BY Diana Wilder

Published April 2012

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Photo by Cindy Pitts Photography

He was not a National Winner.

He wasn't a Regional Winner; he wasn't even a Champion or Premier, partly because he had a marking that disqualified him from breed showing.

His name was 'Boomer'. (Registered name, sans cattery, was 'Here Comes a Boomer' because he reminded me of a missile submarine - a 'boomer' when he wanted to get under the blankets.)

He was my first registered pedigreed cat.

I'd had others, but I wasn't showing or breeding and saw no need to register him. Boomer's breeder told me to go ahead and do it! So I did.

Carrying the Naval illustration a little farther, I suspect that he had the soul of a Fleet Master Chief. He certainly ran a tight ship. Boomer was definitely the alpha cat of the household.

Boomer was a Burmese. If he hadn't had the marking that disqualified him, he would still have been dropped from any finals because he was not 'competitive'. He did make an appearance in the Household Pet class at one small show near home when he was nine years old.

First time in a show hall. I took him there because the show had a photographer and I had learned the hard way to get some quality photos of my beloved pets when I could - or else risk being caught with tears running down my cheeks looking at a blurred snapshot.

A judge who bred Tonkinese used him in her HHP final, commented smilingly that she had lots of Tonks just like him at her home. She blinked when I told her he was a Burmese.

9 year old Boomer checks out his colorful haul of rosettes at his one and only show

Saying Goodbye

I held Boomer last Friday as he slipped into the long sleep that would bring him to the other side, healthy and frisky, to join my other darlings.

He had been ailing and was deteriorating. I had promised to keep his welfare in my heart when he was a kitten (he was listening and purring) and the time had come to fulfill that promise. It is a hard duty and privilege, and the temptation is to dodge it.

I didn't.

I'll be getting a plaque with his little pawprint on it (the first time I've succumbed to THAT kind of sentiment!).

Boomer's Legacy

The point of telling Boomer's story is a little complicated.

Boomer was what is sometimes scornfully referred to as 'Just Pet Quality'. Well, yes.

He was also a registered Sable Burmese, and thanks to his wonderful personality, lovely fur, big golden eyes and debonair demeanor (everyone was a potential friend) Boomer won an awful lot of fans for his breed.

I can name quite a few people who became Burmese fans through his influence, and quite a few who purchased Burmese and are loving them as much as I do. Some folks now frequent cat shows.

He was the first 'purebred' that a lot of people met, and he was so far different from their mental picture of over-bred, neurotic, snooty critters, they opened their minds and (often) their hearts to the world of pedigreed cats and shows.

He was 'just a pet', but he sure was one heck of an ambassador. The 'just pets' that are placed are that, you know. Don't forget it. And smile for Boomer - he made me smile every day that I had him. Even the last.

I suspect he'll be waiting to gr-r-r-rind my nose and then sneeze in my face when I struggle through the Pearly Gates.


Diana Wilder was born in Philadelphia and grew up all around the United States courtesy of the United States Navy.

Perhaps because of the Irish in her, she liked to weave stories for her own enjoyment about the people she met and the places she saw during her travels. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in ancient and medieval history and experience in journalism.

She enjoys showing cats and clerking at cat shows. When she isn't doing this she writes novels, tries to knit and enjoys working in graphic design.

Visit Diana's blog at


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