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.

In Praise Of Breeder Quality Cats

Photo by Tetsu Yamazaki

As breeders, we all would prefer to have perfect cats as breeding stock. Realistically, that just isn’t possible :-). If we can’t have perfect cats, most breeders would agree they want to use grandable show cats to establish their bloodline… but what about the breeder quality cat? Where does a breeder quality cat fit into the average breeder’s program?

Smurf, The Siamese

My Siamese line was started with a ‘breeder quality’ cat, Smurf, who never granded but who threw two International Winners (IW) & several Supreme Grand Champions (SGC) when bred. She earned the prestigious breeding title of Outstanding Dam (OD) awarded by TICA to a female cat that produces five Grand Champions — an accomplishment that more than made up for Smurf’s lack of championship show titles.

Smurf’s pedigree was awesome, her color rare & the one I wanted to work with, and she had several OUTSTANDING features not the least of which was her sweet personality. But she just didn’t have the length of head/body that would be needed for the show ring. She was not show quality. She was breeder quality. She has the best eye color I have ever seen on a Siamese — a midnight blue so deep you had to look close to tell the iris from the pupil. She had a perfect profile and delicate boning, and she could be bred to lanky, gawky boys to produce stunning kittens.

Actually my first litter with her was to another ‘breeder’, a boy so extremely long and lanky I cringed when I first saw him (his call-name was Prancer because he looked more like a deer than a cat). Twoof the three kittens these breeder quality cats produced together became International Winners in TICA. Smurf was the best producer I have ever had (not to mention, the absolute best mother) and I would pay THOUSANDS for another Smurf. Unfortunately, she was one of a kind so my bank account is safe.

Wisteria, My Balinese

When I wanted to get into Oriental Longhairs & Balinese, the Bali I got was also a ‘breeder’. Wisteria was a lovely girl but a little shy & not shown early enough to become accustomed to the stress of the show ring. In addition, her coat was a bit too heavy for the show ring. However, she gave me the LH gene, and her lilac color was a bonus. Had she been more outgoing she probably could have been shown, but I chose to let her stay home. But again, she produced beautifully, qualified for her OD and her grandson was an IW in 2004. Can’t complain there either.

The Art and Science of Being a Breeder

Breeding is part science, part art — you can put the pedigrees together but there needs to be a ‘spark’ to get what you truly want. (Hence my original cattery name of Alchemy). You can put two ‘ideal’ cats together & get a litter of pets. You can also put two ‘borderline’ cats together & get something phenomenal. You do have to know what you are doing — I would never have bred Smurf to another ‘length-challenged’ cat, nor would I put Wisteria with a timid or fluffy cat. You have to look at the faults of the breeder quality cat & avoid doubling up on them. It’s just not as simple as 1 + 1 = 2.

So let’s hear it for the ‘breeders’ out there! If we only kept top-show cats for breeding, we’d be missing out on a lot.

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While the Oriental Shorthair’s genetic roots are ultimately in Thailand, it was formally developed in the US by a number of New York area cat breeders, led by Vicky and Peter Markstein (PetMark cattery), who in 1971-72 were intrigued by lynx patterned and solid colored cats of a Siamese body type at Angela Sayers’ Solitaire Cattery and at Patricia White’s.