Anyway, on passing the local churchyard that morning, a small creature caught my eye scurrying through the church grounds. It was very small and black, at first I thought it was a rat, however I then I took a closer look I saw it was a small kitten.
I vaulted over the church railings and caught up with the small frightened wee thing.
It was indeed a kitten, no more that six weeks old, caked in mud and dirt.
It fitted neatly into the palm of my hand and I hurriedly took it back to the house.
I gave it a small meal of cat milk and mashed up kitten food and cleaned it's face with cotton wool
and warm water. The fur was caked in mud, much of the fur came off with the cotton wool. I was able
to see though that the kittens true colour was in fact ginger and white, not black after all!
As the kitten was not breathing properly and I was a bit worried, I phoned our vet, who agreed to meet us at the surgery. A thorough check-up concluded that the kitten was female and unfortunately had the full set of ailments - cat flu, ringworm, lice and conjunctivitis. The vet didn't hold out much hope for such a young, sickly kitten, however I decided that she deserved a chance and told the vet to prescribe her all the necessary medicine.
When I got her home that night, I decided that she should have a name, she had ginger fur and she was an orphan - it had to be Annie!
There then followed a long period of quarantine, when Annie spent many long months in isolation in the spare bedroom, away from Fergus and the Chows. She had to take countless amounts of medicine and baths, however not once did she protest or put up a struggle.
The only time she came out of the room in that time was to make a periodic trips to the vet for a check up. The last ailment to clear up was the ringworm. Various inspections by the vet with the Woods Lamp clarified that the ailment was still present, however the week before Christmas that year I finally got the news I had been waiting for....the all clear.
Annie was allowed out of quarantine and instantly became the best of friends with Fergus (and the Chows !). A few months later, I was reading the local newspaper when I notice an advert for a cat show, the Scottish Cat Club Championship show, held in my home city, Glasgow. I sent away for the schedule and, on it's receipt, entered Annie in various Household Pet Classes. The big day arrived. The vetting in was a very harrowing experience (it doesn't get any easier, does it). However, Annie passed with flying colours - she was pretty used to vets by now. We penned her, complete with white blanket, tray and water bowl and nervously left the hall at 10:00am. On arriving back at lunchtime, I made a bee-line for the results board. The Open Class was up - A second, not bad, only beaten by a big male.
The Miscellaneous class results appeared throughout the course of the day - Two firsts and a second. One of her firsts was the class for "top female cat in Glasgow", an award which she still boasts about to the local feline population to this day. I had an excellent day and more importantly, I was hooked! I went to many more shows with Annie, picking up many first prizes and a few trophies along the way, not to mention a fairly hefty quantity of Whiskas and Arthur's courtesy of the various Household Pet classes sponsored by the cat food manufacturers.
In case you're wondering, I only showed Fergus once - he wasn't too keen on the idea! During our various forays around the country with Annie, I took the opportunity of looking at the various breeds of pedigree cats. The British Shorthairs in particular took my fancy (pardon the pun).
Shortly afterwards we bought our first British Shorthair, Vadwen Murdo MacLeod (17) from Dave and Wendy Easton in Sanquhar, South Scotland. I bought my foundation queens from the late Mary Davis (of the famous Hunmar prefix) from Lurgan, Northern Ireland and Jill Howe (from the equally famous Coppins household from Humberside, North England.
And how did I come upon my prefix?
In honour of my two glamorous moggies
who started it all off :-
Fergus and Annie!
Cats have been a part of my life since I was very little and I cannot remember a time when I have not been honoured to have at least one cat grace my house. My family have been involved in breeding and judging show dogs (Chow Chows and Griffons) since the early 1970's and I must admit that since then the cats have taken something of a back seat. Then, one Sunday morning back in the Autumn of 1990, I was out walking our two Chow Chows and my life was changed forever.
At the time, I had just one cat, a black and white moggie called Fergus. He was called this as at the time a group called Deacon Blue had a song out called "Fergus Sings The Blues". Fergus did sing the blues - he was a real feral kitten and spent the first two weeks of his life with us behind the washing machine (he's okay now, incidentally).
Annie's Tale or how we came about our prefix - Fergan.