I am passionate about all breeds of cats and my life revolves around them, but the Persian cats are my favourite breed of all. Having owned Persian cats as pets in the past, it was the natural choice for me to develop an interest in breeding them.
In 2003, I fell in love with the exquisite beauty of the Chinchilla Persian and decided to start up my own breeding programme that also led me to a whole new world of cat shows and exhibiting.
I was fortunate to have been entrusted back then with my first silver breeding cats whose lines were from a pure silver background, quite a rarity today as silvers are now being bred to the coloured Persians in order to increase a dwindling gene pool that has affected this breed for years.
This has been common practice in the US for some time and has now been adopted by the cat governing body over here in the last few years in an attempt to solve this problem, and while many breeders would regard this idea as being a perfectly acceptable solution to the problem, it also creates many new problems with it, such as ruining the typical green eye colour of the Chinchilla or the pure silver coat with tarnishing and introducing tabby striping back in.
These new problems would take many more years to breed out again.
Some of us are continuing to breed the pure silvers in preservation of the true Chinchilla type, but sadly only a handful of these breeders now exist in the UK. It would be a great shame to lose the traditional Chinchilla Persian breed entirely as the breed was originally created in this country, indeed from an area only a few miles where we are situated today.
It is recorded in history that a female Persian from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, was bred with an unknown tom in London and this meeting produced the first ever silvers back in the ninetenth century. Which breed the male cat who fathered the kittens was has never been disclosed and could well have been a stray with the mating being purely accidental.
It could be said that they were the first ever designer kittens to be produced and this new silver breed quickly became very popular in the cat showing circles of the time.
They were eventually introduced to the public many years later through a variety of film and tv appearances. The most famous one particularly remembered as portraying the cat of an arch villain in the Bond films. Even today, many people still remember them as the cat in the Bond films.
They are, after all, very beautiful cats that can definitely hold their own against the other breeds.
What is a Chinchilla Persian and why are they different to other Persians?
I am asked that question many times because of their unique colouring and certain look. The simplest answer I can give is that, beneath the luxurious, silver coat there lies a long-haired tabby. A tabby that is permanently wearing a silver coat, to be more precise.
They are absolutely NOT white cats, as is so often stated wrongly about them on other sites. You can tell the difference in paw colour as a genetically white cat will always have light pink pads with a matching pink nose, while the silver cat has dark brown or black pads with a deep pink nose that is lined in black, just like a tabby cat. Tabby refers to the pattern/colour of a coat in cats and not to a separate breed.
This fact does surprise many when they are made aware of this, but genetically speaking, the tabby pattern (agouti gene) is altered by the dominant Inhibitor gene, aka the silver gene, which is responsible for turning the hair shaft silver. How much of it is altered depends on some other genes too, possibly a wide-band gene, and determines whether the cat is a light tipped Chinchilla, or a much darker shaded silver type.
The only time you may notice the tabby striping on them are when the chinnie kittens are first born. This baby coat grows out and is gradually replaced by the permanent silver one.
Our cats and kittens
In recent years, some of the other coloured Persians have also caught my eye, in particular the dramatic blacks, in complete contrast with their huge orange eyes against their dark fur to the pale silver coated fairy-like Chinchillas with their striking emerald green eyes.
My cats are from solid colour bred lines and they carry the dilute gene, so I am also expecting some lovely blue kittens.
The silvers, blacks and blues are the three colours that I have chosen to work with and I'm looking forward to seeing what will result in the future.