As breeders, we all would prefer to have perfect cats as breeding stock. Realistically, that just isn't possible :-).
If we can't have perfect cats, most breeders would agree they want to use grandable show cats to establish their bloodline . . . but what about the breeder quality cat? Where does a breeder quality cat fit into the average breeder's program?
My Siamese line was started with a 'breeder quality' cat, Smurf, who never granded but who threw two International Winners (IW) & several Supreme Grand Champions (SGC) when bred.
She earned the prestigious breding title of Outstanding Dam (OD) awarded by TICA to a female cat that produces five Grand Champions — an accomplishment that more than made up for Smurf's lack of championship show titles.
Why Was Smurf Breeder Quality?
Smurf's pedigree was awesome, her color rare & the one I wanted to work with, and she had several OUTSTANDING features not the least of which was her sweet personality! But she just didn't have the length of head/body that would be needed for the show ring.
She has the best eye color I have ever seen on a Siamese — a midnight blue so deep you had to look close to tell the iris from the pupil. She had a perfect profile and delicate boning, and she could be bred to lanky, gawky boys to produce stunning kittens.
Actually my first litter with her was to another 'breeder', a boy so extremely long and lanky I cringed when I first saw him (his call-name was Prancer because he looked more like a deer than a cat), and two of the three kittens the produced became International Winners in TICA.
Smurf was the best producer I have ever had (not to mention, the absolute best mother) and I would pay THOUSANDS for another Smurf. Unfortunately, she was one of a kind so my bank account is safe. :-(
My Balinese Program Begins With Wisteria
When I wanted to get into OLH/Bali's, the Bali I got was also a 'breeder'. Wisteria was a lovely girl but a little shy & not shown early enough to become accustomed to the stress of the show ring... plus her coat is a bit too heavy for the show ring. However, she gave me the LH gene, and her lilac color was a bonus. Had she been more outgoing she probably could have been shown, but I chose to let her stay home. But again, she produced beautifully, qualified for her OD and her grandson was an IW in 2004. Can't complain there either.
The Art and Science of Being a Breeder
Breeding is part science, part art -- you can put the pedigrees together but you need that 'spark' to get what you truly want. (Hence my original cattery name of Alchemy). You can put two 'ideal' cats together & get a litter of pets. You can also put two 'borderline' cats together & get something phenomenal.
You do have to know what you are doing -- I would never have bred Smurf to another 'length-challenged' cat, nor would I put Wisteria with a timid or fluffy cat. You have to look at the faults of the breeder quality cat & avoid doubling up on them. It's just not as simple as 1 + 1 = 2.
So let's hear it for the 'breeders' out there! If we only kept top-show cats for breeding, we'd be missing out on a lot.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sue Hansen has been showing in TICA since 1985, first with a silver lynxpoint Siamese (Bali variant) alter, and showed alters for several years. She started breeding silver lynxpoint Siamese in 1992, after falling head over heels for Smurf, who was at the time owned by another breeder who very generously gave her to Sue when she decided to stop breeding.
In 1995, Sue partnered with Sharryn Gaddis of Gad-A-Bout cattery to create Pawdedeux cattery and they have been working on Balinese and Oriental Longhairs together ever since.
Silvers and smokes are still her special interest, pointed ones in particular hold a soft spot in her heart. She has bred multiple International Winners & Supreme Grand Champions, all descending from Smurf.
In her "other" life, Sue tests software used for pension/401(k) plan administration. Hobbies include traveling to cat shows, putting on cat shows, and buying stuff for the cats. ;-) .
Pictured above is RW, SGC Pawdeduex Water Lily, a chocolate silver lynxpoint Balinese.
- Photo #1: IW SGC Pawdedeux Jack in the Pulpit, blue mackerel tabby Oriental SH
Photographer: Tetsu Yamazaki
- Photo #2: RW SGC Pawdeduex Water Lily, chocolate silver lynxpoint Balinese Photo by Chanan