Some more early thoughts...

Henley - Black silver ticked tabby polydactylMaynetree's first stud boy, 5 months old

Black silver ticked tabby polydactyl

Maynetree's first stud boy, 5 months old

If you take the time to get to know me, you’ll realise I place a piece of my heart in everything that I do. You’ll also learn that I have massive social anxiety. I over-think and lose sleep over things that others wouldn’t even bat an eyelid over. Everyone says I shouldn’t let people’s opinions get to me. They do, however. Perhaps more so because I genuinely try to put my heart in the right place.

So when I see experienced breeders shaming and tearing down the new guy on the block for (1) not being experienced and/or (2) not having shown their cats for 64 years before embarking on breeding... This really sucks!

{Isn’t this always the catch-22 for a rookie or any new job seeker? Where the job spec states “must have experience”, and then in the same breath “don’t bother coming to us to GAIN the experience though”}

So, unless I was born into a family who lives and breathes cats, I don’t qualify.

Okay. So perhaps I should have begun by taking my neutered pet and tried our paws at the show scene. I acknowledge this. But.... for anyone that has experienced any anxiety of any kind – the prospect of this is hell on earth; pure torture.

Please let me clarify: I want to show. I love the idea of it. I WILL show one day. But I don’t know anyone personally who lives near me who can ease me into it. My mentor breeder has over 16 years of show experience. I’m sure she would eagerly take me along to a show even though she’s retired from it, but we live on opposite sides of the world.

 < A bit of a side-tracked thought here > I have been a member of FASA and GCCFSA for a little while now (South Australian feline associations). I’ve been breathing in the information. Looking at schedules. Unfortunately, I have had to relinquish my FASA membership due to my association with polydactyl cats (extra toes). {I also wrote about this in my previous post}. I knew from the beginning that I can’t show poly MCs, but the standards at FASA are such that if I also own, breed or sell them, I cannot retain my membership. It is disappointing, but I’m certainly not bitter about it. I made my choice to associate myself with poly’s and so I accept those terms. I have made the same enquiries with GCCFSA {I have been totally upfront with everyone I’ve had contact with} and they have put it to their board to decide. Again, I’m not bitter about this at all. I am registered with ANCATS (Australian national feline association) and as part of their membership I can own and breed poly’s, but I cannot show them (yet). I am more than happy with this. I will make a more detailed post about this whole journey with the feline associations. I’m not here to shame them or take them down in any way. Like I said, I made my choices. I just like to document stuff. < end tangent lol >

I mentioned my mentor breeder earlier. She has told me some basic things about showing in her area. She says each region and show is different. In her experience {bear in mind that she lives in the States} TICA like a more ‘wild’ expression and very tall ears that are closely set, whilst CFA likes a more moderate MC with medium ears, a solid chin, they focus on the eyes a lot, and they love a cat which is bulky/solid. She tells me it is important to visit some local shows here, take note of the type of cats and kittens that are showing at the moment. To begin with, she thinks it would be good to start with one of the young boys from my initial litters, neuter him and show in the premier class {again, not sure what premier translates to in Australian shows}, and start young to determine his temperament early. Some thrive in the environment, and others are just not made for it. Choose a kitten that ‘blooms’ in the show hall, as the judges like these ones. She said I can attempt to breed perfectly to show standards here, or I can breed the qualities that I like and create my own unique look {hold that thought before you fly off into a rage}. Although the latter may not get us many ribbons, she says that it is important to add my own unique touch to my cattery/breeding program. It will also be great for Maynetree to show one or two of our kittens and get our name out there and gain experience.

Now please, before you all implode when I say ‘a unique look’ I don’t mean I’m going to go and change everything, and I’m certainly not going to compromise the breed standard. For myself, I love tall ears with long lynx tips, large eyes, a large squared muzzle, poly paws and extra shaggy/thick coats. I love substantial boning, length, and an extravagant ruff and tail. I really want to aim for that "wolf" look in the face.  In terms of type and standard, I believe this is closer to the Euro standard, compared to Aussie standard. Either way, I just want to go for what *I* think looks good {still not compromising health}. I love both solid and tabby patterns (mackerel is my favourite of the tabbies), and I love their base colours in black, blue, and deep red. I adore cats with smoking/silver. I also have a soft spot for torbies (a tortie-tabby). I am interested in ‘with white’ colouring, preferably bi-colour over harlequin or van (too much white for me) as I prefer only a small percentage of white (less than ¼ white, eg. gloves and bib). I am not yet breeding with white, and that is something that I will explore later once I am more experienced. In terms of ‘uniqueness’ those features I just described are what I’d like to work on, to enhance, and to enrich. Some breeders will focus on other features, hence add their own touch. Anything that differs from the true breed standard I will either try to avoid/breed out, but if I am already at the ‘breeding out’ stage, that implies that I have selected a cat with a fault to begin with, and obviously that’s not desirable. Over and above everything, is the cat’s temperament. I believe this is far more important than looks, size or colouring and I will not sacrifice the temperament for a particular colour, pattern, or because I simply want a bigger cat.

If I could achieve the goal of breeding a cat with excellent temperament, colouring and shape and it happens to be successful in a show, well, this would be exhilarating. Winning is not everything and not my end goal, but I would like to reach a point where I can proudly show off my cats and at least earn my place in this tenacious world.

I may look back to these fledgling years of Maynetree and think, “Wow, I was completely naïve and clueless”. I guess this only comes with time and experience. Everything I do will be with the cats’ health 100% as my priority. I love this breed and I want to go to sleep each night, content and proud that I’ve upheld the breed standard.

Thanks, once again, if you’ve read this until the end. I don’t think I can move forward until I’ve expressed these thoughts. I’ll be adding posts about colour genetics (once I get my head around it!), updates on my registration/membership status with the feline associations, raw feeding, companion/support cats, and probably some general kitty rambling. Read on if you’d like to follow our journey!

Rosie ♡

Disclaimer notes: 
1 .These blog posts will likely be developed and added to over time as I learn more information. 
2. While some breeding "secrets" are kept as unwritten law, the general concept of what I write here is freely available to find if you look in the right places. The feline associations (Australian/American/European) are a good place to start. The PawPeds website also has some interesting information (not always/strictly scientific though).
3. Some really really important questions for anyone to ask themselves when embarking on new or controversial scientific adventures are:
         a) Why am I getting angry about someone pursuing a certain line/trait?
         b) Is it because it's scientifically or genetically unsound?
         c) Is it unethical?
         d) Is it because someone simply "told me it's wrong/right"?
         e) Is it fear of the unknown? 
4. Be brave. Be courageous. Explore something new. 
5. Admit your mistakes and learn from them.
6. Please don't blindly believe me. Also, please don't blindly hate on me if you have no scientific backing. 
7. Ask your own questions, and seriously, genuinely, seek answers. Make informed decisions.
8. Lastly, as always, be kind.  


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