In early 2008, Linda Vousden of Mymystic Tonkinese in the United Kingdom first emailed me. Linda was writing the history of the Tonkinese breed and in the course of her research, she found my grandmother's Li-Anne cattery pedigrees amongst some Siamese databases. Further time spent on the internet led her to discover my cattery web site, and the introduction where I mention my grandmothers cats. I was ecstatic when she e-mailed me the link to the Li-Anne pedigrees that I had often searched for, although unsuccessfully.
My paternal grandparents, Ted and Lillian Perkins, lived in scenic subdivision in the lower mainland of British Columbia, Canada. Called Deep Cove, it was located near the picturesque waters of the Pacific Ocean. Grandpa was a top executive for BC Hydro power and Grandma was a very loving and nurturing, stay at home mother with an empty nest.
In the 1960's it seems that the Siamese cat became a very popular breed. Perhaps the movie industry had something to do with it as it was in 1965 that the film, That Darn Cat, hit the movie screen - starring a Siamese heroine. It was around this time, that my grandparents decided to breed Siamese cats as a hobby. Both my grandparents loved cats - and the cats helped Gramdma fill her empty nest. Grandpa was slowly recovering from a deep clinical depression and the cats were very therapeutic.
Their cattery was on the whole basement of two story home they had custom built. The girls lived with them upstairs and some had kittens upstairs. They had wooden baby cribs converted into birthing cages for the mommies and often had two girls sharing care of of the litters. I had a few kittens as pets from her lines.
The main breeding male was a sealpoint named was "Tony". He didn't have the sweetest temperament, but he sure produced beautiful kittens.
"Tony" had a long cage with access to the outside in a safe caged environment. I do remember that the spray odor of the males were quite strong and hard to keep under control.
My grandparents had started with Siamese and preferred chocolate and lilac points (called frost points back then). Shortly one love moved into another interest when they bought some nice Burmese cats and breed them to the Siamese cat to produce Tonkinese. This was the newest allowable breed.
The kittens were gorgeous. The Tonkinese were nicer in personality then the Siamese. There was always a nice Siamese that at didn't fit the stereotypical high strung image they had. My favorite was the Burmese because they were more laid back, affectionate, were chubbier, and had huge round eyes. The Siamese back then looked like the Tonkinese of today and that is why I love the look of the Tonkinese cats. Nothing can come close though to the intense blue eye coloring in a Siamese cat!
My grandmother showed her cats and won awards. They showed in TICA and CFA not sure about ACFA. Her cattery was called Li-Anne cattery - I think that is the correct spelling because she incorporated her name into it.
Ted and Lillian made many friends in their show hobby. One special friend was a member of the BC Cat Fancier's, Elsie Walker, who lived in the lower mainland and bred Siamese and Manx. Elsie remained on the board of directors and attended shows until recently when she passed away and had a very long life. Elsie's family still are active with the BC Cat Fanciers club.
My grandmother stopped breeding in the mid 1970's. She moved from her home into an apartment where she and Ted could relax and not worry about maintaining a home and cutting the lawn.
The Seeds Are Sown
My root of the love of cats came from my grandparents. I used to stay with them when my mother worked during the whole summer when I was in elementary school. My Grandma Lillian (all her grandchildren affectionately called "Nan" or "Nanny") taught me all about cats. I played with the kittens and watched the mothers give birth.
I wish I could have shared more with her and had the opportunity to breed back then, but I never had the right home to do that... until now. There was nothing left of my grandmother's breeding accomplishments except memories when I began breeding cats in 2002. Now I breed Himalayans under the Dreamhimi cattery name. Like my Grandma, I prefer the Chocolate and Lilac colors. I like to think that if I go back far enough, I have some of the same cats in my pedigrees as Grandma had in hers.
I told Grandma, way back in the 1970's, that I was going to breed Himalayans one day - because I loved the long hair and the pointed color together. She said, "Oh no. I could never handle the hair!" The long coats are a lot of work, but I think I will always breed Himalayans as long as I am able to even though at 52 years old I am a late bloomer in cats!
The photo below is me in my early 20's with Blue, a handsome seal point male pet that descended from Tony. I received Blue as a kitten from Elsie Walker when my grandmother's last and only breeding girl could not produce babies because she was too small...
I often think of Grandma when I think about this amazing hobby. Each of us put so much love, time and energy into it. More than 40 years ago, my grandmother sowed the seeds that would one day inspire me to become a cat breeder too... Thanks Nan!
If anyone reads this article and has a story to share about Ted and Lillian's Siamese, Burmese, and Tonkinese cats, or has Li-Anne cats in their pedigrees, please write me at email@example.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Since purchasing their first Himalayan cats after graduating from College in 2000, Rick and Deborah Hudson started Dreamhimi cattery in Port Moody, British Columbia.
They were fortunate to acquire some of the best bloodlines and have been showing and breeding Himalayan Persians since 2002 in both TICA and CFA.
The Hudson's have incorporated flexible work schedules with Deborah working two part time jobs to allow kittening and showing - and have never looked back.
Dreamhimi breeds traditional colors, lynx points, Lilac and Chocolate, and Silver CPC's. They have enjoyed moderate success in the time they have been passionately involved in their beloved hobby.