

At the same time we were also evaluating two other girl kittens, a shorthair and a longhair from a litter born one week prior to Reynah. 

At five months of age, all three girls went to their first local TICA show.  To my surprise, Reynah made six of eighteen finals.  The shorthair kitten made four finals and the other longhair girl was totally overlooked in the judging. 

Reynah handled herself exceedingly well for her first time away from home.  She was completely unfazed by all the commotion of a typical cat show. 

All three kittens were shown a few more times and Reynah proved to be the better of the two longhair kittens.  A few shows later she was taking her first airplane trip — to Pennsylvania. 

My main reason for the trip was to pick up a stud boy from my friend and mentor, Keith Kimberlin (Kitzn Cattery), but I scheduled the trip to include a show near Keith.  I figured, “what the heck”, I’ll take Reynah along so Keith and the judges back East can see a longhair Burmilla. 

To my surprise, Reynah made seven of twelve finals, including twice being chosen Best AB Kitten!

Reynah had a wonderful time playing on the judge’s tables and I had the rather startling thought that perhaps Reynah was better than I realized.  The points Reynah earned at the big Pennsylvania show made a regional award a possibility.   I showed her one more time as a kitten before she aged out.  She easily earned a regional kitten win in CFA.  My girl was on her way!


RW Kasanovakatz Reynah
Photo by Chanan


Even when being professionally photographed, Reynah was ready to "zoom" off the table!
Photo by Chanan

Showing CFA & TICA 2016-2017

On Reynah’s eighth month birthday, we flew to Portland, OR, for a huge eighteen ring TICA show.  The competition was very tough, with approximately 80 championship cats . . . , but Reynah held her own, earning six finals, one of which was a Best Cat. 

We continued to show in both CFA and TICA throughout the 2016–2017 show seasons.  Reynah quickly granded in CFA and was one Best Cat away from earning her Supreme Grand Championship in TICA.  When I was unable to take Reynah to the upcoming local TICA show and asked Lori Hollister (Reynah's biggest fan) if she would show her for me.  I trusted Lori and knew she loved to show. 

Lori emphatically said, “Yes!” 

Reynah earned the Best Cat she needed to add the TICA Supreme title to her name —and Lori had a fantastic time showing her. 

Prior to the start of 2017–2018 show season, I had decided to try for a national win with Reynah.  I had strategically shown her in both TICA and CFA to see which association gave her the best opportunity to earn an NW.  Hands down, CFA judges gave her the most attention, so a campaign in CFA it would be! 

My goal of adding an NW to Reynah's name seemed realistic and if we achieved it, Reynah would be the first Burmilla to ever earn an NW in CFA.  To accomplish the goal she would need to be one of the top 25 cats in Championship.

A Bump On The Campaign Trail — And A Little Help From A Friend

We started off the new show season with enthusiasm and enjoyed immediate success.  Then, barely a month into the season, we hit a bump on the campaign trail — I needed abdominal surgery.  It was natural for me to reach out to Lori once again to see if she would be willing to take Reynah to a show for me.  My friend did not let me down.  She and Reynah traveled to the show — and returned triumphant. 

I hoped to recover in time for a string of upcoming shows; however, the surgery turned out to be very serious and I had multiple complications.  I was hospitalized for nearly a month.  With me sidelined, Lori kept Reynah and took her to shows for more than a month.  

The prestigious Garden State campaign show was one that truly tested Lori’s commitment to the campaign.  All of Lori’s luggage went to the wrong destination and she had to rough it for almost the entire trip.  Thankfully, her sister, Janet, was with her and cat show friends came to her rescue. (Lori will tell you more about this herself later in this article). 

Finally, I recovered enough to show Reynah myself.  By this time, Lori was so invested in Reynah’s campaign that she accompanied me to most of the big shows.  We took turns taking Reynah to rings and could lean on each other for support.  Having Lori there to share the campaign more than doubled the fun.


Reynah shows off her scratching skills for Stephanie, Judge Darrell Newkirk and Lori

Team Reynah

As the season progressed, Reynah zoomed up the national standings (perhaps because she was the zoomiest kitten).  Lori was so excited and repeatedly declared that she was sure Reynah could go higher.  I would remind her that Reynah just needed to land in the top 25 to earn a national win . . .

Then Lori suggested the craziest thing.  She said Reynah could be Cat of the Year.

I think I said something about her being nuts, but sure, let’s go for it.

Greg and Leigh were campaigning a shorthair Burmilla named GP Fujicats Apollo of Taylor-Baron that we co-bred together and co-own along with Teddy Cohen of Taylor-Baron.

We discussed how cool it would be if both Reynah and Apollo made national wins together (GP, NW Fujicats Apollo of Taylor-Baron was eventually 24th Best Cat In Premiership 2017-2018. The Sorokins were also campaigning a Maine Coon, GC Suncoon Simba of Fujicats bred by Cindy Rogers.  Simba went on to earn the breed win and finished 17th Best Cat in Championship.).

When Greg Sorokin and Leigh heard I was going to campaign Reynah for an NW they asked me if they could help finance Reynah’s campaign. That sounded too good to be true! 

So the four of us — myself, Lori, Greg and Leigh joined forces. “Team Reynah” was ready to roll.

A Race To The Ring

Fast forward to early Spring 2018.  The next show was Brockport, New York, just after a huge Nor’easter winter storm had struck the Eastern seaboard — a distinctly new experience for this California girl.

My original flight was routed through JFK but I presumed it would be cancelled (it was). I scrambled to book a new flight. It was not ideal . . . stopping in Chicago and arriving just after 10 AM Saturday morning . . . but it was the best available option.  I crossed my fingers that the show might have a later start time because of the weather.

It didn’t. 

Clutching car keys in my frozen fingers, I dragged my luggage and show paraphernalia through snow drifts and slush and heaved them into the rental vehicle.  I raced to the show hall thirty minutes away. My friend, Cindy Rogers of Suncoon Maine Coons, was already at the show hall and had alerted the ring clerk that we were on the way.  Cindy kept texting me updates about how far along the judge was in the class. 

Reynah’s number was up and I was five minutes out.  Would we make it? 

I pulled up in front of the show hall where Cindy was waiting at the entrance to the show hall.  As I scrambled out of the car door, she yells, “Just get Reynah to the ring!”. 

I screamed I can’t do that — give me a brush!  I do a super quick “grooming” while trotting to the ring and gently place Reynah in the judging cage just in time.  Reynah, as usual, is completely unfazed by all of the mayhem. A true show professional, she charms the judge and is awarded Best Cat in that ring's final. 

There are many “funny” (and stressful) stories about traveling to and from shows during the campaign, but through it all, Reynah never skipped a beat.  Lori says that Reynah is a machine!  I say Reynah is a real trooper, handling everything a grueling national campaign threw at her — and she did it with style and elegance.

CFA Breed History

 

The show was in Wichita, Kansas the first weekend of February 2018. I call it "the" show because it was the points from this show that moved Reynah into #1 in the national standings. Once she gained the top spot, she never relinquished it.

At season's end GC, BWR, NW Kasanovakatz Reynah was crowned CFA's Cat Of The Year. Reynah is a history-maker in her breed — not only the first Burmilla to be Cat of the Year, she is also the first Burmilla to ever be a national winner in CFA.

It was an incredible journey. Many wonderful memories. So many of the judges fell in love with Reynah and she was always their Best Cat.  We are so thankful for their support. Without them, Reynah's historical accomplishment would not have been possible.

Reynah is now retired from the show ring. She is our sweet angel who zooms around the house trying to get other kitties to join her. Other times she parks herself on the sofa snuggled up to me . . . perhaps while she is sleeping I can take her photo . . . my treasured zoomiest kitty of them all.


GC, BWR, NW Kasanovakatz Reynah
CFA's Cat Of The Year 2018

Photo by Chanan

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Lori & Reynah's Story . . .
by LORI HOLLISTER

“Whoa! Hey, Megan, look at that cat! What kind of cat is that?? Wow!”, I gasp. 

Megan glances across the aisle and explains to me that’s her friend, Stephanie Mohr, and she breeds Burmillas which come in longhair and shorthair just like Megan's own Japanese Bobtails.  I got my very first show cat from Megan Antijunti (Hoofnpaws and Thatsdapoint Japanese Bobtails) 10 years ago and I have come to a show to visit and catch up.

That was my first sighting of Kasanovakatz Reynah . . . and the rest, as they say, is history.

I saw Reynah and Stephanie several times over the next month and each time I asked if I could have Reynah and each time I was emphatically told that I was at the absolute bottom of a very long list of people who wanted her and NONE of us were going to get her. 

Darn! 

However, since I really couldn’t add another cat to my stable anyway, it was fine.  But, when Stephanie was unable to attend several shows, she asked me if I would take her two kittens for her.  Of course, I jumped at the chance and off I went with her two Burmillas.

Plan For An NW

I must have done okay because after Reynah aged out of the kitten classes, quickly granded and earned two Regional awards, Stephanie called and told me she would really like to see if Reynah could add a National title to her name.  All we had to do was get her a minimum number of points and 25th place or above in the national standings.  Easy, right? 

Stephanie couldn’t go to all of the planned shows so she asked if would I be interested in taking Reynah in her place.  Without thinking, I agreed.  Stephanie told me I would need to fly with the cat (what? <gulp>) and, of course, I replied, “Sure, no problem” (even though I had never flown with a cat).

The Lost Luggage Challenge

So, that's how I came to be standing in a New Jersey hotel lobby at 1:30 in the morning barely holding back a flood of tears, overwhelmed by anxiety and near panic, with my sister, Janet, and Reynah, who has been an absolute angel since early the previous morning when we left California on a flight to New Jersey. 

We had made it to the hotel, but Southwest Airlines left my luggage back in California.  This included not only all my clothes and toiletries but also all of Reynah’s food, litter, show cage, and my grooming supplies for the biggest show I have ever been to.  It was only my second outing with Reynah. Is someone trying to tell me something?  Maybe . . . but at that moment Bobbi Irie (Jobara Devon Rex) and Erin Cutchen (Starbeam British Shorthair) walk into the lobby. 

Oh my God!!  I have never been so happy to see two people that I didn’t know very well but who I knew were famous in the cat fancy so I could beg for their help.  They generously supplied everything Reynah needed to get her through the night.  They are two of the most wonderful ladies I have ever met, and I am so grateful to be their friend. 

I was beginning to feel as though I might get through this fiasco. 

At the show, word of my sorry plight spread like wildfire and before I know what is happening, people have come to me offering to lend a cage and drapes and combs and brushes and sprays and litter pans — and emotional support and encouragement and hugs.  This is overwhelming! Wow!  It is the cat fancy at its best.  

I get busy grooming and Janet gets the schedule mapped out.  We are determined to do the very best we can under the very worst circumstances — not only for Reynah but because we don’t want to let anyone down after making so many new friends. This is pretty fun, right?

During all of this, Reynah is absolutely calm and serene and she lets me know that all I need to do is wake her up when it is her turn, groom her beautifully, carry her to the right ring, put her in the correct cage and she will take care of everything from there.  And so she did — and continued to do so for the entire show season. 

She often looked me in the eye and told me telepathically that we could do this and to quit worrying so much.  It’s fun, right?


Reynah elegant even in the hotel room

Higher & Higher

Well, with Reynah being Reynah, reaching the top 25 in Championship didn’t take long and very soon I was looking at the point standings and thinking that maybe we could make it to 20th . . . then 15th . . . then maybe top 10.  Wow! 

I continued to pester Stephanie about seeing how high Reynah could go.  What’s to lose?   Nothing, right?  Maybe we could even capture the # 1 spot. That would be some kind of awesome, wouldn’t it? 

Reynah had assured me that if I did my part she would definitely do her part and together we could make it happen.  However, Stephanie and anyone else with whom I shared my thoughts seemed to think I must have been dropped on my head at some point in my life, so we endured a lot of eye rolling and “Sure, whatever’s” and a few “Too stupid to be scared”. 

But Reynah and I continued happily in our delusional world.

Reynah was a joy to show and never made a bobble — ever.  We continued working as a team with me doing my stupid human stuff and her being elegant and flawless in the rings.  Every Friday I would click incessantly on the CFA national standings page until it updated to see if we had reached our newest goal — and each time she exceeded my expectations.  This is fun!

As Reynah moved up the list and reached the top 5 cats in Championship, I was over the moon and kept telling Stephanie that she needed to start believing.  This is fun, right? 

She wasn’t yet convinced.  When the standings came out and for the very first time Reynah was in the # 1 spot, I took a screen print and saved it because even though I was the only one crazy enough to want to try for the top slot, I wasn’t delusional enough to believe that we were guaranteed to stay there.  I needed that screen shot for posterity! 

The competition with Sandy Lewis's lovely Scottish Fold, GC, NW Ambersnow Marmite of Foldom was fierce.  Sandy and Marmite were formidable opponents and it would prove to be extremely difficult just to keep up, let alone pass them in the standings.  Staying ahead of them — well, that might be just another delusional dream!

Throughout the season, after memorizing the standings for that week, I would seek out the cats ahead of us at the show and marvel at how beautiful they all were. I felt amazement, joy, and pride when watching Reynah as she seemed to realize that she was one of ‘them’ and could hold her own with all of those magnificent cats. 

"Just get her to the ring and she will do the rest", became my mantra. 


Lori Hollister,
Judge Neil Quigley and Reynah

This Is Fun. Right?

Reynah always reminded me to have fun, be positive, smile, and realize that she is a once in a lifetime cat and I better enjoy every single second because it won’t be happening again!  And so, I did because this is FUN!  Right?

I was so proud that Reynah made so many finals and I realized as I sat at the ring during those finals that I was rubbing shoulders (literally) with the best of the best in CFA.  I was captivated and mesmerized as I listened to the judges as they talked about Reynah and the other campaigning kitties.  I was thrilled to make new friends and enthralled by all the gorgeous cats.  Me, an absolute nobody in the cat fancy!  As judge Larry Adkison said to me , “What a ride this year has been”.

And now the season has ended.  GC, BWR, NW Kasanovakatz Reynah is CFA’s Cat of the Year — a once in a lifetime cat for a once in a lifetime experience
And, oh yeah, it was REALLY FUN!

Thank you, Reynah. You are perfection in fur.


GC, BWR, NW Kasanovakatz Reynah
CFA's Cat Of The Year 2018

Photo by Chanan

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More photos from the show career and family album of

(CFA) GC, BWR, NW (TICA) SGC, RW Kasanovakatz Reynah

Seal Sepia Shaded Silver Longhair Burmilla Female

CFA Cat Of The Year 2017-2018

CFA Best Cat in the Northwest Region 2017-2018
CFA 24th Best Cat in Northwest Region 2016- 2017
CFA 11th Best Kitten in Northwest Region 2016- 2017
TICA 8th Best Cat in Midwest Region 2016- 2017
TICA 5th Best Kitten in Midwest Region 2016- 2017

Born May 27, 2016

Sire: CH Kasanovakatz Kendal
Dam: CH Kasanovakatz Dynah
Breeder: Stephanie J. Mohr
Owners: Stephanie Mohr, Lori Hollister, Gregory & Leigh Sorokin.



Reynah in repose . . .


Reynah relaxing in the hotel while counting her rosettes


Head study of Reynah


Janet Hollister, Stephanie Mohr, a sleepy Reynah and Lori Hollister


(Clockwise from upper left) Janet Hollister, Greg Sorokin, Lori Hollister and Stephanie Mohr,holding Reynah


National Capital: Stephanie looks at the camera.
Judge Wain Harding looks at the audience.
But what is Reynah looking at? Is she checking that the ceiling isn't falling down.


Lori Hollister with Reynah and Judge Jennifer Reding


Reynah and CFA Judge Wain Harding


Reynah schmoozing with Judge Vicki Nye


A young Reynah


Young Reynah


GC, BW Kasanovakatz Heather
First LH Burmilla Grand Champion in CFA

Photo by Nancy Degenkolb


SGC Kasanovakatz Heath
First Burmilla Supreme Grand Champion in TICA

Photo by Starrlight Photography


GC, BWR, RW / TICA SGC Kasanovakatz Mykah
First LH Burmilla to earn both CFA Grand Championship and TICA Supreme Grand Champion titles
Photo by Starrlight Photography


CH Kasanovakatz Onnika

Photo by Nancy Degenkolb


GP, NW Fujicats Apollo of Taylor-Baron

CFA 24th Best Cat In Premiership 2017-2018

Photo by Chanan


Leigh Sorokin, Greg Sorokin,GC, BWR, NW Suncoon Simba of Fujicats, Judge David Mare and Cindy Rogers


GC, BWR, NW Suncoon Simba of Fujicats

CFA 17th Best Cat In Championship 2017-2018
Photo by Chanan

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