Gregory Beach got his first Birman in 1987, Ashi's Jenni of Khetmeo, a blue point breeder/show quality female, bred by Charlene May. "I was a single parent, and my daughter wanted a cat, but I wasn't so fond of a cats at that time. I decided: If we were to get a cat then it needed to at least be one I could live with, and knew I didn't want a loud or overly busy cat. So, I went to the library and started researching the personality and looks of pedigree cats, thinking that with a pedigree cat we could take a lot of guess work out about what we might be getting. I was immediately attracted to the Birman in both looks and personality, but I didn't know how I would see one in person. At the time, I had no idea cat shows existed, but I called a breeder, out of a cat magazine who lived a couple hours from me, and she told me of a show that would be taking place in Rockford, Illinois, and so I went to meet this breeder, and her cats. This is where I met one of my oldest and dearest of friends, Victory Peterson, of Bravi Cattery, and held my first Birman, Bravi Jellicle Girl, a beautiful seal point female. I remember, as I looked at Jelli and held her in my arms, feeling I had not ever seen anything so beautiful in all my life. So, fate would have it that I fell in love with the Birman right there in Rockford, Illinois.
A lot has transpired over the past couple of decades, but my love for this beautiful and special breed of cats is still as bright as it was when I held my very first Birman."
Mary Richards got her first birman in 1996: GP Amberelle Theadorable Mcporkchop, "Thea," a beautiful blue point girl bred by Gayle and Michael Blonar. "I had been looking for a Birman for quite awhile, and decided to go the the cat show, held by the Sacred Cat of Burma Fanciers, in Medina, Ohio. I brought a cat carrier and my money with me, and was determined to come home with a pet quality birman kitten.
When I got to the show one of the first kittens I saw was this pretty little blue point, and I mentioned to Gayle that I thought she was beautiful. Gayle, who is also from the Pittsburgh area, and who I had met before, responded by saying, "Well, she's available, Mary." I didn't know then what I know about Birmans today, but I remember feeling that Thea was just perfect, and I could not believe Gayle was really going to let me have her. So, what I did was finalize this deal as fast as I could, putting Thea into her carrier and immediately leaving the show. I was afraid the deal was too good to be true, and that if I hung around Gayle would tell me she had sold me the wrong kitten by mistake.
It was Thea who captured my heart with her beauty and personality that caused me to begin showing, and later breeding Birmans. Fortunately, for me, it also happens to be that Thea grew up to be a top show quality Birman. Gayle didn't realize just how nicely she had developed until she later saw her at a show. It's a good thing it was too late to call the deal off by then. I'm sure Gayle would have loved to have had her back!
Sadly, Thea passed away when she was five years old, causing me to feel very sad because we were so close. One of the nice things about breeding though is the opportunity to move forward. Thea set a standard for what I want in a Birman. I realize that I will never replace her, but I do continue to look for her sweet little face in every blue point Birman female born here in my home."
Pictured right: Mary Richards & Greg Beach at the Regional Awards Banquet, 2004/05, picking up a Regional Award for GC, RW Shanjo Alex of Catabella.