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

Close this search box.


The Premier Online Magazine devoted
to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

Close this search box.

GC, RW Karabel’s Dolly Madison

Christine Arnold of Karabel is well known for producing many Himalayan National and Regional Winners and Grand Champions. In 2009, Chris and her good friend Marg Peppler decided it was time to shift the focus to producing Colorpoint Exotic Shorthairs with the sweet expression that was a key feature of the Karabel “look”.

Producing a top show quality colorpoint Exotic Shorthair is a challenge because of the genetics involved. The shorthair gene is dominant. To produce a shorthair at least one parent must be a shorthair. Unless the shorthair parent is homozygous for shorthair, only half the resulting offspring will be shorthair statistically. It can take many generations of to produce breeding stock that are homozygous for the shorthair gene. 

As if that isn’t enough of a challenge, the pointed gene is recessive. Quality colorpoint Exotics are not easy to find. That means there are few breeders who are able to breed pointed zot to pointed zot. Instead, it is common practice to breed a CPC (colorpoint carrier) to a Himalayan or another CPC with at least one parent being shorthaired. You then hope and pray that the genetic roulette wheel comes up with offspring that are colorpoint Exotics. 

While breeding a solid CPC to a colorpoint is often done to improve type, it also comes with a price — the risk of losing the deep blue eye color that is coveted in colorpoints. 

Achieving a clear light coat on a colorpoint shorthair is another challenge. The dark color on a pointed cat is temperature dependent. On a Himalayan, the point color is darker because the extremities on the cat have shorter fur and so are cooler in temperature. The long hair on the Himalayan’s body keeps the body warmer, and as a result, lighter in color. But the Exotic has short hair on its body as well as its extremities, so the body is more likely to become shaded over time.

Clearly, producing a show quality pointed Exotic with good eye color and light body coat is not for the faint of heart.

A Star Is Born

Christine and Marg had been friends for years. Marg acquired a red tabby Persian colorpoint carrier (CPC) from Chris to be her first breeding female. The kitty’s name was GC Karabel’s Miss Scarlett of Peppurrz, DM. Scarlett was bred to GC, RW Kittystone’s Nico, a seal-lynx point Exotic Shorthair male. 

Sire: GC, RW Kittystone’s Nico
Dam: GC Karabel’s Miss Scarlett of Peppurrz, DM

Scarlett carried the colorpoint gene, while Nico was a colorpoint Exotic. Nico would give the colorpoint gene to all the offspring, but Scarlett could only give the colorpoint gene to half her kittens. That meant that there was only a 50% chance that their mating would produce a pointed offspring.

Scarlett was a longhair, therefore she had no shorthair gene. Nico was heterozygous for shorthair (he had one LH gene and one SH gene) so he would give the shorthair gene to only half his kittens.

Statistically, only 1 in 4 kittens in the litter would receive both two colorpoint genes AND a shorthair gene. The probability that the colorpoint shorthair kitten would also be show quality was “off the charts”.

But Marg and Chris were not discouraged by the odds… and so in May of 2009 Scarlett delivered two healthy kittens, a male and a female.

Ready for Stardom

It was obvious at birth that the male kitten was a solid cream tabby, while the female kitten was a colorpoint… but it is difficult to tell at birth whether a kitten is going to be a shorthair. It wasn’t long before it became evident that the female was going to be an Exotic — and she was pretty cute to boot! Although Scarlett only produced two kittens in the litter, they had beat the 1:4 odds. Scarlett had produced a show quality pointed zot kitten!

Right from the beginning, Karabel’s Dolly Madison or “Maddie” for short, was a determined little character. When Marg plucked her from her warm nest for her daily weight check, Maddie would scream bloody murder, sending her poor mother into a frenzy of anxiety, and putting the other household cats on alert. As Maddie grew and began to explore her kitten pen, it was evident that she was braver and more adventurous than her more docile brother. Maddie was the first to eat dry food, first to climb out of the birthing box and then kitten pen, and first to venture down a flight of stairs to explore more of her environment. Marg believed that Maddie had both the looks and the personality to excel in the show ring.

“I am really interested in your girl, Maddie.” Chris said thoughtfully after viewing yet another batch of photos that tracked the kitten’s growth and development. Marg was pleased that Chris had agreed with her evaluation that Maddie might be show worthy.

Baby Maddie at 14 weeks of age

The Kitten Campaign

Maddie was a total extrovert, strong and healthy with beautiful tortie lynx-point markings, tiny ears, and a sweet wide open expression. Maddie was always good natured but nevertheless let everyone know in no uncertain terms if she objected to her grooming, bath, nail trim, vaccination, or being prevented from exploring some forbidden territory. This girl had personality plus!

When she was just 4 months old, Chris took Maddie to her first show in Wilmington, OH — a campaign show which had a kitten count of 73. Maddie made only 1 final but it was clear that the judges liked her and in one ring she was made Best of Breed over some pretty intense competition. 

Her next show in Rochester, NY was more impressive with Maddie making 4 of 8 finals with a kitten count of 72. Maddie was at home in the show ring and loved to play and be charming on the judge’s table. She just seemed to enjoy being the center of attention. She was a true Hollywood starlet!

The competition was tough in Boxborough, MA, so Marg was bursting with pride when Maddie was chosen BEST LH Kitten by judge Sharon Roy, and then BEST AB Kitten by judge Gary Veach. 

Chris and Marg shared the showing responsibilities, and in Butler, PA, Chris was able to announce to Marg that judge Darryl Newkirk had made Maddie BEST AB Kitten! Columbus, OH was a wonderful show – the largest yet – and Maddie made 5 of the 6 finals! As her point count grew, she entered Regional Winner territory.

Photo by Chanan

A Gawky Teen

Campaigning Maddie had its ups and downs though, especially as she began to mature. Like many Exotics that start out short and cobby, as she grew, Maddie went through a “lanky teenager” stage as she stretched out into her adult conformation and lost some of her plush coat. 

Without the long plush coat of the Persian as camouflage, an Exotic has “nowhere to hide” any imperfections. As a result, some of Maddie’s later shows were less successful than her earlier ones. Still, she finished her kitten career with a healthy 1451 points which was enough for her to be the 22nd BEST Kitten in the Great Lakes Region for the 2009-2010 show season. It was quite an accomplishment for a colorpoint zot girl. Chris and Marg couldn’t have been happier when they accepted her award that year in Canton, Ohio.

Maddie Becomes A Grand

By the time she was 8 months old, Maddie started to cycle. Any breeder who has raced against their lovely female cat’s biological clock will understand the frustration of seeing their previously wide-eyed, cobby, plush-coated Exotic blow her coat, and crouch treading on the table while squinting up at the judge. Maddie was not showing herself off to her best advantage. It took determination and persistence by her owners for Maddie to earn the title of Grand Champion that she so well deserved. Chris and Marg will never forget that final ring of the day at the Genesee Cat Fanciers show in Henrietta, NY when judge Ken Currle gave Maddie the last few points that made her a Grand Champion. Maddie’s many fans including judge Hope Gonano cheered!

Photo by Chanan

Happily Ever After

Retired to the birthing box, Maddie now enjoys the life of a Karabel queen and has already produced two Regional Winning offspring: GP, RW, Karabel’s Tahitian Pearl, and GC, RW Karabel’s R U Gonna Kiss Me or Not. 

GP, RW, Karabel’s Tahitian Pearl (Photo by Chanan)
GC, RW Karabel’s R U Gonna Kiss Me or Not (Photo by Chanan)

Maddie still enjoys telling anyone within earshot what’s on her mind in no uncertain terms. When not occupied with kittens, she is an expert escape artist, and loves to wait for Chris to open the cattery door so she can make a dash for the spacious rooms in the rest of the house. Maddie loves to watch TV and it’s not hard to imagine her reminiscing about her glory days when she was a young rock star at the shows!

More Photos of GC, RW Karabel’s Dolly Madison

Photo by Chanan
Photo by Chanan
Photo by Chanan
Photo by Chanan
Maddie’s cream tabby litter brother, GP Karabel Victor (Photo by L. Johnson)
Maddie’s full sister, GP Karabel’s Miss Franki Bleu, and brother GP Karabel’s Rufus Lee, from a repeat breeding (Photo by Preston Smith)

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GC, RW Karabel’s Dolly Madison

Tortie Lynx Point Female Exotic Shorthair

CFA Great Lakes Region’s 22nd Best Kitten 2009-2010

Born 5/24/2009
Sire: GC, RW Kittystone’s Nico
Dam: GC Karabel’s Miss Scarlett of Peppurrz, DM
Breeder: Christine Arnold
Owner: Christine Arnold and Marg Peppler