The Way We Were:
Excerpts from the 1961 CFA Yearbook, Part 3

Ristokat Himalayans & Persians

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History of the Siamese Cat, Part 1
by Carlon Boren, with collaboration

By the mid-1930s, the Siamese cat was established in the United States, and homebred Siamese out-numbered imported specimens. It had taken half a century to acquaint the public with these truly fascinating members of the feline family. But once they became known, their unique form and grace, their spectacular coloring, weird throaty voices, and appealing personalities took a lasting hold on the public fancy.

About 1935, we began to hear of the Rosedere Cattery, owned by Miss Emma C. Payne of Falls Church, Virginia. This cattery produced outstanding seal point Siamese as well as fine long haired cats. The Rosedere Siamese, like the majority of the other best bloodlines of that era, were strongly based on the Siamese Star cats, and also carried the lovely Ming Kwong blood, which in turn drew heavily on the Siamese Star mother-lode. In 1940, Amdos Sycel and Amdos Pacel were added to the Rosedere line and bred to descendants of Miss Payne's English import, Rosedere Shanson (born in 1934), a son of England's famous Soniboi. Shan Son was richly endowed with the matchless CH Bonzo blood and also carried the Prestwick line, outstanding for brilliant eye color, fine type, and gentle, affectionate disposition.

CH Bonzo (born in 1924) had been the "type-setter" of the breed. Show-type Siamese in England were, almost without exception, descended from him. It was not uncommon to find Bonzo's name appearing as many as ten to fifteen times in the total ancestry of a fine cat of the era.

Another breeder who left her mark distinctively on the quality of Siamese cats in America was Mrs. Alexander Pinney, of Scarsdale, New York. Her famous Rasna cats stemmed largely from the Siam Cattery of Mrs. Karl B. Norton, and back of that, from the Siamese Star imports. Rasna cats also carried some Newton blood. To many fanciers, Rasna blue points are especially memorable for their superb portraits which appear in the cat magazines of the time. The portrait of CH Rasna's Tarquin (born in 1938) stands out as a classic of the twin arts of cat breeding and cat photography.

A great new bloodline, Amdos, dawned on the American scene in this era. In 1938, Madame A.M. d'Ollone of West Nyak, New York, was accorded the honor of being invited to England as a show judge. She was thus provided with a unique opportunity to meet in person virtually the entire English cat fancy and to see and compare their cats as only a show judge can, whereas other breeders had generally been limited to dealing by correspondence with one or few breeders, when selecting cats to import.

From her wide and tempting field, Madame d'Ollone made some historic selections. For herself she chose, among others, a seal point pair, Prestwick Plush and Padraic of Bedale (son of the flawless Blarney of Bedale), and a blue point female, Celeste (of the famous Abingdon strain). She had previously imported CH Sayo of Bedale, England's first blue pointed champion. These four cats constituted the main basis of the Amdos strain.

For Miss Muriel Glenz (Azure Yze Cattery, Hempstead, New York) she brought a seal point, Krispin of Abingdon; and for Mrs. Fredric Hokin (Dark Gauntlets Cattery, Los Angeles, California) she chose Prestwick Polka, a seal point male carrying the chocolate factor.

Because of an earlier, tragic experience with enteritis after a show, Madame d'Ollone no longer exhibited her cats, but Amdos offspring, shown by their purchasers, created a stir wherever exhibited. Their long Prestwick heads, dazzling Bedale eye color, firm slender muscle structure, flat silky coats, and tall, emphatically "pricked" (that is, upright) ears, seemed like a break-through of the normal ceiling on reasonably expected progress. In many areas of the country the Amdos cats served as a useful jolt to the complacency of breeders who had become accustomed to easy victories with strains which had, in some cases, been permitted to dwindle from the original excellence of their imported English ancestors, perhaps as a consequence of the unfortunate fad of those days for emphasizing color contrast even at the expense of type.

The Amdos cats served to illustrate dramatically that the great beauty of the breed lay in its type, not merely in color contrast. Thus they benefitted the Siamese fancy in three important ways: by providing an impetus to better, more type-conscious judging; by endowing the breed with their own priceless genetic heritage; and by triggering a wave of eager importation of other English cats. This wave has continued on its own momentum to the present day, except for its temporary interruption during the war years.

Many breeders in widely separate parts of the nation worked with stock from Amdos line, sometimes combining it with other fine cats such as Siamese Star descendants or additional English imports, each strain thereby acquiring distinctive characteristics of its own. Among these breeders were Mr. And Mrs. Sven Nelson (Ebon Mask Cattery), who owned CH Amdos Yankee (born in 1944) and some fine later imports from England. Yankee was the sire of their famous CH H.R.H. of Ebon Mask (born in 1948). Mrs. Nelson is well known as the author of the "Siamese Cat Book".

Mrs. Jean Birch, (Andover Cattery, Philadelphia, PA) was the first owner of the immortal CH Amdos Attavist, sire of her beautiful CH Koa Khandahara of Andover.

Mrs. Frederick Hokin's CH Amdos Plu-Padi and CH Amdos Celsaya (both born in 1939), were outstanding winners of their time, like so many other Amdos cats. With Prestwick Polka, these cats formed the nucleus of the Dark Gauntlets strain, via which Amdos blood spread to many other breeders from the late thirties to the present day. To this base was added the heritage of other fine English bloodlines, and the Amdos heredity was later reinforced by cats from Price Cross. Mrs. Hokin's Alastor of Dark Gauntlets (born in 1940) sired by Prestwick Polka (Imp) ex Pushkara of the Dark Gauntlets, was an early source of both fine type and the chocolate point coloring in the west.

In 1949 Mrs. Hokin, wishing to retire from cat breeding, turned her cattery name and most of her cats over to Mr. And Mrs. Leigh Manley. The Manleys already owned a descendant of CH Amdos Plu-Padi and some Rosedere-Amdos-blooded stock bred by Mrs. Zelma Phillips (Mandarine Cattery), and in 1961 they imported Bingtang Batik, an all-Prestwick female. After some years they succeeded in persuading Mrs. Hoskin to accept a promising blue point female kitten, which later became Grand and Triple CH Dark Gauntlets Desmine and this was the end of retirement for Mrs. Hokin.

Of all the breeders who worked with Amdos, its most ardent supporter was Price Cross, "Mr. Cat Fancy" himself. Mr. Cross is lovingly remembered for his selfless, unstinted aid and encouragement to breeders of every variety and breed of cat, but his devotion to the Amdos strain exceeded all his other enthusiasm. He was determined that it should not be lost to the fancy by adulteration with less excellent strains or those bearing pet-quality or hybrid blood, but he always encouraged crossing it with its peers.

His "Mao" prefix, usually combined with a color word, as in "Mao Seal" or "Mao Blue", is a proud adornment on any pedigree, and serves notice that the cat which bears it comes from none but the finest ancestors known to the breed. He imported Cathsiam Indeg (born in 1948) whose Hoveton, Abingdon, and Petling heredity he deemed a worthy match for his Amdos line. Mated to Amdos Imperator, Indeg produced the fantastically typey, dainty boned Mao Seal Nzzaboi (born in 1950), sire of the matchless Double CH Cuthpa Nuzano, Mr. Cross's most famous cat. Nuzano was bred by Mrs. Pauline Cuthbertson (Cuthpa Cattery, Lufkin, Texas) from Cuthpa Anavist, a daughter of CH Amdos Atavist ex Mao Seal Angelina.

Mrs. Cuthbertson worked with the Amdos line in close cooperation with Price Cross. Other famous cats of her line, CH Cuthpa D'Ista, CH Cuthpa Dhympo, CH Cuthpa Linale, and many more, have endowed many a present day winning strain with a sound basis for its success. Mrs. Grace Forrest's lovely Bograe line is one that comes readily to mind, but there are many more.

Mrs. Anabel Hoyt (Tyoh Cattery, Grapevine, Texas), breeder of the elegant CH Tyoh Nusta, son and present-day heir to the mantle of Nuzano; and Mr. B.A. Lauder (Purple Sage Cattery, Fort Worth, Texas), breeder of CH Purple Sage Padraic and Purple Sage Plush, son of CH Amdos Atavist, are among the many others who produced fine Siamese from Amdos stock with the aid and encouragement of Price Cross.

This article will continue in the next issue...

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