I surely was born to be involved with animals. I have loved them, been fascinated by them, and had them as the important focal point all my life.
When I was ten years old, I had a striking and strong willed little tortoiseshell household pet named Dumpling, a little ball of fur that we adopted from a neighbor when she was just a few weeks old. In the very un-politically correct way that people (well, most people) did things in those days, Dumpling was an outdoor cat and got her un-spayed self knocked up by the neighborhood Romeo. I documented the birth, color, sexes and growth of the kittens with charts and detailed descriptions – a dedicated breeder in the making. After she was spayed, I also proudly showed Dumpling in a cat show where she won many rosettes and a big trophy as Best Household Pet!
As an adult, while visiting my sister in NYC, her boyfriend offered to buy me a kitten like hers, an “applehead” Siamese. None of these were to be found at that time, but we did find an alternative, a Javanese – a breed that I had never heard of. Driving to see these kittens far out on Long Island late one early December evening, I will never forget arriving at the breeder’s front door, where she greeted us with a small, furry kitten perched on her shoulder. This kitten, the most loveable little boy, was Java, who became my first show cat, and introduced me to the world of the cat fancy.
After a few years of being involved with Javanese —known as Balinese in cat associations other than the Cat Fanciers’ Association, my organization of choice today and for many years—I was at a show and saw the cat that would change my life. She was a stunning ebony Oriental Shorthair who went on to become a National Winner, Mitsumews Ariadne. She just took my breath away —a loooong, sleek, fine, elegant, sexy runway model with a coat of black patent leather… oooohh! I was in love!
Things never happen overnight in the cat fancy, but the next year, I had my first Oriental, an ebony girl named Jade —not even close to being in the class with the divine Ariadne, but it was a start. And my vision was fixed clearly on that distant star. I always knew what I wanted.
My goal in breeding Orientals was to achieve the right balance of health, temperament and looks – all qualities of extreme importance to me – with good vibrant health and sweet outgoing loving temperaments being just as important as looks. My cats and kittens are the centerpiece of my life and above all, I want them to be affectionate, healthy companions.
Even though my non-cat friends think I am rather koo-koo in this respect, they grudgingly admit that being a cat in my house means a pretty darn good life. I consider my cats my “substitute children.” My time and money is focused on caring for them, giving them the attention, love and nurturing that they need and deserve, learning all the newest information to make their lives better. With this philosophy and objective, I have been very successful both in the show ring and with the satisfaction that comes from knowing my “kids” are adored by those who have the privilege of their companionship.
Over the years I have also been increasingly involved professionally with cats and animals in general. As the creator and founder of a once glorious and successful content and commerce driven pet website, allpets.com, along with my team of 40 expert trainers, behaviorists and veterinarians, I had the luxury of spending my working and waking hours educating pet owners and helping them with their problems and concerns with their pets. Allpets.com won countless web and editorial awards and had an enormous loyal grass roots following.
Moving on from there, I formed my own present feline behavior consulting business, The Kitty Kouch, to offer cat parents solutions to their problems. For years I have been a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant. I was for six years the Editor of the Cat Fanciers Association Mentoring Program and Editor of the CFA Ambassador Program and was for almost 16 years CFA Southwest Region Rescue Coordinator. I believe in giving back and educating about pedigreed cats and helping cats in general.