Most people are familiar with the expression, “You’re not getting older. You’re getting better”. The phrase probably originated with the the first human to experience a mid-life crisis, but it could also be applied to some felines.
Unfortunately, judges or exhibitors seldom have the opportunity to see the older and more “mature” cats in the show hall. Most adult cats in the show ring are less than 2 years old.
The realities of cat reproductive physiology often demand that an owner race to grand a cat as quickly as possible in order to retire it to the breeding box before its hormones take over either physically or mentally. Occasionally we see a cat in Premiership at 4 or 5 years old after it has been retired from a breeding program. Seldom has a cat in its truly “golden” years been shown.
And so we come to the story of Puddin’… a tortoiseshell Persian who was shown as a senior citizen… AND campaigned in CFA at the national level… and earned her national win just shy of her eleventh year birthday! If you doubt the “You’re not getting older. You’re getting better” adage, the proof is in the Puddin’!
by Elaine Crews, Fleurlaine Persians
In the winter of 1989, I was visiting with my good friend, Anna Sadler of Brannaway Persians, in Arlington Texas. At the time, Anna had a litter of two girls; a calico and a tortoiseshell. The mother of the litter was one of Anna’s favorite’s because Anna had hand-raised her. Naturally Anna was especially excited about the new babies.
We were bi-color breeders, so logically, the calico should have been the kitten we both preferred. Anna liked the little calico best, but I kept telling her that she was crazy. I thought the tortie was a much better cat.
After listening to me all weekend praising the tortie, Anna finally said “OK, if you like her so much, YOU take her!” And that’s how I became the proud “mom” to a little tortie girl.
Anna used a different theme every year for naming her kittens. This particular year, she was using “stupid names that people name their pets”. She had a long list from which to choose. My hubby, Ken, chose Puddin’. Puddin’ was all put together right from the start. If you describe a Persian – she embodied that description.
She was a quick grand in championship, then retired from the show ring to assume motherly duties. She produced four “Grand” offspring. There were others that should have granded, but we all know about those stories!
When Puddin’ was eight years old, she, Ken and I were were watching television one evening. Puddin’ jumped onto Ken’s lap for a cuddle. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and suggested, “Why don’t you get her in coat and condition? I want to show the judges what an old Persian can look like.”
I thought it was a brilliant idea. Puddin’ was spayed and I began growing her coat back in and started her bathing ritual.
The spring of 1989, at almost 10 years of age, Puddin’ re-entered the show ring as an Open in premiership.
Puddin’ loved being back in the show ring and relished being the center of attention. She would stand totally still on the judging table except for her tail that swished back and forth as if to say “Look at me!”.
At first, her reception by the judges was somewhat lukewarm. The judges would look at their book, check her age, look back at Puddin’ and shrug their shoulders. I don’t think they thought we were serious. After all, this was a very old cat. But as time went by, her coat began to bloom. By fall, she was looking wonderful. That’s when Ken and I became serious about her campaign. Now the judges would look at their book (with her on the table, swishing that tortie tail!), look at Puddin’, do a double take and look at their book again. Then many would look into the exhibitor group, and ask if the age in the book was correct. Most thought it was a typo, that she was 10 months rather than 10 years!
One of my favorite memories is a comment made by judge Brian Pearson. He placed Puddin’ on the judging table, looked in his book, looked at Puddin’, and said,
“My, at this age, I thought she’d be in a wheelchair and have a hairnet”.
She had lots of exhibitor fans, too. People would come to the cage to see her, and she’d act so proud that so many knew her!
I used a Sturdi cage in the showhalls, and left both sides unzipped, even if we went for lunch or to the rest room. She sat there like the queen she knew she was and waited for the adulation that she deserved.
By the fall of 1999, Puddin’ was heating up the showhalls across the land. She was in the Best of the Best at the International. She was one of the highest scoring cats in every show she competed in. By January, she had coat almost to the floor. We flew her to Houston, Galveston, and Revelers. She seldom missed a final. Most of the judges adored her.
She loved going to shows, traveling with us and staying in rooms. It never seemed to tire her out. By season’s end, she was 10 years and 10 months old, and had climbed to the #3 Cat in Premiership in CFA. Quite an accomplishment for a senior citizen! We were so proud.
Puddin’ is gone now, but our memories of her remain. Puddin’ always swished that tortie tail. She ruled the roost, telling everyone else what they may do and when they may do it. She loved to baby-sit for the new moms while they get exercise time. When we had Oriental Shorthairs, Puddin’ delighted in calmly walking up where they were napping, and would just curl up and look at them. They would sense her presence, wake up and see her staring at them, and jump and run to get out of her way.
When people came to the house to look at pet kittens, she would sit in front of them and stare. She knew that she’s better than any of the rest.
She was never been mean to a single cat or kitten, but they all respected her place in the household. She was always #1. Go Puddin’ — the oldest Persian to attain a National win in CFA that we know to date. She’ll will always be missed and has a special place in our hearts.
GC, GP, NW Brannaway Puddin’ of Fleurelaine
Sire: GC Brannaway Deuces Wild
Dam: Brannaway Booray
Show Career Highlights
CFA’s 3rd Best Cat in Premiership 1999-2000
Great Lakes Region’s 2nd Best Cat in Premiership 1999-2000
Multiple Best Cat Winner
Multiple Best Cat In Show Winner
Best of the Best at The 1999 International Show
Grand Champion in 1990
Grand Premier in 1999
Editor’s Note: In case you think only a Persian gets better with age, ShowCatsOnline.com author, Linda Osburn of Arrow Manx & Exotics, campaigned an eleven and a half year old Manx named GC, GP, NW Tra-Mar Mosaic of Arrow to CFA’s 15th Best Cat in Premiership for 1996.