GC, NW Wild Rain Let's Dance of Dotdotdot
CFA's Kitten Of The Year 2012-2013

BY LEE HARPER

Published May 2013

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David and Carol Freels have been breeding Ocicats in California under the Wild Rain prefix since 1990. Roger Brown, a retired veterinarian, and his wife, Nancy, have been breeding Ocicats under the Dotdotdot cattery name in Nebraska since 1994. The two couples first met at a cat show in Kansas City in 1996 when they were each showing an Ocicat to a Regional Win in CFA. They immediately took a liking to one another.

Shortly after that first meeting, Roger flew out to California to bring home a couple of Wild Rain kittens. As time went on, if one cattery had a promising kitten that they didn’t need to keep, it was generally offered to the other cattery. They each sought to bring in promising outcrosses from other breeders to keep they lines vital. They each showed their best Ocicats regardless of which cattery's name preceded the cat's name. 

In 2011, when Roger and Nancy decided to reduce their breeding activity for a while, they sent the Freels several young cats including a stunning young female, CH Dotdotdot Snow Princess. "Snow" is an exquisite chocolate silver girl with huge spots and intense contrast, mesmerizing deep golden eyes and a confident, outgoing personality.

 


CH Dotdotdot Snow Princess had her own turn in the spotlight, flirting with then CFA President, Pam Delabar


The Freels bred Snow to GC, BW, NW Wild Rain Priceless. Priceless is a handsome boy that had earned a National Win as a kitten and was Best Ocicat as an adult in the same year.  His temperament is as winning as his show career. He is a total toy monster.


photo by Chanan
Dance's Sire: GC, BW, NW Wild Rain Priceless


And so it was that in the spring of 2012, Carol, David, Nancy and Roger eagerly anticipated the results of the mating of these two incredible Ocicats.

The Dance Begins

When it was time for Snow to have her babies the first two births were textbook normal. Ah, but the third just didn’t seem to be able to make it out. 

The Freels called the emergency hospital and were told to bring Snow in immediately. X-rays revealed that there was a kitten stuck upside down in the birth canal. Despite his best efforts, the veterinarian couldn’t get the baby rolled over. Snow would need a C-section. The good news was that there were still two more live babies waiting to enter the world. 

The little baby that was stuck did not survive but all four of his siblings grabbed hold of life and thrived.

Do You Want To Dance?

Some Ocicat kittens catch your eye as soon as the birthing fluids dry. Such was the case with the pick kitten from Snow's litter. He had "that look" with his beautiful rich color and perfectly placed spotting pattern which characterizes the ideal Ocicat. Ocicats are available in twelve different colors, but this kitten stood apart from his Chocolate Silver Mother because of his warm chocolate background and highly contrasted spots. 

The Freels immediately took pictures and sent them to the Browns. They were all amazed at how stunning the kitten was . . . so the four of them waited for the shoe to drop. And waited, and waited. The kitten continued to develop beautifully.

He needed a name. Something special. Carol remembered a horse she had admired called Let's Dance. Roger and Nancy used to show dogs and all of their dog's names included the word “dance”. They all liked the name because it worked in so many ways; I’m so happy I could dance; He’s too beautiful to stay home from the dance. They all agreed that kitten would be called Let's Dance.

Although they had collaborated over the years, showing cats with one as breeder and the other as owner/exhibitor, they had only once co-owned a cat together. The decision was made to do it a second time. They would all own and show "Dance" together. 

They started counting the weeks before he would be old enough for the show ring.


Photo by Tetsu

Dance showing off his form

The First Dance

Finally the kitten turned four months and 5 days old and was ready to enter his first show in Longview, WA. The entry was modest, but with high quality kittens present. Dance made all the finals and was Best Kitten In Show. What a debut!

The Big Dance

Dance's next show was Santa Monica's "Tiki Time" . This is a big campaign show in Southern California that is renowned for its high counts and stiff competition. 

Carol, David, Nancy and Roger were all expecting this to just be a "get acquainted" show for Dance — a show where he would need to become accustomed to the many distractions of a big campaign show. How would he react to the noise of a big crowd in a huge show hall? Would a lot of strange faces peering into the show shelter upset him? What about those scary trips to the judging rings squeezing past crowded aisles? Dance was so young and still so inexperienced, they weren't expecting too much from him.

Imagine their surprise (or was it shock?) when Dance enjoyed every minute of the show. He sat at the front of the judging cage in each ring, played on the judging table and showed himself off beautifully. He made 6 of 8 the finals and was one of the top kittens in the show.

Hopes and questions began to bubble. Could Dance follow in his father's footsteps (pawprints)? Was Dance good enough for a national kitten win? All four owners agreed he was. The decision was made to try for a national kitten win.


Photo by Tetsu
Dance as a kitten

A Song & A Dance

Dance is a talker. If he doesn't like something, he lets you know. On his first few drive trips to the shows with the Freels they threatened him with having to ride on top of the car because of his bitter complaining. They finally let him out of his cargo shelter and he was immediately content. No more howling. He settled on the car's console where he happily spent most of the trip. He traveled on the console or on a lap for all of the rest of his road trips. He had let them know how he wanted to travel. He got his way. He was one smart kitten.

Dancing A Duet

Like the Freels, the Browns were not new to campaigning a kitten at the national level. Roger and Nancy had shown GC, BW, NW DotDotDot's Stradivarious to Kitten of the Year and 2nd Best Cat in Championship in 2005-2006. . . GC, NW Wild Rain Firewater of Dotdotdot to CFA’s Kitten of the Year for 2002-2003. . . and GC, NW Wild Rain Distant Drum of Dotdotdot who was CFA’s 2nd Best Kitten and 11th Best Cat for 2003-2004. These national winning Ocicats were all the result of a collaboration of bloodlines between the Freels and the Browns.

Part of the fun of any campaign is the sharing — and Dance's campaign was definitely a dual project. The Freels and the Browns spent hours on the phone discussing campaign strategy. The Freels kept the Browns in the loop by sending videos and pictures after every ring of every show where Dance competed. It was almost the same for them as being there. Carol, David, Nancy and Roger and the Ocicat kitten made quite a "Dance" team.

Just Keep Dancing

A kitten campaign is only four months long, more of a sprint than a marathon. The Freels' were showing Dance nearly every weekend. He began to climb steadily up the kitten standings. Of course, no campaign goes completely smoothly. There are always occasional bumps in the road. At one point, Dance developed an upset stomach and dropped in weight. But Dance was a trooper and he quickly came back into condition and continued winning.

There were not enough high count shows on the west coast so ultimately the decision was made to enter the big shows back East — but there was a hitch. Getting to those shows meant plane trips. Dance would need to stay in his carrier the entire flight.

A trip was planned to a show in Missouri where Carol, David, Nancy and Roger could all meet up and show Dance together. Alas, the count wasn't high enough so Dance went to the Southeast instead. Then to the Midwest. He continued waltzing up the standings.

The time was getting closer and closer to the greatest show challenge of his career — the CFA World Show. This is the biggest show of the year in CFA, and one in which kittens and adults would compete against one another to produce a single cat that is crowned the ultimate Best of the Best.

The Freels and Browns were equal parts excited, enthusiastic and nervous as the big show approached. 


Photo by Chanan
Dance
all grown up

Dancin' On Top Of The World

The prestigious World Show was being held in Columbus, OH. That meant once more getting on an airplane.

Flying was still not Dance's favorite thing to do. If only the pilot would invite him into the cockpit to sit on the console it would have been so much easier. But no invitation was forth-coming. After a flight spent confined in his carrier, it wasn't unusual for Dance's adrenalin to keep him (and his traveling companions) up for most of the first night at the hotel. Knowing their show kitty well, the Freels decided to fly into Columbus a day early to give Dance a chance to adjust and recharge after the flight.  

Well rested, when show time came, Dance was ready to perform.

The two days of the World Show twirled by in a blur, but the climax arrived when Dance was chosen as Best Kitten. He then competed against the Best Cat in Championship and Best Cat in Premiership for Best of the Best — and Dance won! The Ocicat kitten had defeated almost 1000 cats and kittens!


Photo by Mark Hannon
CFA World Show Best of the Best — David, Dance, Carol, judge Larry Atkinson, Nancy, Roger


The points captured at the World Show made Dance the #1 Kitten in the rankings. But would he stay there?

Dance was still several weeks shy of his 8th month birthday at the World Show. Once he aged out of the kitten class a few weeks later, he went to a local show for winner's ribbons than became a one-show Grand Champion with 270 points on January 6, 2013. Dance was not yet 9 months old.


Photo by L. Johnson

Dance Head Study

After The Dance

His kitten campaign finished, and with his Grand title earned, Dance remained home. No more carriers for him, at least for a while. Now the the Freels and the Browns were left to watch the kitten standings to see if anyone could overtake Dance's position as #1.

As the weeks passed, it was clear that Dance would remain on top. By the season's end he officially became
GC, NW Wild Rain Let's Dance of Dotdotdot, CFA's Kitten Of The Year 2012-2013.
It was an incredible year for Carol and David, Nancy and Roger. Best friends sharing the journey makes the accomplishment that much sweeter.

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More photos from the show career of

GC, NW Wild Rain Let's Dance of Dotdotdot
CFA's Kitten Of The Year 2012-2013

Chocolate Spotted Ocicat Male
Born: April 14, 2012
Sire:  GC, BW, NW Wild Rain Priceless
Dam:  CH Dotdotdot Snow Princess of Wild Rain
Breeders: Carol & David Freels
Owners: Carol & David Freels and Roger & Nancy Brown

CFA's Kitten Of The Year 2012-2013
CFA Northwest Region's Best Kitten 2012-2013
CFA's Best Ocicat Kitten 2012-2013


Photo by L. Johnson


Photo by Chanan


Photo by Chanan


Photo by Chanan


Photo by Tetsu


Photo by Tetsu

 

Photo at the top of this page is by Chanan

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