I have twenty cats–it’s a by-product of being a cat show judge and long time cat breeder. In the past I’ve bred Maine coons and munchkins–now I’m working with Havanas, which are much less common. They also, for the most part, look alike.

The breed is only showable in two colors: chocolate and lilac, and the lilacs are very rare. Occasionally, an unexhibitable pointed cat will turn up, but those, too, are uncommon. For the record, we’re trying to produce lilacs, but so far no luck.

So there are currently five virtually identical cats bouncing about the house. I had hoped that with time I would be able to tell them apart. Sadly no–when I want to identify a particular Havana, I reach for the microchip scanner and check the cat’s number.

The situation finally frustrated me to the point that I took a page from mapping Adventure, my very first computer game. While trying to find my way through the maze of twisty passages, all alike, the game allowed as how the rooms might look less alike if I dropped things in them . . .

So now, a herd of chocolate havanas that are less alike, thanks to some non-matching collars:

Delishadly Chocolate

And the original inspiration for it all:

advenutre map--all alike maze

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Rambo November 2012

When I returned from Lonestarcon 3 (Worldcon in San Antonio, TX) early Tuesday morning, there was bad news. Rambo, the little longhaired munchkin who has overseen my editing and writing for the last year, was clearly ill. I rushed him to the emergency vet, but all I could do was make him comfortable and spend some time with him saying goodbye.

He died Wednesday, just before lunch.

I’ll miss you, little guy. You came when I called you, when I needed your company. You sat on my lap or at my feet more times than I can count, cat of my heart. Farewell.

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SGC,RW BlueBlaze Keighvin Silverhair aka Ace The old man is gone.

He was clumsy, messy, and his health has been failing for the last year, but he was still my baby boy.
His liver and pancreas have been giving him trouble, his kidneys haven’t been working right, and we knew it was a matter of time. We’re still reeling from the loss of first daughter, Esmay, just eight days ago of kidney failure. It’s been a hard few weeks here at BlueBlaze.

When Ace was a few weeks old, I decided he was going to be our new stud cat, and he held that position for eight years, before he was neutered and went on to be a house pet, sleeping on our bed and generally making a nuisance of himself.

We’ve got five kittens running around from two different litters, and they’ve been enjoying playing with “Grampa.” He seemed to enjoy it, too. But they’ll be gone before Christmas. We would like to have fewer felines running about–but this is not the way.

I showed Ace (aka BlueBlaze Keighvin Silverhair) during the tail end of my training to be a cat show judge. He is a part of a lot of special memories for me. He supremed (earned his Supreme Grand Championship) in North Carolina in June 1999 at a cat show run by two of my best friends (one of whom would later take over my sponsorship until I achieved approved allbreed status–thank you Frances!). I had two of my best training sessions at that show–one with the late Larry Paul (we miss you very much, Larry), and one with Massimo Picardello of the University of Rome, who Mike and I will be visiting in February after our trip to Malta.

For those who don’t recognize Ace’s registered name (full explanation of all my cat’s names can be found on the BlueBlaze website), a related book sitting on his cage was a conversation starter with India Edghill when she visited a show, and led to a lasting friendship with eluki bes shahar (Thanks for that, Ace!).

This is an important milestone. We’ve been shifting to far less breeding (we are all getting older!), and it really feels like our maine coon program has taken a huge blow, even though Ace hasn’t been a breeding cat in years. It’s a perception thing. Our current stud cat, Dakota, is six-and-a-half and in fine health. But he wasn’t born in our house, although we love him dearly. The end of breeding maine coons may be in sight, although not for another year or two.

We are starting to breed havanas, but the plan is to hold that to a very small scale, probably one litter a year.

For more info about Ace’s accomplishments as a show cat, take a look at his page on the massively out-of date BlueBlaze website (which still lists him as a stud cat).

You can see pictures of Esmay on her page there, too.

Yes, I know I need to update the BlueBlaze site . . . . and get the BeneGesserit site up. Don’t remind me–it makes me cranky.

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After an all-night flight, Greta the havana is no longer in Kansas.

Jonna, thanks so much for bringing her to us!

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