Featured Cat:
GC, BW, NW Granddelight's PJ
of Mockingbird

Published October 2000

By the end of the 1996-97 show season, a cream and white female Persian from a relatively unknown cattery and campaigned by a novice in only her second year of showing was CFA's 2nd Best Cat in Championship. On the way to her title, she became the 2nd highest scoring Bi-Color Persian in CFA history to that date. She earned 69 Best Cats and was Best Cat in Show 11 times.

But statistics alone cannot adequately define the show career of the phenomenal Persian named GC NW Granddelight's PJ of Mockingbird.

Destiny? Fate? Kismet? Whatever you might call it, I believe that PJ was meant to become part of my life. Perhaps you will understand why after you know the circumstances that led to her becoming part of the Mockingbird family.

This is PJ's story...

It was the spring of 1996. Following a year of research I had purchased my first kitty and had granded him to finish my first year of showing. My only other kitty, Eby, had become very ill, almost died, near the end of her successful regional kitten campaign. Eby was almost recovered enough to begin to show as an adult. I had decided in the meantime to look for a kitten to take on a national campaign (I have been accused of being nuts more than once), and so I began a search for a special kitten... my cat #3.

While searching for #3, I corresponded by fax with Linda Hayashi of Granddelight, California. Linda had just shown their kitten PJ to 14th Best Kitten in the Southwest Region and was preparing to bring her out as an adult - hopefully to become their first homebred grand. Linda was bringing PJ as an open to a show in my region in a few weeks. With no shows handy closer to home, her plan was to grand PJ quickly then take her home, shave her and breed her. It was Linda's first time flying to a show, her first time traveling by herself to a different region without her husband and she was nervous. I was planning on showing Eby as an open and I offered to pick Linda up at the airport in Portland, OR.

Shortly after I made that offer, Eby had a slight relapse and I didn't feel she should be stressed by going to the show. I considered telling Linda I couldn't make it after-all, but didn't want to let her down. So... I decided to drive 8 hours to the show JUST to pick up Linda and PJ.

And it was that decision that would change my life for 1997 and PJ's destiny.

So I drove 8 hours south to Oregon and after picking up Linda and PJ at the airport we checked into the hotel and I had the opportunity to handle PJ.

She was flawless.

Round, round, round everywhere I looked. She had huge eyes of unbelievable color, the tiniest ears, SMOOTH round doming, broad tophead. Cobby body, good boning, lovely cream coat beautifully pale. I tried to find a place to fault her... and failed. I felt that this was the kitty I was meant to campaign to an NW... not the kitten I had been looking for... but an adult.

Linda and I talked all night... never actually went to sleep. As we dragged ourselves to the showhall the next morning, Linda went to check in and I opened the catalogue to look at the competition.... and PJ's name wasn't there! To make a long story short, the club never received PJ's entry! The entire trip was a WASTE!!

We watched a bit of the show, then returned to the hotel for a nap. But now, because PJ was not being shown, I got to play with her, and mess with her and... fall hopelessly in love. Her beauty was matched by her personality. As she snuggled onto my arms that night, she gave me a kiss on the end of my nose... something she would do many times in many hotel rooms across the country in future months.

As I was packing up to drive Linda to the airport the following morning, I made an offer to buy PJ. She said no. Of course, I understood :-)

After hugging PJ good-bye, I made the long drive back home to Canada. And let me tell you, that last hour was tough. I was so-o-o-o tired. As I dragged my weary body through the door of my home, I saw the blinking light on the fax machine. I stumbled over and read the fax. "We will sell you PJ if you still want her". I blinked and read it again. It's amazing how revitalized a weary person can feel when presented with exciting news.

Five days later, PJ and I were at her first show as an open. She earned her first two Best Cats - one from Wain Harding, and one from Brian Moser, who gave PJ the first allbreed Best Cat win of his judging career.

And so the adventure began...

PJ's campaign fell into two parts. I showed her from July to our October qualifier, at which point she had blown coat. She was 22nd nationally with 5200 points, not quite enough for an NW. Do I try to keep her out naked and pick up those last points? Or make the decision to stop and re-grow coat, maybe lose momentum in the mean time?

I stopped. PJ would miss the International, my one regret of her career.

But when she returned to the show ring in record time in December, she never looked back. She just kept getting better and better until her final show the first week of April when she earned enough points to put her in the #2 slot. She retired...

I could tell you about PJ's show accomplishments - Best Cats at National Capitol, Revellers, Houston... all the biggest campaign shows against all the top cats in the nation. You may want to hear about the times she was placed Best over that season's Cat of the Year, or the times that she brought tears to a judge's eyes.

And there were some trying times too. PJ developed an abscess at the site of her rabies vaccination (necessary to enter Canada). So she had to have the abscess drained and the dead skin removed and sutured in the middle of her campaign. My vet performed the operation using a local anesthetic and clipped the hairs literally one by one so as not to leave a bald spot.

Campaigning from the west coast of Canada often meant a 3 hour drive to the Seattle airport to make connections to get to shows across the U.S. One time, in the middle of winter, I arrived back at 1 AM to find my car had been stolen from the airport garage. Exhausted, PJ and I filled out police reports and tried to find a car to rent. That was a low point.

But what I remember more is the generosity of exhibitors all across the country who not only admired PJ, but went out of their way to tell me how much they loved her. I especially remember several people with bi-color grands up against her, fierce competitors, who nonetheless were great PJ supporters.

One of the things I maintained throughout PJ's campaign and still believe today, is that whether your cat wins a rosette or doesn't win a rosette... the cat remains the same. PJ was always breath-taking.

And the sweetest memories of her campaign still bring a smile when I recall them...

  • PJ sitting with her bib on demanding to be hand fed her sirloin steak.
  • PJ sitting on the airline seat on the redeye flight and the flight attendent bringing her a saucer of milk from first-class.
  • PJ standing on the judging table gazing out at the audience like she was judging THEM.
  • PJ sitting in the silver bowl awarded the Best Cat at Revellers
  • Bill Lee awarding her Best Cat and getting choked up as he remembered his own cream and white Cat of the Year

There was drama, ecstasy, disappointment. There were challenges, victories and defeats. But always, there was PJ... stunning loveliness, warm nose kisses and purrs... She was the princess who evolved into a reining Queen.

PJ still sleeps on my bed and rules the other kitties of "Mockingbird".

She walks in BEAUTY.

GC, NW Granddelight's PJ of Mockingbird

Cream & White Persian Female born October 20, 1995
breeder:: Brad & Linda Hayashi
owner: Lee Harper
GC Furfrenz Chaucer of Granddelight
Dam: Bolo It's My Party

CFA's 2nd Best Cat in Championship 1996-97
2nd Highest Scoring Female Bi-Color in CFA history
Best Cat in Region 2 for 96-97
Winner of 69 Best Cats awards
11 times Best Cat in Show
Southwest Region's 14th Best Kitten 1995-96

Lee Harper
Mockingbird Persians & Exotics
email: editor@pandecats.com
website: Mockingbird Persians & Exotics
phone: 604-535-7469
British Columbia, Canada

*All photos by CHANAN unless otherwise credited

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