Cats living in the country.

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been? I’ve been to London to visit the Queen.
It’s been awhile since Carla McGraw’s cats have been to England, but the bloodline of her British Shorthairs stems directly from the blue blood sires.
Carla and husband Garry are relatively new imports to the Matamata -Piako district. They moved a house to a property in Richmond Downs and are in the process of making a home of it.
Their cats, however, beat them to it. The pedigree felines make the most of the sun’s warmth as it snakes its way through the trees in the valley.
Paws are washed, ears preened and the odd mouse or wax eye falls prey to the community’s newest residents.
The British Shorthair was first bred in England in the late 19th century and is still popular there. Growing popularity for the breed in New Zealand means limited number of breeders find if difficult to keep up with demand.
Although more breeders are now known throughout the country, finding kittens to fill the market gaps can be difficult.
Carla does breed her cats but she doesn’t treat her pets as a money-making enterprise.
“My cats are pets first-they’re house cats. Breeding them is not a money making hobby for me.”
Carla’s love affair with the furry beasts began in 1978 when Garry brought her one as a wedding anniversary present. In 1980 the couple had two of the cats and gave them to friends to look after while they spent six years in England, bringing four more back with them.
Now the McGraw’s have 17 British Shorthair cats, six of these, breeding females which include a black smoke, black, two blues, a blue cream and a tortoiseshell. The colours describe the different types of the breed that are available.
Carla says that the attraction to the breed is the distinctiveness. The cats have plush fur, usually have orange eyes and tend to be very placid. They are renowned for longevity.
“Our original cat died just two weeks ago. We’ve still got her daughter aged 17 and grandson aged 15,” Carla say’s.
‘When people want to know what they look like I say that they are a sort of Garfield, without the stripes.”
For the most part the cats are content to lie around in the sun and soak up all the attention lavished on them by visitors.

June 1996. pg 16