Diane Castor, of Playwickey Himalayans, is retiring from breeding cats.
Diane has always loved Persians since she was very small child, and loved all cats with a passion ever since that first cat chanced to walk into her life.
Her first show quality Persian was a brown tabby male from a cattery called Jumbies, owned by Dr. Judith Stoyle who was a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia. He was born in 1967, and Diane began showing him in spring of 1968. By that fall, she knew she had found a hobby to love.
Diane continued showing Cookie in several associations and finally decided to buy a female for him. In the summer of 1968, she purchased a color bred blue female from Wimauma Cattery and registered her cattery, Playwickey, in October 1968 with CFA.
The love affair just became stronger with each passing year and the Playwickey brownies became quite well known for their beautiful deep ground color and magnificent dense black markings, making them stunning cats in the show ring.
One color led into another, and by the 1980s, she had bred whites, blues, silver, brown, red, and blue tabbies. Her favorite of all time were her silver tabbies, Dixie and Darlin along with their parents, Playboy and Pixie.
GC Demiara's Sweet Talk of Playwickey
By the 1990s, Diane began to look around at her friend, Ann Sone’s Himalayan /Persians, and decided that she could, with little trouble, fall in love with these blue eyed beauties she saw at Ann’s house. It didn’t take Diane long to talk Ann out of five of her girls to begin her breeding program in the pointed Persians.
Ann introduced Diane to Barbara Norris-Eckerle of Demiara, who kindly sold her GC Demiara’s Sweet Talk, a fabulous seal point male. With the lease of a red tabby CPC from Callyn and the purchase of a Twinshire red CPC male, Playwickey Himalayans were launched.
One of the greatest Judges of all time, Richard Gebhardt, founding member and many times president of Garden State Cat Club, as well as President of CFA, gave a trophy at the show to the Best All Breed Cat in his ring. In July of 1994, his Best Cat was GC, RW Playwickey’s Pharaoh of Kitty Charm. To this day, Diane says that there has never been a greater thrill as a breeder than having Pharaoh’s name inscribed on the President’s trophy.
Other milestones were her first National Winner, GC, NW Playwickey’s Flirty Flirty Eyes, seal point male. His importance to her as a breeder was that she had worked on two different lines, knowing that down the road, putting these two pedigrees together, the resulting kittens would have to be outstanding. Flirty was in the second litter of this breeding and Diane knew from the moment he was born that he would be one of the finest seal point males ever bred in the United States. To this day, she says that she's never seen a seal point male that she liked better.
GC, NW Playwickey's Alexandra
With each fine kitten born to Playwickey, Diane considered whether or not it was the quality to take National. To date, from 1999 to 2007, Playwickey has three NWs, and the GC, RW Playwickey's Torch Singer was 30th Best Kitten after, GC, NW Playwickey’s Alexandra at 5th Best Kitten.
In December of 2006, at the Straight and Curl Show in Lebanon, PA, Diane brought out a four month old seal point male, Playwickey’s Bravo, sired by GC, BW, RW Sulltans Seize the Day out of GC Joedean’s Lurline of Playwickey.
This kitten took the Cat Fancy by storm, earning 30 Best Kittens (26 of those in AB rings), eight Best In Show Kittens, Best Himalayan Kitten in CFA and CFA’s 20th Best Kitten nationally. This feat in itself was awesome as the kitten counts dropped continuously after Straight and Curl.
Knowing that she was retiring, Diane gave Bravo to her friend, Lori Kerr, who she had mentored for over ten years. On May fifth, Bravo went to live with Lori where he has already proved himself and is expecting his first litter in September 2007.
“I wanted to go out with a big bang, and taking Bravo National when all said it couldn’t be done was great fun. The fact that he was Best Himalayan Kitten in CFA is the greatest honor I had achieved as a breeder. Being the Best in your breed surmounts all other achievements.”
In November, 2005, PandEcats interviewed Diane to learn about her career as a cat breeder and her philosophy of breeding and evaluating cats. To read the complete article, go to Interview: Diane Castor, Playwickey
As Diane prepares to retire from cat breeding, she shares some of her thoughts and emotions below...
I am in the process of closing my cattery at this time. Most of my CD&E cages have been dismantled and will be sold to a friend. I've packed up all the nursery and delivery paraphernalia and have set this all aside for a friend. My wonderful cat care friends are on limited employ and we are gently winding down a career that has spanned almost forty years. More if one counts the years spent showing Household Pets!
I have only GC Playwickey's Philly Fanatic as a whole male and he will be altered as soon as his last daughter Grands and DM's him.Then he will become one of my four FOREVER Cats, along with GC, NW Playwickey's Flirty Flirty Eyes and GC, RW Playwickey's The Torch Singer (son and daughter of Philly) and her Aunt, GC Kitty Charm Blue Sky Lines. The last three already altered.
A few kittens to place, a young seal female to sell and a seal point male to sell. GC Playwickey's Cherokee will be leaving for the continent in September and a young female to be returned to her breeder and one spay to place and we are at four cats. Hard to believe.
Closing a cattery takes time and thought. We each believe we have cats that can still continue to be an influence on future generations and I think we need to take into consideration the placement of some of those cats, but on the whole, I like to think that our breeding stock, particularly the older ones, belong in a home environment.
Years ago when I worked with Demiara Cattery, I was impressed by the fact that Demiara had no compunction to selling her cats to others in this country. Thus sending her lines to many of us who benefited greatly by her generosity. I have always tried to emulate her actions. You will find the Playwickey cats across the USA, Canada, The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the Continent. It has been my belief that we breeders should be breeders first and exhibitors second. The gene pools belong to future generations and we are only the care takers for a short period of time. It is how we care for these precious pedigrees which will give future generations the healthy breeding stock that is so necessary to continuing these lines of pedigreed cats. If we think about this seriously, it is an awesome responsibility and not one that should be taken with a grain of salt.
If for instance, we planned immediately going into a retirement community, we would have to negotiate these four cats that we plan on keeping if we were to take them with us.Then there are our ages to consider. I want to be able to out live all my cats and perhaps just have one older cat always to keep me company. While Bruce and I are very healthy for 70+, we realize that the full responsibility of running a cattery is more than we wish to continue to handle.
Having many many cats has never been my idea of how a cattery should be managed. I can, though, understand how one can become "over catted". Just seeing pictures on line of the adorable new crop of kittens each year, makes one's tongue hang out. I adore kittens and will continue to love them and visit those other catteries still in business to play with their kittens. Almost like being a cat grandparent. Love them and give them back. Conditioning a kitten for show has always been my favorite time and it is one of the things in cats that I do best.
As to continuing to show. Perhaps when a spectacular kitten comes along with my lines, I may certainly be tempted. I will continue to work with cats and am very enthusiastic about the Breeders Assist Program. I think this is marvelous step in the right direction for CFA. I think that our President is right on the mark with the progress she is making in CFA. She is surrounding herself with top notch people who know how to work and how to get things accomplished. I would wish to be of further use to CFA and to be able to continue mentoring others in our Fancy.
Without an active breeding program at Playwickey, we will have the time to volunteer our services to CFA.
The Four Cats Remaining At Playwickey include...
GC, NW Playwickey's Flirty Flirty Eyes
Sire: GC Playwickey's Philly Fanatic
Dam: GC Playwickey's Pixann
GC Playwickey's Philly Fanatic
Sire: GC, RW Playwickey's Pharaoh of Kitty Charm
Dam: CH Playwickey's Lalique
GC, RW Playwickey's
Sire: GC Playwickey's Philly Fanatic
Dam: CH Kitty Charm Vanna of Playwickey
GC Kitty Charm Blue Sky Lines
Sire: GC Playwickey's Parallel Lines
Dam: CH Kitty Charm My Blue Toy,
(sired by GC, RW Playwickey's Pharaoh of Kitty Charm)
She is the litter sister to
GC, NW Playwickey's Bravo of Catbery Tail
Seal Point Male
CFA's 20th Best Kitten 2006-07
Sire: GC, BW, RW Sulltans Seize the Day
Dam: GC Joedean's Lurline of Playwickey
Breeder: Diane Castor
Owner: Diane Castor & Lori Kerr
Photo by Jim Child