14 • April 27, 2011 • Snoqualmie Valley Record
Health • Care • Diet • Training • Play
It s a
cat s life
Showstopping Pixie Bobs steal Snoqualmie breeder’s heart
STORY AND PHOTOS BY CAROL LADWIG Staff Reporter
The Forest Hunter cattery has all the equipment you’d expect to find in a cat-breeding program. There are little-used kennels, well-abused scratching posts, kitty drinking fountains, plenty of toys, and cats and kittens of all sizes. Two of them are lying in ambush outside a cupboard door, waiting for their victim to poke his head out. Another is snuggled into the bottom shelf of an end table. Every few minutes a small parade of fluffy kittens whizzes by, the one in the lead trying to keep whatever treasure it’s found from the pursuers. “I call that the fur blur,” says owner Konnie Surmann, watching the race. Only they’re not a blur to her. Surmann has 16 cats and she can instantly tell them all apart, and then tell you their stories. “That’s RT Junior, he was born here, and this one is Rain. There’s Glory, my other female, and that one over there,” she Forest points to an ancient black and white cat slowly making her way across the wood floor, “is Grandma.” Grandma is a distinct minority in the household. Her story is that she was abandoned, and is at least 19 years old. She found Surmann near her Snoqualmie home, and Surmann took her in to live out the rest of her life. Surmann had We been cats organizations like wouldrescuing like to take off IAMSwith and Eukanuba and replace it with more pictures of our Best Seller: Taste of the Wild (below). MEOW (www.meowcatrescue.org) If you could add in the info below that would be for great. years,
long before 2003, when she fell in love with the Pixie Bobs she now breeds. Pixie Bobs—Pixie for the name of the first cat of the breed, developed about 25 years ago in the Pacific Northwest, Bob for their stubby tails—are big and fluffy, brown-spotted cats with huge paws and intelligent faces. Even to non-cat lovers, they have appeal. Some of the most challenging feline traits, like yowling, being aloof, skittishness, and spraying, don’t exist in Surmann’s Pixies (although the breed has been known to produce males who spray). They follow her around like puppies, want nothing more than to sit in her lap, and have learned to open all of her cupboard doors, even with the child locks engaged. “Pixie Bobs often use their feet like you would use your hands... they all know how to open doors,” Surmann said. “If I can’t find one, it’s usually in the kitchen cabinet, sleeping in one of my pots or pans.” It sounds adorable, if unsanitary, but Surmann doesn’t mind giving the Pixies, mixed-breeds, and Kurilian Bobtails she just started breeding, free run of Konnie Shurman, most of her home, because she Hunter cat breeder has a strict rule that no cats are allowed in her bedroom. As for the countertops and surfaces in the rest of the house, she says, “Bleach is your friend. Use it!” Surmann maintains a rigorous cleaning schedule at home, especially for the half-dozen litter boxes set up in a spacious pantry accessible by kitty door, and is very specific about the litter she uses—corn based for kitten safety. She also has strict rules about how often
“Pixie Bobs use their feet like you use your hands. They all know how to open doors.”
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they must apply and, if selected, commit to a seven-page contract regarding the care and well-being of their kittens or cats. Everything Surmann does is for the betterment (and love) of the breed. She does have one goal that isn’t entirely selfless, however: The International Cat Association (TICA) she belongs to names a Cat of the Year every summer, “and there has never been a Pixie Bob Cat of the Year,” said Surmann. “I want to breed the first Pixie Bob to win Cat of the Year.” For more information, visit www.foresthunter.com.
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and when to breed her cats, and when to retire them. Currently, she has two males and two females who are of breeding age, and one male and female that are almost there. By the end of the year, both female Pixies will have had four litters, and both males will be approaching age 3, time for all of them to be spayed or neutered, and retired as pets to families who’ve been waiting for them. Kittens can’t go to new homes until they are three months old, with all immunizations current, spayed or neutered. Before anyone can adopt one of Surmann’s cats or kittens, though,
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Above, tomcat RT, Jr. will soon be 1 year old, and ready to try breeding, says owner Konnie Surmann, holding him. “RT” is short for Roaring Thunder. Top right, at five weeks old, Pixie Bob kittens like these, from Surmann’s last litter, don’t blink much. Center right, Tahiti, a female, shows off huge, hallmark paws. Below, Shurman’s top male Pixie Bob, Frank, rubs affectionately on her leg. At age 3, he’s already earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Cat Association.
Snoqualmie Valley Record • April 27, 2011 • 15
Health • Care • Diet • Training • Play
Rescue drive Dinner helps animal partners headed to IGA
Fall City • 425.222.7220 www.svah.com
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Pet Place Market
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 7pm Saturday 10am - 5pm Sunday 10am - 4pm
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Dr. Teri Weronko, DVM • Dr. Kathleen Koppa, DVM
www.snoqualmievalleypetparlor.com 8103 Falls Ave • Downtown Snoqualmie
The local branch of People United for Pets, or PUP, is holding a ‘Fill the PUPMobile” drive this spring in Snoqualmie, benefiting its small-breed dog rescue operation. The benefit, April 28 to 30 at Snoqualmie Ridge IGA, helps the hundreds of dogs PUP Dog Rescue saves from Washington and California shelters. The group is seeking donations of food, leashes, collars, and toys. Cash or check donations are always welcome, too. Visitors can meet with staff and learn about foster volunteer opportunities and discover how to make a difference in the life of a rescue dog. PUP dogs receive health and safety services before being placed with new owners. To learn more, visit www. peopleunitedforpets.com.
Valley Animal Partners’ third annual Dessert Auction is 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 8200 Railroad Ave., Snoqualmie. Pre-purchase tickets to guarantee a seat, as only a limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased through a VAP member or at the following locations: • Another Hair Place, 113 Bendigo Blvd. N., Suite B, North Bend; 888-0616 • Pet Place Market, 213 Bendigo Blvd. N., North Bend; 888-8828 • U-Dirty Dog!, 301 W. North Bend Way, Suite E, North Bend; 888-8100 Advance ticket sales are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 6-12; under 6 are free. • At the door, tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for seniors and children 6-12; under 6 are free. Dinner begins at 5:30, the live dessert auction will start at 6 p.m. Valley Animal Partners raises funds for its spay and neuter assistance program benefiting pets in the communities of North Bend, Snoqualmie, Fall City and Preston. To date, they have provided these services to more than 100 pets in local communities. To learn more, e-mail info@ valleyanimalpartners.com.
Whether purring, yipping, panting or meowing, We are honored to be entrusted with your pet’s care.
Your Local Pet’s Place Since April 2007 213 Bendigo Blvd. N. • North Bend
Fill the PUP-Bin!
Want to help our local small breed rescue dogs? Join PUP and help us “Fill the PUP-Bin located by the check stands April 28, 29 and 30!”
Serving th e Snoqualm Valley forie 50+ year s!
This drive will benefit the hundreds of dogs PUP Dog Rescue saves from Washington and California animal shelters. Help us fill the PUP-Bin by bringing donations of food, leashes, collars, and toys.
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Cash/check donations are always welcome too. There will be materials provided to learn about the volunteer opportunities and discover how you can make a difference in the life of a rescue dog!
Exams • Lab Work • Vaccinations • Health Certiﬁcates Parasite Control • Micro-Chipping • Supplements • Minor Surgery Behavior Counseling • Euthanasia
7730 Center blvd. s.e. snoqualmie ridge marketplace
Event co-hosted by ‘People United for Pets’ and Snoqualmie Ridge IGA
Dr. Robert Hogan will work in conjunction with your regular vet or be a primary care giver for your animals
425.222.5665 • 425.761.0982 www.homeveterinaryservices.com cattle • horses • swine • goats llamas • alpacas • cats • dogs