by Jeanne Singer
From the 1985 CFA Yearbook, posted with permission from CFA
First printed in the National Siamese Cat Club Newsletter
Gr. Ch. Singa Blue Minstrel D.M. was born May 20, 1972. He was one in a litter of five, sired by my Gr. Ch. Singa Symphony. Minstrel's dam was a mediocre seal point who was the result of an "outcross" breeding to an unrelated grand champion stud. She had no major faults, so I didn't care how she looked as long as she was healthy. I kept her specifically to breed back to my handsome Symphony, thus doubling up on my own line and "look". This has always been my strategy for "line breeding." Sing cats can be trace for 20 generations behind Minstrel, with selected outcrosses along the way.
Minstrel's littermates were quite uniform in quality. I did not notice that Minstrel was "special" until he was 12 weeks old. By four months, I couldn't "fault" him. However, I had no orders at that time for a show quality blue point male. It seemed a shame to sell such a lovely boy as a pet, but no one wanted him. I just held on to him hoping someone would eventually want him. Meanwhile, my husband died suddenly. This sweet, gentle kitten was a comfort to me. I called him "Brother". I finally registered him as my own Blue Minstrel when he was nearly eight months old. "Brother" is still his call name.
I stopped showing completely after my husband's death, but the following spring my friends, Donna and Ed Davis, urged me to go with them to a few shows. Rather reluctantly I entered my "brother" in his first show when he was 10 months old. He had lived alone with me in my quiet house since birth. He was terrified by all the noise and excitement. He crouched, turtle like, in the judging cages. Only one judge, Walter Hutzler, bothered to stretch him out and really look at him, giving him a "winner's" ribbon. The other judges ignored him in a large class of blue point males. Minstrel's beauty was evident at home, but his shyness held him back at shows. Judges rarely favor cats in the open class who don't sit up and "show". It took four shows to complete his CFA championship.
I stopped showing over the summer months. Typical of my best cats, Minstrel kept improving. In the fall of '73, at age one and one-half, he was fully developed. He had everything I'd ever wanted in a mature male. He had kept his lovely pale, even coat color. He had not darkened as stud males usually do. His dense blue points matched perfectly. He always had deep, vivid blue eyes, which now looked more slanted than ever. His fine head had grown even longer, with a perfect, smooth wedge, a flat profile and a firm chin. Wonder of wonders, he had not even developed jowls! Allowance is supposed to be made for jowls, but is a rare judge who is not "put off" by jowls on a Siamese. His body was perfection - very long, lean, and hard, with fine bones, slim legs, and a long tail. I felt he truly deserved to be a grand champion. That fall, in his first show as a champion, he swept all four rings (no six ring shows then) and came home lacking only five points for his "grand". His next show was an equal triumph. He came home a grand champion with many extra points, having finaled in all rings including 2 Best Cat wins. He was still shy. He never "showed off" his real beauty, but he was always a gentle cat so judges could stretch him and handle him. As a "grand" they could no longer ignore him!
I did not "campaign" Minstrel. I have never campaigned a cat. My main interest has always been breeding rather than showing. I entered Minstrel in a few more local shows that season, and he always made the finals. Incidentally, he always beat that year's big national Siamese winner in direct competition. I retired him from shows early that spring. He won a regional award anyway. Meanwhile, I was thrilled with Minstrel's first litters. He was definitely throwing excellent quality.
From Minstrel's first three litters, I kept four females, one of each color: seal, blue, lilac, and chocolate. All four had beautiful body and point color, deep blue eyes, and excellent type. The following year I entered these four girls as champions, in our Log Island Cat Club show and was particularly gratified when all four went Best of Color and had to compete against each other for Best Siamese and the "grand" points. Minstrel and I couldn't lose! The judges divided their final wins between my seal, Singa Swingtime, and my blue, Blue Song. I continued to show Swingtime and Blue Song in competition with each other. Both cats finished their "grands" a few weeks later. I retired my chocolate, Singa Chaconne, and her lilac sister, Singa Soubrette to breed them. I probably could have "granded" them too, but four cats at once was a bit too much for me to handle!
I still have all four girls. All four have kept their color and type. This summer, at age 10 ½, Chaconne had six kittens. Minstrel's daughters are not only beautiful but have proven themselves to be sturdy breeders as well.
Although I never campaigned Minstrel, Donna and Ed Davis campaigned his son, Gr. Ch. Thaibok Tyrone, to national fame. A repeat of that breeding produced Gr. Ch. Thaibok Temptation.
Minstrel's success as a stud was partially responsible for a wonderful visit to Japan in 1981. I was invited to Tokyo by the Friendly Cat Club of Japan to lecture about Siamese and to bring them a pair of breeding kittens. My generous Japanese hosts entertained me like royalty. I brought them a Minstrel daughter (who later became CFA Gr. Ch. Singa Wacot of Tomsimons) and a Minstrel grandson. The offspring of this pair is now winning in Japan, and I still get letters of appreciation and lovely gifts from their happy owners.
As studs go, Minstrel has sired relatively few litters because I refuse to take shipped-in queens for stud service. I deplore the shipping of queens. Consequently, Minstrel has bred only one or two "outside" queens in any one year, since I will only accept queens that are brought to me personally by their owners. My own breeding is also limited. I do not think it wise to breed daughters back to fathers. Since most of my breeding queens are Minstrel's daughters, I have had only a few queens to use him with. Minstrel's record is thus based on consistently high quality rather than quantity. As a further restriction, Minstrel has been bred only to Siamese. All his grand champion offspring are pure-bred Siamese.
Over the years I have sold Minstrel's offspring to breeders all around the country. Besides the "grands" he has sired, his children are consistently producing winning cats. His daughter, Gr. Ch. Singa Sophia, was the start of the very successful Two Sisters cattery in California. Likewise, Fan-C cattery began its long success with several Minstrel daughters before acquiring Singa Mikado as a stud. I'm particularly proud the Minstrel's grandson, Gr. Ch. Singa Mikado of Fan-C, is also a Distinguished Merit stud. Mikado is the son of Minstrel's stunning daughter, Gr. Ch. Singa Blue Song. There are days it is difficult to find a winning Siamese in the USA who doesn't have Minstrel somewhere in its pedigree - often two or three times. As a truly classic Siamese, Minstrel does not go out of style. He can still produce "grands". Last year I showed his lovely seal daughter, Singa Concertina to "grand". She has since produced two fine litters. Just this spring, Minstrel's young blue point daughter, Singa Blue Sonnet of Ardrey Manor, won her grand championship.
Minstrel's elegance has endured through the years, but his manner has mellowed. He's no longer afraid of strangers and will now purr for anyone. He loves to be admired. Today he would probably even "show" well! I have withdrawn him from public stud service to safeguard his health. At 12-1/2 he still has a fine head and a sweet expression. He never did become jowled and coarse like most older males. His body is still firm and muscular, though not as slim as in his youth. I do tend to spoil him with his favorite foods. He's earned it!
GRC Singa Blue Minstrel, D.M.
The following pictures are from one of Jeanne Singer's Yearbook ads. A link to the image of the full page ad is below.
Minstrel's daughter, GRC Singa Blue Song
Dam: GRC Singa Cantarina
Blue Song's daughter, CH Singa Dolce
Sire: Singa Maestro
Minstrel's daughter, GRC Singa Concertina
Concertina's son, CH Singa TamTam
Sire: Singa Ty-Son of Thaibok
Jeanne's 1987 CFA Yearbook Ad