By Kay Hill
Listening to the stories of the owners of Siamese queens who came to be mated is one of the lighter sides of owning a cat at stud, and the exacting responsibility involved in caring for valuable and greatly loved visitors.
Margaret Hood, (the Kutjing Siamese) had a neuter called Mr. Entwhistle. She called all her neuters Mister, saying that it gave them a dignity they had lost! He used the loo whenever he saw the door open. The Hood twins, Elizabeth and Bridget, promised to let me know, when I was staying with them in New Galloway, when this was about to happen. The cry "quick Kay, Mr. Entwhistle is going" brought me racing upstairs, after the fleeing Mr. Entwhistle and, low and behold, there he was, perched on the loo, performing. A photograph of this event was printed in a cat magazine.
I sold a kitten, which was flown to the South of France in a private jet to live in a Louis XV chateau, and a grand daughter of my cat became the Captain's darling on a ship plying between Newcastle and Bergen.
During the Was, I was told that a cat in the official stud book, Wanstill Ajax, belonged to a Wren who took him with her to Rosyth, where he was "on the strength" of the Royal Navy. If he went astray, he was charged with being A.W.O.L. (absent without leave), and was arrested and put in a cell until his owner claimed him.
An Army officer at Catterick told me he had a Siamese guarding an open fronted shop with a counter covered in bales of priceless silks owned by a Chinese. The cat wore a collar of gold, studded with precious stones.
One of my kittens, Hambleton Althia, went out to South Africa with her owner, and was mated out there to a Sabukia male, producing a Best in Show litter. The South Africans had little idea, at the height of apartheid, that Althea was deliberately named after the first black woman, Althea Gibson, to win Wimbledon.
A cat at the very back of my Simon's pedigree was described as "born Afghanistan" and another "Giselle 1st and CH. Paris". My kittens had a habit of going to live on islands, including Jersey, the Isle of Wight, the outer Hebrides and Orkney. Several went to Portugal with their owners and another to the U.S.A.
Champion Milor Oberon always sent to the dining car with his owners, Mr. & Mrs. Watson, when they travelled by train to shows. On one appaling occasion he saw aman with a bald pate ittinwith his back to them and leaped across the table to land on his head.
I was travelling back from Newcastle with Simon's son Kutjing Tigapuluhanem, my stud, when a gang of soccer fans, very drunk, tore through the carriage swinging bicycle chains. I remember picking up a bottle of wine ready to fell one, if he touched my cat in his travelling box on the floor. On another occasion, travelling to Margaret Hood with a cat on the way to Stranraer, the guard locked us in a first class carriage and drew the blinds because the carriages were littered with glass and full of drunk football fans. He said, "It is no place for a lady."
I am told that a kitten I sold in York became the Minster cat because he visited the Minster daily. I remember seeing these cats from the city wall. They included a black portly cat with a white bib and a scarlet collar with a bell, who looked exactly like a Dean.
Sir Compton MacKenzie told me (when he was a President of the Siamese Cat Club) that he'd had two Siamese on the Isle of Lewis, as tough as old boots, like farm cats, and out in all weathers, and that he was going to make a speech at the S.C.C. show with the title, "The writing is on the wall", because he foresaw the degeneration of the Siamese cat as a result of exaggeration to the point of insanity of the show standard. He thought that the abolition of the kink in the tail bred out a characteristic and with it some of the stamina of the Siamese.
A captain of a ship anchored in the harbor of Canton looked down and saw a chinese junk below with a beautiful Siamese in the bow. He called down and offered money for it and after a lot of haggling bought it for his wife, who was an army nursing sister living in Aden. He also had a pure bred Arab stallion on board, called Sahil, the gift of a Sheik, which later stood at stud in the racing stable where I worked. The cat, Nikki, was mated in Aden to Farose, owned by an army officer, who mysteriously disappeared from time to time, possibly on "intelligence missions". Farose had his own bearer and surveyed Aden from the top of a wall, as if he owned the city. From this pair all mine were descended, bringing new blood back into England