CFA’s 20th Best Cat GC BW NW Emau’s Touch The Sun –

“Lark” Silver Egyptian Mau female by GC Emau’s Kestrel, DM out of GC BW NW Emau’s Drop-Of-Golden Sun, DM

 Lark is her mother's daughter - elegant, edgy, exciting, but her grandmother Pounce (GC BW RW Emau’s Mau Pounce For The Ounce, DM) at heart... Unlike momma Sunny, Lark does not have a fragile bone in her tough little body... she is a tomboy with huge green eyes, breed defining ears and long elegant legs who lives for toys, demands things her way or not at all and expects the world to cater to her... Endearing, infuriating and irresistible... no cat since Pounce has had such a sweet loving nature coupled with such a temper... challenge to show... unbelievable and electric when things went her way.... not so much when she was not pleased... Like her mother (GC BW NW Emau’s Drop-Of-Golden Sun, DM) she remained a hotel snob from start to finish during her show career. She loved fancy rooms, and was miserable in ones that she considered not up to her standards. Like her grandmother, she felt she should be the only one traveling in the car with mom... no other cats and not even other people just HER... in her mind since it was all about her, that was the way it should be... and of course the way it was while she showed... She did, after all hold all the cards.

 Lark was born with high expectations. The daughter of a National Winner and the highest grand producing male in the history of the breed as well as double triple generation DMs, she was bred to be breathtakingly beautiful and she did not disappoint.  From the moment she was born, she drew the attention of everyone who saw her… All my friends kept telling me, SHE is the one… While I, of course, was fixated on her lovely sister, Summer.  Summer was a stunning cat in her own right. In fact, she became my first one show grand champion. Lark, however was the one who came out and said, “I want to do this, you cannot deny me”.  SHE was a born show cat, not the delicate Summer.  From the very beginning, Lark loved the judging table, she loved toys and she loved people.  Add to that her elegant boning, expressive green eyes and those amazing ears and wow… what a package…

 In stark contrast to her lovely mother’s tragedy and drama filled run for the NW, Lark kept it relatively simple.   Her handicaps came in the human form and even those may have been a blessing in disguise. Shortly after she started to show, her chauffeur and biggest fan entered the judging program.  Color classes had to be the top priority, so Lark’s show schedule had to move around that. As a result, her challenge was to make up for being off every second or third weekend as well as missing some of the bigger count shows… She proved she was up to the challenge and indeed seemed to enjoy her time off.  She granded in mid-May and was basically pulled at the end of December. All in all she went out 25 weekends including her granding shows.  Again a stark contrast to her mother’s 48 drama filled adventures!

 The only real drama that could rival the soap opera that her mother claimed was again pilot error… at a show in Florida in late May, coming back from a ring after the last final of the day, a pile of cages was dropped right behind us.  The domino effect of the crashing cages terrified the normally fearless Lark and I dropped her… She ran and ran and ran until she could run no more… eventually she found a judging ring; a place she had always felt safe and jumped in a cage, but oh what a different cat she was… Gone was my intrepid explorer with the huge ego and the yen for toys… instead I had a huddled mass of timid spots…At that point, things did not look so good… I was experiencing Dejavu and it was NOT a good feeling…  

Unfortunately the ONLY two-day show in the Country the next weekend was in Bloomington Illinois – a mere 19 hour drive. No choice though, having gone through this before, I knew that my only hope to fix the damage done to my little show star was to get her right back out there… The problem was getting her from the benching area TO the ring… she was terrified of any bang or clang in the show hall and jumped and cowered at every noise… So, we entered Bloomington and got in the car and drove and drove… went to the show and set up her cage and worked with her all day Saturday… Then Sunday we did the same thing… Never did show her that weekend, so it went down as the longest drive anyone ever made to NOT show a cat… Still, it was invaluable. She got to spend a weekend in a showhall with all the sounds and experiences and nothing went wrong… and so the healing began. 

 The next weekend, we drove the other direction all the way to the NAR Awards show in New England… there we made it to all the rings that were close to where she was benched… I credit the fact that I had a show cat for rest of the season to the gentle handling of those three judges who took such good care of her that weekend… I thought I would have a heart attack in that first ring back… It was a make or break ring that would tell whether there was a fighting chance to bring her back or not. I was NOT willing to go through another experience like I had with her mother… Lark had to tell me that she wanted to do this, or we were done. It was that simple… Thankfully, Lark truly was a show cat – she loved the table and the toys… so although I never took the trip to and from rings for granted, I began to relax after that show… Unlike her lovely mother, Lark recovered quickly and nearly to 100%.  Getting her to the rings was never easy, but once she was there she was a star, as long as no cages clanged!  That potential clanging of course kept me on the edge of my seat every time she was out of the safety of a cage or my arms, but then I would not be happy if not fretting about something… 

I had said from the beginning that if she made enough points to make me feel that she was safe that I would not show her past that and I stuck to my word. She was sitting sixth at the end of December and I was thinking we looked okay, so I made the decision to pull her as soon as she moved past 7000 points.   I will not lie, I was feeling pretty proud of her and myself for bypassing all the end of season angst… Life was good indeed… I knew she would fall in the rankings, but as long as she was not lower than 25th, I was fine with that, more than fine… I was THRILLED!  And then the totals started to climb, and the three 6X6 shows were announced and I got a REALLY bad feeling in the pit of my stomach… I frantically redid my calculations… The numbers still crunched with her in, but barely… so I was anxiously watching each week as those epoints came out…Then the unthinkable happened; point predictions came out that supported that queasy feeling in my stomach and indeed indicated that the total could well go over 7000 and I came up with a NEW theory.  There is a fixed amount of stress in a prolonged campaign for a National win… you can spread it out for an entire season OR you can compress it into two frantic weeks like I did. One way or another, no matter how much you think you can avoid it, it WILL catch up with you…  

Oh my, talk about frantic…I convinced myself that Lark was going to fall out and it was all my fault… truly no one to blame but myself… so if she did, really the joke was on me.  Once again my friends were there for me… and I thank each and every one of you who listened to my hysteria.  I was KNOW I was beside myself.   

Thankfully Lark is that rare Egyptian Mau who not only is willing to show after a break, but can keep herself in shape on free food and she was still looking pretty good so the decision was made to bring her back out to try to add a few more insurance points… a warm up at OSA and then on to Fitchburg for a perfect fairy tale weekend.   Lark was wonderful. She sparkled in the ring, played like a kitten and left me with a memory of her to cherish for years to come.  She ended her career like she began it, as a show cat that loves to show… I could ask for nothing more…  

Lessons learned and legacies built are behind each and every one of my cats. They do a good job guiding me through life.  Lark’s legacy is deep and meaningful for me as what I am; a breeder, not an exhibitor and not just a newly accepted judge.  It was not five minutes after I had been accepted into the judging program that I was told that I should not run my girl this year.  It was good advice, no actually excellent advice. Advice, that obviously I chose not to heed.  You see, Lark represents something very special. She is the result of years of work towards a vision that sparked and grew when I decided to take the plunge and breed a very special little Egyptian Mau that I had originally purchased as a pet… Lark is the great granddaughter of that silver haired enchantress who stands behind so many great cats in our breed.  She is the first third generation BW and first second generation NW for our breed.  Both her father and her mother are third generation DMs.  She is not perfect, but for me her look with that edgy wild beauty represents every thing that I stand for as a breeder.  I like to think that good breeders make good exhibitors and hopefully, just maybe, good judges as well… I like to think that Lark represents something special as the daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter of cats that made my heart sing. I loved watching her in the ring and I loved the fact that like her mother and grandmother before her, she could move me to tears with her beauty and grace. I never want to lose that wonder just as I never want to lose the passion and the love I have for the Cat Fancy.   So Lark’s lesson for me at least was to teach me who I am… Not a bad bonus for a phenomenal, fairy tale year…

 

 

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