It is with great personal sadness that we announce the passing of GC GP RW Castrovalva Sir Fred of Featherland. Fred slipped away peacefully at home.
Fred came into our lives in the spring of 1998. His breeder, Mary Jo Thelander, was in need of finding new homes for some of her retired show cats. She and Lorraine were friends, and she knew that we had always admired Somalis, so arrangements were made for her to send Fred to us. We would show him in Premiership for the season, then return him to her the following summer.
Lorraine picked him up at the airport. When she came home and opened up the carrier, he walked out like he had lived here all his life, and my life was never the same. Fred quickly became Daddy’s boy. He would sleep wrapped around my head, and I would generally wake up to a Somali tongue on my beard.
We began showing Fred in July, and his Premiership career took off quickly. After earning his Winner’s ribbons, his first show as a Premier was August 1-2. This show marked his first Best Cat in Premiership (from his old friend Gary Powell). He completed his Grand in the first ring of the next show, Los Colores (although Lorraine and I remember this show more vividly as the one where she totaled the van).
Fred quickly developed a following, among both exhibitors and judges. He was the ultimate show cat, at home in a hotel room, in a benching cage, or in the show ring. He loved nothing more than sprawling on his grooming cart to be admired. He was a frequent participant in Los Colores’ petting zoo, even while being shown. He was always popular with visitors to shows, who were drawn in by the vibrant red color of his coat. Many judges were also taken with him. Darrell Newkirk nicknamed him Blowtorch, and Donna Fuller referred to him as “that red thing” (one of my personal favorites). Carolyn Osier liked to remark that the long hair removed half his brain cells, and the red color took the other half. She then often announced him as Best Cat.
As the season began to wind down, and it was apparent that he would earn a Regional win, Mary Jo made plans to fly in from Chicago for the awards banquet. I began to prepare for the idea that she would take him home with her, since that was the original arrangement. But when she came into the awards show, she gave me the greatest gift by allowing him to stay with us.
Fred retired as a show cat after that show, although he did participate in events for Los Colores, including every Petting Zoo, and the Parade of Breeds last year. But mostly he stayed at home and became (except for Lorraine) the center of my life. He was always with me: curled up on my lap, on the back of the couch behind my head, or in his (and my) favorite spot on my pillow. He was generally waiting at the door when I came home from work.
Fred did not consider himself to be part of the cat population. He ignored the Persians, and he tolerated the introduction of Turkish Angoras. Our first TA, Boots, came to us at five months, and her favorite toy was Fred’s tail. Anyone who thinks cats cannot look exasperated did not see the look on Fred’s face. But he was never aggressive toward her and always allowed her to exploit his furry tail. Eventually, Fred became good friends with one TA in particular, Fuzzy Slipper.
Beginning in late 2002, it became obvious that Fred was suffering from a congenital enzyme deficiency that would eventually take him from me. However, his attitude never changed. His was still my boy. Up until the last few days, he still came to meet me at the door when I came home from work. But the time came when he was ready to go, and although I was not ready, I knew it was time. So now Fred waits for me at the Rainbow Bridge. And although most will remember him for his fiery red color, his exquisite head type, or the quality of his coat, I will remember the touch of his tongue on my beard, our usual head butt when I left for work, and his place on my pillow.
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Copyright © 1996-2001 Lorraine Shelton. Photographic images are the copyrighted property of the photographer and may not be copied, downloaded, printed, or otherwise reproduced without the express permission of the photographer.
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