The Second Time Around

by DIANA HEINZEN, TNT Purrfect Persians

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This is the tale of a cat that granded twice . . . and the why . . . and how . . . and the women who believed in him.

In the spring of 2005, Sandy-B Cowboy was born a beautiful cream and white van Persian kitten. With color confined to his tail and a bit on his face, he was a stunning boy.

Granded by his breeder, Sandy Schlesinger, Cowboy was sold to Gloria Busselman of Part-Wai. Retired from the show ring, he was shaved and began his duties as a stud cat.

That's when a problem was discovered.

Cowboy was producing tabbies kittens when bred to non-tabby girls! Huh? How could that be? DNA testing quickly proved that Cowboy was indeed an agouti TABBY and white van, not a cream and white van.

How Can It Be?

Tabby pattern on a cream is often difficult to see. Add to this the fact that Cowboy was a van, there was little cream color in which to see any tabby pattern, so it is very understandable why no one suspected he was not just a cream and white.

Changing Cowboy's Registered Color

CFA was contacted and Cowboy's registered color was changed from cream and white to cream tabby and white. With that color change came another change — all show awards and titles that Cowboy had earned as a cream and white were now null and void. Cowboy was no longer a Grand Champion.

As Gloria was not interested in working with a tabby breeding program, she decided to let Cowboy go to a new home.

New "Moms"

And so it was that Cowboy came to live with the TNT Purrfect Persians, co-owned with myself and Sharon Rogers.

I had been looking for an outcross male for my breeding program, and Cowboy was a treasure. The only thing I regretted was that he was not a Grand Champion. Hmmmm . . .

The decision was made to try to grand him all over again.

Returning to the show ring meant growing out his recently clipped coat and reconditioning him for show — not an easy task on a siring Persian male. But we were not deterred.

So, for the next six months, Cowboy grew coat, endured weekly baths, was combed, sculpted and pampered back into show shape. Sharon frequently asked me how Cowboy was looking. I would continue to say he is growing coat and it takes time.

A show was planned in December about six months after Cowboy had come to live with me. The weekend before the show closed, I took a look at him after his bath. I decided then that he was no where near ready to go to the shows for grand points but he would be able to get his winners ribbons without embarrassment :-). Cowboy was entered in the show and although I was sure his color would be questioned not one judge gave his color a second thought. I stood ring side for each judging waiting to defend his color. He obtained his winners ribbons in early December and returned home to grow more coat.

By February I decided it was time to see if this "Second Time Around" was going to be a reality.

He made 88 points at his first show back.

The next weekend we went to Ventura, CA and earned another 41 points.

The next weekend we flew to Albuquerque, NM where Cowboy earned more than enough points to be a CFA Grand Champion for the second time.

Along the way he earned multiple Best Cats and was twice Best Cat in Show.

Now he is officially GC Sandy-B Cowboy — again holding the title of CFA Grand Champion, but this time as a cream TABBY And White — his true color.

Lessons Learned

  • Perform the DNA test for the agouti gene on any red-factored cat to determine if it is an agouti tabby.
  • If you change the color of your cat, it loses all its show titles.
  • Even a shaved coat grows back (eventually).
  • Persians get better with time.
  • Problems are just challenges to be overcome.
  • It is always do-able if you care enough.

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