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devoted to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

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The Premier Online Magazine devoted
to Persian & Exotic Shorthair Cats

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GPD, RW BelCats Dream A Little Dream

On March 9th, 2014, a brown tabby Persian spay bred, owned and shown by Diana and Robert Belfatto made breed history in CFA when she became the first Persian to earn the title of Grand of Distinction. The kitty’s name is GPD, RW BelCats Dream A Little Dream and this is her story…

In The Beginning…

My name is Diana Belfatto. My husband, Bob, and I began breeding Persians in 1987 when we acquired a white male kitten and a three year old tortie from a gal who was retiring from breeding cats because of her divorce. We added to our kitty family when we decided to exhibit so wanted to breed for showable cats. We chose BelCats as our cattery name for obvious reasons :-). 

We granded our first cat, GC Kikicat High Hopes of BelCats, in 1990. We then granded our first homebred, GC BelCats Rockin’ Robin, in the fall of 1991. And the rest, as they say, is history…

The Summer of 2006

On July 6, 2006 a litter of four Persian kittens was born to my black & white Persian female, GC, RW BelCats Day In, Day Out, DM (aka Daisy). The sire of the litter was a silver tabby named GC BelCats I Must Be Dreamin’. 

Dam: GC, RW BelCats Day In, Day Out, DM (left)
Sire: GC BelCats I Must Be Dreamin’ (right)

I was hoping that the mating would produce silver tabby bi-colors. Statistically half the kittens should have been silver tabbies and half should have been brown tabbies — statistically half of the kittens should have been bicolors — and of course, statistically half should have been boys and half should have been girls. When the time came for the kittens to be born, half were bicolors, but that was the only statistic that held true. There were FOUR girls! And they were ALL BROWN TABBIES. There were no silver tabbies at all in the litter. I was a little surprised and a little disappointed, but as an experienced breeder of more than 15 years, I know these things always lay in the lap of the genetics gods.

The four girl kittens grew and did well. Right from the beginning the pick of the litter was one of the brown tabby females, followed closely by the other brownie. I named the pick female BelCats Dream A Little Dream — nicknamed “Little”. The two bicolor tabby kittens were sold as pets, and I kept the two brown tabby sisters. 

Christmas Vacation 2006

I was unable to take the kittens with us when our family went on vacation at Christmas time, but they were left with a reliable kitty-sitter. When I arrived home, I realized that I had failed to convey what grooming the ruff means to my cat sitter! I guess I hadn’t explained that the ruff included all around the head because there were now huge mats behind both girl’s ears. 

With a sigh I shaved down both girls and that was why neither enjoyed show careers as a kitten. They grew into lovely adults, however, and both proceeded to have two litters each. During a routine ultrasound we discovered that “Little” was positive for PKD (polycystic kidney disease). She had produced two negative silver tabby offspring in her litters so when I was looking for a 5th cat to DM her mom, I had Little spayed. She would make her show ring debut at 5 years of age.

Shy Baby

Showing “Little” was a challenge. She was always the shyest of her sisters, although she had the best type. 

She was spayed in July, 2011. The veterinarian shaved her as little as possible for her operation so she had a candy bar width of hair clipped from her tummy. She then made her show debut that October. At her first show as an Open, she hid behind the cage curtains for the most part, and would not play with any toys in the judging rings. 

Still, she was impressive on the judging table: Massive head and boning, tiny ears and huge eyes, distinct tabby pattern on a round, chunky body. There were very few premiers and opens present at the show, so despite Little’s shyness and with her beautiful type she made six of the eight finals. Her premiership career was off and running, even though she had very little coat. 

Little’s closeup photo shows off her massive head, tiny ears and mesmerizing eyes.
Photo by L. Johnson

DMing Mom

Eventually Little grew the huge coat that I knew she would have, but with coat, her mackerel tabby pattern began to get lost! Judges who wanted high contrast pattern on their Persians would not use her. Others who loved her head structure always used her. She became a Grand Premier at the Tarheel Triangle show on November 26, 2011 – and she not only earned her own title but she added the title of Distinguished Merit (DM) to her mom Daisy (GC, RW BelCats Day In, Day Out, DM). We were thrilled.

We went on showing Little, hoping for a regional win in Premiership despite the fact that the season was half over. However, somewhere along the line, Little developed an allergy to one of the products I used in her show bath regime. She began to loose that wonderful coat. Although we had more than 30 finals that first year, we missed out on a regional win.

The 2012-2013 Show Season

I felt that Little deserved to add the RW title to her name, so I decided to show her the following show season with the goal of achieving a regional win. 

When we go to shows, Little always sleeps in our hotel room’s bathroom. In the morning my husband would bring her into the bed with us for cuddles. She loves that. Her other favorite thing is having her break rubbed. We had lots of special times going to the shows that year. She did well, steadily amassing finals and points throughout the season. At the end of the 2012-2013 show season, Little was CFA Southern Region’s Ninth Best Cat in Premiership.

Now officially GP, RW BelCats Dream A Little Dream, I shaved her massive coat and let her have run of the house. Several other cats also ran the house, but Little was still very timid. She would put her paws on the sofa so that someone would lift her up. She didn’t seem to know how to jump on the sofa. Then one evening, I went into the living room, and lo and behold, she was on the sofa! After that it was no problem for her to jump up whenever and wherever she wanted. She even learned to sleep on the back of the sofa. I was so proud of her.

A Grand Of Distinction

A month after I had shaved off Little’s huge coat, Jan Chambers told me of another award that Little could work towards — The Grand of Distinction. 

In 2011, CFA created a new title called Grand of Distinction (abbreviated GCD or GPD). To be awarded the Grand of Distinction title, a cat needed to earn 30 or more top 10 and/or top 15 finals per season over the course of three separate show seasons. On July 6, 2013, Jan’s brown tabby and white Exotic Shorthair neuter named GC, GPD, NW Ivy Cat Quarterback became the first cat in CFA to ever earn the new title.

GC, GPD, NW Ivy Cat Quarterback — CFA’s First Grand of Distinction
Photo by L. Johnson

Little had earned more than 30 finals in each of the past two show seasons, so all she needed to do to become a Grand Of Distinction was to achieve 30 finals in the 2013-2014 show season. That seemed do-able… except for one tiny glitch. I had just shaved off all of her magnificent coat!

Oh well, no one said showing a Persian was easy. I started giving Little weekly baths again, and by December I decided that she was ready for the show hall again. At her first show back, she made finals in four of the six rings, and we were off and running after the 30 finals needed for her to become a Grand of Distinction. 

At one show when a judge chose Little as his Best Cat in Premiership, he said he could tell her bloodline because she looked just like the silver tabbies that were shown (by me) about 10 years ago. He commented that “She had that look”. Sure enough, her sire was brother to some of those older silver tabbies that the judge had so admired.

Little had always done well at the shows. This year however, we had stiff competition at the class level from a beautiful Long Hair Exotic brown classic tabby that was being shown. Finals were not so easy to achieve. But we stuck with it… and in early March, 2014, Little was awarded her 30th final and finally achieved our goal. She officially became GPD, RW BelCats Dream A Little Dream. Little is the FIRST Persian to earn the Grand of Distinction title — and so she is a history maker in CFA for her breed.

GPD, RW BelCats Dream A Little Dream

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GPD, RW BelCats Dream A Little Dream

Brown McTabby Persian Spay

CFA Southern Region’s Ninth Best Cat in Premiership 2012-2013
CFA’s First Persian Grand of Distinction, March 2014

Born July 6, 2006
Sire: GC BelCats I Must Be Dreamin’
Dam: GC, RW BelCats Day In, Day Out, DM
Bred, Owned & Loved by Diana & Robert Belfatto