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

Close this search box.

GP, DW, QGCH BigPurrs Arthur

The title of DW (Divisional Winner) is the equivalent of an RW in the International Divisions of CFA. In 2014, for the first time in the history of CFA, Israel awarded the DW title to each of the top cats in their country in Kittens, Championship and Premiership. As CFA’s Best Cat in Premiership 2013-2014 in Israel the red tabby and white Persian neuter GP, DW, QGCH BigPurrs Arthur was one of the first three cats to achieve this new DW title. This is his story…

My name is Alon Eliya Bigler and I am the very proud owner of BigPurrs Persians in Israel. I started breeding Persians in 1998 and my wife, Iris, joined me in our beloved hobby ten years later when we married.

The Cat Fancy in Israel

Showing cats in Israel is very different compared to the cat fancy in most other places in the world. Geographically and politically Israel is extremely isolated. This impacts our cat fanciers’ ability to show in CFA’s International Division. We are surrounded by countries such as Egypt which have CFA shows and clubs, but we cannot show there due to Israel’s sensitive position in the Middle East and the obvious security issues.

The nearest shows we can travel to safely are in Europe—requiring an expensive overseas trip with strict regulations regarding rabies testing on any cat coming from outside the EU (European Union). Complicating matters, Europe is not included in our region in CFA (it is in TICA). To show in another country within our region an exhibitor would actually need to travel to China or Brazil! A quick look on the world map clearly shows that is not a practical option. These factors combine to create a situation that limits most Israeli exhibitors to showing exclusively within our small country.

The Challenge of Showing in Multiple Cat Registries

While most of our cat exhibitors show primarily within Israel’s borders, in contrast, our small cat fancy is extremely diverse. We have one CFA club (Cat Fanciers Association), a TICA (The International Cat Association) club, three WCF (World Cat Federation) clubs, a FIFe (Fédération Internationale Féline) club and one ASC (Alliance Super Cats) club.

Why does one small cat fancy need so many clubs under so many associations? I do not know the answer, except to say that we have an old saying, “Where there are two Jewish people you will have ten different opinions”. Perhaps that’s the way our cat fancy has developed here—everyone has their ‘own taste’ and their own ‘opinion’ and one can choose to support the show or club that is the best fit.

Although it may be unusual to have cat clubs from so many different registries in such a small cat fancy, it is also very exciting and fun. Showing in different formats is never boring and most breeders participate in several shows in different registries every year. Because each association has its nuances of ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ with a breed, if your cat can win in multiple registries it demonstrates that the cat meets the standard of its breed ‘across the board’.

The situation does have one real drawback, however. It makes it very difficult to campaign a cat for any title beyond Champion. Both CFA and TICA have only two shows a year in Israel. They are small one-day shows, with no more than 4 rings in CFA and 6- rings in TICA. As you can imagine it is very competitive. Now that you understand the difficulties of showing and earning titles in Israel, I’d like to tell you about a Persian cat named Arthur.

A Cinderella Story

This is a Cinderella story with a dash of the Ugly Duckling (although no Persian is ever truly ugly). Arthur was born to two untitled parents. Although both cats have excellent pedigrees from award-winning bloodlines, I always felt other cats in my program were slightly more refined—so I concentrated on showing them. Arthur’s dam, BigPurrs Pulp, proved to be one of my best quality producers but show-wise she was over-shadowed by her litter-sister, GC, QGC BigPurrs Triniti.

GC, QGC BigPurrs Triniti
Arthur’s mother, BigPurrs Pulp, as a kitten.

While I exhibited Triniti, Pulp remained home raising her kittens. She proved to be a ‘super mom’, easily delivering healthy litters and nursing them so well that they were consistently roly-poly babies. In the spring of 2012, Pulp gave birth to a litter of four kittens—three boys and a girl.

One red tabby and white boy was an extremely gawky kitten. Even though he had a beautiful head, his body and tail were longish. It didn’t help that the length of his baby coat was more like that of an Exotic Shorthair but with a Persian coat texture. It did nothing to hide any of his flaws. We jokingly nicknamed him ‘Pretty Boy’, because while his expression was very sweet, he had little beyond that to show for himself. Since he was a boy, and I didn’t need another stud—off went his crown jewels. When he was five months old he was placed as a pet with his new family, Lea and Eyal Gofer and their triplets—two daughters and a son.

Arthur’s New Family

The family already had a black solid Persian named Louie. Louie had a longer nose so Lea had decided she wanted a more extreme-faced Persian to be Louie’s pal. She named the new kitten Arthur. Louie and Arthur quickly bonded and became life-long friends, seldom leaving each other’s side.

Best friends Louie & Arthur.
Arthur celebrates his birthday with the triplets: Maayan, Shir and Nevo.

The Swan

A few months after Arthur joined the family Lea sent me a Facebook message and posting a photo of Arthur. She was toying with the idea of showing him and wanted to know how to fill out his blue slip to register him properly. 

When I saw that picture of Arthur I literally did not recognize my own cat. He was SO different from how I remembered him. I kept asking Lea if it was really a photo of the kitten I had sold her. I even went back to old kitten pictures to compare his pattern to make sure she wasn’t playing a joke on me. He had changed that much! But it was him, no doubt. I was shocked. And pleased. I told Lea not only should she try to show him, I felt she must show him. He was beautiful. The Ugly Duckling had turned into a Swan.

Arthur was now cobby—really cobby. The ears that had looked very large as a kitten were now small in proportion to his massive head. He had grown a real Persian coat so now he looked like a show cat through and through. The only thing that was still slightly ‘off ’ was his longish tail, but a bit of strategic grooming brought even that into proportion.

Arthur at barely eight months old.

Arthur’s First Shows

In January 2013, Arthur made his show debut at a WCF show, exhibited by Lea and with her entire family there to root for him. They had a lot to cheer about by the day’s end. Arthur was Best Junior All Breed Cat. The judges had confirmed our opinion. Arthur had blossomed into something special. Next was a TICA show and then a CFA event. Arthur made every single final at each show including Best and 2nd Best Cat in Premiership.

The triplets show off Arthur and his trophies.

Lea was now truly bitten by the show bug and we decided to show Arthur as much as possible. The timing couldn’t have been better. Shortly after making the decision to campaign Arthur, CFA announced that Israel would for the first time be awarding the DW (Divisional Winner, equivalent to an RW) title to the top cats in the country. Now we were even more fired up. Could Arthur become a small piece of CFA history by being the first cat in Israel to earn the DW title in Premiership? That became our goal.

A Family Affair

Arthur was shown in only five shows during the season but in several cat associations. With so few shows, there were no second chances. No time to recover from a stumble. There would be no rings that could be replaced. Every final counted. A missed final or a poor show could be catastrophic.

Lea groomed Arthur to perfection, learning the tricks of the trade as she developed as an exhibitor. Our friends and show buddies gathered at ringside for every final. The tension in each ring mounted as spectators held their collective breath to see whether Arthur would final… or not. With every final that Arthur made, the kids were so excited. The entire family would applaud and shout. It was so heart-warming. I couldn’t have wished for a better home for ‘King Arthur’. Arthur finaled consistently in every show he was shown in during the year. What a time we had!

Lea with Arthur, and Alon Eliya holding Arthur’s half-brother, BigPurrs Derby.

Israel’s First Premier to Earn the DW Title

At the end of the season, it was official—Arthur was CFA’s Best Cat in Premiership (International Division-Israel). He had accomplished the historic goal we had set for him. GP, DW, QGCH BigPurrs Arthur was the first cat in Premiership to earn the DW title in Israel. We were all almost in tears.

Now it was time to celebrate. Lea made a special cat-shaped cake and invited a group of our breeder friends who supported us through the season to celebrate Arthur’s historic win.

CFA’s Best Cat in Premiership (Israel) trophy and Lea’s cake celebrating GP, DW, QGCH BigPurrs Arthur’s historic win.

The other two winners from Israel were a black & white Persian male CH, DW Nesslavan Grant (Best Kitten in Israel) and the Burmese male GC, DW Burmisrael Boucheron (Best Cat in Championship in Israel).

CH, DW Nesslavan Grant
CFA’s Best Kitten in Israel 2014
GC, DW Burmisrael Boucheron&lt
CFA’s Best Cat in Championship in Israel 2014

Final Thoughts

As a long time breeder in ‘the land of Oz’ (as one of my dearest friends calls Israel), I have heard and read tales of how CFA and TICA campaigns are conducted in other countries. Showing weekend after weekend. Flying to shows. Comparing counts and judges and anguishing over choosing the right show. Indeed, I have laughed and cried with online friends who are veteran campaigners as they showed weekend after weekend until they were exhausted. That was not how it was for Arthur. He didn’t collect thousands of points. There was no strategic campaign plan.

Still, though smaller in scale, the journey with Arthur and the Gofer family during this extraordinary year had all the ingredients of a thrilling campaign. There was drama… and anticipation… and a dream coming true after years of breeding. A long-time breeder/exhibitor and a newbie came together to work towards a mutual goal. It was CFA at its best and it signifies a major step forward for the cat fancy in Israel.

By giving the Israeli cat fancy a new dream and a different prize to reach for, CFA has encouraged more exhibitors to participate in CFA in our country. I am so grateful that all the cat associations try to do the same in our country. Arthur will now be working to add the title of Supreme to his name in TICA. The journey continues…

GP, DW, QGCH BigPurrs Arthur

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(CFA) GP, DW, (TICA) QGCH BigPurrs Arthur

Red & White Persian Neuter

CFA’s Best Cat in Premiership (International Division – Israel) for 2013-2014

Sire: Fahlberg Movie Star of BigPurrs
Dam: BigPurrs Pulp
Born: May 1, 2012
Breeder: Alon Eliya Bigler
Owners: Lea and Eyal Gofer