The Premier Online Magazine devoted to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats
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The Premier Online Magazine
devoted to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

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The Premier Online Magazine devoted
to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

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GC, BW, NW AOL Mambo

CFA’s Sixth Best Cat for 2012-2013 is the magnificent black Persian male, GC, BW, NW AOL Mambo, bred and co-owned by Olivier Grin and Aleksejs Dergachovs.

Mambo’s story begins long before his birth. It is the story of two men, Olivier Grin and Aleksejs Dergachovs, and how they formed a partnership, brought together through their love of cats. Olivier Grin, a veterinarian in Switzerland, started breeding cats almost by accident. Early in his life, he was into horses and pursued riding dressage as a hobby and passion for 25 years. In 1995, while on a month long trip to South Korea and Japan, Olivier rescued a four week old kitten he found in the street. This cat, subsequently named Hong Ch’a, was a natural Japanese Bobtail and became the foundation male of Olivier’s JBT breeding program under the cattery name Songgwangsa.

Hong Ch’a, a natural Japanese Bobtail imported from Japan.

At that time, Europe was part of CFA’s International Division with barely ten shows a year, so Olivier often traveled to CFA shows in the United States. At a show in Portland, Oregon, Olivier met Cornish Rex breeders Pat Keltys (Keltys) and Bonnie James (Kimo) and added a Cornish girl, CH Kimo’s Priscella of Songgwangsa, to his feline family. Songgwangsa now had two breeds.

Cornish Rex female CH Kimo’s Priscella of Songgwangsa
Photo by J-L Klein & M-L Hubert

Finally, on a trip to Minneapolis, Olivier met Randy Primer & Bob Farber (Boberan) and Diane Wagner (Vareda) and added Persians to his breeding program. His first winning Persian was a beautiful red boy named GC, DW Boberan Red Phantom of Songgwangsa who was 2nd Best Cat in the International Division in 2004.

GC, DW Boberan Red Phantom of Songgwangsa
CFA 2nd Best Cat in the International Division 2003-2004
Photo by Chanan

So that was how Olivier first started breeding Persians under the prefix “Songgwangsa”. He granded his first cats and then his first regional winner, a copper eyed white named GC, DW Songgwangsa Zayn. Olivier was breeding Japanese Bobtails, Cornish Rex and now Persians under the Songgwangsa name.

Alex Dergachovs began breeding Persians under the cattery name “Alemars” in 2006.

GC, NW Alemars Lovebug Of Wishes
CFA’s 5th Best Cat 2010-2011
Photo by Chanan

Olivier and Alex met in 2008 and combined their Persian breeding programs. In 2009 Olivier and Alex decided to register a new cattery name for their joint Persian breeding program. Combining the first letters from their first names, Alex and Olivier, their new cattery name became AOL. This is why even though the cats all are basically from the same breeding program, Olivier and Alex have Persians under three different cattery names: Alemars, Songgwangsa and AOL.

A Little Boy

And so we come to the beginning of Mambo’s story. In early 2011, Olivier and Alex were excitedly waiting for the birth of their first litter from their blue Persian male, GC DW Alemars Cornelius. Cornelius was the 3rd Best Solid Persian in CFA in 2009- 2010 and had been bred to a lovely unshown Persian girl named Alemars Fancy Button.

Mambo’s sire: GC DW Alemars Cornelius
Photo by Melniko VV’a

Button gave birth to a single black male kitten in the summer of 2011. From birth, Olivier and Alex thought the kitten was very promising but they didn’t need to keep another boy — so the little black kitten was offered for sale. They sent pictures of him at three months of age to a breeder and she named him Mambo. When the kitten was old enough to go to his new home, the men hand-carried the young Mambo to meet the new owner at a show in Klagenfurt, Austria. Mambo was still a tiny little boy and looked like a midget in the rings compared to the much older and more developed Persian kittens. His new owner was disappointed in his size and didn’t recognize the potential that Olivier and Alex saw in him. She decided not to take him after all and Olivier and Alex brought Mambo back home with them from the show.

The men actually had plans to show a different male but because they liked Mambo more they decided to keep him, grand him, and then place him in a nice home. Mambo was 8 months old at the last show of the season. Olivier and Alex entered Mambo in his first show as an adult primarily for the ring experience. Mambo hadn’t finished maturing and didn’t make much of an impression.

Young Mambo, Fall 2013
Photo by Melniko VV’a

The next show in Europe was in August in Germany. Mambo was not in full coat but he earned Grand points in most of the finals as well as a few top ten placements including a Best Cat in the specialty ring. The count was unfortunately not high enough to enable him to be a one-show grand. He missed out by just 8 points.

With few shows in Europe over the summer, Mambo’s next competition was not until September. He did very well, made several high placements in the top ten and earning over 200 Grand points. He was now GC AOL Mambo. The other male Persian that Olivier and Alex had planned to show next was not in coat so they decided to continue showing Mambo for a regional win. They calculated that if Mambo could earn 2,500 points in the next two months, that would be enough for him to be in the top 25 cats in Championship in Europe’s Region 9.

Mambo more than fulfilled their expectations. By the end of November, he had already climbed up to second place in the region and 27th nationally in CFA — and he had yet to be shown in 100 rings.

Mambo, Olivier and judge Jo Ann Miksa-Blackwell at a show in France.

A National Campaign

Mambo was doing really well at most shows, sharing the top placements with his main competitor, a wonderful Bombay named GC Lac Hong Gi Joe, bred and shown by their dear friend Mireille SiCart of Les Lac Hong cattery in France.

Mambo’s friendly competition was a Bombay male GC, BW, NW LAC HONG GI JOE
Photo by Melniko VV’a

Mambo loved being shown and encouraged by Mireille and other good friends, Olivier and Alex decided to try for a national win with their wonderful boy. The rest of the season flew by as Mambo continued climbing up and up in the national rankings until by the last weekend of April, he was 6th Best Cat in CFA for 2012-2013.

GC, BW, NW AOL Mambo
CFA’s Sixth Best Cat for 2012-2013
Photo by Vladimir Stoyanov

Mambo’s New Home

Olivier and Alex had a policy of placing their retired cats with friends where the kitties could live as family pets rather than in a cattery environment — and so Mambo went to live with good friends, Liliane and Daniel Porchet of Bois Du Duc / Cats Melody in Switzerland. The Porchets are small breeders, maintaining just four breeding cats in their spacious apartment.

Photo by Lucien Zürcher. Mambo shows off his athletic prowess as he jumps to the countertop to check on Daniel’s dinner preparations.

The Porchets are members of the Cat Club de Genève, which is one of the oldest existing cat clubs in Europe, founded in 1933. They showed Mambo in different cat clubs, some of them affiliated with the World Cat Federation (WCF) and some with the French registry LOOF. While Mambo enjoys a great life with the Porchets he has also had success for them in the show ring including multiple times Best In Show. With only a few shows he was last year’s the highest scoring cat in their association.

Mambo with Liliane and Daniel Porchet
Photo by Lucien Zürcher

A New Rule

Mambo is the first national winner under the AOL cattery name and the first that Olivier and Alex campaigned themselves. Their first national winner, Alemars Lovebug, was shown by Connie Stewart. Like Mambo, Lovebug was offered for sale as a kitten, but no one was interested. Olivier and Alex joke that they have a rule in their breeding program now — if they have a nice show kitten that no one wants, it means he should stay with them and be campaigned. Alex has now retired from cat breeding, but Olivier carries on breeding under the AOL cattery name. This spring, the Porchets told Olivier that Mambo seems to finally be interested in the girls, so perhaps soon there will be have babies sired by AOL’s first national winner — GC, BW, NW AOL Mambo!

GC, BW, NW AOL Mambo

Liliane grooms Mambo at home.
Photo by Lucien Zürcher

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GC, BW, NW AOL Mambo

CFA’s Sixth Best Cat in Championship 2012-2013
CFA Region 9 (Europe) 2nd Best Cat in Championship

Black Persian Male

Born: July 22, 2011
Sire: GC, DW Alemars Cornelius
Dam: Alemars Fancy Button
Breeder: Aleksejs Dergachovs
Owner: Olivier Grin and Aleksejs Dergachovs