The Carmelkats Story

Jenny Nelson Awards - Carmelkats Burmese CatteryCarmelkats started in Iowa. It began as the joint hobby of mine and the man who was then my husband.

Much of what Carmelkats achieved those first 25 years is due to his quiet support. But people grow and change, and we wanted different things. As our settlement, he graciously gave me the cattery. We chat virtually across the wires often. But I digress…

I came to Burmese in 1984 when Jay bought a kitten to show at the local cat show. My group of volunteers from United Cerebral Palsy was doing food for the show. Carmelita was so small, she got her head through the judging cage and had to be held. And thus a love affair was born. She loved Jay, but I was smitten. After several discouraging attempts at sending her away for breeding we bought our first male. Diamond Willow’s Cirroco was quickly granded and made regional Best Burmese! I was designated the cat show person by Jay. We then bought a show-quality / grandable female, Waterford’s Chiya of Carmelkats, not only granding her but finding ourselves in National Best of Breed! This was all during my first full year of cat showing!

Then came the next 5 years of working with those very contemporary lines. We won some and made friends and cried some. After my current show kitten had the second eye surgery, I called my dearest Burmese friends and said I was returning to the old classic lines. One of those breeders and I had become best friends and she made the switch with me. We bought new breeding stock. And the next 15 years were a process of working these lines into one… Carmelkats. Finally, all the hard work seemed to come together.

Carmelkats Burmese BlueI had made a commitment to make the newly accepted Blue and Platinum colors as ring-worthy as Sable and Champagne. I purrsonally love Blue (grey) cats and animals. Carmelkats granded the first ACFA Blue Burmese Grand Champion, Nori’s Whirling Dervish, and 7 years after that we were in the National numbers with our Blues. Not only were we putting the older, more classic type back into the ring, but in colors judges tended to ignore. When Carmelkats Bluetiful made 17th Best National kitten, we were ecstatic. Two years later we ran GC Carmelkats Abluzing George Burms, He went 17th Best National Cat, our platinum Alter, GC Carmelkats Casper, was 16th Best National Alter, and our platinum kitten, Carmelkats Diamonds Are Forever was 5th Best National Kitten.

The following show year, Carmelkat Diamonds Are Forever granded and was 10th Best Regional Cat; he started to spray in the ring so it was time to breed girls, Carmelkats Casper was 9th Best Regional Alter. We didn’t show him at more than a few shows, as he was tired from his prior campaign, and Carmelkats Diamond Chip was 5th Best National Kitten. The following year we ran GC Diamond Chip and made 6th Best National Cat.

CH Carmelkats Pride RockMoving on with my life, after the divorce, and death of both my parents, I went to Washington state with my cats, and while there we did some shows, resulting in some regional wins. Relocating to Arkansas, we attended a limited number of shows the first two years, until involvement in animal welfare, shelter / emergency preparedness and Service Dog work, put my show cats on the back burner.

While doing the cat rescue for the shelter, I was so impressed with the health and vigor of these domestic cats. My last Burmese litters were nightmares… kittens fading, kittens dying at 8 weeks, kittens with chronic upper respiratory ailments. Meanwhile, on the online forums other breeders were quietly sharing similar problems, after the genetic diversity study came out. Quiet discussions began, leading to quiet decisions.

Old Thai BuddhaCarmelkats received two females from Thailand, from airline stewardesses who could no longer keep them and still find an apartment on their new route.  I happily accepted them before Mod Daeng was in the US. At that early stage, I did not even know to ask for documentation on them; therefore I had nothing, except for peoples’ word and the cat’s loving nature, as people have been doing cat breeding for the last 150 years.  What this means to the Carmelkat show career is we must spend about 7 years working to breed the diverse outcross genes in, while also working in the proper amount of Burmese-to-Burmese breeding until we can show again.

What this means to everyone else is healthier kittens of lovely disposition and beauty with red, cream or Tortie, and the usual basic four colors. We are already working on generations 2 and 3. We will continue to post pictures here and on our Facebook page. Watch our progress!

Temple cat - CarmelkatsAnd if you have ever desired a Burmese, but just can’t pay the prices for full Burmese kittens, please contact us. Some of our therapy kittens will be available to a good pet home as well. We have kept two females from this earliest attempt as we follow the natural progression for asking to register these cats.

We strongly advise using cats brought in with the right documentation, so are in favor of using only cats with proven Thai provenance.  For this reason, we can potentially use Korats and Khao Manee, or Thai cats of other coats.  Join us as we work for a cat with a strong immune system, melding it with the American Burmese, to give you a healthy and singularly wonderful, people-oriented cat!

These half-Burmese cats went to therapy homes.

These half-Burmese cats went to therapy homes.


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