Starrpawzs got it's early beginnings in The International Cat Association (TICA) which was a small association, but that doesn't mean it lacked the quality of a larger association.
They began their breeding program and tried to produce the kind of cats that would be well-known on the show circuit - the kind that looked like owls. It was a very unsuccessful start. Ears were never tight enough, never small enough, never set well enough, and not to mention tails! They had that competitive edge, although it seemed almost unattainable.
Competition was nothing new to them as early on they had produced top-winning Old English Sheepdogs, and ran the gamut of dog shows including the years Jacqueline spent in Junior Showmanship. They went on to exhibit their breeding at the renown Westminster Kennel Club show and Jacqueline, with dog in hand, won the Old English Sheepdog Specialty of America.
Anyway - back to cats! The struggle to produce the kind of cats they wanted did seem unobtainable, and so they began a search for the perfect pair of genes - which no one said were going to be easy to find. It felt like the longest road to travel, and there were so many factors involved that it became a challenge. Although there were many friends and Allbreed judges who gave encouragement, this just wasn't something that could be taught.....
Although many Starrpawzs litters were born during this time, they never hit the show ring until they belonged there! Some of the foundation cats of Starrpawzs went on to become Best of the Best winners as well as Best and Second Best Cat in Show. A keen eye, perfected during the dog breeding days, attributed to the eventual success as well as a special conditioning program to get the cats ready for the show ring. CFA Judge Frank Roderick encouraged Starrpawzs to show in The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) as he felt their beautiful cats in flawless condition would be able to compete very well.
Starrpawzs, whose cats were always registered with CFA and ready for the CFA show ring, had exhibited their cats at the CFA Expo. A certain judge handled these cats and remarked
"Where are there cats from? I don't believe I have ever seen them before. Beautiful owl-like expression. What beautiful type and tails. Certainly not a disappointment to handle with such lovely temperaments too."
The cats at whom these compliments were directed are Supreme Grand Champion Charpurr's Cinderfoldrella (aka Little Leady) pictured above, and Supreme Grand Champion Charpurr's Desert Stardust (aka Tinkerbelle) shown to the right.
After one more year of success showing in TICA, Supreme Grand Champion Excalibur En Vogue of Starrpawzs, a blue and white British Shorthair accomplished two years worth of Regional and National wins in one year.
Heavily campaigned, Vogue went on to become part of the backbone of the Starrpawzs Scottish Fold breeeding program. To this day, we are very thankful to her breeder, and she holds much respect in our hearts, for Vogue is truly the most beautiful outcross we have.
Later on that year, Tinkerbelle (who was waiting patiently to be bred but never showed any signs of being in heat) developed an open pyometra. She lay still on Jacqueline's bed, with little symptoms and no temperature, purring as if nothing were the matter. Tinkerbelle completed a successful pyometra treatment, and was to be bred to a boy shipped in from our friend Nancy Abbott. Kitjims Brizagella, a beautiful boy nicknamed "Buddy", was one of the last cats ever bred by Kitjim Cattery. Some of his straight eared kids are pictured in our Gallery of cats section.
Jacqueline spoke softly to Buddy as they sat in the bathroom together, until accomodations were ready for he and his new bride. Not more than two minutes later, Jacqueline heard an ear piercing scream and thought nothing of it - not realizing it was not the usual bird scream.
This time it was Bonnie, who had found Tinkerbelle's brother Norman (Supreme Grand Champion Charpurr's Victorious Desert Storm) laying still on the bed. He was gone, taken away on his second birthday. Jacqueline was in such trauma that she lost her voice and Bonnie rushed to call their good friend Lisa Bressler. Lisa rushed over and carefully wrapped Norman, as we all wept extensively. He was whisked away by Jacqueline and Lisa to the vet.
New lives were about to begin and another one had ended. Jacqueline cried as she looked at the cannister of Pounce, Norman's favorite treat, that she had bought for him earlier that day. It may have been his birthday, but there was no stopping the hands of time. Sadly, Norman had died of a stroke, and it could happen to any living creature.
The show that weekend was to mean something special. It was this club's show at which Norman had become a Supreme Grand Champion, and had almost the exact same lineup of judges. When Bonnie and Jacqueline appeared at the show with Vogue, and went to their benching cage, they realized that their good friends had adorned the cage that was to have been Norman's with flowers.
Norman's photo continued to grace catalogs and posters, and at the 18th Annual Cat Show in Jackson, Mississippi, the Mississippi Cat Fanciers awarded a silver bowl that Jacqueline and Bonnie had donated in memory of Norman. Many tears were shed that day.
Jacqueline has never shown in the alter/premier class again. Although she vows she will one day, and the name of the cat will be Norman.
Later on that year we took Vogue's Best Northeast Kitten Trophy, and all the Regional and International Awards and decided it was time. Time for the challenge of CFA
Design by Karen Lawrence