Translation of an article from “Huldrekatten” no. 4 2008

The year is 1983. I will try to write it one more time: Nineteen eighty tree. That is a very long time ago. Some of you were not even born. It was the year where the cold war came to a head, where Roger More played James Bond in Octopussy, and I had my first litter of Forest Cat kittens.

Is it so many times?

I am now sitting here 25 years later and try to make out the balance sheet. It has been extremely adventurous - in the broadest sense of the word. For instance, I have carried around 1.300 sacs or 3 ¼ ton of cat litter 4 times (from the shop to the car, from the car to shed in the garden, from the shed in the garden to the litter trays, from the litter trays to the dust bin). In the same period the litter trays have been emptied 18.250 times and my male cats have altogether sprayed 1.885.25 times.

I can extract many other funny figures. For instance, I have spent 500 nights in a car at Europe’s highways. I have seen 625 different show halls, and I have spent a fortune showing my cats.

The Forest Cat has become a well-known breed

At the same time, the Forest Cat has had triumphed in the whole world. From being a totally unknown and exotic breed it has become one of the most common pedigree cats. Even in my wildest fantasies I would never have imagined that the cat I love could become such a huge success. When I started, people did not dare to buy the cats because they believed they could only survive if they had the possibility to catch live mice and catch birds in flight.

I remember shows in Paris where Colosseums Gustav Graah was at the judge table hissing and growling and the exhibitors jumped back timidly and said “le Sauvage” (the Wild One). Or the show where the same Gustav Graah sprayed out of his show cage and hit the hair of a lady that bent down in order to take a closer view of the large cat. She didn’t detect that she was hit because her hair was combed back. However, I am sure that on the way home it was not possible for her to avoid the feeling that something was wrong. And yes, the show where Gustav was placed opposite two nice-looking young men that showed Holy Birman. When they should prepare their cat they placed a towel over their trousers while they carefully combed the cat. They were not very thrilled when Gustav, fast and effective as always, sprayed his special evil-smelling hair styling at both them and their cat.

Many people have helped

Most of all I remember all the friends and acquaintances that have been taking part in making it 25 fantastic years.

They have welcomed our kittens, taken care of them and showed them to perfection. I now know that a breeder can only have success if all kitten owners pull in the same direction. I look back with gratitude and joy and wish to say thank you to all who have taken part in making the cats from Felis Jubatus a success.

It started many years ago

I have been there from the start. Well, not from the very start because that was in Norway. However, Denmark took up the breed very fast. Back then there were 6 breeding names and only very few litters were born.

Dovregubben, Guldfaxe, Kispus, Sorte Bjørn, Kville and Felis Jubatus. Dovregubben and Guldfaxe had had a few litters and the rest of us had our first litter in 1983. In the beginning it was very difficult. No one had heard about a Norwegian Forest Cat. Persian and Siamese were the breeds that were known and the breed you should have when you wanted a pedigree cat.

So in order to make the cats known and find new homes for the kittens, we had to show our cats. We went to Jutland, and that was provincial Denmark. No one wanted to pay so much money for a cat, when you could have one for free at the nearby farm. The price for a kitten was 2.000 DKK (280 Eur) and that didn’t help us. We tried Germany, and that helped us take off. The Germans had some very impressive shows in Hamburg, and there was an audience that enjoyed owning an exotic cat.

There was always much travelling

All kittens from our first years found a new home abroad. That founded the large net of contacts we have in Europe. Since then, this contact network that has given us incredibly many experiences, when we have visited each other around Europe. When you stay in the private homes of friends and acquaintances, you get a great insight into the way life is lived in other countries at the same time.

We had to buy extra bed sheets

Our large network also meant that we had a lot of visitors. For the large shows in Copenhagen area we always had sleeping guests that should show cats. It was tough. They often arrived Friday night and left Monday morning. That meant cooking and serving food non-stop. Usually, we would sit and talk Friday night, and some times we were not very fit, when we had to rise early and go to the show Saturday morning. Saturday night every one was tired and very hungry. I became an expert in serving the Danish dish called Forloren Skildpadde (False Turtle). It was bought canned and improved with hard-boiled eggs and sherry. The dish was served together with bread, and our friends had a lot of fun talking about me serving Pussy canned food for dinner. Still, every one ate with a lot of appetite, and the house was usually quiet soon after the dinner was eaten, because everyone was tired after a long day.

How is it today?

Today everything is more relaxed. Back then, the shows lasted two days, which meant you had to stay over night, no matter where you showed. Today, we just go to a show and back again in the night, unless you choose to take a two-certificate show and then stay over night. It does not take entirely as much effort, but it is also not exactly as much fun, and you do not get to know the other exhibitors as well.

It has been 25 years. It is difficult for me to believe that it is true, but when the experiences pass by my eyes I do understand. It has been a time with a lot of work, a lot of travelling, many friends and acquaintances and last, but not least, a time with a lot of cats.

Felis Jubatus – 25 years – only Forest Cats

During the years I have often had the inclination to start out with a new breed. I have looked at Somali, Cornish Rex and most of all Sphinx. But I am ambitious and want to breed excellent kittens. That is difficult, if you want more breeds. Then you need to have many cats, and neither I nor our cats would have enjoyed that. That is why I have never started with a new breed.