by Barbara F. Baylor, Fan-C Cattery
From the 1987 CFA Yearbook, posted with permission from CFA
Once upon a time, I was walking through a cat show in long Island and my attention was drawn to some cages which contained four Siamese cats - one of each color. They were all gorgeous. I'm not crazy for blue anything but when the blue point looked me in the eye, I was smitten.
I foolishly asked if she was for sale. The woman looked at me strangely. Of course not, but I knew that style was what I wanted to breed. I knew in my heart that one day I'd breed my own "Blue Song".
Thank you, Jeanne, for your vision.
I bred my own seal point female to "Blue Song's" father, "GRC Singa Blue Minstrel, D.M.", who appeared to be throwing the qualities my cats needed. I had a very uniform and beautiful litter. I kept two seal females who went on to Grand and sold the stylish blue female because she had too many faults. I later reacquired her.
On impulse, (or was it instinct?), I called Jeanne Singer and told her I'd like to buy a "Blue Song" son to use on my "Minstrel" daughters whenever she had one for sale. She had a liter at that moment! They were sired by "Thaibok Teriyaki", CFA's Best Cat Nationally. I went to see them and came home with a four month old seal point male who grew up to become "GRC Singa Mikado of Fan-C, D.M." and the rest is a matter of record.
He was bred to the blue point Minstrel daughter and they produced a litter containing a very, very special cat. Her name was National GRC Fan-C Love Is Blue.
She didn't take the world by storm as a kitten. Some breeders had an inkling of what she would become. She did some winning and did go Fifth Best Kitten in Empire Cat Club's Best of the Best under Dick Gebhardt.
The one judge who knew her potential was Donna Davis. For those new to the Fancy, Donna and Ed Davis produced grand after grand, topping it all by having two Siamese males go Best Cat (NGRC Thaibok Teriyaki, D.M.) and Third Best Cat (NGRC Thaibok Tyrone) in the National Top Twenty in the same year! The next year they followed with a chocolate point female (NGRC Thaibok Tantra) who was Seventh Best Nationally. An incredible feat, as it is extremely difficult with a Siamese because our standard is so explicit. I can still remember Donna saying in a final that we as breeders are really lucky if we get that one truly special cat in our lifetime - "Lovy" was surely mine.
Lovy's first show as an adult open was in Washington, D.C. She was Best Cat in three rings and Second Best Cat in the fourth. She wasn't even entered in another show! I thought it would be wise to enter her and we were off and running!
In those days the more you showed the more points you got, and, the higher you placed in the National Top Twenty. I was such a babe in the woods that someone had to tell me that Lovy was in Fifth place Nationally! By the end of the show season, I knew all about scoring points, driving all night, working extra hours to afford the weekends, obsession, you name it!
There were four highlights for me in Lovy's show career. The first (my first plane flight with a cat) was Detroit, where Lovy as a champion was repeatedly put down to the seal point grand (NGRC Le-Von Billie Budd) an established cat on the show scene. I think the best thing done for her was Kim Everett's Best Siamese Champion and Second Best Shorthair Champion. And yet, back at my cage, Lovy was creating a sensation. Breeders I didn't know kept coming up and just staring at her.
Then came the last ring - Sunday afternoon - David Mare, Allbreed. Lovy was the last cat that he judged. The large show hall was packed with people and you could barely get to the rings. David said that his finals were all prepared until he saw her and then everyone moved down one place. He made her his Best Cat! He never made her less than Best Cat when he judged her after that. I then reasoned that if I could take her to Boston and take on the reigning seal point grand under several of the best Siamese breeder judges and win, it would be the turning point in her career. She placed second to "Billie" in two rings and made those finals, and both Donna Davis and Jeanie McPhee made her Best Cat!
Lovy had more than 60 Best in Shows to her credit as an adult; no easy feat for a Siamese. As she was not shown every weekend, the show season averaged out to her receiving Best Cat in approximately every fourth ring.
Towards the end of the season we were in Birmingham and every running cat in the world was there. Again, it was the last ring on Sunday afternoon - Bill Beck's Allbreed final. He said, "I believe that this is the finest Siamese I have ever judged." He made her his Best Cat.
Lovy finished the show season just shy of two years old and was Eight Best Cat Nationally and Best Siamese. There were three Siamese in the Top Twenty that year!
The last show highlight was bringing her out of retirement at age four for the National Siamese Cat Club Show in Washington, D.C. I wondered whether it was a mistake to show her; as Siamese generally coarsen with age. I thought she looked good; but wasn't sure how she'd look sitting next to a group of flashy young cats.
Lovy finished second highest scoring Siamese, losing to a lovely young seal point female bred by Marian and Carl Butler. But the "biggy" was - Jeanie McPhee did it again! She pointed out that Lovy was four years old and still elegant and refined with a stunning head. Jeanie made her Best Cat!
Lovy's last public appearance took place at the 1986 Annual. Although she was already battling a kidney infection, I decided that it would be less stressful to bring her along. Before the judge's workshop a number of breeders saw Lovy and said she still looked beautiful. I took her to the workshop along with ten or so younger cats. The general consensus was that at eight years of age, she still had the most beautiful head in the group.
She accompanied me to the Siamese Breed Council Breakfast. I had a lump in my throat as I introduced her because I knew that this would be the last time such a group would have the chance to see her. Next thing I knew she was in the arms of Lynn Sakai and was quietly passed to Barbara Burns and other breeders to see! Lovy behaved like a lady but she kept eyeing me to make sure that this was really O.K. She was a hit!
So much for "Lovy" the show cat. What about Lovy's private life?
She was a gentle cat, with beautiful temperament that avoided disagreements with the "riff-raff" (except for that one Himmie that she never missed a chance to thump).
For example, I heard a crash in my kitchen and found eight cats and a broken plate when I got there. Out of eight cats, Lovy was injured. She had a ¾ inch gash above the toes on one of her back legs. It needed sutures. I asked the vet to give her a local and stitch it. He looked at me strangely but he said he'd try. I held her and talked to her and she never moved a muscle. He cut the ends of the stitches very short and I showed her that weekend. How many judges run their hands down the front of a hind foot?
Lovy only had two litters. I really had trouble finding the right male for her and I wasn't about to ship her anywhere. I loved her too much as a companion to risk losing her; so, I bred her at home.
Her first litter she and I raised in my bed. I tried the box on the floor next to the bed bit; but after several high leaps onto the bed with kittens in the middle of the night, I gave it up.
Her second litter had eight kittens. I managed to keep them on the floor until they were old enough to crawl up on the bed!
When I was sick in bed a year ago it was almost as if she knew it was the last time we'd spend so much close time together. Maybe she felt my energies as I worried over her. She'd wrap herself around some part of my body and, if I tried to get out of bed, it was all I could do to extricate myself.
What made her so special? Her trend-setting head for one. She had the most beautiful head I've ever seen on a Siamese. Her eye expression is what clinched it. When she looked at you, she looked into your soul. I've produced many similar heads; but none have had her unique expression. She was extremely refined and had a long swan-like neck which made her even more elegant. Lovy wasn't perfect by any means, and I knew her faults well. But, once you looked at her face and into her eyes, it was all over.
It seems ironic that Lovy was one of my healthiest cats always, and yet, started developing kidney problems after my move to Texas three years ago. I fought a two year battle for her life, but slowly lost ground until I knew with certainty that the time had come. A very kind veterinarian came out to the house to deal with an incoherent breeder and a very sick cat. I held her as she was painlessly put to sleep in her favorite chair. She deserved the best. She was one of my very best friends.
"Lovy-Ling, my finest, brightest thing", your life was far too short but you'll live on in the mind's eye of Siamese breeders for years to come.
National GRC Fan-C Love Is Blue