The first part of Diadem’s story was published previously …
In 1969, Fannie Mood sent me a beautiful chinchilla kitten she called Pattycake. She was out of CH Delphi Patricia, who was a lovely example of the Delphi-Walnut Hill combination. Pattycake had a long, flowing coat with flawless chinchilla coloring, huge round eyes, extreme head type and the best chin I had ever seen; very strong and broad with an even bite. She was the only female I ever had whose kittens could be accurately identified at birth as either chinchilla or shaded silver. Pattycake granded at the same show where her daughter by Pride, Diadem Precious, made her show debut. Precious was one of the few kittens who never really “go off”, but continue to improve. In addition to excellent head type, Precious had an exceptional body: square, solid and heavy boned. A full sister to Precious went to the MacHaven Cattery, and later, another sister, along with a male from another breeding, went to the Adcock’s in Ohio. This pair, plus a female from Wis-Purr Cattery, have produced numerous lovely silvers, including two grands with a third nearly finished.
Later in 1969, an opportunity arose which could not be passed up. Pat Bacelli, whose Sequoia Cattery was founded entirely on Walnut Hill, was placing some of her cats and offered me the seven year old CH Sequoia Chiffon. Her dam was Pride’s full sister, GC Walnut Hill Parfait of Sequoia, and her sire was GC Las Lomas Julio of Walnut Hill; I had long admired both cats. Chiffon greatly resembled Julio and proved invaluable because of her body type and heavy bone. Bred to Pride, she had many lovely kittens, and among them CH Diadem Delight. She also gave us our first golden. Delight and Chiffon’s goldens were bright and warm in color; much prettier than many of the Goldens seen today.
Pary and Pride were getting older now, so in 1970 we kept a shaded son of theirs, CH Diadem Winkie. Delight and Winkie produced chinchilla CH Diadem Cherub and when bred to Pride, she produced Diadem Dove.
Even in the 1970’s, Diadem cats were seldom seen in the show ring. We were unable to go to many shows because our children were quite young. We bred, then as now, on a very small scale and most of the kittens I did not keep were placed locally as pets, regardless of quality.
Late in 1972, the opportunity arose to purchase a female kitten out of Diadem Melody by GC Sanskrit Ovation of Wis-Purr; this pair has produced many fine kittens for the Wis-Purr Cattery. Wis-Purr Trinket of Diadem was not a promising kitten, but she gave me the opportunity to fulfill that part of the breeding program for which Kitza Melissa was originally purchased. Trinket fooled us all and developed into a beautiful chinchilla who granded easily. We are no longer misled by the number of times her offspring go “off” in type; it is to be expected of cats from this breeding.
Trinket is not only a beautiful cat, but she has produced very typey kittens by Pride, his sons Winkie and Pride ‘n Joy, and most recently by Allegro, a son of Pride ‘n Joy. From the last litter, Knick Knack has already granded, and Allegra is on her way.
Joyce Hill’s Sanskrit silvers were bred almost entirely from Gray-Ivy cats and a Beau Geste female. Over the years, she has used other combinations, mostly with Gray-Ivy and Walnut Hill in the background.
By 1973, I was firmly committed to the breeding of silvers to the exclusion of all others, and with my youngest child ready for school, I felt I would have more time to become more involved with these cats – therefore, I made two more additions to our feline family. One was a kitten, Wicklow Limerick of Diadem, full sister to GC Wicklow Macushla of Wea-Fur. Wicklow was another cattery bred entirely from Kitza cats for many years, except for two outcrosses. One breeding was to Sandia’s Gorgeous George and the other to CH Sequoia Shady Lad. Many of the Wicklow cats had gorgeous eye color, which fortunately was not diluted by the solid color breeding in back of Gorgeous George. Both Limerick and Macushla had flawless chinchilla coats, but Limerick lacked her sister’s eye color. I wanted Limerick in spite of the solid color behind her; not because of it. I felt then, as I do now, that we can – and are – breeding very fine silvers without using solid color cats. Those who choose to experiment with solid color crosses should be experienced breeders, not novices. It is a temptation to breed to solid color cats because there is often a long wait for good silver breeding stock. Many are too impatient to wait, yet these new breeders are usually the least experienced and poorest equipped to handle such an outcross.
Earlier that year, we had acquired another cat from Fannie Mood, this one a proven female. She was also from the Delphi-Walnut Hill combination, and when bred to Pride produced CH Diadem Pride ‘n Joy. P.J., as he is known at home, has his sire’s sweet disposition and ability to stamp his offspring with his lovely tophead.
In the meantime, a planned breeding for Limerick to Pride produced five kittens, among them a little shaded girl whom our children called “Dixie Cup”. For obvious reasons, we shortened that name, and my biggest thrill came at the Empire show in 1975 when Richard Gebhardt held Dixie up as his Best Kitten in the “Best of the Bests”! The previous year, P.J. had been Fourth Best Kitten in the “Best of the Bests”, and at that time, I did not believe a greater thrill would come our way.
There were more surprises in store for us. We had been so pleased with this litter that eventually we planned to repeat the breeding, but found that Limmy had planned her own honeymoon; apparently young P.J. did not spend all his time sitting on laps and sleeping on beds – he was now a proven stud! In time, Limmy delivered another lovely litter of five. Throughout my career as a breeder, I have always tried to hold the number of cats we keep to ten or under. Granted, I am not always successful, but I was determined not to keep any of these kittens, so promised pick kitten to a breeder.
When the kitten did not seem to be developing well, we decided it would be best to place him as a pet. Through no fault of his, the little male was back with us in about a month and though he had improved somewhat, the breeder to whom he had been promised still did not want him. While trying to decide what to do with him, Pat Gerber of Kitique silvers came to visit and persuaded me to keep him. (Just what I needed, three shaded males!) She said I would regret parting with this “light and lively” boy whom she had christened “Allegro”. He set out, so it seemed, to prove her correct, and after making some kitten wins he hit his stride as a very young adult and made his grand in one show at nine months of age. As far as we can ascertain, this is a record unmatched by any other silver.
There are many outstanding silver lines I have not had the opportunity to work with, partly due to the small size of our cattery.
Many people, when thinking of silvers, think of American silver lines based on those imported from England. Few are aware of a fine American silver exported to England, CH Silver Mesa Apache. He was sent to England because English breeders needed the chunky body and heavy bone in which he excelled. Imported by Mollie Turney, Apache is in many Bonavia pedigrees today, as well as being in back of Gray-Ivy, Walnut Hill and Wee Heather cats, and those descended from these lines.
Wee Heather, for many years a California cattery, is one of several silver catteries still active and producing winners after more than a quarter of a century. The background of Irene Buchan’s cats reads like a Who’s Who in silver history. A number of local lines founded Wee Heather, but mostly it evolved from Silver Mesa, whose cats were well-balanced, healthy and good-sized, with large round eyes, and were especially valued for their heavy bone. Although Silver Mesa is no longer an active cattery, Silver Mesa cats are in back of many of our finest silvers today.
Further in the background of Wee Heather silvers are Mell Russell’s Las Montanas silvers. They too were known for good bodies, their lovely coat and eye color, and their sweet dispositions.
Mrs. Alfred Townsends’ Bonnie Silvers were behind the best silvers in the east, prior to her move to California. In 1919, one of the Bonnie Silvers won a Sterling Silver trophy, and many years later, Mrs. Townsend presented this trophy to Irene Buchnan as one who had done the most to further Bonnie Silvers’ finest qualities in silver of that time.
Beverly-Serrano (named for the corner in Hollywood where they lived at the time) was originally the cattery of Jessie and Ione Hazlett. Later Vivien Peterson took over and continued breeding fine Beverly-Serrano silvers. Still later, Jeanne Ramsdale continued breeding those silvers, along with Dearheart silvers. Dearheart was established with silvers from local lines of that time. Some were Kerry Lu and Reene’s, but most had Beverly-Serrano, Starlight, and imported Fanfare of Allington in the background.
While these lines were being founded in California, Mrs. William Bean began breeding silvers in New York. The Bean Ridge cats were first bred from top eastern lines including Kute Kit and Edgewood. It was always Connie Bean’s practice to add to her cattery from top-winning lines of the time. She purchased GC Cashmere Feather of Bean Ridge, a striking, flashy chinchilla female, as a kitten from the Cashmere Cattery of Agnes Mahoney. The Cashmere silvers evolved from Sheromar and Favor’s Twilight silvers. Later, Mrs. Bean acquired Walnut Hill and Gray-Ivy cats. Bean Ridge Silvers were much respected in this country, and helped to establish Silvers in Japan also.
Cashmere was a midwest cattery, so naturally greatly influenced silvers in that area, including Braves, Gay-Puree, Mary Crary, and Mata-Blu Catteries. An active breeder for many years, Mary Caito has combined many lines in developing her Gay-Pur-ee line.
Breeding techniques for silvers will be discussed in Part 3 of this article, in the next issue…
Author, Janice Reichle, has been breeding Shaded Silver, Chinchilla and the occasional Golden Persian under the Diadem cattery name for more than 35 years.
While many Diadem Silvers have earned the title of Regional Winner, as well as having a National and Breed winner with GC, BW, NW Diadem Dilemma, Janice is most proud of her Distinguished Merit sire GC Diadem Personality Plus, DM, and what he has done for silvers.