B & R WILSON, & S JOSE.
By Barry Wilson.
30 years ago I was introduced to my first Birman by Rosemary Leabourn, whom I had befriended and later married. My first impression of this stunning breed was, WOW, what a cat. I had never ever heard of them before, let alone seen one. I had always been fond of cats from an early age but this was the breed that I fell for. Rosemary had seen a picture of a sealpoint Birman in a little book that she had got from a book sale, and then she started looking for a kitten in 1972.
She had a long hunt but finally found a Mrs Wood who had Birmans, and put her name down for a kitten. After about two years, she was contacted by a Mrs Greenwood, who now had Mrs Woods cats, who had a kitten for her. Mrs Greenwood, was of Hi’Light prefix. The kitten she had available was a seal point male, Hi’Light Moondust, who was to be neutered as he had a complete white leg. We later purchased his sister Hi’Light Mystic Princess , seal point, from the same breeder in September 1975 for breeding. It was also in 1975 that we started to apply for a prefix, and after submitting 13 different names we were granted Shinoto. Shinoto was the name of a Japanese warship, in a book that Rosemary was reading at the time, so in sheer frustration that name was sent in and was granted.
After getting Mystic Princess, the hunt was on for a breeding male, which we finally got from Noeline Dally of Arodelle prefix in May 1977, seal point, Arodelle Stirling Silver. Our first litter from Stirling and Princess unfortunely was not successful , the litter was stillborn and we lost Princess. What a terrible start to our breeding career.
We then purchased Alderwood Anzena, a 6 month old blue point female, from the Aldersons. We had our first successful litter on 12.10.78. Over the next few years we purchased several cats for breeding which did not work out satisfactory, but also in that time we purchased two Australian imports, Sarika Simba, seal point male and Ananda Laitu, sealpoint female, from a Mrs Martin who imported them with the intention of breeding and then decided against it. That gave us two males and two females. At last we were breeding beautiful kittens. It was very hard in those early days to get good stock. There were not a lot of Birmans around and not many Breeders. After attending several shows we were approached by some of the other breeders about forming a club. We were then invited to a meeting in Auckland which led to the formation of the Birman Club of New Zealand. It was an honour to be foundation members of this club but we are no longer members of this club.
Rosemary liked the new colours, chocolate and lilac, and fell madly in love with the lilacs. After several years, and with a lot of help from Starfrost Lilac Prince, and outcrossing we finally showed Shinoto Zimmerman (lilac) at the the Birman 2000 show and he was made Supreme. He later went, on loan, to a breeder in Melbourne, who we had been communicating with for some time. He came back last year as an Australian Double Grand Champion and has left quite few beautiful kittens behind to help with that breeders lilac and chocolate programme.
In the meantime we had bred Shinoto Kintah, who has had a lot of success on our show benches. He is now a Gold Double Grand Champion, and we believe he is the first New Zealand bred lilac to hold that title in this country.
We now also breed tabby points, and have had quite a bit of success with showing these as well.
In 2001, our daughter Sharon Jose joined the prefix to make it a family affair. She also has several Birmans of her own.
We currently run 10 queens and 4 studs, as well as Starfrost lilac Prince who has now been vacectomised. We have made sure that we have good outcrosses in our breeding cats by importing from Australia on a regular basis.
The Birman show 2003 was a highlight for us, gaining prefix of the year and several breeders awards.
Rosemary and Sharon are now NZCF longhair judges and are enjoy judging at the shows so have slowed down on the exhibiting side of the shows.
Our main aim in breeding is to provide people with beautiful birmans as pets, but also to improve or at least maintain the breed as it is now. We have met some absolutely lovely people through our cats, many now considered very good friends. And many of these people have come back several times to add to their feline family. The joy that people get from our cats and the pleasure that we have owning and breeding these wonderful cats make it all worthwhile.
So 7 shillings and 6 pence (the cost of the little book) has provided us with many, many years of pleasure and will do for years to come.