(Sorry about the gap between posts- a family bereavement and other 'stuff'. You know how it is.)
So the time of year has come when I'm thinking hard about who to mate Indigo to next, and equally importantly, when.
Because it's complicated this year. Firstly time wise. My friend gets married in the spring and I am in the bridal party. I can't have a due date cat around that time, or kittens that are too young. I can't have kittens that are due to go home because I won't be about to facilitate that. I could have small-ish, still just about nest- bound kittens or older, independent kittens (both times with an experienced- with- baby- kittens person housesitting) but I wouldn't want to leave toilet training kittens. And given Indigo's illness last year, I wouldn't want to leave a pregnant cat, certainly not in the early stages.
It's ridiculous... I'm only going away overnight, but it's feeling like a military operation! And I KNOW they would be fine with someone else for a night or even a weekend, but... well, you know.
The other option of course is to not have kittens this winter at all, mate her in the Spring and have summer babies but again that would require careful timing because I take a summer holiday. Or I could skip a year entirely. (the idea doesn't appeal...)
The next thing is with whom to mate my girl. Now the problem with Indigo is that as a 5th generation Tonk, she's actually related to quite a few of the local (and by local I mean within a 3 hour drive... lol...) studs, and that won't do at all! I rang up about a stud last week, only to realise it was her grandfather! Not sure how I had missed that!
There's not a lot of choice, is what I am saying.
Now she's had two lovely litters. Her first one, with GrCh Fecheldee Harry, are now what- 18 months?- so its possible to see what they are like as adults, and I'm delighted with them. Good quality, robust cats with no health issues (that have been reported to me, anyway) who obviously give their families a lot of pleasure. So a repeat mating with Harry is a definite possibility, he's obviously a good match for Inds. And he's a proven stud, and a Grand Champion, all to the good.
Harry's an apricot mink, so those kittens could be blue, lilac or caramel (boys), all three in tortoiseshell (girls) and in mink or solid. My instinct is, if I mate Indigo this autumn, to use Harry again.
But then over at Tonkadello, they have a new up and coming stud, Louis. Now Louis isn't available yet, he's only a baby still, born, I think, in February, but by next year he will be available. Now the big selling point for me with Louis is that he is a first generation Tonk, ie his parents will be a Siamese and a Burmese. He represents an entirely new bloodline, (and many thanks to the dedicated breeders who made that happen...) and that would be a good balance for Indigo's 5th generation blood. The Tonk gene pool is small, and it just isn't healthy to get too small.
Mating Indigo to Louis will be a bit of a leap into the unknown as he won't have been a stud for long by the time Inds needs to come, but to be honest that's how it was with Monty too and that worked out really well- my Von Trapps were adorable. So if I waited until the Spring, I'd probably want to use Louis, if he was ready.
These kittens would be chocolate and lilac, if he carries dilute, (which his people may not know until he's had a few litters of course!!) in mink and solid. And yes... if I got a chocolate mink girl of a decent quality I would definitely consider keeping her. There's no hurry to keep a kitten, Inds is three now- I guess she'll have another three litters all being well (which you can't bank on) But latter litters are smaller, fewer kittens mean less choice and you can't guarantee even a female, let alone a female of good type, and then there's the question of your own colour preferences etc. So leaving it to the last litter, never a good plan.
As always I am merely rambling, and your opinions would be very interesting indeed :) Oh- sorry about the pretentious title today, but I love Gauguin and it seemed apt!