I first met Ritzy on 18th July 1987. Whilst we had bred burmese for many years my first love was a sorrel abyssinian by name of Ceianda Macgregor. Through Macgregor's show career and necessary membership of the cat clubs I came to learn of the somali breed, and became a founder member of the (UK) Somali Cat Club. But at the beginning of the 1980s there was no way I could begin to think of actually owning one of these exotic and scarce cats.
Through an amazing set of chances however, our local cattery (Brizlincoat) who had shared our interest in both burmese and somalis, acquired the whole Patriarca cattery. One of the queens was already pregnant and three boys were born - a blue and two fawns. Whilst taking our burmese family in to board in July we were invited to see 'something special' - the first somali babies to be born under the Brizlincoat name, and dilutes too!
It was a great honour, and quite humbling, to be allowed to provide a home for this very special little personality, who so rapidly took over our lives. Whenever I was at home he was never far away. Wherever I wanted to sit he would get there first, demanding a warm lap to snuggle on. If in the study he had his own special place under my desk lamp, his tail usually drifting over my work to ensure he got noticed.
We had no intention of keeping him entire, after all at that time there were virtually no unrelated girls around anyway, let alone that we had NO experience with a stud. So his genes have not been passed on, although there have been many more since from his lineage that have helped lay good foundations to the breed. Instead he played his part on the show bench and gained his Merit certificates to help the dilutes on their way towards their current champion status. Regrettably he did not enjoy being shown much after that so he was retired and for the rest of his life ruled over the Nainasus household, imprinting his warm and loving personality onto many kittens.
It is typical of him to depart now as the Nainasus cattery closes its doors for a while. He has done his bit for us, and with the creation of two new catteries now complete (Somesso and the 'new' Van Gelre) his work is done. He may now join the other great departed somalis and hold his head up in pride, his task completed. He was special, he was an aristocrat, but most of all to me he was and forever will be just Ritzy, my first somali. May he rest in peace.