I was lucky enough to get to talk on the phone with one Sue Sweetman the other day. She is one of the foundation breeders of the Highlander breed of cats. She gave me some sound advice concerning the process of moving up from Experimental Breed Status with TICA to the Preliminary New Breed Status. While I am not ready for such a step, anyone who has played games like Shogi, Go, or Chess know that its best to read steps ahead and know what your opponent might play before maybe they even do.
The main concern Sue had for me is that while the coat of the Helki may be unique, I have not really boasted about other features of the breed that make them unique from your local barn cat. Sue of course did this in a kind and respectful manner while also schooling me in again an appropriate way.
During our discussion I realized the Helki do have another fantastic physical trait that I don't often talk about. The Helki have long tails. My ideal male OberonRa aka Keebler's tail measures out to 13 inches long. His is the longest tail of my males and I have stressed often, he is one of the males that meet the physical conformation of the breed the best. His winter coat is nice, but not as plush as I would like, but when I look at this male I know he is what I want to see in my breed.
So then I started thinking, well what is the average length of tale on the Helki. So I measured the tales and found that most of them have a length of around 11 inches regardless of size or sex. Which actually surprised me. I thought for sure the smaller cats and the females would have porportionally smaller tales. There are only a few tales that are 10in or less and only some making it to 1ft of tail length. Then I decided to measure the tail length of my domestics and found that 9 inches was about the longest. Medium long to long tails were already in my standard so this in not a concern, but I may need to make a point in other venues to point out the gorgeously long leopard like tails.
I do possibly have a coat pattern/color that is unique to the Helki but I want to confirm this before I make any official announcements. As for it being a unique breed if the final card up my sleeve pans out, then the final package will be difficult to deny.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
First and foremost its important to note that this blog is now two years old. *throws confetti* Yeah not really a huge thing but a fun tidbit. Now on to the meat and potatoes.
Its been a while since I sat down and pounded out my thoughts on my beloved breed. Its not that I have nothing to say, its that I have preteen and teen children who have had a lot of their own important milestones this year. As many of you know I love my cats, but my kids are my blood and no matter what they have to come first. Instead of cat shows, I've been going to ROTC ceremonies, and NASA day at the middle school, not to mention the Promotion Ceremonies. One of which I still need to attend mid-June. Then we can't forget that my husband loves VolksWagons. He has been spending a lot of time and money on his hobby this year, which is only fair as I did the same on the cat fancy in the past years. So needless to say my cat show experiences have been few and mostly there as a support role. Lets not even go on about the show we came to and had to leave early because of a bad yogurt. So the short of the story is I'm still here and so are the cats but we are taking a back seat to regroup.
Regrouping also means no breeding. I can not even tell you how excruciatingly painful it is to see so many wonderful kitten photos and videos from friends. I am currently doing all my vicarious breeding through these photos. While I know who I want to breed next and what outcome I expect, I also know that where we live is not conducive to breeding kittens for soooo many reasons. The first being that we are moving again in September. I don't want to have little kittens when we move. Unfortunately the living situation here was not what we expected and in order to get out of it we need to move again. *sigh* Either way no kittens and I miss having kittens.
The next order of business is the Helki SOP. When I first drafted it and had a few of my mentors review it, I was told to put it online. However I put it off and forgot. In fact, I forgot so well that I thought it was online hahaha! It was just recently that Patricia Bristow was kind enough to ask me about it and I found out that I had not put it online. I did a quick add and put it on the about page on my site: http://www.wyrdwul.com/about.html but for a quick link here on the Blog you can go here: Helki SOP it a Windows doc so if you need pdf form, just let me know. I'm thinking of reformatting the website and will then have the SOP viewable without having to download a doc or pdf.
Last but not least I wanted to talk in length about the coat of my favorite cats. Wyrdwul was chosen as my cattery name because fate has played a large role in finding the unique and subtle quality fur on these cats. The first litters that we had were unexpected accidents and I thought the lightly wavy fur on the kittens was not that big a deal, it wasn't until one was born with very obvious wavy fur that I really took notice. Even then I only contacted the cat fancy to let them know what I found and to get some grooming advice. Sadly the grooming advice I have gotten from breeders of other breeds have not helped at all and in that first cat completely ruined his coat. Even to this day people who get pet kittens from me often ask for grooming advice. Its been touch and go trying to find something that works. As most breeders know what works in the show hall is not meant for pets at home. So in other words I have had to pioneer out and figure out how to groom for show and what is best for at home. Now I am going to leave that thought for a moment.
When I've had judges and other breeders look at the fur in detail, many of them feel that the coat looks similar to Persian fur after its been striped and groomed for show, while still maintaining a unique feel of rabbit fur. Those people that have been able to look at my fur samples have also commented that the fur looks like rabbit fur as it has guard hair but not as much as your standard DSH/DLH. The Helki in reality is a medium hair cat.I've had short haired Helki and their fur is like velvet, but its not what I was breeding for and wont be breeding for it. So the short hair version is really a medium furred cat. The long hair Helki is medium long fur with lovely ruffles, britches, and plumes. The coats of either are meant to be compact, resilient, and plush.
Recently our family was blessed with the addition of a double mane Lionhead Rabbit. If you have never seen or heard of this breed I do encourage you to go to: http://lionheadrabbit.net/. Now I personally haven't had a rabbit since I was a teenager. So it was really neat to find that everyone was right on call when they said the texture of the Helki fur was like rabbit fur. You were all so right. Even down to how the fur looks. The Lionhead fur has this undulating wooly fur with guard hair. So I took the time to look up the standard of points for this breed here are some of the points I love:
*the mane is made of wool
* the wool is strong
* lively feeling with a soft silky texture.
* should be wavy
* should show crimping
* guard hairs will be present but should never create a coarse feelin
* soft, dense, medium length
-courtesy of http://www.cimmarononline.com/LHvisual.htm
Love it! love it! love it! the descriptions are just so similar to me that I was so pleased with my own standard and that so many of us were right on the money when describing the texture of fur as feeling like rabbit fur. Not just any rabbit fur, but one that has few guard hair that are not course. It really gave me chills. While I am not modeling the Helki to have a mane it is nice to see something comparable and feel justified in that description.
So back to grooming. I have to also now groom this rabbit. not for show but normal maintenance of the coat. So I did some digging. Rabbits have a finer fur then your everyday cat. The Helki and our resident Rabbit have fur of that same fineness. It was suggested by Lionhead breeders to use a cat flea comb or a fine rabbit fur grooming comb. So I tried it on the rabbit first. A flea comb is wonderful for him, it really worked well. I tried it on the cats whom I've been trying to use a regular metal grooming comb on but the tines were not close enough together to be of any use. The flea comb is a wonderful comb for the cats. So going forward thats what I am recommending for pet homes. Weekly brushing of the coat should keep it in shape. Use a metal flea comb or rabbit grooming comb (if you can find one).
Ok so I think thats several months worth of posts. As always I am around and active on Facebook, please feel free to message me if you'd like. :)
Friday, January 21, 2011
Let me first begin by telling you a bit about Tae Meowski. Tae is currently bordering on 9 months of age. Her mother is Pixie and her daddy is Romo Meowski. Tae is a lovey dovey smoosh ball, she has several favorite toys but nothing is as important as the Foo Ball. (see picture) The Foo Ball is good for all kinds of things, but the best game it plays is fetch aka Foo. Foo can be invoked by the cat or the human. It is a game that any human is allowed to play with Tae, and most times Foo is played with several humans and Tae as she decides who is next to throw the ball, by bringing it back to the preferred player and dropping it near them.
Today was laundry day, as I gathered the laundry together I did notice the Foo Ball, but figured that the recent shampooing it had was sufficient. All the laundry was taken from my room and washed and dried. As I folded the last batch of laundry, I shook out a blanket to fold and Lo' and Behold what falls out, but the Foo Ball!
I asked my husband and he said no he hadn't put it in the laundry. I know I didn't, and the kids were already gone to school. So when all the laundry was put away, I called this silly cat, she sat at attention, I showed her the now washed and dried Foo Ball. Her little expectant eyes sparkled, so I threw her ball for her. She ran after it tail in the air, sure enough she came back with the Foo Ball in her mouth.