The Thaibok and Teriyaki Story

by Donna Davis, CFA Judge, Breeder and Owner of Number 1 and Number 3 Cat in the CFA National Awards.

From the 1976 CFA Yearbook, posted with permission from CFA

It's quite appropriate that CFA's Best Cat and the All American Cat of the Year in this Bicentennial year has part of his origins in England. Teriyaki is the culmination of success after years of study, planning, and sadness along the way.

In our early years of breeding, I was greatly influenced by two outstanding names in the Siamese Hall of Fame: Jeanne Singer and Mary Frances Platt. A comprehensive study of their pedigrees and breeding programs pointed to the necessary value of using cats imported from England. Although neither of these two breeders imported cats themselves, they both began with lines largely composed of English stock and repeatedly used cats with import lineage.

We got off to a grand and lucky start in the cat fancy with two females; both outstanding in different ways. Gr. Ch. Zirkle's Blue Champagne was given to us and although she produced only a few kittens and all just short of show quality, she "put us on the map". Thaibok's Shalimar was not a show cat in any way but her name will long be a legend in Siamese pedigrees through her famous son, Gr. Ch. Thaibok's Ruby Foo CFA's Best Siamese, #3 Shorthair Male, Opposite-Sex Kitten - 1967-68; #5 Shorthair Male - 1968-69. Ruby is now in his 10th year and is one of the cat fancy's most valuable studs. It is through Shalimar and Ruby Foo that we have attained the deep blue eye color which has become a Thaibok hallmark. Shalimar also gave us the very typey Ch. Thaibok's au Go-Go, dam of CFA's 1968-69 Kitten of the Year: Whiskey au Go-Go.

The lines we were working with were Alray up front, coming from Singa and Astra, and it was apparent that an outcross would be necessary. Go-Go was bred to Gr. Ch. LeShin-Wieler Saipan and although the resulting Teenybopper was not outstanding, she in turn was bred to Ruby Foo to produce the very exquisite Gr. Ch. Thaibok Tallulah: CFA's #5 Shorthair Female 1969-70, and the beautifully refined Gr. Ch. Thaibok Loretta: CFA's Opposite-Sex Shorthair Kitten 1969-70, and the lovely Gr. Ch. Thaibok Tondelaya of Tuyo.

After writing the famous Prestwick and Supra catteries in England with no luck, we imported a female from the Annelida cattery that was indeed a disappointment. Quite by accident, while studying the English cat magazines, I came upon a photograph of Ch. Supra Cassandra with the name of his present owners in Scotland and every instinct and drop of knowledge I had amassed told me this was it. While many of my fellow breeders were not very enthusiastic, it was with great hopes that I wrote Alex and Joan Saunders of the Lymekilns Cattery. I'm afraid my early letters were cautious and I felt we had been "taken" by the earlier import and I was explicit in demanding what I wanted. Eventually, though, I was assured that the Saunders and I were referring to the same standard and I requested that they breed a daughter of Cassandra, Lymekilns Zia, back to her sire. I was certain that the father-daughter combination would produce exactly what I needed: a female outcross for our Ruby Foo.

Joan Saunders was against this breeding completely but Alex argued for it and finally won out. In the Fall of 1968 my delicate Cassala arrived. One look at her convinced me that these two lines would combine to produce the finest Siamese I would ever breed. Breeding was not to be Cassala's destiny however. She seemed to have one problem after another, and finally our vet diagnosed bone marrow Leukemia. Cassie lived another five years and in those short years taught me so much about love. I adored her and will forever miss her.

In the Spring of 1970, our cattery was decimated with Infectious Peritonitis. We lost some of the most beautiful kittens ever to be bred: Daytripper, Rubyloo, Paula, Trivoli, as well as our outstanding producers Teenybopper and Go-Go, and Ed's dear favorite, Tallulah. Loretta succumbed to kidney failure at this time, and just the past winter Whiskey au Go-Go had died of Cancer. It seemed our darkest hour; indeed if I had known at that time a darker hour was yet to come, I would have thrown in the towel. We went into a voluntary isolation for one year - the suggested incubation period at that time. No breeding, no stud service, no breeders to visit our home.

When the year was up and all was well, the Saunders sent us the fabulous Lochinvar, a repeat of the same breeding as Cassala and the last kitten Cassandra ever produced. Ribble, as he was called, was absolutely breath-taking when he arrived with his huge flared ears and pure white body color. I wish I had taken a picture of him at that moment; as it is, I only have the kitten pictures the Saunders sent of him. The Tuyo cattery let us breed lovely Tondelaya, the only one left of the well-known Ruby-Teeny-bopper females, to Ribble and the result was the quality I knew we would again attain. Beautiful Little Tuyo Zia of Thaibok went Best Cat at 8 months.

In the Summer of 1973, while we were visiting in Scotland with Alex and Joan Saunders, the test for Leukemia Virus was made available and our vet tested our cats. We arrived home to grief as we have never known. Eight females positive: Zia, the unseen but so pretty Trendy, Rubyanna, sweet and loving Torch Song, the exquisite Garbo, intensely colored Wicca, but mainly, as I had always known something was amiss, my very dearest Cassie. Days and nights of horrendous tragedy followed and I almost decided to find homes for the negative cats, Ruby Foo and Lochinvar included, and keep the positive ones but Dr. Hardy prevailed. It was Ed who delivered the positive cats to Dr. Hardy, as I was unable to; and neither of us at this time could conceive of ever having winning cats again, or even finding any joy in raising cats. We had visited Mary Frances Platt in her finals days of breeding and knew the great loss to the cat fancy when she gave up, but we indeed sympathized with her decision.

After the three month incubation, all the negative cats were again negative and perhaps it was then that we began to hope. Ruby Foo and Lochinvar were fine but we had no females for them. Over the years, we had given many cats to breeders, helping them to get started; yet we did not expect it to come full circle. The Shera-Len cattery gave us a lovely female, Miranda, out of a Ruby Foo daughter with Singa and double Saipan lines. Bred back to her grandfather, she produced our fine Gr. Ch. Thaibok Trish, a Best Cat in her first show, and renewed our ambition to breed great cats once again.

At the same time a female came in for breeding to Ruby from a Gr. Ch. Tap-Toe Sonero and English import-cross, and I requested pick of litter. Although Jasmine was not quite what I had anticipated my pick of litter to be, I bred her to Lochinvar with outstanding results.

Just after the litter was born, we lost Lochinvar to Cardial Myopathy. I had always intended to neuter him eventually as he was such a marvelous pet and it tore my heart that he had always lived with us confined. It was because of this that I kept a seal point male from the litter, although my pick was the blue point female. I wanted the male as my own pet; he reminded me so much of my lost Cassie.

We named the female Sugar Blues and were going to name the male Tiger Rag but I shuddered to think of the fault most seals carry to the ring: tiger or ghost striping in their coats and on their legs, so we settled on Teriyaki. Sugar and Teri were a delight to our entire family right from birth and still are. We showed Sugar as a kitten and she took a Best Kitten win, while Teri remained at home looking like a chubby and gawky adolescent destined to be the pet I had intended him to be.

Ed took the two to Miami in the Spring of 1974 for their first show as adults. I expected Sugar to set the world afire and Teri to finish his championship in time to be neutered. I was in shock when Ed called to say that Teri had been the star of the show and finaled in three out of four rings, including a Best Cat win! Something electric happened to Teri in the show ring and it continued to happen throughout the coming year - this Bicentennial show season. Ed returned to Miami at the tail end of last show season where Sugar finished her grand championship and went 2nd Best Cat in two rings to Teri, who went Best Cat across the board. Sugar was obviously not the pick of the litter.

Just as Teriyaki began the '75-'76 show season, we had another youngster that we were very taken with. We had bred Trish to Gr. Ch. Singa Blue Minstrel and a fine male kitten was coming into his own. With double Ruby Foo, double Singa, Gr. Ch. Sia-Mews Blue Cavalier of Che-Ree, and the outstanding Gr. Ch. Koh-Ling Symmetry with imported lines behind him, we were hesitant to give up such valuable breeding possibilities by selling him. I had named him Tyrone because of the beauty and refinement of feature similar to Tyrone Power, but he is even more reminiscent of Ruby Foo and his lovely daughters: Tallulah, Tondelaya, and Gr. Ch. Gaidon Fooji of Shara.

Tyrone took off in the show ring and Ed and I felt an obligation to show him because he had the familiar Thaibok look.

Thus began our running and flying every weekend in opposite directions and the most hectic year of my life. It has been a wonderful and thrilling year; starting off with Teri going Best Cat across the board in Indianapolis and finishing in Omaha the same way. I have met some of the most wonderful people to be met - concerned breeders and cat lovers all over the country. I will always be grateful for the kindness and helpfulness shown me by the nation's cat fanciers.

Teriyaki was shown in 42 shows with 99 Best Cat wins, and a total of 17,654 points (Ed's count). It was not my intention to show him throughout the entire year when I began; just until he turned dark, as, in my experience, all seal point males do. He finished this show season just short of two years old, and almost as light in body color as when he entered the ring at eight months. Tyrone went to 29 shows, made 42 Best Cat wins and finished with 8545 points.

Teri will always be our family pet. He rode on my lap on every flight where it was allowed, rode loose in the car whenever we drove to a show, came to nursery school every Thursday afternoon, and went for walks at every motel permitting. He lives in our oldest son Greg's room where he is swarmed by hugging teenagers and grabbing four year-olds whenever school is out. He now walks outdoors and in the garden on a harness and leash as he is far too valuable to be loose. Teri does not always like strange men, and always hates other male cats, even neuters, but he adores children. In fact he is so very much like Cassie that I believe he was sent to me as a replacement of my love for her.

Several of Teriyaki's offspring have already had final wins, including Best Kitten and Best Cat: Troika, Tiana, Tiarra, Toreador, and Tapioca to name a few. A fine son, Torino, is soon to be shown in Japan.

Yet I dedicate this article and our breeding success to the mainstay of our cattery: Ruby Foo. We have often said that without Ruby we never could have gotten it together again and again and again.

GC, NW Thaibok Teriyaki, DM
His 1976 CFA Yearbook Best Cat Photo

GC, NW Thaibok Tyrone
His 1976 CFA Yearbook 3rd Best Cat Photo

GR. CH. Thaibok Teriyaki
1975-76 BEST CAT

GR. CH. Zirkle's Blue Champagne
12/4/66, Mr. Gebhardt Judging

GR. CH Thaibok's Ruby Foo
at 4 1/2 Months

GR. CH. Thaibok's Ruby Foo
Adam Frecowski Judging

CH. Supra Cassandra
1975-76 BEST CAT

CH. Supra Cassandra
in his later years

CH. Lymekilns Lochinvar of Thaibok
as a kitten

CH. Lymekilns Cassala of Thaibok

GR. CH. Thaibok Teriyaki

Mr. Gebhardt holding GR. CH. Gaidon Fooji of Shara, Mrs. Eileen Lentaigne holding Thaibok Tallulah

Best Kitten and Best Cat at The First National Siamese-All Siamese Show

GR. CH. Thaibok Tyrone
1975-76 3rd BEST CAT

Teriyaki at the beginning of the 75-76 show season

GR. CH. Thaibok's Ruby Foo

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