by Betty White
From the 1987-1988 CFA Yearbook, posted with permission from CFA
(Part One - Our Early Years)
How do you write about Siamese cats without all the legends? Since the origin of the breed is impossible to prove empirically, one is left with the apocryphal stories of palaces and royalty of Siam. Because it is certain that the Siamese did, indeed, originate in the land of Anna and her whimsical King, it follows that such a wonderful cat had to have the bluest of blood. So it goes.
What we know for a certainty is that the Siamese cat made its way to England in the latter part of the 19th century and appeared at a show in London's Crystal Palace in 1885. It was not long in crossing the Atlantic Ocean. While neither the name of the first Siamese cat in America nor its owner is known, we do know that Siamese entries are found in the first volume of the Beresford Cat Club Stud Book published in 1900.
Mrs. Clinton Locke, the founder of the Beresford Cat Club, had the first Siamese to win a Best Cat award in America, Lockehaven Siam. This notable win, made in Detroit in 1907, was followed by another Best Cat win by Lockehaven Elsa in Chicago the following year. Nothing quite succeeds like success; increased interest in the breed grew apace. Yet there were enormous obstacles to the would-be breeder/exhibitor. Enteritis plagued the Fancy in those days and the Siamese experienced heavy losses. Hardly of less significance was the high cost of breeding stock. The early imports are reported to have cost at least $1000 plus transportation and various fees. Even American-bred Siamese were commanding high prices. Enthusiasm for the breed grew despite these formidable drawbacks, resulting in the founding of the Siamese Cat Society of America in 1909. The rest, as they say, is history. And, there is no finer record of the early years of any breed of cat than Carlon Boren's "History of the Siamese" which appeared in serial form in the CFA Yearbook, 1959-1962.
Because the early Yearbooks are no longer available to new fanciers, it seems especially appropriate to recall a few breeders and cats of the early days. Could our breed have flourished had Virginia Cobb of Newton, Massachusetts, not attended a cat show in New York's Madison Square Garden in 1928? She was enchanted by the Siamese, and shortly afterward imported CH DjerKits Chinkaling of Newton. "Chinky". Pedigree research inevitably turns up the name, CH Oriental Nanki Pooh of Newton, Imp. "Nikki" sired over 1300 kittens and lived to be 17! Newton's Jay Tee was the first sealpoint to win a CFA Grand Championship, and she did it at age 10! Mrs. Cobb not only bred and exhibited Siamese, she was also active in genetic research and as avid an author. In association with a Harvard geneticist, Dr. Clyde E. Keeler, she explored the genetic background of the Siamese with particular attention to color and Siamese influence on other breeds.
While sealpoint and chocolatepoint Siamese are mentioned in the earliest English and American show records - although the chocolatepoint was lumped in with the seal in the English registry - there is no reference to the bluepoint Siamese. The first recorded appearance of a bluepoint in an English show was in London in 1896. The Siamese Cat Club of England refused to recognize the bluepoint in 1902. What were its origins? Virginia Cobb and Clyde Keeler, along with Doris Bryant, determined to solve this mystery. The result of their research was published in The Cat Gazette, November, 1934, and was titled, "The Genetics of the Blue-Point Siamese Cat". Another article by these same authors appeared in CATS Magazine in October of 1946, containing the following summation:
Our investigations show then that the Blue Point Siamese possesses the Maltese-Blue gene and hence might rightfully be called the Malto-Siamese just as the Seal Point might be called the non-tabby Siamese. Since the Siamese people kept no records on their cats and usually allowed them to mate at random, mutation of black to blue within the stock seems much less likely than hybridization in Siam with the cats already possessing the Maltese-Blue. True it is that the Siamese cats imported into England in the early days rarely carried the blue gene or it would have cropped out more frequently and early in the history of the fancy in England and would have been well known to the judges in 1896. In absence of information to the contrary it would appear that CH Carlisle may also have introduced the blue gene through an outcross to a short hair Blue. And Russian Blues were popular in his day in England, we are informed. This may be true of Cairo Rameses, whom we have heard say was a French cat.
Whether the Maltese gene was added in Siam alone, or whether in Europe as well, the Blue-Point Siamese variety is here to stay. It will breed true when mated and will constantly crop out of untested Seal Point stocks, just as Blue Persians crop out of Black Persians hybrid for the blue gene.
The bluepoint Siamese was given recognition by the English Siamese Fancy 30 years after its initial appearance in that country; it was given recognition in America upon acceptance of a new Standard by the Siamese Cat Society of America in 1934.
The chocolatepoint Siamese, as was mentioned, had been around for as long as the sealpoint. However, many breeders considered it an undesirable variant of seal and had neutered and spayed the chocolates they produced. The color was both misunderstood as to just what it was and unappreciated for its unique beauty. There were enthusiasts for the color, and their point of view prevailed in 1950 when the GCCF in England formulated the chocolate standard and chocolatepoint registry. American associations followed suit and the chocolatepoint Siamese was recognized by CFA in 1952.
The impetus for recognition of the lilacpoint Siamese came from the West Coast, and Carlon Boren credits her husband, Dr. Ralph C. Boren, and Mrs. Leigh (Ann) Manley. A number of shows in California held exhibitions for lilacpoint Siamese and a California club proposed a standard for the color to CFA in 1953. While the color class was denied in that year, formal recognition came to the lilacpoint in 1955. This time America was first; England recognized the lilac in 1960.
As we approach the last 25 years of the history of the Siamese cat, a period of time beginning when many of our present shorthair breeds and a few longhair breeds as well were no more than faint glimmers on the horizon. It is both fascinating and moving to quote one of the closing paragraphs of Mrs. Boren's "History of the Siamese":
New catteries are being established or have been established for the breeding of the Siamese; it is impossible to mention them all. The Green Lane cattery of Mrs. Rex Naugle, is well known for its Chocolate Point, and especially one familiar to all of us here in California, is the lovely GRC Green Lane Beryl, owned by Mrs. Leigh Manley. Mr. & Mrs. C.H. Krebs have made a name for their Blue Point Siamese, and here on the Coast we are familiar with the catteries of DiNapoli, known for their Blues, and the Redell Cattery for its Frosts or Lilac Points. Some of the catteries of the East that are coming to the fore are Mon-Chang, Bridle Trail, Singa and Thani. In the South we hear of the Van Lyn Frost Points, the Daz-Zling Blue Points, the catteries of Ty-Ru (Mrs. A.P. Tyler) and MaKhanDa (The Platts) of Texas. In the Midwest we have the outstanding catteries of Tap-Toe, Madali, New Moon, Kalyan, My-Lo, Brindell and Bercrest.
Siamese in the 1960's (Part Two - the '60's and '70's)
Was there any discernible trend of the 60's; what was the overall quality of the cats? What was the Siamese Fancy like in general? This was a time when cat shows were dominated by Persians and Siamese, with Burmese and Abyssinians a distant third and fourth. Kim Everett remembers classes of 30-35 sealpoint novice and opens alone, with total classes of 60 or more not uncommon. Empire Cat Club would have two shorthair specialties, one for Siamese only and the other for all other shorthair breeds. Jeanie McPhee remembers taking her GRC Co-Mc Coronation to the Garden State show and competing with 56 sealpoints in a total entry of 126 Siamese! Marge Naples fondly remembers that her very best show ever was winning best with GRC DiNapoli's Blue Tango in a class of 32 bluepoints and second best with his daughter, just two days out of kitten classes. Barbara St. Georges said that judges in those days planned to spend at least one whole day judging only Siamese, and there were always 3 or 4 truly outstanding specimens. Kim said that while winners ribbons were difficult to come by in those days, judges had less difficulty in identifying the "diamond" in the class. Classes then were filled with many local Siamese wherever a show was held. Jeanie recalled that most breeders were "breeding in their own cat pen", so to speak, with not a lot of breeding between breeders. This observation was echoed by Harriett Little of Lilliput who said also that it was difficult for new breeders to break "into the ranks".
Attention was being directed to refining bone in the 1960's, although Jeanne Singer was quick to point out that there were dainty cats around. She particularly mentioned a bluepoint, Bult'h Hex and the dilutes of Mrs. Naugle (Green Lane), specifically Green Lane Chulalongkorn and Green Lane Vance. The Green Lane cats also had wonderful color. Jeanne credits Hex, a bluepoint with deep blue eyes, as the cat responsible for convincing the CFA Board to remove "china blue" from the Siamese Standard. Thereafter, eye color was standardized for all Siamese colors. She also says that Hex's litter brother, Houdini, was a dark sealpoint. However, his type was so outstanding that he won despite the fact that color had been all-important up to that time. Bult'h was the cattery name of Dana Learn of Virginia.
Bridle Trail breeding was, in fact, an essential part of the breeding of many Siamese of the 60's. Bridle Trail Ping Mo, and his son, Bridle Trail Pingson of Alray out of Singa Godiva, can be found on the pedigrees of many famous cats of the time. Mrs. Hoag had imported a fine male, Silken Pedro of Bridle Trail and combined other fine imports from Holmesdale and Pristine. Singa Godiva herself was the daughter of another Holmesdale male, Caraban of Wu, and the daughter of Silken Pedro. Many famous cats of the time were indebted to this breeding of Bridle Trail by way of Astra and Sherwood that resulted in Aline Walrath's Alray's Angus of Sherwood, one of the finest producing studs of the era. To mention a few of his progeny: GRC LeShin-Wieler Tuy Han, sire of Saipan; GRC Thaibok Ruby Foo, #3 Shorthair Male in 1968; GRC Alray's Cullaloo; GRC Karnak Zapata, CFA's Best Cat in 1970; GRC Alray's Outlaw of Zirkle; and a 1969 winner belonging to Ed and Donna Davis, GRC Zirkle's Blue Champagne, #4 Shorthair Female.
Certainly no discussion of the 1960's should overlook Mrs. Laurel Jenkins. Already winners as Carlon Boren wrote her history, the Jen-Kins cats continued their winning ways. Jen-Kins Rebel of Catana, a lilacpoint male owned by Sandra S. Mitchell, was #4 Shorthair Male in 1965 and his progeny are legion. (Indeed, the Catana lilacs following Rebel were exceptional Siamese, a blend of primarily Jen-Kins and Kalyan stock.) Readers of the Gulf Shore Siamese Fanciers Quarterly will remember an article by Norma Salzman in a 1986 issue about Jen-Kins Jasmine, the chocolatepoint female that was her inspiration in breeding that color. Kim Everett recalled Jen-Kins Dark Hussy, as did Jeanie McPhee, a lovely sealpoint female that she often agented and who became CFA's #4 Shorthair Female in 1966. Another lovely Jen-Kins cat of the era was GRC Jen-Kins Tora of Queen's Canada, owned by Marjorie Buckner. In 1969, the #3 Shorthair Female was Jen-Kins Dina'ste of Tris-n-my, owned by Martha Minton.
But what of that other "style-setter", Fan-T-Cee Tee Cee? Probably no other cat or cattery has been so misunderstood, so maligned as that of Mrs. Fred (Peggy) Galvin. Tee Cee was a remarkable Siamese, ahead of his time in head type and elegance of boning. He was also tightly bred. As a stud, this was ideal for reproducing type. One of his sons was GRC DiNapoli's Blue Tango, and Marge Naples still has "tango", his 18-year-old son. (Jeanie McPhee, incidentally, remembers the DiNapoli Siamese as nicely balanced cats.) Several catteries were quick to realize the potential of Fan-T-Cee, notable Daz-Zling, DiNapoli, Dahin, Maloja, Tap-Toe and Ty-Ru.
The best Siamese male in 1966, a bluepoint, was bred by Helen Weiss of Texas, GRC Daz-Zling Mirage. Mrs. Weiss was a widely respected Siamese breeder before she launched into her Rex program. Jeanie McPhee credits an earlier male, Daz-Zling Firefly, as having an impact on our breed.
A spectacular bluepoint in 1967 became #4 Shorthair Male. He was GRC Ty-Ru's Copicat, bred by Mrs. A.P. Tyler of Houston. I can still remember the length of that boy's head!
In 1968, other famous cats shared the spotlight with Ruby Foo, the #3 Shorthair Male. The #4 Shorthair Male was Maloja's Mr. B, bred by Vivian Wheaton, followed by #5, Kay Kohl's Koh-Ling Symmetry - both bluepoints. And there were females. Gen Scudder of San Diego bred the #4 Shorthair Female, Arista Genevieve of Bur-Sis (SP), and John Dawe showed DiNapoli's Dresden Doll (BP) to #5 Shorthair Female. Mr. B would go on to put his mark on the Siamese breed by becoming a great sire. Gulf Shore Siamese Fanciers were proud to confirm his Distinguished Merit Award for our breed in 1987.
Mrs. Cobb served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Siamese Cat Society of America from 1933-1940. This organization was quickly becoming the preeminent organization for fanciers of Siamese cats. To quote Mrs. Boren:
In 1935, the Siamese Cat Society of America had grown to a membership of 60, with a good bank account and a fine cup list. 50 to 60 Siamese entries were not unusual in the Siamese specialty shows held in some parts of the country, particularly in the East.
In 1914, the SCSA had voted to abandon the English Standard and formulate its own; in 1927, the organization was accepted for membership in CFA. Perhaps the influence of the society was at its peak in 1944 when a committee was appointed, chaired by Virginia Cobb, to write a new Siamese standard. In due time a new Standard was adopted and submitted to the CFA Board of Directors. Desiring less detail, the CFA Board promptly revised it. Siamese breeders were adamant about their Standard, and with a feistiness present fanciers can recognize, severed their connection with CFA. The Siamese Cat Society of America has been an independent entity since February 7, 1945.
But CFA needed a Siamese group within its body politic. This void was filled in 1946 with the formation of The National Siamese Cat Club, and this organization has enjoyed a steady increase in membership and prestige to this day both within and without CFA.
With the tremendous surge in popularity of the breed
during the 1930's came the inevitable problems associated with the desire
of a capricious general public to own the latest "in" animal, the Siamese
cat. If one traveled to the Orient, a prized souvenir might be a pair of
Siamese. Unfortunately, the cats imported during this era were not the
same animal protected by order of the king in the late 19th and early 20th
centuries, nor were they selected for anything other than their color
pattern. A movement to stress type commenced in the 1940's during a time
when it was reported that color was often the prime consideration in the
show ring. To add further confusion to an unsettled time, the inferior
specimens from abroad did exhibit pale coats; along with their coarser
bone, shorter heads, and paler, more rounded eyes.
There were other movements afoot in 1966 as the Standard was being updated and revised. Working on this project, Jeanne Singer remembers the battle over the Siamese profile. Many breeders insisted, vociferously, that a "straight line" profile was impossible. Not only was this impossible, but many also insisted that it was undesirable because it would "leave no room for the brains", thereby impairing the cat's mental capacity! If that were not enough, the rest of the argument stated that the health of the Siamese cat would be destroyed because the straight profile would "distort the sinuses so that the cat could not breathe properly." This particular "silly season" in our history often erupted into shouting matches, including the Board Meeting where the Standard was finally approved!
A proposal to add Albino classes to the existing four color classes of Siamese was presented to the September 1966 CFA Board Meeting. It was defeated and presented again in September of 1967 after having been referred to the Board unfavorably by the delegates at the 1967 Annual Meeting. It was decided to reconsider the matter at the Milwaukee Board Meeting in 1968 where the proposal failed again.
In her article on sealpoint Siamese in the 1966 Yearbook, Jeanne Singer refers to the great improvement in head type during the preceding decade and mentions style setters, GRC Bult'h Houdini, GRC Fan-T-Cee Tee Cee, and the Medicine Lake cats. Looking back on the era today, we are able to gain further perspective. While Houdini produced little of note, Tee Cee and the Medicine Lake cats cast giant shadows.
The Best Siamese and Best Opposite Sex Shorthair in the 1965 Hydon-Goodwin awards was GRC MaKhanDa Matil, a sealpoint female bred by Mary Frances Platt of Houston, Texas. Best Opposite Sex Siamese was also a MaKhanDa, Gizmo II. The MaKhanDa wins of 1964 were hardly unexpected. Two MaKhanDa sealpoints had granded in 1963 in a season that celebrated GRC Fan-T-Cee's Flycka of Bograe, owned by Grace Forrest and the Quiners, and GRC Jen-Kins Victor Rhee. Two Daz-Zling Siamese had also done well, and a Florida bluepoint, GRC Erickson's Baron of Mai-Profile. Best Siamese in 1963 was a sealpoint GRC Rogers Hts. Rockette of Bercrest, bred by Willa Rogers (Hawke) and owned by Mrs. Richard C. Bertch.
Ask any long-time judges and breeders to remember Siamese of yesteryear and the name MaKanDa Willa recurs with frequency. This extraordinary sealpoint female was #5 Shorthair Female in 1965 and Best Cat Opposite Sex in 1966. (Jeanie recalls that Willa went to 35 shows, which surely qualified her as a modern-day campaigner!) As a novice breeder in 1968, I was an avid reader and researcher of all things Siamese. Armed with pencils, paper, and the 1966 Yearbook on summer day in 1969, I determined to study MaKhanDa breeding by filling in pedigrees from Mrs. Platt's article, "The MaKhanDa Story". Before the day ended, it was clear that the essential ingredient in the Platt mix was a sealpoint male, Medicine Lake Mikado bred by Mrs. Adolph (Ellie) Olson. Mrs. Platt described him as a heavy-boned boy, but having large ears that matched the wedge, a straight profile, and a short, silky, close-lying coat.
As Jeanne Singer remarked to me recently, "Medicine Lake heads were as good as you could get." To view a picture of GRC Medicine Lake Texess Rose and her grandson, another famous male of the 60's, GRC LeShin-Wieler Saipan (#2 Shorthair Male in 1965) is to begin to understand the contribution of this cattery to the Siamese fancy. Take it a step further and compare the profiles of GRC Kalyan Kavalier of Krebs, Best Chocolatepoint Male in 1966, GRC Purr-Du Persis, #4 Shorthair Female in 1965 and Best Chocolatepoint Female in 1966, and GRC Purr-Du Challenger of Chat de Clair, #5 Shorthair Male in 1967 (owned by Clair Trapnell), and one is almost close to the truth. The common denominator was Green Lane and Medicine Lake.
When asked to remember Siamese of years ago, Kim Everett immediately mentioned two, MaKhanDa Willa and a female from the 70's, GRC Sia-Mews Dixie Dream. Kim also recalled Kalyan Kavalier of Krebs, bred by Eleanor Hamling. Kavalier's litter brother, Kalyan Cho'Co of Purr-Du, was an important male in Mrs. William C. Klein's (Purr-Du) breeding program. Mrs. Klein purchased Cho'Co upon the death of her own stud because he echoed the breeding of her own cats - again, Mrs. Olson's Medicine Lake and that other fine line mentioned by both Carlon Boren and Jeanne Singer, Green Lane.
GRC LeShin-Wieler Saipan, bred by Eberhardt LeSchin and John Wieler, was remembered by Jeanne Singer as a fine Siamese, somewhat heavy boned, with excellent ear set, a great stud male. This boy also contained the fine breeding of Catherine Hoag of Bridle Trail and that of Singa. Another LeShin-Wieler sealpoint was Best Shorthair Female in 1969, GRC Suda-Suy.
The decade ended in 1969 with familiar names yet again. Best Shorthair Female was Marge Naples' DiNapoli Flycka Tu of Cher-Lan (BP) owned by the Quiners and Grace Forrest. Karnak Zapata was #2 Shorthair Male. The #4 Shorthair Male was Sia-Mews Blue Cavalier of Che'Ree, bred by Camille Flankey, sired by Mr. B and owned by Sherrie Bender of Huntington, New York. Thaibok Ruby Foo proved his quality by winning yet again, #5 Shorthair Male.
Barbara St. Georges' all-time favorite Siamese cat remains GRC Sia-Mews Blue Cavalier of Che'Ree. She said that she will never forget the Rochester show in 1969, her first Best-of-the-Bests. As she came up on the stage to commence judging, she observed the cats were placed in a horseshoe arrangement. Blue Cavalier was about in the center, and he was the first cat that caught her eye. She remembers her thought, "Something has got to be good to beat you!" She said he had a swan-like neck and she has never seen another just like it.
If no one really took the Albino issue seriously in the late '60's, it became apparent as the next decade wore on that the traditional view of the Siamese cat being a variety of feline in four colors was under attack. Certainly love for the unique color pattern of the Siamese had already spawned a number of newer breeds. In the sense that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," Siamese breeders looked to this development with pride and observed with interest the acceptance of the Lynx and Tortie Colorpoint Shorthairs for championship recognition in 1970. Surely few expected the Siamese dominance of shorthair classes to cease. But then, how many cat fanciers expected one of their foundation breeds to be beset by a three-pronged attack that seems more deadly in retrospect than when we actually experienced it in the 70's?
The prevailing notion seemed to be that if a little Tee Cee was good, a lot of Tee Cee was better. Enter the era of the "head hunters" and with a vengeance, the first of the three phenomena to threaten the Siamese. A family of cats already heavily linebred was used by too many Siamese breeders as a basis to continue more of the same, and this in a breed in the Albino series. But Mother Nature is wonderful; she looks out for her own and those who opted to breed too dangerously were soon without anything to breed. The major damage that was done was to the appearance of the Siamese cat. Jeanne Singer credits Lillian Pedulla with the term "coffinhead", a term Jeanne noted had a double meaning: one denoting the look of the head and the other foretelling the probable fate of the cat. Yet there were those on both sides of the judging table that liked the "look". Otherwise, how do you explain its success? Kim Everett remembers many Siamese with poor color, "hooded" cats with squinty eyes and no substance to their bodies. Alas, the mushy bodies were another by-product of this quest for the show-stopping head. To me, these cats were coarse, striking in that they were grotesque, and invariably characterized by poor profiles and small ears. Some of us invented a new term to cover the ears "horse-heads", while others favored "mule ears".
While too many of us were blithely pursuing this fad, CFA was accepting new breeds for championship competition. Besides the new Colorpoint classes, the Bombay, Egyptian Mau, Exotic Shorthair, American Wirehair, Japanese Bobtail, Maine Coon, Scottish Fold, Turkish Angora, and Oriental Shorthair were added to a growing list of CFA breeds. While the "coffinhead" syndrome was on its way out by the mid-1970's, the Siamese image was tarnished at a time it was encountering pressure in the show ring from newer breeds. Some of these cats, its own derivatives, were the second assault on Siamese supremacy.
But I said 3-pronged attack. Siamese classes in 1972 were still large enough for a resolution to be presented at the Annual Meeting requesting divisional awards for the Siamese color. Perhaps the first indication of what was to be the last assault on the Siamese during the 1970's occurred during the Executive Board Meeting in Chicago, February, 1974. A proposal for a new breed was presented, a breed of all colors of the cats with a standard identical to the Siamese, the Oriental Shorthair. To cite Mr. Will Thompson from the minutes of that meeting:
"Going on, Mr. Thompson wanted to make it very clear that he simply was not in favor of multitudinous colors in the Siamese, what this proposal is basically all about in his opinion."
The Board took no action on the Oriental Shorthair proposal at that time, but did accept this new breed for registration only at the October 1974 Board meeting in Atlanta, encouraging the breeding of solid colors. It was accepted for championship status in October of 1976.
Reflecting growing agitation to enlarge Siamese color classes, the results of one item on the Breed Council questionnaire published in the minutes of the February 1976 Board Meeting were:
"Do you want Colorpoints shown as Siamese?" Yes, 21 - No, 72.
These "outward and visible" signs of discord reached thunderous proportions at the Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in 1976, a year of notable success for our breed in the show ring. The National Siamese Cat Club had removed its secretary, one of the major promoters of the Oriental Shorthair breed and a strong advocate of enlarged Siamese color classes, on charges of election violations. The Credentials Committee was asked to determine the valid delegate of National Siamese following a delegate challenge. As it was impossible to seat the delegate of NSCC because of a technicality, it became necessary for the entire court proceedings, County of Nassau, of the officers of National Siamese Cat Club and their ousted secretary to be presented to the delegates in Washington. The National Siamese Cat Club delegate was seated.
The Breed Council questionnaire that year contained the query, reported in the February, 1977 Board Minutes:
"Should the Colorpoint Shorthair breed as such be abolished and all present Colorpoint Shorthairs be considered, re-registered, and compete as other color varieties of Siamese?" Yes, 44 - No, 106
Certainly fine Siamese continued to be bred and shown during this troublesome time, but seeds for a decline in interest in the breed had been sown. New cat fanciers were selecting other breeds in the midst of our bizarre head-hunting; not to mention the novelty and lure of some of the newer breeds themselves. Where the rewards of the show ring are shared among many, we cat "fish" look for another, smaller pond. Add to this state of affairs the uncertainty of the future of a breed in the midst of real turmoil, and it is small wonder that Siamese numbers declined. There would be no Siamese in the CFA Top 20 in 1979 for the first time in the history of CFA awards. The worst was yet to come, with no Siamese placing 1984-1986.
Reflecting the exuberance of the early '70's, Siamese Fanciers in southern California began that era by inaugurating their annual all-Siamese show. This particular jewel on the Western horizon has grown in size and prestige over the years to the present day. While fanciers of other breeds are hot in pursuit of national points, Siamese breeders are handing over big bucks for airline tickets to carry them to California to a show devoid of national scoring where the competition for a breed win is something dreamed about. Certainly the beginning of this annual show must be regarded as one of the bright spots of the 1970's, a labor of love for one of the world's favorite cats that would become in a few short years a rallying point for a beleaguered breed. One of the founding members of Siamese Fanciers is John Dawe, a distinguished breeder of Siamese whose cats have made a significant contribution to our breed. While the Dahin Siamese are not found among the following account of all the winners, suffice it to observe that there are winners listed both in the '70's and the decade to follow who owe a good deal to John's breeding.
As we have seen, the decade which began in 1970 was loaded with obstacles for the Siamese cat. Yet the Siamese persevered and, indeed, it was a time when some of our loveliest cats were born. CFA's Best Cat in 1970 was the Karr's sealpoint male, Karnak Zapata. Best Shorthair Female was Sanuk's Lady Day of Tres Bien, a sealpoint bred by John and Mary Lou D'Ambrosio, sired by the magnificent GRC Sanuk's Old Acquaintance, and owned by Mrs. Thomas Sanders. John and Sandra Turner of California bred many lovely Siamese over their years in the Fancy, none lovelier than #5 Shorthair Male in 1970, GRC Jo-San's Theseus, a lilacpoint. Alray's Charisma Lyn of Lin How San (SP), bred by Aline Walrath and owned by Lynne Rabinowitz was #3 Shorthair Female, and a sealpoint Ruby Foo daughter, Thaibok Tallulah was #5 Shorthair Female.
Tutor's Black Bart, bred by Dick Savage and Art Santmier and sired by CH Dulce Domun's Kublah of DiNapoli, was CFA's #2 Cat in 1971, and one of Kim Everett's favorite Siamese. Camille Flankey's Sia-Mews Dixie Dream, Blue Cavalier's sister, that other Siamese mentioned by Kim Everett, Jeanie McPhee, and nearly everybody else who ever saw her, was #8 Cat in 1971 and #13 Cat in 1972. Jeanie McPhee still remembers the first time she ever saw Dixie Dream. She was judging in Atlanta, and had not really seen anything that excited her. The very last cat that she judged in the entire show was this gorgeous bluepoint female. She remembers thinking, "Thank you, Lord!"
The #3 Cat in 1971 was Che'Ree's Blu Charade, bred by Joseph and Sherrie Bender from Singa lines. Jeanne Singer has been breeding Siamese of distinction for more years than many of today's Siamese breeders have been drawing breath on this planet. It was because of Blue Charade that my husband and I added Singa to our own cat family, a son of Symphony. While Mrs. Singer does not show extensively, her name invariably comes up whenever one discusses Siamese breeders who have mattered to the breed. The list of Singa grands is long and distinguished, none more so than one of the fine sires of the 70's, GRC Singa Symphony. Symphony was sired by Kay Kohl's GRC Koh-Ling Symmetry out of GRC Singa Sylphide. He produced one of two Singa Distinguished Merit Siamese males, GRC Singa Blue Minstrel. The other boy is a Minstrel grandson, sired by GRC Thaibok Teriyaki, GRC Singa Mikado of Fan-C, owned by Barbara Baylor. "Weird", as Mikado is affectionately called, will be discussed later.
Two Siamese males came along in 1972 that would have a profound impact, one on his own breed and the other on a newer breed. Felitan Frodo of Petmark, CFA's #3 Cat, bred by the Levitans and owned by Peter and Vicki Markstein, produced a number of fine Siamese, but it was the Oriental Shorthairs that were so tremendously influenced by this bluepoint male. A fairly large-boned cat, he nonetheless produced some extremely fin-boned Siamese, particularly GRC Tres Bien Zeus of Stonewood, bred by the Sanders and owned by Susan Stoner. The dam of Zeus was none other than the beautiful Lady Day. Zeus himself produced an exceedingly dainty lilacpoint female bred by Harriet Atwell, GRC In Lieu Columbine.
GRC New Moon Eclipse of Rogers Hts., D.M., #5 CFA Cat in 1972, was bred by Georgia Headley, one of those newer breeders mentioned by Carlon Boren in 1962, and owned by Willa Rogers Hawke. He would put himself in the Siamese record books by siring 36 Siamese CFA Grand Champions, including two national Top 20 winners in 1974, and one each in 1975, 1976, and 1977. "Clipper" was a sealpoint male exceedingly prepotent for type, setting a benchmark for elegant refinement that still remains intact.
CFA began recognized color wins in 1972, and the best chocolatepoint was Marjorie Frye's Tiki's Tara. The best lilacpoint that year was a male in the Catana/Jen-Kins tradition, GRC Le Masque Sundance Kid of Helios, owned by Ronald Santelli. Mr. Santelli purchased Sundance from Carmen Lanphear at a cat show in Rochester, and he became the mainstay of the Helios Siamese.
Jeanie McPhee remembers Karnak Arriba (SP), CFA's #2 Cat in 1973, as a fine Siamese with great ears. Frodo was again in the Top 20, this time as #13 Cat. The best chocolatepoint Siamese was Norma and Bob Salzman's dainty girl, GRC Nor-Bob's Karima. The chocolatepoint Siamese has been the special love of the Salzmans for more than 20 years, and an earlier winner was GRC Nor-Bob's Sephora, best-of-color in 1970.
After winning best-of-color in 1973, GRC Santana's Podgorny was off and running in 1974. A truly spectacular lilacpoint, fondly remembered by Kim Everett and Willa Rogers Hawke, Robert and Roberta Rogers' combination of Jo-San/Catana/Jen-Kins breeding competed head-on with the first New Moon Eclipse progeny to hit the show circuit. Podgorny was something to see, and Siamese fanciers were saddened when he succumbed to leukemia. Sealpoint litter sisters Sin-Chiang's Kali of Mar-Ray, owned by Dave Mare, and Betty Crotzer's own Sin-Chiang's Riikola traveled widely, and these two girls earned a place in the top 20, #3 and #15 respectively, along with Podgorny (#4). GRC Geo-Jes Gloree of Joy Ley (LP), bred by Georgia and Stan Bass, sired by GRC Alemar Cullen of Geisha House, and owned by Joyce and Stanley Schwartz, was #7. The 14th Best Cat in CFA was a bluepoint GRC Sia-Mews Camellia of Shady Paws, owned by Mrs. Wendell S. Thompson. Five Siamese national winners in 1974, a banner year! Joanne and Rick Manchee's chocolatepoint, GRC Serendipity Sock It To me, garnered the color honors.
Another Clipper offspring won the breed award and #20 Best Cat in 1975, GRC Rogers Hts. Willa Bet, a sealpoint. Le Masque Sundance Kid of Helios sired CFA's best chocolate that year, Helios Sunderance. Our own Moonwind's litter sister won lilacpoint honors, GRC Mar-Vell Prim-Rose of Mar-Den, bred by Tom Taylor from Jen-Kins/Kalyan lines. Prim-Rose of MarDen was owned by Marilyn Den Hertog.
The bluepoint winner in 1975 was but the latest in a distinguished family of Siamese, GRC Tap-Toe Toya. Lydia Dzbanski's most famous cat was undoubtedly GRC Tap-Toe Sonero, a truly stunning sealpoint born in 1967 from lines representing a variation on the theme of Fan-T-Cee. The Tap-Toe Siamese were dramatic cats, with elegant extension of boning. While there were times when on thought, "Too much", as Tap-Toe head type later on pushed the limits of the Standard, there was never any doubt that these Siamese were valuable in refining bone. Reading "Tap-Toe" in the look of a Siamese became a mark of the experienced breeder in the 70's.
1976. As the song goes, "It was a very good year." Best Cat, GRC Thaibok Teriyaki. Third Best Cat, GRC Thaibok Tyrone. #14 Best Cat, GRC Sin-Chiang Blu Velvet of DeVegas, owned by Dan and Hanne Gauger. Two familiar names in chocolate and lilac, the Manchee's GRC Serendipity's Tan Terrific and GRC Helios Sunator of Diece, another Sundance offspring, owned by Bruce McDonald.
GRC Thaibok Teriyaki, D.M., about as ubiquitous on Siamese pedigrees as a male can get, was the son of a sealpoint import, CH Lymekilns Lochinvar of Thaibok. His dam was Pussy Pur Mew's Jasmine of Thaibok, a daughter of Ruby Foo and GRC Lai-Nee Scarlett, owned by J. Patton and Penny Klepinger. Scarlett was the daughter of Sonero and a beautiful sealpoint import, GRC Hi-Hoe Fiesta of Lai-Nee. (When Scarlett's breeder, Carl Michelis, was searching for a new cattery name a few years later, he appropriately chose "Fiesta" after his favorite cat.)
GRC Thaibok Tyrone, no less beautiful than "Teri", certainly had his fans, among them Barbara St. Georges. He was noted for his striking head and extraordinary eye color. The dust has yet to settle over which was better, but does it really matter? Tyrone's sire was Blue Minstrel and his dam was GRC Thaibok Trish.
Let's hear it for the lilacs! Two lilacpoint males were Best and Second Best Siamese in 1977, and #11 and #12 Best Cats in CFA in one of the liveliest competitions in recent years. Ophir's Leo, bred by Mary Lou Nolan and owned by Harry and Mary Lou Nolan was best; Diece Minator was 2nd best, bred and owned by Dianna and Bruce McDonald. Minator's sire was previous color winner, Sunator. A Teriyaki son, GRC Shara Solo De Chocolatl out of GRC Shara Rubiopal, bred and owned by Sharon Kapilian, was best chocolatepoint. Best sealpoint was a female, GRC Tan-Tara's Xaviera, bred and owned by Larry Adkison. Another Clipper kid, GRC In Lieu Esme, was best bluepoint. Esme was bred and owned by Harriet Atwell.
Who says chocolates can't compete? A chocolatepoint female, Thaibok Tantra, was CFA's #9 Cat and best of breed in 1978. The name of the best sealpoint has a familiar ring, Jo-San's Pherousa. Trudi Hoffman bred the best lilac, owned by Nici Callahan, GRC Vindabona Lance of Sea Shell. CFA National Best Bluepoint was Venusberg's Fafner of Waltur, bred by Mr. And Mrs. Ammons, owned by Vernon and Nancy Krakow, and sired by New Moon Eclipse.
Best Siamese in 1979 was S. Beuerlein's GRC Susan's Sealvia Muldoon. Another sealpoint was 2nd Best, Deanne Johnson's San-Toi's Tiffany Tu. The McDonalds bred another lilac winner, Diece Ben Ben Mousey of Jorene, owned by Irene Horowitz. Bob and Norma Salzman produced the best chocolatepoint yet again, GRC Nor-Bob's Ann. The best bluepoint, named for her grandmother, was GRC Angkor Rose Dixie Daydream. She was bred by Betty White and owned by Betty White and Betty Crotzer.
These then, were the winners of the decade; but that is only part of the Siamese story. There are many fine cats bred by distinguished breeders who, for one reason or other, do not win any national awards. As we approach the present decade of the continuing history of the Siamese cat, it is appropriate to add other active cattery names of the 1970's to that of Dahin. Either breeders of three or more grand champions or significant contributors to winning pedigrees were A1-E, Alemar, An Tai Lis, Casto, Cath-Son, Fabuline, Gaidon, Gema, Hasul, Hutzler, Kit-Land, LaLinda, Le-Von, Lin-How-San, Moqui, Nu-B, Petmark, Quin-Jo, Quire's Gal-X-C, Sand 'N Sea, Saroj, Shera Len, Star of Siam, Tuyo, Ups 'n Downs, and Valentyne.
And now, BRING ON THE 80's!
Betty White Biography
A New Mexican for 23 years, Betty is a native of Newport News, Virginia, graduated with honor from Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, Virginia, with a degree in history.
She married a fellow Virginian, Julian E. ("Bob") White, who is Professor of French & Latin, and Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, The University of New Mexico.
She is the mother of 3, Susan, Laura, & Jeff.
Betty is Office Manager of a mechanical engineering consulting firm.
She met her first Siamese in 1967, a foundling brought home by her husband. The blue eyes cast a spell from which she has never recovered. Betty began breeding in 1968, both Siamese and Colorpoints, but has worked with only Siamese since 1976 with a couple of years spent with cream Persians as well along the way.
Betty has bred 23 Siamese CFA Grand Champions and 1 Colorpoint Shorthair, with four CFA National Best-Of-Color winners in blue and chocolate, besides Regional winners.
Founding member of Gulf Shore Siamese Fanciers, its first President and Editor of the "Gulf Shore Siamese Fanciers Quarterly". She also belongs to Siamese Fanciers and National Siamese Cat Club Board of Directors. Member of Albuquerque Cat Fanciers & N.M. Cat Fanciers.
Author of articles through the years in CATS Magazine, Cat World, Siamese News Quarterly, and the annual periodical of England's The Chocolate Pointed Siamese Cat Club.