Those Showgirls Sho' Know How to "Parti!"
by Lorraine Saunders and Susan Cook Henry
From Cat Fanciers' Yearbook, 2007
Lois Jensen, Jensen
“It is for certain, in this day and age, that the Parti-Color class has fallen. Back in the 1970s and 1980s we had huge classes of tortoiseshells and blue-creams. One year, in February, I judged every
weekend that month in Texas. The first
weekend there were six blue-cream opens. Each one of those blue-creams was definite grand quality. I made the comment, while judging them the first week, that not one would go home a Champion. Sure enough they didn’t, as they canceled each other out. By the last weekend of that month, only one blue-cream had finally become a Champion (which I used in my finals even though I had not previously awarded it a single winners ribbon).
I also remember one year in Dayton, when we exhibited an open tortie that competed against five other opens. She did go home a Champion that weekend, which was a wonderful surprise. At one show, I remember George Summerville had five blue-creams in his kitten final. Today, we are lucky if we see one or two in an entire class.
We now have huge bi-color classes. It has caused me to wonder if they have hurt the Parti-Color class. Bi-colors are so flashy with all that white, which emphasizes the color in their coats. Or, is it the fact that perhaps breeders are simply not showing Parti-Colors because they believe they would do nothing? I have always maintained that the torties and blue-creams are vital to a good breeding program. In fact, I found that creams out of a blue-cream are sounder and clearer than when you breed cream to cream.”
Paul Patton, Luvlypurr
“It is truly sad how small the classes have become. When I first started showing, mine was the only calico in a Parti-Color class of 10-15!” (Authors’ note: The Calico and Bi-Color Division was created commencing with the 1991-1992 show season. Prior to this, these cats were included in the Parti-Color Division.)
David Mare, Mar-Ray
“On Parti-Color Persians… In most cases the good old days weren’t, but our memories seem to picture them better than they happen to be today. Not so the case with Parti-Color Persians – at least as it pertains to color.
As I write this I’m remembering a show I judged…Kansas City, I believe, probably back in the 1970s, when I had three blue-cream grands in the same class. If memory serves me, they were bred and owned by Lillias Bloem, Donna Jean Thompson, and Donna and Susan Cook respectively. Each cat was a treasure – presented in magnificent condition, groomed to perfection and dripping with coat. I can still see them in my mind’s eye – each with pale, icy blue color, dotted with frothy cream color that seemed to jump and sparkle as they moved – one of them with a nearly perfect blaze and a cream patch on the opposite front leg. They were my Best, Second and Third Best Cats (AB) and nothing was more certain to me in my mind. They were three Olympic Gold Medalists and I’ve carried them around in my memory bank since the day I was privileged to have them in my ring.
Perhaps it’s because we don’t color breed Persians as much as we did in the past. Perhaps it’s because there was only so much of that magnificent genetic color to go around and Mother Nature is giving it to us more sparingly. Possibly it’s as simple as you have to see it to believe it and when you do, only then can you be motivated to try to maintain it.
I don’t really know why it’s less common, but I do have the memory and I’ll carry it with me always; and when I get a chance to see it every once in awhile, it makes my heart skip a beat remembering the days when it was much more common.”
Willa Hawke, Rogers Hts
“Clearly all breeds tend to evolve, but it seems to me that through the past 40 plus years, the Persians, in general, have probably evolved the most, at least in type. Today’s top Persians are more heavily boned, certainly more extreme, better balanced and presented with coats that simply defy description. These advances may have been at the expense of color in some cases, such as blue-creams, but the trade-off has been worth it to my eye.
Better grooming techniques and grooming products, when used correctly, help to create coats that stand off from the body and serve to frame and outline the Persian by emphasizing its well-developed chest and short nose and small, well placed ears. Add to this a large round eye with great eye color, and the result is indeed breathtaking.”
Victoria Nye, Windborne
About GC, GP, NW Ann-Ge Honi Babe of Windborne:
“‘Honi’ was so easy-going at the shows – she loved people and all the attention. My mom Barbara Farrell, loved showing Honi. She was a real clown. On the way back from the rings she would pull Mom’s glasses off by the temple pieces and try to get on top of her head. At the shows, Honi never hissed or even indicated she noticed another cat.
At home was another story. She was the ALPHA queen. If left to run with the other cats, she would scheme and eventually corner someone and bite them. I treated more Honi caused abscesses. Even when caged, if another cat got close enough or sat on top of her cage, she would hook them with a claw and try to bite them.
When Carol Hutchings asked about showing Honi when she was seven, I told her about her personality ‘disorder.’ Carol figured her house in Saratoga was large enough for her other cat to at least hide from Honi. Honi then became the queen of Carol’s home and off to the shows they went.
Honi got airsick and you had to hold napkins up to her mouth to catch all the bubbles and foam. Car trips were fine; it was only the airplane that caused the salivation. I have only let two of my national winners go to new homes after I show them and get attached. They usually spend the rest of their lives at my house being a pet, but I can honestly say that letting Carol Hutchings have Honi was best for Honi – she had a great life.
About a year after Carol campaigned her to a national win in premiership, she brought Honi for exhibition to the Revelers show. Carol was also in charge of the Education Ring at Revelers and had arranged for her vet to speak. Carol brought Honi to my ring for a visit at lunch time and while loving on Honi, I noticed little BB bumps in her groin and around a back mammary gland. Carol took her over to her vet at the show and made a follow-up visit to his office the following week. Honi had breast surgery and Carol took her to chemotherapy for six months. Though Honi did not have any negative reaction to the chemotherapy, I don’t think it helped either, and we lost her within the year. I think she was 11 years old then. Her life wasn’t as long as I wanted or expected, but she sure did have quality. She is loved and remembered with great joy to this day.
Kim Everett-Hirsch, Pharoh, Swingate (Allbreed Judge):
“To see a beautiful tortie or a blue cream is a sight to behold! The tortie with its black background color and patches or intermingling of red and copper eyes is a stunner. A blue-cream with a pale blue background patched or intermingled with pale cream with copper eyes is equally as beautiful.
Once we saw large classes of torties and blue-creams which is a very challenging class to judge. The classes are generally small now; however, so are some of the other breed and division classes. I feel one reason is that divisions have split in the Persian breed over the years and breeders have taken different paths in their breeding program to work with other colors.
The bi-colors, for example, have become very popular and the Himalayan Persian, which split from being a separate breed, has maintained its numbers in popularity. Bi-colors are flashy because of the white with the color pattern. Himalayans are flashy, too, because of the pointed pattern which many breeds have copied.
Does this mean the Parti-Color class is less popular because they are not seen in the large numbers they once were? No. They are still very popular with those breeders who work with breeding them. A well-bred show tortie or blue-cream can stand alongside any color in the Persian class, or any breed for that matter, and win. It does not take large numbers to do this, just quality.
A tortie is known for her outgoing personality, is playful and yet can have a bit of fire to her. The blue-cream, on the other hand, is always lady-like and demure, rather elegant in fact. The beauty of these two ladies beyond being beautiful show cats is that they can produce a variety of colors and have proven very valuable in many leading breeders’ programs who work with other colors as well.”
Mildred Federico (Paquita) was often heard to say, “Torties pick locks and blue-creams open the door!” And that about sums up our Parti-Colors.
So, let us not lose them …. Bring them back! Let us strive to breed for blue-creams that dazzle and tortoiseshells that seduce. After all, Parti-Colors are CFA’s dancing stars in the sky: bright, theatrical and beautiful – an unbeatable combination. They really are the life of the Parti – let’s get ready to “Parti On!”
Biography: Lorraine Saunders
Lorraine has written and published articles for the CFA Yearbook since 1989, as well as for the CFA Almanac, Persian News and Cat Fancy Magazine. Also, Lorraine was solely responsible for publicizing CFA’s 2003-2004 COTY, GC, BW, NW Caricature’s Colin Powell’s celebrated photo shoot with “Colin” (the cat!) and Secretary of State Colin Powell in the Treaty Room at the State Department in Washington, DC. This photo shoot resulted in over 464,000 websites (MSN.com, Google, et al) mentioning the event as well as CNN and major networks on nighttime news, newspapers, radio and wire services, plus Newsweek magazine. Sundew Persians (Melanie and Melisa French and Lorraine Saunders) continue to breed and exhibit primarily dilute and some dominant Solid color and Parti-Color Persians to regional and national wins.
Biography: Susan Cook Henry
Susan Cook Henry (along with her mother, Donna Cook) has been showing Solid and Parti-Color Persians in CFA since the first annual Santa Monica Cat Club Show in September, 1966. Since that time, Jadon Persians have had great success thanks to the mentoring by and friendships of many wonderful individuals in the cat fancy. Jadon has the distinction of being the only cattery thus far to have bred and shown cats to the top spots in all three of CFA’s national awards categories: Cat of the Year (1992), Best Cat in Premiership (1995), and Best Kitten (1998 and 2002). Susan has been part of CFA committees and projects in the past, among them the CFA Judging Program as Exhibitor Member as well as being an original member of the core committee, CFA Mentor Program. She has been involved in educational projects with the judging program, including Persian head structure and balance. Most recently, Susan was Persian Breed Council Secretary from 2004-2006.
“The Parti Girls,” by Michael and Nancy Petersen, CFA Almanac, 1995.
Pawpeds Database: http://pawpeds.com (Maintained by: Emil Adén)
The article, along with accompanying charts, is based on information compiled by the authors.