Saturday, May 28, 2011

Photos of Mod Daeng in January 2011

With thanks to Chanan Photography for these beautiful Photos of Mod Daeng

Saying "Au Revoir" to Mod Daeng

On Friday, February 4, 2011 I bid a very fond farewell to Mod Daeng. I flew down to Southern California, where I had first met her, and delivered her to Art Graafmans, our CFA Burmese Breed Council secretary. I have to admit I was quite sad to say goodbye, and that I still miss her. She is an extraordinary cat. I love her affectionate and confident personality, even her grumbles at other cats when they invaded her personal space. Through birthing and raising six babies and beyond, she remained as playful as a young kitten. And her health and strength through all the transition and travel she has been seen in her young life is an inspiration.

My experiences with Mod Daeng were transformative for me in many ways, and will continue to be. I have learned much about the origins of our breed, some of which I’m sharing in this newsletter. I’ve made new friends. And I have raised six beautiful kittens, four of which we hope will add health and hybrid vigor to our gene pool. Mod Daeng’s legacy will last for generations of Burmese if all goes as we plan.

On Saturday, February 5th, Art flew with Mod Daeng to St. Louis, Missouri, and Saturday afternoon delivered her to J.D. Blythin. The next morning, at the CFA Board of Director’s meeting, Mod Daeng was in attendance as the board discussed how to register her and her kittens. Apparently she was quite the guest celebrity!

Sunday, February 6th was a momentous and historic day both for the Burmese breed and for the Cat Fanciers Association. After the meeting, Art Graafmans submitted the following report to the Burmese Breed Council:

The proposal to reduce the number of generations required to bring a cat into CFA from another registry has passed unanimously. We now only require 5 generations.
The ballot proposal to register Mod Daeng (as a sable Burmese) was rejected and replaced with the following:

1. Mod Daeng may be registered in the CATS registry as a native Thai foundation Burmese.

2. Mod Daeng may be bred to CFA registered Burmese and the offspring may be registered a Burmese with the stipulation that they be genetically tested as cbcb (solid color).

3. The offspring which test cbcs (mink pattern) may be registered in the CATS registry as F2, F3, Burmese. These cats may be bred to CFA registered Burmese with the same stipulations as Mod Daeng.

The discussion included the issue of which genetic labs could be used. It was agreed that CFA did not want to specifically endorse any specific lab, so any lab qualified to do the test will be accepted.

This revised proposal was passed with only one no vote. After the vote, the Burmese breed council was commended for being forthcoming regarding Mod Daeng's color and for proposing a forward thinking method for registration. This is the first time CFA will use a genetic test as part of a registration requirement and we were applauded for requesting the test.

Thus Mod Daeng has helped the Burmese breed to once again make history. As the first cat breed developed through genetics, it is most appropriate for it to be the first breed to use genetic testing for registration. This decision will open doors not only for future imports from Thailand, but also sets an example and a precedent for others who might want to use genetic testing to benefit their breeds as well.

After the meeting, Mod Daeng returned to the Chicago area to live with J.D. Blythin and Renee Weinberger. On that same Sunday, February 6th, she was in heat and she was bred to produce more offspring to help with Burmese genetic diversity. They now have a litter of six babies -- this time five girls and a boy, three are sables and three are minks.

My deep gratitude to Renee and J.D. for allowing me to host and breed Mod Daeng. I will continue my blog with the journeys and stories of her offspring.

Indy and Murf - May 2011 Photos

It's Such a Rough Life!

Aren't I cute?

Still Practicing Power Nap Yoga

New Toys!

One of Our Last Sunny Days with Mama Orange

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Adventures of Indy and Murf

As you've read in this blog, Mod Daeng had six boys in her first litter. Four were sable (the original and most popular Burmese color) and two were mink - mink being what we call in the West Tonkinese, which is an intermediate coat pattern. Minks carry one copy of the Siamese pointed gene and one copy of the Burmese sepia gene. Mink, however, is not an accepted Burmese color in any cat registry. So given the uncertainty (at the time) that minks would be allowed even for breeding in CFA or in TICA, and with plenty of expenses that had been incurred by this project, I decided to sell and place the the two minks in a home. Har and Hok went to their forever home on December 23, 2010 and were renamed Indy and Murf.

Suz and Doug, their new and proud parents, had previously had Burmese, and their daughter and son-in-law had acquired two Burmese boys from me several years ago. Suz and Doug had been searching for a long time for new Burm companions, but they were having trouble finding what they wanted. The noses on Burmese had changed significantly in the years since they'd acquired their last Burms. They didn't like the shorter faces on the kittens they were seeing. When they first contacted me, I didn't have any kittens available and they particularly wanted sables, which I wasn't expecting in any upcoming litters.

But then I told them about Mod Daeng and the possibility that there might be kittens available in the litter, because she would likely have half minks and half sables. I told them how important it was that we used the sables for outcross for the breed. And at the time, we didn't know how many kittens Mod Daeng would have, or what sex they would be. Having six boys was quite a surprise for everyone! And in the litter there were two minks. When Suz and Doug met them, they fell in love and decided that two mink Burmese would do just fine.

A few days after I delivered the boys to their new home, which, while I was still there, the boys had immediately begun to enthusiastically explore, Suz sent me a report. "Five hours after you left them, they were sacked out for a nap on our laps. By the third night they were sleeping on our bed, and last night they were under the covers. If we do anything in the kitchen Indy is right there to inspect and comment. Murf sits and waits to see if Indy is going to get into trouble and then strikes. They are soooo loving and active and people lovers. They have changed our lives forever (for the better). . . We absolutely adore them and they are 100% Burmese in every way."

A few weeks later I got another update: "They are now developing their own distinctive personalities and move away from each other when they are interested in different things. THEN our little cottage thunders with tiny feet as they race/chase each other around and around the house and then curl up together and take a long nap . . . Doug said the biggest surprise for him has been just how smart and clever they are. They approach all problems (i.e. 'how can we get up there and get that down for us to attack?') as a group project/effort. What one can't think of the other can and you can 'see' the wheels going around in their little cute heads.

"Now, for our WOW moment. As you can see from the pictures we've sent, we have a 3rd cat added into our boys' life. I think you got a peek of the calico peering in from our glass patio door when you were here. She is a spayed female, never had kittens, has a physical and shots every year, and she is 14 years old. Her original owners just moved away without taking her. She had to survive for two years on her own 'catch of the day.' When my daughter and her husband bought the property there were 24 feral cats around here. We managed to get all in to the humane society and had them fixed (all were female). They started putting out quality kibble and milk on their veranda for them. They all seemed to get along and hung out together EXCEPT for the calico who was never included. When our last Burmese died we began to feed her a little away from the others. Over the past 10 years she pretty much hangs out in our back yard, comes in to eat dinner, and then leaves. We just call her Orangie. Well...

"The boys thought it fun to watch out the patio door at Orangie and Orangie began to come over to the door whenever she glimpsed the kittens. After a few days of this we took Orangie to the vets for blood work and physical and when all came back 100% normal we decided to let Orangie come in the house. Orangie walked in quietly and Indy went over to her and very respectfully did a drop and roll submissive approach. BUT Murf took one look and said, 'Mommy! I knew you wouldn't forget me.' And really the rest is history. We now call her Nanny. She sits and watches the boys play. She seemed confused at what they were doing because she obviously hasn't played in years. Murf of course wants (and succeeds sometimes) in nursing from her. She bathes both boys every night. If it is sunny Nanny goes outside, but checks back in on her kittens. It has been very interesting to see the relationship develop.

"The boys continue to grow. Murf is just about 4-5 days behind Indy in development. Murf did his first drop and roll (more like a scratch and roll) yesterday and did 3 more because it was so much fun."

And this month, May 2011, I received a recent update on Indy and Murf:

"The 'boys' are now teenagers and are everywhere. We are in the process of turning a fenced/screened room out of our patio for Murf and Indy. There will be a high 'cat ramp and walk' all around it so they can safely view the world and enjoy the sun and air while we sit and read.

"They are the smartest Burms we have ever had. Right now Indy is sitting under my chair making noises he knows will make me look and Murf keeps walking on my fingers as I type. I call them my 'Houdinis.' They have correctly accessed each window's and door's latch and just know if they try harder they will succeed in opening them (we are convinced they are trying to grow thumbs). They have learned the art of 'two tagging' anything or anybody to satisfy their curiosity. They make a great team. Their surrogate mama (known as Mama Orange) kept them in line and every night she would curl up on our bed while we watched TV. One, by one they would come up and do a drop and roll in deference to her and then she would put her paw across a kitten's shoulder and pin him down and thoroughly wash his face and ears!

"Two weeks ago Mama Orange died in her sleep from old age. We were very happy she got to be a Mama as she so much enjoyed it. The boys were very upset for about 5 days. They were sure she was just outside and would run from window to window. But soon they accepted the situation and turned to each other. BUT every night they still climb on my bed and now they wash each other's face and ears. Very sweet. And then they 'go for the throat' and run all over us and the house.

"They are turning into beautiful cats and everyone who comes wants to play with them and hold them. The boys just know everything and everyone means something fun and good. We just love them!! (Even when they're bad, or wake us up at 5am and 'two tag' us, or jump on our shoulders with no warning, or jump in the toilet, or demand to drink from the bathroom faucet, etc, etc. . . "

And so continue the adventures of Indy and Murf. It is such a joy as a breeder to hear how much their humans love the Burmese we raise.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Two Minks at Four Months - Indy and Murf in Their New Life

Power Yoga Napping to start the day.

Searching for a brother to play with.

The hunt is underway.

Found a new friend!

Time to nap again after a fun day of play.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Newsflash - the CFA BC Votes are In!

I am thrilled to report that members of the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) Burmese Breed Council have approved registering Mod Daeng in CFA! They also approved reducing the number of generations from eight to five before Burmese can be brought into CFA from other registries. This will allow us to use lines from European Burmese in fewer generations than previously, which will also help with our plans for outcrossing and increasing genetic diversity.

The next step for both these measures will be final approval by the CFA Board of Directors at their February meeting. Fingers crossed, though I have heard that many board members are sympathetic to these changes which is wonderful.

I look forward to registering Mod Daeng's four sable offspring in CFA and then I will try to get winners ribbons for at least one of the little guys. That will be fun! Even if I can't get the winners ribbons it will be a chance to show Mod Daeng's offspring to judges. The one with the best confirmation has a tiny tail fault, but thankfully the CFA Breed Council last year voted to change the tail fault language from disqualify to penalize. Therefore I think my chances of getting winners ribbons are good, going beyond that would be unlikely but that's fine. We'll see what the next generation looks like!

I will be able to register the four boys in TICA as well, though I can't show them, unfortunately. TICA has a different system and because the Burmese breed is a Category 1 (established) breed, it requires more effort to bring in imports and offspring cannot be shown for four generations. I hope that can be changed as our breed definitely needs these imports to help us gain greater health and genetic diversity.

It is New Year's Eve and a rainy, lazy morning on the Big Island of Hawaii. This is our last day here before flying home tomorrow. Re-entry into the "real world" will be tough. But I am looking forward to seeing my kitties and telling Mod Daeng and her babies the good news, LOL.

Happy New Year to everyone -- and may this new year bring you health, prosperity, and lots of Burmese purrs! ;-)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Whose Your Daddy?

I am at the moment in gorgeous Hawaii, in Volcano National Park on the Big Island. Some friends and I are staying for a week in a cabin in the forest - a primeval dense jungle of towering tree ferns, banyan trees, vines, and other trees and plants I've not yet identified. We are at about 3500 feet elevation. We are hardly "roughing it," as we have electricity and all the comforts of home, including a wireless network! And yes, we all brought our computers!

Being in such a beautiful setting, away from home and work - truly "vacating" as it were - definitely helps clear the mind and soul of stress and worries. I'm trying to take advantage of this to do some thinking and planning and writing. As I reviewed Mod Daeng's Blog, I realized I'd not posted a photo of the father of Mod Daeng's litter. Here he is.

His name is Bear Country's Alan Parsons Project. He's a Champagne (Chocolate Sepia) male about three and a half years old. He's fathered several beautiful litters of Burmese, and he is my only whole male. He does tend to spray and occasionally be aggressive with other cats so I cage him but let him out nearly every day for some time romping in the sun and fresh air. I have an outdoor 2nd floor deck that is carefully netted in to keep kitties from escaping.

Alan may have some of the less desirable behaviors of a whole male, but otherwise he is such a sweetheart. I call him "The King of Drop and Roll". He loves to drop and roll frequently and without warning and expose his belly for petting, especially right in front of me when I'm trying to cross the room. He adores being petted and I give him lots of love whenever I am home. Many of his kittens have also inherited the "Drop and Roll" gene, and all of his kittens show the same kind of affection Alan demonstrates, like him they love to cuddle.

To all who are reading Mod Daeng's blog, I wish Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas in Hawaiian) and all the best for the new year. My next post will be about the two Mink boys in Mod Daeng's litter who have gone to their new home!