You're Going to Breed Cats?
If you haven't known me for very long, you might find it shocking that I want to own and breed show cats. If you've known me just a little while, you know Flirt, the best boyfriend ever. You may know his story; that my husband and I had split, my cat (my grandmother's cat) who had seen me allllll the way through that relationship, and the one before it, had passed and I needed a new confidant. I wanted a tabby cat, one with tufted ears and the sweetest disposition. I wanted a cat I could call "Flirt". So I searched for him, high and low, walking past many a cage full of perfectly adorable kittens. I smiled and said "no, thank you.", which is no easy task. But I was committed to finding just the right kitty. We found each other at my local animal shelter and he truly is my confidant, the one who is always there for me, the one who arrives home smelling like other people's perfume but telling me how pretty I look. He's a great boyfriend and I'm lucky to have him.
My Mom will tell you that I am an OG cat lady. I have had a cat or two or three on my bed for the entirety of my life. My first best friend was Ziggy, the silky grey tabby cat. He was born in my closet to Elizabeth the sassy dilute tortie. I was five and I adored him. I didn't really play with dolls but I requested plenty of doll clothes from the seamstresses in the family. Zig would wear dresses and bonnets with pride. He would take a ride in my bicycle basket, or a backpack, he would run along while I roller-skated. He kept all of my best secrets, dried my tears with his tail, and slept on my head lest I tried to float away in my sleep. We moved a fair amount when I was young, and Ziggy was always with me. He didn't care where we lived, as long as we were together. Ziggy made everything easier. And so does Flirt.
When my foster daughter moved in, we had a litter of spitty little feral foster cats from the shelter living with us. The "Madonna litter". She loved a black and white ball of fluff called LuckyStar. He didn't love her. He really didn't love anyone but our German Shepherd Dog, Sadie. But she chose him to make everything easier and so he stayed. He stayed even after she left. He passed suddenly in the Fall of 2019 and was buried with the remains of his beloved dog. I was heart broken because his passing represented so many losses and I sought comfort at one of the rescues I transported dogs for. They had just received a car load of kittens with severe Upper Respiratory Infections. All of them were so sick that they had been scheduled for euthanasia in a high kill shelter several hours South. I went there that day to wash faces, and wipe noses. To give pep talks and whisper sweet nothings. I went there to bury my head in kittens and cry. On that day, I met JackPot, all crusty, and covered in snot. He could barely breathe but he smashed his face into mine over and over and over again with his huge broken purr and he told me he loved me. And I loved him. Instantly. I submitted my application and brought my little sneezer home.
When I fell in love with him, he was just "kitten". maybe "fluffy kitten". But he wasn't RagDoll. I didn't see him that way. Weird, right? I didn't think of him as fancy, that's not why his name is JackPot. My cousin said that this kitten had won the jackpot in being adopted into my family and I thought, "no way, I'm the winner here. This beautiful crazy big lover has chosen me!". I had won the jackpot in kitty cat love. It was quite a while before I started to think much about what "kind" of cat he is. I've spent so many years in rescue that I don't really think of cats as breeds anymore, just colors and personalities. I've met them all. I've nursed them all. I've given them all immunizations and subcu fluids, and tushy baths. Dudes, I have sucked snot right out of a kittens face before. Grody. And they're all great, even the spitty hissers. But sometimes there's a really special one. The one I tell the adoption team is reserved for little kids. JackPot should have been that guy, but he chose me, and I chose him, and here we are. As I've watched him grow into a giant chunk of a cat, I've realized that he is a street rag doll, DQ'd by the gorgeous white tip of his flaggyflag tail. Maybe he was part of someone's breeding program, maybe he just looks, sounds, and acts like a RagDoll. Either way, he reminded me......I used to be in love with RagDolls. Long before I was rescue official, when I just took in cats and kittens that appeared, long before, I was in love with RagDolls. And even longer before that I was in love with cat shows with their fancy curtains and feather teasers and cats of every flavor.
I had even totally forgotten that I applied for a Ragdoll in like 1992. The breeder told me "no". It was a hard no. And it hurt. She told me that I was too young, not enough established, a renter (she said that in an ugly tone), and that I was not an appropriate RagDoll owner. I remember being appalled. Crushed, even. She was probably right though, and Humphrey became mine not five minutes later. Because, as you know, things work out just as they should.
So here I am, 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, with the best BF in the world, and the goofiest hunk of street doll a girl could hope for. Flirt is my constant companion but boy, when the chips are down, JackPot is my guy. Just this morning the wind was howling, rattling the windows of my old house and Jax came up from the foot of my bed, smashed his face into mine a few times, told me he loved me and settled into the crook of my arm. He stretched his beefy mitt across my chest, breathed a deep sigh, and started to purr. I felt my body sigh with him. I felt a melting of the stress with the warmth and weight of his huge furry body tucked in next to mine. He's like a giant fuzzy weighted blanket and he makes me feel better. All the time. He has a bestie up the street. She's just a tiny speck of a thing. She comes to my house and calls for Jax. I open the door and he runs to her. He walks her back to her house, swirling around her ankles, and waving his tail. He plays with her for a while and then he gets a stroller ride home. The joy on her face is unmatched. That's who Jax is, he's a joy maker, and a soother of the soul. That's who RagDolls are.
There are special animals out there whose best qualities have been kept alive by careful breeders, by caretakers. I would like to be one of those caretakers, bringing out the best qualities, and providing the best friends. I will always rescue, but I can do this too.