Last April when Hammer (GC, RW Mercou Judas Maccabeus of Daytown) died unexpectedly, he had only bred for one season. His kittens surpassed all expectations. A new litter had just folded the week he died. There had been four girls and one boy at birth but three girls didn’t survive due to immature lungs. The lone surviving girl did not fold, but the boy did. When born, he weighed only 1 ½ ounces and, being a boy, I decided he was to be let go whether or not he folded. We had no more room for boys!
Carey Prater (GC, RW DeeKay’s Deeper in Debt) visited when they were almost five weeks old.
He loved the girl, a silver tabby with a white muzzle and feet, but told me to watch the silver tabby boy. He would be the better one. At that point I named him - George Jetson - for his round space helmet shaped head and comical little body. DeeKay and Daytown then made a momentous decision. We would keep this tiny, floppy eared sprite to replace Hammer in our breeding program. He might never grand, but he had all the qualities we like in a Scottish Fold. Little did we know . . .
Dick and I showed George - with me frequently calling him Hammer - and he did well at first, but then those floppy ears got in the way. At six months we pulled him and decided to wait until he turned eight months, hoping his head would grow to fit those ears. At his open show we were encouraged when he finalled in Hayward, CA. The next weekend found us in Palm Springs with several other Scottish Fold champions competing. All the folds earned points, but George was well on his way to grand when we left Sunday for the long drive home. The next show was in Phoenix so I left in the middle of the week to visit with Frank and Carolyn Gruenberg (Mercou) in Tucson. Phoenix was a Friskies lead show as well as a campaign show. It was a nail biting experience. Pat and Dawn Sartz had two extremely competitive Folds and my heart thudded with anxiety every judging ring. Then, miraculously it seemed, Craig Rothermal finalled George in the last ring of the show, granding him.
After staying with the Gruenbergs a couple more days George and I flew home, with me weighing the pros and cons of showing him then or next show season. After many phone calls between Moses Lake, WA and Monterey, CA, Jane, Dick and I decided to try for a regional win. It seemed the most realistic goal. At this time I also received my insulin pump, something I hoped would make it easier for me to show. It did.
Now it was time to see how he could do against unfamiliar competition. A few years before, I’d had fun showing GC, RW Urquhart’s Brigid of DeeKay at Purfect Pursians in Parsippany, NJ. Off we flew, expecting Bonnie and Jacqui Malick with their boy, GC, RW Birbop’s Eskimo Pi of Starrpawz. Instead. They were there with a new grand, GC Starrpawz the Accidental Tourist, a very well put together cream mackeral tabby (no white!) female. I had brought a kitten to keep George company and was amazed to see a kitten class of five. By the end of the show, George had finalled once in a specialty ring and Mercou Amber Dawn had made Best kitten in the same ring. They were the only Scottish Folds to final. Home we went, thinking a regional win was still the best to hope for. George also lost his travel partner - he wanted to breed Amber Dawn!
We did a lot of traveling with Gayle Hand, a name that should be familiar to most of you since she is the Editor of The American Connection, a publication ISFA refers to frequently. I wanted traveling to be fun for George and for me, too. George liked it when Gayle was with us because it meant her cat, GC, RW Biamerikitty Earthly Delight, was along, too. She was the object of his desire whenever we flew or drove together. Along the way we met Chris Karnes, showing Karen Votava’s kittens to perfection in the Northwest Region, and having a good time doing it. I took a few lessons in good sportsmanship from her and Gayle when situations were stressful and I was acting abominably. Fortunately, this did not happen often. Most of the time, we had a ball.
What happened next had nothing to do with any kind of show strategy to acquire points. It is my feeling that when you sell a show quality kitten, you should do your utmost to mentor the new owner. My parents live in Maryland so I combined a trip to see them with one to help Michele Cushman of StAndrewFold show the kitten she had purchased from me. Lennox finalled and so did George. We had gone to the Chesapeake show expecting one final and came home with five ribbons from a show that used to intimidate me when we lived in the Washington, DC, suburban area., Chesapeake. It was a show we had never finaled at. What a thrill!! And a new friend to boot!! Michele and I were like two long lost friends. We talked until we couldn’t talk.. George had a great time. He had his own special room with Mom and didn’t have to share toys with anyone, even Amber Dawn.
Now there was a chance, a shot at being the best. I truly felt I would not be capable of sustaining my health and George’s playfulness for a whole year. We decided, with two months left, to go for it.
About this point I found myself encouraging Gretchen Norgren, as our cats tried to overtake Pi. He had set the standard and we had to meet it. The goal seemed unattainable at times, but “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Gretchen was aiming for Best and I knew it would be difficult for George just to pass Pi. Gayle was tired and wanted to quit showing. Earthly had a Regional win and didn’t need any more shows. But George needed his buddy. Off we flew to Dallas for a great show for both kitties. Best Scottish Fold was decided the last weekend of the season. George ended his show career at home, finishing as Best Cat in Show at the Fancycat show in Hayward, where he had started his adult career.
Thanks Jane, for his sire. Thanks Robin, for his dam. Thanks Jeannie, Chris, and Gayle, for the encouragement. Most of all, thanks for your friendship.