The overall aim of my breeding program is to breed healthy, well socialised kittens who will capture the hearts of their owners. My passion is for the Snowshoe cat, they are intelligent, extremely rewarding to live with and are genuinely interactive. I honestly believe that Snowshoes are the best breed to choose if you want the perfect companion cat. When I rasie a litter health and temperament always come first, we breed for good Snowshoe type – and if possible pattern – and if we do happen to breed a top show cat along the way so much the better!
I grew up with cats, my parents had a young Abyssinian cross boy when I was born and we always had a rescue cat throughout my childhood. Once I moved into my own home it was starkly clear that a cat makes a house into a home and again a succession of rescue cats were part of my life. As my Splodge and Sophie were getting elderly I looked for a younger cat to join our family, but at that time the local rescues were reluctant to rehome to someone with such young children, an odd policy as the children were well used to cats and treated them with respect.
Sapphirestar Cats was born when I purchased my first Snowshoe Alaska – Glittakitz Fudge in 2008. Originally purchased as a pet and paid for with the money left for me by my Grandma when she passed away. Unable to find a rescue cat I had researched the breeds of pedigree cats to find one that would fit in with my elderly moggies and my young children. The Snowshoe fitted the bill perfectly and I fell in love with a photo of a seal point preferred pattern cat who I now know was the great Ferry Vom Friedewald. Alaska joined us when she was 13 weeks old, bred by Tracey Rhodes at Glittakitz, she fitted in straight away and enchanted us all. Her blue eyes captured our hearts and she became a part of our family, she was clever enough not to upset the Moggies and slept every night on Ellie’s bed. So impressed were we with her bombproof temperament that I did my research and learnt more and more about the Snowshoe breed.
I had not intended to breed cats, but I genuinely believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live with a cat that really wants to be an active part of your life. Alaska was a fantastic ambassador for the breed and everyone who met her was impressed with her personality and stunning looks. I had never been owned by a cat who was first to the door to meet visitors and loved anyone and everyone. I contacted Alaska’s breeder and she kindly agreed to put Alaska onto the active register so that I could breed from her, finding a stud cat though proved difficult. After failing to arrange a visit to the nearest Snowshoe breeder with a stud, I saw an advert for an unrelated litter of kittens in Wales – a long Friday night drive and the 13 week old Idris – Adecish Snowshoo Idris – joined our family.
I was granted my prefix, Sapphirestar, with GCCF and TICA in 2010 and my first litter of Snowshoes was born in November 2010 when Idris’ Mum came to us pregnant with his brother Mocha. Owning a stud is a huge committment and one girl was not enough to keep Idris happy, the search was on for another queen. The rarety of the Snowshoe made a suitable girl hard to find so I looked for a breed that was compatable with the Snowshoe. The Siamese was perfect, but the modern show style is very different from the moderate look that I was hoping to acheive. Another dash to Wales brought a traditional (Old Style) Siamese that we called the Blue Cat – Adateam Tong Lang into our lives. Her pet name was that of my youngest daughter, which was too confusing, so the Blue Cat stuck. The arrival of an adult female Siamese in the household was a steep learning curve – but she quickly taught us how she expected to be treated!! Blue is now happily retired in the life of luxury that she always knew she deserved.
As the years have passed our cat family has grown and I have worked with likeminded breeders to increase the rather small Snowshoe gene pool. To date, I have introduced 5 different Siamese bloodlines and 3 British Shorthair lines. As well as breeding for health and type, I have attempted to introduce the chocolate point colour to the Snowshoe gene pool. Not an easy task as chocolate is a recessive gene, so both male and female cats must carry the chocolate gene for it to be expressed. I have researched genetics and healthy breeding practise and the health and temperament of my cats is always my priority. Yeti is a direct descendant of my lovely Siamese Teasel.
I have bred both Snowshoe and Old Style Siamese kittens and have bred Snowshoes from first to 5th generation. I am lucky that I have met some really lovely people over the years, some have become close friends. There is no doubt that the difficult goodbye when a kitten leaves here, is made easier when you know that this is just the first day of their onward journey to bring joy to their own forever family.
Encouraged by my mentor, Mollie Southall of Coldenufforsnow cats, I entered my first GCCF show in 2011 with Idris – it was a great start to our show career as he was awarded 2 merits and had a red card day – he was placed first in every class he was entered in. Since then I have bred the first male champion Snowshoe (Sapphirestar Frostbite) Idris’ son. As well as the Snowshoe breed classes I have also entered our early generation Snowshoes in the Household Pet classes and Gem (Sapphirestar Iced Gem) was awarded Master cat status in March 2014. Frosty’s daughter Winter won Best in Show Pedigree Pet at the Croydon Cat Club Show in March 2015.
My daughter Ellie has also caught the Snowshoe bug and has shown and bred from her own girl Coldenufforsnow Jollity. Ellie has her own prefix, Diamondice and bred her own Champion Snowshoe – George (Diamondice Snow Prince) when she was only 13 years old.
I am now on the Committee of the Snowshoe Cat Society and am the Secretary of the Snowshoe Breed Advisory Committee. The cats are a major part of our lives and there is no doubting that it is a very busy life and can be hard at times. Breeding brings you great joy but at times sadness. I work closely with a fantastic Veterinary practice and try to learn at every step. Good record keeping and deep pockets are essential, but there is nothing better than spending the day socialising the kittens. I am so lucky that I found the Snowshoe as it has changed my life, my thanks go to Alaska, Idris, Frosty, Teasel and Blue and all the other cats I have had the pleasure of owning. They have all returned my love for them with a generosity that never fails to impress me.