Those Showgirls Sho' Know How to "Parti!"
by Lorraine Saunders and Susan Cook Henry
From Cat Fanciers' Yearbook, 2007
The Road is littered with … Well, you know! They were the “Life of the Parti!”
Below are anecdotes, remembrances, critiques…from breeders, judges, et al., who wanted to share their experiences about those wild ‘n crazy Parti-Girls.
Irene Kachel, Bryn Mawr:
“‘Georgie Girl’ was known as the 70,000 mile kitten and cat during her long show career as a kitten and then as an adult. We drove to all of her shows, thus wearing out our car completely in the process.
Showing ‘Georgie’ was a family affair! I (Irene) groomed. Meanwhile, Werner fed ground chuck made up in little balls to Georgie as she would only eat for him. Mike, our son, always put Georgie in the judging rings. She loved being shown and was admired by all exhibitors as well as the spectators.
As an adult, we drove Georgie to the Houston show in January and had a car-full. Werner, myself, Mike and also Leta Williams plus three cats (as well as Mike’s TV) were packed and could barely move. Yet, we all had a wonderful time. Another great show was at Madison Square Garden in New York City where Georgie Girl went Best Cat in the Best of Best ring under Judge Vaughn Barber – certainly the highlight of Georgie Girl’s show career!
At one of the Dayton Cat Club meetings, I gave a grooming class and Georgie Girl loved every minute of this special treatment. In fact, when I finished she just sat there and looked from side to side, viewing the club members as if to say, ‘Look At Me.’
Georgie Girl and her breeder/owners were truly honored when GC, NW Bryn Mawr’s Georgie Girl became CFA’s Best Kitten 1974-1975 and Second Best Cat 1975-1976. Adding to her laurels, Georgie Girl proved to be a most successful part of the Bryn Mawr story, as she went on to be bred to Tra Mar Happy Fellow of Jensen and produced (among other beautiful cats) the tortoiseshell GC, NW Bryn Mawr Parti Girl, who became CFA’s Fifth Best Kitten and 13th Best Cat.”
Susan Cook Henry, Jadon:
“At the Invitational Show in St. Louis a good number of years ago (1990, I believe), television coverage of the show’s winners had been arranged for the “CBS Morning Show” in New York City the very next morning. The owners and the cats were to fly first class on TWA, and were put up at a very nice hotel close to the CBS studios. Since I don’t have a yearbook handy just now, my memory fails some of the details – but the Best Cat was a silver tabby American Shorthair who went on to a national win. The Best Kitten was a Toshika copper-eyed white which breeder/owner Penny Nordman took on to Kitten of the Year. And the Best Cat in Premiership was none other than GC, GP, NW Mystichill Mighty High. Co-owner Mark Hannon with breeder Diane Silverman was not able to make the trip to New York, but since I had the time on my hands, Mark allowed me to take Sissy for him.
Many of us remember Sissy’s special judging ring behavior, and her penchant for taking one last swat at the judge as she was put back into her cage. But no one could deny her breathtaking beauty as a representative of the Persian. Thankfully, Sissy was a model child on the way to New York, in the hotel, at the studio, etc. That part was easy… it was a very late night and an even earlier morning for all of us, but we managed to be where we were supposed to be at the right time. I remember the white kitten being used as the model for the opening of the show…and she took no time in jumping to the floor and walking around, checking out the stage as if it were just another living room. Paula Zahn was a co-host at the time and was clearly uncomfortable around cats, but she sucked it up and even held Sissy as I recall, who was on her best behavior. Not good enough for Miss Manners, however, who refused to come into the green room to meet the guests because ‘cats were in there.’
The trip back was more interesting, in that I flew on the shuttle from New York to Washington. Not having a ticket for the cat in the days when those sorts of things were normally checked (and travelling on an airline employee discount), I ended up wrapping Sissy in my jacket and walking through the scanner with her ‘draped’ over my arm. She was a trouper and did not move nor make a sound until we were in the ladies’ room on the other side of security, making the swap back to the carrier, with not one swat or grumble along the way. Got my heart rate down again, and we were off to Washington and Sissy was home to Mark. It was a wonderful experience, and an honor to have charge of such a beautiful girl for several hours for this interesting trip…just one of the many adventures she had to add to her resumé on her way to her third NW title as Best Cat in Premiership!”
Sue Beuerlein, Susan - to DJ Thompson, Jeannel (Allbreed Judge):
“My ‘Michelle!’ I do remember her…she was something else. A bit of the tortie gene in her though…especially when I groomed between her toes and her bottom. She did not like that. Michelle was really, GC, GP, NW Jeannel Michelle of Susan, a blue-cream Persian spay who had been a Grand Champion in her former life. She thought she had been retired and was enjoying life at ‘Chalet Thompson’ when this wicked Siamese breeder decided she wanted to ‘experience’ the Persian thing! As you probably do remember Donna Jean, you said, ‘I have a cat you can show in premiership!’ Lucky me! Michelle, at 11 years old, went to her first show and made all the finals as an open. Then as a grand, she went on to be Tenth Best Cat Nationally in Premiership and Second Best Cat Regionally. (There is a lovely picture of her in the 1980-1981 CFA Yearbook under National Winners!)
The judges were so impressed with Michelle’s condition. She came to me in great show shape and held it all year long. Maybe it was because I fed her so much. I was intrigued at watching how a cat with a flat face could eat. I was more familiar with the pointed vacuum cleaner shaped mouths of a Siamese. They can pack it away, but so could Michelle!
The judges were even more impressed with Michelle because she was 11 years old and was in such great condition. She weighed a ton (not really, but close)! She showed beautifully and was always an easy cat to exhibit. Of course, we did have to do the usual every-Thursday-night-thing. She was, after all, a normal Persian when it came to grooming.
Michelle got along with the Siamese. It was her Siamese buddies who helped her quit the show scene, as they kneaded a large portion of her coat (and she truly was dripping in coat) out on a trip to New Jersey. I came home that night and said, ‘No more!’
At the awards banquet forget your joy, Donna Jean. You judged many of the shows we attended and often Michelle lost one of those rings because you were not allowed to judge her. Yet she did so well at those shows in spite of missing a ring. She was that good!
Michelle was 12 years old when the show season ended. She looked just as good when she retired as when she started...no senior citizen there! She lived a long and happy life, just a little chatty concerning something about her retirement being interrupted, but she really did enjoy all the attention.
Sometimes I get that urge to do it again, and then I remember all the powder in my sinuses. That’s when I say, ‘Forget it, Susie.’ However, I did vicariously enjoy this past year reliving the Jeannel saga of National Winners through GC, GP, NW Jeannel Johnny B Good, who became Best Cat in Premiership for 2004-2005. Yet, Michelle was in my mind and always will be the perfect Persian.”
Elaine Crews, Fleurelaine:
“I must add my story about my favorite Parti-Color, GC, GP, NW Brannaway Puddin’ of Fleurelaine.
Many, many years ago I was at Anna Sadler’s house. There was a darling tortie kitten running around, and I raved about her. Anna said she was going to pet her out and keep her calico sister because she wanted the color. I kept raving about the tortie – she was just a doll. Finally, Anna said ‘If you like her so much, you take her!’ Which I did.
She granded very quickly, bred for us, and was one of our favorite lap cats.
When she was about nine, she jumped into Ken’s lap. He looked at me and asked me to get her in show condition because he wanted the judges to see what an old Persian can look like.
We took her out in premiership just to see what she would do. The judges did a double-take when they looked at her, and looked at her age in the book. More than once, the judge would look out to us and say, ‘Is this age correct? She’s really 10 years old?’ They were all amazed. She still had the Persian type, still had the wonderful eye color, and put on a coat to the floor. All at the age of ten.
At first, we were just hoping for a regional win, then it looked like a national was possible, so we started pushing for it. At the end, she ended up Third Best Cat in Premiership nationally! She was ten years and ten months old when we finished.
Every time she was put on the judging table, she would swish that tail back and forth – what a story she was telling!
‘Puddin’ just died a few months ago – she was almost 16 years old. She ruled the roost right up until a few months before she died. She told everyone what they could do and when they could do it. Nobody questioned her authority.
She will always have a special place in our hearts.”