GC, GP, AG, RW, SGCA Sunbriar Gilded Lily

by KATHRYN STOKEY-GRAVES, Sunbriar Turkish Angoras
Published February 2014

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(CFA) GC, GP, AG (TICA) RW, RW, SGCA Sunbriar Gilded Lily, a green-eyed white Turkish Angora spay, is the first cat of any breed to earn the title of Agility Grand Master in CFA. But being a trail blazer is not enough for this athletic young lady.  Lily also holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest recorded time by any cat running an agility course. This is Lily's story . . .

Photo by Susan Southards, Creative Focus Photography
GC, GP, AG, RW, SGCA Sunbriar Gilded Lily

My name is Kathryn Stokey-Dillon.  After showing Ocicats in the 1980's, I returned to the cat fancy in 2010, thanks to the generosity of Kit Goodwin of Antioch and Sue Howland of Bizan who leased me my first Turkish Angoras. 

The cats and I live on a small farm in northeastern West Virginia, USA.  In the spring of 2011, Azima's Gilda Of Antioch was pregnant with my second litter of Turkish Angora kittens. Gilda delivered two females, but the morning after they were born, I found one had died.  I named the survivor Lily; and like most single kittens I spoiled her with lots of attention. 

A Rough Start

While still very young Lily became seriously ill. Following emergency surgery, we discovered that she had swallowed a plastic bead. She received buckets of care and constant nursing from the veterinary staff and myself while she recovered.

Baby Lily was sweet and adorable . . . and a little bit spoiled

In looking back, I think the extra time, attention, and love Lily received at such a very young age probably  helped her to grow up to be the extremely friendly, fearless and outgoing cat that she is today.

At home Lily is my best buddy.  She doesn’t meow, (perhaps because of the bead swallowing incident), but instead she makes a weird noise that sounds like a gremlin.  "Gremels" soon became her nickname and when she makes her unique vocalization we call it “gremeling”.  She often talks to me in this unusual language and has developed quite a large vocabulary. 

Lily wonders why that mouse with the big pink feet is hanging around . . .

An Introduction To Agility

When Lily was barely four months old we took her to her first show.  She was entered in the kitten class, but the show also had an agility competition, so we thought we would give it a try.  We were totally surprised when Lily ran the course all the way through the very first time we attempted it. Lily was a natural at agility!

She ran the course a few more times that weekend. Her fastest time was 12 seconds. That was good enough for a placement — and  earned Lily her first CFA title, Agility Competitor (AC) .

2011 was the first year we showed in agility.  Lily entered only three trials but with great scores she was CFA's #5 Agility Cat nationally for 2011-2012.

5-month old Lily wins 2nd place at the National Capital Cat Show, Sept 9, 2011

In The Judging Ring

In the show ring, Lily was not quite as fast to reach the top.  Some judges really liked her while others were lukewarm. She would have a nice win one time and then do nothing the next.  We persevered and she steadily gained points towards her Grand title in CFA.

A Toy Crazy Kitty

Even if Lily wasn't an immediate winner in the show ring, showing her still turned out to be a blast . . . because Lily is one TOY CRAZY KITTY.  As the photos below demonstrate, Lily is so intent upon catching and keeping all the feathers and teasers on the judging table that more than one judge struggled to get her to let go once she had a toy in her grasp.  Lily would climb the pole with the teaser still in her mouth simply refusing to give it back.  The experienced judge offering Lily a second toy to make her surrender the first one found the strategy backfiring when Lily would capture the second one while still holding on to the first.  The audiences would laugh and roar their approval of Lily's antics. 

Of course, the strong prey drive that made Lily a challenge on the judging table is exactly what made her so good in the agility ring.

Lily's Agility Campaign

I decided to actually “campaign” Lily in agility in 2012 so we tried to make every trial we could.  Lily was undefeated in all her  trials AND held the fastest time ever recorded by a cat in CFA with a 7.0 second run.  This means she completed 10 obstacles in 7 seconds flat!  The only thing holding her back from going faster was that I couldn't move as fast as she could.  If I couldn’t keep ahead of her she would catch the toy and then the run was over.  Just like on the judging table, once Lily captured the toy she wouldn't give it back.

Photo by Chanan
Lily shows off her winning style on the agility course

Lily was averaging 8 seconds every time she ran a course.  At the same time I continued showing her for her Grand title in Championship.  By November 2012, she was the highest ranking agility cat in CFA and we made plans to go to the prestigious CFA World Show.  I arranged to take time off from work, I had my entries in, and I was looking forward to my first experience at the huge show.

The weekend before before the World Show, Lily finished her CFA Grand Championship AND earned her Agility Grand Master (AG) title on the same day.  Lily made CFA history that day as the first cat to earn the AG title followed closely by Jill Archibald's Japanese Bobtail, Ziva, later the same day.

Kathy and Lily, Jill Archibald and short haired Japanese Bobtail, GP AG Wyndchymes Ziva

An Emergency

As the date of the World Show approached, my anticipation mounted.  I was all packed to leave Friday morning to drive to Ohio.  I came home from work Thursday and thought Lily “looked” funny.  I watched her closely . . . even said “Please don’t get sick now.”  

My vet was closed so I put Lily on a heating pad and kept an eye on her.  At 1 am Friday morning I didn't want to wait any longer so I took her to the emergency clinic.  She had pyometra — a uterine infection that could be life-threatening.

I elected to have her given IV fluids and antibiotics until I could get her to my own veterinarian in the morning.  Instead of going to the World Show, Lily was having surgery to save her life.  Just 18 months old, she was spayed. She would never have kittens.

Out Of Condition

Thankfully, Lily recovered well from her surgery — although perhaps a little too well because she also put on a few extra pounds.  We didn't attend any shows until spring and when we did Lily was not as quick on course as she used to be. Sometimes she just wasn’t "ready to run" and I would have to coax her to start, something that had never happened before. 

Photo by Chanan
Lily atop the stairs

Her runs slowed to the 12-15 second range and she lost her position as the #1 cat in Agility. 

I now started showing her in Premiership.  Spectators loved her and as always she drew a lot of attention to herself with her antics.  

As time went by her agility runs quickened although she was never as fast or as crazy as before she was spayed.  She was still a terrific agility competitor and once again began winning with 8-9 second runs.

Lots Of Titles!

Lily quickly earned her Grand Premier title and that meant she had earned her Grand Champion, Grand Premier and Agility Grand Master titles all in one show season in CFA!  By season's end, Lily was GC, GP, AG Sunbriar Gilded Lily and CFA's 3rd Best Cat in Agility for 2012-2013. 

We also competed in one TICA show that year and that was enough for her to be best Turkish Angora Alter in the Mid-Atlantic Region for the season. 

A Guinness World Record

Jill Archibald, CFA Agility Chairperson, was contacted by Guinness World Records.  They were looking for the fastest agility cat for their record book.  Jill told them about Lily's official 7 second run.  After much paperwork and time, Guinness decided that they needed video proof of Lily's run.  We did not have it, so I started bringing a video camera with me to trials to film Lily on course.

When Lily completed a very nice 8.2 second run, I re-submitted it to Guinness world records and this time they accepted it.  I have to laugh because I know it's not the fastest agility run ever run — it's just the fastest run ON VIDEO.

Photo by Chanan
Lily leaps the fence!

The CFA World Show 2013

In 2013 we finally made it to the World Show, bringing two kittens, plus a cat to show in Championship and Lily in Premiership.  Lily and my kitten, Sunbriar Lune Blanc, both made a number of finals. It was so exciting to see how well Lily did against  all the top cats.  She was awarded Best Turkish Angora Premier in the Red Show while Lune Blanc was best  Turkish Angora Kitten in the red show with six kittens competing.

Lily and my kitten, AC Sunbriar Once in A Blue Moon, were also entered in the agility trials at the World Show.  The show hall was vast and noisy and this proved to be a distraction to the cats in agility on Saturday  with many cats finishing with slow times or no times at all.  Sunday morning I arrived at the venue early in order to practice with Lily before the show got into full swing.  It must have helped as Lily ran a good time in the 9.45 seconds.  She was in 1st place! Then my "Blue" completed her run in 10.32 seconds and she was in second place. 

Approximately 50 cats ran agility that weekend and Lily and Blue remained 1-2 in the standings.  At “last call” a good friend, Sarah Siefferts, took her cat, Imp, on to the course — and beat us out by running the course in 8.7 seconds!  

I can't complain. Imp is also a Turkish Angora and Sarah and I had been running cats with each other all year long.   When the dust had cleared, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd highest scoring cats in agility were all Turkish Angoras!

Good Catch, Lily!

With few CFA agility trials in my area, the time came when we went to more TICA shows.  In just two weekends Lily went from being a Champion Alter (CA) to earning the title of Quad Grand Champion Alter (QGCA).

At one show, as I was taking Lily to the ring while carrying my new camera, I felt it slip out of my hand.  Because I had Lily in my other arm I couldn’t catch the camera and waited to hear it hit the floor . . . but never heard it drop. I looked down.  It wasn’t on the floor.  Then I realized that Lily had caught the strap in her mouth and had the camera grasped between her paws!  People who saw her incredible catch, including the judge, couldn’t believe their eyes! Lily was more talented than even I had suspected.

Photo by Susan Southards, Creative Focus Photography
GC, GP, AG, RW, SGCA Sunbriar Gilded Lily

Gremels At Home

As much of a character as Lily is at the shows, she is just as amusing at home — and totally fearless.  We have an outside kennel so the cats can enjoy the fresh air, sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors. When my daughter's large dog romps in the yard alongside the cat's pen, Lily tries to attack the collie through the fence.  She is one brave and daring kitty!

When we cut the grass with the riding lawn mower, Lily will run along the fence trying to catch the mower — or she stands facing the grass clippings as they blow in the pen as if she enjoys bits of vegetation in her hair.

Another of Lily's talents is an adeptness at opening kitchen cabinets with her paw. She lets herself in so she can sleep in the one with the plastic grocery bags.  She also sleeps under blankets so I have to be careful when I sit, always checking that she is not under something.  She also loves to carry socks and gloves around in her mouth, and plays by throwing them in the air and catching them.  I can never find my socks.

Lily shows off her gentler nature by taking it upon herself to act as a surrogate mum to kittens when they need to be separated from their mother during weaning. She would have made a terrific mom-cat.

I didn't know that a breed like the Turkish Angora could be so special.  Lily is just my second homebred kitten, but she has taught me so much about her breed. After being a “dog” person all my life, I never imagined that a cat could be such a great friend and companion. 

As I sit writing her story, Lily just ran past me with a glove in her mouth and “gremeling” loudly announcing her delight at her latest "capture".  Lily is a unique personality, a history-maker and a record-holder and although she has yet to celebrate her third birthday she has already taken me on a wild ride indeed. 

Thank you Lily!  You are my treasure.


Below are more photos of

GC, GP, AG, RW, SGCA Sunbriar Gilded Lily

Green-eyed White Turkish Angora Spay

Guinness Word Record Fastest Cat In Agility
CFA's 3rd Best Cat In Agility 2012-2013
CFA Great Lake Region's Best Cat In Agility 2012-2013
CFA's 5th Best Cat In Agility 2011-2012
CFA Region Great Lake Region's Best Cat In Agility 2011-2012

Born: April 20, 2011
Sire: CH Katsnjazz Love Walked In Of Bizans
Dam: Azima's Gilda Of Antioch
Breeder/Owner: Kathryn Stokey-Dillon

Photo by Susan Southards, Creative Focus Photography

Photo by Susan Southards, Creative Focus Photography

Photo by Susan Southards, Creative Focus Photography

Lily admires my bouquet on my wedding day

 Top left : Kathy Stokey-Dillon and GC AG Sunbriar Gilded Lily (1st  place)
Top Middle: Turkish Angora breeder Sarah Siefferts TLC (2nd place)
Top Right: CFA Agility Coordinator  Jill Archibald
Bottom Left: Carol Babel, co- owner of the Egyptian Mau, GC GP AG Ra's Abi's Elijah, #1 Agility Cat 2012-2013 
Bottom Centre: Lynn Gray and AM Timber, HHP (4th place)

Kathy, Lily and Blue

Lily's niece and agility trial pal, AC Sunbriar Once in A Blue Moon

Sunbriar Lune Blanc

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