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
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