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

The Premier Online Magazine
devoted to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

Search
Close this search box.

PandEcats

The Premier Online Magazine devoted
to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

Search
Close this search box.

GC, GP, NW Angelspur OhLaLa

Once in awhile a special kitty comes into your life — something extra special. GC, GP, NW Angelspur OhLaLa is such a kitty. This is her story…

Angelspur Persians

My name is Shirley McCollow. I live in Ontario, Canada and have been breeding and showing Persians exclusively since 1985 under the Angelspur cattery name. I started many years ago with dilute colors but my first show cat and Grand Champion was a copper-eyed white female. For a few years, I was awestruck with the tabbies and worked with several tabby colors. Since then, I have returned to my first love, solids especially whites and reds. I work with whites in all eye colors; copper, blue, and odd-eyed. I also have a keen interest in producing red Persians with unbarred coats and have been fortunate in reaching this goal and I continue to work to maintain gorgeous clear red coats in my cats.

The Red Litter

In 2011, I bred my red boy, CH Angelspur Eternal Flame, to my red girl, GC, RW Angelspur Scarlet Princess. Scarlet was a regional winner as a kitten and I was looking forward to an all red litter.

CH Angelspur Eternal Flame
Photo by Chanan
Dam: GC, RW Angelspur Scarlet Princess
Photo by Chanan

As expected the litter of 5 kittens were all redheads — 4 girls and 1 boy. I was rather preoccupied that show season with running (CFA) GC, RW (CCA) SMGC Angelspur Call Me Crazy — a lovely clear red male. He was a regional winner in CFA in 2010-2011 and I decided to show him in the Canadian Cat Association (CCA) the following year where he was so successful that he was CCA’s Cat of the Year 2011-2012.

(CFA) GC, RW (CCA) SMGC Angelspur Call Me Crazy
CCA Cat Of The Year 2011-2012
Photo by Chanan

When Princess’s litter was born, I was busy with Crazy’s campaigning and so was slow to evaluate the kittens. One day I was bathing the largest kitten — the boy, I thought. He was really nice and had a very clear red coat, but I really did not need another boy, so in my mind I was not thinking of keeping him or showing him. It was then that I realized that the largest kitten in the litter was one of the girls! She had surpassed her brother and was now pick of litter. Now I really paid attention to this baby.

I continued to watch her grow. She had almost no ears and a wonderful top head and her coat was a clear red right from the beginning. Her eyes were stunning and her expression melted my heart. As I watched her develop I would often comment to myself, “OhLaLa! She is getting nice.” And that’s how she got her name, Angelspur OhLaLa… LaLa for short.

All Grown Up

LaLa went to only one show as a kitten and while she took breed a couple of times, she made no finals. Once LaLa hit eight months and entered the championship classes, she quickly granded in two shows. It was near the end of the season so I decided to wait until the new season started in May then campaign her as an adult for a regional win. Of course, by the time May rolled around, LaLa started to blow her coat, most notably in her tail, but off we went to the shows anyway. Her quality trumped a scraggly tail and she picked up points showing at shows close to home.

Photo by Chanan

The CFA World Show 2012

By fall, she was back in coat and we went to a couple of shows that changed my outlook and goals for LaLa for the season. She was making most of the finals, sometimes all of them in a show. I was overwhelmed by all the wonderful comments made to me by judges and other exhibitors. Everyone seemed to be telling me that LaLa was so beautiful that I should be setting my sights higher for her.

So off we went to the CFA world show to test the waters. LaLa was up against the other top Persian Grands in CFA at the prestigious show. She never took a breed win in the solid division but still made 6 finals in the show. She attracted much attention and now I was hooked. We would try for a national win.

A Canadian On The Campaign Trail

Although I live in Canada, I am only an hour from the New York border, so going through customs every weekend with a cat and a packed car became routine for us. I did things that I had never done before including double & triple entering shows, flying to shows and spending as much time in another country as I did at home.

Most shows were so far away that between the show and the travel time, we were away for three days each trip. Complicating matters, I have a job that requires me to work every other weekend, so getting more weekends off work and planning long trips became the order of the day. In December we only got out once but I utilized all my vacation hours at work and got all my weekends off starting in February.

LaLa moved up the national standings quickly at first and now we were studying the points and choosing shows that had the best judges for her rather than just the closest show. Once we replaced all of our breed points the move up the standings slowed down but when LaLa moved into the top 30 nationally, people were definitely taking notice. Now I was thinking that perhaps LaLa could be a national winner! For me it was an exciting time of planning shows, watching the numbers and enjoying the constant companionship with LaLa as we hit the campaign trail hard.

Photo by Chanan

A Real Show Girl

OhLaLa was the most wonderful cat to show. She loved the shows and the attention and SHE knew she was fantastic. She always stood on the judges table strutting her short body for all to see with her clear red coat flowing. She waited patiently for the judges to entertain her with toys. The judges often commented that she was just waiting to be admired and entertained. We frequently had a following of people around us at the shows. She commanded attention where ever we went.

Judge Gene Darrah enjoys a special moment with LaLa on the table.
Photo by Kathleen Lawton

Tick, Tock

A national campaign is always a challenge, and even more so when you come to the game later than the other contestants. Despite all LaLa’s success in the show ring, sadly time ran out for us. Catching up proved to be too difficult that late in the season. Looking back I would have changed a couple of shows that we went to. Perhaps that would have made the difference, although at the time I thought I was making the right decisions. Well, hindsight is always 20/20.

By the last show of the season, I knew LaLa could not break into the top 25 nationally. Although the show count would be too small for us to use, I decided to enter a show close to home with all our friends in attendance. As LaLa was awarded her final Best Cat at the show, we finished out the season proudly surrounded by the support of our friends.

It was a thrill to show LaLa and continued to be a thrill to have her as part of the family. For 2012-2013, she was the best Red Persian in CFA, Third Best of Breed nationally and the Great Lakes Region’s 7th Best Cat. Although not the goal I was after, LaLa did not care — we both know she is a stunning girl.

GC, RW Angelspur OhLaLa
Photo by Chanan

A Major Disappointment

With show days over it was on to having kittens. LaLa proved a bit difficult to get bred. Her short, thick body made it difficult for the stud cat to get the job done. It took a couple of heat cycles and my second choice male to accomplish the task.

LaLa was not very big but was right on time at day 65 her first contraction began. She labored gently all night without producing a kitten so in the morning we made a trip to my vet. The x-ray and ultrasound revealed one horn filled with pus and tissue and bone fragments in the other. There were no babies. I was given two options — spay her or give her IV antibiotics and let her continue to try to push out the stuff in her uterus. The second option came with risks including to her life if things went sour. Nothing was more important than my beautiful girl. Even though I was devastated, I decided to have her spayed. LaLa recovered in a few days. It took me much longer to accept that I would never have a LaLa kitten.

But recover we both did. Deciding to make the best of a bad situation, I decided to campaign LaLa in Premiership when the new show season began. LaLa had just missed out on a national win in Championship. Perhaps she could add the NW title to her name in Premiership. She deserved to be recognized as a national winner.

Photo by Chanan

Grand Premier

LaLa had been shaved in anticipation of motherhood, so the next few months was spent growing back her coat and planning her future shows. She looked good enough in January 2015 so we traveled to a local Ohio show to Grand her. The show was a 5-hour drive but I consider anything under 6 hours away as “local”.

It was a 6 x 6 show and I entered her both days. She earned more points than she needed to Grand in the first 5 rings of the day. I was preparing to pull her from the last ring when a friend reminded me that LaLa was still an Open and needed 6 qualifying rings. Whoops! So she went to her sixth ring. We returned home the next morning and began making a plan for the upcoming show season.

Photo by Chanan

A Logistical Challenge

With lessons learned from LaLa’s previous campaign, I knew so much more about how to plan for and choose the right shows that would contribute best to her success on the campaign trail. I am a nurse working a full time job — and that means working every other weekend. Planning well ahead, I utilized my vacation hours and pre-booked weekends off for what I thought would be the dates of key shows or traditionally high count shows in Premiership. I kept some of my vacation days reserved for any last minute decisions. I would concentrate on nothing but showing LaLa. I loved my girl and she loved to show, so we would do our best by getting out to the biggest shows, winning if we could, but regardless we would make this campaign an experience to remember.

Photo by Chanan

The Campaign Begins

We began the first weekend of the new show season in New Hampshire. I was anxious to get started after waiting and planning for so long. I was a bit anxious at the first show. I knew some judges might remember LaLa and ask about her being in the Premiership class. I could still easily get a bit teary at the fact that she had not been able to reproduce and I needed to prepare myself for possible inquiries.

She did well at her first show, we made some new friends, and the whirlwind of our national campaign began.

Photo by Chanan

The beginning of every week was spent figuring out where we should be going. Waiting for counts to be posted and making decisions sometimes meant entering shows as late as Wednesday morning — then madly arranging travel plans and sometimes scrambling last minute to get an extra weekend off work.

LaLa zoomed steadily up the national standings. By July, she was # 1 Cat in Premiership and stayed there for several weeks. A good friend printed out the e-points and framed it with a picture of LaLa. It is a gift that I will always treasure.

Changes & Challenges

The summer shows were more difficult for me to attend due to the demands of my job. LaLa fell to 4th place. She moved back up again reaching second where ultimately she remained until the end of the season.

We managed to drive to shows until November but then we needed to start flying. Occasionally I could pre-plan the flights but sometimes waiting for counts meant I couldn’t book a flight until late Wednesday afternoon. I had two bags packed for LaLa all that time — one if we were driving and one if we were flying. One Thursday evening my husband asked me which airport I was flying out of that weekend. At that moment It struck me how our spousal topics of conversation had changed :-).

The other major challenge of the campaign occurred when the US-Canadian dollar exchange rate took a major dive in the fall. As a Canadian, the cost of the campaign escalated dramatically. I was not prepared to stop, however, so I skimped where I could and soldiered on. When LaLa reached 3000 points I was elated. I felt she now had more than enough points for a national win. She was “safe”. We continued the “game” of looking for the highest point shows and I enjoyed the thrill of showing my gorgeous girl.

Photo by Chanan

A Trooper

LaLa enjoyed showing herself off and she maintained her winning attitude all year long. She would stand on the judging table, swish her tail a bit, and prancing slightly while she waited to be admired. She was always popular when going through security at airports — often drawing a small crowd of admirers. I even had to take her out of her carrier a few times when driving through customs to show her off (not that either of us minded).

(Left) LaLa enjoys her beauty treatment before the show. (Right) LaLa relaxes amidst her Best cat rosettes.

Highlights

One of her most memorable shows was the CFA World Show 2015. LaLa was highest scoring cat in Premiership in the Red Show. She was invited to compete for the Best of the Best. It was beyond thrilling. Another very special event was at the prestigious San Diego show where we were excited to be in California for the first time. LaLa took all Bests on the Saturday.

We finished with her last show in Las Vegas where she was 6 times Best Cat out of 10 rings. I spent most of Sunday in tears. What a finish to an incredible year!

GC, GP, NW Angelspur OhLaLa
Photo by Chanan

While LaLa never produced any kittens, she is a product of my breeding program — and in that I take enormous pride. The best part of this campaign is the people we met and the new friends we made. It was always thrilling to have other exhibitors come over to see LaLa at a show — and she was always happy to greet them. The group of Premiership exhibitors that we competed with and competed against was incredible. Congratulations to all.

CCA Alter of the Year & Star of a Documentary

While I intended to retire LaLa, she had other ideas. She missed her showing days. So I brought her out to show in the Canadian Cat Association in 2016… where she was Best Alter of the Year. You can watch a documentary that followed LaLa and her fellow competitors over the season at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLdkZwYB1rU . It is titled, Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit.  The documentary promotion reads, “Meet Oh La La, a prize-winning pedigreed Persian cat. Her owner, Shirley, is determined to take ‘La’ for one more victory lap on the Cat Show circuit. Standing in the way is the fiercely competitive Kim, who is spending thousands campaigning Bobby, her Turkish Angora, for the big prize. These two “Cat Fanciers” are at the center of Catwalk: Tales From the Cat Show Circuit, a raucous journey to the heart of one of the animal world’s most colorful sub-cultures competitive cat showing. redemption. And did we mention cats?”

LaLa’s Many Accomplishments

Over the course of LaLa’s show career, she accumulated accomplishments were many:

In TICA, she is CH, SMGP Angelspur OhLaLa CNW, CCA Best Premier 2016-2017

In CFA she is GC, GP, NW Angelspur OhLaLa, CFA 2nd Best Cat in Premiership 2015-2016

She was also:

  • CFA Great Lakes Region Best Cat in Premiership 2015-2016
  • 2015 Becky Cotter Award for Highest Scoring Cat in Premiership at the Phoenix Feline Fanciers Cat Show
  • One Show Grand Premier
  • CFA National Best Red Persian 2012-2013
  • CFA Third Best of Breed 2012-2013
  • CFA Great Lakes Region 7th Best Cat 2012-2013
  • CFA Great Lakes Region Best Red Persian 2012-2013
  • 2 Show Grand Champion

Final Thoughts

LaLa is now home lounging in her favorite chair. I still keep up her magnificent coat. LaLa is — and will always be — my most special girl. She is a once-in-a-lifetime kitty.

Photo by L. Johnson
Photo by Chanan
Photo by Chanan

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ABOUT THE IMAGE AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE

GC, GP, NW Angelspur OhLaLa

CFA 2nd Best Cat in Premiership 2015-2016
CCA Best Premier of the Year 2016-2017

Red Persian Spay
Born 06/15/11
Sire: CH Angelspur Eternal Flame
Dam: GC, RW Angelspur Scarlet Princess
Breeder/Owner: Shirley McCollow
Photo by Chanan

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