LA IW SGC Cowboycasanova of Speakeasy

Speakeasy Bengals

Published March 2013

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My husband, Gary, and I were never able to have children. Being a nurse and feeling the need to nurture, we decided we would like to raise kittens. After much research, we decided on the very outgoing, loving, athletic, intelligent, people oriented and vastly funny Bengal cat. We felt this breed would suit our life style.

Having decided on the Bengal we now needed a cattery name. As luck would have it we were spending the weekend on Cape Cod and ventured into a town fair. A vendor was selling wooden statues of cats playing musical instruments. It reminded me of the old days of prohibition and the cellar speakeasies. This seemed to tie in with the Bengal breed being known to be very vocal — and so our cattery name, Speakeasy, was born in1996.

Never could we have imagined that our journey would lead to our showing a Bengal kitten who would become the winning-est Bengal in the history of TICA. This is his story...

Meeting "The Kitten"

It all began on a sunny afternoon in 2011 when I arrived at the home of my long-time friend and pet sitter, Susan Tobias. Susan became enamored with the Bengal breed while pet-sitting at Speakeasy. The time came when she decided to venture into breeding so she acquired two queens and we worked together breeding them. RW SGC Fractal Lost In Your Eyes of Speakeasy was bred to Piper Three... and in February 2011 a litter of three kittens came into the world.

Sire: RW SGC Fractal Lost In Your Eyes
photo by Helmi Flick

Dam: Piper Three and her litter of kittens

And that was how it came to pass that on this day I was visiting Susan to take some photos of a "kitten available" to post on my web site. I hadn’t seen the kittens in several weeks — and when I walked into the living room I stopped short.  I couldn’t believe my eyes. Sprawled on the floor, laying in the warmth of a beam of sunlight streaming through the window, was a kitten . He took my breath away. I was first taken aback by his color and contrast. Then he looked at me, and his face stole my heart. I loved the width of his whisker pads and nose. His profile was nearly straight and his ears were smallish for a cat from my bloodlines.

I immediately told Susan that this kitten was coming home with me!

The kitten was ten weeks old and he and his litter-sister were already promised. In fact, his new owners were actually on their way for a visit with their kittens. 

Both boys in the litter were fabulous with great personalities and thankfully the couple had no problem taking the other boy when I explained I wanted to keep the kitten they had chosen. 

The exceptional kitten was ours. I still can't believe how close we came to missing out on him. We named him "Woody".

Baby Woody

An Accident... & Surgery

Woody came to live with us and fit in almost immediately. He has such an easy going and accepting personality. 

Woody at 14 weeks

All was going well until I came home from work one evening and noticed Woody limping to his dinner dish. He was just 15 weeks of age. 

I wasn’t too concerned at first. Several times over the years we have had a limping kitten who jumped too high or twisted something. They had always recovered within a few days. To be on the safe side, Gary took Woody to our veterinarian the next morning. The vet didn’t feel anything unusual and was hopeful it was just a sprain. He sent him home with the caveat that if the kitten didn’t improve over the next few days, he wanted to see him again and take x-rays.

The next day was my day off from work, so I decided to take Woody to a holistic vet several towns away. I thought perhaps acupuncture or a chiropractic adjustment might help him feel better and promote healing.

The holistic veterinarian took an x-ray of Woody's hip. When we looked at the x-ray we couldn't believe what we were seeing.   Woody had broken the femoral head of his upper leg bone — the rounded end of the bone that creates the hip joint.

Woody had a broken hip!

We were immediately referred to an orthopedic specialist at the Emergency Vet and Surgery.

If Woody was a person, it would have mean hip replacement surgery with a prosthetic replacing the head of the femur bone. The same injury in a kitten is treated very differently. The surgeon simply removed the entire femoral head completely. Because a cat walks on four legs in a horizontal position, there is much less stress on the hip joint (compared to a person), so when the femoral head is removed, the muscles around the hip and leg area take over the job of the hip joint. No prosthesis is needed.

Although it was a devastating diagnosis, our first thoughts were for Woody’s safety and well-being.  His youth was a great advantage. His prognosis was good. Of course, the voices in my head began whispering... Now what? While we anticipated not being able to show Woody, we still hoped he would be able to breed and pass on his wonderful qualities to the next generation of Speakeasy babies. 


Woody had to be confined in a 4 foot by 4 foot dog crate  for 2 weeks to limit all activity while he healed from his operation. He received pain medication twice a day and wore a soft "Elizabethan" collar around his neck to prevent him from biting at his stitches.

Gary works from our home kitchen, so that's where we set up Woody's "recovery room" so he got lots of attention. Every day we performed passive range of motion exercises to keep his hip joint flexible. I would sit on the floor several times a day, open Woody’s cage, and he would hobble out and sit on my lap. We would snuggle and talk Bengal style, then he would limp back to his cage.

Through those difficult first painful days Woody was always an excellent patient, tolerating his confinement well with an easy-going, laid-back style all his own.

After a follow-up visit with his surgeon, we began weeks of more active range of motion exercises. The incision healed well, his shaved hair grew back, and his slight limp disappeared. He grew stronger and more gorgeous with each day. Amazed and delighted, we dared to once again think about showing him...

A Late Start

We usually try to take our Bengal kittens out to the shows starting at 4 months. Showing as kittens helps prepare them for their adult show careers. It is a huge plus if you can begin with your kitten at a young age, acclimatizing the kitten to all the sights and sounds of the show hall and being handled by so many judges. 

Even though were off to a late start with Woody, he was well received by the TICA judges. It was soon obvious to us that he could place high in our regional and Bengal kitten standings if we could get to enough shows. Due to the limited shows in our region ( Northeast and Mid Atlantic), we decided to fly to Indianapolis.

It was a memorable weekend.

Our flight from Boston was delayed taking off and so we missed our connection from Philadelphia to Indianapolis. No other flights were available, so we needed to find a place to spend the night and try for a flight in the morning.

It was a stormy evening and I went to baggage claim to find our luggage. Needless to say, US Air couldn’t find our bags I made sure to mention I had paid $125 for my pet and ask what were they going to do for him. The answer of course was nothing.

There was a woman seated at baggage on the phone attempting to find lodging for the night. She too was traveling to Indianapolis. We started chatting and next thing I knew I was suggesting we spend the night together. What was I thinking? I didn’t even know her!

We found a room available at the airport Marriott. I had Woody's food, water and litter with me, so he was taken care of. A little food and wine sufficed for me and my new traveling companion/ roomie. We had a wonderful evening of conversation. Woody spent his time being diplomatic and slept with me and then visited our new friend and slept with her for a while.  The three of us flew out together on the same flight in the morning.  By the time we arrived at the show hall the show was half over. No one said showing was easy...

Heating Up

His points were adding up so with a high count show in Seattle we were off and flying again. This was a fun show with a beautiful city which we were able to see a bit of for a change. Usually it is just show, eat, sleep and show again so this was really enjoyable to see the Needle and the Locks and many other points of interest and make some friends along the way.

Woody loves to show, he is confident, enjoys the attention and loves to play.   I have had to replace more than one judge's toy that Woody would claim as his own on the judging table and refuse to let go.

Woody also enjoys traveling, does not spray in his hotel room and so we have a great time playing and letting him sleep on the bed with us in the hotel room.

Woody as an adult
photo by Helmi Flick

A Bengal History-Maker

By the end of the 2012 show season, Anthony  Hutcherson, a past President of TICA mentioned to us that Woody is the winning-est Bengal in the history of TICA. Afterwards, my mind kept mulling over what Anthony had told me. Could it really be true? Was Woody the “The Best Bengal" of all time?

So my search for proof began.  I wrote to TICA and visited their web site.  Some information was easy to find but the early years show results eluded me.  I put out a call of help to the TICA community — and Dave Thomas came to the rescue with all the remaining information I needed. 

Woody indeed is the ONLY Bengal in the history of TICA to be an “International Winner” as both Best Bengal Kitten and Best Bengal Cat in the same show season. He is the only Bengal to be the Best Shorthair Cat Internationally and he is the first Bengal to be Best Cat in the Northeast Region of TICA. And he accomlished this all in just 6 months of showing!

The winning-est Bengal in history
photo by Helmi Flick

Papa Woody

Woody had been living freestyle in our home as a young teenager. At a precocious 7 months of age, he decided to "date" his friend Dottie (CH Speakeasy Carnival Ride).

Dottie became pregnant and gifted us with three beautiful brown spotted kittens who grew up to become SGC Speakeasy Sundance Kid owned by Marie Vodicka of Fractal Felines (currently 2nd Best Bengal Cat International and Best Bengal Cat Mid-Atlantic Region) and RW Speakeasy Set Fire to The Rain.

SGC Speakeasy Sundance Kid
photo by Helmi Flick

Woody has also sired GCH Speakeasy Rolling In The Deep who is doing quite well this show season and is currently NE Region's Best Bengal Kitten and is currently 2nd Best Bengal Kitten Internationally.

GCH Speakeasy Rolling In The Deep, another Woody son

photo by Tetsu

Lifetime Achievement

Despite Woody's winning ways, he was not finished at the end of the 2012 show season. We brought him out for 2012-2013 in order to earn his Lifetime Achievement title.

Showing Woody expanded our world. We ventured outside our comfort zone of Bengal Breeders and met people showing other breeds. We  loved sharing experiences and learning about their breeds. Through our travels we met new friends and became re-acquainted with many wonderful people in the Bengal community.

Gary and I remain in awe of all of Woody's accomplishments and remain so thankful to share our lives and love with Woody — the winning-est Bengal of all time!


Below are photos from the show career of:

LA IW SGC Cowboycasanova of Speakeasy
Brown Spotted Tabby Bengal Male

TICA's 4th Best AB Cat 2011-2012
TICA’s Best Shorthair Cat 2011-2012
TICA's 14th Best AB Kitten 2011-2012

TICA's Northeast Region Best Cat 2011-2012
TICA's Northeast Region 2nd Best Kitten 2011-2012

TICA’s Best Bengal Kitten 2011-2012
TICA’s Best Bengal Cat 2011-2012

Sire: RW SGC Fractal Lost In Your Eyes
Dam: Piper Three
DOB: 02/27/2011
Breeder: Susan Tobias
Owner: Chris and Gary Jacobson

photo by Helmi Flick

photo by Helmi Flick


photo by Helmi Flick

photo by Helmi Flick

photo by Helmi Flick

photo by Helmi Flick

photo by Helmi Flick

photo by Helmi Flick


Photos at the top and bottom of this page are by Helmi Flick

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